Monday, December 08, 2008

after 40 days ...

there must be a reason that i haven't posted for so long? or is there?

many a verse formed a thought
only to fade with the time
to be conveyed, yet left unspoken
the medium, it seems was broken.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

and so I go home again !!

just like last time, my trip has been decided just one week in advance. so, again i booked my tickets just 7 days in advance. atleast unlike last time, it did not involve a dedicated search for 4 hours. an half an hour of prowling around secured cheaper tickets (£350) on a better airlines (qatar airways) with shorter total journey times (12 hours unlike the previous one on srilankan airlines which took 18 hrs).

how long you ask? 25 days! but it will be busy few weeks. after all, it is my brother's marriage! so that involves two trips to bangalore for 2-3 days each ... though the rest of the time i will be in hyderabad.

well, the flight is in 15 hours, the bus to the airport is in 11 hours, thats at the unholy time of 5am, and i am still in the lab and yet to even think about packing! so bye bye readers ......

Monday, October 06, 2008

long long ago ... time went by .. it still does

¬ helplessly track wisps of memories floating away into oblivion. try to pull them back, only to find them burst into nothingness like shiny soap bubbles of a mirage.

¬ seen the face almost every other day for four years. exchanged the hi's, the views, the enthusiastic discussions, money, food and assignments. never said a good-bye, but never talked again. see the name in the chat-list everyday, but can't be bothered to message. wonder whether you really knew the face and the name.

¬ ought to message a regular, but the fluctuating list manipulates you into sending the message to someone you rarely conversed with over the past two years. and its awkward. after the standard hi's and the protocol based "how are you? am fine!" exchange, both fall silent. there is nothing to say to each other. the lives are completely different and completely out of touch with the other. the fact that these same lives were closely intertwined just a couple of years ago, holds no significance.

¬ then, there are those kind of persons you meet daily, exchange jokes, talk the general topics and forget about as soon as you walk past them. and sometimes wonder how little you all know about each other. thus, making it certain that once you leave the place, none of them will ever feature in your memories and neither will you in theirs'. yet another addition to the acquaintance links that will quickly wither away.

¬ and finally, there are those that frequently appear in your mind. you recollect all the good times you had, perhaps the not so pleasant ones too. but you are amazed at how they don't exactly seem to remember most of it, making all those memories little imaginary moments of your own mind. you might still meet them regularly, but how can that matter?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

when you have nothing important or useful to say..

okay, i was supposed to be finishing up some long pending tasks, instead i am here, typing out arbitrary stuff, because i don't feel like doing anything else...

some days are meant to have a hopeless feeling about them, for no reason. everything is fine, looks great, but she just didn't feel right. went about the usual tasks, kept up the usual smile, but the mind was doing its own analysis in the background. it came up with two fairly obvious conclusions--- very tired of the routine, and nothing exciting to look forward to.

while i am typing this, i am, in parallel, involved in two different but equally demanding chat conversations, each of which is an attempt at convincing a friend that he should infact go ahead and ask that girl (that he has been infatuated with, for many months/years) out and not worry about the supposed consequences of breaking their existing friendship. naah, i don't seem to be succeeding ... both of them are still too scared, but atleast they accepted that they are deeply interested in their respective girls. sorry for the interruption, we now return.

instead, of going through the day listlessly, and then the week and then months and years, she decided to do some different. perhaps, not very dramatic. certainly not very dramatic, she is incapable of that. she always dreads drawing attention to herself. she even frets if her social circle finds some change in her and remarks about it-- like the other day when she had a slightly fancy haircut inviting a few comments, all positive. but she was extremely uncomfortable that day, even left early in order to not attract any more attention. she preferred to remain inconspicuous. at any party filled with new faces, she would tend to blend into the background unless she is with her close group of friends. thats what surprises her. she is not the traditional introvert. she had concluded at an young age itself that she is slightly weird.

aargh, the chat conversations distracted me for too long and now i don't remember what i was thinking while writing the above paragraph, and certainly no clue on which way to extend it. so it will be abandoned .... let's try something else.

the wind was whizzing past. that made the walk even harder. as it is, walking while absolutely lost in thoughts is not an easy activity. the pace slows down as the thoughts keeping sucking in the consciousness. sometimes, the person might even come to a stand-still and not realise it, like he did. and when he did notice it, he started again with a shake of the head and a shrug of helplessness. in spite of his sudden movement, the blame for the crash lay with the cyclist. he, securely ensconced in his helmet, was distracted by a parade of mini-skirted legs on the pavement and didn't notice the person walking right into his path. both of them collapsed to the ground. the non-cyclist was even entangled with the front wheel. after picking themselves up and scanning for scratches, they looked up to face each other. both smiled sheepishly conveying guilt. obviously, each thought it was his own fault. after a flurry of apologies, they restarted on their perpendicular paths; pushing away the memory of this incident into an abyss in their brains, never to recollect. thus, the cycle did crash into other people and even lamp-posts in the rest of its life-time, the cyclist continued to get distracted ever so often and the non-cyclist did continue to apologise unnecessarily, blaming his absent-mindedness for mistakes he didn't commit.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

the economist, the politics and the kind ...

my reading habit was close to hitting the abyss. i was taking months upon months to finish even a single novel. it was mainly because i prefer to read in bursts of a novel at a time and not piece by piece on a daily basis. also, i liked to read a novel only with full concentration to be able to comprehend and appreciate all possible nuances. the schedule and work made this somewhat tough and i tended to plump in favour of the brainless sitcoms to unwind rather than the novels (even if they were the humourous kind). at the same time, i was also losing touch with the news and happenings around the world. i also wanted to be able to do something that did not involve staring at a computer screen.

so, when an enticing offer to subscribe to any of the popular magazines came my way, i couldn't resist. but i had to choose the 'chosen one'. 'newsweek' always sounded very weak to me and 'time', which i read often at iiit, felt very american. i turned to "the sage" aka pranav for advice and he vehemently recommended 'the economist'. i was ambivalent about it since i wasn't willing to read pages upon pages about bankers and trade but apparently this magazine didn't just talk about finance and stuff but about general news of the world. it was also much higher priced than the others. thus, in a moment of i-can't-care-less, i subscribed to it. and thus formed the genesis of this post :p.

