April 28, 2006


Not quite it... But more advanced... But a similar concept!!

Check what google's going to do...

I'm amazed at my own clairvoyance!

April 26, 2006


Disclaimer: The logos, images etc. that appear in this blog are copyrights of Google, Yahoo, Microsoft or wherever else you may have seen them. The idea however is solely mine and should you see it materialize in future, whoever did it better pay me royalties.. n I ain't kidding!

While I was in class today, as usual, I'd zoned out and instead of sleeping, did the only other thing tuning out makes me do -- doodling on the margins of my notebook.. And when I doodle and then try to read what I've read, I'm always amazed at the wide wide spectrum of thoughts that run through my brain in quick succession. Today though, I wrote 'DOODLE' on my notes and looked at it for a long time, wondering why google didnt have a doodle.google.com. I found it strange and started imagining if there were to be a doodle.google.com, then what would it have.. What would the purpose of the site be?

And disbelievingly, I found myself basically making a webpage of sorts, all within the margins of my 'Biosensors' notes. I got more n more excited as time progressed (and I must mention here that practically everyone had dozed off or was on the verge of - it was the most boring class in history and now I know exactly why people draw those tiny tombs n crosses and inscribe - 'In memory of those who died waiting for the bell to ring'. It is THAT painful) and my margins were filled...
After class, as a ritual I head for lab.. Today though, since my prof hadnt reviewed the previous results that I'd given him, I was in no mood to pile up on his already Empire-state tall pile of work to do... I helped him more than me.. If I had more results, he would have more to review.. I hope that sounded ok.. because thats the excuse I see myself giving at the group meeting tomorrow. However, lets focus on Doodle...
So, back at my desk, I tried finding logole, the google logo maker... which was conroversial and no wonder, lifted off the net. But the Internet is like crack on glass.. Once it appears, its never gone away completely (aaha... thathuvam - copyright on this one too!) Pretty soon, I found a mirror site and made my logo and then put my ideas to Paint... And are you ready to see Doodle(TM)'s first version? Lo behold!

I encourage you to click on it to enlarge the image to see my genius in it.. Hehe...

Well, I admit Doodle's front page looks boring... But wait till you see what I did with it next... Now, whats the point of a Doodle page? You doodle! So, that white space in the center is where you'd ideally doodle... Whats the biggest pain in computer doodling???? Holding the left mouse button as you drew/wrote! I've eliminated that problem by providing a permanent left-click feature on the left frame. Once you've doodled whatever you wanted, if you hit the 'Doodle' button, I'd want this to happen -- Assume I doodled 'Bala', here's what I'd want doodle to give me....

Once again, do open up the image... Please notice how because I've signed in, my contacts window has opened up in the top left corner and because I hit 'Doodle' after scribbling 'Bala', it opened a conversation window with him (It would have opened a 'compose mail' window otherwise) And the right frame has the top search results from Google/Froogle/Scholar/Images etc... Isnt that coool???

If it were to materialize it would be one hell of a webpage and I hope the google studs took some clues from me.. and paid me for it... This would be an incredible amount of integration... And would be really cool... As for me, they say, an Idle mind is a devil's workshop... Well, here it seemed more of paintshop.. :D

April 24, 2006

AR Rahman's concert @ Dayton

Note: This blog is huuuuuuuuge.. Read only if you have the time!

After weeks of waiting... after fighting with Ali for the tickets... after coaxing people to come along, finally there I was at Trent Arena, the evening of 22nd April, certain I was going to witness a genius in action and nothing could go wrong... I was fully prepared for a musical treat and there was certainly no way I could be disappointed. This was a Rahman concert and I almost worshipped him and his genre of music was exactly my taste and I have heard practically every piece of music that he's composed and released to the public. Understandably, the adrenaline was high and the anticipation higher...

We wove our way to our seats which were at some 60 degree angle to the mainstage.. which wasnt so bad.. given that the audi was quite small and that the stage wasnt tooo far.. So all settled in, I couldnt wait for it all to unveil.. And sometime after 7.45pm, we saw the musicians file on stage.. Obviously Rahman was nowhere to be seen.. He had to make a dramatic entry after all...

