Thursday, December 18, 2008

Holmes and Watson

On a Monday at 12:30PM, inside a No.17 METRO bus:

"Does this bus go to Seven Hills?"

"No, this is the Colerain bus."

"Oh! Sorry, Thanks."

The driver closes the door and the bus departs the stop. Having witnessed the conversation from their seat, Holmes turns to his friend and asks:

"Now, what can you tell me about him, Watson?"

"Hmm... either he can't read or he has hypermetropia. Or both."

"Ha ha hah. No, Watson. That is the doctor in you speaking. Of course he can see well and read well. Can you not see that him and his two pals at the bus stop are students very nervous about their exam later today?"

"What? How do you know that?"

"Well, they are standing at a bus stop in a residential area very close to the University; they obviously don't have a car and are not familiar with the bus schedules; and based on their physical appearance, is it not obvious that they are first year international graduate students at the University and that at least one of them lives nearby? In fact, I think that these three students share the same apartment as well."

"Okay, may be so. But, the bit about the exam, you must be mistaken. Definitely not an exam today. The exams were over last week for the students. I know that for a fact since my nephew goes to UC too."

"My dear Watson, as you pointed out, the University exams for this quarter concluded last Friday. That is exactly why I said what I said. By exam, I wasn't referring to an University exam, I meant that these three students are going to take the written exam for the driver's license at the Seven Hills DMV Office. Where else would a group of three first year international graduate students be going to on the No. 17 Seven Hills bus, on the Monday morning of their winter break- the day when the school is closed but the DMV office is open? And considering the fact that METRO buses are generally late by few minutes, the Seven Hills bus they are waiting for is probably running a bit late. They obviously knew that this was the Colerain bus, they just wanted to make sure that they don't miss their bus today. Wouldn't you say that are a nervous bunch?"

"Wow, that is insightful."

"That was elementary, my dear Watson. If you want something insightful, let me tell you that the two of them standing at the stop are possibly distant relatives and quite dislike each other, but no one who knows them will believe that. And the student who spoke to the bus driver is the second child of a rather large family and has at least 3 other younger siblings whom he adores. Also, the three of them have studied together at high school or somewhere before but went different ways and are back together again now."

"I believe you."
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Monday, December 08, 2008

Quote of the day

Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest
In matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity, is the vital thing.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My 5 lesser known great Hindi movies

I have been requested (read arm-twisted) to write these "My Five" posts. I have been accused of having over 20 items in all my "Top 5" lists. So this would probably be the first of several posts forcing me to (restrict and) list my top 5.

This is my list of "5" lesser known Hindi movies (post Lagaan) that I would recommend:

  • "The Blue Umbrella" & "Raincoat":
    Although this list is not in any specific order, these movies definitely deserve to top the list.

  • "Maqbool", "Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi" & "Manorama: Six Feet Under":
    These movies are quite popular but have not been as widely watched. I am often surprised to find out that some people haven't even heard of them!

  • "Jhoom Barabar Jhoom" & "Tashan":
    Whenever I tell someone I like these films they immediately have this look on their face that says: "Hmm, so THIS is the kind of movies you like... And I thought you had a decent taste in films..." Anyways, I still feel "Tashan" is 2008's "Om Shanti Om", and "JBJ" is a wonderful musical that is so much better than "Saathiya" or "Bunty Aur Babli".

  • "Dor":
    I usually don't include remakes in my movie lists but I am yet to watch "Perumazhaikaalam" and am willing to give Nagesh Kukkunoor the benefit of the doubt, especially since this movie is so good.

  • "Black Friday" & "No Smoking":
    "Black Friday" is a definite no-brainer considering it was stuck-in-cans for several years, and "No Smoking" may be extremely unsatisfying but it is equally interesting.

  • "Eklavya":
    This is almost in the same category as "JBJ" and "Tashan": Movies-people-love-to-hate. I was simply blown away by this extremely well-shot film and still don't understand why someone will compare this gem of a movie with the highly overrated "Dharm"!

Okay, I know my math (I know there are 11 instead of 5) but despite leaving out several others, I couldn't get rid of any of these :) (I also know I have 2 by Vishal Baradwaj and 2 by Anurag Kashyap in there but I wanted to include "Makdee" too!) Let me know if you think any of these need to be kicked off the list.
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Kenny Boi

Note: This post may have spoilers about Survivor Gabon.

