Posts

Showing posts from August, 2006

Dr. Stephen Hawking sends a message to Yahoo! Answers community

The comic that started it all, scanned for your convenience.
Last day of indignation!

CRC Error

Computer #1 was special.

Since it was right next to the door, it was the first computer the school principal got a sneak peak of when she decided to snoop around. This was too high a risk for most of my classmates since they would prefer playing games and tinkering with PC Tools. Since I was never interested in games, this wasn't ever an issue. I found the DEBUG.EXE prompt far sexier than the stupid Prince of Persia. And since Assembly Language looked boring and 'academic' enough on screen, no one ever grew suspicious of my intentions.
This was the only PC with a color monitor though the resolution was awful and you could literally count the pixels on your fingers. I found the other displays revolting, especially the Green Amber ones. I loved using the ANSI.SYS device driver to color the DOS screen. Only few friends knew the trick and we would love endlessly teasing others for their ignorance.Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC) Error mysteriously surfaced at arbitrary moments of …
My new office tag-suspender is so light, it keeps swinging wildly like a yo-yo when I walk. And when the tag finally rests, it almost always does so on the flip side!

Here's a thought. Maybe I should take up catwalking to stop all the swinging.

Sex & the City

Could someone please tell why didn't our forefathers have anything better to do than to chant holy hymns during the day and endlessly copulate during the night? And they didn't even bother to cross breed at that, condemning our gene-pool to steady degeneration. Why the hell couldn't they occupy their minds with other things?

The population in India is a real pain. Everywhere you go, there are people staring indignantly at you, talking aloud to each other or over the phone, honking, screaming, scheming, threatening, intruding...well, the list is endless. I blame our ultra passionate ancestors for causing all this mess. When resources are limited and people multiply faster than bunnies, there'll obviously be pressure on the land. There's competition for even the most basic things, and even when you occasionally manage to win, your share is considerably dwindled.

The trip from office to home normally takes three quarters of an hour. It took an hour more today. Traffic i…

Parallels

Santosh is inseperable from his mobile, just as a mother is from her newborn baby!
When the baby wails, the mother comes to check what's ailing him.When the baby's silent, the mother still comes to check why he's so quiet.When the mobile rings, Santosh jumps at once to the rescue of his phone wondering who on earth could be calling him at such an hour.When the mobile's silent, he still checks to see why the rest of the world has forgotten him.In fact, Santosh goes a step further. Even though my phone's ringtone is as different from his as a lion's roar is from a diva's cry, he'll instinctively check his phone each time mine rings! The mobile is the last thing he sees before going off to sleep. It's the first thing he sees when he wakes up in the morning. The maternal instincts are strong!
Really, I must stop making Santosh the butt of all my jokes!

PwC

Didi revealed the name of the company that bagged Deep during the campus placements in Jadavpur University: PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Good going, Deep! I'm so proud of you. Now if you'll only tell me how you intend to use your knowledge of Chemical Engineering once you start working!

BTW, the first company to have visited the campus (no, it's not PwC) this year holds a very special place in my heart!

Peeved

Last Friday, I had asked for a train ticket to be booked for the 1st of Sept. It came as a rude shock to me today when I realized that the booking office had conveniently forgotten to do the needful. After scrambling for over half an hour, they realized that there had been a slip. To matters matters worse, no more tickets for the said date are available now.

In desperation, I've asked the erring folks to get me tickets for the 8th. I'll be grateful and pleasantly surprised if at all they can deliver on their promise this time. What's more worrying is that I'm not very sure if my new vacation schedule will be approved in the first place.

How can people take their responsibilities so lightly? All my plans are now at risk because of the oversight of a few guys who just didn't attach much importance to their duties. I've had it with these booking offices. A similar experience in Pune has now shaken my belief in travel agents. Technology is more reliable than people a…

Sonia

Image
Get Your Own! | View Slideshow
So social networking does it again! Sonia & I had been out of touch for quite some time before losing contact altogether. Thanks to Orkut, she was able to trace me to my blog and finally to my Yahoo! Messenger id. It was wonderful chatting with her after so long a while & we still have a lot of catching up to do. I truly miss my most adorable and ambitious cousin!

Sonia, how are you adjusting to life in India?!

