Now Listening to: Some darn good fusion version of Raghuvamsha Sudha by an unknown artiste.
The day started off not very good, and YouKnowWhoYouAre (I suppose you prefer you_know_who_you_are), if it’s any consolation, I feel really horrible about how I started off my day, and possibly, your day.
Anyway…. getting to Inci Day 0….
I slept through Slam Dunk!‘s inaugural basketball match, and woke up just in time to have dinner and head to Bandish. Earlier on, when I’d not yet bothered to check the Inci schedule, Maloo told me about Bandish. We’d assumed it was a performance by The Bandish Projekt, (they’d released a song/album called Bhor a long, long time ago, which should have been called Bore according to me) who IMO sound like absolut losers. But heck, it turned out to the Eastern Musicals
Shiny, Kosu and I took turns getting photographed under the bulbs hung by the way which were covered with really ni-i-ice lampshades, trying to look like we had some bright ideas. People nightouted last night making the lampshades… and the result it turns out is FANTABULOUS.
[pic to be put up soon]
Eastern Musicals @ Inci this time surpassed everything I’d seen before. The average quality of the performances was very, very high this time. Not a single performance could be called boring, or sub-standard. Every band was able to keep our attention, and most managed to impress
NITK’s performance was, as usual, brilliant, with talented performances by all, and a great choice of songs, which were both crowd-pullers as well as which showcased our best. We came third.
The second prize was bagged by BMS. Quite a departure from their previous years’ performances, this one was. The singers all seemed to be trained in Classical Vocals, and it showed in both their excellent performances and choice of songs. Guys, your brilliant performance would have been better appreciated by the crowd if only you’d chosen better songs, songs which people knew.
And…. one of the bands did a bloody massacre of Pal by Strings and Sagarika (They did it WITHOUT THE VIOLINS!! How could they!), and another one butchered Dum Mast Qalander, after which I messaged a friend saying “Yeah… the next band will also come, they’ll play my favorite Indipop number in such a way as to completely ruin the evening for me..”. And as it often happen, I was proven wrong. No, make that WRONG.
This band takes stage, starts off playing Paisa by Agosh. That’s enough for me and Tuna, we’re already impressed. They didn’t have to do that svelte transition from Dhoom Pichuk to Sayonee, or sing Luka Chuppi. But that original number which was a fusion of Hindustani, Carnatic, and Western… phew! I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a large standing ovation EVER in Eastern Musicals (or Western, for that matter) before!
Message for the team from BIT: Never before have everyone unanimously felt that someone deserved the first prize. Here are some of the nice things people were heard saying about you guys:
“What a lead singer da! He holds the whole show together!”
“Man! That lead singer guy is totally in control!”
“Whoa! What a goodlooking backup vocalist” – they meant the guy in the green kurta.
“If I’d not known Dhoom Pichuk was different from Sayonee, I would have thought they were the same song”.
“Paisa! Don’t think any other band has had such guts in the past”.
“They made my day”
And a request from The NITK Numbskulls, and our friends: Could you please, please, give us an audiofile of your original composition?
And I’ll say it again… You guys were godawesome.
I came back and among my feeds [from LazyGeek, who is THE biggest fan of Sujatha I know, and has the privilege of Sujatha himself commenting on his blog. LazyGeek has closed down both his blogs for the next one week as a mark of mourning], found one that informed me of the sad demise of S. Rangarajan, the guy who supervised the design and production of Electronic Voting Machines in India, and who is more popularly known as Sujatha, the author of over 100 novels, 250 short stories, ten books on science, ten stage plays, and a slim volume of poems. He is better-known for his scripting of movies like Iruvar, Boys, Kannathil Muthamittaal, Sivaji, Aayutha Ezhutthu.
All I knew of him were his movies, my inability to read Tamil coming in the way of my appreciating his writing otherwise. His dialogues were so realistic, so full of life, the sort that struck a chord in you and stayed with you for days, or maybe even years. One dialogue that comes to mind from Aayutha Ezhuththu: Esha Deol tells Surya, “Enna ni, enna oththrum-illaada theatre-ko, Pondicherry-ko kootindu poegaama edho oru graamathuku aleichindu porai….”