Yeah Kenny, one of my pre-season picks in Survivor: Gabon is doing extremely well and is very likely to win if he reaches the final 2 (or 3), which also makes him a huge threat for others to get rid of (with 7 people left now).

I wasn't happy with his early plays like aligning with Crystal or getting rid of Ace etc. But all that seem to have worked out for him - till now at least. But he better watch out since given the current set of remaining players, all of them are equally likely to blind-slide anyone - just to get to the next round. These people are so fickle (especially Sugar and Susie) that the last person to talk to them is going to have his/her way.

What I want? I want Matty gone ASAP. Clearly he will not think twice to get rid of Kenny and Kenny can always convince the others to get rid of Bob & Corrine (since they already have favorable numbers in the jury). I am also concerned about Sugar since she is still holding on to her idol - which is a major threat.

I think, the next two episodes are going to determine the winner. Let's see.
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The Ghajini in me

Disclaimer: This post has nothing to do with the movie Ghajini.

Although I have been aware of how disorganized I have become lately (which has also become a nightmare for the "OCD" part of me), I have been attributing that to having too many things on my plate. However before doing something about that, I need to stop being forgetful.

In the past few days alone I can count several instances where I forgot my cell phone, cap, bag, course notes, keys, watch and some more things that I don't remember now :) I am blaming all this on having too many ToDos in my short term memory (which can only store 6 at a time, apparently).

(I think) I have figured out a solution though. Will keep posted on whether it works.
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Thursday, November 06, 2008


I have finally scanned and uploaded all my doodles (and sketches) - at least the ones that have survived the move off-campus.

Btw, some of them may not make sense or might make a different sense than intended :) And all of them have my name in one of more places - so beware of passing them off as yours, unless of course you are my namesake.

You can have a look at all of them here:

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi

"Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi" is one of my favorite Hindi movies of the "post-Lagaan" era. Considering how few people have seen it, it must definitely be a cult-classic, except that I think it is a bit too classy for that.

Anyways, it was all I could think of after watching "My brother, an only child".

Clearly there is a lot common to both the movies than just the two-guys-one-girl story set in the past in a period of political unrest. However, the movies differ quite a bit too. While "Hazaaron..." focussed on all the three characters with the female character driving the film, "My brother..." is essentially a story about brothers and could even do away with the romance.

Still, I felt that the films are like so alike that if one didn't know any better, he would assume that either is a copy of the other, set in a different place with a slight twist in the plot or that both are by the same director who is suffering from a block and is recycling his own works.

I would have forced my roommate(s) to watch "My brother..." to get their reactions on this topic. If only they were part of the "cult" that has seen "Hazaaron..."...
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Walking back home

I was returning home around 11:30PM from college. I wasn't expecting what I saw.

There were more people outside than usual; happy, shouting, greeting everyone and just jumping out of joy. Cars honked at each other and I heard variations of "We did it" and "Hurray" in between chants of "Obama" (my favorite: "No more Bush people"!). With celebrations everywhere, it was definitely a big change from last time (all I remember is a "Sorry, World!" sign that someone was holding up).

However, it came nowhere close to those nights when India thrashed another team in an ODI match :)
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Friday, October 24, 2008

Getting stood up

I got stood up for the first time ever. May be not the first time ever, but I can not instantly recall any prior occasion where I was left staring at the walls and noone showed up.

Btw, just to be clear, I am ranting about how no one showed up for my workshop today on IEEE, INSPEC and ACM. Usually I get a decent crowd for my several workshops but the attendance this quarter has been extremely bad. Even the LaTeX workshop (which has had 30 odd people in my previous sessions) had a very poor turn out of just 6 this time. All the time and effort I put in preparing for the workshop went waste. I hope things improve at work soon.
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Friday, October 17, 2008

Bending down for Natalie Portman

She is shorter and smaller than I imagined, I really had to bend down for the picture. I wish I had taken my camera instead of my cellfone!

I was glad to meet her since she is also involved in a lot of environmental stuff among other things.

We talked for few minutes - discussed the climate change, Darfur, the policies of Obama & McCain, and of course her movies. She even asked me if she could recommend me for a role in her "in-the-talks" movie / docu-drama about climate change. Unfortunately I had to decline since I am focussed on getting my PhD. So we exchanged our numbers and agreed to meet after she is finished with promoting her upcoming movie.

