Saturday, December 22, 2007

The amusing and the absurd - Part II

The phenomenon of honking in India is amusing in its absurdity. In a country like ours, which reeks of short-sighted selfishness, it is obvious even to the most obtuse mind that a vehicle won't slow down or give way to another vehicle even if a knife were stuck to his throat. Such being the case, if a vehicle is seen to slow down in traffic, it must be obvious that the only reason it must be happening is that it is absolutely impossible, even theoretically, for the vehicle to move ahead. Thus, honking is least required in a country like India. In fact, it would be more comprehendable if people honked in the United States, where people are so generous in giving way, that it could easily drive an impatient man like me insane. Ironically, people rarely honk there and people rarely stop honking here.

The amusing and the absurd - Part I

It tickles me in its faint irony that most indian women make such fuss and fury about their virginity to ultimately be deflowered by a stranger.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Sagespeak for today.

Genius is 99 percent perspiration and 1 percent inspiration - Thomas Alva Edison.

My sagespeak: He for got to mention that the 1 percent inspiration is a pre-requisite to the 99 percent perspiration.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Sage speak 1: Find yourself an illusion and cling to it.

Sage speak 2: Have an ambition, but make sure its impossible to attain, or else you'll only be disappointed.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Weird dream

The guy for whom I was a teaching assistant for one whole year was standing at one end of the boat, facing the inside of the boat, and staring long and hard at the the wood, as if trying to see through it, to gauge the depth of the waters. Someone was standing at the centre, I can't recollect who now, but I think it was his daughter. I was standing at the other end of the boat and facing him. Curiously, we were all standing. I had a premonition, going by the look on my former boss' face that he was going to commit suicide, with a stylish backward dive, head going first into the waters. No sooner had I thought this than he did just that. Then for some reason, as if our mission had been accomplished, his daughter and I dived into the lake and swam towards the shore, neither of us making the least effort to see what become of her father. So we reached the shore, and see that her father reaches too, a few minutes after us. I would've been disappointed by the sight had I been wishing to elope with that girl, but I didn't really care for her so I was unperturbed by the sight. Then I turn my head, and find Partiban, that tamizh movie actor, walking up to me. He greets me with much warmth as if we were long lost friends. Then he takes me to his humble home which is a dingy shack, but its on the first floor of an apartment, and so we get there in an elevator. Once in the shack I see his emaciated wife and her starved kid. Then we step out, and somehow the conversation comes to our take on life. I said something to the effect that I care most for myself and that others come only next. This made him turn no particularly different colour with fury, but he was very furious, and one could see as much on his countenance. He looked aghast and screamed at me, "You bastard! How can you say something like that. You must give more importance to the plight of others!" There was a man nearby, and strangely, he was holding a razor blade in his hand. Partiban grabbed it and came to slash it across my face with full force when I asked him to halt and appealed to his sense of justice by declaring it wasn't a fair contest if I didn't have a razor blade to defend with. The next scene happens in front of a vendor where he buys 15 packs of 10 razor blades each. Then he rips apart one pack and grabs a brand new Mach-3 and pounces at me. Naturally, I was scared to fight Partiban with razor blades, having no experience in the art. So I had to find a way out. This is when it occurred to me that what he was doing was pointless. So I reminded him how battle was ineffective, because one would lose and the other would win, physically, but neither would change over to the other's point of view. Fortunately, he did see sense, and dropped the razor blade idea. But somehow, I had been slashed once or twice during the course of my convincing him, and i bore some wounds. Anyways, he then took me past his shack on the first floor of his apartment to another shanty. It was just one room, bolted from the outside. He opened it for me. It was very dark inside for there we no windows. The light that streamed in through the door revealed to me some half-dead, naked human beings. One was an old grandma. Then I believe there was a marasmus-ridden kid, and a few other such repulsive looking creatures. I thought in my subconscious, "Argh, how bollywood like my dreams are", but the dreams continued. Then came the hilarious part. When I was in this shanty full of starved souls meant to evoke my sympaty for pity or concern or whatever it is, I had struck conversation with one of them. While I was walking back from the shanty I forgot that person's name. I tried racking my brains hard for it but couldn't recollect. So I turned to Partiban to ask what that person's name was. Now I suddenly realised I didn't even remember Partiban's name(he had some different name in my dream). So I stare at him, and he stares back at me. I try to think of a name so that I may address him, but I am completely at a loss. He just continues to stare at me as if he won't open his mouth unless I mention his name. And then because I forget his name, and he becomes like a statue unless I name him, I end up having no choice but to wake up and go brush my teeth.