i find the economist quite capitalistic and pro-west in that regard but also socially liberal. perhaps, i need to summarise the types of positions of politics, especially for those who live in political denial = not acknowledging the existence of politics in their lives :p

united states' republicans = socially conservative (very), economically capitalistic and liberal for free markets etc
united states' democrats = socially liberal, economically socialistic and restricted

united kingdom's conservatives = obviously, socially conservative, and economically liberal
united kingdom's labour = socially liberal and economically socialistic, less capitalistic
united kingdom's liberal democrats = socially liberal and economically liberal too

comparing this kind of structure with that in india:
bjp = nationalistic, socially conservative but economically liberal
left parties = i have no idea about their social policies but economically socialistic- against capitalism
congress = centrist, i feel they just follow a policy of appeasement rather than anything else

'the economist' quite distinctly tends to being liberal, both in the social aspects favouring free-choice to the individuals to decide their life-style, and is also liberal in the economics aspects favouring free trade, immigration, globalisation etc. thus, thankfully, reading it never highly aggravated me against their opinions. yes, they have opinions, very strong ones in fact. that is what i found quite different from the other magazines, both indian and international. generally, opinions are restricted to editorials and special columns while the rest of the articles devote to just reporting facts, figures and others' views. in contrast, every article in the economist presents the facts, displays its own view in that regard, sometimes shows more facts to support itself, and concludes, often in a sarcastic/satirical tone on what is being done and what should actually be done. yes, it might appear to be preaching its own views upon its readers, which is true, but it still is fun! another unique aspect is that the reporters' names are never displayed. in a way, the magazine presents a single united front i guess :p

anyway, i am running 4 weeks late. since i mostly read on weekends, i fall behind an issue if i am busy on a weekend by going on a trip or something. reading the magazine a month after its publication is strange at times. for example, i was reading an article over rising tensions between russia and georgia and all that, while fully knowing that they do go to war soon after and russia brutally crushes georgia and makes a mockery of all those western blah blah.

but, i havent re-subscribed to it, since i want to hide back in the 'fictional' pages for a while ....

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

philosophical blah ....

you know the problem with accepting the axiom that "everything in the universe is just blah" ??

you are no longer able to figure out what you want. which direction to take, what to seek. since, you know that eventually, everything will turn out to be blah. what might appear appealing now will not remain so after a while, irrespective of whether you suceed in obtaining it or not.

it is not pleasant if you are able to logically dissect and explain away all your emotions and desires. makes you more distraught.

perhaps i should create a new label called 'blah' ?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Pretty highlands of Scotland !!

The plan: To spend the weekend hiking and visiting a distillery in the Scottish highlands around the area between Loch Lomond and Loch Awe. 'Loch', as many must be knowing due to the popular 'Loch Ness', is Scottish for lake. And yeah, the second lake is actually called 'Awe' and is supposedly the longest freshwater one in Scotland.

0th day: 5 people started the journey on a wet friday morning in two rented cars- Ford Mondeo and Volkswagon Passat. I being the only non-driver among the 5 chose the Ford. 3 more people were to be picked up on the way, 1 in Wigan and 2 in Glasgow. This was my first non-official trip with labmates.

The motorways were pretty crowded and we could rarely reach the speed-limit of 70mph. Though the GPS was re-routing on basis of the traffic information, it kept giving us the same route. Until the time, when it finally decided to take us out of the motorway and led us onto narrow country roads. After zipping for a while in the countryside, we came across a toll-booth for a bridge that was being 'manned' by an old lady who collecting 12p. Yeah, thats right, 12 pence was the fees for the strange toll bridge! We finally got tired of the narrow loopy (pun intended) roads and went back to the motorway by stopping the traffic based routing system of the GPS :P.

Anyway, after a 10 hour drive due to the jammed motorways, we reached Glasgow, where we looked for a supermarket so that our Italian friend can buy his pasta making stuff and feed us delicious dinner at the place. While there, I made a cursory call to the place only to be told that we should reach there before 12 otherwise even the barman might leave and no one would be present to give us the keys to the house! It was 10 and it would require atleast two hours to reach the place. And so we rushed.

Thankfully, we made it in time. 'The place' is a self-catering 8 bed house (named Archbrecknish or some such thing) that we rented for the weekend. It was pretty good with just one problem- only one bathroom for the 8 of us. The last part of the route was through this extremely dark and narrow road dotted with weirdly shaped trees. Speculation on how the path can be rigged to make white ghostlike apparitions suddenly appear in front of cars like us, given the preponderance of ghost-tales in Scotland, made for some interesting conversations.

1st day: Despite sleeping past 3am, we all had to be ready by 8:30 to leave for the trek. Our scheduler (who also did most of the choosing/planning for the trip) was adamant that, otherwise, we wouldn't have enough time for the 7-8 hours mountain hike. Before starting for the hike, we got some maps to help us reach the place, and bread, cheese, sardines, chocolates etc for lunch.
While shopping two of us came across this person who claimed to be a former mountain rescuer and advised us to inform atleast someone back home anywhere, that we are undertaking the trek and call them again when we safely return .. ahem! He also suggested that we could drink water from the stream if we ran out of it. Which we eventually did .. and which most probably gave some of us a sore throat :D.

Around 10am, we started the walk. The path, a rocky substitute of a road, was beside a meandering stream and went onto the base of the mountain. There were sheep all around, with horns, without horns, bleating, silent. They seemed to be our only companions. After 3 hours we reached a point led unto the stream. On the otherside began the mountain climb. So, we had lunched there. The bottle of whiskey that was being passed around to keep the spirits up during the walk was almost empty ;). Then, began the climb. There was no clear path. Just previous foot-falls that cleared out some of the grass from the rocks and the mud. We were climbing right next to the stream, sometimes even crisscrossing it. While the water was gently flowing down the mountain, we were swamping up. Often there were several paths to to choose from- a dry muddy one, another dry grassy one, a wet rocky one .. and so on. Everyone once in a while some would fall behind, and the ones in front would sit down for some rest and allow them to catch up. And so the climb went on and on and on. The trekking shoes really showed their mettle.

The climb seemed like taking two steps at a time of a winding muddy slippery staircase. We kept reaching several 'local maxima/peak' only to be facing the main one still high above. After a while, 5 of us reached to far ahead the rest of them and took a nice long break. Even the sun came out to keep us warm. Then, 5 of us decided to try going for the peak, while the rest decided to circle the mountain instead. And now began the actual part. We surely didn't chose the right path to go up. In fact, it wasn't a path. It was just rocks upon rock upon rocks covered with long tall grass. So, every step included searching for a foothold, while holding onto the grass or stone with both the hands. The incline was almost vertical in many places! Often the next rock was so high that I had to move sideways to find an easier next-step. Looking back only made us realise that it is impossible to go down the same route that we were taking up. We would just end up falling all the way to the base. Added to this perilious route with no equipment except for our dear trekking shoes, the wind was so so strong that it was impossible for me to stand upright without holding onto some support. Thankfully the wind was pushing us towards the slope and not the other way round. Had that been the case, I wouldn't be writing this post .. either I wouldn't have ventured to try reaching the peak, or if I did, I wouldn't have made it :P.