Eccentric Pluto pays the price

Image
I was a sixth grader then and babes weren't yet on my list of interests. What caught my fancy instead was a scientific calculator that I spotted in a shop, and Dad bought it for me the very next morning. I was in love with mathematics all over again! It worked in many modes, my favorite being Stat (for Statistics). I was yet to get acquainted with the virtues of standard deviation and root mean square, but the calculator helped escalate my interest in this strange branch.What I loved even more was Astronomy. And if you could provide me with statistical facts on stars and planets, I was on fire! Even my otherwise poor memory couldn't fail me on the numerical facts about heavenly objects. I created and pasted a chart on the wall that listed the the numerical facts about the nine planets and consulted them when in doubt. I especially loved verifying Kepler's laws of planetary motion, the 3rd being my favorite. raising the numbers to required powers was child's…

Watermarks of Courtesy

Yet another casualty of the mass recruitment in our company was an unlucky guy who was stranded on the bus aisle today since all the seats were occupied. Or so he thought.I had managed to capture the rear window seat before it could be lost; vacant seats had suddenly become an endangered species. The guy who comfortably sat beside me by spreading his limbs as far and wide as possible was apparently in no mood to sacrifice the extraneous space as more and more people squeezed in. Finally, only an unlucky individual was left with no seat to call his own. He stood at the rear end of the aisle, close to us. My neighbor, indifferent and not feeling any tug of guilt, plugged his earphones and lost himself to FM. I wasn't too pleased with what I saw, especially since two seats were occupied when only one was needed, robbing a hapless guy of what was his due.I recalled how Dad would place me on his lap when I was a child during bus rides to accommodate a fellow passenger beside…

The Lift doesn't Uplift

It drives me nuts when people use the lift to reach a floor that's just one floor above or below theirs. Just how lazy can they get? They don't get much mobility anyway, and when they do get a chance to stretch a little, they'll avoid it. I've come across some crazed folks who habitually halt the lift to go from the first to the ground floor.I think we should commission a sentry in each lift whose sole purpose would be to crack the whip on such people. I'm sure some public humiliation would go a long way in discouraging this malpractice. If this seems too dramatic, maybe we can reprogram the lift keys to be disabled for the next floor. A more drab but equally effective antidote could be the slapping of a fine.I'm reminded of a visit to a new shopping mall in Kolkata a few years ago. I was stunned to find people patiently queuing up for the lift. Source: 1st Floor...Target: 0th Floor. The staircase right next to it was wide open and virtually empty. P…
Rhymer's junked her cretaceous phone for a brand new one. Strangely enough, she looked slightly sombre at lunch...or maybe I was just imagining things. Maybe she's missing her old phone; I sure am!
We need an additional bus for our route. Some folks didn't get a seat while on their trip back home.

Tell me why

Why is it that my featured posts (like a very recent one) always (& I mean ALWAYS) get the least number of comments? Is it because I stick to frivolous facts and refuse to delve into flowery fiction? Or maybe my posts render my readers speechless!!! Or could be my writing lacks the sway factor.

Heart 2 Heart

Santosh & I had a heart to heart talk tonight. He acknowledged there had been some oversights and that a shakeup was necessary if things were to get better for him. I sincerely hope he sticks to his new agenda. Bangalore can easily veer a simpleton like him off the right track. I have long held that he was losing sight of his priorities at a juncture that could prove most deleterious to him. It's nice that he's finally coming through.

It's very hard to digest condemnation, especially if it often comes by way of the publicly accessible pages of a blog. I just hope Santosh finds his way through the maze of life.
Image
Shehnai Maestro Ustad Bismillah Khan Passes Away

It shows!

I'm sure the cute receptionist is suspicious of my naughty ideas by now!

Seth & Beethoven

It's a lazy Sunday morning at nine. The Sun is in no mood to show up from beyond the thickly veiled sky. I give in to the ambience and remain reclined, reading Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy and listening to Beethoven's 9th. Clothes that were dumped into the bucket yesterday still lie there. An undergarment may have started bleeding green once again, threatening to dye the shirts. I don't know, I don't care. The wardrobe got a makeover yesterday in lieu of my probe for socks...just preparing the ground for the impending hunt.Seth's novel revolves around the most important event in the life of an Indian: marriage. Indeed, even the birth of a child or burning the funeral pyre pales in comparison to tying the nuptial knot. Lata (the prima donna) is falling for the charms of Kabir, a guy whose firstname lends enough ambiguity to his religious belonging. Lata is immensely perturbed when her confidante unearths the fact that Kabir is a Muslim, something that could pote…
Image
Whoa!

Mission SokSuk

I've been guilty of neglecting two things in life:StudiesClothesStudies...well, my life is screwed beyond repair and any possibility of undoing all the damage would require a time travel into the past. The chances of that ever happening are rather slim and I've already made peace with my abject existence by now. The Hindu philosophy of nonchalance has come in handy.But I can certainly do something about my aversion to taking care of my clothes. Bearing the maximum brunt of this constant neglect has been my much trampled stock of socks. They lie strewn all over the floor, in forgotten boxes, between books, behind bags and in places yet to be discovered. They laze around like destitutes neglected, forgotten, overlooked, nibbled at or lost.A rather disturbing outcome of this state of affair is that socks which should ideally exist only in pairs are increasingly taking to solitary being, partners either eloping with stealth paramours or switching over to the other side of the mate…

Correction

The guy I wrote about the other day in such unflattering terms is apparently a new joinee in our company. So he wasn't really an unauthorized occupant, although I'm still not too sure.But if this means I'll now regularly be in danger of being partnered with him in the bus, it's time to be sullen.