Now my memory is beginning to trouble me even in my dreams! :(

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Gods are dying

Forget the masses, back then, even the thinking persons considered most elements of nature and the outer space as Gods because they never understood what was happening. Today the sensible man has no God to fall back on. Vast extents of outer space have been explored and there's theories to explain most of what is seen and even not seen so that we know its just a bunch of matter going around in meaningless precision. The elements of nature too have been reduced to equations. So much so that today's weather prediction systems are so accurate that one isn't sure whether those systems predict the weather or decide the weather. Just a few Gods of yesteryear are existent today, mostly supermen. And even they need scientific approval. Gone are the days when people just took for granted a christ or a krishna. Today, there are scientists carbon dating fossils and what not to check whether there really was a christ, or a krishna.

The Gods are dying. So why are you alive?

Friday, August 03, 2007

Time machine.

I was absolutely certain that today was Thursday. So certain that when my professor asked the senior RA if he's busy over the weekend, and he replied, "I've got plans for tomorrow," I blurted out, in a tone which suggested that i was accusing him of shirking work, "But tomorrow is Friday!" The RA and my advisor looked perplexed and said simultaneously, "Today is Friday!", and I was so absurdly sure of myself that i asked, a little amused, "Today is Friday?" and took out my cell phone to prove them wrong only to find, much to my mortification that today was Friday. "Oh, Today IS Friday!", I screamed, excited at the thought that i'd gained a day(meaning one less day of work) while the prof. and RA gave me blank stares much to my discomfort.

But the point is that it feels absolutely wonder to have gained a day! I still can't believe its actually Friday. I had a whole schedule of work lined up for tomorrow in my head, and now I realise I don't have to do any of it! This is perhaps the closest that any man has ever got to time travel!

Yippee!! \:D/

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Geek joke.

Warning: Only for Materials Science/Physics students:

Why did the Materials Scientist throw the orange juice at his best friend's new shirt?
He was doing OJ(Auger) Electron Spectroscopy to determine the shirt's material!


Name sake.

A typical application form in the US:

Last name, First name, Middle name.