Tamil cinema has suffered a great loss. And like Vishwas put it, Director Shankar has a dog’s chance of ever having another hit to his name.
Personally, I feel a loss, for he was not just a talented and prolific writer, but an engineer as well, and hence, to me, a role model, an idol, an ideal to live upto. If I ever end up learning to read Tamil, Mr. Sujatha, it will mainly be to appreciate your stories and other works of fiction.
From what little I know of him, he seemed to have led a full life, and accomplished a good bit in both his chosen careers. May your soul rest in peace, and may your legacy and huge body of work continue to inspire people like me.
And on that note, Mr. Rangarajan, I bid you adieu.
I won’t go into the details of what happened, though I really wanted to a couple of days back… I’ve somehow lost the enthu. But the point of this post is a bit of what Mr. RK Misra (winner of Lead India) said.
Someone said something about inspiring students to get into politics, and them “being the change”. Mr. Misra replied, addressing the students,
Don’t get into politics this young. Make money first. If you have your family backing you financially in this, then do go on. But not otherwise. Make money first. Politics is not a regular-paying job. You get paid only IF you get elected. You’ll have to come under a big politician at first, and all you’ll get, if anything, will be crumbs. You will be so hungry that finally when at age 40-50 you get your first taste of power, you’ll start eating, eating, and never stop eating.
Makes sense for once, doesn’t it?
I still stick to my stand. It is our duty as voters in a democracy to be as well-informed as possible so that we can make an intelligent choice. And people need to feel from a very young age that they can make a difference to the way the country runs, and that they are involved in the country’s progress. Being disillusioned with the country and scurrying off abroad like rats deserting a ship helps you, perhaps, (I am not grudging people who leave the country for better opportunities abroad – I just feel the general feeling that there are no opportunities left in India and that going abroad is the only key to more opportunities needs to be changed. And fast) but is not really going to help the country.
And you need to stay informed, coz it’s not like you’ll suddenly be the paragon of awareness and conviction on your 40th birthday otherwise.
Oh, and catch CNN-IBN this evening (24th Feb 2008) 6 PM. A report on Last Word is being telecast. Watch maadi They Stabbed.
(Aside: As for the press person covering Last Word who called another national newspaper a porn rag and went on to say his paper went against the tide by denouncing the “India Shining” campaign when everyone was lapping it up… your leftist paper is no different, and the motives behind your denouncing of India Shining was no different from the motives the er.. “porn rag” has when it’s running with the hares and hunting with the hounds.
And these opinions, I assure everyone are mine and my own, and don’t necessarily reflect the opinions of my friends, or blogmate, or my college.)
(Only thumbnails of images are on the post. For clearer images, click on the thumbnail).
So I end up taking pictures of birds one evening. There are the usual constraints – bird too high up the tree, bird too camouflaged in tree, bird too quick…. but the worst was bad light. The light keeps getting worse and worse as you keep getting more and more into the groove. Ideal solution, I thought, shooting in the morning.
I’ve been trying to wake up early for the past one month, and I’m glad to say I finally succeeded today…. every dog has its day.
It was a two-dog morning (Australian expression that indicates the number of dogs you need to cuddle up with to keep warm) – the dog days of summer are not very far away, though. I woke up early enough, put on the dog, and stepped out.
Now there happens to be a dog and a bitch in the Girls’ Block. The damn things haven’t been chased out, and are not on Animal Birth Control, and have happily had a litter of five.
These darling pups are just monsters in cute suits:
But so far, they didn’t mind my clicking their pics, and weren’t put off by the flash. But what the hell, love me, love my dogs – They could bite and scratch among each other for all I cared as long as they let me photograph the whole thing. They were even used to me, I could say. This dog won’t hunt, I thought. I was as happy as a flea in a doghouse.
So I thought I’d start the morning taking some easy, nice shots of the five pups, before trying to capture that elusive Racket-Tailed Drongo or Tailor-Bird. Maybe I’d even walk all the way to A1 juuust for the parrots you see there, and those other green birds that don’t fly away even if you are real close. And I need such birds – the crow that won’t fly away when I clap my hands near it, will take wing the moment it sees my camera. My C663 is a very effective bird-repellant.