It then started when this Amru babe held the mic and started crooning these Indian sounding tones... After a few moments, it descended on me when she sang -"mey pee yaya mey pee aaya.. mey puhrem puhyala pee aaya". It sounded to me like she wanted to pee.. And I wondered why she was announcing it in something like Hindi to the audience when it struck me... It was the Ramta Jogi beginning from Taal!!! I was amused and joined the rest of the audience in clapping... The song started and was entirely sung by a group of 100 kids standing in a bleacher kind of setting at the back of the stage... It was an even mix of girls n boys, desis n amrus n other nationalities I couldnt place.. And it sounded ok... I mean, they were giving these Miami university kids a chance to do some big-audience thing and it was nice to see n hear the whole song in an accent... I could handle it... The song was received with thunderous applause.. Then some dude came in and said a few things... none of which we could hear very clearly... But the last part was enough... "Without further ado, please welcome the musical genius, A.R.Rahman". This bought the entire crowd of 2000 odd to our feet as we cheered him on stage. He looked tiny n nice in a white Jodpuri as he took his natural place on centerstage and I was soo thrilled just to be there... He spoke a few soft undiscernable words and launched into kalbali from Rang de Basanti... Its not one of my favorites.. But then again, just hearing his voice out there in front of me was thrill enough and surely the rest of the evening remained for him to sing my favorite songs... Or so I thought...

If I launched into an in-depth narration of the exact sequence of songs that were 'played' (I will get to that) and the range of my emotions through each of them, I am sure Blogger will give me their version of the 'Orkut donut' n ask me to take a walk (in decent words) to waste much coveted webspace!! So, I am going to restrict myself to this critical review of what happened next.

Somewhere in the beginning, Vasundhara Das was introduced. I think she's quite talented, probably not the ranks of say Sadhana or Sunidhi... But surely Vasundhara was capable of a lot of variation(certainly not like Anuradha Sriram) which she could bring to the show. She came in, in a simple black salwar kameez and noticable a bottle of drinking water which she noticably kept bending down and placing in front of her and without fail picking it up while she walked out...

As the orchestra started tuning, we saw a bunch of girls walk in too and suddenly Dum dum dumaka dam dam damaka dum dum dumaka dum dum started and I found myself hoping it was Yaaro yarodi from Alaipayuthey rather than Chalka Chalka re from Saathiya. My wishes were answered... It was! Tamil rocks, man! And the song was okay except when the orchestra abruptly stopped, probably giving Vasundhara chance to go unplugged while she crooned.. She did croon.. but it was for the raaga more than out of aalapana! Hastily, the orchestra resumed and the song finished without incident! Still.. not bad, I thought and then next thing we saw was another western babe come in and do Aaa aaa aaa aaa aaaa.. Ok dont get scared.. That was the initial Aalapana in the Veerapandi kotayile from Thiruda Thiruda. Cool! This was another chorus sung song and the drums and other percussionists were particularly good. And the entire crowd enjoyed the song thoroughly.... I clapped whole-heartedly for this one... Just when I was under the impression that the variety was picking up, I was in for severe disappointment. Thee Thee from Thiruda Thiruda again...
Rasathi chorused by a bunch of girls (It wasnt bad.. but it wasnt great)
Taal Taal n more Taal...
And practically all of the songs of Rang de Basanti except Lukka Chupi (Thank God!!!) - This was maybe because Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra (director of the movie) was there... but so what yaar? I mean here are 1000s of people who've paid atleast $25 each to get in here and feel like we are listening to a CD of RDB. Thats not the worst part... The biggest letdown was yet to come -- THERE WERE CLOSE TO 6 SONGS IN KARAOKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We did karoake in Deepotsav... But thats coz we didnt have access to such great musical talent... and musicians! Agreed, Rahman's music is practically irreproducable and the most heart wrenching thing was that Rahman himself sang Dil se re to a karaoke disc! The only thing I could think for the lack of variety was that they apparently had just 3 karaoke discs - Taal, Thiruda Thiruda n RDB!!! I cant tell you how disappointed I was...

There was an unplugged session between Srini ( a really talented guy with ARR) and Patrick ( an amazingly talented dude who can play virtually every instrument and sing the dinaka din tha as good if not better than us ) and evoked a "Ekdum desi hai sala" comment from Srini.. The unplugged session was short but nice... And then there was this violin (by Melissa-another supertalented babe) and base violin (by Sekhar - awesome... thats all I can say) and Tabla (by Patrick) jugalbandi which totally rocked...

