Saturday, December 22, 2007


n. euphoric state attained due to excessive enjoyment of vacations

Well since I googled this word and found no word to match this exactly, I reckon Abhinav and I have indeed invented a new word. All we now need is three more people using the word on a regular basis, a writer who includes the word in his/her new book and lo! Thou shalt have the latest entry into the dictionary. ;)

Okay that was incredibly cynical of me, probably a bit conceited (don't ask me the history of this word's association with this word, it would take the story of the entire semester to do justice to the explanation) but still incredibly true.

Meanwhile, I am still suffering from a severe case of vacationophobia (the suffix phobia is quite misleading here, it seems) and reveling in the frustratingly blissful yet disturbing inactivity.

It's almost one year since I started blogging and the change in the frequency of my posts says everything about my desire to express. And let me tell you one thing. If you want to blog more frequently and have a mind that works like mine, make sure you have fewer wing debates. The act of saying or writing the same thing twice is too cumbersome for yours truly.

And amidst all the incessantly unnecessary ramblings that I'm spewing out like…well, I'm feeling too lazy to either cook up or find any simile…so I'll just leave it at that.

Last word: While you surf the net, those of you who've not seen Vineet's team up message, do check it out here.

Monday, December 3, 2007


Hatred is such a strong word.

Wonder what it really implies though.

I mean, you hate many things around you but all those things seem to be the things you actually can’t do without. Like when you hate yourself for forgetting the birthday of your best friend of ten years, or when you begin to avoid the company of another of your pals just because you feel you’re being looked at as ‘one’ entity – always seen together, celebrating together, joking together – and you don’t want to lose your individuality.

Maybe it is bitterness at what you’ve become yourself – an image of someone you neither anticipated nor desired to be. Or maybe it’s just a simple hatred of yourself because you think you’re wasting your time - that you should be doing more revolutionary things, more radical things than blogging on the eve of a comprehensive exam. Or maybe it’s just frustration at your inability to come up with an appropriate title for the blog post you’ve just typed and anger at the fact that you just want to post it on your blog at the soonest, so you just post it under the heading of the first word of the post.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


What is an epiphany? Is it merely realizing something you had stored in the back of your mind – the solutions to all your problems for example – or is it realizing that something and acting accordingly?

But then again, what do I know about epiphanies? Unless…it is the realization of the fact that it is probably time to stop being so dreamy…to stop being so abstract…to stop dealing in fuzzy measures and to begin weighing everything in concrete terms…in terms you can quantify…

The abstract is a part of me. I love imagining. I love dreaming. Like when I say my dream is to buy Manchester United Football Club, so that I can have access to the Director's box for every match. ;-)

Probably the epiphany does not lie so much in realization as it does in the choice it brings in tow…

Saturday, November 3, 2007


A large window. A beautiful horizon. An attainable dream. A chain holding me back.

The only light that I see comes from the few rays that escape that beautiful scene. I don't want it to be night any more. I don't wish for it to go dark. Because the light will fade. And the dream would vanish. And all that I would be left with is nothing but despair.

An endless cycle. A vicious cycle. Time and space all merging into one. My entire being shivering.

Words have failed me. My mental faculties have deserted me. Is this some crippling disease?

And then the night comes. I look out of that same window. A vast ocean lies before me. An endless whisper of waves seduces me into making the decision. The chain suddenly comes off. I am on the brink…on the edge…teetering between despair and nothingness. I choose nothingness. As I enter the water, I don't feel the freezing cold, or the pain of a thousand pointed swords stabbing at me. All I feel is ecstasy. I am free. I have left. At last, I found something – the emptiness inside me at one with the emptiness in the belly of the ocean. Freed from everything I despised at last.

Friday, September 14, 2007

A Moment for the Technologically Inept

Things have been much easier ever since I discovered the way to blog directly from Microsoft Word 2007. No big deal, you might say, but it probably is for someone as technologically challenged, as resistant to change as yours truly. Funny thing you might say – a would-be engineer confessing about his apparent lack of technological aptitude – but it is true. I have a cell phone which I've never ever bothered to explore – all I do or rather, find reason to do is to make/receive calls, save contact information (read phone numbers) and send/receive messages. All I've done with an iPod is to ask about the storage space in the particular machine – as far as listening to songs goes, it's much easier pressing the play button and listening to whatever song that's on than to search for my favourite song.

In short, I'm technologically inept, or should I say challenged because that simply sounds better. Probably the only thing I've a good feeling about is computers, probably not because I claim to be any good at it, but more because of the ease with which I can use it. It's simple really – if you want to access the internet, just open the browser, type in the required URL and wait for the page to load. If you want to type in a document, just open a word processor, type in the content and print it out. There's no need to really know anything beyond this, especially if you are a home/office user whose profession requires computing as a cosmetic tool to improve productivity rather than as a fundamental requirement integral to success. Once though, you begin to dig deeper, it does become more and more difficult for you to have as much ease in doing your thing on the computer as you had earlier.

The point I am trying to make is that it is this abstraction which has, while attracting lots of people towards computers as tools for productivity, inhibited the integration of computing machines into our daily lives. So much more can be done with computers, but do we bother? No, because we'd much rather maintain our daily expenses in a diary than fill out the spreadsheet workspace with the same. Because the minutes wasted in just booting up the computer and starting Word might be better utilized in enhancing and embellishing your words to write stuff you're actually proud of. Because, though e-mail may be faster, longer and more intimate because of the magic of words, you'd rather call up your friend and talk to him/her just to make sure that his voice still carries that same closeness, the same confidence and the same comfort level as it once did.

So is this a pointless exercise – aiming for complete computer integration into our lives? Is it too much to ask for?

I don't think so, for even though the world of computing has become trapped into a mire of bulky programs/software slowing down the fastest processors ever (reportedly), high-end computers failing to satisfy user requirements of performance, people still asking for more speed despite the fact that our systems are a hundred times faster than systems of a decade ago and endless debates over open-source and closed-source software, I believe we will break this trap. I believe we will come up with platform-independent software that actually provide the functionality we need at high speeds by making full use of the CPU resources – that too while being fully secure. I believe we will come up with hardware components that shall reflect this change in computing – this change which shall reflect speed of thought, process and connectivity. And above all, I believe computing can be taken to the masses, by making the rules and syntaxes as simple as the rules of daily thinking.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A Return to the Fold

To quote Saurya,

Blogicide. Almost.

Hell, they say 2-1 is the lightest semester of them all. I beg to differ. It's more like 2-1 is the lightest semester, if you consider the number of classes you attend. Otherwise, you find yourself drowning in a mire of mismanaged time, endless activities on campus and general wing enthusiasm.

8th September was my birthday - the first time I went through the rites of actually being on the receiving end of birthday bumps - bumps, rapid fire and what not. Eye-opening experience really. Guess all those whimpers and screams of pain are for real!

So, do I have anything interesting to write about today? I don't know. I don't even know why I didn't have anything to write all these days, especially seeing that time has been flying past me. It seems like I'm stuck in a time warp where everything else seems to have lost significance…I keep doing the same things over and over again…with varying degrees of interest – sometimes with gusto, sometimes with curiosity and at others, just mechanically pursuing the motions. All of this sounds familiar – I wonder if it means I'm getting into a rut…

The strongest feeling of déjà vu I had this semester was when I registered for the course on ASP.NET. It was the same form I'd filled up last semester when I signed for the same course (For all the curious ones out there who want to know why I signed up for the same course twice, I dropped out midway through last semester. Guess my ego didn't feel comfortable with that decision and so I signed up for the course again this time around.) and all the columns had to be similarly filled, except for the date. Depressing really. Especially when you think of the dreams of dynamism I always harbour. So does this mean I'm getting into a rut? If it does, then the reasons from my absence from the blogosphere are apparent enough..

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Switch Off???

With notices everywhere proclaiming 'Switch Off' in the most attention-seeking way, you can't help but do the very thing that's asked on these posters. Avoiding electricity wastage is probably one of the best ways to reduce the shortfall in electricity generation as compared to the demand, and the 'Switch Off' campaign pursued by the Rotaract Club on campus probably stresses on that.

One of the greatest problems with the world's campaign against Global warming is that we get too caught up in the bleak statistics and the doomsday scenarios. Okay, that does not mean I don't believe in such predictions. I just believe such unceasingly depressing predictions take away the most important factor in the campaign - the role of the individual. We get so caught up either sensationalizing the issue or following its sensational treatment at the hands of the media that we tend to ignore the little things we all can do to contribute towards tackling this giant of a problem.

