Sunday, August 10, 2014

Upvotes have almost stopped trickling in, and I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t share the experience now.

A few friends and I were discussing Anonymity on Quora and veracity of anonymous answers. That discussion still fresh in my mind, I saw a lot of my programmer friends upvoting an answer to “How did you meet your first girlfriend/boyfriend?”. What makes this answer get a 1000+ uvotes, I wondered. If you look at the ridiculous number of “IITians and girls” questions on Quora, you’ll realize what made that answer so popular.

“Hmm… the answer appeals to all those hardcore computer science students for whom, a girlfriend is just the stuff of dreams. When they see someone finding his girlfriend in a programming contest, surely the answer’s gonna sell like hotcakes. Further, true to the typical Indian mindset, quite a few readers would find ‘we are going to marry soon’ very aww-inspiring.”

“Can I come up with a formula, which takes such factors actively into account? I want to beat this answer in number of upvotes. I want to engineer an answer which will be the highest voted answer for this question!”

Monday, August 4, 2014

“This is photoshopped, right?”
“#nofilter, mind you!”

I’m sick of people pointing out photoshopped pictures, and people being proud of their ‘#nofilter’ pictures, and yeah, people asking “nice pictures! which camera do you have?”

Why don’t you ask “wow! nice poem! which pen do you use for writing?”? Why not discuss whether J.K.Rowling wrote drafts and then edited and refined them or whether she wrote stuff and published it without giving it a second look? Why not ask whether an artist ever used the eraser while he was drawing that drawing? Sure, remix in music is fine, florid and articulate language in literature is welcome, highly stylistic films get rave reviews because they are stylistic but… but… deviate a little bit from what our eyes see and a photograph suddenly becomes ‘photoshopped’ and dismissed right-away.

You take pride in reading between lines, but you refuse to see between the pixels! Every photograph has its own story, you know… Stop thinking of photographs as representation of reality. They are rendition of the reality as seen through the photographer’s eyes, touched by the photographer’s imagination, wanting to tell a story, deliver a message.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Inspiration:
“That’s what we get, and deserve in the end
Around the corner… a vanished friend”
(Charls Hanson’s “Around The Corner”)
डूबा रातोंकी झगमगाहटोंमें;
नयी उम्मीद जगानेवाला सवेरा मैंने खो दिया

गहराईओंमें मोती ढूँढ़ते ढूँढ़ते;
मन को सुकूँ दिलानेवाला किनारा मैंने खो दिया

छिछोरे चाँद को तांकते तांकते;
हरपल राह दिखानेवाला सितारा मैंने खो दिया

“मैं!” “मुझे!!” “मेरा!!!” कहते कहते;
“मैं हूँ ना” कहनेवाला कोई प्यारा मैंने खो दिया

चूहोंकी दौड़में भागते भागते;
मेरे हमसफ़र तुझे, यारा मैंने खो दिया
Translation:

Monday, July 21, 2014

“Sujata to Ground Station: exiting ISSS for spacewalk 13 on sub-mission 2-b in 57 seconds.” Captain Sujata Rao sent a voice-message to ISRO ground station from the International Super Space Station orbiting Mars as she was about to go out on a short mission to fix a couple of mechanical issues. She’d get a response in another 25 minutes.

Sujata thought that the sun was a bit unusually brighter. She shrugged and proceeded toward the bolt she needed to tighten by 10 degrees more. She didn’t find a need to activate her jetpack as the micro-thrusters in her space-suit were adequately powerful.

As she approached the bolt, a static started playing in receiver. ‘So jarring!’ she thought, irritated. The specially designed automatic spanner registered a significant temperature rise in the bolt. Her jaw dropped when she saw the sun had grown 10 times its size. Before she knew it, the static had gone from unbearable to ‘extreme torture’, impairing her hearing forever.

A superbright flash… an explosion… a hundred thousand suns bursting into life…

Nothing… no Captain Sujata… just individual atoms floating in space…

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Here begins my experiment: just type away as my thoughts ramble and wander… letting them take me to places and times — here and yonder! I’m typing out… in the end, I’ll have to do some minimal editing and little bit of censoring here and there and boom! I have a blog post!

