Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Welcome to the Void

I returned from office today to a home that seemed almost empty. Santosh's books, computer, bed, etc were gone and only a few of his belongings remained. Luckily, I had a few articles to keep me occupied. Two of them bashed Bush, one praised him and the remaining one had nothing to do with him. Santosh came late night and was all praises for his new dwelling.

Ah, I forgot that there was nothing to cook! I mean there was enough to cook but nothing that I could cook. Luckily I had some chocolates and an egg for comfort!

Monday, January 29, 2007

There was no Net connection tonight and Santosh will be packing his computer tomorrow in preparation for the shift.

A blur of thoughts

Never has there been as prolonged a posting lull has there has been in the past few days. Never has blogging seemed as daunting a task as it seems today. Never have I been as disinterested in posting the daily ins and outs as I am today. In short, I'm going through blogging crisis of sorts!

I look in dismay as I look at blogs I'm familiar with and see how appallingly some of them have degenerated into random nothings. Well, they're probably better than absolute void, but only just! But now as I stroll across my own recollections, I suddenly realize it's awfully difficult to go on full steam like I have for the last year and a half. I mean, personal blogs have to be self restrained and yet nourishing. Sort of a tug-of-war between warring factions of the human faculty that's bound to make you walk the tightrope.

So how did my blogs happen? At home! Thanks to Santosh, his workhorse of a PC and our humble Internet connection, I would spend evenings at home often mulling over the proceedings of the day before organizing them into chronologically ordered posts. What good came of it? I became a slightly better observer. I became more thoughtful as I was compelled to redo my thoughts. Often, the perspectives thrown were surprisingly different from the original.

What about the personal rants that I have against the whole exercise? It robbed me of time I could have otherwise spent differently. I almost completely gave up on reading, I gave up on socializing with my friends, I failed to get a moment's rest after work, I failed to offer Santosh a helping hand at home, I failed to look at the stars,...the list is pretty long.

One of my resolutions for 2007 was to do less of blogging and more of reading, something that I have only partially been successful in achieving so far. There was no improving on the reading front but I did manage to cut down somewhat on blogging. Without me realizing it, blogging had become an insidious addiction and pulling myself away from it only accentuated the crisis.

Santosh's tentative date of departure from our abode has come and gone. He'll leave any day now and with him I must bid adieu to his computer, en masse music downloading, news reading, surfing in general and...blogging!

So does this herald the end of my blog? Yeah, in your dreams! Blogging will continue but not with its former frequency. I hope to put in more meaningful and substantial posts from now on. Many of the looooonger posts that I've been putting off all this while will now gradually surface. The trivialities that had inadvertently become the mainstay of a majority of my posts must go, and that's a good thing.

The new world order is here to stay...till the end of 2007. If I'm happy with the change, the succeeding years will see a prolonging of at least one of my resolutions for 2007. If not, year 2008 will usher a return to my original blogging style. And this time, it'll be through my own computer!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Ella Fitzgerald

This was a mammoth download at 1.34G. With only a few days remaining for Santosh, Mani and Satya to move out with their computers, I was racing against time to somehow complete this not-to-be missed download of Ella Fitzgerald's Complete Great American Songbook. Precious bandwidth being robbed by movie buffs living next-door only heightened my despondency and I grew increasingly restless in my pursuit.

Necessity is the mother of desperation! I swapped beds with Santosh to be beside his computer as I left it on throughout two nights with only a couple of 10-minute breaks during the day to finally finish the coveted download in the nick 0f time. It was well worth the the sleepless nights!

If only Dad were here. He could talk non-stop about how beautifully the first lady of vocal jazz would sing. Now that I've heard some of his over 250-odd songs from the Songbook, I wouldn't even dream of refuting conventional wisdom on Lady Ella!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Manilal is back...

...after his month-and-half long absence from the scene. Recuperating in Ranchi all this while, he's back with Mantu's TV. Gr8 news for those of us who'll soon be robbed of computer and Internet access.