At the same time, I wish people would also talk of issues like vanishing species, reduced tree cover, endanged ecosystems - a result of imbalance in species, and the like in the same breath as global warming. The only reason I say this is because there is a close relationship between everything I've mentioned above and to speak of one without the others is to present an incomplete picture of the environmental issues that plague us. Only, very few people actually manage to do that. Hats off to those who do! They probably are the ones who really want to make a difference.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

60 Years of Independence

I'm afraid I don't have much to write in this post. Is it the case of a writer's block? Or is it that I've just run out of things to write about? Or do both these things mean the same and I've begun this post crapping?

For all the miserable net speeds in BITS and the related problems arising due to that, I've realized the truth in an argument that might claim there are no original thoughts out there in the thought-sphere. After all, whenever over the last few days, I've sat down to write something, whether it be my blog post or something else, I've realized midway with a jolt that whatever I wanted to say, it had already been said or it was being said even as I wrote it.

On to a different track now: Today is India's Independence day. 60 years of Independence - that's what all the headlines proclaim. I remember vividly the occasion when we celebrated 50 years of independence and the ten intervening years seem to have lost their discrete meanings and blended into one. I don't know how time flew by, but I guess it's been quite a journey for me since then. I'd like to believe that I've changed for the better during these times, having learnt a lot about things in general.

But of course, today isn't about me, nor about another of its citizens. It's about the country itself, about the promise we always have managed to show. And that makes me wonder whether ten years down the line, we will all be talking about the promise we show. After all we did the same ten years ago, and while the last decade saw a lot of progress on our part, the world too maintained its progress march, and we remained the rising, albeit the rising who ascend fast...

Saturday, July 28, 2007

I Wonder...

Last night was rainy. The raindrops came down together - like a sheet - a translucent obstruction in my line of vision. As I stood on the balcony staring at the fading light and then, at the man-made lights coming to life, I wondered how it would feel to be a bird crouched in its nest, trying to shield itself unsuccessfully from the drops which the leaves on the tree can't protect it from. I wondered how it would feel to be the wet grass, revelling in the luscious feel of the raindrops, for they can only mean one thing - sustenance. And then I wondered - when was the last time I let myself soak in the rain, not worrying about how I could catch a cold out there or about the things I needed to do and the jobs that I needed to complete? Where has all the romance gone? Where has the joy of life gone? Have I become the one thing I didn't want to become - a machine-like person not caring or appreciating the beauty that nature has wrought around us? I wonder...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Of Open Source, Patents et al

As the open-source v/s closed source debate rages on with companies and brands on either side of the fence each trying to gain the upper hand, it seems that Microsoft has started to change its policies to ensure sustained control of the software markets.

A perfect example of this is Microsoft's policy in China which includes tolerating piracy - one of the reasons why China has not yet woken up to the Linux-driven open-source revolution. Apparently, it took Microsoft nearly 15 years of struggle in the Chinese markets and billions of lost dollars to formulate its plan of pricing its products at the lowest possible rates and working in sync with the Chinese government - a policy that has paid dividends. Apparently Bill Gates says that while it was terrible that people in China pirated so much software, if they were going to pirate anybody's software he'd certainly prefer it be Microsoft's.

So does this prove that Microsoft is worried about maintaining its long-standing dominance of the software markets? You bet. Open-source is both the present and the future. Why must Windows be priced exorbitantly when all its features (and even some more powerful than those) are present in Linux which you can all download and use for free? The people in Redmond realize this grave threat to business and there are some policies which indicate changes are afoot.

For example, take the instance of Microsoft releasing Visual Studio Express Editions for free. Maybe it realizes that with so many languages all packed with platform-independent features available in the market (Java, Python to name a few) it can't afford to rely on its Windows environment to ensure the survival of its Visual Studio suite. And hence the available free downloads (albeit with restricted features yet enough of them to be going on with.)

So is Microsoft going the 'free' way? Apparently not, if reports of patent terrorism are to be believed.

So will it finally give up its policy of trying to preserve its intellectual property by obfuscation? Will it realize that opening up their source codes will accelerate the development of computing? Doesn't look like it.

For the biggest argument that closed-source has is the attempt to protect intellectual property at all costs. Time for that to change, methinks.

Speaking of protection of intellectual property, there is interesting and most disturbing evidence emerging of an increasing number of lawsuits by inventors of new treatment technologies, citing infringement of their intellectual property that is threatening to interfere with effective treatment of patients. I mean, imagine what happened if you went for a surgery where it would take three weeks to recover fully instead of one where you could be up and running in three days flat only because the latter is protected by patents all over the board.

Perhaps it is time we looked hard and long at the concept of intellectual property and patents and did something to change the fact that the current system is proving to be a hindrance to progress and innovation.

Friday, July 20, 2007

A New Task at Hand: Probashi Bong Pseudo Intellectuals

For all the talk about the eccentricities and idiosyncrasies of Bongs all over the world (hey I just used a tautology, didn't I?), for all our endless chatter and discussions and (allow me to say so) addas, this is possibly the most concrete step we've taken with regards to letting the world know about what we feel. And that's precisely why we've set up this forum which imbibes two keywords that form an integral part of my identity and that of the rest of the team: Probashi Bong.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, presenting before you the forum: Probashi Bong Pseudo Intellectuals

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Stir It Up!!!

Hope all of you explored and appreciated the new colours on the blog. I hope it comes across for what I meant it to be - something completely different from the old layout, something bright, gay and over-the-top (though I don't think it is still so over-the-top as I'd have liked it to be) Of course, the change didn't just happen for the sake of it. I changed the layout simply for the lack of something better to do. The bliss of inactivity you might say but I prefer to call it 'encountering the perils of an idle mind'.
After all, isn't it ironical that a title (and a post) I've been thinking of writing about for the last month or so, sees the light of the day so late during my vacations? Probably not, I guess. It's probably a case of actually stirring things up and then acquiring the right to talk about it - at least that's what the blogger's ego inside of me wants to believe. Evidently, for all the philosophies and crap this mind can spout, the feeling of actually doing the said things is definitely better than the eternal philosophizing.
See the thing is, with hardly ten days worth of vacations remaining and having enjoyed two precious months worth of vacations, I had simply run out of things to do. My stock of interesting BITsian tales had apparently exhausted itself long ago (the remainder of these tales were the inside jokes and stories, which people in the outside world can surely never appreciate.) I'd reduced myself to watching re-runs of movies - for the first time, I realized how few movies are actually shown on TV - after all it's all about repeat telecasts. And of course, even sleep deserted me - an extra six-hour nap to go with my twelve-hour sleeping routine could have helped me to get rid of that boredom.
So, with the seemingly futile prospect of killing time in any and whatever way possible, I decided to stir it up. And hence the change in colours.
Needless to say, this change was the only stirring up I did. After it, I felt weak, troubled and exhausted - all a result of the toll inactivity had exacted on me. And now, to bring a sort of closure to this episode (and also to my desire for radical change) I chose to write about why I actually decided to change the layout. After all, this blog might be stuck with the same layout until another bout of inactivity hits me and I decide to stir it up all over again.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Wah Taj!

Well, isn't this what we found splashed all across our television screens on the morning of the 8th. With the satisfaction of averting a self-dreamt national insult behind us, people went all out to celebrate (or so the media would have us believe) The most ironic thing that I find though within hours of declaring 'THE NEW 7 WONDERS OF THE WORLD', the same website now calls for 'THE 7 NEW NATURAL WONDERS OF THE WORLD' - a list that is to be announced on 8.8.08.

Probably this is something that is beyond what I think - in other words, it does not matter what I think about this...after all, everything is done and dusted and the list - a result of millions of votes from across the world - has been released. But I do question the validity of this list.

How do you define a wonder? This in itself is a very subjective question and the boundary lines which differentiate this question from others on many aesthetic and metaphysical issues are probably so blurred that I'd rather not go into this topic.

Of more interest to me is the nature of people who have voted in this poll. The obvious fact that most of the people who've voted haven't ever visited the monuments they have voted for. Can such a voter imagine the awe that must fill a devotee when he/she stands in the shadow of Christ the Redeemer atop the Sugarloaf mountain in Rio? Can such a voter feel the throb of a hunger for blood and savagery which a gladiatorial bout in the Colosseum would have elicited centuries ago? Can such a voter truly appreciate the ingenuity involved in building the Great Wall of China for the purpose of imperial defence?