Dhyani called...

to seek details about a romantic liaison! This tripartite mind game is getting very interesting!!

SAVED...

by the skin of my teeth!

I could feel my heart thumping and blood pumping as yesterday's troll squeezed through the narrow aisle and headed my way. Impulsively, I turned into a theist and prayed for mercy. I felt the cool breeze slipping in through the narrow window slit and coaxing my perspiration away as the guy walked past me and occupied a rear seat. What a relief!

As a bonus, my companion seat remained unoccupied through the trip back home. Heavenly forces, I could see, were seeking penance for yesterday mishap. I pardoned just before reverting to my original school of thought.

Duped

Online credit card fraud claims yet another victim in Ashu. Some bright spark has booked air tickets in his name for Rs.22k!

The hapless guy spent harrowing moments over the phone trying to convince Standard Chartered Bank and Air Sahara of the identity theft. I wonder why is it so difficult for our institutions to ascertain the truth when the victim is willing to provide all details needed to authenticate his identity. Do we always need to push this hard to make the lethargic personnel accede to doing some damage control when fraudulent activity is detected?

Well, some progress has been made and the immediate future doesn't look all bleak. The card has already been blocked and it's hoped that the tickets can be canceled once the bank reveals critical purchase details. Oh, such ugly stuff!

Too close for comfort

The after-office bus ride was a pain. Seated next to me was a voluminous guy who wasn't even an employee of our company. He occupied the whole of his seat and a substantial part of mine. I literally had to shrink to accommodate my turgid partner. So overbearing was his presence that I had to struggle to find enough pockets of space for my arms. The fellow could have oriented himself a little towards the aisle so that I could get enough space to breathe; but no, he found me too attractive for that!My ordeal ended only with my ride. It must have taken me some time to regain my shape after being in a collapsed state for over an hour. How I shudder to think of tomorrow's ride.But why should unauthorized people be allowed to take the ride in the first place?

BORED

Email, news, lunch, blogs and a training were my only engagements for the day. Even Nilotpal failed to show up.Spell Check suggestion for Nilotpal: Antidotal (there's some fun!)

An Overdue Overhaul

Image
Google has finally woken up to the fact that Blogger.com is fast becoming an antique of a site. An upgrade was long overdue...and it's coming our way soon! I've checked the beta and find it very pleasant.

Microsoft is doing its bit by launching Windows Live Writer Beta. I've already detected two defects and intimated the development team.

Flatlife

It's beautiful!

Jonas Geirnaert graduation project "FLATLIFE" (2004), selected for Short Films in Competition at the Cannes Film Festival 2004.
Image
Watched Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna in the afternoon. Enjoyed it (though I fell asleep in the middle game!) even though the other folks weren't too appreciative of it. I guess the melodrama could have been a little less. Still, I'm impressed by Bollywood's expanding canvas.

Happy Independence Day!

That's the message I SMSed some of my friends (maybe around 12:10 am) and some of them did bother to reply. Samir called from Mumbai. I couldn't help lamenting how dull life had become as compared to our BIT days. Ironically, I loathed those days as well when I was doing my post-graduation! It's high time I changed my disposition.Himanshu called in the morning to confirm my identity. Each time I message him, he has no idea who is the sender. His excuse this time was that he had lost his mobile recently.I decided to use the occasion as an excuse to have chicken for lunch. A visit to the slaughterhouse was all it took to make me repent my decision. Still, the ghastly deed of murdering the poor thing just to satiate my greed was accomplished with the swift hacks of the butcher's. The place was no prettier than a crematorium and I'll never forgive myself for my guilt. I promise I'll refrain from a repeat act as much as possible. But no matter what penance I exercis…

Amazing

I'm amazed by how some guys extricate a perverted sense of pleasure by feeling offended by even the most subtle chides. Do people really have to take generic attacks personally? Instead of learning from their mistakes and proudly (or even sheepishly) owning up to them, they'll bravely protect their flawed turfs like a citadel.

I know the feeling since I was an emotional wreck as a child. Even the slightest provocation would trigger a steady stream of tears. How silly I was! But I learned the hard way that taking offense to unkind words doesn't necessarily pay. I grew up and managed to jettison many of my faulty traits.

I guess some people never learn. My earphones doubled up today as perfect earplugs and helped drown the pitiable verbal attenuations of a mistake (very minor) with Mozart's Symphony #38!