Some points of the show have to be appreciated like the ones I mentioned above. For most part though, it was a huuge letdown... I mean Karaoke.. what was that? And they didnt mention that it wasnt ARR's band!! It was this band called Global Rhythm who were really good.. but not ARR! I missed Sivamani n the others in particular.. And this 150 stars jazz was royal crap.. It was a fundraiser which they conveniently screened under the ARR banner and 'fooled' public like us! :( And well honestly, we would enjoy the non-desi kids singing like 2/20 songs.. It feels nice... When its 17/20 songs, the humor is lost! The curtain to the show was one of the few nice things. Rahman sang Vande Mataram and everyone left with a feel-good contentness.. But thats about it.. In short, Rahman was wasted in such a concert!!!

I have been to many concerts in the past, noticably the ones at Saarang, IIT Madras, one with Shaan and one with Shankar Mahadevan, both of which totally rocked and brought the roof down! All in all, the next time they say ARR with blah blah.. I swear I ain't going... If its ARR n his band or anything close to the Unity of light show they had in Chennai, I am sure as hell there! And the show was called -Wake up?? Who were they kidding? As if we could sleep with all that sound anyways!

April 21, 2006


Surprises... There's nothing more exciting than that.. Having thrown a million surprise parties for friends and having had none for myself, till yesterday, I could only imagine how it felt to walk into the room and see a sea of people you really like anticipating your arrival... But whats it like to walk into the room and find the one person who is soooo special in your life and sooo unexpected at that juncture? I can tell you...

I was having another typical evening in Cincinnati... watching the sun from 201 Morgens, where Sachin, Pushkar n Yogesh live (thats my evening hangout.... where we generally just have chai and guppa-maraofy). And my cell phone was inside and I didnt hear it ring. When I checked it later, it was an 859 code.. Something I didnt recognize and when I called back, it was someone I didnt know either. So, I left them a voicemail asking why they'd called.. twice. Meanwhile, Pushkar-Sachin n I were alighting the elevator when Priyanka called. She said she had to speak something important with me and if I was doing nothing, I had to come home as soon as was possible. Honestly doing nothing of merit, I left right away, all along wondering what it could be that was that urgent! And I went home in 20 min... And opened the door... And there was BALA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I screamed at the top of my voice.. I was seeing my bro after 8 months! And he was soooo unexpected... and to think that he had business with Cincinnati Bell! It was almost too good to be true... But there he was and my levels of adrenaline refused to come down and took a good amount of screaming and everything from me to pump out excess energy. Prinku deserved a coupla hugs too.. for the caper she pulled off with seriousness! :) I am sooo thrilled and soo very happy as must be obvious by now. To celebrate his just being there, he took us girls out for dinner to 'Lemon Grass'.. Yumm Thai food... And then he went back to his 'work'. Well well... all I have to do now is to await the afternoon and have loaads of FUN! Can't wait!

April 20, 2006

Mmmmmmmmmmmm.. slurp~!

Sinful! Absolutely sinful.. Anyone who's had the Turtle Sundae @ Graeters or the Steaming Brownie at CCD (Its Cafe Coffee Day.. I mean can you believe it? It was still Coffee Day when I came from India first. This time when I went, all people could talk about was which 'CCD' to meet at! :O) or the Chocolate volcano @ Don Pablos's or any other choco delight has got to agree with me. I consider myself this real mature adult.. but I know where I lose it... ICECREAM!

I am aware of the fact that I become less aware of my surroundings when my attention is completely taken by an icecream. But how much... I didnt realise till last summer when I went to California... There I met Dhwani, my roomie's good friend... And he n I chitchatted our way to Coldstone where I expressed my great love for icecreams... And he bought me some.. Yumm!! Then while I was slurping away, we walked back to his car. Next thing I know, we were heading to the carwash!!!! Apparently, he mentioned it.. I didnt even hear it! I was soooo preoccupied!! That bad!

