Thursday, December 14, 2006

Not here

My latest poem, rhyme rather, has been posted on this blog. I think the effort took less than a minute? What say Sumanth?

Monday, December 11, 2006

24 hours of separation

(To avoid any controversy: This is a work of fiction and thus does not reflect reality in anyway. The feelings echoed by the protagonists belong to them alone and should not be attributed to the author :D. All copyrights held by the author i.e me i.e mythalez)
"Oh, Come on!", the boy exclaimed.
"Get lost, I dont want to talk to you anymore", the girl stated not so emphatically.
"Thank god! Atleast I would get some peace for sometime", the boy remarked and walked away from her to grab a chair. Her eyes followed him while simultaneously making a generous contribution to the sullen look on her face.
Just as he reached the chair, the boy turned around with a large smile on his face. That brought about a sudden transformation in the girl's face. She sat down on the bed and wondered loudly enough for the boy to hear, "I do wonder what would happen if we stop talking to each other for a day."
"Yeah, good. I hope at least then your voice would stop ringing in my ears.", the boy continued his sarcasm.
"Anyway, we wont be meeting tomorrow. We might as well not talk?", the girl was making a strange proposition. The boy discarded those thoughts questioning the purpose of such an exercise and focussed his mind on those that leapt at joy at the innovation involved.
"Ok fine. We shall not talk to each other tomorrow. That is the 8th of august.", he made it more precise.
"Hmm, By the way ..." and they moved onto other things. This happened at 9pm on 7th august.

The boy soon left for his home. She knew how exactly how much time it would take him to reach his room. The landline phone rang just as he unlocked his door, just as the time went past 11pm. He picked it up and they continued talking about all the sundry things. All through the conversation, the boy kept glancing at the time displayed by his computer screen. He was silent for a while and so she asked, "what happened? Is it 12 already?"
"No, you still have 5 more minutes."
"Okay, will you please, please wake me up at 4 tomorrow morning?"
"You expect me to wake up at 4 to wake you up eh?", the boy questioned.
"No, you dont need to wake up, but incase you are awake, do give me the wake up call."
"Why, for what possible reason would I be awake at 4? Even if i were awake, we werent supposed to talk remember?", the boy reminded her.
She explained, "You dont need to talk. You just call. I would wake up, pick up the phone and hang up again. I would know that it was you."
"Hmm. that is fine I guess. But I wont be awake nor would I wake up at 4. So you can forget this option. Wake up yourself, lazy girl!"
"Yeah, I shall try to. I certainly cant afford to miss the bus."
"Okay, its 12 now."
"Yeah, bye bye then. goodnight. Talk to you day after 24 hours.", the girl said.
"Bye, have a nice trip."
"Hey, what about the trip gift?", the girl reminded him.
"You will get it. Dont worry", the boy teased.
"When? I have a bus at 5 remember?"
"Maybe, you would find it in the bus?", he continued.
"Ahan, lets see. bye bye goodnight. sweet dreams", with this she ended her part of the conversation.
"Bye and the rest to you too." He ended his and they both hung up their phones.
Immediately, the boy picked up his cell and set the alarm to 4:10 am.

He was still glued to his computer around 1am when he noticed that the girl had come online on the messenger. So he IMed her, 'boy: go to sleep lady!'
'girl: sssh! we were not supposed to talk remember?'
'boy: yeah, and we are not talking.'
'girl: no thats cheating. no communication through any means permitted.'
'boy: oh :(. well then, the the next message shall be the last one'
'boy: bye bye'
'girl: bye cya'
"Tring tring!", the sound kept getting progressively louder with every tring. The hand reached out to the source of that raucous noise, picked it up and switched off the alarm. It then picked up the phone, dialed the number and held the receiver to the side of the face. The eyes had still been tightly shut all through these actions. "Tring tring!", this time the ringing wasnt as irritating. After the third ring, she picked it up. After a couple of moments of silence, the female voice said, "bon jour". Satisfied, the boy replaced the receiver and went back to sleep.

He finally woke up after 9. The first thoughts that crossed his conscious mind were the questions, "did she reach in time? Has everything gone all right?" He pushed these thoughts into the background and went about the morning rituals dispassionately. As he was rushing through the actions, getting ready to leave, he often glanced at the time, trying to figure out which city bus he had to catch to reach in time. However, everytime he looked at the time, the first thought was whether her job would have been done by then. He knew that it would be done by noon for sure. But would she inform him when its done? And how? He was in the bus, about to reach his office, when his mobile vibrated. '1 new message'. Is it from her? But wasnt she not supposed to message him? Pondering in this way, he opened it. It was indeed from her phone and read, "Done. will see you soon. Dummy." 'Aah, so she was using an alias eh?', he smiled at the thought. Dummy was their common friend and her colleague who was accompanying her on this day trip. As soon as he got down the bus, he called on Dummy's cell. As usual, Dummy didnt pick up. Now, he had to call her cell. He did that but the annoyance was evident on his face and in his voice. She picked up immediately with a "yeah?". He replied with "Dummy". She got the message and handed over the phone to Dummy. Dummy got an earful from the boy for never receiving his mobile calls. Relieved of the frustration finally, the boy enquired about the events of the day and whether everything went fine. Dummy described it all and then handed over the phone to the girl without much of a warning. The girl said, "Yeah tell". The boy said, "I have got nothing to tell". So, the girl handed the mobile back to Dummy. Dummy again got an earful for having given the phone to her. The boy ended the conversation soon, went to his office and got involved in his work.

After a satisfying lunch and a refreshing coffee with his colleagues, he returned to his desk only to find his mind not enthusiastic about the work anymore. He whiled away some time doing trivial things and having trivial chat with friends. Then he started reflecting upon the events since yesterday night. He felt an urge to call her and talk to her, know what she doing at that very instant. But the urge remained at that. He transferred his attention into something else. Something closely related though. Something that had absolutely nothing to do with the work that he was supposed to do in the office. He was totally involved in it when he was jolted suddenly by a voice behind his head. He jumped around, switching windows on the computer screen simultaneously. It was his colleague-friend who unable to bear his concentration just wanted to startle him. He smiled, removed the headphones, got up and had some small talk with his friend. He returned soon, put on the headphones and was soon immersed in continuing what he had left midway. And before he knew, it was 4 in the evening. 'Aah, 8 more hours', he calculated. He also realised that though he had his headphones on, no music was playing on his PC and that he had been too lost in his current 'work' to have noticed it. Anyway, he continued what he was doing. His pace was considerably reduced now as it was no longer as easy as it had been earlier. Now it was more thinking than typing.

After some more time, he stopped his 'work' to check for any new mails in his innumerable logins. There was one new mail in the login that he uses the least. It was from her, though not directly. It was from a social network website informing him about her wall message. He looked at the time it was sent. It was dated 7th Aug. He wondered why he got the intimation now and not yesterday as it should have been. He felt too distracted to continue anymore. He was thinking too much about her now. Yeah, he had been having thoughts about her all this while, but it was at the back of his mind. Finally, they seemed to have succeeded to have come into the forefront, catalysed by the mail perhaps. He wondered what she was doing. Why wasnt she calling or SMSing him? If not directly, at least through Dummy. Maybe she was waiting for him to do the same? Or maybe she was enjoying herself too much to even remember him? Thus, his thoughts wandered from relief to envy and all emotions in between.

Soon, it was 5pm. He remembered that he had been invited to a friend's birthday celebration at 6. The birthday boy was hardly a friend. He had just met him three or four times. But, it was very sweet of him to have actually invited him. So perhaps, he should go? Though he wasnt particularly interested in any food or drinks at the pub where the party was being planned, he hoped that by going, some of the remaining hours would pass away quickly. He would also get to meet some new people. So it didnt seem to be a bad idea at all. The only drawback was that his wallet would lose considerable weight. He decided to go.

Soon, he left office and went home. He called up his friend and informed him of his intention of coming to the party. All this time, thoughts of her were nagging him. He realised that he was actually getting angry at her for not being desperate enough to call him. But looking from the other perspective, he was equally at fault. Maybe, she too was hoping that he would call soon? There didnt seem to be any way of finding out or tackling this deadlock. A little after 6, he met his friend, the birthday boy and a host of other people. After all the introductions subsided, they went to the pub. The pub seemed pretty good. But, it reminded him of his promise to her of taking her to one of the best pubs in town.

Everyone in the group was having a nice time. The food was good, the drinks were good, the ambience excellent and the service okayish. However, the boy was quiet, as usual. Being slightly introvert, he could never be gregarious among a bunch of people that he just met. He did keep smiling and following the conversations with interest, but contributed very little to them. And yeah, his thoughts were predominantly occupied by her. Then, a couple from a nearby table got up and started dancing. Looking at them, he couldnt have wished more fervently that she was beside him right then, and that they could dance too. Just then, someone asked him something about his work. He tried to explain as best as he could, even though he knew that however wonderful and clear his exposition was, there was no way that an economics major would get the hang of it.