Vanishing CDs

Now people have taken the liberty of using my blank CD-ROMs without even seeking my permission or acknowledging having ever used them. It's tantamount to stealing and I just don't understand why it's impossible for some folks to learn the basics of ethics and etiquettes. Just how humiliating does it feel to ask? The only CDs that remain are the ones I've already used.
I'm in the office well past my scheduled time of departure not because I have to but because I'm neutral to the suggestion now. I don't know what, but I'm certainly missing something in life. Is this a crisis of objectives?

Magic Anodyne

My backache is almost completely gone...though traces of it sill linger. Was yesterday's bumpy bus ride the reason for this? I got a back massage for free!

My back still aches...

...which is why it perhaps wasn't a good idea to occupy the rear seat in our big company shuttle. But never ever has the shuttle been so sparsely populated & I was spoilt for choice and settled on what usually is the most frowned upon seat. The wobbling was great fun, although it did add to my pain. Even perfectly smooth roads produced amplified jerks, something that was most apparent when signing the bus book. I even loved my quirky voice as I tried to steady it through the wobbles. I used to do it so often as a kid, it was such great fun then! My voice was a lot more subdued now as I tried to keep it to myself.

It's amazing how the roads of Bangalore remain jammed even late at night. I can see the downside of whatever success that may have come our way. We earn a better pay to live a better life but end up relinquishing the most precious commodity of all: Time. Wonder when we'll see through the futility of our urban ways.

It was almost 10 when I reached home. Santosh w…

Ouch!

My back hurts.
Each time I wash my clothes, I skin my fingers and develop a temporary stoop!

The Lure of 72 Virgins!

Excerpts from an article by Ibn Warraq that originally appeared in The Guardian on 12th Jan, 2002:

In August, 2001, the American television channel CBS aired an interview with a Hamas activist Muhammad Abu Wardeh, who recruited terrorists for suicide bombings in Israel. Abu Wardeh was quoted as saying: "I described to him how God would compensate the martyr for sacrificing his life for his land. If you become a martyr, God will give you 70 virgins, 70 wives and everlasting happiness." Wardeh was in fact shortchanging his recruits since the rewards in Paradise for martyrs was 72 virgins.
.
.
.
What of the rewards in paradise? The Islamic paradise is described in great sensual detail in the Koran and the Traditions; for instance, Koran sura 56 verses 12 -40 ; sura 55 verses 54-56 ; sura 76 verses 12-22. I shall quote the celebrated Penguin translation by NJ Dawood of sura 56 verses 12- 39: "They shall recline on jewelled couches face to face, and there shall wait on them immor…

How Saturday was spent

Image
Today was dedicated almost entirely to reading news via Feedreader. Some of the sources were:
TIMEBBCCNNSalonSlateYahoo! NewsNYT
TOIAudio news & music streamed into my room courtesy:
VOABBC RadioLive365Especially nourishing was Amartya Sen's interview on the BBC.

Santosh has shifted his focus from Cyberspace to Mobilespace, partly because I seldom grant him access to his PC! He never gripes, lucky me! His phone is stripped of all bells & whistles, yet Santosh finds it intriguing enough to merit his constant attention throughout the day to unravel its mysteries! He never calls, he never SMSes...just stares at it in deep admiration and occasionally pokes fingers at its curvaceous keys provocatively. I'm reminded of a similar behavioral pattern when I had bought my Nokia 6681 around a year back. How time flies!
Those who talk most about the blessings of marriage and the constancy of its vows are the very people who declare that if the chain were broken and the prisoners left free to choose, the whole social fabric would fly asunder. You cannot have the argument both ways. If the prisoner is happy, why lock him in? If he is not, why pretend that he is? — GEORGE BERNARD SHAW

Here's to Tony Bennett!

Dear Deepanjan,

I was very moved by the tribute to your father and his values you wrapped within your Amazon Review of Tony Bennett's "Here's to the Ladies." I like your thinking, and tip my hat to your masterful writing. I didn't own the album, and ordered two (one for a friend) based on your words.

By coincidence, today is the former Antonio Bendetto's 80th birthday, so "Here's to Tony Bennett!"

All the best from afar,

(Ms.) Xxxxxxx Xxxxxxxxx
South Pasadena, California
I finally have an AOL email id!

A Change

I'm awfully guilty of missing out on good reads for the past few years. Blogging is good, but only when it plays second fiddle to quality reading. Starting now, there'll be a drastic reduction in the number of posts I churn. I intend to spend the time saved in reading more often.

I'm sorry if this disappoints my few but valued readers. Believe me, the void inside my head was beginning to show.
Sreya was subject to a case of chain snatching while returning from Inox. Salt Lake is not a safe place anymore.

Santosh's computer has become painfully slow. The RAM is crammed, Disk D is filled to the brim and I'm running out of patience. There's a multitude of snags ailing this PC.