In fact, I wish my love didnt transcend icecreams... but it had to be.. How could it not include chocolates? My exposure to chocolates from my childhood ahs been phenomenally high, thanks to Dad having been in the Gulf (and me too). So, we were exposed to all the Snickers/Twix/Toblerone/Lindt/blah blah eons before most others and it didnt do my sweet tooth any good.. Good Lors.. so much so that people know that the way to pataofy me is to buy me a Twix!

I know people who dont like either of these... Sometimes I envy them and sometimes I pity them.. Actually, whats life without chocolate? As I read on a professor's door -

Life without chocolate is too terrible to contemplate!

April 18, 2006

Munich - the movie

So, how many of you watched the movie in the first place? Second... how many of you knew it was inspired from a book (from real events but ultimately, the book?) Third... how many of you have read that book? Yipppeeeeee.. I qualify for all 3!!! My no good campus theatre aired 'Munich' in our MainStreet Cinema only recently. And so, I dragged Pushkar (he qualifies all categories too) and Sachin (not read book yet) along (as usual).

Pushkar was the one who in the first place gave me the book to read. And its more like a documentary with a lot of dates and events and not so much my kind of book.. But I am a total bookie and so pretty much any book qualifies. We sat and watched the movie in silence... I didnt even remember the main character's name (thats a pretty bad state, given that I remember practically every character in the gazillion books that I've read). Anyways, his name is Avner and its a good revenge story and the fact that Eric Bana played the role (and he's soo yummy) didnt hurt at all... The movie was what usually movies are - an unfaithful representation of the book and probably real events as Pushkar didnt fail to iterate a million times... Now, you know how I feel when I watch Harry Potter movies, Pushkar!!

The movie itself also felt like a documentary and everything happened quickly and even then the movie ran for 2hr and 44 min.. Thats huge for an English movie... And I wonder if people who didnt know of the events or read the book understood the flow. Eric Bana was predominantly good and faking an Israeli accent. He slipped up a couple of times where his natural accent took over.. but these were minor slips who people like me would only notice. As I sunk lower in my seat, I observed my companions -- Sachin was concentrating hard and understanding the movie... Pushkar was comparing the movie frame by frame with the book (he's read it 4 times and remembered every damn thing!) and turning up disappointed... As for me, I vaguely remembered things and associated them here n there.. The movie was decent I thought... But it made me remember one thing I always claimed -- No movie is ever going to be as good as its book... Its impossible! The media are soo different that nothing that a movie can make can match the imagination your mind did! And it amazes me...

All said n done, I am setting up myself for what could turn out to be another disappointment - 'Da Vinci Code' - releasing May 19...

April 17, 2006

~ Canon-izing photography ~

Warning: If you are not a digital photography freak, you needn't read further! Being one, I had to pay a tribute to my latest obsession!

I am alll excited!! I finally got my camera... Its an awesome Canon S2 IS, for which I was thavam-kadandhu waiting for deals. And finally, Dell heard my prayers and put up this deal which I grabbed. And so, the camera of my dreams arrived last week... brand new and I felt like a fairy princess who'd just been given her magic powers!

If you wanna read a techie n professional review about the camera, go here. Thats one of the famous reviews on this cam that prompted me to choose it for it. Well, this is one of the best cams around and with those specs and those looks (Its body, if it had been black would've offered a far more professional look, but I'm not complaining... its specs are to die for!) And for me, it was a humongous upgrade from my Sony-P30, against which I wont talk.. I still love that camera and it has helped me savour some of my very best memories..

Well, coming to my camera, I was eager to test out its abilities.. And I am one of those people who doesnt believe in reading instruction manuals... I am very happy in life, just fiddling with the equipment and finding out how its done.. But it being my camera and me having shelled out a lot of money, still didnt prompt me to open up the instructions... But when I was fiddling with it and could'nt fire the flash after multiple hits of the flash button, slaaaaaaaash, I tore open the instruction booklet! Damn! I had to go against my principle! And then I sat down with the different modes, etc and in my excitement, I decided to take the camera for a walk (ok.. its not my doggie... But I had to stretch its legs and realise its potential.. It was dying to be used!) And off I set!

