Monday, January 29, 2007

A Bachelor Among Bachelors

It had been some time since I had seen Sanal, a good friend and former colleague. So when he called me up for lunch yesterday, I went to see him as quickly as possible (even forgetting to shave the weekend stubble I had given myself).

While we had our lunch at the nearby Mantra restaurant, we started talking and did what we were best at: he barely letting a few words out and me trying to get those rare sentences out of his mouth by verbally poking and prodding him. But the best I could do was to make him mutter something or the other (he must have been cursing me :-).

After getting our tummies filled up, we met Ajai , my relationship with him being the same thing I shared with Sanal. It seemed that Ajai has been bolstering up his wardrobe and jabbing at his newly acquired sony ericson mobile for quite some time (other than coding in C#/.NET). Atleast, thats all he had to show for the trouble I had taken to see him :-D. We then bade goodbye to Ajai.

Fast forward a highly uneventful bus-ride to where we got to Sanal's spacious bachelor pad near silk board. And meet his room mate Nigel, a mallu like us. Four of their roomies had taken advantage of the republic day holiday offer to be off to their native and so we had the whole place to ourselves.

We proceeded to start the show by watching The Usual Suspects. Its movies like these which you need to be reminded of. As usual, Kevin Spacey showed us what acting was all about. By evening, we had made ourselves hungry and Chef Sanal deemed that it was time for him to cook somethin' up. He poured in the wheat flour and water to make some dosas but that turned out to be more water than the powder. So we experimented with adding in some rava (which is used to make a local delicacy called upma). Surprisingly, the resulting "thing" did turn out to be digestable.

While Nigel went out to do some net browsing, courtesy of canceling a friend's bus or train ticket, Sanal and I took to the balcony and got ourselves a conversation going on hot topics like marriage, career-moves, finance and the ever-mysterious phenomenon called girls. All the while, we acted as if we were staring at a construction site where the laborers were concreting one of the floors and not look at a pair of lovers getting cosy right below us.

After a round of whiskey, which I took in order to prove to myself that I could control the liquid running round my head (and which I succeeded in by staying sane and song-free after three pegs of the strong stuff), we had chappatis and eggs to bury the drink in. Sanal insisted demurely that he remain alcohol free and so Nigel and I was forced to not let the stuff go waste.

Since we didn't have any other way to end the Sunday properly, we helped ourselves to another round of movie time with As Good as It Gets. An apt way of saying how we spend the day... in a way.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Under the Weeping Clouds and Near Rain-Danced Leaves


Memories slip in through;
through the cracks of my wandering daydreams.
There appears a smile which does not belong to me
and a vision that I wish again to see.

As I close my eyes, inside, light turns into Light.
The image of a woman appears and vanishes
as each moment passes me by.
And then I reflect on those choices of mine.

When this heart had once desired
the love of a Beautiful Flower;
she had followed her own Sun
and maybe taken protection under the shadow of another one.

Many wishes I had written in the page of my life
and as I read them to myself, I remember that
my second wish was that I would marry you
but my first desire was that your happiness would come true.

I let go of the rope of my hope and fall
in cheerful abandon when gravity beckons.
Down and down. Forever in an instant.
Tears well up for myself, for rejection; fists tighten, desperate.

Shattered ego, broken self-esteem
My mind builds its wall around my spirit
For some time from now, it won't rain in my soul again
And I laugh in the face of love; I am reborn, heartless and sane.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A Walk Down Childhood's Lane

I had seen the movie around five years back when I was just barely making the pass grades in college. It was nice. It touched me. And I thought that that was all there was to it.

Fast forward to a few days back and Aathira recommends "mockingbird" to me. Since it was a 1961 Pulitzer prize winner, I thought it would deserve the time I gave it. After reading it, I was shocked that it took me so long, a voracious reader, to come across this marvelous piece of literature, so late. Shit happens? Hell, it does! Is what was running through my mind after coming to this realization.

Anyway, out with my pathetic state of affairs and on with the show. The story is narrated in the first-person view of a nine year old girl, Jean Louise Finch. Her brother is Jeremy Finch who is four years her elder. We will call them Scout and Jem respectively. Fortunately for us, that's their nicknames ;). And we have Atticus, their father.

But I don't think you would want me giving a review, right? There's plenty on the web just floatin' around for your picking.

Nome. I will just have to shoot a few lines regarding my experience with this book and hope that you too will feel the same when you read it. Or hope that you had felt it when you read it a long time ago.

First is the innocent humor with which Scout/Harper-Lee narrates the day to day going-ons of Maycomb County. I couldn't help but laugh at the childish but intelligent curiosity which kept me entertained. There are no big earth-shattering happenings going on but its the simple and down to earth story that made me relate to it in many ways. Harper Lee also paints a realistic picture of people. It makes them flesh and blood. They are not perfect. We feel that we could know them if given the chance. What made the book different from the movie (and more enjoyable) was seeing the story unfold through the eyes of a young child who has yet to understand adult ways. But that doesn't make it less bearable or more frustrating. It makes me wish that I was a child again.