Saturday, July 14, 2007


It was a Friday night and I felt strangely miserable. I had no idea why. But I knew if i stayed on any longer in my room i'd go mad. I knew even better that if i saw a familiar face i'd yell at him to get lost. Such being my state, i quietly stepped out my room, an hour after sunset, so that it was less likely i would be spotted. I decided to go up the nearby mountain. Alone. So I walked, briskly, to reduce the risk of being sighted, with head down, so that those acquaintances who are not familiar enough to call my name out loud, but would've said 'hi' nevertheless if they saw my face, can be avoided. After 10 successful minutes, I reached a thoroughfare I had to cross to get to where the mountain is. The walk sign was a loud red and I squinted my eyes. I paused and stared at the dull grey concrete. I tried to sniff the tar but I inhaled a cloud of smoke. The vehicles were speeding by with their monotonous hums. It annoyed me. So i looked up to my left and I was dazed by the brilliant headlights of a car. It enraged me so much i wanted to throw a brick at him, but i found nothing around me. It was still red. I fidgeted. "What if I don't wait for the walk sign to turn on and cross the road? The vehicles are moving comfortably fast." I should be killed i reassured myself. I might have inconvenienced the driver of the unlucky car that would hit me. But I was feeling sufficiently selfish then and this thought didn't occur to me. I took a short step onto the road when it was still green for the vehicles. My heart skipped a beat or two. "What if i don't die? What if i'm only injured?" Too much fear. I was ashamed of myself. I stepped back, just as a vehicle came and halted an inch away from my foot. The walk signed glowed, and I crossed. Now I knew I wouldn't meet familiar faces so I slowed down, that I may enjoy the walk. It was pleasantly warm. A slight sweat was enveloping my body. I took off my T-shirt. It would've been nice to walk naked I thought. But I feared the cops so i desisted. As I approached the moutain the surroundings were transforming. The odd enthuastic jogger was terminating his marathon. A couple was holding hands and entering a restaurant. Another was walking aimlessly. There were many cars. But none made noise. None moved. Their menacing forms were at rest while their owners fled to the thoroughfare i'd crossed five minutes ago, to enter one shop and another. In five minutes, life had altered. It seemed to have slowed down, from the chaos of that thoroughfare to this lonely street that led to the mountain. The mountain made a splendid sight. A big, black mound, against a dark blue sky. I could see neither the beautiful trees nor the cascading surface of the mountain. Just a huge dark triangle. It was my faith that held the mountain there. I knew it. It could just as well have been the triangular door that led to hell. At that point, I didn't care either way. So I walked on, untroubled. As I began the climb, all the cursed noise from the city subsided. Within a few minutes I could hear nothing but my own footsteps, making a sweet sound that resembled the jingling of a bag of sand. The malodorous perfumes of the genteel citizens was gone too. Lights, those blasphemous lights, street lights, car light, shop lights, even cell phone lights, all had disappeared. It was pitch dark. No moonlight even. Instead, i had the street light that scattered off the dust from the city. I felt pleased at the lull to all my senses. I glanced up to see the distance I had to walk to get to the top. It was still a good few miles away. I slowed down. I wished to savour every moment of this solitude. A gentle breeze blew across my face and I halted to communion with it. Suddenly, I heard something behind me, like the tinkling of bells. I looked around sharply, only to see some shrubs dancing in the wind. It must've been my imagination. But why did it produce a tinkle? My imagination must be queer I thought. But i'd never known it to be queer before. Its been ordinary at best. A thought then occurred to me that had never occurred to me before during the climb. What if there's someone on the way up, provided with no good intentions, but with a gun? I was seized by fear, that same fear which seized me when i had taken that short step on to the road and contemplated an accident without death, the same fear that seized me when i thought of cops imprisoning me, naked to satisfy my whim, but in the company of jailmates. I shuddered. I looked to make sure there was no one around, then I resumed my walk. I must get to the top I said to myself. "Is a man with a gun really so scary? What would he want? Money? Nothing else, right?" I put my T-shirt on. "Yes, money is all he would want." My eyes searched the shrubs and trees around me even as I walked, even as i thought. "Ok, i can give him my credit card. He'll take the cell phone too if he's clever. So i'll be poor. Is that such a bad deal? Perhaps not." My ears were pricked. Just the jingling of sand. I glanced upwards. Still a good way to go. "Would he hit me? Why would he hit me if I comply? Out of madness perhaps. I'll bleed then. That's not so good. Of course, I may not bleed too. But one of those places is worse." I grimaced. The wind died. My footsteps grew louder, and louder, till it seemed like I would go deaf. So I slowed down, in spite of myself, so that I could hear for other footsteps. My heart raced. I glanced down the hill. I saw a torch flickering. The light oscillated like a pendulum about him, even as he inched foward. I smiled at the thought that he must be thinking himself very clever. He was lulled into a false sense of security by the light surrounding him, but it must be a delightful warning for anyone who wished to waylay him. Poor lamb i thought, and moved on. Then I asked myself if i really had to move on? "I could just hastily run back down. After all, I am not even half way up. We'll leave that decision until later. For now, the heart's racing and it must race," I told myself. "It would be sad if he hit me. But what if he shot me? Why would he shoot me? Why am I asking such supremely logical questions of a man who might be insane for all i know? What if he merely bought a new gun, and wants to test it on me? Now that's more like a madman! Ok, so I die. Is that bad? Perhaps not. No, not really. It would make a few people sad for a few moments. And that's about it." I then remembered I had read somewhere that for every step we took millions of cells died and fell off our bodies. Cells are the smallest living organisms my biology book once told me. " I don't crumble to dust because one cell died, or, for that matter, even a few million. Even so, the universe will continue on its journey, and I would just be a cell that died, and fell off" At this last thought I chuckled. I imagined him shooting me, and my rolling off to the side of the track and falling all the way to the bottom of the mountain. The odd coincidence that even the falling off was accounted for in my parallel amused me. "So its not such a bad deal after all." I slowed down. I stopped. I turned around to look at the city. From a distance, the city had an queer appeal in all its well-lit glory. From within, it was hell. So it is with life too I thought. When viewed with detachment, from a distance, like a spectator from the heavens, your life, your past, all seem a fine spectacle, a remarkable phenomenon. But when you are living in the here and the now, it can often be unbearable. Just then I heard a quick shuffle of feet, my heart skipped a beat, but before I could turn towards the source of sound a huge, powerfully built man had come up in front of me from nowhere, and he was pointing a gun at me. I checked to see if it was new, as I had imagined. It wasn't. He was full of tattoos on his skin, and there were numerous piercings on his face, some in very sensitive regions too. He said what he'd been taught to say, "Gimme all yor maaney o' i'll shootchu!" "Sure thing." I said and quickly gave him my credit card. Somehow, I was not too scared. Yes, my heart was palpitating, but all that bracing myself for this had given me a strange strength. I gave him my college id too for it was useless to me now. "Shoot, I've forgotten to take money! That's most important." I thought to myself. But I looked at him and smiled as I replayed that odd choice of words in my head. "Why you smilin' at me you bastard? Don't play games or i'll shoot. Putcho fuckin' hands in the air!" he said, giving me a scorching glare. He seemed unsettled though, from my smile. His profession hadn't prepared him for that. "Take all you want my friend." I said and stared right at him. For the first time in my life, at that moment, I saw true fear. He looked as if it was I who had the gun pointed at him, in the midst of a vast plain field, and was saying, "I'll give you one chance to escape. Run!" He quickly bent to my pockets to see if there was anything left. But he kept looking up now and again with fear written all over his face. It was almost as if he were a little kid, placing his implicit trust in me not to do any harm. He found the cell phone. I thought he'd shoot me for not giving it. That was the idea of course. Or at least, hit me. Though that wasn't what i wanted. He took the cell phone and stood up. Then with the face of a frightened kitten, he stared at me with moist eyes. He punched me hard on the chin and i fell down to the ground with a thud. Blood gushed out of my mouth, and one of the teeth had cut my tongue. It hurt very sorely. "Don't call me a friend you mothafucker! I'm no fucking friend i say. Why did you call me a friend eh?" he said, and ran, just as in the picture I had painted in my head, as if he were running for his life, and I was going to shoot him down anyways, but some mad hope prompted him to run. I couldn't move. I knew I couldn't get home. But i didn't want to go home. The breeze seemed to be blowing again. I thought it had a pleasant odour to it. The stars were few as i looked up at the sky, but what few were there looked cheerful. I closed my eyes, and felt strangely happy. When i reopened my eyes, it was morning. There was blood on my chin, and my shirt was stained too, so i know it wasn't all a dream. The sun was blindingly bright, but i thought it looked more pleasing than ever.