I found the pups all cuddled up at their usual spot – oh, goodie. All asleep. Aww…. what a cute shot it’ll make… Snap!
The black pup on the right stirred. First gave a whine of recognition. Then growled. The others stirred, too. And growled, too. Barked. Gave chase. They ATTACKED me! I looked like someone had just shot my dog. The bitch came soon after. And so did the dog, hackles raised. Good God, I was in the doghouse! After my episode two years ago, I knew I had a dog’s chance of getting out alive if even one of them caught up with me. I ran like my legs would fall off.
Oh, and I’d be a dog-faced liar if I didn’t say the rest of the pics I took came out looking like a dog’s breakfast.
Power shuts down now. Life’s a bitch.
PS: GB inmates, if any of you are reading this, kindly take my advice and DO NOT feed the pups or the dogs, don’t cuddle the pups, pick them up, or even take their pictures. Apart from that, complain as much as possible to the authorities to have them all removed. And in future, DO NOT encourage dogs or cats or animals of any kind – we don’t want GB going to the dogs now, do we?
Whether Im waiting for some one, Just after class, Just before class, In the queue in the mess (that
is if i have my phone with me), On the way to Mangalore in the bus, Or even when I’m just lying down
and relaxing my aching back, my finger automatically goes to the Game part and Snake in special.
This, I have been doing for almost four years.
I play at the highest speed, and no maze. I use only one key to move the elongating line. I invariably
pick each and every dot-like-thing and other designs.
But… WhyOWhyOWhy have I not been able to cross 836 ?
Okay.. this post is meant for everyone’s eyes except one person’s…. you know who you are, and you’ve been told to wait for this… so until you get back to college, do not under any circumstances scroll down or read any further; we’re assured your reaction is going to be priceless and video-worthy.
As for the rest of you… here goes.
There’s something called the Pumping Lemma for Regular Languages. And there’s something else called Marathon @ Comps Events @ Engineer 2008. Now Marathon is a multistage team event spread over three days of Engineer 2008. Let me digress here to say it went off pretty much godawesome… great work, guys. Anyways… the first round was a mixed bag of questions, and along with having to guess “Pirates of Silicon Valley” from the poster, the names of all the authors of CLR, fooling around with an inverted binary tree, Maloo thought it’d be good to state the Pumping Lemma and ask people what theorem it is.
And PersonWhoIsNotSupposedToReadThis, please quit right here, coz we are coming to the crux of the matter. As it happened, people said the movie was called “The Cryptographers”, “The CodeHackers” and whatnot, and that Introduction to Algorithms was written by Clark, Liebermann, River… but what took the cake was one answer we got.
KK was in a state of complete shock as he read out “This is Theorem 8.13 (Chandrashekhar and Mishra<that’s the name of the book we learned the lemma from>). The rest of us did a double-take and gave the usual expected reactions. The next line read “Seminar(ed) by XYZ“. Most people didn’t quite follow that, and those of us from the IT class burst out laughing – XYZ had taught us the Pumping Lemma as part of a seminar (pretty well, too, I must add). I recognized the names on the answer sheet to be of a bunch of my friends. Now these friends are known to be übergeeks and toppers (that’s a compliment, btw), and I correctly reasoned this was their joke. And a neat, effective one at that. It proved to raise a good laugh, and was a good story to retell, and we got some godawesome reactions too.
Just a couple of hours ago, something happened that took the bakery.
XYZ of the seminar fame was christened Pumping Lemma due to this, and someone went to him to explain why.
The story was repeated.
Reaction was watched for.
XYZ’s reaction: Cha.. that’s theorem 4.3, not theorem 8.13
So… What’s your reaction?
I’ve written only 426 words so far… too short by my standards. So I use the rest of the space here to yap about Comps Events @ Engineer 2008… VBounty…. awesome questions, awesome servers….. awesome quality participation. Tul, Gudur, great it was, working with you… the best part was when I discovered the night before the event that a toughie I had set was invalidated because the page which contained the answer was taken off the Net! And Mr. Sahoo… that was a really great interface you had designed. I have no words to praise it.