So yeah, this is an attempt to pen it down as my thoughts branch out and new topics emerge. I’ve always found it very hard to be on the top of a particular topic for long and the ‘very hard’ part invariably makes me think of [deleted] from where my mind travels to places like Agra. I think of Taj Mahal and how acid rain is ruining its beauty. These goddamn Agra people! So much pollution! I know, right! And why does pollution make me think of population? Is it just word similarity or is there a deeper meaning to it, I wonder.

Yeah! Wonder Woman! Supposed to be some famous comic book character or something. Nah! Never heard of her. I know Captain America, Batman, Flash, Superman, Spiderman and all that, okay! But Wonder Woman? I’m just barely aware of her existence in the comic-verse. Yeah, yeah, the universe portrayed in comic books, not like “a verse that is funny” but yeah, why not? Verses can be funny too! And you know what? There was this guy in my school, his name was Phani (pronounced exactly same as ‘funny’). Boy, was that funny! Okay, okay, I know I shouldn’t be making fun of people’s names and all that, but hey, this is what’s coming to my mind right now.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Today, we celebrate! Today, we rejoice! For me and countless other oppressed ones, this victory matters. This day matters. The Maratha reservation stands symbolic of a struggle against that which is unjust, a fight against the oppression of generations and a war waged on all that is inhuman. Let history take note of this day, it reminds us that compassion, equality, and democracy are still alive.

Yes, I belong to the Maratha community. We fought… we fought till we got what is rightfully ours and today, today we emerge triumphant!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

“Sir, pls tell me how you achieved so much. What is boring and normal to you will be inspiration for me pls guidance me…”

“Bhaiya, I am Marathi medium. Is IIT not for me then?”

“I’m feeling very bad that I did not study computer science in 11th and 12th…”

“Sir, pls tell me some inspiration. I want to be lyk u.”

I am sorry for not replying personally. If you find this post inspiring, and it shows you hope, gives you renewed enthusiasm to fight, courage to not give up, let me tell you more good news: this is nothing. I know at least half a dozen friends of mine who have much more inspiring stories to tell, just that they don’t blog about it.

Anyway, here’s a story only for you. For you, and for my bestest buddy who’s been having a lot of confidence issues lately. (Yeah, that guy whose name starts with an ‘S’ and ends with a ‘T’)

Monday, May 26, 2014

It is quite a frequent pattern in programming where before executing a bunch of code, you need to do some setup and after the code is executed, you need to do some cleanup. Examples include acquiring and releasing locks, logging profiling information at the beginning and end of a block etc. Let's use locks as a running example here.

Our goal is to write a macro to transform this code:
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/* Setup */
bool lock_acquired_now;
if (lock_held_by_current_thread ()) {
  lock_acquired_now = false;
} else {
  lock_acquire (filesys_lock);
  lock_acquired_now = true;
}

/* Actual work */
bool success = file_write_at (P_FILE (p),
                              p->kaddr,
                              P_READ_BYTES (p),
                              P_OFFSET (p));
if (success) {
  p->page_status = FILESYSTEM;
  p->is_loaded = false;
} else {
  p->page_status = MEMORY;
  p->is_loaded = true;
}

/* Clenup */
if (lock_acquired_now) {
  lock_release (filesys_lock);
}

Into this one:
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use_lock (fs_lock) {
  bool success = file_write_at (P_FILE (p),
                                p->kaddr,
                                P_READ_BYTES (p),
                                P_OFFSET (p));
  if (success) {
    p->page_status = FILESYSTEM;
    p->is_loaded = false;
  } else {
    p->page_status = MEMORY;
    p->is_loaded = true;
  }
}
Short and sweet, isn't it? That's why such things are called syntactic sugar!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

I saw this video on Facebook a few days back. Seemed to be quite popular.
video
I really liked the video. It touched certain emotional chords and made me think “Yes. They are right. Hasn’t science become just another religion? Isn’t tolerance and respect the only way forward?”

Friday, May 9, 2014

There was a company called Dropbox and once they held a competition called Big Haxe: The Ultimate Stanford vs Berkeley AI battle! There was team of four… They fought with valour, with the only aim: to dethrone the evil Lord Tetris! That team, led by Arijit the first, of house Banerjee and bolstered by the clever strategies of Pararth, the king of Shahs, almost won the battle. And thus it happened that they came to be in possession of “Xbox: the one” — four of its kind. Red-hot from the forges of Redmond, those were powerful gadgets indeed. But one of the team members, Sujeet, had something much sinister in his mind: to sell the one xbox!