Along my way, I clicked a bunch of photos.. And well, the camera has IS (Image Stabilization) but even with that, you do need steady hands to geta clear focused shot at 12x... Am dreading to think what would've happened if I had bought one without IS! The modes have been classically customized and each mode is true to its ability.. The colors are vibrant, quality crisp and amazing videos... The video is practically handycam quality and the only limitation I can think of is that it cant shoot vides > 1GB.. technically, who cares!!!

Another thing I was itching to try was its 'super-macro' mode. Which allowed you to get as close as 0cm to the object! That means, you place the lens ON the object and shoot!!! This would be immensely useful for my labwork (By the way, to all those who questioned my need for a camera right now, this was my standard answer -- Till now, I had a friend who's camera I could borrow.. but he was graduating soon... So , I had to equip myself to aid my research... Makes sense??) So, to test my 'super-macro' capabilities, I chose a friend and decided to capture his eye!

There are many many pics I have taken already and I am not going to sing their praises here. Indeed, one of my premier ideas is to start a photo blog and keep loading all my pics there... Until then... dont hold your breath.. you may not survive! Will start one anyday now... Keep checking!

April 13, 2006

While I was sleeping...

Disclaimer: This blog is written in light vein. I respect Dr.A immensely and will consider my life awesome if I am half the researcher he is!

Thursday!!! Well, its the day I have class and that means I get to sleep in full public view with no shame at all.. and the fact that class is in about an hour n a half from now is the motivation behind writing the blog in the first place! My prof is one of the hotshots of UC.. Am gonna call him Dr.A. Well, he's a superduper researcher.. but this class is new and leaves a lot to be desired for, like INTEREST!

Well, I have taken 2 of Dr.A's classes before and though I have managed to unceremoniously doze off in 1-2 classes here and there, none have been this bad! And Dr.A owing to his nationality, cannot pronounce my name for the life of him! Well, I understand that actually. Jayalakshmi Parasuraman is a nightmare for all non-Indians... I can't even begin to tell you the number of permutations and weird sounds I've heard in connotation to my name! Indeed, in the first class I took with Dr.A, he was handing out our tests scores... And usually when an instructor scrutinizes a paper real hard, thats my cue.. The paper turns out to be mine most of the time. I was on the edge of my seat to spring up. TO my surprise, Dr.A emitted a sound that was like - Sleellivason Langolomon. I was bewildered and I turned to look at Ashwin to see that his expression mirrored mine. And to my amazement, Srini (Srinivasan Raghuraman) was advancing towards the desk to pick his paper!!! I couldn't help cackling! And I dreaded to think what my name churned out from that mouth would be.. And a few papers later - Jayalaxkimi Palsulamon. Not so bad! He asked me kindly - 'Was that correct?' And I said its - Jayal'aksh'mi. He smiled at me n said - 'ok Jayalaxkimi'. Lost case!

Coming back to present day classes, well, most of the time I find myself tuned out and not listening.. making a list of Manirathnam movies.. or writing down my favorite raagas.. Or worse.. shamelessly sleeping (I have mastered the art of sleeping with my eyes open - Ashwin disagrees!!) The other day I was staring at Dr.A with glazed eyes and he stared back for 5 seconds before I realized that he'd asked me a question. I tried to look my intelligent best and tried my best to recollect the question. And suddenly it came to me... He'd asked me -'Why are genomics relatively easier than proteomics?' I knew the answer, but I had pull it out from the depths of my sleep. I mumbled something like -'There are only 4 genes and there are many proteins' Thats like the most elementary answer in the world. Coming from a Masters student, it was plain dumb! And I realised what I shouldve said - There were 4 building blocks for genes n various amino acids. Dr.A was kind n actually took that for an answer. I deflated in my chair and went into slumber shortly, convinced that my answering for the whole quarter was done. How wrong I was! Another question!!! This time a better answer! Eeeks.. What was happening!

