Friday, March 28, 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:

Saturday, March 8, 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! ;)

Sunday, February 16, 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...

Sunday, December 1, 2013

July the 19th, 2013
50th Convocation, IIT Madras.
Dear Insti,

So this is it, isn’t it? Why does saying bye have to be this difficult? This heavy? Well, nonetheless, this is the time I said bye. This is the time I told you how much you mean to me, how I have come to be the way I am because of you and why I call the four years spent with you the best four years of my life so far. I still remember the day I got the admit letter saying that I am enrolled into the CSE department…

Friday, November 15, 2013

सुगरणीचा खोपा पाहून वाटलं चिऊताईला
आपलंही एक घरटं असावं मस्त मजेत राहायला

कष्ट करीन, घाम गाळीन, घरटं बांधीन नक्की
लगेच लागली कामाला, शब्दांची ती पक्की

दिवस-रात्र कष्ट करून काडीन् काडी सांधली तिनं
चिमण्याच्या गुलाबी स्वप्नांची सुंदर माडी बांधली तिनं

घरटं तिचं बांधताना, ती असायची नेहमी विचारांत
उबदार रुईत गोड-गोड पिल्लं, करतील कित्ती चिवचिवाट!

एके दिवशी रिमझिमणारा पाऊस झाला मुसळधार
सुसाट वारं जिकडे-तिकडे उडवू लागलं हाहाकार

निखळून पडल्या काड्या, उडून गेली रुई नि पानं
रोरावणारं वादळ की नियतीचं भेसूर गाणं?

भल्या पहाटे कसलं असं भलतं स्वप्न पडलं होतं…
बांधण्याआधीच बिचारीचं घरटं मात्र मोडलं होतं…
Translation in essence:

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Yesterday it was रक्षाबंधन. How could it be that it would go without reminding one of “इसे समझो ना रेशम का तार भैया, मेरी राखी का मतलब है प्यार भैया”? I imagined Snehal singing it, and wondered, “should I not sing my response back?” What then! I decided to gift her a song, my first song (if you can call it that :P) Here’s the basic poem…
Here is the original song, then follow full lyrics of my song, so you could play the original for the music and the tune, singing the alternate words. I have tried to preserve the rhythm and the syllable count of the original song as much as possible…

Friday, August 16, 2013

Yesterday India celebrated 67th independence day. Patriotic songs being played on various TV channels, through each gali and chauraha, kids running around in their school uniforms carrying a miniature tricolor and loads of facebook updates — that quite summed it up for me. (Discounting a speech I made at the local college, that is.)

All the hubbub and flurry of activities gone, the surge of patriotic emotions receded, began yet another “normal” day. But the thoughts won’t stop swirling and the head wouldn’t bother to clear up. I needed to put those thoughts on paper, erm, type them out, hoping to gain some clarity. This post is a dump of various thoughts and issues clamoring in my head, dumped in the hope to bring some coherency, get some peace and make things settle down a bit.

I vividly remember… I was ten years old. It was 15th of August, I was walking along with Mom on a road, looking at a rangoli of the Indian tricolor in front of a house. “These people should be severely punished. How dare they draw more than 24 spokes in the Ashoka Chakra? How can they draw the tricolor fluttering on the left-side of the flag post?” I had remarked lividly, with a deep sense of reverence showing up as I uttered “the tricolor”. Mom had laughed, her admiration of my “patriotism” apparent. Along with this, a dream was nurtured — of becoming an IAS officer and ‘serving my country’.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

When one sees the security measures employed and the way the network is maintained, one starts doubting the legitimacy of the word “Technology” in IIT Madras. One gets angry seeing the neglect, seeing the competence of the technical staff and wonders whether IITM is so poor that they can’t even afford to hire ‘real’ sysadmins and technical staff. As examples, let us look at three places where it is a real messed-up situation:
  1. Anyone could have changed anyone else’s LDAP password with just a few clicks.
  2. LDAP passwords float on the network in plain text, un-encrypted.
  3. Root permissions were granted to undergraduate juniors and sophomores on CS department’s lab computers, which ended up in keyloggers being installed on those.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

My sister Snehal got into a medical college. As it turns out, just like my batch at IITM, hers too is a golden jubilee batch at LTMMC. Yesterday was her welcome address by the dean of the college. Orientation session and ice-breaking followed.