The literal sense of humour.

I was wondering today, when is it that humans laugh. After much deliberation, it seems to me, who is so bent upon finding a small finite number of underlying causes for all these great mysteries, that the great thread that connects all laughter is the absurd. I think most humour originates from a sense of the absurd, be it slapstick or witty. Or any of those other genres mentioned under humour in social networking forums. I do not have the patience to take each particular genre and iterate my case because its hard for me, honestly, to break it up into so many genres. I think its essentially of two fundamental types. Those that involve the mind's processed response,i.e., post-thought. And those that are spontaneous,i.e., purely as a consequence of sight, like in the case of slapstick. In these two very fundamental types, i shall cite quick examples. When a man falls, what makes us laugh? I think its the absurdity of a fallen man. Just as we laugh when we see icecream on a friend's nose. Its just the absurdity of the sight. As for thought processed humour, one can find plenty in novels in the humour genre. But here's an instance: In 'The Pickwick Papers', Samuel Weller is called to the witness box. This is the sort of chap who is always in good humour. The attorney on the plaintiff's side wishes to quickly unsettle the witness. So he glares at him. The plaintiff begins:
'Now, Mr. Weller,' said Serjeant Buzfuz.
'Now, sir,' replied Sam.

Just the sheer absurdity of his throwing in that totally redundant 'Now,sir' was so hilarious it literally had me rolling on the floor laughing. I can cite many more instances to those interested in thinking about this seriously and discussing with me.

The reason i wrote this post, however, is that i'm not completely certain. I have a strong case for absurdity. But i was initially revolving around 'loss of dignity', i.e., 'humiliation' though the latter seems much too strong a word for what i wish to convey. And there might be something else that is a far better connect that i might've entirely missed out. If any one who reads this post has some other well thought out answer, i would be DELIGHTED to hear it and may be even discuss it if we can. Thanks!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Pronunciation trouble.

