For one thing I’ve never understood the hullabaloo behind the New Year celebrations. What if they had decided to shift the origin of the earth’s orbit by a few extra rotations. And after all a circle has no start or a end.
But then I suppose it is a good time to contemplate the year gone, just like that, for no reason at all.
About decisions, and why they could have been better. About meeting people and not meeting some others. About disappointments, some which turned out for the good, others not. On why sometimes you’ve got to be cruel to be kind. About all the fun i’ve had, momentary or otherwise. About how, why its hard to set right a lot of friendlyness that goes stale. Reading, writing, researching, movies, music and more …
It is sort easy to slip into contemplation when I have an empty room for myself, on a chilly evening, watching the sun set over the Hiranandani Buildings, and into Powai lake, from my window, only wishing I had a steaming cup of coffee. Blissful serenity.
To a more eventful new year!
Happy times to you all!
Once upon a time after a trip to Mangalore, Logik had tweeted “Extreme paapa in previous janma = tyre seat of Bangalore-Mangalore bus”.
Here’s my version:
Extreme paapa in previous janma = near-toilet seat in turbulent American Airlines flight + aisle seat + next seat of lovey-dovey PDA-making couple, both of who made frequent trips to the loo + neighbouring seat of singleMom who couldn’t get enough of telling her life story to everyone around her + crying baby + flirty Latino man + curious passenger bound for Frankfurt who heard out singleMom + right under overpacked bag due to which luggage bin could not be shut + disgusting in-flight movie on while eating and drinking + heavy-ish snowfall for the first time in two-three years at destination + plane circling round and round destination as no permission to land + plane running out of fuel + stopping over for seemingly forever at little-known airport for fuel + no card in pocket to buy food on flight + long loo lines + beverage-only diet for duration of flight which necessitates standing in loo line + when card finally found, crew out of food, beverages + lack of winter clothes as kith and kin had re-re-reassured me that destination remains pleasant at 24 degrees celsius.
But all that seems like Purgatory… I’m now in paradise and I have a White Christmas.
Happy Holidays to one and all
I haven’t published for weeks together now. I seem to have writer’s block or some such thing.
For starters, when I was in the thick of deadlines, I came out with a blueprint for my first ever good work of fiction. All I’ve to do is fill in the technical details and it’ll be a decent story. However, it now is languishing as an untended draft.
I also have a lot of photographs to be uploaded to my photoblog. I’m having Uploader’s Block as well.
That apart, I walked in to Langson Library with the sole intention of taking a printout today, and walked out with two huge graphic novels, and a collection of Mark Twain’s short stories. More on those later. Then I thought I’d just pop in to the Science Library to return some books I’d used during the quarter, but… I walked out with iCon and a couple of other books that scream out “Programming is Cool”. This is what used to happen with me in bookstores when I was in Bangalore. UCI’s libraries are much better stocked to let me indulge in my bibliophilia as much as I want. Thank heavens for small mercies.
And Amazon Used Books are great, too. You can’t tell the books are used but for yellowing pages. I have to begin reading Woody Allen’s Without Feathers (Arjun, thanks for the recommendation). Reading through One Hundred Poems from the Japanese, which is for my mother, I think I should learn Japanese well now… most things in the transliteration don’t make sense to me, some tantalizingly do…
I got I, Robot for my kid cousin… hoping to get him started on Asimov. Now I’ve read the book (ebook, if you will) half a dozen times, but reading the hardcover edition feels like totally something else. There are some books that you just have to read as books, not as ebooks. Asimov’s Foundation and Elijah Baley series might not be the ones to, but I, Robot certainly is. Just like The Complete Short Stories of Mark Twain.
But what is not worth even an ebook is Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol. The same formula yet again. Only, this one is not as cliffHangery. The only good bit about Brown’s writing is his ability to keep a tension hanging in the air. This book doesn’t even have that. Fail.
I’ve also been going at the rate of two movies a day for the past week. I’ve not watched anything earth-shattering or groundbreaking so far; just feel-good masala movies. Hmm….. I should post about the books and movies I’ve recently buried myself in. Soon.
Moving on to other things, a year and a half after graduation, I now fondly recollect memories of NITK. I even wrote a post (now yet another languishing draft) about how wonderful the college is, and how wonderful the men and women who emerge from it are. In short, NITK teaches you life lessons no other place teaches you. You learn to balance cheapness and thrift with sophistication and style in a way not many others do. You stop whining about small discomforts, not because you lower your standards, but because you know these tiny things matter not in the face of the larger aims you have. And. You have larger aims in life. Because you’ve learnt that nothing is impossible for you. Then there are other things you learn as well – empathy, swalpaAdjustMaadi, don’tYuckSomeoneElse’sYum. And. Most importantly. NITK gives you the best sense of humour you’ll ever come across. NITK Rocks!
2009 is coming to an end soon… reflecting back, I seem to have ticked a lot of things off my ToDoList this year. I’ve studied AI and Markov Models properly, formally. I don’t anymore freak out as badly as I used to when I look at equations in text. I’ve tried my German on a real, live German and he said my accent was coming along fine. I’ve sort of kept my famous temper under some sort of a check. I’ve taken some possibly life-changing decisions. I’ve paved the way for yet some more life-changing decisions to be taken in the coming year. I’ve finally got myself a bridge camera.