Marathon… damn fun to try out, four rounds that were crazily taxing for us, especially the comp-based events, but man… were they fun or were they fun. KS, SKLD, Vijeth… too awesome a job. Nice memories made… of Maloo and me turning off all the systems before we realized that we need to upload all the contestants’ entries on to the server, and then we didn’t know which systems had been used and which ones not! It took us an hour and a half to get all the answer files uploaded…. all to do with the temperature. Then we found Engi mess was closed.. hadn’t even had breakfast… and NFC was too crowded. Lunch at Amul and man, the airconditioning in DigiLib saved our lives, and possibly that of others who would have been at the receiving end of our irritated diatribes. And the question-setting for the finals was some Level last-minute job, as was also the ppt. The best bit was, an outstation team came and told us it was “very professionally done”
Kode Kombat… great to watch bots fight it out… the fragging, the suicides, the indiscriminate bombing, the attacking bots, the defensive bots, the learning bot (I think)… Great work from both sides – the participants as well as the organizers. SKLD, Sagar, Pondy… and the team from VNIT who couldn’t be present to watch their bot win. Guys, your bot was godawesome…. if you do read this, put algo details.
And… Rectify…. our debugging event. It was a great idea to have a TopCoder-style Challenge Round. For people unaware of what a Challenge Round is, you have an arena with some n people coding a few problems. The server gives them points for their solutions – that’s the first round. The second round is where everyone’s code is visible to everyone else, and you can challenge other programs with test cases that cause them to fail. A successful challenge reduces the other program’s marks to zero, and gives you points, while an unsuccessful one simply loses you points.
And here’s a round of applause to the brilliant guys who actually got this working… I don’t think any other techfest has had such a round anywhere. Vaibhav, Bharat and Anup, full credit to you guys and your enthu. We’re damn sure next year will be even better with you folks at the helm. I’ll say it one more time… it was godawesome. *Standing Ovation*
And… the rest of us who set prelims, Marathon finals, and other problems… and gen other stuff… had a blast working together, didn’t we? I know I did. And this is one memory I will really treasure.. All the stabbing, the participation being fully throttled by other inconsequential events, the accomodations we did, the tensions, the 11th hour question-setting, and THE PJs… right from when we first created that googlegroup, right from when we were wondering if geNetSys would be a good name for a network design event, to the moment when we started off the Marathon final quiz, to when the Events co-ord said Kode Kombat can easily get a lot more sponsors and audience next time to “It’s all over da… our last Engi done…”. We know we made a great team, and I really wish we could do this more often. Maloo, Bigshow, Prat, KK (no, that isn’t Kode Kombat, or the guy who sings in the movies and is performing at Inci-08), Koli, Pradhan, Sarvesh… and also BK, Seena, Arun and everyone else who made this such an enjoyable experience. Oh, and two admits too, which came in right before and right after our events . Bigshow, KK, congrats again.
Now we have only Inscription left. Do tell all the coders you know, that this is happening on 23rd Feb 2008, Sunday, teams of three. Participation open to ALL, irrespective of nationality, education, age…. no bars whatsoever. All you need is a C/C++/Java compiler, and a Net connection, and possibly two friends.
And again…. CS/IT rocketh. Totally.
My mobile said “sms memory full”. So I did a “delete all”. While my inbox was being emptied, a message came in. And the inbox was duly emptied. I don’t know who the message was from, even.
Does this happen in your mobile, too? If it doesn’t, what’s the model you’re using?
We’ve read it in the history books. We’ve even watched a movie about it. We’ve heard it over and over and over again.
That the Kalinga war brought about remorse for Emperor Ashoka and he took on Buddhism and changed his life.
Think about it. This man who has seen it all, blood, gore, blue murder. The ruthless soldier he was. This man who’s killed a hundred of his brothers… cold-blooded fratricide. Suddenly sees a river of blood and feels remorse, ably aided by a Buddhist monk. Turns his life around. And goes on to become India’s greatest emperor.
SRK’s movie makes it out that Ashoka turned ruthless on losing Kaurwaki. And that his wife Devi was Buddhist; she hated violence, so that probably aided his transformation.
I’m no historian, but I find it very, very hard to believe the bit about the change of heart. I mean, people are averse to even changing their stand in a Group Discussion… what would institute such a change of heart in a man who had nothing to lose with violence?
Maybe he was not a ruthless homicidal fratricidal maniac after all? Maybe he was a victim of his circumstances?