Tuesdays n Thursdays... No matter how hard I try to think of something.. anything that would keep my eyes open (more often than not I think of those Tom'n'Jerry techniques - painting eyes on the back of eyelids or using toothpicks to hold them open.. !!!), nothing works! Its that amazing daze that falls over you only disturbed by Ashwin sleeping next to me or scribbling notes... And its not even like I am sleep deprived or anything.. quite the contrary as a matter of fact! Hehe... I guess I missed all this when I had no courses... Thats why I take solace in this one! :)

April 12, 2006


I donno why out of the blue, I was reminded of my building dog(back in India) , Jani. He was the dog me n my bro never had (yeah yeah... like all kids, me n my bro wanted a doggie... and like all families, we had Amma who made these cliche dialogues like 'Onnu naan irupen indha aathila.. illa nai irukum' - translated as 'Either I stay in the house or the dog does'. It was one of those choices which really wasnt one! It just sounded like one.. hehe.. not that i cud ever trade my mom for anything...) Coming back to Jani, out of fondness we used to call him 'Jon' or 'Janet'.. hehe.. And he was my partner-in-crime for the many things I've done (notably, he used to eat my lunch - which I could never eat by myself - I mean my mom n Patti used to pack 3 huge chapathis for lunch!)

Basically, how Jani came to live in our building is something none of us can place perfectly. But our previous watchman called Poongavanam (- funny name coz it translates into 'Garden' and there was the seductive Nirosha song called 'Oru poongavanam...') bought Jani alongwith him and since then theres been faithful feeders like us and importantly there were these Sri lankan folks who lived upstairs to us who practically adopted him... They fed him and looked after him and so he was almost their foster dog. Jani may have been a street dog, but he was definitely the most intelligent in their 'breed'. This Sri Lankan Patti used to go out every morning at some 8 am and get back around 4pm. Jani used to walk her to the bus stop... Thats not whats so great.. But what was was that he would walk to the bus stop at 4 to bring her back! It used to amaze me that he developed such loyalty in no time and that he knew to gauge time!!

Another time, when Appa, Bala and I went to Tirupathi. Jani bid us a cheerful goodbye. When we came back to our surprise, he barked his lungs out and didnt let us into the building! It took us a while to understand what was happening. Appa had gotten his head tonsured and Jani didnt recognize him!! The whole sight was soo funny that me n Bala were in ripples by the time we'd understood what was happening. Hilarious!

During Diwali, Jani gave us all this look of reproach and immense sadness. He hated crackers and the sudden sounds they produced and could be found curled up under the staircase his paws around his ears... Pitiful sight... But I love crackers and I couldnt help it! (Hehehe)

Eventually, about 4 years ago, the Sri Lankan family moved and they were soo attached to Jani, they took him along. Last I heard, he was happy and well-fed with the family he loved most. Not many street dogs get as lucky as Jani.. For example, we had this dog in my building in Bombay, 'Vrandavan', called Soni.. It had a pathetic life and when I was very young, my dad made me cry by telling me that Soni had been electrocuted by the municipality! I dont know what happened to Soni and sometimes, I dont want to.. Somethings are best left unknown....

April 10, 2006

Rang de Basanti

Alright alright... I know I am late and I know that a million people have seen the movie already and have their views all set about it and what I have to say about it probably won't matter.. But here goes anyways..

Well, to be honest I did expect the world of it... having had my friends rave all over the place about it. And Naresh couldn't speak of anything else to me for a week! (Well, he pestered me to buy the audio CD when I was on vacation n I didnt relent..hehe) All that done, I had a bunch of people who were hooting at me for having not seen it thus far.. And well, I honestly tried downloading it three times, each time just before my 4hr oncampus job shift started, hoping that te 700 odd MB would download by then (UC has a 100 Mbps LAN connection... but the damned site would download at 30Kbps!!!) In fact I once had Ali to keep moving the mouse of my laptop so that it didnt go off to sleep! And tragically, each time the connection would get reset! Talk about bad luck! And so while I was walking past 544 Baldwin on Friday evening, as usual purposeless, I heard the loud n clear 'Lose control' from within... That meant the ISA was playing the movie (I'm the treasurer.. well, I know thats hard to believe... but I am anyways and I had NO idea that they were going to play it else I wouldve definitely been there!) As luck would have it, next morning, as I was Krogering and sifting through a pile of capsicums (ok.. green peppers if you'd prefer!), I heard the familiar voices of Tejas and Niranjan(ISA President!) To cut a long story short, I was armed with RDB in DVD! My dinner movie was decided and no Veer-Zaara this time.. ha!