Soon, it was 9 pm and the group left the pub. Some were interested in continuing pubbing into the night, while a few others were eager to go back home. He was among the latter. He finally reached his room a few minutes before 10. He thought that she would be in the return bus, right now. It disturbed him that she hadnt contacted him in any way, directly or indirectly. Dummy didnt either! Maybe Dummy should be rewarded with a few more earfuls before he gets his act together. He sat down in front of the computer in his room and started to finish the task that he had started in the afternoon. It got over quicker than he had expected. It was almost 11pm. 'The final hour', he leaned back looking at the roof.

He decided to wrap up the task. So he opened his mailbox, clicked on the 'compose' button and selected her email address. He deliberated a moment for the subject and decided upon "open at 0000 hrs". He copy-pasted the whole story in the message box. Then he had to scroll up to type the title in bold- "24 hours of separation". He scrolled down and added at the end- "Apologies for giving you the 'trip gift' at the end of the trip and not at the begining."
And clicked send.

Monday, November 20, 2006

another sunday .. another free day

An unconstrained word, floating in space
cavorting around, jumping from place to place
bringing joy to some and pain to some other face

--- No, not another abstract poem? ./restart

My dear boy! come and sit down,
your uncle-aunt are here,
talk to them about this, that and the town

No, no mama, I need to, want to go,
here, there, any some where
to sit with them, would be a big bore

Shut up boy! thats not how you speak
what could be more interesting?
than a chat with aunt fatty and uncle sleek?

A game with friends? a cartoon show?
all that uncle-aunt talk about
is about their times, their farm and their cow.

They are great experienced people,
you should listen to them
they teach you to live life, grand and simple.

I want to live my own life, make my own mistakes
not follow a well lit defined path
unpredictability is the form that pleasure in life takes

To not learn from others makes you a fool
your life neednt be pre-determined
but faltering at the same places, wont make it cool

My dear mother and son, stop fighting over us
boy! we brought you a chocolate
so come here, take it and stop making a fuss.

Oh dear! everything we said, you could hear?
the silly boy is very young
dont mind him, all his ideas are weird and queer

Oh! sorry my dear uncle and aunty,
I didnt mean you were boring
Its just that I was trying to be naughty. :)

-- I need to write that post about my london trip .. soon before I forget!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Disjoint verses

Skimming through the list
ticking off names one after other
hoping to find atleast some one
to call at this ungodly hour


Carrying my bags, at a great pace
straining my hands, with no solace
opening 3 locks and their attached doors
I enter my room and untie my shoe lace :D


Spewing out words, with no target
chewing my thoughts, having no regret
I wonder whether I had earlier lived
or me and my life, we just met?


I thank S for his little wonderful verses
and I thank V for his online company
and to appreciate VS for his poems
I do not find words worth any.

S=Sreejith, V=Vidit, VS=VikramSeth :D

Thursday, November 09, 2006


His eyes dart around trying to pierce the darkness. He raises his hand right upto his face but it still remains invisible. The darkness is absolute. Torn between nonchalance and concern, he tries to don his usual facade. He knew that it was a small matter. Being worried about it was sheer stupidity. But he worried nonetheless. He was expected to let things be. He expected himself to let things be. But he wondered whether there wasnt the faint chance that a few perturbations would bring the whole system into a better configuration? Should he try and risk disturbing the current state drastically and for the worse, permanently? Or should he be inactive and never know what could have been?

Smiling, feet over leaves fallen
walking, eyes far far ahead
wondering, pondering, speculating
what he should and shouldnt have said.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Cold .. fireworks ... history

Its Diwali all over again here. Britain is celebrating the Guy Fawkes Night. Fireworks have been exploding everywhere all through the weekend. Our university celebrated it on friday. I recorded a small part of it on my new free nokia n73 :D. Access here. Cracker sounds have been interminable on all the three evenings. On saturday and sunday, the city seemed to have been engulfed in smoke as it happens back home during Diwali.

Travelled around Winchester on yesterday i.e saturday. It is just 15 mins bus journey away from Southampton. It was the ancient capital of England. Very small place. We circled it twice in the span of 6 hours that we spent there. I was interested in looking at the famed round table of King Arthur. However, I hadn't expect it to be mounted on a wall. I was hoping to actually see a table, not a table top hung on the wall :D. In the evening, the whole city seemed to gather on the High street for the celebration of 'night' mentioned earlier. Every city here has a 'high street' which is like the main street of the city. Carrying fire torches, they participated in a procession. We couldnt join them as we had to catch the bus back to Southampton. Anyway, we got ourselves one of the torches though. It atleast helped in warming up my freezing palms.

Talking about cold weather, walking at 7 in the morning when the temperature is 0 degree celsius is an unique experience. One can only truly understand it after undertaking the 'walk'. Yeah it is cold. The temperature at any time of the day never crosses into double digits nowadays. And it has led to quite a few observations-

1. Why people dance so well and so much here? A lot of practice. They practice dancing everytime they need to stand outside and wait for something. Can be frequently observed in the bus stops. People jumping, moving their legs about. Afterall, they got to keep the cold away by some activity.

2. Why people smoke so much? Well, it seems a unconventional way to prevent your nose and mouth from freezing. Also, no one can figure out whether you are smoking a cigarette or are just plain breathing. Our breath is as visible as the puff exhaled by a smoker. The affects are different though. One is a life giver, the other a life taker.

3. Why people walk so fast on the pavements? To get indoors as soon as possible obviously. Who would want to get a frostbite?

Stepping out into the open at 5pm to find the sky completely dark is a bewildering experience too. It wasnt so disconcerting when the sun used to set at 9pm in the begining of september when I had just arrived. Why?

I have come across quite a few old Indian postgraduates. By 'old' I refer to their ages being above 40. Yeah. Quite a few of them. Had a detailed discussion with one such Telugu person whose age must have been around 60. He joined the university this year to pursue Mres in some social sciences field. Why!! you ask? Well, he stated that having fulfilled all his obligations, with his children now happily settled, he decided to pursue something that had been interesting to him all his life. I havent come across similarly 'old' students of other nationalities. Maybe I havent noticed them or maybe such people are mostly Indians?

I felt like writing this post after reading poor Obelix's rantings

Friday, November 03, 2006

Yet another ....

Not busy, but no leisure
restless without a cause.
Afraid of the future
cant step out of the house.

Living in a mystery
waiting to be aroused.
Searching for the elusive light
when everything is doused.

Then, burst out the sparkle
bright as the lightning.
A faint hint of hope,
a renewed zeal igniting.

The final radiant glimmer
before fading into eternity,
a last struggle for life
before slipping into apathy.

This comes to you from the lab. For the first time, tried writing something when surrounded by people moving about here and there.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A new post for today

I just feel like posting something today. But with nothing to talk about, no incidents to narrate or create :D, I guess I would have to get along by making up some phrases which rhyme. ...

It was miles and miles away.
It was bright summer may.
she looked up at the blue sky
cringing her face at the beautiful day

She skipped, she hopped along.
She sang, she whistled a song.
Wished that she wouldn't reach soon,
yet hoping that it wouldn't be too long.

Soon, she locates him in the distance.
He standing there, leaning onto a fence.
She marches quickly upto him
and hands over to him, his telescopic lens.

She then walks back to the shop.
she has to get back to the mop.
cleaning all day, she longs for
the little break to again pop.

Ahem ...

Sunday, October 22, 2006


Yeah, Southampton does celebrate Diwali. The sounds had been ceaseless for quite a few hours.

The whole occasion of diwali, wishing happy birthday to one of the closest friends, chatting with another after so many months, a sky devoid of lights and rockets, unavailability of amma's gulabjamun and a couple of exquisitely beautiful verses of Vikram Seth have all conspired to make me homesick .. and yeah they suceeded.

However, spent the day quite enjoyably with a couple of my new friends ... and yeah watching a movie with them on the pc in my room did remind me of room 23@obh.

And yeah, I have been listening only to country music since watching that movie about Johnny Cash .. 'Walk the line' .

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Wonder .. maybe? .. never!

She wondered whether she was all alone.
Surrounded by people, ignored by them all
She wondered whether she even existed
or maybe life was just a mirage enthrall?

Maybe there were universes simultaneous
in which she reigned like a king?
Where she was of prime importance
to every bird worthy enough to sing.

Maybe there exists another dimension
Where the sight of her was valued more
more than anything the earth could conceive,
where every nuance of her could come to fore?

"Ouch", she cries, imbalanced by a dash
she looks up to find the pretty boy oblivious
immersed in his petty phone conversations
and not even an apologetic glance, vis-a-vis.