Of course, I am now eagerly awaiting "New York, I love you" and "Brothers".
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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hectic Fall

I really need to get organized, or remove things off my plate. This quarter is again being over-hectic and I seem to have taken more commitments than before.

  • My French seems to be getting back on track. I do need a heavy revision on my vocabulary and the tenses (beyond the present and simple past). Have become pretty good at typing in French, thanks to the Composition and Conversation course that I am taking. Still looking for someone to practice my French.
  • Walking the homecoming parade was nice. Since it was also the first one that I attended, it was exciting and compensated waiting 1.5 hrs for the parade that lasted for just about 45mins.

Lots to do by Friday. Will probably update on other stuff soon.
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Reading List Woes

Not that it was deliberate but reading books have taken a lower priority of late. Somehow I currently have quite a few books that I have either started or checked-out for reading but am not finding the time to finish.

The last book that I finished , Q&A by Vikas Swarup, was a major disappointment. However, I can imagine how it could be made into a stylish movie. Hopefully "Slumdog Millionaire" with the immense hype surrounding it will not be a let down.

I am currently finished with 1/10th of Atlas Shrugged. I agree (with K) that the gap between the "Fountain Head" and this one seems to be keeping the book interesting. I guess Ayn Rand's way of over-emphasizing things can get annoying beyond a point. I haven't reached that point yet.

I am also halfway through "Dynasties of China" which has been an interesting read so far. Unfortunately it seems to have brought back my old habit of underlining sentences in the book.

Also added "The White Tiger" to my ever-growing list. Will get to the rest of the books soon, I hope. In the meantime, do not recommend me anymore books :)
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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Survivor: Gabon

Another season of Survivor about to start. The last season, Fans vs Favorites, was quite interesting although none of the fans were impressive. This new season seems to have an interesting mix of people and will hopefully not be disappointing. My initial pick to win this season would be between Ken and Charlie, although I think Bob may hang around quite a bit and give us all a Yau-Man feel. And who do I think will get to be booted out first? Me thinks it will be one of the ladies, and my bets are on Gillian and Jessica.
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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Quote of the day


Graduate school is like wine, it may get better with time, but feels the best only after you finish it !

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

What I want...

First read my disclaimer here.

During a family discussion on whether to bring a pet home or not:
Daughter 1: "I want a dog..."
Daughter 2: "I too want a dog..."
Mother: "I don't want a dog, I want a cow..."
Daughter 1 & Daughter 2: "Daddy, Daddy, what do you want?"
Mother: "Yes dear, what do you want?"
Father: "I want you all out of the house..."

And the question of pets was never raised again.
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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Good at google

It may be partly due to the fact that I am very bad at coming up with one-liners but often a piece of dialogue from a book or a movie stays with me and I am left wondering how someone could come up with something that funny, or interesting (or in some cases, that dumb).

I have noticed that certain dialogues (probably) mean a lot more than what the writer intended. And sometimes they end up meaning the exact opposite. What immediately comes to my mind is Diane Keaton saying "I am good at google!" (in "Mad Money") to the person at the Employment Office who simply dismisses it with a oh-yeah-that-will-get-you-a-job stare; I guess the writer (and the entire crew) didn't realize that being "good at google" is actually a big deal.

I have seen several people struggle while searching for very simple things and they weren't computer illiterate or anything - they were just "bad at google". One classic example that instantly comes to my mind is my friend spending hours at google trying out several combinations of "two snakes winding around a knife logo" to get to caduceus (and I am really not making that up - my friend till date is called "paambu" aka snake for trying to bring down the google server with such search queries). Her wanting to use the caduceus as a medical logo (instead of the rod of Asclepius) was also funny but that would be a different rant.

Being a student and having to use several other databases and indexes apart from just Google, I guess it is pretty important that you have excellent "search-and-find" skills - which is probably why I retained this funny little piece from a rather forgettable movie.

Anyways, I will probably be posting some such interesting pieces of dialogues that I come across from now on, although for certain movies (like say Knocked up, or Juno, or even Jab We Met) it would probably end up being a pretty long post!
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Sunday, September 07, 2008

Dell and his blog

First read my disclaimer here.

One fine day, Dell woke up and found himself with nothing to do. Well, that wasn't really true. He actually found himself with a LOT of things to do, none of which he wanted to. After a lot of contemplation, he decided to start a blog.