My extra-ordinary stamina made its presence felt and I was quite behind the other 4. Infact all of us were in a line with a few minutes climb between each pair. Somehow, the peak lured us and we went on and on, each resting for a minute or so when the body refused to move immediately :D. The worst part was that with the steep incline, you couldn't see much farther, so I had no clue how far ahead the peak was. The next local maxima would seem like the global one but woudn't be and the climb had to continue. However, we all made it. I being the last one, scrambled onto the peak welcomed with some tired cheers :D. And then, looking around the view was purely awesome! But no, the view did not make all my exhaustion worthwhile .. atleast not then :P. Barely did I rest for a minute or so that we decided we better start getting down in order to be able to return to the car by sunset. At the peak we met a person who seemed professional trekker with his climbing stick and dog and he showed us a better route for going down.

Trekking down the slope was more of a mental challenge than a physical one. As no clear route existed, each of us had to put on a commendable 'balancing act' to make sure that we wouldn't end up tumbling down (like jack and jill of that rhyme :P) Some were innovative to slide down on their backs wherever the grass was favourable with no visible rocks ;). It was almost like playing a game. Going down the slope finally made the climb worthwhile for me :). At the base, all of us regrouped and started walking back. But this time, we dint take the rocky road, but went along the swampy bank of the stream. It wasn't a particular good idea. Every few steps, a tributary was merging with the stream making the whole place swampy and wet. The tall grass was basically hiding extremely wet mud and water. After slowly tramping down this non-existant route for a while, we decided to get back to proper land. Anhow, we finally reached the cars at the time of the sunset - 6:30pm. On the way back, we stopped at place to look at lake Lomond. That place apparently (if i remember correctly) hosted the largest hydro-electric plant of UK .. and it was pretty small by Indian standards :P. The day ended with dinner at a local pub. I ordered the traditional fish-and-chips and it was much better than what we generally get in England :D.

When we finally reached our resting place, a cursory glance up at the sky presented a magnificent view. A clear sky at a place far from any urban area meant a sky filled with lots and lots of twinkling little stars. Along with many constellations, we could even distinguish the milky-way! I can't remember the previous time I saw the milky-way or the bow of Orion constellation :). It was a really memorable sight, reminding me of the time when I lived in a town in Orissa and with power-cuts in the evening meant scrambling onto the roof to gaze at the star filled sky. In Hyderabad or even at Southampton, thats an impossibility.

2nd day:
It was unanimously agreed to not trek anymore on this day. So, we went to the nearby town called Oban and had a tour of its distillery (for the ignoramuses: distilleries make the scotch whiskey). It was quite interesting and the smell of the yeast was pretty strong ;). Apparently the shape of some towers for some activity (I dont remember the details anymore :D) somewhat determine the flavour of the drink! Towards the end, they gave us samples of two kinds of whiskey to taste, a 12 yr matured almost transparent 52% alcohol one and then the final product: 14 year single malt Oban whiskey. The longer the whiskey is allowed to mature in the barrels, the more darker it becomes by acquiring some properties from the wood. Sometimes, the barrels used are not fresh but already used ones from other distilleries to give different flavours to the drink. We were even allowed to keep the glasses, that we drank from, as souvenirs :).

After that, we ate a variety of seafood for lunch at an almost roadside style stall. I tried scallops and oysters for the first time. Scallops were pretty good while Oysters tasted like sea water with some squishy substance ... yeah I didn't like it at all :D. Later, we went on to some circular ancient monument that overlooked the town. There, one person from our group (a former labmate who now works as an consultant with McKinsey) saw some blackberries and went over the fence to fetch them. And yeah, for doing that, he handed over his Blackberry (the electronic one :P) for safe-keeping. Talk of irony ;).

Next, we travelled back to Glasgow for dinner and then at 10:30pm in the night, started the long journey back. The drab motorways were no comparison for the pretty winding mountainous roads, beside the lakes, in the highlands. While we were on the flyover next to Glasgow airport, a huge plane passed right in front of us, just a few metres above the eye-level, pretty darn sight that was! Speeding along practically empty motorways, we reached Southampton at 6 in the morning, on the monday, for a well-deserved rest.

For all those who might be considering comments calling for pics, I didn't take any :D. For one, I am not the kind who likes taking pictures or admires them, and no picture can sufficiently describe the feeling of sitting on top of a peak with a 360 view of trees, valleys and streams below you- feeling of succeeding at my own little everest :) (though it was quite painful to reach).

As is usual with such posts, I have no patience to read it and correct grammatical/spelling errors .. so just let them be :P

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Every once in a while ...

Every once in a while,
stall the thoughts, abandon the speculation
try to shut off the mental processes
disengage the senses, clear up the space

Every once in a while,
block out the disturbances, restrain the activities
take a step back from the mess of life
slow down the breaths, slow the hectic pace

Every once in a while,
ungarble the tangled wishes, tear up the lists
halt the schemes abound in contradiction
pack up the cards, throw away the futile ace

Every once in a while ....

after a long time, I was in the perfect mood to jot down something. The lines, the words came in a flurry and the whole thing was written in 5 minutes, I guess. Even a splitting headache has its plus points !! Btw, the observant might notice why it isn't really possible to have more than three stanzas for this poem :P.

Monday, August 25, 2008

no quality, just a liability

Should it be prose or should it be verse?
which way should I talk about this curse?
what exactly do I want to convey,
is there really anything worth a say?

This pretends to be a poem of some kind
it does have a rhyme, but not much mind
I type this down, as I couldn't keep it in
putting it out there, no loss and no win

Sometime ago, it was strong and distracting,
now it seems silly, maybe since it's retracting
but still causes a sigh and a deeply shut eye
is it really gone or was just enacting a lie

illusion of inadequacy or adequacy an illusion?
stuck in the doldrums or basking in comfort?
make an effort or wait for the chance to beckon?
there was no mind, now lost the rhyme, yet go on?

Saturday, August 09, 2008

while you were talking ....