I joked that he wasn't expected to be back (alive) and that we were busy discussing how to distribute his property amongst ourselves!

Seriously...I wanted his computer ;)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

G Vinod is no more

Lokesh sent a mail that sent a chill down my spine. I was stunned to learn of the sad and untimely demise of G Vinod, one of my pals from school. He passed away on the 19th at 2330 hrs owing to a serious accident he met with in Chennai.

Vinod and I weren't very close, but I do remember him as being an exceptionally well behaved, shy, down-to-earth and hated-by none kinda guy. Academically stellar, Vinod and I were in the same section only during our primary school days after which I never had the privilege of studying with him under the same roof.

It's strange how life drops live bombs on us at moments least expected. May Vinod's near and dear ones find enough strength at this trying moment.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Not a nice day. Not a nice day at all.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Comet McNaught
It's probably visible from India now at dawn or dusk, pretty close to the horizon and near the Sun. It's a pity Bangalore is a concrete jungle. The horizon is artificially and immensely shrunken by the surrounding buildings and there's no way I can catch a glimpse of the comet from my terrace. What a pity! I would have loved to watch this heavenly spectacle.
The fruits of striving are just beginning to become conspicuous. I hope the whole exercise ends favorably and things don't end up the way they did last time.

I've just shifted to a new location though I stay put at the same facility. I'm enjoying the change!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The hush-hush rendezvous!

RD was understandably nervous. I fooled myself into believing that I wasn't...until Didi SMSed me. That's when I developed cold feel.

What could be happening? What were these people talking about? How would the parties conduct themselves? Would there be any major contentions? What if there were insurmountable hurdles? These were some of the questions raging through my mind during all those oh-so terrible hours. In the end, everything went off peacefully.

I just hope all this wasn't for a futile cause.

Subroto

Called up Subroto. What he told me about the current crisis he's wading through dropped a bomb on me. Clearly this fellow has been unlucky and I'm always expecting to hear something horrendous each time I hear of him, but even this wasn't enough to brace me for what he would be telling me.

It's easy to be judgmental and accuse him of screwing up his own life and I'm sure part of the blame squarely lies on him. Still, I can't feel sorry for the poor chap. He's been so misguided by the Martinet.

Friday, January 19, 2007

RR leaves our project to tie the nuptial knot. We had a fun time together.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Prez asks...& I answer

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam asks:
What should we do to free our planet from terrorism?Human society, from origin until now, has always been at war within and between groups and has led to two World Wars. Presently, terrorism and low intensity warfare are affecting many parts if the world.

As the current global population of 6 billion increases to 8 billion by 2025, national and international conflicts will continue to be a source of concern for humanity. When evil minds combine, good minds have to work together and combat. In this context, what are the out-of-the-box solutions to free the planet earth from terrorism?
Your answers when processed and implemented can lead to a peaceful, happy and safe planet earth.

I answer:
Terrorism is symptomatic of a misguided school of thought. The perversion is often an offspring of our failure to understand and appreciate the laws that govern the working of our Universe...and refusing to acknowledge our past misconceptions even in the face of cumulating evidence that prove the contrary.

Religion is the encapsulation of many of our misplaced beliefs. It stunts our ability to think rationally and inhibits open-mindedness. Religion is our most pernicious invention and a great many ills can be attributed to the wrong ideas it inculcates in the innocent mind.

Replace religion with true knowledge that's not infested with divisive dogmas. Replace religion with love for all irrespective of caste, creed, sect, community, nationality or color of skin. Obliterate religion and terrorism will come to its natural end.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Infinite Loops

Remember C-A-D (Control-Alternate-Delete)?
The best way to force a C-A-D was through an infinite loop.