Dell is funny in general but sometimes his jokes can really bore you to death. Also, Dell loves being the most popular person in his groups. So even before he would finish his blog posts, he would email all his friends asking them to read and comment on his blog. His friends, who were the primary readers of his blog, found his initial few posts amusing and a bit interesting. However, with time, Dell became busier (or should I say lazier) and his blog posts not only became irregular but also longer and monotonous. Needless to say Dell's readers got disinterested and soon his blog became one of those things that exist but serve no purpose.

However, Apple, one of his buddies, would keep checking Dell's blog for updates. He would constantly encourage Dell to continue his efforts and finally managed to get him to return to blogging after a year long hiatus. Unfortunately to Apple's disappointment Dell's "return post" turned out be even more uninteresting and humdrum than ever before. Apple, being a very good friend of Dell, told him exactly what he felt about Dell's latest blog post.

Although Dell has taken Apple's comments as constructive criticism, it is still left to see whether or not Dell would continue with his ways.


I shall update the story of Dell and his blog if anything even remotely interesting turns out from this scenario.

@Dell & Apple: Hi!! :P
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Just realized that I haven't posted several "interesting" and "not-so-interesting" incidents for the sake of not wanting to name the person(s) involved. So, from now on I have decided to post them as fictitious happenings / stories.

I guess the persons involved will know as soon as they read the post. And, it is likely that some "potential" posts might upset someone / land me in a soup. In my defense, all I say is that these posts are likely to be exaggerated and modified versions of the truth and are only "based" on true incidents. There, that gets me off the hook, I hope :)

Btw, these "stories" would most likely be inside jokes that only the person(s) involved would "get" and enjoy. So, if you wasted your time reading one of these please don't waste anymore of your time by telling me how I just wasted your time :P
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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Google Chrome

If my "The" roommate knows about it then it is safe to assume that you do too.

I just tried it (although not using it RIGHT NOW) and it seems pretty cool. Very bare maybe, but fast. And more than actual thing, I loved the Google Chrome comic-book (see: Although I would have loved more technical details, I have to agree that it wasn't a too dumbed down introduction. I felt that using only the colors from the Google Chrome browser for the comic strip was a nice touch.

After using GChrome I can only say that it is here to stay. Google's announcement may be premature but their product definitely seems to live up to the expectations. However, I somehow feel that THIS was the operating system that many (if not all) people thought Google would eventually come out with, to compete with Windows. I mean with Internet being ubiquitous already, and browsers being the most used software, is it too hard to imagine that soon, all computer activities will be done online? With the bulky IE still struggling to cope up with Firefox, Microsoft doesn't seem to have a ready answer to Google's next big attack so close to its hometurf. I could be wrong there, but I am definitely right in saying that interesting things are waiting to happen in the following days.

PS: What I loved most about Google Chrome (in the limited time that I have spent on it) is its taskmanager and the stats for nerds. Try it!
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Wednesday, August 20, 2008


0-0-0 to 1-0-0 to 1-0-1 to now 2-0-1 or 1-1-1 or 1-0-2. That would be India's medal tally this year at Beijing and I am not complaining.

Thankfully, I have missed most of the Bindra mania that must have gone on and on back home with everyone from his 1st grade school teacher to the "dhobiwallas" and the local MLAs and MPs telling the world, how brilliant Bindra was as a child, and how they knew he would win the gold, and how their prayers and special poojas were the reason for his success. I guess the same will now be happening for Sushil and Vijender.

Hopefully more people will consider sports other than cricket seriously. May be the load of freebies given to Abhinav and those to be given to Sushil and Vijender will be tempting enough. I wonder if all the state governments had already decided after Bindra's gold that we will not be seeing any more medals this year. Now they are forced to give some to the other two athletes too!

Btw, the coverage at NBC is't too good either. It is as bad as yesterday's pizza - you still eat it but only think of how good it would be if it were fresh. Needless to say, the coverage has been predominantly for the US events, which I am okay with considering their participation up to finals in most events. The coverage of the Phelps' mania, however, has been nothing short of a soap opera with interviews and comments from anyone and everyone, and re-telecasts and re-re-telecasts of the same. I guess it is still alright that considering his tremendous feat. But what irked me most was the constant cribbing and complaining throughout the commentary (and the follow-up afterward) for the gymnastics events.