Okay, the blog has tremendously enjoyed its break. It perfectly used its more than 50 days vacation to refresh and rejuvenate itself and learn and imbibe techniques and procedures for using and incorporating more and excess words and adjectives in its sentences and statements than necessary or required. Anyhow, the blog is now back to its dreary life of just acting as a medium for the rambling of its purposeless author. To be able to reminiscing about its amazing trips during the vacation (saturn, europa, charon, halley et al.), it is handing back the control to Mythalez.

So, did you zone out while reading that excruciating paragraph above? I would have. I remember that until recently, I used to be a very keen listener when carrying out one-to-one or group conversations, face-to-face or via phone (ofcourse, I have always drifted off and slept in any kind of talks/seminars/classes irrespective of how interesting it might be :D, and continue to do so). I listened so well that not only did I comprehend well about what was said, I would also notice the various grammatical/factual errors and forcefully stop myself from interrupting and pointing them out.

But lately, over the past year, I find that I seem to frequently zone out or drift away into my own thoughts while carrying out a conversation with someone. However, the saving grace is that my face and gestures do not betray this at all. Coming back into such conversations, I realise that I had been pretending to listen- nodding at the appropriate times, speaking the appropriate words, even occasionally asking an appropriate question, while absolutely not remembering what was said. And find the speaker continuing on his discourse oblivious to the mental absence of his/her audience. It is as if an automated responder takes over me leaving my mind free to wander. However, some drawbacks of this zoning out phenomenon are that I wouldn't have much of an idea about what was said, (who knows it might have even been interesting or useful) and I appear to be a poor conversationalist (obviously, the 'hmm's and yeahs don't make the best responses all the time.)

*tap tap, shake, wake up* Okay reader, the post is ending now, you can come back from your wandering thoughts to post your customary comment employing your automatic response system. :P

And yeah, the above described habit of mine is limited to voice conversations only, I still chat with all my vigour :P

Monday, June 16, 2008

Happy birthday! just 4 years gone ?? :D

Happy birthday to Mythalez's blog, once again! Its 4 years old now... yes people, you have been tolerating this continuous addition to web-scum for so long! The ritualistic statistical update:- 263 posts published (incl this), 1 scheduled and 9 drafts.

Last year Mythalez wrote this post which linked to some posts capturing what he thought was the variety ;) (He is allowed to be arrogantly narcissist on this day :D). Anyway, this year he thought he should make it more 'interactive'. In other words, he requests his dear silly benevolent (that should be sufficient number of pleasant adjectives right?) readers to do the work for him :D. So here goes the announcement --

All my readers ... those who comment often, those who never comment, and all those in between (including those who never 'read';) ) are requested to comment this time, and select one of my posts which they like the most. There is no other criteria. A link to the post would be awesome .. but dont worry if u cant find it or are too lazy to try .. just a line or two on what it was about is okay too :D. Also, It would please me to know who you are .. but in case you are extremely protective of your secrecy, an 'anonymouse' comment is welcome too .. or if your need for secrecy borders on paranoia, then you might as well just mail me the post/your-identity or both @ mythalez at :P.

Mythalez intuitively feels that instead of choosing the best post, the annoyed and sufficiently tortured readers would either chose a bad post or not choose at all (which is worse!) .. please dont do that :-ssss :D.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


There come times, when you are not really sure how you feel. You can't decide whether you are joyous or sorrowful, cool or frustrated, hopeless or enthusiastic. Worse is that you cannot even decide how you are supposed to feel. You can't figure out whether you are supposed to be happy or angry. An even funnier situation is when you think you are supposed to feel angry or frustrated, sad and so on, but you don't. You find yourself too numb for any strong emotion. You are just too stoic even for your own comfort. Thats when it strikes you that there must be something somewhere wrong with you.

They say I should be angry
They assume I will be
books, people, the psychologists
'but I dont care', say me

hollow mind, empty body
hold no emotion, shoddy
might I force the feeling on myself
yet find myself disembody

it's just that nothing matters!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

the BLAH is here !!

My friend, the corrupted Database (unofficially known as srujan in some cliques), also nicknamed 'the original spurious tuple generator', recently suggested to me that i should start a 'blah' cult. The idea immediately caught my fancy. Of course, after our recent revelations (link), the wider world certainly needs be informed of the 'blah philosophy'. However, the main hurdle for spreading this way of thinking is that unlike the major religions that need tomes to state their ideas, this philosophy is quite pithy. In fact, as we know, all its philosophy is contained in one simple sentence: "everything in the universe is just blah".

Yes, yes, I know that there is one minor niggling drawback. The blah philosophy only talks about the universe but not beyond it. But then, in reality, it does encompass all that there is. It is the fault of the language that it has not been able to come up with a word to describe the things beyond the universe. Whatever they might be, they still adhere to being 'blah'.

Doubters might ask, if everything is so clear, will the preachers and followers of the philosophy have any work at all? They do .. of course they do. Every person accepting, refuting or ignoring the philosophy has to come up with his/her own interpretation of 'blah'. Therein lies the primary beauty of the cult. Though, all its members follow the blah philosophy, everyone follows an unique blah, one that is specific to him/her alone. Thus, our cult differs from the other cults and religions in the world, especially in its flexibility and 'customisability' :).

So, followers of blah, unite and spread the glory of the word, across the universe and beyond! And the word is "BLAH" !!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

some random points

= Just listen to it. Don't make any other sound. Blunt all the other senses except the ears. Wait. Listen to it.

= Is it on expected lines that the continuing and persistant bloggers from my IIIT batch (pati, simeen and me for example) are also the first ones from the batch to start blogging regularly? Its almost 4 years now ... whoa!

= gtalk's 'talk' is written in four colours, t is blue, a is red, l is orange and k is green. We do know that red, orange and green colours are used by it to depict the status of the contacts. But what does the blue of 't' stand for? The other possible state - offline is colourless and not blue. So, what can we associate with the blue of 't' ? Any ideas? (I know, I know this must be one of the most inconsequential and utterly ridiculous questions ever asked .. but then who is keeping a record :P)

= It was surprisingly sunny for a whole week, a week ago. So, last weekend, I dusted my bicycle, cleaned it and even oiled it, with a resolve to start using it again, after having literally abandoned it since september last year. However, the regular grey wet weather made a return on the night of that eventful day. And has persisted since. Alas, my poor optimism :D.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Conference and Portugal

Okay, so I was in Portugal for the past 8 days attending Aamas 08. Though I had attended a bigger conference before (IJCAI 07) and also Robocup 05, this was different. This time, I was a proper phd student (was just a beginner at Ijcai) and also had to present something. Anyway, lets start with the flight.