I have this Hindi speaking friend with a strong native accent in his English. He was describing the plot of his new apartment when he told what sounded to me like, " The masturbate room is awesome!"


Monday, June 18, 2007

Height of joblessness at work:

Is when you start organising your spam into folders.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Grateful to my former mess!

I feel sad for having thought lowly of my mess caterers whenever i found a handful of bugs in one of the dishes. I thought it was poor hygeine and yelled at them for it, innocent of the fact that Chinese dishes were really their speciality. So I wished to make amends by posting this. What you see in the image is a gourmet Chinese soup, which reminds me with poignant nostalgia of the wonderful chinese soup, affectionately customised for my rotten South Indian tongue with sambar powder, that the dear mess workers used to diligently prepare for us! I apologise to them here, publicly, for my youthful rashness. I hope they haven't taken my threats too much to heart. I hope and pray that they still serve their wonderful Chinese foods, with many many more bugs thrown in. I would be very upset to learn that there has been, recently, a shortage of cockroaches in the mess, thanks to the administration's callous decision to get worse caterers who would cheaply substitute cardomom and ginger for these bugs, and pretend to be offering us a better fare for lower mess bills, while in reality they would be making our tongues sore, and more worryingly, putting our health seriously at risk. I would be alarmed to learn that the caterers had no choice but to substitute cockroaches with the much more abundant but somewhat insipid mosquitoes because it would be outrageous injustice to my junior batches, nay more, for they've faced more competition than we had to enter the hallowed portals of IIT. I feverisly pray now that none of these dreary prospects have materialised. What i would like to learn instead, is that the administration has taken note of the inherent talents of our caterers and, as a consequence, decided to ban entry of garbage pick-up trucks into our evergreen campus, thus not only upholding the existing ban on powered vehicles but also increasing the rat population, hence making allowance for ever greater varieties of chinese cuisines to keep all on campus hale and hearty!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Delirious late night rambling

You are neither rich because you deserve to be rich, nor are you poor because you deserve to be poor. So feel neither pride nor guilt, neither contempt nor envy at another man's plight, and that is the first step towards a happy life.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A doll and a damsel.

If you are a judgemental feminist, this post isn't for you!

I saw an old gentleman playing volleyball with his ghost in the sand volleyball courts, and the ghost was losing every point, so i thought i'd make it a fair game and asked the gentleman if i could join on the side of the ghost, to which he approved. Thus we began a fairly exhausting game of two-on-one volleyball. Quite early on, I decided the ghost would get his share in the game so I lofted a gentle first pass for him to boost. Blissfully unaware that his affections, quite naturally, would be with his own physical self, in spite of the thrashings he was receiving in the game, I waited, and waited in vain, for he failed to touch the ball. I dived forward to save the ball, and in the process abraded, mark my words, abraded not bruised, my knee. However, i was having so much fun playing the old gentleman, and being made to run around to stay in the game, that I ignored the blood gushing out of my knee, and felt pleased at the thought that i'd be quenching the thirst of the vermin of the earth, much as Shiva would've ignored the Ganges gushing out of his head and felt gratified at slaking the thirst of the vermin of the universe. So I battled on, until the old gentleman decided to retire for the day. Then i realised that the vermin might grow weak and inert, because of getting such easy access to food, and that this would be bad for their competitive and survival instincts, so with great reluctance, with the good intention of making the learn to survive in this cruel world, i decided to wash my wound. I went to the Sports Recreation Complex, which was a couple of minutes from the fields, to get first aid.

When i approached the help desk and asked if they had first aid, a pretty doll asked what happened. I showed her the eyesore and said it happened during volleyball. There was no change of the bored expression on her face but she urged me to go sit on the couch nearby when she would get go get the first aid kit. "But shouldn't i wash the wound with a little water first?" I asked, concerned by all the sand that was mixed with the blood. "Just sit." she ordered. I assumed she would get the water too and thought this very kind of her and happily smiled at her, while she held the same bored look. I thought then that the whole thing about smiling angels might be a rumour after all and persisted in my cheerful wait. She searched around for the peroxide, and she searched quite a while. Then she sent another pretty damsel on the errand of fetching it. As i watched that damsel disappear behind a bend, and turned, i saw this doll approaching me. I thought for a second she was coming simply to cheer up the poor wounded lamb, and was all set to pretend the unperturbed hero of yore, who might've lost an arm and a leg in battle but didn't flinch a muscle, for it was a matter of pride to shed blood in battle. I dare say volleyball with an old gentleman and his unfriendly ghost, is no less intense a battle, though the unknowing masses fail to acknowledge its significance in the annals of history.