Bending down to tend the hurt ankle,
she lets out quite a few profanities
and the other boy who had been eyeing her
averts his attention to nicer speaking entities.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

An Encounter ... cntd

Just to clarify to all those expectant readers, I apologise for the delay, it was purely because I never had both the time and the mood simultaneously to write it until now. In the end, it just took a little more than 2 hrs. You see, the delay wasn’t intentional at all.

while( !read( this)) please_read(this);

“U1A”. I spluttered. I had meant to say it normally with a confident voice. But it came out all wrong. Jolted by the sudden interruption the girl gave me a bewildered look. “U1A, That is the bus you should catch”, I repeated. She understood now, smiled and said, “Thanks, so I am at the right place?”
“Yeah, the bus would come here. Even I am waiting for that bus”
“Lucky me!! I thought I should be at some other place!”
“Where exactly do you want to go in Swaythling?”, I probed.
“The Swaythling station” , she replied.
“Oh”. I didn’t have much of an idea where the station was, though I was pretty sure that my advice was correct.
“Aah, here it is .. this is the bus”, I said pointing to the beastly vehicle coming towards us. We then joined the multiple queues that was emerging from the random movements of the people at the entrance door of the bus. (There was an exit door also from which a few people disembarked) Everyone got in one by one, swiping their cards or showing their passes to the driver. She also got in and settled down on a seat next to the window and gestured me to take the one beside her. Obviously, I took it.
“So, you going to catch a train?”, I continued the conversation.
“Aah ..(little laughter) no, I am going to receive a friend.” Yet another girl with a boyfriend? I wondered.

The bus started and we both sat silently, she looking outside the window and I not looking at anything at all. “So, you study at the university?” I turned to find that she was now looking at me. I replied, “Yeah, computer science. You?“
“Well, Literature. Not here. At the Solent university”
“Oh, then you aren’t new to Southampton?” I questioned.
“Actually I am. I just joined the university. My classes haven’t started yet.”
“You been here a long time?” She asked.
“No, not really, I just came here a couple of weeks back. I too have just started now”
“So where are you from?” I continued. She replied with some name which I couldn’t grasp. I just let out a “Oh”, unsure of what to say.
“You know the place?” She wondered. “Never heard!” I grinned. She grinned back.
“I am guessing you are from India?”
“Yeah .. is that so apparent?”
“No offence, but I gathered that from the way you speak” She replied. And I used to think that I had no accent. Well, maybe no accent means its an Indian accent?
“So, where in India do you come from?”
Hyderabad. Heard of it?”
“Well, I didn’t expect you to” I stated.
“Why? Is it a small town?”
I let out a laugh. “Small town!! Its population is at least around 60 to 70 lakh, I mean 6 to 7 million. So that’s like 30 times the population of this city?”
“Oh!! Must be a very big city then”
“It is, I think it is the 5th or 6th largest city in India. But then, India is a huge country”
“Indeed, So you an undergrad?” She continued the conversation.
“No, am starting my phd” I grinned.
“Phd!!” She seemed flabbergasted. “wow!” And then examining me closely she remarked “but you don’t look like that at all!!”
“Like what? Phd students are also just normal people you know” I replied grinning though I perfectly knew what she meant..
“I meant you look much younger, no offence again”
“Aah, I know” I shrugged.
“So you undergrad or postgrad?”
“Postgrad. I will be doing my masters.” She replied brightly.
“MA it would be right? So you would be reading and analysing Shakespeare stuff?”
“A little bit. But the focus would be on other authors too, even some modern ones. You read Shakespeare?”
“No. Never read. I do read fiction, but mostly modern kind.”
“Any favourite authors?” She continued the line of questioning.
“Not really. I do like Wodehouse though. What about you?”
“Me? I read all kinds.” And she rattled out a dozen author names which I had never heard before. Looking at my nonplussed face, she asked surprised, “you don’t know any of them?”
“No” I had to reply with a sheepish grin.
“Its fine. Many of my friends have never heard of these authors either” She remarked and continued “So what do you do with computers?” I always hate answering this question, but had to answer anyway.
“Well, I work in artificial intelligence.” Noticing the blank look on her face, I continued, “Its like developing some intelligent systems, like say developing the intelligence for robots. Though I don’t actually work on robots.” There was no better way of explaining autonomous agents in layman terms.
“Umm, I don’t know much about computers. I only use Internet explorer and for writing documents”, She confessed.

She kept the conversation going, thankfully, “So, this is your first time in UK?”, I nodded in response, and she continued, “how do you like it here?”
“Good. Its fine.” I nodded again. Then, I looked at her and remarked “you know, everyone keeps asking this, and you give the same answer to everyone irrespective of how you actually feel.”
She laughed and said, “It is customary I think. You know, the kind of ways in which to get conversations going. So what is your real answer then?”
“Well, I think it would be I-don’t-know. Because it is too early to say. Though I am pretty sure I shall like it. New experiences are good.”
“I wont be too sure about that. I have had some real bad new experiences”
“Oh! In what way?”, I was doing the questioning now.
But, I saw her glancing at her watch, “You getting late or something?” I enquired.
“I mean at what time is the train? Are you getting late for it” I rephrased.
“Oh, I don’t think so. Anyway, she would wait. How far is it?”
“Actually, I don’t know” I confessed. “I do know that we will be in Swaythling in the next couple of minutes. That’s where my halls of residence is. I guess the station would be another few minutes from there”
“Oh, Would this bus actually go to the station? You sure this is the right bus?” she looked alarmed.
“Well, this is the only bus that comes here.” I stated matter-of-factly. Now the bus turned from the main road and the buildings of the campus residence halls came into view.
“Umm. So you would be getting down now?” She asked intently.
“Yeah” I replied and then added slowly “unless you want me to accompany you to the station” and smiled. As I had told you readers earlier, I had nothing to do that day.
“Ah no, that would be wasting your time. Its ok, thanks” She replied.
“Its fine actually, I have never been to the station either, I would get to see some more of Southampton this way” I persisted.
“That would be nice” She smiled.
So instead of getting down at the stop, I continued the conversation with her.

“So, who, you going to meet?”
"Chris, my friend. She is also going to start her studies here with me.”
“Ahan.” This was followed by some silence.
Once again, she took the onus upon herself to restart the conversation, “What do you do other than tinkering with computers?”
I contemplated protesting that I don’t tinker with them at all, that I am not a hardware person, I just use them to develop new stuff and so on, but instead replied with the lame answer, “Mostly spend time on the net, reading stuff, chatting with friends and so on.”
“But that’s still computers” She exclaimed.
“But its not work.” I smugly informed her.
“So, you are a geek eh?” She quickly added “Sorry! It wasn’t meant to be offensive or anything.”
“Ah. that depends on how you define geek. But yeah, I am addicted to pc, I mean computers.” I continued “and is being called a ‘geek’ offensive or anything?”
“I don’t think it should be. But you never know. Some people take offence to anything.”
“Yeah, it depends upon the person. Don’t worry, I don’t take much offence. I don’t like offence very much to actually take it.”
She stared at me totally confused, vainly trying to make sense of what I had said. Evidently my ‘joke’ was completely lost on her. After all, not everyone is used to them ;)).
“Sorry. I didn’t get you.” She said finally.
“It’s okay, it wasn’t anything.” I couldn’t go on explaining the humour aspect in that statement, could I?
I turned to the other side just in time to notice the board on the road announcing the railway station name and I informed her, “Hey, It looks like we are there.” So we get up from our seats and get down the bus.

Once outside, with the chilly wind blowing, I asked her, “So, where do we go now?”
“Into the station obviously.” She replied with amused look.
“Where exactly in the station?” I persisted. We started walking into the station.
“What do you mean?” She looked at me. I realised that she couldn’t figure out what I was asking.
“I mean, where did you tell your friend to wait” I hoped it would clarify matters.
“In the station! I think I told you that” She gave me a weird look. Suddenly, I realised my folly. Being used to those milling crowds in huge stations, I had presumed that I would be difficult to locate a person. But there she was, a girl standing, waiting. The only one in the station. I presumed it was her friend. And it was.
“Hey Chris! Hi!!” She exclaimed and waved at her.
Chris spotted us and walked towards us letting out a “Hii!!”
Once Chris reached us, she said pointing to Chris, “This is Chris. And Chris, this is …”
We both realised it at the same instant. We didn’t know each other’s names!

Nice story eh? Well it didn’t happen like this at all. What actually happened was:

I opened my mouth but suddenly found my view blocked by the old lady. The old lady had stepped in between me and the girl. She asked her in her drawn out British accent “You want to go to Swaythling eh? Which part of Swaythling?”. The girl replied, “I need to go to the Swaythling station.” Hearing this, the lady provided the required enlightenment saying “Then you need to catch the U1A, aah, here it comes. Yeah this is the bus”. And then, they both board the bus. I follow them. I walk past them in the bus, and settle down at one of the back seats as usual. And forgot all about it. After a while, when my stop arrived and I was getting down, my eyes chanced upon her hair and then at her beautiful face and I got down the bus wistfully thinking what could have been.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Spam mails - the evolution!