Since this was a official aka sponsored trip, the four of us who were taking the same flight had a taxi to take us to Heathrow from Southampton at 5am. The flight was at 8am and as I tend to do for such early flights, I did not sleep at night and packed around 4am. Everything went along too smoothly (I wasn't even asked to remove my shoes at security, which I always had to do at Heathrow) and we were in the flight and the flight took off on time! But then the fun started. 5 minutes after being airborne, I was rudely jolted awake by very loud and weird noise seemingly emanating from below the aircraft. We felt it was the landing gear. After another 5 minutes, the pilot announces that the plane is experiencing 'technical problems' and hence we will be going back to Heathrow! Presumably the landing gear was stuck and could not be retracted. As we landed back at the airport in a very jerky fashion, it was amusing to see the runway surrounded by fire-engines and ambulances :P. Soon, we are asked to get off the plane .... and after taking us to another terminal and back and through another security check, they asked us to go through immigration, collect our luggage and check in again for one of the later flights! So at immigration at Heathrow airport in London, this was how the conversations went:
Official: So where are you coming from today?
Me: err ... here .. london?
Official: /:) Where did you go?
Me: I was to go to Lisbon but didn't.
Official: eh? Then how/why are you here??
and I had to explain the whole story :P
So, we reached Lisbon at 5pm instead of 11am. TAP did sap all our energies!

Moving on, spent the weekend at Lisbon (or whatever was left of saturday and whole of sunday). Lisbon is a city of many squares :P. And all of them invariably have a statue of a man on a tall pillar kind of thing. Most often this statue would be on a horse, though sometimes it isn't. The Vasco-da-gama bridge looks something like the Golden gate of SFO (from what I have seen in pictures/tv of the latter) On sat nights, life starts around 12-1am. Thats also the time when the metro ceases to run. By the way, the metro has only 4 lines but each of the station is huge .. really very very spacious. Stranger is that the each of the train stations (normal ones .. not metro) in Lisbon seem to have only one route. That is, all trains from station A go to Sintra, all those from station B go to Cascais and so on.

Then went to Estoril, where the conference was held. Estoril is a town only catering to tourists and vacationers I think. It just contains hotels, restaurants, bars, beaches, marina with yachting and surfing facilities, golf course and a tennis complex where a 'open' was going on while we were there, involving Federer and co. And ofcourse, there was a casino right opposite our hotel which was billed as the biggest in continental europe. The millions of blinking lights of the casino constantly gave me a headache :P.

The conference was held in a 5-star hotel, very posh but barely able to keep up with the huge number of people attending it. Our hotel, a 3-star one was pretty good too with huge double beds, AC, TV and an awesome bathroom all of which was maintained daily by the staff. It was a bit disconcerting when I used to return at night, to not find the towels etc where I had left them in the morning but to see them fresh and neatly arranged and ready for use :-s. Another strange system in Portugal is that the switches are opposite to the general trend. To switch off, we have to press them down and vice versa ..... very confusing :P.

As about the food in Portugal, vegetarians are bound to die of starvation. 4/5ths of the dishes on the menu will be seafood and the rest would be meat (with just 1 chicken item .. invariably grilled chicken). However, I did enjoy all the fish and shrimps, I didn't know I liked seafood but I guess I made good menu choices and only got served the yummy dishes and not the yucky ones :D.
On this note, I should mention that Caipirinha is a good drink :P. Now for the banquet of the conference, it was just awesome! Was held in a very very long wine storage house (Colares wine cellar). Trust me, it took 10 minutes to walk from one end to another and both walls were lined with barrels, some as huge as 15K litres. The banquet itself was a 4 course meal excluding the starters. I guess it was the second 'formal' meal I have ever had, working our way through the forks and knives from outer to inner ones and all that.

After the conference, spent a day touring Sintra, another hillside town seemingly designed for tourists. It had a castle on one mountain peak and a palace on another peak ... both of which were worth the visit. And the return journey had no special technical issues :P. Oh yeah, had a person standing outside the airport arrivals at Heathrow holding a placard with my name on it ;) (since I am the last person to be dropped off by the taxi, they chose my name to book the taxi :P).

Oh, didn't I mention anything about the conference as such? It was an okay affair, I gave the presentation on tuesday morning at 9:30am after being out until 2am the previous night :D and not having prepared after making changes to the ppt a week ago. But despite my unprofessional approach, it went along okay I guess :D. By the way, we also lost the football match 1-4. Now this football match is becoming a tradition at Aamas, Southampton_led_Europe versus USC_led_Rest-of-World. Why did we lose? Our team had such awesome players like me while they had atrocious players like Manish Jain :P.

Monday, April 28, 2008

LIVEMORCHA zindabad!!

Okay, there is this popular and supposedly influential petitiononline thing. But then, come on, how much would lending a keyboard-typed-signature to a webpage full of names qualify as a proper protest?? We Indians are used to bandhs, rasta-rokos, rasta-rok'ing' processions, strikes, dharnas and the kind. A protest should be marked by slogan-fest, placards (including both the sense and nonsensical ones), hands raising asynchronously, voices screaming, tv cameras flocking leading to breaking newsy headlines.

And yeah, those in India and interested (meaning having no other work or job or being a fledgling politician) do that too ... But what can the hated (not the antonym of love but as in hat-ed i.e wearing hat), shortsed (same rule as hat'ed), goggles and nike/adidas (reebok is ignored since its owned by adidas :P) wearing, $£€ earning non-resident Indians do to convey their opinion ? How can those 10 hours away frm IST supposed to protest to the Indian govt about their policies or the global food price rise? They need a medium too right? You can't expect them to fly in from California to Kolkatta .. participate in the one-day strange turn-taking-hunger-strike (which I think is not just a medium of protest but a temporary solution for the food price rise :P) and then go back to CA the next day!

Thus, taking these pressing issues into account, Mythalez proudly announces his proposed venture ''. As the name suggests, it will be a website where you can live in a morcha, live (the former 'live' is pronounced as leav and the latter as liev). It is the place on the web where you can espouse your support to various political/social causes by choosing to participate in various protests/processions online through your avatar.