In BASIC:

FOR I = 1 TO 5
I=I-1
NEXT I


In C:

while(1);

DOS had no Task Manager and C-A-D would simply trigger a cold boot. Sometimes when even C-A-D was rendered useless, you had to reach out for the black switch at the back of your PC. Windows is a lot more suave. C-A-D simply presses the Task Manager into service and allows you to forcefully terminate the erring program.

Life often throws situations at us that bog us down and there are seemingly no escape from such situations. Guess what, I've been stuck in one such situation for a substantial amount of time now and I'm currently undergoing a shakeup to rid myself of the malady. Treading won't be easy...but I must carry on.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The posts that never happened

There's so much I could write this very moment about the winds of change sweeping through my life...it's really a storm in here. I'll make the revelations someday in the distant future. Until then, I must maintain a stoic silence.

I've been reasonably successful in refraining from over-posting into my blog in the recent past. The cutback was necessary and I hope to reduce further, at least in the foreseeable future.

Monday, January 15, 2007

An Odd Day

Today was Pongal, an optional holiday. The roads were deserted and we equaled the record time for reaching office: 0825hrs. The sky was overcast and everything look dull. As usual, I took the stairs instead of the lift since my cubicle is located on the 2nd floor. Halfway through, I make the mistake of touching the railing...and my hand sticks!

Yuck, there's fresh green paint and my indelibly incriminating imprints are now there for all to see...until the next round of coats! Now that the damage is done, a security personnel asks me to take the lift instead since the staircase was closed for maintenance. How prompt!

Dashed to the washroom on reaching my floor since my green hand didn't look too attractive. No water in the first basin. Water in the another basin but the soap dispenser was empty. Third time lucky. Vigorously rubbed my hands for 15 mins until the paint was gone.

Rest of the day was relatively eventless except that reaching home set a new record: 1900 hrs.

Friday, January 12, 2007

In continuation of yesterday's spirit

The work backlog spilled into today and we are yet to resolve some of the anomalies. RR survived on carrots and spent a substantial part of the day peeling, cutting and devouring his newly found substitute to mainstream food. Greed made me bail out at lunch-hour and I dug into some chicken.

An angry mail had the desired effect.

Today was our TL's tentative final day with us. She'll probably spend the next week in running through some office chores before taking a long break to tie the knot! It has been a very fruitful and fun-filled tunure for all of us who have been fortunate enough to work under her. I'm absolutely sure none of us would like to trade places with anyone from outside.

Here's wishing Swapna a
HAPPILY WEDDED LIFE!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Frolic & Pandemonium

RR, who had trusted only me in our team with his engagement snap, finally let the whole team in on it. He brought his snaps in a CD and the whole team swooped in on Swapna's laptop for the prized snaps. The poor fellow looked like a criminal who had just been sentenced to the gallows!! How terrified he looked beside his smiling fiancee!

All settled down and we finally got on with some work after the haggling was over. RR, our guy of the day, had become increasingly conscious of his cumulating pounds and decided to junk junk food once and for all. After all, he was getting married soon! So he didn't buy the usual Kurkure from the cafeteria even though I begged him not be so austere in his resolution to shed weight. Ha, the evil me had a plan. For the first time ever, I bought Kurkure and offered it to him! These were testing times for him, especially since he sat right next to me.

But out lad showed great abstinence even in the face of such adversary. I munched through my junk food, reminding him of great it tasted. He was tempted, but wouldn't budge. I was noisy as I ate, he wouldn't budge. I made him smell the great stuff, he wouldn't budge. The poor fellow had suffered enough by now and was obviously feeling famished and alienated. In desperation, he ordered some oranges and survived on them while I exhausted my stuff. PS made her entry after some time and enticed RR with sugar-coated biscuits. RR escaped, only to be pursued by her with the irresistible biscuits!

Now it was time for some introspection. Some of us who were hooting at him decided to join the impromptu diet. After all, the scale was tipping towards the not-so-flattering region for many of us. So we formed a pact to suffer in unison and shed some weight. After all, RR's restraint was awe-inspiring and put us onlookers to shame! So we are now a team of 5-6 people who have resolved to grow leaner and meaner in the days ahead. World, look out for us band of starving brothers!