The initial spam was mainly that kind offering large sums of money with an elaborate story backing it or those advertisements offering certain kinds of help and services. The spam filters learnt enough to detect such mails and filter them

Then recently, we did see lots of mail whose text was basically an extract from well known literature and so on. Obviously, the aim of these kinds of mails was to confuse the spam filters and muddle their detection system as readers may tag such mails as spam though they dont contain any of the regular features of spam.

And now for the latest innovation- today my gmail account was given a demonstration of this wonderful new genre of spam mails. The mail had two parts. The first part was an image which advertised various 'services' that many spams mails offer. This being an image cannot be read by the spam filter. And it is embedded in the mail such that it is first thing visible to the reader. It is followed by a text which is almost similar to the kind of text that can be found in any personal mail. An extract of that text: " Spent most of the day cleaning - finally finished the ceiling, got the oak table in, we cleaned the garage, weeded the front, straightened up out back, took.".

Thus it cannot be detected by the spam filter, serves its purpose of advertising through the image and also muddles the spam filter's learned knowledge when tagged as spam. However, its only failing is that it is not effective in non-gui mail clients like pine or mutt where the image would come as an attachment.

Continuation of the previous post would be posted shortly .. Please bear with the delay. The author came across this interesting innovation and wanted to blog about it right away. :P

Saturday, September 30, 2006

An Encounter ...

It was around 4 pm. On a whim, I decided to go back to room from the lab. I hadn’t done any concrete work the whole day and didn’t feel like doing any either. So, I gather my coat and walk down the stairs (instead of taking the lift) and get out of the dept building. It was cloudy but the sun was indeed trying very hard to peek in. I walk to the bus stop and stand at the back near the display board waiting for the bus. The display board displays the maps of the various bus routes, the bus timings and so on. Relaxed, leaning back on a pole, I survey the rest of the crowd. A group of chinese girls chattering, an old lady impatiently waiting, a guy in a sweatshirt listening to his ipod with deep concentration presumably (as his eyes were closed), a suit wearing executive type person with a briefcase looking despondent, and a stout girl fiddling in her bag. There were a few others on the other bus stop too but I didn’t care to observe them. I had nothing particular to do in the room. I didn’t have a PC back then, had finished the novel that I was reading, I had just shopped the previous day and so even the kitchen was well stocked. So basically, I had nothing to do with my time for the rest of the day.

The sun seemed to have won a temporary battle with the clouds and came shining through casting a ray of warmth over us, poor souls, at the bus stop. With the sunlight, also came another bunch of people bus-hopefuls to the bus stop. However, only one captured my attention. Wearing a brown baggy jeans and a sleeveless white top, with a rucksack clinging onto her shoulders, she strode towards me. A white cotton belt around her thin waist accentuated her figure. With her wavy dark brown hair and a dimpled cheek complementing her beautiful face, she was more than just gorgeous. So, she finally came to a halt beside me facing the display board. While she was looking up at the maps, I continued staring at her. I was still leaning onto the pole beside the board. She gazes deeply into the map muttering something incomprehensible. She seemed to be trying to figure out something. I was standing to her left. Suddenly she turned right and asked the executive guy about some place. I couldn’t quite catch hold of the name of the place but only that it started with ‘S’. Now even the man started looking at the map, both of them trying to figure out something. I desperately tried to overhear their conversation, but they seemed to be mumbling something. The man seemed as clueless as she was. Suddenly, I heard a complete sentence from the girl. She said to him pointing at the map, “I know that’s Swaythling, but which bus goes from here?” Swaythling! That’s where I stay. I knew which bus to take. I was actually waiting for that particular bus! Being new to the country, I think twice about intruding to offer advice. However, I buried all my fears branding them baseless, and took a step forward towards her.

The rest of the 'encounter' shall follow shortly.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Why do I blog?

1. To keep an account of some of the interesting anecdotes of my life and some of the thoughts and opinions that always keep originating in my mind.

2. To not let rust onto my excellent writing skills ;))

3. To provide some colour to the lives of those handful of faithful readers of the blog.

4. Because it is one of the best things to do when you sit in front of the computer to work but dont feel like working!!

Btw, I forgot to mention this in my previous post- Chips are not chips but french-fries, the chips that we know of, are called as crisps.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Eccentricity of the city

There is no ground floor in the buildings.
Well, they dont hover in air (if only they did!!) but just that the floor on the ground is called 'first floor' and so on. And no .. there are no cellars either. There is plenty of space around for parking anyway.

I say hi to someone. they reply with 'Hi, how are you' or 'Hi, how do you do'. And me who had approached the someone with a firm purpose in mind to ask something or get something done, would have to deviate from the task and reply with a 'Am fine!'. Also am supposed to add a 'how are you/how do you do' which I forget most of the time. And yeah, I hurriedly talk about the task at hand. What I am trying to convey (which I dont seem to be doing well) is that being asked 'how are you' totally offsets me and I end up groping for words. Am not used to 'how are you' unless in chat :D

Also, (Thank-you==cheers) is 1. Young people often say cheers instead of thank you.

Too-low hip jeans are still in fashion here (and everywhere else I guess). However, almost invariably, its the not-slim (this is a euphemism) girls who seem to be wearing them.

The problem with being surrounded by only chinese when waiting at the bus stop is that it gets very boring. If there had been people from any other nationality they would converse among themselves in english and what you would be overhearing would make some sense to you atleast instead of all yang-yang-chi-chang!!

Indian takeaway food is not bad at all. It was pretty decent. The menu however quite baffled me. It had so many dishes that seemed Indian but which I had never heard of before. This has to be a surprise because I have been to all the well known north-indian cuisine restaurants in hyderabad and always studied the menu deeply (though relegating the mundane ordering task to others :D) .. I have seen several Indian takeaways here offering north indian food, several offering kerala cuisine (calling it south indian!!), but am yet to come across some south-indian one which offers vada, dosa stuff :D. Will surely patronize such a thing if I am lucky enough to find it. Also, any item on the menu will be presented with a pappad. Its as if pappad is the unanimous starter :D. Good for pappad lovers like me.

Everything comes with an expiry date. And the date is so atrociously close. Through experience, I know that a bunch of carrots will be pretty good for more than a week when stored in the fridge. But the packets here warn the consumer to consume it within 2 days or so. What is more absurd is that even the computer system box comes with an electrical expiry date! Written on my brand new system in the lab - "Tested 09/06, Do NOT use after 09/09". Maybe its all the MNCs' conspiracies to increase their sales by frightening the gullible fearful public into discarding old items and buy new ones?

The past few days, since I had nothing to do in the room, I started practising my signature with the left hand :D. By the way, All phd students are provided with a log book, which is a pretty sturdy binded notebook in which to record all their ideas, experiments etc. If a book gets full with written matter, you need to show it to the supplies office and will be given a new one. I had an idea, what if I fill mine totally with my practice of the left-handed signature and present it to the office and ask for a new one? :D

I have read somewhere that the much hyped 'Culture shock' has the following phases-
Euphoric stage or Honeymoon phase: everything excites and delights the person.
Hostile stage or Everything is awful phase: everything is irritating to the person.
Acceptance stage or Everything is ok phase: the person adjusts and enjoys the new culture.
Reverse Culture Shock stage: the person goes back to find himself and his previous culture changed. (courtesy wikipedia and a host of other websites)
Anyways, I feel am not going to have a culture shock at all :D. The readers shall know my feelings about everything as I would keep blogging and thus the reader would be the witness to whether I had to experience any 'shock' at all :)

Friday, September 15, 2006

Thoughts of the day

My wallet is becoming bulkier by the day. Soon I shall have enough 1p, 2p (p=>penny) coins that I could build a eiffel tower. .. no .. bigben with it. After every transaction I am burdened with more coins. Everyday I go out, I promise myself that I shall dump all those coins at some hapless shop/canteen-cashier. But when the opportune moment comes due to consideration both for the cashier and the person behind me in the queue (actually because of a fear of being frowned upon), I back out and present a whole sum and come back carrying even more coins :((.

Evening, I was walking back to my room after getting down the bus. The sun is shining brightly and so I say to myself, 'wow, today is a fine day'. And then it strikes me! The must be the first time ever I said that it was a fine day because the sun is shining!! Aah change of place changes many persectives ;))

These days, Charlie Chaplin has been keeping me company during dinner, both while cooking and eating it. No, I am not watching his movies (I dont have a pc/laptop in room yet), even better, am reading his autobiography. Its quite interesting. He seems to remember all his life in great detail. One thing that he waxed about and which I whole-heartedly agree is that humour arises when the situation is so serious that its absurd (he said in grandiloquently and loquaciously (aka much better and larger vocabulary) though :D).