She pulled out a long sheet, full of intimidating questions, and said, with you-know-what-expression, "While she goes to get the peroxide, lets start filling out this report. What is your name?". Frightened on seeing the number of questions on the form, I hastened to reply, "Miss, I'll fill it out for you." I thought it would please her, and i so dearly wanted to see how that pretty face would look when it smiled, but she said plainly, "Ok, fill out the first three rows for me very legibly please." I grabbed the pen and hastened to fill out my name and college ID, but i couldn't help smile at her delightfully accurate premonition that my handwriting would be similar to the lines traced out by the end of the stick that an aborigine holds while doing his native dance. Then the 'report' asked me for my address. This, if they really needed, can easily be obtained using my ID, and was a painfully redundant question. But i wrote out the address:

The first bedroom to your left, as you walk down the passage way from the hall.
8054 S Wellington Dr., #204

Then it went on to ask me my phone number. I scribbled. The very next question: "Sex". "Of course! That's why i gave you my number!" i wanted to write. Some more interrogation, and then i handed the form back to her. By now the damsel had arrived, gloves on both hands, a huge bottle in the left glove, and a crate of items on the right. I was taken aback by her luggage. I knew my sugar consumption was high, yet i never had worries about it. But this damsel forced me to take a second look at my wound to make sure that it hadn't, when i was blissfully unaware, aggravated to need an amputation of my leg. Having assured myself that it was just a bruise, i turned and looked at the doll as she asked, "What do you think of the wound?". I thought jolly well of it, for staying right there, and giving me the opportunity to talk to a doll and a damsel, but i didn't think she that was what she wanted to know so i enquired, "What do you mean?" "I mean, do you think its an abrasion?" I thought she could see it just as well as i could, and i'd already told her that it happened as i fell in the volleyball court, and wondered if she merely wanted to test my english for a second. Naturally, this surprised me and i raised my eyebrows a bit. "Well, it asks here!" she said, as if evading blame. I snatched the form and read 'Abrasion, fracture, bruise, sprain, laceration....." Remember my earlier watchful mention of the word 'abrasion' as opposed to 'bruise'? "An abrasion it is!" I said, amused at her complete refusal to think on her own and answer the questions. "Just wanted to make sure you know. I didn't know whether that's the word they called it." I wasn't sure who 'they' was and felt a trifle anxious that this 'they' , whoever 'they' were, shouldn't think it a 'bruise' and consider me a deceiving villain. Then she asked, "How did you hurt yourself?" I was awakened to the sad fact that she was yet another one of the unknowing masses who fail to recognise the significance of the battle i had been through, for i had told her at the outset how i bruised myself, and it hurt me that she could so easily forget the significance of that historical moment in time. So i replied dejectedly, "While playing volleyball." "Was it in the fields?" she asked. I stared at her dumbfounded. I came from outside the SRC, so i couldn't have been in the indoor courts, and i could hardly have been playing volleyball in my dingy research laboratory. "Yes!" I said, a trifled amused. "The sand volleyball courts right?" I was at a loss for words. I felt the way one feels when one's love kisses one and asks one " You love me right?", for it is very obvious, yet she gets a strange thrill from hearing you say it. This pause didn't escape notice and she blurted out, averting her eyes and pointing to the form, "Just wanted to make sure because they ask on here." "Yes," I said softly in much the same tone i would've assumed to re-iterate to my girl, "Yes dear, I love you very much." and smiled at this comic desire of hers to confirm the obvious. Meanwhile, the damsel was on her knees, with a sterile cloth soaked in peroxide. It really was quite a while now since i first rubbed knees with the ground, and i repented for having been silly enough to listen to the doll and not washed my wound. For i knew this meant that by now, those unfortunate vermin that managed to find my wound would be nearing that terrible phase of their life in which they would have for long lived the life of the indolent and indulgent rich, and will thus be extremely vulnerable when thrown into the fiercefully competitive world. This damsel meanwhile, brought the cloth towards my knee, and with much patience and caution dabbed all around the wound. At first i thought she was making sure she removed the sand around so that it wouldn't again go in when she'd rub over the wound. But she continued for what seemed like an eternity, to clean around the wound. Perhaps she was dissatisfied that my leg looked like a construction worker's because of all the dust and was making sure, with great care, that it looked neat. But when my legs were quite near shining, I became impatient, for my wound still needed attention. So i said with a pleasant smile,"Don't bother yourself miss, i'll attend to the wound myself." I quickly rubbed the wound clean with peroxide. Then put the band-aid on. I must have lost my head for a moment, because when i'd done putting the band-aid on I said, "Thank you girls for your help!" and they gave me that bored look. As i took leave, I thought i'd take the dirty sterile cloth and trash it, but i decided they needed a mental work out so i simply walked away, and they sat there pondering how to dispense with the the sterile cloth and the gloves. One said, lets put it in a zip-lock and then trash it. They search for the crate for it, but found nothing. The other opened her mouth to suggest something, but by then i made sure i was out of ear-shot.