I agree that China's He Kexin doesn't look anywhere close to 16. But do you have to bring that up every time either she or an US athlete performs? If Nastia Liukin or Shawn Johnson (or team USA) lose the gold to China then it is because China cheated and the judges were unfair (they are anyways dumb since their countries don't even have gymnasts good enough to reach the finals). On the other hand, if the US does manage to win the gold then it is despite China's cheating and despite the unfair judging (by the dumb judges of course)! Will someone please ask the Béla Károlyi guy (and the NBC host too) to shut up. I can not believe this chap is a coach for he doesn't seem to have a single sportsmanship bone in his body. I can not understand his problem with the tie-breaking rule after the uneven bars finals. He speaks as if the rule was made up on the spot so that China would get the gold. If the result had been the other way round, I bet he would have said that Liukin deserved the gold since she performed better. This guy need to be tied up and forced to watch his own commentary and interviews repeatedly.
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Monday, August 18, 2008

Yearbook Yourself

lol. I guess this is a nice way to cheer yourself up on a Monday morning.

Check out!

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

The New Look

Finally managed to find time to change the whole look of my website and surprisingly it took far less time than I thought! Anyways, this new look is primarliy the courtesy of my (on-going) work for the LEAP website, which I felt was a bit more elegant. Although the base site was set up fast enough, I did have to spend some time getting the blogs to match that layout.

My only regret - I really wanted to go for a dark (black) background but then it didn't look so nice. Anyways, let me know if this look is any good!
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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Amazing Race Asia 3

More dirt (spoilers) about the show.

Looks like my previous post on how me and my brother bumped into The Amazing Race contestants got quite a few hits and I received few emails from the fans of the show who were looking for a bit more information. (This post is for them).

This is what I gathered from the emails I received - the contestants who I bumped into are Geoff Rodriguez and Tisha Silang, mini-celebrities (actors?) from Philippines, and are competing in the 3rd season of The Amazing Race Asia. And although they were the only team on the flight, based on the supposed filming dates, it doesn't look as if they were any near the finish line at that point.

Although I have already mentioned all the important details in my previous post, just to confirm, the contestants were on the Cathy Pacific flight CX739 from Hong Kong - Singapore that departed from Hong Kong on 1st June 2008 around 11:20AM (Hong Kong time). And at Singapore, after our chat, they booked the next flight from Singapore - Cochin in Air India which was leaving in another 3 hours or so from Terminal 2 (or was it 3?). Hope this extra bit of information is gratifying enough ;)

And no, I didn't take any more pictures. However, I think the one I have is good enough ;)

Please do not copy the contents of this blog without permission. A link to this URL, instead, would be appreciated.
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Monday, July 07, 2008


What a match! The best Wimbledon final in years and more importantly, a result that I liked! Not that I am big fan of Nadal but I felt it was time for the Federer Express to be shown the door, especially in the Grand Slam that matters.

Je suis tres heureux!
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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Jhin Min Jhiinni

Managed to get hold of the lyrics of the song "Jhin Min Jhiinni" from the hindi movie "Maqbool". This song is one of my favorite Vishal Bhardwaj's compositions. I think I like this song more because of the movie and especially because of when it plays out in the film. I especially like Om Puri's "Kutha Kaun... Police" dialogue inbetween (which aren't part of the lyrics of course!), and it is further proof that Tabu doesn't need to know to dance - she just needs to be in the frame.

Song: Jhin Min Jhiinni
Movie: Maqbool (2003)
Singers: Anuradha Shriram, Sadhana Sargam, Ustad Sultan Khan, Rakesh Pandit

jhin min jhiinii jhin min jhiinii jhin min jhin min jhiinii \-2
siidhii saadhii baate.n baate.n bholii bhaalii
billo merii aa.Nkho.n kii kamiinii
jhin min jhiinii jhin min jhiinii jhin min jhin min jhiinii

jaa_uu.N na jaa_uu.N
jaa_uu.N na jaa_uu.N piyaa kii galii
ra.nge paa.Nv paka.Dii ga_ii jo chalii
chikane chikane aa.Ngan hai.n sayyaa.N ke ghar ke
mai.n chalanaa bhuul ga_ii re sayyaa.N se Dar ke
pagalii kar diinhii.n