My wrist-watch seems to be more attached to India than me. It keeps reverting back to IST though I keep correcting it. Ofcourse a more plausible explanation would be that the battery is edging towards its death.

After a lot of experimentation which spanned well over two years, I have concluded that the optimal number of people that I should be chatting with at one instance is 5. Any less, and I would be left with free time in which I would have to do something else. Any more, and my chatters would have to wait for my response. At 5, I am occupied just enough not to have any idle moments, and I am also able to maintain the tempo of all the conversations. (Has there been a research paper on optimality of chatting before?? :D)

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The people I have been meeting these days ...

Well, today is saturday and so am here in the lab, but there is no one else. The lab which on normal weekdays hosts about 70 phds/postdocs furiously going about their research is empty today except for me. So, its true, people here dont work on weekends, even if they are research geeks :D.

Everyone in my research group has a girlfriend. And thats everyone except me (and the married and except the girls also .. ofcourse). And some of them are going on 2 week, 4 week vacations to exotic places like the Carribean, China and Malaysia etc.

Life is cool and awesome for people like me and others in my lab who get paid decently. But for international students without aid its really tough. Some Indians I know work in a supermarket everday from 5-9 and yet have to be careful about spending a single penny. A Pakistani whom I met once, is a 3rd year phd student in Coastal area management and lives by cleaning tables at McDonalds (he was just too delighted to meet me).

People are kind of laid back. Havent seen them in a hurry except when they drive cars .. most of the cars whooze by. The buses do not come at the exact minute as per the time table as in Swiss/Japan. But they are spread over well and do not come all at once either as in Hyd ;)). And the people who smile when going past you on the road are generally british than of any other origins.

What else? Well my fingers are freezing because my new desk in close to the air conditioners and there is no one else in the lab to soak up the cold .. so I shall logoff and goodbye.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Lets ramble about the British now!!

I was told time and again before leaving, to blog about all my new experiences blah blah .. but these last few days, I have had so many incidents and thoughts that I have no idea where to begin and go where ... So, I will just note down point wise, in some random order, some of my observations :).

£. Why am I using a sterling sign to mark my points? Just because it is available on the keyboard! I could understand the Japs using a keyboard with different config, I could understand the Swiss using a different config keyboard (because they use french/german) .. but why do even the British have a different keyboard to that which we use?? All the special characters are in weird positions .. ¬ is in the place of ~, @ exchanges the position with " , have new editions like £ and € etc ..

£. The weather (yeay .. I got to talk abt that :D) is capricious, I have seen for myself what they mean by 'its sunny one moment and the next minute its raining!!' And there is always a cool wind blowing .. and this is summer here btw. Such a weather would have been awesome in Hyd .. not here :P And the best weather is not when it is cloudy and rainy .. but when it is sunny and there is this chilly breeze blowing .. then its just awesome.

£. Why do the manufacturers here price their items so atrociously? I can understand something priced £ 2.50, or even £ 2.99 but why in the name of watever, would some item be priced £ 2.37 ? Or 1.84? or 3.62? or 2.17? Firstly, it makes calculating difficult, yeah the cashier would use their billing machines, but what about poor me who wants to have an estimate of the amount I am buying? And after every transaction, I am flooded with change i.e little one-pennies, littler 5-penny coins, large 2-penny coins etc. Also, the shop people here arent as courteuous, they do say thank-you etc but not with the same kind of smile that I had been accustomed to in Japan or Swiss.

£. Talking about university issues, I can access my home directory at the dept file server through a Windows, Linux or even Solaris environment. That is I can open the txt file both through notepad, vim etc. Now thats awesome :D

£. Swipe your way! For everything you need your smart card (thats what Id cards are called these days). It is your access to the library, the city buses, your dept building .. everything. And anyone could have got my Id card with his/her photo if only they knew my student ID number and had asked for the card before I did. Because, all through the process of clicking my photo to giving me the card, they never asked for any kind of identification. They would just ask for the ID number, and then obtain my details through their database and process the request. Never checking whether the person in front of them is indeed the person who he claims to be.

£. The little of the city that I have seen is picturesque, with those houses and lawns just as described in those Enid Blyton books ;) Am yet to visit the 'city center', that is, the main area of the city. Its all green and pleasant now, I guess I will have to wait for the winter to see the other side.

£. The roads are narrow, (wrt Hyd standards) even the main roads are just wide enough for two buses to pass each other. But then everyone moves in such orderly fashion, its no problem at all. Ofcourse it is so easy to manage a 2lakh population city.

£. Currently, I have the feeling that the university is in China because it is vacation time and most of the students go home except the research-postgrads or the chinese :D.

£. I am already accustomed to the Brit accent and seem to be developing one myself :-s. Also, its a strange feeling when every research paper that you glance through has a reference to some paper by your phd guide :-s

I am not tired of mentioning again that I live in a flat with 7 bedrooms of which 6 are currently unoccupied. Initially I was feeling kinda lonely and wished there were others to talk to. Now that I have made acquaintances (mostly indians) in and around my flat, I dont want to meet them and prefer to be left alone! I cant understand myself! I am a loner who desires company? Strange guy I am ...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Soon, I shall host 'Khana Khazana' !!

subtitle: My tryst with cooking ...

The most important thing that you would do when you start living abroad is cook yourself. No, its not due to the scarcity of eating places, but rather because even the Indian cuisine places are not 'indian' enough (meaning spicy) and the amount you would spend for a dinner outside would buy you food for the whole week if you cook it yourself. Anyways, now let us get on with my story which I am itching to tell :D.

So on 29th, when I reached the city, I was given this room to stay temporarily until the room which I have been allocated gets ready. The whole structure of the postgraduate accommodation in this particular hall of residence (euphemism for hostel?) is in the form of apartment blocks. Each flat in such a building would have 7 bedrooms and a kitchen shared by the 7 residents of that flat. And my flat currently has only one resident- me! (since this is vacation time)

1. The first 2 days I was too busy with other things to even explore the kitchen. On the third day, I find that the kitchen is pretty good. It has a fridge, freezer, microwave, 4-electric stove, oven, griller along with shelves, dining table chairs etc. I look in the shelf belonging to me and lo behold I find three unopened packets of chinese noodles waiting to be cooked. I then look in the other shelves and find nothing. So, I thank the previous chinese resident, take out a bowl from my suitcase, bring some water to boil on it and put it in the noodles. Thats when I realise that there is no kind of masala/seasoning inside the pack. I cant eat just plain noodles! Looking deeper in that treasure-shelf I find some packet with all chinese characters. I open to find some kind of sauce, pray that it is the seasoning sauce and put some of it in the noodles that are almost ready. After the noodles are cooked, I still keep the stove going to evaporate all the excess water (there is no way I could drain the noodles otherwise) and finally sit down to it.
Yeah, it sucked. I finish it somehow and then shift all those chinese packets to some other shelf. Let someone else have the same joy >:). So, the first meal that an Indian prepares in UK is Chinese. Talk of globalisation :D

2. Two more days snail by and I decide to visit the supermarket everyone had been suggesting. I go and buy some juice, flavoured yoghurt, bread loaf and butter and something called 'fruit malt loaf'. Once I came back to the flat and started placing the stuff in the fridge that I realised my follies. Why did I buy breadloaf instead of bread which is sliced? Its quite hard to slice a loaf with an amateurish knife especially if you are an amateur at it yourself! The other bread loaf which I bought hoping it to be some nice decent fruit bread was totally inedible with its sticky nature and strong smell. Anyways, I makee some weird looking slices of the normal loaf and then try to put some butter on the slice. Thats when I realise that it is not India and it would take a whole day for the butter to melt. So I switch on the stove and put a slice over it and try to heat it a little. It works though some bread particles remain adamantly stuck to the stove and I have no means of getting them off. I have a sumptuous dinner on my few pennies worth bread-butter and get down to cleaning the plate. How can you rid the plate of butter when the only cleaning materials available are your hand, knife and plain water? Somehow I manage. All the experience in IIIT of cleaning the dishes after the maggi sessions comes in handy.