Yeah, yeah, I know I suck at writing! Lemme just switch to normal writing, okay?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

I have turned into someone I used to dislike. Two-faced, elitist, a hypocrite. I have conveniently forgotten my roots in order to ease into a more comfortable environment — one from where I condescend, belittle, and snark.

I think it stems from my tendency to be passionate and over-zealous about my current set of beliefs and ideals at any given time. My ever-so-eager attitude to judge and to conclude fuels it. My insecurities and a certain lack of self confidence lead to a constant need to feel superior; worsening the matters.

Let me illustrate with a few examples:

Friday, March 7, 2014

Yesterday I came across this beautiful, touching and extremely moving poem “But You Didn’t”. Thought I should at least try to replicate one element of it...
I still remember the day…
     We were playing with our toy aeroplanes
     Mine broke, crashed in a tree
     You handed me yours, said,
    “You like it much more than me”
That was so sweet of you!

I still remember the day…
     It was prom night and your ankle was sprained
     Yet you came, you danced with me
     and with your one-legged funny dance
     filled the ballroom with glee
That was so sweet of you!

I still remember the day…
     When I joined aviation school,
     Ma said “girls shouldn’t fly”
     Pa said “be careful, my doll”
     You? You gifted me that toy plane!
That was so sweet of you!

I still remember the day…
     You said, “you always taught me
     how to look at the bright side.
     Today I ask from bottom of the heart,
     will you be mine, be my bride?”
     and you proposed to me a with a sunflower!
That was so sweet of you!

I still remember the day…
     You were diagnosed
     with high blood sugar
     And I with cannibalistic tendencies
     For the one last time,
That was so sweet of you!
One of the aspects of that poem I really liked was its twist ending. Well, I can only pipe-dream of writing such moving and touching content, but I thought I could at least give the twist-ending a try.

Sometimes cyanide and happiness tends to be too gross and intolerable, but it would be a lie if I deny liking some of it and getting inspired! ;)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

It's been quite some time since I wrote a poem. I looked back at a couple of old poems of mine (आँसूओंकी बारिशें, सच्चाईका इकतारा) and I was overwhelmed by the intensity of emotions. Where has the passion gone? Where did the burning desire to “pen it down” go? I wondered.

“If there is nothing going on in your life worth writing a poem about, you aren’t living enough!” kept on echoing and re-echoing in my head. I needed to write a poem. But where’s the passion? Where’s the intensity? Has life really gotten so boring?

Then I wondered, could it be the other way? It might be that I am having a poet’s block and hence things seem boring? Could it be? Maybe… And thus was this attempt to woo back poetry, my seemingly lost companion…

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Most of the times, when we talk about keeping things simple, we won’t go much far, because, almost all the time, things are anything but simple. It is surprising though how simplicity appeals us and how we try to stick to it. Case in point? SC ruling on section 377 and the various responses to it that flooded my Facebook wall.

Natural?
There are those who say “gay sex doesn’t lead to procreation, hence it is unnatural and should be banned.” Cute that you think so! Tell me more about the last time you took a flight, watched TV, wore clothes, stayed in a man-made house, ate cooked food, logged onto Facebook and so the list goes… Really, please go ahead because I am really interested in finding out your reasoning process about choosing and picking ‘unnatural’ things to do according to your convenience.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

(इकतारा is a single-string musical instrument, not ‘lone star’)

Many times I wondered how nice it would have been to listen to “Tryst With Destiny” live! Today, I feel this is a moment worth celebrating with as much fervor and as much zeal! Aam Aadmi Party’s stupendous success in Delhi Assembly elections marks the beginning of a new era and shines a ray of hope into the abyss of Indian politics. Silencing the “इस-देश-का-कुछ-नहीं-हो-सकता”sayers, it has paved the way for a brighter India through clean politics and transparent governance.

But, the child’s sad… the child that’s there inside all of us… hidden behind curtains of practicality and pragmatism… the same child which wondered “Why not just eat Vicks? And ta-da! Cold gone forever!” The child that did not understand why poor people don’t just go to bank and withdraw some money... The child that thought dead people become ghosts and ‘live’ happily ever after. In its world, simple solutions exist for all problems. In its world, bad people are invariably punished and the good ones always succeed. In its world the AAPs win elections by sweeping margin and the Delhis live happily ever after. That child is sad. Maybe, it deserves to be so… Maybe, that’s life...