jhin min jhiinii jhin min jhiinii jhin min jhin min jhiinii \-2
siidhii saadhii baate.n baate.n bholii bhaalii

jaa_uu.N na jaa_uu.N piyaa kii galii
ra.nge paa.Nv paka.Dii ga_ii jo chalii

aaj hai e maa.N hai rii \-2
mere mahabuubii ke ghar hai rii
desii bidesii me.n Dhuu.NDhe phire huu.No to
jab dekhuu.N more hai rii
aaj hai \-6
aaj hai e maa.N hai rii
mere mahabuubii ke ghar hai rii

jhin min jhiinii jhin min jhiinii jhin min jhin min jhiinii
siidhii saadhii baate.n baate.n bholii bhaalii
billo merii aa.Nkho.n kii kamiinii

jaa_uu.N na jaa_uu.N piyaa kii galii
ra.nge paa.Nv paka.Dii ga_ii jo chalii

hidaa me.n chhupaa ke jiyaa rakh diyaa
hathelii pe jal tuu biyaa rakh diyaa
raushan raushan pairo.n se Kud hii sharmaa_uu.N
mai.n is pag us pag Doluu.N jaa_uu.N naa jaa_uu.N
pagalii kar diinii

jhin min jhiinii jhin min jhiinii jhin min jhin min jhiinii
siidhii saadhii baate.n baate.n bholii bhaalii
billo merii aa.Nkho.n kii kamiinii

jaa_uu.N na jaa_uu.N piyaa kii galii
ra.nge paa.Nv paka.Dii ga_ii jo chalii
chikane chikane aa.Ngan hai.n sayyaa.N ke ghar ke
mai.n chalanaa bhuul ga_ii re sayyaa.N se Dar ke
pagalii kar diinhii.n

more piir paayo \-3
nijaamuddiin auliyaa
qutubuddin auliyaa
kariimuddin auliyaa
alaa_uddiin auliyaa
nasiiruddiin auliyaa

allaah kaa pyaaraa wo to
jag ujiyaaraa wo to
jag ujiyaaraa
aaj hai e maa.N hai rii
mere mahabuubii ke ghar hai rii
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Monday, June 23, 2008

The Amazing Race

An exciting start to an eventful vacation.

On our way to Chennai, my brother and I bumped into a team from the next season of the Amazing Race at the Singapore airport.

Possible spoilers from the next Amazing Race Season ahead.

(Hereafter, "we" refers to me and my elder brother.)

We first noticed them after boarding the same Hong Kong - Singapore flight. Seeing their backpacks and the two cameramen behind, our immediate guess was that they were part of the Amazing Race. However, I didn't get a good look at them when they zipped past my seat and also, I was pretty tired then, so I spent all the time aboard sleeping rather than trying to find out if the guess was right. My brother usually acts as if such things are no big deal, so he didn't snoop around either.

After getting off at the Singapore airport, we were still discussing the possibility while standing in line for our next boarding pass at the Air India counter when they came and stood behind us. We immediately asked them THE question (if they were part of the Amazing Race) and lady said "We don't know what you are talking about."

It wasn't rocket science to figure out the instructions they had - that is to not say anything about the show. We spent few minutes with them and gathered quite a bit of information. The two contestants were representing Philippines, their next destination was Cochin, India (we even got a peek at the blue note with the globe symbol). Since no other team was around, and I think they mentioned a 2 hour lead over another (with some Simon?), my guess is that they were among the final few contestants.

Below is the picture I took with the team in the background (they couldn't pose - they aren't allowed to!). Notice the yellow-red flag and the backpacks with the number 9.

I am sure my brother was equally excited about the whole thing although he will deny it (except in front of our younger brother). After all, we were totally "amazed" by the show once and never missed an episode of the first season.
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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Trees for Tomorrow

It had been a while since I got my hands dirty with mud, sand, rock, seeds and saplings. Went with other volunteers to Glenwood park and planted about 1440 saplings today. Hopefully a lot more than the expected 15% of them will survive.
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Friday, May 09, 2008

Flying Pig

Yippee! I successfully managed to finish the flying pig half marathon in less than 2 hours.

My timings details are here:

The marathon got delayed by 15 minutes because of a fire near the central park area. In fact, because of it, the track was extended by about a quarter of a mile. So, I actually ran about 13.4 miles (21.6 km) in that time.