Chaos reigned supreme at work. We had been pending something for more than half-a-year and now all the backlog was supposed to be cleared in a day's time. Mission impossible. Most of us had lost track of the work we had done, someone didn't even have an account to get on with clearing the backlog, December's record had vanished into thin air and the data in our dashboard was in utter disarray. There was no way we could have done a clinical job of punching all the right keys for 8 hrs a day. But it was fun watching people being stumped by the lack of data integrity. The ad-hoc solutions they came up with was even funnier.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Yet another audio book that is now mine.
Yet again I would have preferred the print version.

Sans Computer

Dev returns to work after tying the knot. People reckoned he had put on weight although I failed to notice any significant change.

I'm in trouble. Santosh will shift pretty soon and that means I'll be left without a computer. I was dilly-dallying with some possible configurations that would make me happy and post-customizing my low-budget PC, the price had inflated to a whooping 40k. This is awful. Can't the International Red Cross donate me a PC? Whatever happened to humanity?!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Nilotpal's back. First bit of news from him: S has shifted to a new floor. Yes, although I might have noticed that anyway. Two weeks of vacation for him have come to an end and it's a foregone conclusion what he's been up to, especially during the New Year celebrations...but our secretive lad won't delve into the details. That's okay, he's entitled to some covert mischiefs!

Our bay wore a deserted look today and I tried hard to avoid being fatigued by boredom. SR gave me her mp3 player to copy some songs from my PC, but the suite simply refuses to recognize her player. Sigh!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Instant Cook!

There's at least one thing that I can cook better than Santosh: Instant Noodles! Now that Santosh is all set to leave the nest, it's very likely that this'll be the staple element of my diet from February. Incidentally, the inventor of Instant Noodles, Momofuku Ando, passed away yesterday.
Downloaded this audio book, though I would have much preferred the print version.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Richard Dawkins Foundation Introduction

A sleepless night

Spent a sleepless night, thanks to being online via SMS. Someone with a rather strange screenname who called herself Maya and said she was from California kept messaging me. The frequent beeps kept me awake as I managed to lazily answer only a few of her queries. She apparently came to know about me via Yahoo! Answers.

It's amazing how easy it has become for people from different corners of the world to communicate. Technology is an amazing offspring of scientific knowhow.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Watched I AM SAM...first time since Dad's demise. The tears just wouldn't subside. I remember a rerun of this movie on HBO in 2004 even as I was leaving home in Kolkata to return to Ranchi. I had to reluctantly leave it midway to catch my train and I felt so frustrated. It had encroached upon another TV program Dad used to religiously watch...but he gladly made the concession for me. Dad accompanied me to the bus stop. If memory serves me right, that was the last moment I shared with him.

Dad and I had equally relished the flick.

The Blasphemy Challenge

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Kaushik called. He's shifted back to Pune from Kolkata for good. Very good choice!

All in a day's work

Swapna had been cribbing for her photos that I had shot previously through my camera phone. The pleas increased ever since she got her Creative mp3 player that also supports images and I finally decided to take pity and let her have the coveted snaps.

Dev, a colleague whose days of bachelorhood recently ran out, is now all set to rejoin the workforce. Now destined to be double hammered by work and wife, Dev deserves something from us. We decided to pool some funds to offer our heartfelt condolences on account of the indelible loss of life as he knew it. As the funds were pouring in, a flurry of emails suggesting candidate gifts shuttled between members of our team. Amidst this storm, I meekly forwarded my pragmatic suggestion: Ear Plugs.

Yeah, it may sound contemptuous of the hallowed institution of marriage...but dig a little deeper and let better sense prevail. I'm sure you'll find wisdom in my words. Arun, the fellow entrusted with collecting the funds, thought otherwise and outrightly rejected my suggestion. Here's another one: entrust only girls to buy the gift. I mean these people can really bargain shamelessly until the hapless vendor gives up in exhaustion and the 'product' is wrestled away from him dirt cheap.