The writings of Ayn Rand, especially her books The Fountainhead and For the New Intellectual provided me with food for the mind. But To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the few books to which I will give my heart away.

Give Windows XP the Mac OS X Makeover

I have always had a thing for Apple ever since they released their operating system Mac OS X. Their attention to detail for their products like Mac OS X, iMac, PowerBook, iPod, iShuffle and the recent iPhone has only made me more fixated on getting my greedy hands on all of them. But since that's a slightly distant dream, I thought I could atleast give my current operating system a makeover. A few years back, this would have involved downloading a lot of software from various parts of the Net (Believe me, I have been there). Not so now. Just get yourself FlyAKiteOSX which will do the job of turning your old crow of a Windows XP into a smooth looking OS X. Brace yourself for a possibly lower system performace unless your PC is fast enough to handle it.

(Here are some screen-shots from my PC. Click the pics to zoom in)

Monday, January 22, 2007

Bangalore Gets Saddamized

And I thought that it was all over with the hanging of the dictator at the end of 2006. But that was not to be the end of the matter!

I wonder who got the idea of marking out a protest against his death here in Bangalore. Its true, that America had no right to interfere in the execution of a non-citizen but that doesn't mean that Saddam didn't deserve getting his sentence. And if there was some way to give full justice to the people murdered under his reign of terror, he should have been subjected to the torture he had given so freely to his own people.

And what happened to the city which I have fell in love with three years back? While India is trying to take control over itself and drive its own economy, some assholes decide to take Bangalore to the stone-age.

The warm up started in Ulsoor yesterday where its residents had to hole up in their homes while they watch protesters destroy their property and vehicles. And this is a sequel to the Friday Shivajinagar protest cum excuse-to-violate-freedom. The police arrive with the same speed as they do in the movies. Which is after the rioters have had their share of fun. That's understandable given the cop's bulging bellies and bribe-filled pockets. Several public transport vehicles such as autos and buses were torched to liven up the celebrations. When the police finally summon up enough courage and open fire to break up the mob, they end up killing an 11 year old boy.

Of course, no crisis is complete without listening to our beloved politicans' take on the issue. The RSS state secretary, Prabhakar Bhatt, blamed the situation on the Congress and that they were trying to de-stabilise the BJP. The Congress leader, C.K. Jaffer obviously felt insulted and declares that he is ready to be punished if found guilty.

It does not matter who is to blame. You who have taken upon yourself to serve the country, should do something about it. America and Britain have ruling and opposition parties in their government but they always unite when their country is attacked by foes from within or without.

Here, the trouble seemed to have spread to several other areas like Bharatinagar, T G Halli, K G Halli, Frazer Town and even the quaint Commercial Street.

As for me, I ended up not being able to catch a bus from my place to anywhere. The bright side was having to walk my former colleague and one of my best friends, Sampath, for around 3 kilometers to the nearest available bus stop in Marathahalli from Brookfields (where his company, and my ex-workplace, SRIT is located and which is quite close to my home).

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The L 99 99 99... (forever) error

I had India/Pakistan'd my hard disk a while back in order to run both Linux and Windows on my IBM thinkpad. A few days back, I had to take Linux down and so I formatted that part of the partition to give myself 10GB. But the mistake was not removing LILO out. So, what happened was that when the system boots, it stills asks me what OS I want to boot into even though Linux was zapped. I didn't worry about it until today, when I got the L 99 error while rebooting.

Its a simple problem to fix. Just get your (or anyone's) Windows XP CD and pop it in. While booting, get into the installation CD and enter setup mode. Choose the recovery option from the list. This leads you to the command prompt where you are asked which windows partition you want to login to. You will also be asked the administrator password. After entering the password and getting over the God-like-feeling that washes over you once get root access, type in "fixmbr" without the quotes. A disclaimer screen comes up warning you that this probably might damage your disk and make you regret reading this damn post for the rest of your life. While you are hovering your finger over the keyboard and drowning in fear like any other mortal would do, click on the key "y" and hit the "Enter"/"Return" key.

Ta da! This hopefully fixes your problem. Type in "exit" to reboot.

Friday, January 19, 2007

One Foxy Reader

Since Adobe keeps blotting up its Acrobat Reader with every release, I decided to make the switch to a smaller and quicker-loading PDF file reader. How long can you wait for a #censored-due-to-copyright-reasons# ebook to load? Not that I was ;)

Ladies and Gentlemen! Allow me to present: Foxit Reader.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Little One Who Taught Me About Trust

Some memories I save for rainy-days. Like today. Here's one of them:

I don't remember the exact day and time. I know I was waiting for a friend, but no matter how hard I close my eyes and try to concentrate, I just cannot remember which friend it was I was waiting for. I guess, after what happened, it really didn't matter.