Instead of a survey that weighed in these factors plus many more like architectural ingenuity and difficulty, significance and symbolism, we got a poll where heavily populated nations could dominate the voting and hence push forth their candidates.

All said and done, I feel that the bottom line remains as to how we can compare these great monuments and grade them as better than the other. How can we choose to honour some monuments and not others, despite the fact that they all stand for the same thing - the triumph of human creativity and ingenuity as mankind strove (as it still does) for a world that stands for comfort, beauty, love and happiness.

Old Skool...

I was watching an episode of Doogie Howser, M.D., during one of its re-runs earlier today, and there was this brilliant quote -

"They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Maybe if we all spent a little less time beholding -- We'd be a lot happier."

Simple and meaningful, ain't it?

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Why Tiger Woods' Quest for Golfing Immortality is Tougher than Roger Federer's Shot at All-Time Tennis Supremacy

Well, this is another one of those long-title posts, though I doubt the contents will be as long. Just for some background info though, let it make it clear to all that I'm both a Tiger Woods and a Roger Federer fan, so do not doubt me for someone who favours one over the other.

I just mean to say that Woods' shot at trying to surpass Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 major wins is a task that i difficulty, surpasses Federer's attempt at beating Sampras' record of 14 Grand Slam wins. Here are the reasons why-

1) In golf, you compete not only against your opponents but also against the golf course, which in short means nature itself. After all, the conditions on the golf course may change in an instant. In tennis though, you at least have the luxury of knowing that if the conditions change, they will be equally difficult for both the players.

2) No sportsman has generated as much fear in the hearts of opponents as Tiger has done, though Federer comes a close second.

3) This one clinches it for me - Tiger's will to win. He rebuilt his swing when he was at the top of his game just to make sure that by the time the field caught up to his standards then, he would be miles ahead on his own.

Having said all this, I must acknowledge that both of this gentlemen are great sportsmen who embody the whole gamut of values that sports are supposed to generate in a sportsman. And as a sports man, I feel privileged to live in an era when we see these two giants of their sport chase sporting immortality even after they've both achieved greatness.

P.S. All said and done, today's final between Roger and Rafa was the best men's tennis match I saw since Sampras beat Agassi 6-7 7-6 7-6 7-6 in the 2001 US Open quarter finals. Kudos to both players!

Sunday, July 1, 2007


6/30/2007, 10:24 PM

This is my last night in Pune for quite some time, as it now seems to appear from the plans that we've made for ourselves. Of course, even the best laid plans have loopholes in them, and they do tend to allow themselves to be modified by situations, occurrences and people.

The trip in itself, while being quite delightful (if only because I met many old acquaintances - among them friends and relatives), was an experience in itself for me, primarily because it was the first housewarming ceremony I've ever been a part of. It's kind of strange how even the most simple-seeming event of coming to live in a house can lend itself to all sorts of pomp, celebration and rituals.

I wonder how all this started - I mean, the observance of housewarming. Did the rituals originate out of a desire to please the Gods and seek their blessings at the start of this new abode one begins to inhabit? Did the pomp arise out of the need to express fully - in a truly extrovert way - the joy of moving into a new home? Did the celebrations start as an attempt to celebrate the big and small joys of life - moving into a new home being one of them? And do these questions really matter with all things being observed the way they are and everything happening the way things such as these usually do? If any one has any theory related to this, or better still, the answers to these questions, I'd love to listen to them.

I believe that questions are one of the many that can be asked when we deal with matters of faith and belief. After all, what is faith but an unwavering belief in a curious hunch we have? That hunch being the belief that there is something greater at work in our lives and in those of people around us, something which makes us part of a whole - a whole that is integral to the working of the entire universe, a whole which has so many cogs in the form of all things - animate and inanimate - yet which cannot work properly even if a single cog breaks down and stops functioning without a ready replacement. What is faith but a round-about way of glorifying oneself and making one believe that one is important enough to be the cynosure of a pair of eyes (maybe more) watching over one, from somewhere in the universe?

I now remember that night last semester when I was having some fun at a formatting session with our EPC psenti-semites. That was the first time when I'd really met and gotten to know them and amidst all the fun, just as we were going to ANC, trying to alleviate our fear that there was too much matter to publish and we'd have to bring out a 10-page issue or worse, a 12-page issue, Shibanka da asked me (out of the blue, mind you) about the school of philosophy I can most relate to. And to his vote for existentialism, I replied with a word which I'm not quite sure is a school of philosophy at all - that word being individualism.

For me, my faith is an extension of my individual identity. It is mine and mine alone, and I can explain it to no one - not my friends, nor my family. It is the thing that keeps my ship sailing when I find negative thoughts crowding my brain. My faith helps me live through all those periods of self-doubt that I have all too often. It gees me up when I wonder if I'm good enough to do something…it keeps me grounded and modest when I feel the elation of accomplishment, constantly reminding me that there are tougher challenges to come and taller achievements to conquer…it keeps me upbeat when things go wrong, reminding me of the countless times I've learnt from mistakes.

That is why I can’t explain where I place my faith. That is why I can't describe the voice which my polymorphic faith assumes. All I can describe is what it does for me - it gives me a reason to believe in myself, to expect something good to emanate from whatever faculties I possess and to appreciate all the things I should be grateful for in my life.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Every Other Person Seems to Be Blogging Nowadays and I Love the Blogosphere for It!!!

I remember reading somewhere (and please excuse my memory for not remembering where) that the first step towards creating something that makes an interesting read is the title. It's like if you make a good impression on the reader, he will read your stuff and the way to making a good impression is to have a most eye-grabbing, attention-catching title. The author went on to elaborate how short titles are always more preferable to long ones (Guess Borat makers didn't read this stuff.) But that isn't going to stop me from putting up this post with this title, because I'm part of this non-conformist world driven by an undercurrent called the Information Revolution...because there is no longer one right way and many wrong ways to do things...because new ideas are welcome thoughts are appearing at will because of our willingness to accept each person as a different individual with thoughts, behaviour and mentality completely different from the person beside him/her...because at last, we realize that just as many problems can have multiple solutions, many things can be done in multiple ways.

So how has this river of non-conformism and independent thinking swept us away? I don't know for sure, although I am a part of this. Probably it is the sudden upsurge of people expressing themselves that has created so many independent threads of thoughts - all snaking about, intertwining, sparring, concurring and debating with each other. The sheer number of these leave me wondering whether there are new thoughts at all...But that's something I'll leave for another post...

I just returned from a short break from home yesterday and let me tell you, I had more than my fair share of blog posts to check out - Saurya, Rachit, Nilanjana, Swapnil, Ramya, Rajat, Rishabh (not necessarily in the same order - I've got to be politically correct here) - with each blog having multiple posts. And then the thought struck me like a bolt of lightening that is all so common in these rainy days - how do people whose blogrolls stretch on and on, keep track of what their friends are writing? If there are say, ten people on your blogroll and each of them posts 10 entries per month - that translates into 100 different threads of thought every month. Just imagine that the number of people in the blogging world is many thousand times the number I just quoted in the earlier example.

This, for me is the real power of blogging, of internet, and of freedom of speech in general. Discussions are no longer confined to being held in hurried whispers with fears of being caught hanging like a spectre over one's head; opinions are no longer withheld for fear of not meeting with approval. People want to be heard, they want their thoughts to count or they just want to release their thoughts and feelings out of their systems - and many (yours truly being one of them) have, among other things turned to blogging to do just that.

The concept of a thought sphere - a ambiguous, non-real entity supposed to contain all the info in the minds of all the people on this earth - is now truly realized in the form of the blogosphere. It contains info, opinions, general crap - everything. But above all, I feel it tells me how all humans differ from each other, especially when two people see the same thing, yet write different interpretations of it in their blogs.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Promise of A New World

I swore to myself when I started this blog that I'd never have 'techie' posts here. It's my belief that unless you are a very good sci-fi author with oodles of imagination to supplement tons of ability with words, you can't make techie stuff appear good reads for everybody; and since I haven't proved myself to be either, hence the reason for my resolve.

But over the last few days, two things have caught my attention and excited me to such an extent that I've now broken my aforementioned golden rule, not once but twice in quick succession. The first of course, was the concept of $100 laptops; the second is the incredible concept of surface computing.