Sounds a-maze-ing? How does it work? Every registered user can create his/her avatar (the online presence which is composed of an image that can be modified as per the controller's wishes using silly javascript based options). And any major minor or nonexistent protest that is planned anywhere in the country will entered into the site. And any user who wants, can prod his avatar to join that protest. The user also has the option of choosing or entering his/her own slogans that he/she wants the avatar to scream out while protesting. Ofcourse, the users also have the option of designing their own placards (some traditional templates will be provided to get them started). At this point, you might want to applaud this awesome idea, but are unable to do so because a seemingly niggle seems to be haunting your understanding - how can a virtual image actually protest?

Elementary dear What-son. There will be a webpage (hosted on livemorcha itself) that is created for every protest and remains viewable for the duration of the protest. This webpage is basically a audio-visual stream of the hoards of avatars protesting for that particular cause. The slogans will be shouted .. the avatars will be pushing each other ... falling down .. raising the placards and doing everything else that is expected of them.

The mechanism that will force the recipient and concerned officials to actually be forced to watch this webpage continuously is, as yet, in its final stages and will be announced shortly (is currently undergoing vigorous laboratory trials ... volunteers for acting as the beleaguered officials are invited). Moreover, until this mechanism is released (graduates from the beta stage), livemorcha corporation (CEO/chairman - Mythalez) does undertake that it will place appropriate screens and speakers at the requisite place of protest to relay, live (as in liev), the support of the interested users, via their avatars, to the actual physically present protesters and do its bit to add to the numbers and the decibels of the 'morcha'.

Financial investors for the venture, volunteers for website development and maintenance and users are welcome! Website launch date will be announced shortly!! People are encouraged to actively and vigorously protest against the expected delay .. just to be fit and well practiced.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The awesome points of the trip

Yep, so I decided to list out some of the things that felt awesome on my trip back home :) .. in no particular order:

↑ eating pani-puri .. twice in Bangalore (apparently its now Bengaluru .. which I didn't know!), once at Gokul chat in Hyderabad and once at home :D.
↑ spending all night playing cards with friends.
↑ driving (riding rather) around Hyderabad on the bike and nourishing my deprived lungs with the polluted air :).
↑ obviously, eating Hyderabadi biryani ... did that 4 times over the 3 weeks.
↑ walking along the not-so-great-smelling Necklace Road with a friend and then getting drenched in an sudden strong shower and then spotting the rainbow.
↑ sleeping for atleast 11 hours everyday.
↑ talking and/or meeting with a few school friends after a couple of years.
↑ having lunch and dessert with two of the closest friends ever.
↑ browsing through the book shop in the new Hyderabad airport and then coming across 'The Calcutta Chromosome', a book that I had wanted to read since a long long time.
↑ finally, coming back to the house in Southampton and it feels like returning home too!

Monday, April 14, 2008

The journey and the new Hyd airport

The journey to Hyderabad with transit at Colombo:

Early morning bus at 5am from university to Heathrow airport. I am all alone in the university bus station which is open air and the air was freezing. There was not a soul to be seen on my 15 min walk to the bus station from home and no one seen even during the wait for the bus. And then it snowed. As if it was snowing just for me. Given that it rarely snows here (like once a year), it was awesome to look at the university through the white speckles in the air.

I tend to sleep a lot during flight journeys .. but my next seat neighbour seemed intent on breaking all possible records. He was asleep throughout the 10 1/2 hour journey to Colombo. He refused to wake up for meals, shooing away the air-hostesses like flies. He was woken up once, by a determined air-hostess so that his chair can be set upright by her, but before she could do this 2 -second task .. he went back to sleep and had to be woken up again!

Colombo airport has a lot of security personnel .. we obviously know why! Srilanka is very very green when seen from air .. perhaps like Kerala? (can't say for sure since I have never been to Kerala :D). From air, saw Srilanka's northern coastline and then India's southern coastline including the arc ... was wondering whether I was looking at Kanyakumari?

Finally, land at Hyderbad's swanky new airport, one of the first few flights to do so. It is so far from the city that the city wasn't at all visible from air during descent. After landing, we all had to wait in the flight for quite some time since the aerobridge (the one we walk through to reach the building from the plane) could not be attached easily and took like 20 mins. Anyways, we then go into the building to be faced with locked glass doors. Apparently it was the opening on this particular gate. So there was a lot of paraphernalia with saree clad girls ready to give roses and put teekas .. photographers all set to click us walking in and so on. All these people were on the other side of these locked glass doors. And then the officials on that side started their frantic search for the keys. No one had them! So, they were all shouting into their walkie-talkies :D. Comments from the passengers on this side about inaugurating the doors by breaking them open did not please the officials either :D. Finally, one guy comes to the rescue ala the key-maker of Matrix :D. Later, there were almost no immigration officials, people could have just walked through quickly since the few officials were crowded by impatient passengers and had no clue what was going on :D.

The return journey:

The 30km journey to the airport took an hour and half. That too on a lazy sunday afternoon. However, this time I had a good look at our airport and it did look pretty good. It matched the standards of a good international airport. Infact, it was very much like a good midsized airport found in western Europe :). Now for the details --

£. The arrivals is on the lower level and the departures on the upper level just like the old airport. However, the arrivals area for the people waiting is an open air lounge with lots of places to sit and a few shops so that people can relax while waiting and not be up on their feet all the time like it used to be.

£. Only passengers are allowed into the airport as in any other Indian airport. I guess this policy will remain until the number of people coming to send off a person reduces from 10 to say 0, 1 or 2 :D. Anyway, the check-in hall is impressive, even had self check-in machines (not yet put to use).

£. The immigration counter official surely needs some training (atleast in reading). While searching for my UK visa, he chances upon the Swiss visa and enquires whether it was the UK one (when its clearly written Suisse on it and wasn't completely in english) and then when I point out the correct visa to him, he is unable to find the validity-date and turns to me for help again. No, the valid-until date is not hidden anywhere but very clearly visible on the visa at the position where all the visas I have seen until now have it (top right corner).

£. The airport seems to have 35 departure gates (thats a huge increase from the 4-5 earlier :P) of which some 12 must be for international. The whole area had a lot of seats around and good, well placed air-conditioners. There are many shops too. And surprise of surprises, it has a Hard Rock bar, which is already open! However, since we have very few international flights from Hyd, the whole international departure area was quite deserted.