So, there I was, just standing around. Try to not look all grumpy and doing my best at being cool, what with all the well dressed women walking around in the Forum mall, Koramangala, Bangalore, Karnataka, India, Earth, Solar System, Milky Way, Universe, etc etc. And then my cell-phone goes bleep, vibrate and blinkity blink. And pop comes my friend's sms: "Will be there in 10 minutes". Okay! Time to kill some.... er time. So, I turn towards the Westside shop.

As I reach an escalator, I see this little girl, aged between five and seven, trying to make her way down the steps which are moving up in the opposite direction. She is on the last few steps but she is tired and obviously pissed out. And I was thinking, if I had a daughter, I would want her to look like that. "Looking incredibly cute even though she was very frustrated and wearing the deepest of frowns".

She looks around, she sees me and her face lights up. She stretches her arms out and she calls me: "Uncle!". Normally, I would have felt offended being addressed so. I would have folded my hands then and there to lecture her on the technicalities of calling anyone an uncle and the psychological trauma a young man, such as me, would go through if I had heard the same from a less innocent person.

But of course, thats not what happened. I quickened myself, took three steps up the guilty steps, reached out, lifted the little creature and placed her on the floor from where she immediately ran away.

And there I was, all alone, seeming to ascend to heaven on a man-made, robotic stairway, but still... feeling good about the fact that I had been an angel to someone, somewhere, somehow. And that she had been like a goddess to me. Because, the bigger one of our gifts was not mine, but hers. I gave her my Strength. But she gave me her Trust.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Finding Love

And you can't fight the tears that ain't coming
Or the moment of truth in your lies
When everything seems like the movies
Yeah you bleed just to know your alive
-- Goo Goo Dolls - Iris

To the Chandler and Monica in all of us. May we find our love and keep it:

Saturday, January 13, 2007

"Self-possessed, resolute, act without any thoughts of results, open to success or failure" - Bhagavad Gita

De-toxing the Mind

There are some moments when you suddenly feel that you got a glimpse of the much talked-about state of nirvana. One such case was when I made the accidental discovery of the value of breathing. The sense of barely staying alive while we go about our daily business is the very opposite of my enlightening experience. What I am talking about is that taking in deep and lung-full pockets of oxygen actually results in a sense of non-attached calmness. I almost felt myself sprouting wings and flying off to my own version of the pearly gates. And I had fun applying this to various cirsumstances especially when people were trying to climb on my head and help me either tear my hair out or paint it grey.

And to force myself to remember this little gem of a find (and being totally geeky about it), I made myself an orkut community to be cool all the time.

Mending Shattered Glass

Hush, little one. Don't be afraid.

They have broken you
but to mend, I will help.
Your trust they have broken
but I am here to give you what they have taken.

You believed but was betrayed.
You loved but was lusted.
Here, here my child.
Do not hold back.

Look into my eyes.
What do you see?
You see the reflection of yourself,
I will be pure to stain you not

Fear not my arms.
Where as other limbs had violated you,
I will wash you clean.
Protect you, redeem you, hold on to me.

Put your little finger in my hand,
we will walk together.
I will teach you to have faith.
Put love in you, so that you will give love again.

let those sweet dimples arise.
Let your face light us up,
And enlighten this dark, wicked world.

Grow, mature, be strong.
Do not look down on yourself.
Let your sorrow be the comfort of those
who have felt what you have undergone.

We will fight this abuse together.
Scatter away the seeds of evil.
Without fear,
we will tell them:

"Do not be animals, oh humans.
Learn what real love is and that to the children give.
we trust in the Mighty One to avenge us,
but we pardon you for our own souls' sake"

Peace, peace my child
Rest silently.
You have done all you can with what is given you.
Be sure that, at last, Heaven will be your reward.

And I will be waiting for you there too.

Internet TV

Its the perfect substitute for TV, if and only if u are high on broadband. Check out JLC's Internet TV (currently, only 191kb in size!). Just download the zipped file, extract, and hit on the exe file. The great thing about the tv listing is the division of the channels into countries, bit-rates and channel-types.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Celebrating Marriage (Orkut Style!)

Orkut will be turning three years old in a few days. So, it seemed fitting that one happy couple's marriage invitation card should somehow look like an orkut profile in the making. Everybody's stealing my goddamn kewl ideas!! ;). Oh well! Congratulations to the couple: Swapnil and Ritesh!