To know more about this, you can look over the papers from a couple of days ago, or you could wiki it, or just visit the homepage of Microsoft Surface. This is hardly a place for putting up all the details of the project since I do not know everything, nor am I an expert in this field. But it is the possible reach of this enterprise that excites me.

This is possibly the first genuine step to make computing a part of our daily life, and I mean computers as a integral part of everything we do. Okay, it is a big part even today; but computers are still ensconced within the traditional display, input and processing devices - at least to the general public. Sure there are microprocessors everywhere - as traditional microprocessors or microcontrollers, but they are not quite capable of multi-tasked all round computing, are they? (Do correct me if I am wrong in saying any of this) But Microsoft Surface is the first attempt at breaking this notion.

It's probably too early to say this, but I think we are heading for a Star Wars style world full of computers and devices having brilliant computing capability. We are heading towards an exciting, brave new world where our creations - machines led by computers - will enable us to reach greater heights of progress and technical advancement. It takes software and hardware development and inter-relation to a whole new level altogether. And these are the reasons why, this new concept excites me. Despite all the immediate inflated costs and stuff, this shows the way towards the next generation in computer evolution.

I wonder whether Alan M. Turing, when he invented the first computing machine, ever imagined this stage in computer evolution. If he did and had he been alive, wouldn't he be having a smile on his face on this day, looking at the direction his invention his original invention is taking and the limitless possibilities it is providing to mankind? And if he didn't, wouldn't he still be happy that his invention has reached such zeniths, with even more peaks to scale?

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Modern Day Cynicism

A six-day break from blogging for no reason other than the lack of stuff to write - that's been the story of the past week for me at home. But on the flip side, while I haven't had much to express, I've had a lot to observe, a lot to mull upon and finally, something to write about.

To start with let's look at some of the major news stories from the past week:

  • Agitations in Rajasthan over the OBC reservation issues - pity that certain groups of people consider fighting for a right to circumvent the path everyone has to take as a righteous struggle; pity that even after 60 years of independence, the specter of reservations haunts us.
  • The FBI foiled a planned attack on the JFK airport in NY.
  • The progress of the monsoons hits a roadblock with the formation of a cyclone 800 km southwest of Mumbai.
  • There were fears of an outbreak of smallpox in Bangladesh and Myanmar, which eventually turned out to a false alarm with the WHO confirming it as an outbreak of measles.
  • NDTV expose purportedly showing the collusion between the prosecution and the defence in the sensational BMW hit-and-run case aired on TV.

Now, the print media did dwell on each of these issues in some length or the other although one could argue that they had to do so for fear of lacking the necessary content to fill up the few blanks within their pages. After all, you can't fill a whole newspaper with advertisements - not that TOI and some others would mind.

Let's look at the television media on the other hand. Each of these events appeared, yes, but with sensational claims, twists and turns along the way. And that brings me to the point of asking whether the media in the country looks for news in search of the truth or is sensationalism the major criterion for breaking news. Whatever it is, the phenomenon of television ratings and market share seems to have caught up with the media, causing an overkill of sensational, eye-grabbing headlines - some true, some blown-up beyond proportion.

I do wonder sometimes whether today's media - the self-style voice and saviour of the people - care about the people themselves whose cause they are fighting for. The general cynicism and lack of preparation that goes into the coverage of news stories is all so apparent to me. News channels have become an extension of tabloid tattle, whereby issues like celebrity hookups are given supreme priority. And when the issues that really matter do come to the fore, one can be rest assured it's due to the sensation potential of that issue. Add to that the bias regarding many many issues that are covered - and you realize that Indian media, amidst all the cynicism, is ill.

It is this cynicism that we have to rid our mindsets of. For I believe a reason for the widespread cynicism in the media is that the people themselves demand it. When you are in the business of selling news to people, you better give them what they want; and it seems this is what is happening in India at the moment.

However, that does not mean there are no good journalists out there. There are people who are doing a really good job out there. Without taking names, I'll be the first one to admit that there are people in the media who earnestly believe in their duty as the voice of the people and try to bring out real issues from beneath the cloak of sensationalism. And I for one hope that the number of this increasingly rare breed of journalists sees a considerable increase.

Monday, May 28, 2007

$100 Laptops

Does Intel fear the $100 laptops? Such is the title of an article on CNN Money which you can read here. These $100 laptops, manufactured under the brand name of XO laptops as per a project called OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) Programme, aim at bringing the power of computers and the Internet into the lives of children from developing nations. An analysis of the technical specifications for the laptop can be found on ars technica.

A project which has the whole computing world watching and anticipating with bated breath with all the big software and hardware companies showing considerable interest (read this piece here for more on this), the XO project is possibly the most radical idea to come out in computer sciences since their speedy inception - an idea that is as fantastic as it is difficult, an idea which has been borne out of a single minded dedication of the people involved to create a non-profit machine which will help children across the world take advantage of the computer revolution that has failed to touch their lives till now.

Sure there are detractors...and the competition is only just heating up, with Intel bringing out its Classmate machines which will be prices just a little higher but probably provide better computing capabilities. (A comparative study of OLPC's XO laptop and Intel's Classmate can be found here on CNN Money.)

So how does this bode for the world of computing? It all depends, of course, on the sales that OLPC can make - something that should be clear by the end of 2008. Indeed, it is a testament to the potential of these laptops - whether for being a harbinger of an educational revolution or for being a great opportunity in marketing computing solutions and products across the globe - that everybody from Google to Microsoft to Dell is involved/trying to get involved in this project which initially meant to work on and open source platform (Linux). For me, after reading this stuff, I just hope that the target of this project isn't overshadowed by some marketing war that comes up between OLPC and Intel with regards to their respective products or by the politics that may get in the way of the XO sales (a very distinct possibility since governments are involved).

All said and done, this is a beautiful concept which deserves to achieve fruition beyond the wildest dreams of its creators. After all, it will bring a smile on the faces of children across the globe, won't it?

And a last word on this: Apparently, India is planning to create a $10 laptop, aimed at outshining the OLPC endeavours, though I wonder whether it's a genuine attempt or just a hoax to gain some publicity.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Thing About Reminiscence

"That's why we have the blogs my friend....for all the crap in the world.....let it spout freely like the blood from Ceaser's mouth in Calphurnia's dreams"

Well, let me start this post with this quote by Saurya. And yes, check out the logic he's dishing out on his blog these days. You'll like it, not in the least because of the humour, that I can tell you.

Okay, now to the issue at hand, which is obviously related to the title - probably a side-effect of me being too uptight or me craving symmetry, reason and relation in everything I do - Reminiscence. Obviously, with the year having come to a close (the academic year of course), every second person from BITS I talk to/chat has gone into what I call the 'bleary-eye' mode, with attitudes varying from elation to downright disappointment - elation of having shrug off the tag of being the newbies on campus and curiously, disappointment of having experienced (but not noticed) one year go by like a blur, which of course means that our BITsian life has one less year remaining...Am I making any sense there?

See, the thing with reminiscing is it's probably most suited for occasions when we've finished with some thing, for good that is. So, if the world does turn on its head and starts spinning from east to west, making me bring to reality the least probable event that would see me reminisce about my first year, it surely won't be happening in the next three years...and even then when I do become a psenti-semite spending his last few days at college or better still, as a fresh pass-out, I'd probably end up pursuing more pressing interests rather than reminisce.

Ah yes, I said it! Reminiscing should be reserved for times when you feel you've achieved something. It should be about looking back on a job well done, learning from the way you approached the task and trying to incorporate that approach in your future endeavours (oh look at me, spewing fundas like a guru!) But yeah, that's pretty much how I feel about the entire thing. So next time you see me sitting about deep in thought, understand in advance that it's the present and the future, rather than the past, in my thoughts.