PS & I went to the cafeteria for fruit juice in the evening. I don't know what juice was ordered and we don't know what juice was produced, but a little into our drinks PS grew suspicious of banana. Apparently, she had a strong aversion to bananas...just like my sister. I couldn't make up my mind and she decided not to risk her life sucking any further. Anyway, we had a very meaningful and lively discussion about work and friends and I thoroughly enjoyed the exchange of views.

I hate our new office shuttle. Compared to the cozy interior of the previous shuttle, this one is spartan and very uncomfortable.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

An unspectacular day. I'm inching towards my career ambitions only now that I'm temporarily relieved of some responsibilities. Must make the most of the lull.

Can't think of anything to write.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

First work day of 2007

What a way to start the year! I got news of a major transition, something that I was begging for for almost 4 months now! The rest of the day was mostly spent in doing precious little even as my colleagues returned to the daily grind. Swapna took short breaks from work to worship her newly procured mp3 player from Creative.

Kaushik called but we couldn't speak much as the signal was poor. He's back in Pune and was stunned to see the huge semi-commercial complex where Nayantara once stood. Well, this was no news to me. I'm sure he'll miss the palatial bungalow (or at least its facade) as much as I already do. Pragmatic concerns played evil here. It's sad when the old have to make way for the new.

The return trip must have been a revelation for my next-seater, a good friend who is yet to learn a thing or two about me. I must have baffled him! Are my values really all that offbeat? Are my beliefs really all that weird?

Returned home to find the tubelight gone bust.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Resolutions 2007

Been There, Done That.

Yes, I know the feeling. New Year Resolutions are generally nothing more than passing fads that vaporize into oblivion in no time. Yet, I need mine since I need something to work at.

  • Space Aplenty. I must turn my attention to the skies and renew my interest in amateur astronomy. It'll be a nice and productive way of breaking the monotony of life. I'll probably buy a refracting telescope or a pair of powerful binoculars. Astrophotography must wait though. That'll happen only when I buy a reflecting telescope, equatorial mount, digital SLR, et al.
  • Reduce Weight. Though I'm not exactly overweight, I would like to shed some extra kilos and get rid of the flab. I've now joined the millions of people the world over involved in the race. Sad but true.
  • Blogging...Must Do Less Of It. Reading...Must Do More Of It. There are few people in the world who have achieved the dubious inequality of writing more than reading and I'm one of these select few. This has got to change. I'll turn my attention to books and spend less time on the Net. I guess this resolution will be rendered redundant in time since Santosh will probably shift to a new dwelling pretty soon. Without his computer, there'll hardly be much scope for me to continue blogging as voraciously as I've been doing in 2006. Kinda sad!
  • Cooking...Must Learn Some. I can survive my cooking, but only for a few days. What happens after that? I can't revert to the messy food of the mess. Again, with Santosh slated to leave soon, learning to cook will be a necessity and not a choice.
  • Procrastination...Must Stop. This is the bane of my existence. Anything that can be done tomorrow is simply not to be done today. That's been my motto for so long. But it has got to come to an end...now.
  • French...Gotta Learn Some. Thanks to the above mentioned bane, I've yet to start with my French classes.
  • Washing Clothes...Shake Off The Lethargy. Blame it yet again on procrastination, I've been terrible at taking proper care of my clothes!
  • Expense Management...Must Be Regular. After diligently updating my expense manager for some months, there was a lapse that I never recovered from. Blame my Kolkata vacation for it. Starting now, I'll be religiously updating my expenses without fail.
  • Editorials...Must Get Hard Copies. Though I've been meaning to for long, I seldom remembered to get the hard copies of news editorials.
  • Weekends...Spend More Meaningfully. I don't know how but something must be done about the way I waste my weekends. I should spend them more productively.