3. Now starts the glorious climax to the story. After another 2 days, on the 7th day of my stay, I finally decide to get going. The impending change of rooms had stopped me from buying any of the required stuff but I finally decided to get all I want (though I would need to make an extra trip carrying this stuff while changing my room). So first of all, I go to some appliances shop and get myself a dinner plate and 2 bowls .. all microwave compatible. Then I visit this shop specialising in southasian stuff (managed by a pakisthani I think) and buy rice, dal, oil and salt. The shop isnt so good but the girl at the counter (daughter of the owner) is too pretty and worth another visit. Then I go to that supermarket I had visited earlier and get a mixed vegetables packet. It is basically diced carrots beans peas and corn, which are little boiled and then frozen. I come back to my dear kitchen set up all my utensils, take out all the masalas from the suitcase and get ready to cook. Thats when I realise I have no means of cleaning the dishes after everything is done! So I rush out to find a supermarket nearby. Just then a couple enter the flat. An Indian origin girl and her british boyfriend (I presume). They have been given the room opposite mine temporarily they say. I wonder, here I am all set to experiment alone and now I will have company? However they are soon inform that they need to go to the block nearby and they vacate the flat immediately. So the whole flat is mine all over again. I go out find this supermarket and guess what? Its managed by gujaratis. They talk in hindi, show me all the shop and vehemently suggest that I should buy all my stuff from here only. (I wont, this one's near but lot costlier). I buy some dish-cleaning liquid and go back to the kitchen and am all set to cook.

3a. I immerse some dal in a bowl with water and wait for it to soak the water. Meanwhile I place a kadai/wok on the stove, put some oil and tadka/popu in it and wait for it to heat. Then, once it starts getting noisy, I put in a little water and some vegetable pieces from the packet. Then some salt, chilli powder, masala, stir lightly, cover it with a plate leaving a little gap for the steam to escape. Meanwhile I wash the rice and put some water in the cooker. The mixed veg curry is now almost ready. I know that generally, the ratio of rice-grains:water is 1:2. However in this case, it was basmati rice and they generally become very sticky when cooked unlike the normal rice. So I hazard just equal amounts of rice and water in a bowl, cover it with the dal bowl, put them inside the cooker which is on the stove and put the stove on the highest level. The curry is cooked, smells great and has been put aside for the time being. I put the weight on when the steam starts spouting out and get back to my novel and wait for the cooker to whistle. Which it doesnt! I check it to find some steam coming out through somewhere. Now, all the time I spent in kitchens in the past 20 yrs watching mom cook comes in handy. I gently tug at the weight, readjust the lid and lo..behold the steam builds up and the cooker whistles. The exhaust fan has to be switched on at this minute otherwies the whole kitchen would be steamy. After 2 whistles, the stove is put to a minimum and I wait once again. I conclude that cooking makes us 'hot' (literally atleast). After the third whistle, I switch off the stove and once again get back to the book. After a few more minutes, with the cooker having cooled, I open it, get the bowls out using a napkin (no tongs you see), mix some salt in the dal and its ready to serve!

3b. Yeah, so I serve myself. It tasted great (dont know whether its because I was too hungry with all the cooking or whether it actually tasted great or whether its the first actual andhra food that I have eaten since a week). After gobbling it all up, I set to wash the dishes. This time its much easier with a sponge and cleaning liquid. Everything cleaned and set to dry, I return to my room with a full and happy stomach for much needed sleep :).

Cooking has come by instinct to me and not through any deep thinking. So, I guess I am a natural and soon should be able to overtake the likes of those cooks who host those boring cookery shows :D.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

End of the month?

On the night before I was to leave for southampton, I lay in bed thinking about the next day and realised that it would be exactly a month since I have graduated .. and as I went back on the months I realised the significance of the ends of the months!! So here it goes ...

31st jan - 1st feb -- the deadline for my paper (which somehow got accepted :D)
28th feb - 1st march -- I sent my application to Univ Delaware (which sent me an admit in less than 10 days .. my first admit)
31st march - 1st april -- Batch trip (in which I played a considerable role) and Farewell (in which the only role I had to play was precariously hold a burning candle while everyone else was doing the same and jostling each other on the stage ;)) )
29th april - 1st may -- My last chance of a phd admit vanishes ...
29th may - 1st june -- ........ (I dont remember anything significant .. was totally vella at that time ... maybe I slept without a break on those days :-? )
29th june - 30th june -- I am informed that I am being offered a fully funded phd seat (yayy \:d/)
29th july -- I am officially a Bachelor (of Technology i.e :D)
29th aug -- I reach Southampton (thankfully since no child cried and therefore they didnt divert the plane because of a perceived 'security threat' :D)
So lets watch out for Sept 29-30 (incidentally thats the time of the 'international students induction programme' at the univ )

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Soon to go .. all set? No .. no

Well, as I am supposed to join my programme on Sept 1st, am I all set to go, you may ask. And I wont be able to answer!!

On which date am I flying and on which airlines? Not sure yet :-ss
Will I be receieved at Heathrow and taken to Southampton? Strong No.
So, do I know where to go and how to go? Not totally sure yet.
Do I have a place to stay? Have I been allocated accommodation yet? Nope .. not yet.
Well, when is the induction program? Maybe that will help me settle down? Its at end of sept .. yeah after a month there .. because, the actual semester starts in Oct!!
Anyway, has all my shopping been done? Not really, I cant do much shopping since I cant take much stuff anyway!! Will have to buy most of the stuff there :-s
Well well, so have I at least learnt cooking etc? Hope so, havent tested yet!
Do I know how much money to take and have I got it ready in Travellers cheques and all? Nope .. I dont know how much to take .. so nothing done on that front either.
Have I set up everything at home so that my folks can easily and cheaply keep in touch with me? Nope .. all that I bought dont seem to work :((
Finally, at least are all my papers ready? Almost, the medical ones are yet to be ...

You may be aghast at the state of things .. but dont worry! As always, I will do everything at the last minute (in this case the last week) and it shall all turn out just fine!! [-o< ... 2 cheers for optimism !!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Today's news

A plane on way from London to Washington was made to land at Boston because some 3 passengers allegedly got into an altercation with the crew. After the flight landed, the whole luggage was dumped on the tarmac, arranged into a rows and columns. Then sniffer dogs were made to go around them all ... All because some irate passengers were unruly on the plane!!

South African cricket team abandons the tri-series in Sri lanka because a bomb went off a few kilometers from their hotel of which the Pakistani high commissioner was the intended target. The Indians are totally unpertubed by the suppposed dangerous situation and have nonchalantly agreed to play a 3 match bilateral series with the disappointed hosts.

Top nuclear scientists of India have expressed their reservations about the controversial nuclear deal and the PM has assured them that their views will be considered.
The UPA govt's attempt to undo its best act till now- the RTI, has come in for lot of opposition from the people with some notable social leaders (atleast one) even going on a fast.

Iran organises an holocaust cartoon competition in retaliation to those controversial danish cartoons.

The President dedicates four paragraphs of his independence day speech to Jeevan Vidya!! Many IIITians wonder why ...

Sunday, August 13, 2006

My myth all is tales

"Is it myth-all-is? Is it my-tales?? No it is my-tha-lez" (The first separation courtesy sreejith, the next, pranav). Every visitor to this blog at some point of time would have wondered what 'mythalez' actually meant. I have often been bombarded with this question. Everytime, I tell someone my messenger id, I can actually see the question forming in their mouth "but what does it mean??". The net savvy among my readers (which must be all of them!!) would have most probably googled the word in their quest for an answer. Alas they would have been faced with the bitter fact that all the results were either pointing to this blog or to the comments I have written somewhere. Some people after a lot of perseveration by repeatedly pestering me would have come to know about the origins of this word. I do wonder how many of them actually understood. Anyways, today I set myself upon this task of explaining the origins of the famed 'Mythalez' -

Once upon a time, in my second year at IIIT, before I had even created a yahoo id for myself, I used to play this game called 'Age of Mythology' a lot. Everyone who ever played age would understand that the villagers utter some sounds when you click on them. So in AOM in my favourite greek civilisation, the villager when clicked would utter 'prosthagma' and then when it is ordered to dig some gold, by clicking on a gold mine, would squeak 'mythalez'. Yeah people, that is the genesis of your dear 'mythalez'.

So the next question that arises is, what does it mean?? I frankly confess that I have no idea. I assume it is greek and maybe it means 'gold'. It may even mean 'the devil' .. who knows :-?? .

Friday, August 11, 2006

A benefactor's apology :D

Lust for life, the biography of Vincent Van Gogh is what I am reading currently. 3/4ths of the book is over, and until now he is an unrecognised pauper. Since I dont know his life story, its like a thriller for me. And yeah Irving Stone the author writes to my liking.

I get a lot of mails to my gmail account which are not meant for me. No, they are not spam, they are sent by well meaning people who think that my email address belongs to some other person. Many of them include IT companies offering Project Lead jobs :D.. however the most useful contribution has been from the people who sent me their gmail invitations!! I have received and used up four such ones, creating accounts for my relatives and friends. The latest one I got today and used up immediately, after which I get a mail from the sender asking about my well being. He obviously is in the blissfull ignorance that I am his friend and that his gmail invitation has been well used.. But being the ungrateful fellow that I am, I havent replied to him yet informing him of his grave error. What can I say to him anyway? "Sorry, But I am not the person who you think I am. Yeah thanks for that invitation anyway, and do send some more incase you have" :D .. This reminds me I once sent a mail to the person who sent me 2 gmail invitations due to similar misunderstanding, I used them and then replied to him as "Thanks for all the invitations, however can I know why you are sending them to me? I have never ever heard of you in my life." And the poor guy replied with an apology !! :D. He unwittingly does me a favour and then apologizes for it :D.
And I gloat about it.
And I have those long locks no more ...
And instead of those PSs am using Ands
And I have nothing more to write now which is even worth typing out..