Of course, if my blog does have elements of reminiscence in the posts, I'll take the most hypocritical route to any question of that nature and say, 'Do not look at past posts for that is evidence of reminiscence themselves...Besides, I haven't reminisced in the past posts...I've merely gone into a retrospective mode...Broaden your minds and look to the future posts,' though of course why anyone needs to broaden his/her mind while trying to read the crap I'm putting here is anybody's guess.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

What I Learnt Today: 22nd May 2007

  • Humans manage complexity through abstraction. For example, people do not think of a car as a set of tens of thousands of individual parts. They think of it as a well-defined object with its own unique behavior. This abstraction allows people to use a car to drive to the grocery store without being overwhelmed by the complexity of the parts that form the car. They can ignore the details of how the engine, transmission, and braking systems work. Instead they are free to utilize the object as a whole. (quoted from some e-book whose title I've no idea about)

  • Have you ever felt the value of something only when you're forced to do without it...Sort of like people realizing how invaluable Paul Scholes really was to Manchester United only after he sat out half of the last season with his eye problem? Well, that's the sort of thing I'm facing these hols. Gone is the joy of solitude, the peace of lonely toil and the ecstasy of a free-spirited will looking to roam the skies. Instead, it's been replaced by more mundane things like waiting for a good movie to be broadcast on TV, thinking about what great dish Ma is going to whip up next and worrying about when the maintenance guys will heed the calls to keep filling up the water tanks more frequently (or maybe it's just that water is more scarce these days, so he can't help but fill the tanks less frequently)

  • A label list that extends for more than a single screen view doesn't look too good, so it's better to do away with it. That and Blogger being the great tool it is, I can put it back any time I feel the need.

  • The best stress-buster is shallow thinking. The more you think about something, the more tense it can make you. I envy all the guys out there who've been accused of having the emotional range of a teaspoon (in J K Rowling's words) by others. At least you won't be giving in to stress sometime soon.

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Experience of A Lifetime!

Well okay, I am exaggerating...and believe me, exaggeration is the proper word for it...well, what I'm referring to is my journey from Pilani to Jaipur on the night of 11th May - more precisely, the stretch of journey from Pilani to Chirawa in a Rajasthan State Transport Bus. Wait a minute! Did I just write 'in'? Wrong! I meant to say 'on'.

This is what happens when you have way too much luggage and too little space inside the bus to accommodate the the conductor insists on piling on more and more passengers - paying no heed to the creaking parts of the bus, indicating a considerable strain on the bus' load bearing capacity. Indeed, it was out of compulsion rather than due to a weird and highly strung sense of adventure that we - that is, Dhruv and I - decided to act as watchdogs for our luggage and sit atop the bus along with fifteen other crazy men for whom such a daring act of reckless courage (as it appeared to us, of course) was a part of daily commuting.

The experience could well be described as something that brought the both of us closer to heaven - both figuratively and literally. Indeed when I think about it with the gift of hindsight firmly embedded within my senses, I thank my stars for the adrenaline rush that I felt when I began climbing the mini-ladder at the back of the stationary bus at the Pilani bus stop. It was this adrenaline rush that prevented a outpouring of fear while I calmly sat there on the roof - enjoying the blanket of stars above on that moonless night, reveling in the silky touch of the night and mentally philosophizing over the silent night.

Thankfully, the 15 minutes of madness or adventure (whichever you choose to call it) were over in a jiffy and we retook our places within the bus.

And in case you were wondering what happened to our luggage, it was still there on top of the bus throughout the journey, but our luck held and we got everything back safely once the bus pulled up into Jaipur bus station.

As they say, all is well that ends better.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A Curious Paradox

I've been back home for a day now, and the strangest part is that there is a strange ethereal quality about the outside world now - outside world as in the world outside of BITS - a world that is not bounded by Gym G to the east, C'not to the south, SAC to the west and the Central Library to the north - a world that is not confined to BITS and BITsians alone. It sort of affirms what I've come to realize about the isolation of Pilani and within it, BITS.

I mean, within BITS, it's only the happenings on campus that really matter or make a difference to my daily life. Probably, for the last year or so, the only kind of news that I've kept myself abreast of is regarding football and Manchester United FC in particular. Of course, I don't mean to say that I could not have followed other developments had I wanted to do so, but that is exactly my point.

Within BITS, I've never felt the inclination to follow politics, crime, business and whatever other things I've never been disinterested with. It's been all about me, my friends and my interests, with my family being my only link with the outside world. And just as well, it has made me realized the importance of focus - focus on my aims, my ambitions - focus on achieving something and labouring towards it. In short, BITsian life has helped me to remove the shackles that I unknowingly bound myself with - shackles that prevented me from exploring myself as an individual, shackles that constrained my potential - now I know if I decide to fly off into the sky looking for the sun, nothing in the outside world will hold me back.

Probably, it needs this detachment from the outside world to actually move on and succeed in that very world! And in this paradox lies the gist of this entry...

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Vacation Time

Was talking with Harshad the other day about blogging in general...and we got into a nice discussion about how a blog should, instead of being like a diary, be a reflection of one's thoughts only. It doesn't make sense if a blog reads 'Went to the supermarket now', 'Have to watch TV today' and all that. Of course, blogging topics are going to be related to daily life but I'm not going to go into that debate now, especially since I wrote about it in a earlier post which can be read here.

Anyways, the semester has ended and I'm faced with two and a half months of free time in which I wonder what I shall do. One thing on my to-do list is to catch up on some reading from the world of literature. After all, when you've read only five books in a period of four months, it does indicate that you've to read more. The last book I read was 'The Inheritance of Loss' - a nice, little endeavour by Kiran Desai, but I do wonder whether it was a book worthy of the Booker Prize. Certainly, it takes on the same sorrowful themes that are repeated throughout all books at some point of time or the other, and lends it the credence of infallible human spirits. Whether that is what it takes to win the prize, I do not know.

Now that I'm free, I guess I'll have more time to blog more...So, let me end this post on that note itself.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Do Two Random Thoughts a Blog Post Make?

I am sitting here with the Compose window open before me and I don't know what to write. There are thoughts which aren't quite taking shape and words that do not quite convey those thoughts. I guess the trick for any aspiring writer is to acquire the ability to make his words speak exactly the way his thoughts flow. That is the challenge - to induce as much drama as the mind makes out, as much emotion as the thoughts allow and as much suspense as the brain deems necessary. Am I at that stage yet? Obviously not, but I hope to be...some day...

Two things that I can think about right now of the top of my mind are -
1. The workshop test, which was okay, but has Prob & Stat following it immediately.
2. Manchester United's loss to Milan in the Champions' League.

Let me dwell for a moment on the latter then. It seems like the away bogey has struck Fergie's team again. But I think we have a bright future to look forward to. Ferguson was quite wise in defeat and acknowledged the need for his new generation of starlets to gain more experience. It's gonna take some time, but I reckon that we'll all see Manchester United lift the European Cup again in two years' time. It's not hope but it's the realization that two years will see this team grow in stature and ability.

I guess such random thoughts do make a blog entry after all. Hopefully, the next time I sit down to post something, things won't be so random and the thoughts won't be so discrete!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Oh the Sweltering Summer Heat!

Suffering through 45 degrees (celsius that is) for the first time in my life, and let me tell is thoroughly unbearable...

Of course, the heat is supposed to get even worse, and better still, even though I'm going home in about ten days, the weather back home is as bad. It will be a long first summer in Vidarbha, methinks.

Anyways, off to study Workshop now. It's a brilliant course which really makes you believe you are learning something. But then again, you don't fancy staying in the hot cauldron of your room studying workshop while half of the batch is comfortably sitting in the air conditioned confines of the IPC, preparing for Engineering Graphics (EG). That's why I say, 'Workshop may be brilliant but give me EG any day, any time'.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

A Time to Reckon With

It's compre time now - the comprehensive examinations have officially arrived. Today was the time for Linear Algebra and Complex Analysis. So with all the 'z's' finally out of the way, it's now the time for manufacturing and manufacturing techniques...

It's like a weird hush has descended upon the campus with everyone busy mugging for the compres. Obviously, I'm one of them...God knows why this 'ghoting' phenomenon is infectious!

Anyways, the reward facing us is two and a half months worth of summer vacations. So, here's hoping to a good series of compres and a fun vacation after that...

P.S. Manchester United are playing Milan on 2nd night. A 3-2 lead from the home leg is quite dangerous...Let's see what the guys can conjure...

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Realpolitik on Campus

So how far are you willing to go to ensure you get the choicest wing and the wingies of your choice? How far are you willing to go to make sure you have the necessary numbers to stake claim for the new wing, or the back wing, or the front wing, or whatever? How far are you willing to ensure a wing in which there are people from your discipline only and no one else (whatever happened to inter-disciplinary interaction that BITS is famous for?)

Well, it is these questions and a few more that I've found (and am still finding) answers to over the past two days in BITS, that is ever since the hostel allotments have been announced. Wings have been made, they have been broken - sometimes by the members themselves and sometimes, by others. There have been numerous ego clashes as well - God knows why such an issue as who to include and who to exclude and which of the numerous groups offered to choose, holds such a burden of responsibility!