I’ve also had some startling realizations. Some gentler ones. Some life-lessons. Some rather harsh reality checks. Some pleasant surprises. A lot of good luck. A lot of elevating experiences.
The level of uncertainty in my life has definitely come down, and will hopefully remain so for the next year or so. There certainly still remains some, but those are more on the lines of pleasant speculation. I’ve also met a lot more people than I previously have, and meeting them gives me the impression now that I’m much wiser now than I was a year ago. I’ve been through politics that directly involved me at some level. I’ve quit my first job. I’ve traversed my entire emotional range.
All in all, it was one of those years you take off after graduation to discover yourself.
And what’s lined up for 2010? More self-discovery, I expect. Apart from that, hard to say. All I know is, whatever it is, I’ll either face it with the confidence 2009 has given me, or it’ll give me enough strength to face 2011. And here’s a prayer again to Goddess Saraswati as always so that any episode of Writer’s Block is always temporary, and may there never be any wavering in my interest in learning.
About an year ago, Soaringheights and I, hit upon this brilliant plan of training lab mice to navigate a maze. We (Read she) even convinced the organizers of Micromouse at IITB’s Techfest, to keep the circus going before the actual event started. Yes, we were supposed to make a mouse go searching (for a piece of cheese perhaps?) and reach the centre of the maze.
We did manage to get a couple of albino rats (the cute little white ones with ruby eyes) from a vet somewhere, in a bird cage. Three and six months old she-mice. After much deliberation we decided to call them Pinky and The Brain, for an hour. Then decided on Sample 1 and Sample 2. Then again decided to call Gangu Maushi (Commom name among kaamwaali bais). But well what really stuck was just mouse.
After the first day of terror that the mice would escape and run around the whole place (which did happen the next day), we figured caged mice did not mean we could take it to the maze and train them. There was a whole prequel to it. MOUSE MAINTENANCE!
- These creatures take as much space as they can. They can run around a whole house turing up at the most inconvinient places. Implied, we needed a bigger cage.
- They love to hide. They love to play. They love to go through empty tissue paper rolls, and tissue paper pieces.
- They are fussy about what you give them to eat. “I wont eat this. I wont eat that. I’m bored of this. More Cornflakes, please!”
- They don’t mind dirty surroundings. Until the stench starts to bother you.
- Its true. They have really really sharp teeth, and have a immense need to keep biting even if it means the other mouse in the cage.
- Don’t underestimate them, they know of ingenious ways of getting out of the cage.
- They run really fast, even if it means on you. (No. I could never muster the guts to touch them ever).
- They are not as bad as I make them sound.
Then came the incident where, one fine day I wake up to hear “mice running lose”! to see white things running helter skelter. And before I knew sample 2 died by the accidental-being-pushed-by-a-suitcase-while-trying-to-retrieve-it. Very delicate things. <mourn>.
Mice are social creatures. So, we got another one, sample 3. At this point we realised that that there are different kinds of mice. docile. meek. sane. wild. really wild. really really aggresive. Now the alpha, beta hierarchy exists in a mouse colony. What happens when you let a really aggresive mouse into the territory of a sane mouse. Thats right. 3 bit 1. 3 bit 1′s eyes. 3 bullied 1 to shiver. And we sat there watching, not knowing what to do. Seperation does not help. Thus, 3 was let lose into the wild.
Now we had had enough. Me watching. Soaringheights struggling to take care. It went to her house. And then was given away to a little boy who adored the thing.
Micromouse was all forgotten.
It took me a week to give up on taking care of them. And soaringheights a month. Her sister and dad a bit longer. And a little guy who loved it until it died.
PS: This blog hits 100,000 hits a few days ago. Nothing much. Just another milestone. Thanks for stopping by. We love you all!
I’m back to blogging, but only for a bit. Next week is a bit hectic. But I HAD to post on this.
When I was working in Bangalore, I was in a team full of young people just a few years older than me. They were much more experienced, and I, the only fresher, moved from module to module learning what each bit did. And it always, always happened that just as I moved to a new thing, the person handling that module would get their wedding fixed and would go off for a month, leaving me to work on that module.
There were the usual jokes about my being some hex or something, but it was mostly attributed to the common age group of all my mentors, and a week of holidaying following the end of each iteration, following which my colleagues would go home, and be subjected to a week of bride/groom-seeing.
And now the saga continues.
The person I am working with is an alumnus of University X. And has a wife who is expecting.
The person I might be working with, completely totally unrelated to the previously mentioned person, and of a completely different age group, is an alumnus of University X, though in a totally different mostly unrelated discipline. And has a wife who is expecting.
PS: I know such coincidences are everywhere, that if you look hard enough, you can find the shape of a holy grail on the Boston, Detroit, Washington DC, Chennai, Surathkal, Bangalore maps, so don’t make that point in the comments.