“Dada, don’t you do anything which might embarrass me in front of my friends!” I have had stern warning even before we left for Mumbai. Little did she know that “Don’t do anything embarrassing” is way different from “Don’t do anything out of the place”!

This is the story of how I became a freshie in her medical college and came an inch closer to an M.B.B.S. degree…

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Last semester had been be a rush in a way. Too many things happening around, the constant sense of “it all coming to end”, my indecision and dilemma about choosing between a job and higher studies and what not… In that rush, some noticeable things slipped my mind and now that I have noticed it, I am left wondering…

Once I was talking to Nitin and the topic of fantasies and daydreams came up. We were discussing our most cherished fantasies — the ones we keep on elaborating on and daydreaming about. I was shell-shocked to see how similar our fantasies were! I used to like to think and dream about how I would become a politician, do some heroic stuff etc etc… eventually become the Prime Minister of India. So did Nitin! I used to chalk out and then fill colors in plans of taking over Pakistan, eradicating poverty, making slums vanish, figure out some cunning way of blackmailing Swiss banks to disclose records of Indian account holders who are under the radar because of various scams. Guess what, even Nitin did! I would spend considerable amount of time thinking about various aspects of being a PM in detail. Obviously, all of them were too funny, dramatic, juvenile to be even possible in reality; but that never kept me from furiously fantasizing about it. I was getting more and more sense of wonder the more Nitin told about his version of these day-dreams. So similar they were!

Then he dropped the bomb — he had stopped doing all that around 8th standard! I could remember as late as 6th semester in IIT, me day-dreaming. I asked Nitin “Why did you stop?”. “I realized I have become too cynical. I don’t really enjoying fantasizing about stuff that’s never gonna happen.” came the reply. That time I was surprised, “how can one ever back away just because it is too unrealistic?” I wondered.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

In a paper titled "The Hardest Logic Puzzle Ever", MIT professor George Boolos discusses and explains the following puzzle:
There are three people, one of which is a True Man, who always speaks the truth. Another of which is an Eternal Liar, who always lies, while the remaining is a Random Rambler, who answers every yes-no type of question totally randomly. These three men are standing in a line facing you. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, as the seeker of the Ultimate Answer is to find out which man is the True Man (T), which man is the Eternal Liar (L) and which one is the Random Rambler (R).

You are allowed to ask only yes-no type questions. You can ask no more than three questions. Everytime you decide on a question to ask, pick any one of the three, and ask him that question. Only the picked man will answer the question. Repeat the same procedure for the next question.

Sounds easy? Wait! These people understand English, but they can't answer in English. They will answer in their own language in which "Da" and "Ja" stand for "yes" and "no", but need not be in that order. (You don't know whether "da" means "yes" or "no".)
Boolos' solution starts with three simpler puzzles, each one pretty easy to solve. Once you solve those puzzles, it doesn't take much time to realize that those three solutions, when put together will constitute the solution for the main puzzle. And before you know it, you would have solved "the hardest logic puzzle ever"!

I did that, but did not get the satisfaction of solving the puzzle. Is this how I would explain the solution? How did Boolos come up with those three smaller puzzles? Would I have been able to break the puzzle into those smaller ones?

I thought that the reasoning and motivation behind breaking the puzzle in that way is more important and insightful than the three solutions themselves. The paper did not attempt to explain that at all. On the other hand, I found the discussion of "iff" (if and only if) statements a bit cumbersome and not quite to my taste. (I have a hard time understanding the truth value of iff statements, because I have a hard time parsing those kind of statements as statements in the first place).

Here is an attempt to solve the puzzle, explaining the reasons/motivations/heuristics which went into breaking down the puzzle. I have also tried to present it in a way which does not have any "iff statements" (Don't worry if you have no idea what they even mean. Even I don't!)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Around a couple of years ago, Google killed Buzz. While I wasn't fond of it, it offered a really nice and nifty feature: archive my gtalk status messages!

Many times I am in search of that awesome link someone had shared and then I had put as my status message, only to end up with nothing, totally forgotten and blank!

If you like to share nice webpages and sites you come across on the web - maybe a link to some nifty programming trick every now and then, some really addictive game or some infinitely hilarious picture, then you might find this useful.