Having said that, maybe it is one of the instances of realpolitik that we must face in the real world. Realpolitik as in practical politics - politics that is based not on any ideology or moral but on the basic human tendency to fulfill one's need and nothing else. This has been my first real big encounter with realpolitik - the first in which I was involved in the mix (as were 800 other students alongside me.) And I did not like it one bit.

Give me a good book to read...give me good music to listen...give me an idea to write upon...give me a hard code to crack...give me anything except for this...

I do not like negotiations - they are a waste of time. I do not wish to spend my time in boardrooms or anywhere else, trying to iron out agreements and consensus. I wish to be able to say 'Sod off' to everyone and do my own thing. Maybe, that's the biggest benefit I got from the past few days - a wing devoid of people trying to play realpolitik - a wing thinking practically and rationally (Credit to others who didn't mess about, and went quietly about grouping and choosing - I think Andy's wing, the C6 group, and Dushyant's wing are among them)

And for all those non-BITSIAN readers who could make neither head or tail of this post, I think it's better if you do not try to figure out what's written. It would be nigh impossible.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Random Thoughts - I

What does a maestro feel after the completion of his musical masterpiece? What thoughts race through his mind when the last big flourish of the conductor's baton signals the end of his rendition?

What does an author feel when his book - the one which he has toiled and sweat over for months together attains completion and appears on the bookshelves?

What does a director feel when a film which he has seen from its infantile state to the completed, is screened for the first time before his eyes?

Is there a sense of fulfillment or loss? Is there a sense of pleasure or grief?

Think about it...

When a book attains completion, when a musical piece is perfected, when a film is canned, the efforts of the creators are all condensed into one, final end product. There's no going back from what form it attains - all the memories, all the hours of labour - everything ends with completion.

I suppose whenever you create something, it is something you are fashioning out of your own mind, your thoughts, your hands - in short, that something is a part of your own soul. Maybe that is the joy of creation - to watch something that you conceived gather roots and shoot up into the sky - growing and flourishing.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Ever heard of the statement- 'When you set out on a journey, the whole world conspires to help you on your path'? Well the last few days have been like the whole world has conspired to do anything but help me tread on my path...

Let's start at the beginning shall we?

  1. Chigoor 2k7, which is BITS Pilani Maharashtra Mandal's cultural night (and in which I was going to perform in a play) was to be held on the night of the 18th. Unfortunately, the only unseasonal storm in my time at Pilani put paid to the best laid plans. The audi was swathed in darkness, as was the rest of BITS for a while and the night had to be postpone
  2. My laptop apparently has its motherboard fu**ed up, which means that I would have to shell out 35,000 bucks to replace it. Pathetic really when you consider that the laptop is not even 14 months old. I mean, if SONY and a product worth 100,000 bucks can't give you reliability, God knows what will! Whatever, SONY is now officially off my radar as I try to salvage the situation somehow (ironically, a situation in which I neither had control nor responsibility)

Aside from that, the compres are coming and with that, exam fever is starting to occupy minds and souls.

But there's also the silver lining to these dark clouds that approach...

18th might have seen our labours for Chigoor get washed away in the storm but it also showed me a perfect specimen of nature's harmony with man's creation. The wind that was howling and blowing at the rate of knots was strong enough to almost blow us off our feet. It was fun trying to resist it...It almost made me feel like a child again.

But the real treat was watching the Saraswati temple in the storm. As I stood on the porch in front of the Audi and looked out towards the temple, all I could see was gloom - the dark of the night. And then out of nowhere, lightning came, accompanied by thunder and everything was illuminated for that instant. The temple was now visible in its full splendour, the pure white of lightning being reflected in the dazzling white of its marble. A single sighting of this kind would have been enough to leave its imprint on my mind forever; I count myself fortunate to have seen the same thing many times over that night.

Maybe that is the way this world is built...You lose something, but you also gain something else from that loss...Had the rain not happened, had the storm not come, had we performed in Chigoor as per our intended plans, I would not have experienced this divinity that night...

Hopefully, something brilliant will also come out of this laptop fiasco. Have already sent a letter to SONY regarding this matter...

P.S. Did I mention the fact that United play AC Milan tonight in the Champions' League semifinal with the most patched-up back four you'll ever find in football? Am really worried about whether they are going to get anything out of this game, and possibly out of these semifinals at all...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Sense and Sensibility

Was just sitting here in the common room watching Harshad chat with one of his old friends in Marathi and talking to Goonjan...and then a thought suddenly struck me (which I subsequently voiced out to an incredulously sarcastic reception by Goonjan - even now he's commenting what I'm can hear his Goonj here)...

Anyways, the thought runs something like this...Words are nothing but gibberish...For a person who doesn't know a particular language, sentences spoken in any foreign/alien language sounds nothing better than monkeys' chatter coming from the mouths of humans. But when he knows the language, that same mindless, senseless chatter is transformed into something meaningful - whereby every sound has a purpose, every word a meaning and every sentence some sense attached with it.

For me, this is the power of language...this power lies in the ability to transform the meaningless into the meaningful...the alien into our very own...

As they say, 'Nuff said!' (Enough said, that is!)

Monday, April 16, 2007

Dynamism and Permanence

Here are two terms and their definitions as shown by

  1. dynamism: great energy, force, or power; vigour
  2. permanence: perpetual or continued existence

So, why do I need to look up these words all of a sudden?

To be honest, it was just a thought that entered my mind. Don't we often associate the dynamism of someone with the will to change and the ability to influence the course of events and occurrences as they occur in our daily life? Don't we often treat dynamism and permanence as mutually antagonistic things - one of which cannot be achieved in presence of the other?

It's another paradox - one of many that I've discovered over the years. To say I'm dynamic doesn't mean that I wish to change anything and everything around me. It might only mean that I wish to channel all my vigour, all my energy, all my faculties towards ensuring that the right things remain permanent and the things that are going wrong, the things that can be improved, change. So there you go, dynamism and permanence aren't antagonistic, are they?

Let's see it the other way around...Let's say I crave permanence. But it surely doesn't mean that I do not wish for things to be as they are - the good, the not so good and the bad. It only means that I wish for something in my life which is going to be a constant...which is not going to change over the years as I wish to make my life better...

So, is this an unwanted stereotype I'm talking about? Am I right? I do not know...but I guess the balance between dynamism and permanence is one of the most important balances in our lives...and it's one's individual decision whether he/she wants more of the former or more of the latter...

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Winds of Change

Having been the subject of an enforced sabbatical from the world of blogging, I'm back to haunt the few readers of this column with my writing...Well, only kidding...

As the title of this post suggests, there have been changes in the world around me over the past two weeks when I've not blogged:

1. Change No. 1: My laptop's gone for repairs with God knows what problem. Hence the break from blogging.

2. Change No. 2: Blogging in IPC is a very big pain in the a**e. The formatting toolbar is absent, hence the pathetic unaligned look.

3. Change No. 3: The Chief Warden requires us to sign our attendance in the hostel during 2300-2330 hrs everyday. The reason for this nonsensical time is beyond me. What if I'm tired someday and sleep too early, or what if I'm in IPC till midnight?

4. Change No. 4: The semester (and the academic year) is coming to a close, so all sorts of farewells are being organized for the psenti students (those who're gonna pass out). Also, the hierarchy of clubs and departments at BITS is undergoing a change. Ramya's going to be the EPC secretary next year, taking over from Aparna.

Anyways, with so much changing, probably nothing will actually change, will it? (Quite the paradox, ain't it?) BITS will still remain BITS; I'll still mull over all the activities here which can improve my self but for which I have no time; I'll still shudder at the extremes in weather Pilani sees and suffer through all the classes (even though most of them are quite good)...I'll still have the same zeal and passion for writing and blogging such that I can't resist to be away for too long from the same...I'll still have the low days, when I'll wonder if I'm good enough to be here and brave enough to face upto all that my ambitions require of me...

The only thing that will probably change is that mind will contain a bit more knowledge, my time remaining at BITS will have another day, then another week, then another month and then another semester reduced, and I'll grow ever closer to the day when I shall really be able to fly into the sky, borne on these winds of change...

Friday, March 30, 2007


The Hon. President of India, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was here in BITS today. I was among those who had the fortune of listening to him speaking in the audi, and by God, I do swear that this man wears greatness on his sleeve...