So, that night we played the movie at home and I remember in the first half, we were cackling from some Aamir antics and enjoying ourselves... though I had to tell myself this wasnt a sequence of F-R-I-E-N-D-S played at a stretch (though it had the essence of that.. all fun n no substance). The real movie began after the interval and there was a dramatic change of pace and tone and everything and in the end though many many people had told me that everyone important dies, seeing it happen in the movie was something else! I was saddened! The way Karan (Siddharth) and DJ (Aamir) went to their deaths really touched me.. And in someway, I felt that we the youngsters of India had to do something for our beloved country.. (I'll get to that in another post..hehe!) And in some ways the movie maybe, just maybe had misrepresented things... I am not even going to question the corruption in politics.. thats out there for everyone to see... But in a real-life scenario, would there be a shoot-at-sight order for 5 kids who'd owned up to their crime? What happened to the normal judicial procedure? That disturbed me... And I donno why...

Indeed that night's dream when I finally managed to doze off at 5am after thinking up an unbelievable amount of stuff that we, the people could do for our country was a rerun of Ajay Devgan's 'The Legend of Bhagat Singh'. At some level, I realised that RDB was a success, simply because it had provoked me to think.. instead of ignoring it as just-another-movie... Hmmm...

April 7, 2006

When I first went to the pool....

Water has terrified me from since I was young.. I can never say why... I didnt have one of those romanchak close-shave with water things where I almost died and all to justify the fear. And what makes it stranger is that by zodiac, I am a Scorpion - a pure water sign (which means I should be hydrophilic... which isnt the case). And so naturally, the last time I did anything in a swimming pool was when I was 6 and I went to 'Hubara Club' in Kuwait with my childhood pals and waded in the 2 feet kids section!

So, when UC built its sexy new REC center, there was virtually no excuse not to try the pool. And my motivation was Ashwin, who was pestering every woman he knew to buy swimming apparel and get into the water. I resisted for sometime before my feeling that not-knowing-something-is-a-handicap feeling took over. (Besides, in Chennai, there is noooo water to live.. let alone swim) Besides the fact, its F-R-E-E.. the No.1 motivator for most desis!

After a lot of deliberation, there I was, finally excited yesterday and very shy in my new swim clothes, ofcourse all wrapped in a towel also after having made plans to meet Ashwin at the pool at a given time. (well, my first surprise came when I was instructed to shower with the swimsuit on! - Dont ask me what I expected) And then I was there in the pool.. and Ashwin's like, "Ok.. get in the water now.." We were in the 4-feet section. Again, I dont know what I expected... But I was taken aback at the suggestion and it took me like 3 minutes to tell myself, since I was 5'3", I couldnt possibly die in 4 feet of water!

I was in!!! Bobbing up and down, I had my first real feeling of buoyancy (I wasnt so aware of all these intricacies when I was 6 I think... which is why I wouldve learned swimming much faster back then!) After the initial bobbing and feeling the water push me up, Ashwin made one more ridiculous suggestion. "Put your head under water." This time I knew he was out to kill me... I mean.. How could a beginner put their nose and ears under water without dying? He showed me how.. And I knew I couldnt do it. After seeing him do it a bunch of times, my brain convinced me that if he didnt die, I wouldnt either and I could always come up for air. And so I took the plunge.. literally! And in like 3 seconds, I panicked and came up sure my ears would be clogged and I wouldnt be able to see/breathe again. I was wrong! I was perfectly alright and rapidly my fear melted away slowly but surely.

Well.. Ashwin should be a professor some day... He has the exact capacity to push for more and not be happy with what he's got. Me as his pupil was bad enough.. making me try incredulous stuff was even more and when I was alive and willing, he tried even more.. He wanted me to try floating... Thats a magic word as far as I'm concerned.. I have never understood the mechanics or kinematics of floating and stuff and tried everything my coach told me and well, all I can say is, "I'm getting there!!" And after a bunch of attempts, I was never really parallel and never really moving my whole leg... But well, I tried and in one day, you cant really get everything!

Learning to swim is like learning to ride a bike... There has to be some fallback somewhere... and I met my match in floating... I'm guessing its gonna take me a couple of attempts more to get the rhythm n stuff and probably ovecoming the fear of water all over again.. Atleast now though, I believe I can! :) Thanks da Ashwin!