£. The main 'Indianness' that you can find at the airport is the abundance of staff around :P

Waiting at Colombo airport for the connecting flight wasnt too boring as they were showing K3G on all the TVs there. In hindi with sinhalese subtitles and bemused western travellers.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

what can I do next week? Go home! :D

13 Thursday night: Suddenly realise that you have nothing planned for the easter break from 20-25th and you dont feel like sleeping it away as you had initially assumed. So start searching for possible things to do:
? Already bored of touring western Europe, so rule out that option.
? Flights to Scandinavian countries are too costly now (obviously .. should have booked much earlier), so rule out the option.
? Adventure or activity trips within UK all need more than 5 days or atleast 3 week advance booking or need to wait for summer for the so-called better weather. Rule out the option.
? Go home? Booking flight tickets to India just a week before travel will definitely cost a fortune! Nice challenge right? So start searching.
? Keep searching and searching .. almost all return flights to Hyderabad from London (whichever airlines and via whichever city) cost around than £500 or more.
? Finally after 4 hours, find one which costs just a bit more than £400. Not too bad. But going to India seriously? If yes, should at least go for 3 weeks. But then what about all the work here? and my supervisors and so on? Lets sleep on it

14 Friday morning: Wake up and immediately realise that ought to go home since its been more than 15 months anyway.
? Go to lab and then mail the supervisors saying you will be away for 3 weeks.
? Get the okay from the second supervisor .. and since the first one is away to a conference, book the tickets anyway without waiting for the primary approval :D
? Booked the tickets! Flying on next saturday 22nd march.
? Start informing friends, no one had expected me to go home before july ... neither did I

! Not told parents yet, maybe it's a surprise ??
! Plan a small trip to Bangalore for one of the two weekends that I would be in India. Why? To meet friends and also because I have been to Tokyo, London, Paris, Geneva, Frankfurt whatever but not yet to Bangalore :D

17 Monday: Inform some of the lab friends about your unexpected trip and amaze them with you whimsical decision :D.

20 Thursday: Decide to write a blog post about the 'impending trip' to announce it to the world :P
! Just came to know that the new airport at Hyderabad will be functional from 23rd morning .. so I would be one of the first bakras :-s Or is it that they have opened a new airport just for me? :P

And finally just hope that this journey passes more smoothly than the earlier trip to India which involved waiting at Heathrow for 8 hours and then missing the connecting flight at Mumbai and then having to run around the two airports of Mumbai for a replacement flight to Hyderabad :).

edit: screw Pati. If this post sucked, its because of him

Friday, March 14, 2008

work-wise updates ....

I realised that there have been only two posts labelled "work-wise" ever since I moved to the UK and started working towards my PhD i.e more than 18 months now. Prior to that, according to the statistics :P, I seem to have written 28 posts in the two years of blogging at IIIT. Quite unusual, because I feel PhD provides with many many interesting anecdotes too. But I guess, I never felt the inclination to blog about them :-s.

Okay, so where should I start? Or maybe I can just put in bullet points in chronological order?

»» I wrote the first paper of my PhD and got it accepted in a workshop of Aamas. Not a big deal at all .. but I had a paper in a workshop of Aamas 2006 and another one in another workshop of Aamas 2007. So with this paper, I complete a hat-trick :D .. though this will be first time I will be presenting the paper ... So Portugal .. me shall be coming in may !

»» After writing this paper, I started working on my mini-thesis. Completed it a few weeks ago, by producing a book-like document of 103 pages ... a century! woo hoo!! :D

»» The mini-thesis is followed by a viva (mini-defence? :D). So I had to submit a copy to the examiner .. who scrutinized it for a good three weeks. And then, we had the grand viva ... me, the examiner (an internal guy .. one whom I already knew), and my two supervisors. The purpose of this minithesis+viva activity is to decide whether to
- let me proceed towards my phd by concluding that my progress over the past 18 months was good enough
- kick me out with an mphil by finding that my progress does not match up to the expectations
- give me a bit more time to produce an improved minithesis and conduct another viva

and the result is obvious :P. So, now I am officially, half a doctor :P lets say I learnt the philosophy part .. now just need a doctorate :D.

And yeah (instead of PS): did a very instinctive thing on a whim today .. and am I glad that I did! :D.

Monday, February 25, 2008

a facade again

something thats going on
where how why and when
I know not of these all
but I know it is all wrong

louder, louder it goes on
cries unheard, ears deafened
I close my eyes to see the dark
I seek the quiet to hear the song

tear the mask I always don
see through me at the real am
I am afraid, but I show it not
am alone, though people among

scared to open, I simply con
but you know me to see truth
I will never ask for it ever
but you better help me along

Saturday, February 16, 2008

tag post after a long time !

thanks to AG/CC, one of the few who actually gets me to do tag posts ... here we go:

10 things I miss in my life (in no particular order)

= being able to disappear, yet have company
= not having to wear shoes every time I step outside
= Indianised chinese food, hyderabadi food, the yummy breakfast of dosa, idly vada .. you get the point!
= being surrounded by friends, every hour, every day
= seeing only familiar faces all over the campus, being recognised by everyone.
= the 18 hours sleep days at home
= hot awesome vadas every time I go home in the mornings
= a head that is without a constant blabbering voice inside it
= the incessant urge to read books, newspapers .. everything
= pure simple ecstasy, for no reason

10 things I want to achieve in a decade from now:

= learn to drive and then an awesome convertible and long drives
= to have dabbled in various professions successfully
= visit Antartica
= a wonderful companion (achieve? :-s)
= a book of fiction
= learning to not do the "run away from people and then feel lonely" routine
= look strong enough that people finally stop asking me to eat and eat
= have a farm house to go to, whenever I feel like escaping the madness
= Be busy enough for long periods of time, so that I am finally forced to start making schedules
= do atleast one impossible thing

while it was very easy to come up with the things I miss, it took me a lot of time, to cobble up 10 things I want to do in the next 10 years. Not so surprising, considering that I am not the future-plan-making type.
And I tag:


Saturday, February 09, 2008

Even Old

23 + 365 = 24 !!!


as Pati would say, 24 = 25 - 1.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


broken walls, bricks astray
blocks wind no more
pebbly stream, scanty water
fallen bark stops flow

clouds gather, deny rain
trees flutter, deny fruit
standing there all alone
worries about no show

shifting weight, legs protest
twitching shoulders abreast
worried eyes betray fear
waits she furrowing brow

darkening sky, gloomy night
no shining armour, no knight
abandoned at the altar?
oh no! what a huge blow!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Instead, it hoped

It caught the glimpse. Just a small flicker which died out in a nano-second. But this minute disturbance in the immense tranquility was sufficient to attract attention. It repositioned half its receptors such that they had the best chance of catching another glimpse. The other half, ofcourse, were on the other side with no way of receiving anything from this end of the universe according to classical physics, unless ofcourse it turned. Or it applied the unsafe quantum technology. But it didn't risk it. Instead, it hoped.