Me and few of my friends started the marathon from the very end which in retrospect doesn't seem like a good idea to me. The problem wasn't that we made it to the start line 10 minutes after the marathon had officially begun (my clock time was 2:07:32 while my chip time was only 1:57:46) but, it was the getting-past-people part which really got to me. All the zigzagging around to move ahead of slower runners didn't really help at all. And it was pretty crowded until well past the 8th mile - until the half and the full marathon tracks split!

From my timings, what is most surprising to me is that I seem to have completed the 6.8th to the 9th mile in just about 20 minutes which is the eden park upslope area (supposedly the toughest part). I expect to have made up most time between the 9th and the 12th mile - the downslope in Gilbert Ave from MLK to downtown, when I literally sprinted all the way. I was actually amazed at how much easier it is to run downslope, even when you are tired enough to drop down any second. The toughest part of the race, for me, was the final mile in downtown. I kept pushing myself as much as I could but the finish line would never come. I am glad that I could still do the entire thing without having to walk or stop in between (except for tying my shoe laces twice and a few steps while zigzagging around the traffic).

After limping around with sore feet for couple of days, I am now fit and fine and ready to gain the few pounds I have lost in the past 4 months! One thing I have realized is that I am not going to run a full marathon. May be I would be able to finish it, but the training and the effort it requires is a bit too much for me.

Before I sign off on this marathon post, I would like to thank everyone who offered their support to me as well as to AID. As I had mentioned earlier, raising funds for AID has been a major motivation for me throughout my training as well during the actual run. A lot of people seem to have visited my RunForIndia page and have offered their support. Thanks, you guys! Also, a very special thanks to those who have donated for this cause. You all rock!

Btw, if you would like, you are still welcome to donate to AID from my RunForIndia page or from the AID / AID Cincinnati websites.
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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Capitalism without mercy is evil !

This is what I think UC is doing wrt closing down of graduate and family housing.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Flying Pig

I have never been good at any kind of outdoor sport. The only reason I used to looked forward to the "Sports Day"s in school and college was so that I could "bunk" them and get one more day off. Even when it was compulsory for us to attend, I have jumped the fence (literally) on several instances after giving the attendance. So, it was a bit shocking (not to mention funny) to everyone who knows me that I would train for a marathon... i mean a half-marathon!

Those who have played tennis with me would vouch for my lack of stamina - which actually won me several matches (since I used to frustrate them with my "time-out"s). So, I never thought I would be able to run 13 miles at a stretch. Walk - maybe. But run? Nope.

I got interested in the "Flying Pig" thanks to my roommate and his friends. Being competitive, first I just wanted to try and see how far I could go. Of course, running for AID Cincinnati was not a bad idea either. I started my training in Jan. Running the first continuous mile itself was much harder than I had imagined. Now, after 4 months, despite the 3.5 week break I took in between when my proposal work was intense, I am almost at the end of my preparations. I have run 10 miles and 12 miles once (non-stop) at close to 10 mins per mile, which I think is a good enough assurance that I will finish the final run.

Hopefully there will be a post after I cross the finish line successfully on the 3rd.
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Survivor - Micronesia spoilers alert!

Too soon for another survivor post (especially after the big break in-between). However, Ozzy getting snuffed deserves a post. Really glad that he is out. I have hated Ozzy since Ep 1 this time and he seems to have showed his true colors this time around. It was hard considering I was a big fan of his after Cook Islands. But now, I am just glad.

Also, Cirie earns a few brownie points for getting rid of the Oz and is probably the only "favorite" I wouldn't mind winning the game (the chances being pretty bleak though). Just like I lost interest after P.G was out in China, I think I am going to lose interest in couple more episodes, as soon as Jason gets voted off!
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The 3 Rs

Reduce - Reuse - Recycle.

I was always good at the first two but not so good at the third. After getting involved in the Pitch:In & LEAP, have started recycling more at home. And it wasn't that much effort either.

Here is what I have been up to:

There are three kinds of people who (according to me) don't care to recycle: a) Lazy, b) Indifferent & c) Evil ! As long as you are an (a) or a (b) (or a mix of both), there is still hope.

Since my roommates aren't (c), I have been able to convince them (not fully yet though) to recycle more. Of course, setting up separate "bins" for paper and plastic wastes does help.