Technology is a non-linear tool which can effect fundamental changes in economic competitiveness.

This was how the great man began his address. The speech in itself turned out to be quite an anticlimax as I went expecting some drivel about making India developed by 2020 but ended up hearing probably the most exciting talk I've ever heard regarding future prospects in the field of technology and engineering.

I'll not bore you with a recap of everything that Dr Kalam said. (For those who want to know, you can visit this link which contains the transcript of his speech and his subsequent interaction with us students.)

The best thing about the Hon. President's address was that he held nothing back. He spoke like a true teacher, exhorting us to become leaders in the field of technology by taking up new cutting edge research in the fields of nanotechnology and ICT (that's Information and Communication Technology). Everything were in the earnest words of a speaker who believes in the potential of the youth and their power to make the country a better place.

All in all, a wonderful experience...Long live APJ!!!

The Battle Won...

What a victory for the anti-quota brigade! With the Hon. Supreme Court of India imposing a stay on the proposal for implementing 27% reservations for OBC's in educational institutes across the country, everyone of us (who have always/at some point or the other spoken against the very idea and notion of quotas) is rejoicing.

This is the reason why Indian democracy hasn't failed over the last 60 years - there always has been a check in place to prevent excesses by any of the arms of the Government machinery. I never lived in the 70's (obviously, since my birth year is 1988) but remembering whatever I've gleaned from various articles related to the times and from the memories of those older than me, I know that Indian democracy succeeded in salvaging itself even in its darkest moment.

But is this victory going to last? I do not know...I do not know if even the Judiciary at this point of time is strong enough to resist the strong-arm tactics of greedy politicians intent upon dividing the country on whatever lines they can conjure - all in the hope that somehow, they retain power.

But whatever happens, at least all of us have the hope now that in times of need - in times where justice is shrouded by the fanaticism of partisans - there is someone who will stand by us, provided we are right.

A showdown is imminent...
The battle lines that were drawn have just turned more prominent...
The battle might have been won...
But the outcome of the war remains to be seen...

Here's to the hope that equality and justice - and not the tyranny of bureaucrats - prevail in the end.

P.S. One thing that I wanted to add here is how fortunate I consider myself for being in an institute like BITS, which has always upheld the principle of merit before any other criterion. During the height of the Government's aggressive stance regarding reservations, BITS had the courage to say 'Sod off' (not quite literally though) and take on the Government in a matter of principle. It was because of the pro-merit stance of the institute that the anti-quota protests didn't affect us as much as it affected others. It is because of the institute that my apathetic attitude towards the issue was cured. It is because of the institute that I got one more reason to believe in India and its glorious future. Hail BITS!!!

P.P.S. These views are my own. Please do not interpret them as the views of people or organization(s) mentioned in this entry.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Writing for the Sake of It

I always believed that freedom from the daily run-of-the-mill activities would allow me to unleash my creative talents (*insert a roll of the eyes here*) and a direct proof of such a thing happening would result in an increase in the frequency and the number of blog entries. But with this sixth day of this short mid-semester break at an end, I find it surprising that this is only my second entry during this time period.

Maybe you do require that extra inspiration and push from your daily life to create something. Maybe that stress and duress does help you express your thoughts as you seek an outlet to free your mind. Whatever it is, today's post is undoubtedly more for writing for the sake of it rather than for writing as a craving and a need.

Before signing off though, here's something I conjured up after waking up today. It's the first vestige of rhyming poetry that I've ever produced (Maybe I should join the poetry club after all!!!)

The stars that were shining bright,
Have given way to the immortal light,
The dark must flee and the sun must shine,
So let the joy of awakening be thine.

Friday, March 16, 2007


What does freedom mean? Obviously, there is no standard definition...nor is there any standard way of defining how being free feels...The thing that everyone says though about freedom is that it means different things to different people. For some, it's the joy of waking up everyday and knowing that you are in charge of your own destiny while for others, it still remains an elusive dream that is the only reason for living...

It is on this note that I must admit of being guilty of something that is to do with 'the lost meaning of words' and that is of using the word 'Freedom' too liberally or too frequently, without probably knowing of its true meaning or of its true implications. Let me give an example to illustrate what I'm saying...

From 20th to 24th March, BITS is going to play host to APOGEE - the institute's All-India Tech Fest. So, it effectively means that all of us have a fortnight off starting today. My classwork ended today at 10 am. So what have I done after that? I logged onto Google Talk and promptly set my status message to 'FREEDOM FOR A FORTNIGHT', freedom as in there being no tests, no exams, no classes for the next fortnight.

So, maybe I have forgotten the true meaning of freedom. After all, being born and brought up in a free nation, there are many things which are taken for granted...some simple pleasures of a free life that are not appreciated...some historical percepts that are not remembered...

Today, as write this entry, I hope I can absolve myself of this crime of taking the word 'freedom' so lightly. I hope that I always remember what this simple word means to those who suffer from its absence, and I hope too that the freedom that I enjoy, also extends to all other beings on this planet.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

A Duel or A Reply???

This is what I think has the makings of a bloggers' duel - at least one in which one shot from each side is fired. To know what I'm talking about, you first have to read Harshad's latest blog entry though. (You can read it here.) It's really a good insight into what I think and believe in...For example, when I see him play FIFA, I can't help wonder how his sedate, calm approach and a slow build-up to the game is similar to his careful and measured attitude to life in general. (Sorry Harshad, couldn't resist that jibe :) )

Anyways, it's true that I do find a lot of similarities between what I see around me in the inanimate world to what I find in people engaging in various activities related to this inanimate world. It's because for me, everything boils down to two things - your choices and their consequences. And in consequences, everything related to whatever goes on around you - animate or inanimate - is included. And I've already spoken about the influence of your daily life on your daily thoughts and the stuff, so I won't bother you with a repeat of that. (In case, you don't remember or you'd like to know of it, click here.)

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Right Time

2200 hrs now and I was trying to get some sleep…it’s too early for a normal BITsian to succumb to the slow seductive harmony of sleep but the reason for resting is much different than the usual suspects – tiredness and sickness…Manchester United play in less than an hour and I thought that getting a little rest while I had nothing better to do would soothe the frayed mechanism of my biological clock.

Anyways, inspiration and thought (the latter being more important than the former) struck me and so here I am…composing a blog entry in the dark with only the light of the display screen before me (I do wonder how weird the scene must be for an outsider)…

The thing that struck me was regarding the phrase ‘the right moment’. We do tend to use it over and over again…always treating it as an excuse through which we could escape something…sometimes using it as a tool to conveniently represent procrastination as necessary…There’s always an expression like ‘I am waiting for the right time to do this thing’ or better still ‘I knew the world wasn’t prepared for this…I knew it wasn’t the right time…so I decided not to do it…’ around the corner for you to use.

But somehow, I tend to believe that there is no right time in our lives. There never comes a time when you say this time is most appropriate for this and all that stuff…

Am I getting abstract? I guess so, but then again, the chance of speaking out against old clichés doesn’t come up everyday, does it? What I’m trying to say here is that the best time to start with anything is ‘now’…not today…not tomorrow…not the right time…but now…The reason I say this is that if you don’t do what you plan today, someone else will do it in your stead…And imagine if that something which you wanted to do was some wildly original idea that could have changed the world…Just imagine…

All difficulties in life can be overcome by starting early…If you find something difficult to understand in study, start studying earlier, put in more efforts, work harder and you’ll surely succeed…If you find yourself struggling to make a mark in writing a story, think harder and longer, put pen on paper and produce something even if what you actually write transpires into shit. Eventually, you’ll produce something completely original.

That’s why I believe in the tenet of starting now…If you do so, if you decide to start with whatever you want at the earliest possible moment, you’ll never have to give the excuse of the ‘right time’. The opportune moment will always be there before you and you will always achieve whatever your heart desires.

For me, that’s the most important lesson I learnt today…And in hindsight, if I hadn’t tried to rest early, would I have learnt this?

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

The Fall and the End

"There is providence in the fall of a sparrow..."

That was the tagline for the last HDC play. Never thought something would remind me of the same few words so soon...

After all, what providence can you find in a fledgling (I can't even call it a pigeon) falling from its nest, lungs quite likely crushed and trying most probably in vain, to breathe some air, to somehow increase the duration of its very short life? Maybe, it would have been better if it had died immediately upon its fall...It definitely would have been better had it not fallen at all...