The flicker showed up again. Well, not exactly showed up, rather showed down or any other way you might call the fleeting appearance of darkness amidst a solid sea of near infra-red light. At this hint, it shot out of sight. Out of sight of the unbothered (this word will be added to the english dictionary by the time the events described here actually take place) populace of the planet FrogsinaWell. They never look up. Never ever. Maybe , Evolution could be faulted for not positioning their eyes at the top end of their bodies. However, eyes in the bellies can still look up at the sky provided the body lies on its back. But once again, evolution played the cruel joke of placing their feeding apparatus (cant really call it a mouth - there is no visible single opening) also on their bellies. Thus, all the frogsinaWell always faced the ground. Mainly because, they perpetually feed on the tiny lichen like growth. Aah well, evolution did make this part easy for them anyway. After all, what business do frogsinaWell have with the rest of the universe? Also, Evolution had many other pressing matters to deal with, e.g stamping out the vastly disliked abnormalities like homo-sapiens, than be bothered about FrogsinaWell.

While it was speeding along towards that faint dark spot, it did not bother to match it's path coordinates with the Inter-universal 4-Coordinate Database. Instead, it hoped.

However unlikely it could be, some of the coordinates of its path (actually quite a big bunch of them amounting to 2^(-13)% of its total path approximately) did clash with another, throwing both of them into diametrically opposite times and universes and producing a huge black hole covering the points of collision. The other culprit, which also did not bother to check with the Inter-universal 4-Coordinate Database, was a lowly living being which liked referring to itself as 'mythalez'. Taking another viewpoint, mythalez was not really a culprit because it couldn't have changed its course anyway, because it requires hard work to affect the motion of the chair that you are sitting on if no part of your body touches anything else other than the chair. And mythalez has always been extremely scared of hard work. Actually, hard work was what mythalez was fleeing from at that precise instant. Thus, hard work being unavailable for mythalez, it would have been in no position to change its course even if it was advised of the impending collision by the Inter-universal 4-Coordinate Database.

Must be easy to guess what book I am reading right now!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Small car ... .big News!!

me: Tata's car is making big big news in uk
all the news programmes
all the news papers
Pranav: seriously!
am glad
me: lol .. not for the right reasons
Pranav: why so?
me: ther r discussions on news programmes
abt how it is goin to affect the environment
Pranav: that it'll cause damage
and so on..
that is all part of the negative publicity they want to give
me: with predicitions that by 2030 ther ll be 600 million cars in india
and cause global pollution
that india shudnt be making the same mistake as teh west
Pranav: I want to see - autos in India, be replaced by these cars in the near future
me: though while they say these .. they agree that they hav no moral right to lecture india ...
as the west is the primary cause of all environmental problems
Pranav: hehe
me: but they fear that if india follows the same path .. it ll be a great disaster for earth
Pranav: the point here is to look at Tata's car to replace the autos
me: no .. it is billed to replace motorbikes
families dont own autos
Pranav: no
autos are considered as substitutes to public transport
and I want to see this car something on similar lines
Nano Taxis
me: hmm
yah hyd is a good example of autos actin as public transport
seriously .. something shud be done abt public transport in the cities of india
btw .. i want to post abt this
but i dnt feel the enthu to write :-s
Pranav: you can take our chat transcript
edit it and post
something like what I did earlier :P
me: :P

the post that Pranav was referring to is this

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Scary light !!

screeching light flashes bright
cowering me runs skelter
orange yellowish claws emerge
desperate me seeks shelter

claws expand, envelope, block
eyes closed, me surges on
light gives way, diluted ray
claws broken, me was strong!

yet, light pursues relentless
me calls upon the darkness
closed tighter, sinking deeper
me attempts escape madness

harder clutched, pillow surrounds face
claws bounce away, deflected light ray
yearning the darkness of the night
me denies the dawn of the day

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

year end philosophy ... on demand

PS- Skp aka pati aka muggle_surya aka dear_co_blogger has demanded that I write a post on 2007-2008 with philosophical leanings ... and so I propitiate him.
PS2- PS stands for 'pre-script' :P

As a year comes to close and a new one begins, people in general tend to go into huddles of thought, trying to reevaluate their lives, loves and aspirations. It is somehow, as if, as 31st december rolls onto 1st january (not at the same time, mind you ... every region moves to the new year at its own sweet time because of all the time zones) a new chapter begins or something. But, in reality, the only major difference is that you need to change the last digit of the date. Thats it!

You want to make some resolutions, you can make it anytime .. no need to wait for the new year. But yeah, for those who don't need or want to make any, this is a fine time to attempt some. Naah, don't worry, am not listing my 'resolutions' here .... actually as I said in the previous post, I don't have any, except perhaps- "no complaints and no cribbing at all, anymore". Seriously, why would anyone need to crib or cry once they realise the universal fact that- "everything in the universe is just blah". In case, you are planning to contest the veracity of this statement, let me save you the trouble by informing you that it will be a mission in vain since I can always defend this statement using the infinite meanings of 'blah' as my arsenal (no ... am not referring to the football team, you EPL freaks!).

Okay, so how was 2007?

World politics? bad very bad. The wars still go on (not iraq or afganistan ... am refering to the civil wars in several countries of africa .. the lesser known but more disastrous little ones). The last week or two have shown that democracy is increasingly becoming a sham and so on .... after all its all blah.

Personal lives? not good ... not good at all. Neither me nor any of my friends that I know well would venture to announce 2007 as one of the best years. In fact, I can argue that it was probably one of the worst. So, no points here either

So, in conclusion, it's good that 2007 ended. It did no good anyway.

So what about 2008 you may ask? Will it radically transform our lives? Will it stop global warming? Will it feed all the hungry and shelter all the homeless in the world? Will it be the year you find your loves and realise your ambitions? Will it herald a 'new golden age'? The answer to all the questions is NO. Come on, what do you expect! It's after all, just another year. Its name doesnt even hold the charm of 2007 (7, 2+7 etc etc).

Trembling about the future, you might softly whisper the final question, "well, will it atleast be better than 2007?". The answer, my dear readers, is a resounding, reverberating YES. Ofcourse, it will be better, because now we know the secret of the universe- "that it's all just blah!"

next-post: Milan, Florence, Pisa, Cologne, Koblenz, Sankt Goar, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Heidelberg and Frankfurt again!