Saturday, August 05, 2006

prologue ...

When he was alone, he craved for company. When he was among people, he desired to be left alone. Change was what he always seemed to need, yet he dreaded it. So, maybe the best recourse for him would be to talk with people yet not be with them. Switch on and off capriciously. The way of the online chat. That was precisely what he was doing now. Late at night, chatting with a few friends, he realised how disconcerting silence could be. He could hear the voice of the characters on tv, though it was on mute. He could hear the wind howling, though it was just a breeze. He feared that his key strokes were making such a racuous noise that they would wake up the neighbours.

Ever felt your instincts so compelling, that you just had to do it though your conscious logical mind said that it was completely hopeless? Yet when you did it, it turned out to be fruitful! Happened often? Yeah with him too. Today was another such day. He had felt that there was no sense in booting the computer at this time in the night, but he found around 3 of his closests friends online! He hadnt talked with two among them for quite some time. There was a 4th too with whom he was chatting, but that was only customary. He was lonely yet amidst conversations. He felt glad and content.

While he was chatting fervently, his observant mind wandered over to think of how typing at this speed also presented him with some real good anagrams. He wanted to type 'hits' but got 'shit', 'how' became 'who', 'read' became 'dear' and so on. Yeah, he had to use backspace a great deal, but it was also so automatic that he didnt even notice it.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


This was written approximately two years ago, when the then editor-in-chief aka Su had insisted vehemently that the MaG was almost ready and that he was waiting exclusively for my article. Ofcourse that MaG has never seen the light of the day or the artificial light of the night until now .. and since I dont expect it to see any either, I am reproducing it here. And it is quite suitable too, comes as it does at the begining of the new academic year and a new life for me and many of my friends....

A Peek into the Unknown !!!

Dedicated to the all the people who are actually reading this article (if u can call it that)

This piece of non-fiction was written on the sole insistence of the Editor-in-Chief of the Interface. It’s not his fault, just that there was nothing to fill up this place.

The author does not take any responsibility or liability if anything that is stated within turns out to be true.

This article has been written with the aim of dispiriting as many people as it can. The job would be well done if at least half the people who read this are turned into hardcore pessimists. We all are sick of reading the daily-weekly-monthly-yearly predictions that are dished out to us by the innumerable publications. The dose of astrology that many of us cannot do without is so 'crystal clear' that it can never be proved either right or wrong. "A problem has been occupying your mind for some time,"(Who the hell doesn’t have problems?) "Its solution may come nearer this week" (It was coming nearer last week too!). "Your romance may take on a new shape" (Its already invisible, who cares what new shape it takes? ). Or the all time favourite "You will settle in your life in the coming future."(As if I expected to get settled in the past!) Hence the author has taken onto himself the noble task of predicting the future as it should be, simple and straightforward. No frills or fuzziness.

Here comes a DisAmbiguated look into the Future !

Now lets begin from the beginning:

All the people who were born in the month of January: (Yep, Sun-Signs have no place in this flavour of astrology)
You all were actually a born a bit after your time. That is to say, you are quite old-fashioned. You have no sense whatsoever of the changing times. You try to cling onto the past. Before the next issue of Echoes, you will be dealt with a severe blow, not emotionally or professionally but physically. The reason, uhm i am unable to cobble up any. Anyway, u better stay away from the heavy-weights, literally.

For all the people who were born between 19th and 26th of any month:
Unlike the Januarians, u people are actually before your time. So u always find yourselves to be the ones waiting for the other person to turn up, who most often doesn’t turn up at all. Basically you are loners, but always trying to maintain a large following, but in order to be among people, u tend to follow someone even if you are against them. Nothing interesting ever happens to you, So there is nothing much to predict about u.

Those who were born between 19th-26th of Jan :
You always think about the past whenever you are made to wait.

Those who celebrate the Date-of-Birth in Nov or Dec :
You are quite extravagant. You want to do everything in a grand fashion. Fortuantely of unfortunately u fail miserably in your attempts at grandeur. They are nothing but mediocre. But dont worry the future holds some promise for you. Your financial position is going to deteriorate to such a level that u will no longer be able to think or act lavishly. From Riches to Rags, thats your life-story.

Those who bloomed in Spring time:
You are quite opposite to the time when u were born. Instead of being bright and cheerful, you are always gloomy and depressed. A born pessimist that you are, you expect nothing but the worst. Dont worry, your expectation is gonna come true. The following weeks would be one of the worst in your life. And it will not get any better. So save your glum for the future too.

Those who belong to Sept and Oct:
I am not going to predict anything for these people. They do not believe in such stuff. None of them is going to read this. If anyone belonging to this group has actually read till here, I suggest u better go and check your date of birth. You have been celebrating the wrong day all these years.

Those who fell onto this earth with the rains:
Simple and clear you appear on the outside,
but the gap with the fact is quite wide.
Cunning and scheming that you are,
there isn’t a day that u haven’t lied.
Your deeds are going to catch up with you in the next month. But you won't learn any lessons from this experience. You would still be as sly and wily as ever. It’s in your nature after all.

Those who were born either between the dates 3rd May-14th May or 17th June-23rd June:
You are quite a special group. Unlike others, you are quite similar to the time of the year that you were born. Always hot and fuming. If it were in your hands, everyone u didn’t love would be burned to ashes. Fortunately for us, your hands hold no powers. However there is the anger simmering within you. I advise all the others (esp Januarians) to stay away from them. Their volcanoes may burst sooner than later.

The Februarians:
You are quite a good people actually and always think of the benefit of others. But somehow your actions result otherwise. Forever the innocent culprit, you are the one who always end up with the brickbats. This month would be no different. You would be abused left, right and center.

All the rest:
Your future is too insignificant to even deserve one sentence.

Afterword: If anything predicted above turns out to be true, please do inform the author so that such errors aren’t repeated in the future.

ps: Incase you are wondering about the author’s birth date, it in February :D

For the future members of the MaG TeaM: You are allowed to publish this piece incase you want to and you are actually getting the 'Interface' published. You may find it as a file in your 200 account by the name 'Why.txt'. Now dont ask me 'why' it was named so.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

fountainhead and dunderheads

So, I have finished almost half of the very famous book 'the fountainhead'. And my verdict is that it is very gripping, infact one of the most gripping books I have read since Bourne Identity or Da Vinci Code (which totally disappoints in the end) .. but then again it doesnt at all come under that thriller genre. Yeah it is a story of quite a unique (weird maybe) individual who is surrounded by a few other equally distinctive individuals :D. Thankfully, It has less of great-natural-beauty descriptions that we so often find and wish to jump ahead and has its focus mainly on the individuals that it is about. Still half the book left and it is a ride I look forward to. However, though I think I realise what Ayn Rand considers an ideal man, I dont think I still have a clue about the famed 'Objectivisim'. The most interesting thing about this experience is that even when you are not reading the book, your mind continues to dwell upon the characters and their behaviours.

Now coming over to the dunderheads, who is a bigger one? Our Govt which bans a few blogs or the ISPs which block blogspot and all?? Yet again the totally confused Indian government has taken an absurd decision of banning a few blogs. Anyone can easily change their url to something else and lo .. it wont be blocked anymore. Anyway, the government found some offensive sites and wanted them blocked.. I never expected anything more savvy from our government. But what I never expected was the response of our dear ISPs. How could they just block the whole sites like blogspot, typepad etc?? Now thats really silly. I dont care about the technical difficulties of blocking just a few pages of a site, it really is absurd to deny Indians all the millions of blogs out there!!

Yeah I know a few people are trying to rectify the situation but until then we have to use pkblogs, vtunnel, shysurfer etc. And yeah, I am publishing this post on a 'banned/blocked' blog :D whoaa.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

A paragraph which captured my attention

Yet this is the view with which- in various degrees of longing, wistfulness, passion and agonized confusion- the best of mankind's youth start out in life. It is not even a view, for most of them, but a foggy, groping, undefined sense made of raw pain and incommunicable happiness. It is a sense of enormous expectation, the sense that one's life is important, that great achivements are within one's capacity, and that great things lie ahead.
It is not in the nature of man--nor of any living entity--to start out by giving up, by spitting in one's own face and damning existence; that requires a process of corruption whose rapidity differs from man to man. Some give up at the first touch of pressure; some sell out; some run down by imperceptible degrees and lose their fire, never knowing when or how they lost it. Then all of these vanish in the vast swamp of their elders who tell them persistently that maturity consists of abandoning one's mind; security, of abandoning one's values; practicality, of losing self-esteem. Yet a few hold on and move on, knowing that that fire is not to be betrayed, learning how to give it shape, purpose and reality. But whatever their future, at the dawn of their lives, men seek a noble vision of man's nature and of life's potential

- Ayn Rand in the Introduction to the 25th edition of 'The Fountainhead'.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Weird calls and weirder happenings!!