As the strains of 'DJ's Breakdown' from Rang De Basanti fall on my ears, as I contemplate whether it would be better for me to solve a couple of Physics problems before I leave for my ASP.NET class, I also feel the pain of the chick's fall...I can imagine the Herculean efforts it must have taken for it to take that one more breath...I can see its mother watching a couple of friends as we tried to pick it up gently and placing it back in its nest - all of us knowing unconsciously that it was only a gesture to help the mother have a last look at its chick.

And yet, as soon as I stood on that chair, the mother, possibly feeling threatened by a human, flew away. I placed the chick on the nest and got down, but I don't think the pigeon ever returned to its chick.

It is in times like this that you realize you are humans...The pigeon will forget its grief and will soon begin to look for a new mate to give birth to more chicks...It will not wallow in self-pity nor will it linger in the past. For the pigeon, there will always be challenges around the corner - ones that it must overcome to ensure its own survival - everything else will come later...there will always be the promise of a better future without the sceptre of the past hanging on its head...

But what of humans? What about those who have undergone such innumerable sufferings in their lifetimes? Why can't we forget? Why can't we move on? Is this what it is to be 'higher' beings? Is this what humanity does to a living being? Is such a life of remembering depressing moments and lingering on the memories of lost opportunities worth living for?

I don't pretend to have felt all these personally in my life (a fact that I'm very thankful for) but I know these things do happen. It's only when it happens around you or to someone you know that you really sit up and take notice. And even though you wished you never knew about it, there's nothing you can do to forget...nothing you can do but move on with a heavy heart...wishing that time will mend the wounds and make the scars fade...

The Path Less Trodden...

Have you ever wanted to break away – to break free from the moulds of convention and fly into the realms of the unknown…Have you ever called yourself a coward for believing in an alternate reality with you as its centre…Have you ever actually broken bonds that bind you and taken the path less trodden…If yes, what have you called yourself then – an escapist or a pioneer?

The world today seeks individuals, not institutions…that much is apparent enough. The truth is that everyone loves to see an individual rise from the depths of sorrow and agony…everyone loves to see that individual attain the heights of glory…and everyone loves it even more when that individual falls to the ground, encumbered by failed ventures and the burden of cataclysmic decisions. It’s like all other people in the world want to experience a pseudo life they could possibly never have got.

The world demands that you be different…it demands that you bring something new to the table, each and every time…That’s the only way you can possibly keep the world interested – by doing something new each and every time. (While writing this, I remember the scene from King Kong where Ann Darrow entertains Kong by performing calisthenics…It’s something new for the giant simian and that’s what keeps him so engrossed.)

This possibly goes against a previous post of mine where I say that people do not want to be unique…that they find it much easier to tread upon the path that others before them have taken rather than to discover new ones…and I still stand by that…But the truth is that this argument stands for the common man alone.

Great people are known for innovation, for their will to invent, for their thirst to discover and for their knack at improvisation. The competitive world of today basks in the glory of the limelight provided by such great men, and this glory (possibly undeserved) makes today’s world thirsty for more of the same. It is for this reason that the world demands and covets individuals who are different…it is for this reason that the world asks us to dare to be different from the ‘also-rans’…it is for this reason that the world coerces us to become great so that it may bask in greatness as well…and then as they say, this cycle simply goes on and on and on in an endless manner.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Blogging Perceptions

I have been blogging now for the best part of the past two months and as is no doubt clear to the very few readers of this blog, I've always tried to make this blog an account of my thoughts instead of it being a sort of Dear Diary thing. However, despite my attempts, I admit that what I've done or have been doing during this time has had a clear bearing on what I've written subsequently in this blog.

So, what's the point of all this? Actually, what I'm trying to say is that your thoughts are only an extension of the things that surround you...of all the things that are happening in and around you. As humans and as busy people, you rarely get to debate on the merits and demerits of globalisation or WTO meets or political issues and propoganda on a regular basis. Your thoughts are usually encumbered with ways and means to handle all the things been thrown at you. So, it's only natural that your thought process becomes an extension of what you're seeing in and around you, i.e., your own life and its happenings.

That's why I've become inclined to believe that for a regular blogger, it is indeed hard to disassociate himself/herself from the real events that are occurring in his/her life. That's why a blog shall always be an extension and possibly a mirror of your own life, even if you don't want it to become a diary you never had.

Censorship is F**k

This is an issue that I do feel very strongly about and once again its significance in things that are going on in and around me is emerging very fast. We talk about freedom and conscientious thought to support our actions and the need to put our beliefs into other people...yet we carry on with out senseless propoganda regarding moral policing and senseless censorship.

Here at BITS, this situation has cropped up yet again with the emergence of inter-bhawan (that's inter-hostel) data sharing and especially, the new DC++ hub. It's true that most of the junta, over the course of the last couple of weeks has made more than a liberal use of this software...and why shouldn't they? It's the best way in which you can get the info you need.

However, we now have 'certain elements belonging to the middle to upper echelons of the BITS hierarchy' trying to go forward with their one-point agenda - 'Such things allow users access to evils like piracy and pornography'.

Honestly, these people need a break. Of course, I don't admit they are completely wrong. There is indeed a grain of truth in what they are saying, but on certain levels, is their way of going about inspecting random computers and confiscating the system whenever something incriminating is found justified? I don't think so...

This is the age of information, where information is the only thing that is freely and easily available. You can't hide from this fact, nor can you ignore the fact that sealing one way of info exchange will subsequently open hundreds more aimed at the same thing...the point being that moral policing and censorship are now passé. If students want to go their hands on porn, they don't need the Internet or the network to get it. They can get it as easily from spending a few bucks on magazines, or even CD's.

The solution lies not so much in restricting the domain of a person's reach, or in censoring his activities but more so in instilling in him, a judgement of what is conscientiously acceptable... The solution lies not so much in moral policing but more so in giving the individual the necessary freedom and allowing him to make an educated choice as to the path he is willing to choose...

Friday, March 2, 2007

Eternal Rhapsody

A new day...a new morning...a new belief...a new will...It's amazing what a night's good rest can do for it can make you eager to rush out to the battlefield of your everyday chores and jobs with renewed vigour, enthusiasm and desire.

So whenever you are feeling low, get some rest and listen to the eternal rhapsody that sleep conjures up for will leave you intoxicated, refreshed and recharged. No wonder then that a new finding endorsed the importance of sleep by saying that sleep is essential for the replacement and growth of brain cells. No wonder then that Jason Bourne, the fictional assassin, recommends rest as being the most crucial weapon.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Silent Surprises...

Well, it's been a while, hasn't it? Almost a week to the day I posted last, but I don't think anyone's counting the days now, ain't it? Actually, I did write something on King Kong the other day, but somehow that post was never destined to see the light of the day. At least that's what I am inclined to think...

This has indeed been a week of silent surprises...The Chemistry test went bad...that was a surprise in itself...Didn't think that I had prepared that badly for it...Then there was Manchester United's remarkable win over Reading - we were three up inside the first six minutes yet had to hang on for a win by the barest of margins...And yes, most importantly, Pilani witnessed a big storm yesterday night as it poured cats and dogs in a place which is supposedly on the fringes of the desert. Along with the rains, the temporary chill returned and sent everyone scurrying back to the comfort of sweaters and jackets.

There is something about the rains that make me sit up and take notice...Maybe it's the rhythmic melody of the raindrops falling on the ground, or maybe it is the earthy smells that pervade the air after the rains, or maybe it is something else...Whatever it is, there is no doubting how uplifting the rain is...It is as if the rain cleanses your very frees your mind...liberates your senses (if I say anything more, I'd start writing poetry and that's something I'm not too good, let me stop while I'm ahead)...

Watching the rain come down and the wind howling reminded me of a time when seeing nature in such a wild form excited me so much. Don't get me still does...but somehow that enthusiasm...that excitement is tempered by the encumbrances that life presents before you to place shackles on your mind and create bonds to ground the flight of your imagination. Someday again, maybe I shall feel the same excitement...the same thrill upon watching the rain...

So do I miss the thrill? I don't know. I guess, it's a question of giving up on some things to be able to do well in others. They say 'greatness is not achieved without sacrifice'. As one of the taglines of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King always reminds me 'NO VICTORY WITHOUT SUFFERING'. Maybe that's what I need to observe these surprises silently and let them them change but never wavering in my goal...never straying from my path...