April 3, 2006


1. Get up - Panic-filled... What if you overslept (highly impossible with me -- Snobbish as it may sound, I am yet to be late for any appointment I've made)
2. Get ready - Hot shower, hotter tea and good to go
3. Campus job - For all the hurry at home, you have 4 nice hours to chill (sometimes even this can get hectic... come on, there are days when the professors cant spell 'professor' for their username and you have to go out of 'office' to help them out! Blogging falls under this umbrella too!)
4. Head to Office - This is lab for most people... Its office for me.. Being in microelectronics has its advantage - u have a lab (to do some work), a cleanroom (to do MAJOR work) and an office (to do timepass)
5. Set up laptop and check email - what if someone important (like there could be anyone) mailed in the 10 minutes it took from the oncampus job place to your laptop at the office
6. Mentally make a list of items that you need to do/accomplish/complete on any give day - You're desparately trying to make a list and you know that a list HAS to have more than ONE item!
7. Set out to do it - Well, if it was reading a paper, you might as well kiss it goodbye. Midafternoon who wants to read a boring pdf? Have you noticed that the document has this smudged look in PDF format that makes it even lesser interesting to read?
8. Wonder why your prof isn't meeting you? What EVER happened to that administrative decision on the nitrogen cylinders? You don't have forever to complete your research!
9. Hunger strikes! After all its close to 3pm and without any food in your system theres only so much you can do. Be it Wendy's or Sub, grab some grub!!
10. Back in office - Well fed, content and importantly sleepy - Ideal time to remind yourself you were up till 2am just plain chatting with the people you spend all your evenings with!
11. Do some work - FINALLY - Run a test experiment for instance - Takes a couple of hours but is probably worth it - makes you feel that the day's not been wasted and you have something to show your prof!
12. Tea time! Whats life without evening chai? And you knew it would eat up the evening - but the day's work's been done (look at no.11) and so whats the harm?
13. Timepass - This is just talking away to glory or (rarely) the gym or REC center.. Fun when it happens!
14. Cooking - Someone has a cooking turn - it could be you... Or you might as well watch them cook!
15. Movie time - How can food go down your food pipe without something on TV/Laptop (whichever applicable!) You've got to watch something! Even if its a pathetic re-run of 'Veer-Zaara'! (yes, some days are that bad for the lack of choice!)
16. Sleep - Thats for others - not insomniacs like me - Dialogues that are useful for justification then - Abhi to raat jawaan hai! - Turn on the laptop, turn up the music, logon to the messengers - GO!
17. Sleep - Finally thats for me!!! Hehe.. Another day to look forward to..

The glove and the lions

I used to read a lot of poetry.. And though William Wordsworth, Alfred Noyes and Ogden Nash rank amongst my favorites, I think the poem that stands out in my memory is 'The Glove and the Lions' by -- James Leigh Hunt. Wonder why..

King Francis was a hearty king, and loved a royal sport,
And one day, as his lions fought, sat looking on the court.
The nobles filled the benches, with the ladies in their pride,
And 'mongst them sat the Count de Lorge, with one for whom he signed:

And truly 'twas a gallant thing to see that crowning show,
Valor and love, and a king above, and the royal beasts below.
Ramped and roared the lions, with horrid laughing jaws;
They bit, they glared, gave blows like beams, a wind went with their paws;

With wallowing might and stifled roar they rolled on one another,
Till all the pit with sand and mane was in a thunderous smother;
The bloody foam above the bars came whisking through the air;
Said Francis then, "Faith, gentlemen, we're better here than there."

De Lorge's love o'er heard the King, a beauteous lively dame,
With smiling lips and sharp bright eyes, which always seemed the same;
She thought, The Count my lover is brave as brave can be;
He surely would do wondrous things to show his love of me;

King, ladies, lovers, all look on; the occasion is divine;
I'll drop my glove, to prove his love; great glory will be mine.
She dropped her glove, to prove his love, then looked at him and smiled;
He bowed, and in a moment leaped among the lions wild:

The leap was quick, return was quick, he has regained his place,
Then threw the glove, but not with love, right in the lady's face.
"By Heaven," said Francis, "rightly done!" and he rose from where he sat;
"No love," quoth he, "but vanity, sets love a task like that."