Hope it makes a difference.
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Friday, April 11, 2008


Back after a long break which probably deserves a long post itself (on what I have been up to). Anyways, that would have to wait. How could I not have a post on Survivor: Micronesia now that we are up to the merge.

Spoilers alert (till Ep 9) :

Now, this season has been pretty disappointing. Usually most of my early survivor picks get voted off immediately, but someone or the other manages to hang around till the last 5 or last 4. This season though, all my picks have been eliminated before the merge (ep 9). But that's not because they played bad and were voted off, but because I haven't had many players to root for.

Going in as fans vs. favorites, I was looking forward to an exciting season. But the only favorites I wanted to root for were Yau and Johnathan. Ami and Eliza were in the next tier of my picks thanks to their alliance with Yau. I wasn't going to root for Johnny fairplay or the "clique" of 4. Cirie was always a wild card who ended up outside my list for eliminating Yau.

They couldn't have done any worse selecting fans. On one hand you had the very shortsighted players like Mikey and Joel, and on the other hand you had quitters Kathy and Chet. I would have liked Tracey if only she were little less annoying and a little more sociable. Anyways, I didn't have any clear picks amongst the fans until the tribes were shuffled (ep 5?).

After the shuffle, my only favorites were Ami and Tracy (not because I shifted allegiance but because I wasn't left with any other choice) who again were eliminated successively. By Ep 9, I was forced to root for Eliza and Jason which again wasn't going to last.

Eliza got the boot today, Jason is about to follow any time he fails to win the immunity. My option if he too gets the boot? No one.

Too sleepy to go over my predictions. Hopefully will continue later - soon enough.
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Monday, February 04, 2008

One more day

No it is not a countdown. Just something that a colleague came up with at work.

Her theory: The best way to increase the productivity at work is to make Wednesdays as part of the weekend (and therefore off). Instead, everyone must be made to work 2 more hours on the other weekdays.

Her logic: In general, nobody works on Mondays and Fridays. A little bit of work does get done on Tuesdays and Wednesdays but the most productive day of the day of the week is certainly the Thursday. And that is because there is just "one more day" before the weekend for people to unwind and relax. Also there is just "one more day" for them to finish their pending work for the week (unless they want to think about work during the weekend).

If Wednesdays were off, then:
i) Mondays and Thursdays are going to be very productive because there will be just "one more day" before the weekend.
ii) Tuesdays and Fridays will be more productive too (Because, as Syndrome clearly stated, "When everyone is super, no one will be". Add to it, the pressure to finish the pending work before the weekend, Voila! People will no longer have the "TGIF" eagerness as before, thereby making weekend's eves more productive.)

Her theory does seem quite compelling (especially since I "work" too). However, since I HAD to argue:

1. If you work 10 hours a day (instead of 8), then, if you take a day off (or if it is a holiday), you lose 2 more hours than in the current system (which needs to be made up for).

2. Assuming the same effect of "one more day" on both Mondays and Thursdays is not correct since we have only one day off after "one more day" after Monday (i.e., Wed), while we have two more days off after "one more day" after Thursday (i.e, Sat, Sun). Similarly, the effects on Tues and Fri need to be considered separately in more detail as well.

3. Going by the current definition of the week, Wednesday does not come at the end of week. So, we would have to either change the definition of the "week" or change that of the "weekend"
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Sunday, January 20, 2008

I wish

I wish people were a little more compassionate.
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Saturday, January 05, 2008

Coincidences? Or just an idle brain?

I saw the movie "Girl with a Pearl Earring" today and kept thinking about some really odd coincidences.

Although I had seen a picture of Johannes Vermeer's painting before, I didn't know the name of the painting until very recently. Even then, I didn't know that there was a movie with the same name and also, I happened to get the dvd of this movie entirely by chance.

A crucial scene in this movie very closely resembles an incident that happened during my first year in college. Strangely enough, I was talking to "Bawa" about that exact same "Nandu Varuthu... Nari Varuthu..." incident just 2 days back (we spent quite some time trying to remember the name of the persons involved).

I read in a book sometime last week about how everything in the universe is interrelated and how life "just works" and how if I look, I will be able to find too many coincidences everyday.

I wasn't really trying to find any coincidences now, but having watched the movie, all these things kept coming to my mind and I was wondering if it were all more than just coincidences.

May be it is just the effect of the book. May be not. But, it sure feels surreal.
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