I guess the fratricide was necessary for self-preservation… you are no favourite son of your father; you have an older brother in that position, but you are more adept and skilled than all your hundred-odd brothers put together. Older brother obviously feels threatened by you, and tries to form an alliance to do away with you… does your practising ahimsa come of any avail there?
Then you’re the emperor; you quite obviously have a duty to conquer new lands. Okay, let’s say you live and let live there; but your neighbours aren’t obviously as nice – they’ll wage war against you the first chance they get. They’ll make mischief in your kingdom the first chance they get. They want your throne, your crown, your vast lands. What do you do? They don’t subscribe to Ahimsa…. come on, even the Nanda kings who followed Jainism weren’t above war. And you have weaker territories on the outback of your kingdom which will quite easily be conquered by the stronger kingdoms down south… (not so sure about this), they aren’t buffer zones, they are your empire’s Achilles’ Heel… you need to keep your people safe from marauders who wouldn’t for the heck of them know how to take care of the place even half as well as you do… wouldn’t you agree war and conquest is inevitable in this context?
But you conquer the last behemoth. You have no more dangers around you. Unless you were a raving mass-murdering maniac (which we can’t say Ashoka was), you would want to sit back and relax after years on the road. What are laurels but to rest on? And any sensible emperor knows he has to consolidate his empire after the initial growth phase; that can’t last forever now, can it? And you can’t keep your kingdom in a constant state of war… your people will revolt (and your enemies might make them) if they constantly see their taxes being diverted to pay for expensive wars. This is no small fear in a kingdom as large as his.
And now, my friends, it is safe, even prudent to practice non-violence. And advocating the same… maybe the latter-day equivalent would be the US preaching to third-world countries about the dangers of global warming, and heralding the coming of Tata Nano to be the worst thing that could happen to the world already choked by pollution and exhaust. Ashoka was an astute emperor, probably the wisdom of Chanakya had been passed on to his proteges who were now Ashoka’s advisors.
What about the Buddhist legend, you ask? Maybe it’s precisely that; a Buddhist legend. Maybe Buddhism back then was today’s equivalent of the Art of Living. Now AOL claims that Sri Sri Ravishankar has given a lecture at the UN, but I read this on another blog that just about anyone can, and it’s not of much consequence anyway.
Maybe his meeting with a Buddhist monk was merely incidental, and it gained coverage and was used for evangelism purposes after Ashoka decided to go into Phase Two of his royal plans – roughly today’s equivalent of Seema Ramchandani quitting Viva! to become an AOL teacher, or Rhea Pillai talking about how AOL helped her get back to living after her marriage ended.
So maybe it was prudence that made Ashoka a nice man. With such a large kingdom to manage, the last thing he would have wanted is some religion-based riot in some corner of his kingdom that slowly spread to the rest of the place… hence the secularism. Or maybe it was simply hard-wired in him to provide good governance, be tolerant and kind, and all the past violence was just a matter of necessity in the circumstances, and his religious leanings had nothing at all to do with it; success has many fathers. Failure has none, as we see… would anyone dare to say in this age of political correctness that Aurangzeb was what he was because of his religion?
Amartya Sen once made a quote in context with secular education and the communalization of history that was like “The two greatest emperors of India have not been Hindu“. One, I guess, was Akbar, who followed Din-E-Elahi. The other was Ashoka, who was supposed to be a Buddhist. I have one question for Mr. Sen: Ashoka was the first one to proclaim an official State Religion – Buddhism. How secular would you say that was, Mr. Sen?
Many a time, you see something that catches your fancy. Then you see something else that overrides all the previous ones.
Many a time, you see something that you’d like, but you’re not sure whether it’d fit in with your life.
Many a time, you find something you think you really want. Many a time, that turns out to be yet another passing infeasible fancy.
Sometimes you find something that’s a culmination of all your passing fancies, fears, dreams and aspirations, that your entire existence desires it, and is prepared to go all out to get it.
And occasionally, you find something that tops that.
You’re prepared to do your best for it. You don’t quite know your chances. That helps, in keeping every possibility open, and every hope alive, and every anticipation waiting in the wings.
Till something happens, you close your eyes and dream.