Apple's iPhone

I don't think a review is necessary for this sexy little gadget from Apple. The video speaks for itself, loud and clear:

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Of Deep Breaths and No Sighs

Out of control is the mind which I walk.
It get itself out of its door,
taking with it hinges and all.
I cannot hold it anymore.

Thinking up soothing thoughts,
or fantasies, numbered to the endless.
Keeps it at bay for what seems like something fleeting;
returns the soul to another round of everlasting torments.

Pull it in and throw it out of the heart,
a rhythm which does not soothe.
The cycle does not break or show signs of fatigue,
will this be the beginning of doom?

What brought life with it,
comes to me and I grasp the air in my body.
The void is stretched and the mind is focused
and then let open the flood gates to exhale slowly.

Thus has freedom come
with the smaller price of what was born with us
and a larger one of accidental knowledge.
Peace has arrived. To me it finally does.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Download Videos from YouTube,, etc using UnPlug

Was checking out some video downloaders and came across UnPlug, a firefox addon. I must admit that its better than VideoDownloader (which I was using previously) due to the simple fact that it works with more video sites.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

How Could You? (Shakes Fist at Online Test)

I took this online test on an impulse with very believable results. If I was a famous leader, I would be this charming womanizer:

Hmmm... can't say I am surprised ;)

PS: Its not coincidental that I agree with Clinton's viewpoints on all most all things political (among others). I don't think it was fair for him to lose his power just because he was "seeing someone else". What did that have to do with anything presidential!? Me thinks, he should have been single.
And just so you know, this was my opinion before I took the damned test, ok? :-D

Monday, January 01, 2007

The Year to 007

Since Hem's tagged me, here's my stuff on "goodbye '06 and hello '007":

Being Bloggy: I still remember the good old days when I weighed over a 100 kilograms and wore glasses having the thickness of two coke bottles. I used to maintain a journal then for my deep, dark and morbid thoughts of exercising resolutions and planning Operation: Diet. And then along comes Blogger and Hem's bloggy. I was smitten, bitten. And here you are!

My Pixies: I seem to be getting used to having my cousins, kuku and deol, unwind me at the end of almost every week. A Sunday spent with these two forever-energized-thingies is enough to get me rolling the next week. Kuku is the very image of an angel, all responsible, all curious questioning, neat and innocent. Whereas, Deol is a little Puck, 101% devil-may-care attitude, harbringer of trouble, having the penchant for jumping headlong into any situation and a glass-full of mischief (today, he got my right-hand thumb super glued to my palm. Thankfully the glue was local made and hence not so super duper)

A Sense of Closure and Justice: Usually, year ends always leave me incomplete in terms of world politics. But this time, since the last week or so of December, the legal hammer has been coming down hard all over the world. I must admit that it has gotten me all warm and fuzzy inside (regarding the Jessica case, the child killers in Noida being caught, Indian justice putting politicians behind bars and Saddam dead). Now can some one do us a service and just hit Bush on the head.

The Purpose of My Existence: This should have happened years ago while I was doing my degree in the middle of the desert aka American University of Sharjah. While taking philosophy courses with Prof. Dale Holt, we hormonally charged zombies were introduced to some readings from Ayn Rand. Unfortunatley, I must have been off in a dream world thinking up stuff to impress my secret crush aka peter parker style. Fast forward to the coming of Rejoy to Bangalore -> getting hold of the fountain-head -> and finally colliding with Ayn Rand's "For the New Intellectual" which broke the last of my smallness and instilled in me the superiority complex. Go figure!

A Dream is Born: Hate to admit this but the peak point of my hey-days was while I was in the tenth grade, topping the school and all. After that, it was all down hill through the next two grades and even college, living the life of the wandering seeker searching for something to pour my passion into. Starting a career in the software industry left me frustrated with working on Microsoft technologies, a thing I had vowed not to do since my college days. I had always figured that I would work in the open source industry in one way or another. But help has finally arrived on that front in the form of Uttara Infosolutions. My friend Sampath reminded me once that in a Bollywood movie, it just takes one song's duration for the hero to practice hard and win the race/exam/girl/job/whatever. For me, it might be six months of training with regard to my career and approximately the same for some other pet projects which are on my mind. Stay glued onto this blog for more. If that option scares the be-jesus out of you then come back after a year or so :)

Happy Feet: When this movie came out, I was overwhelmed by all the rave reviews it was getting. So I walked to my favorite video store and demanded that I be provided the same. "Sorry! Gone out!" was what they muttered. And thus began my daily, one kilometer pilgrim to the place only to be turned back every day for three quarters of a month. Mine was one pair of feet which was definitely not happy until I, on one glorious day, laid my greasy hands on the damned thing and took it home. Hurray! I got my joy again.

I hereby tag Ajai, Arnab, Breanden, Dinoop, and Ramnath. Happy New Year 2007 to one and all!