Am lying around leisurely on a wonderful afternoon after having chatted with around 15 people and talked on phone with a few others ... when I get yet another call. But this time, it was an unrecognised number. And the conversation goes (translated from telugu to english for my writing and your reading benefit):

Caller: Hello, Ramachandra garu? *garu means sir in telugu*
Me: haan .. *softly and doubtfully*
Caller: Is it Ramachandra garu?
Me: haan, it is Ramachandra
Caller: I am .. you know Paddy (name changed) of IIIT? I am her husband's friend calling.
Me: Oh kay .... *wondering what this is all about*
Caller: I want to meet you, can you tell where?
Me: *taken aback .. now what did I do to warrant such a meeting* aahn .. can i know what this is about?
Caller: Nothing, just wanted to ask about your job and all .... *trails off*
Me: * a bit relieved* aahn No, I am going for further studies
Caller: what?
Me: I am planning to do MS, so no job for me.
Caller: Oh, I wanted to discuss some life insurance policies with you to see if you would be interested in something.
Me: *the realisation hits hard* Well, I wont be in India for long, so no point of any life insurance here ..
Caller: US aa??
Me: *whatever .. keep the phone now!!* yeah yeah something
Caller: Fine, thanks
Me: Thankyou *what a connection to what end??*

Then, I hear some shouts coming from outside. Go to the balcony of my home, which is on the third floor and look down to see a huge group of people. Yet another shooting going on, I think. Yeah, there would be some movie-teleserial shooting atleast once every week in front of our apartment. Its prime locality you know ;) However, coming back to the point, I search for the camera and the shooting-help-bus. Can find neither. Just then more shouts, I look directly below to find two people hitting a third. Oh fight scene .. I think. But no camera anywhere in sight. And no film crew either. Puzzled i observe closely and find what? Thats an actually fight going on! The person runs, his two tormentors run after him. And they are followed by a huge procession of silent and not so silent bystanders. The victim/culprit runs to the end of the compound and foolishly ends up at a deadend and the supposed righteous assault on him begins. Its looks like he is being accused of something and punished at the same time. People surround him and are giving him a short trip to hell.

Just then, my phone rings again. Same number

Caller: Hello Ramachandra garu?
Me: *Yeah the same old me* yeah tell
Caller: Can you give me Ravi Shankar's number?
Me: *Nope not from me, I wont commit the sin*, well he is not in hyd, joined some institute somewhere ..
Caller: Oh, no cell phone?
Me: I guess he hasnt taken one yet
Caller: Okay, can I have his email id?
Me: *you are more modern than I thought!* sure ..

and so I provide the id, end the call and blog about it :D

ps: And for the people who still ask me, 'so where are you going finally?' , I have an answer now :D
oops that was a ps :-ss

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

First post from home!!

Almost 2 weeks at home! The last time i was continually at home for more than a week was way back in the summer of 03 after my first year. Now, I have the pc at home and also a decent net connection. So how does it feel when blogging from home? Totally weird. Need to get used to it.

Watching almost all the Fifa matches, not particularly because I am any soccer fan but rather because I have nothing much to do. Also, at last I have been able to read a book of that famed author 'Aldous Huxley'. Nope, it is not the well known 'Brave New World' but one of his earliest novels called 'Antic Hay'. No comments on it other than that it definitely enriched my vocabulary, refreshed many of those Gre words. My next book shall be 'The Fountainhead'. People seem to either love Ayn Rand's writings or hate them. Dont know which side of the fence I would find myself.

My predicitions regarding the world cup? Argentina or maybe Germany or even Spain or unexpectedly France (the match between spain and france is about to start now). Too many? Note that theres no Brazil or England or Italy. I so wished that Ghana would beat Brazil 8->. However, do not ridicule if the final turns out to be a England-Brazil/Italy affair :D.

People still ask me, 'so where are you going finally?' and i still evade the answer :D.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Last post from room 14@Obh

Nope, this is certainly not a post that would attempt to describe my nonexistant nostalgic feelings.
Exactly 5 months earlier, I wrote this post on things to be done before leaving IIIT. Its time now to evaluate the performance. There were 16 tasks of which 11 were already accomplished by then. So I had the 5 remaining tasks for these 5 months. And I scored 2/5. Yeah way below par. What were the three tough tasks? The only foreign language word that I have been able to learn is 'merci'. So that doesnt count. Never had the occasion or the physique to get into a fight. Had many many ideas on drawing the attention of disco, made a small attempt too but fortunately or unfortunately it didnt work out at all. The easiest sure shot method had too many unfriendly repercussions for me to try :D. So thats that about that.

Why is it that the cable goes poof just seconds before a ronaldinho free kick??
Where has the frog jumping around in the wing just outside my room disappeared to :-?
Why is the coffee shop called 'coffee shop' when jersey, sprite etc loudly proclaim their presence and loads of other things are also available??
Why is every mess in IIIT decent enough in the month of september, bearable in december and horrible in march??
How come that the day when finally the AC in our ug4 lab started working after being a decorative piece on the wall for the whole year, they announce the closure of labs citing the (mis)usage of electricity?
Why is that when a critical post slamming the usage of PS in blogs has created a furore that my post seems to be having them (though not having been marked so).
Why is it that despite having thousands of songs in the pc, i am listening to the same 6 songs since the last 3 days?
Why is it that 'blogspot' absolutely refuses to make itself better??
Why is that despite it becoming obsolete, I continue to persist with blogspot???
Finally, when is the akela musaphir going to narrate his sad memorable incident????

Monday, June 12, 2006

From 'nothing to write' To 'forgetting to confer a title'

On the bed .. trying to sleep ... u realise the effort is futile and so get up and come back to the pc. Cntrl+T and then go to, log in as mythalez and click on create-post. And then look around wondering what to write. Some more minutes tick away. Nothing comes to mind. Go to some of the frequented blogs. Read some of their old posts as none have updated in the past couple of hours. Come back to the create-post tab. Still nothing in mind. Chat with Pati, the only one awake at this ungodly hour. Still nothing to write.

Its not that there is nothing to be told. A lot of what can be said is expectant of being conveyed, but you instinctively realise that nothing of that would come out well when spoken or written. So, you discard them all and are left with just ephemeral ideas whose flicker dies out even before they sufficiently illuminate the mind. What you have is perennial darkness with speckles of sparkling light droplets that relentlessly change their locations appearing and disappearing at will.

A couple of days and I will vacate my room. Yeah leave IIIT forever. Leaving with mixed feelings. Wondering how a computer would look in my home ... hey actually my pc did spend the first couple of months of its life in my home, but then it was different.. that was way back in 2003 summer when i finished my first year at this place. Had newly installed windowsXP and RH9. Desktop had the available default wallpapers of windows and linux. Windows was mostly used to play Caeser, Quake and Cricket. Linux was booted into to be tinker with. BackStreetBoys used to be the most played english band. The browser used to be Iexplorer and Konqueror both of which were rarely used. Ymessenger was a non-entity.
Now, the pc obviously still has WindowsXP (fourth time installed and already a semester old) And FC3 along with it. The wallpapers in both the OSs have been set as desktop background directly from the net. The only games now existing on the pc are Yeti Games (the penguin ones), 3 flash games, bookworm and hangaroo. /home partition has so many files that I have long ago proclaimed it to be an impossible task to clean up the home dir. BSB doesnt exist in the pc anymore though 7.4GB of the 40GB hdd is occupied by english songs. The browser in both OS is firefox and is almost always running unless the pc itself is switched off. Ymessenger and Gaim are the first programs to be executed when the pc boots into either OS.
However, the hardware is completely unchanged .. including the seldom working rarely used floppy drive. So different yet its still the same?

Monday, June 05, 2006

Let there be a post !!

On my way, I went to heaven
found my solace among the immortal men

Then chanced upon an angel, you see
her mere smile made my heart glee

We had wonderful moments together
enjoying all and sundry weather

The heaven and woman didnt suit me fine
to be back on earth, I did pine

Weirdly, an opening came my way
back to earth, my path lay

The angel accompanined me
the mortal world she wanted to see

But as she set foot on the ground
she was sold for many a pound

In retrospection, I was wrong
shouldnt have brought her along.

... This took less than 5 minutes ... am too sleepy to even make sense of what it means or even to see whether it atually means any sense ... good night!!