Monday, May 28, 2007

How i discovered my debt

It was 12:30 in the night and i was half asleep. As i pulled the blanket over myself, i spotted a bed bug crouching in the wool, its heart leaping at the prospect of tasting my blood. I decided he had had his share of sin on the planet and looked around for a piece of paper. I found nothing save an envelope. Curiously, i'd opened the envelope but i'd not checked the contents. It was from ASU. I pulled out a sheet. It had something about paying bills online. Impatiently, i turned to the rear side of it. There was print there too. I was disappointed. I wanted to see the borrowed blood, my blood, smeared clearly against the paper's white. So i pulled out another and looked straight at the rear. It was white as snow and i smiled with satisfaction. Then i quietly used it to finish my good deed for the day. Just then, some strange impulse made me turn to the other side, and i saw that it was an unpaid bill for 220 dollars! Then i checked the due date, and it said 25th of May, the Friday that just passed. Now i have to pay it up with a late fee this coming week. Still i can't help but smile at the most curious way in which i stumbled upon this bill. Otherwise, its most likely i'd have trashed the whole envelope without a glance, and wouldn't have realised until the next bill came along, some four months from now, well into my fall semester, with a fine as severe as the due amount itself! I expect the bug was sent to heaven after all.

Friday, May 25, 2007

My generous advisor!

We were having the usual weekly group meeting. There is this senior Korean RA in our group who is about done with his PhD and graduating later this year. Our advisor was telling us of the need to send a white paper to Intel for a certain project that he plans to undertake. As he was saying this, the Koren student interrupted and asked quizzically, in his strong Korean accent, and broken English, "Intel wants white paper?" as if confounded by the thought that such a big company as Intel, which puts up so mighty and proud a face in the semiconductory industry, should, stealthily request A4 sheets from our generous advisor. Perhaps adding to his consternation was the prospect of joining that very company after his PhD. The professor realising as much hastened to clarify, "A white paper, Mr. X, is like a pre-proposal." "Ah," said the student, and the meeting continued.


If google is blackle

then if they were to come up with a black version of gmail they'd call it 'blackmail'? :)

Me me me!

I've never seen a review paper with less than 100 references. And i've never seen a review paper in which less than half the references are the author's publications. Its a corny modesty they pretend when they write their names as the first author in the first 50 references at the back but always write it as if it were someone else's name. For instance, i'd be writing the reference as K Sivaramakrishnan, Supernature, 1, 1 (2007). If ever the day comes when i'm asked to write a review, i shall be downright honest about it and i'll write:

Me, Supernature, 1, 1 (2007)
Me et Me, Superscience, 1, 1 (2007)
( I could've stopped with one 'Me', but what the hell, 'Me et Me' is still me! :D)

Is there such an experiment?

Is there an experiment, the outcome of which cannot be predicted by quantum mechanics? I'm not asking if the mathematical complexity of the problem is such that we haven't been able to solve it. I only ask if it poses an open challenge to the theory of quantum mechanics?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Horse around

The Engineering Research Centre is several limousines in length, with rooms standing close sentinel on either side, leaving just sufficient room for two goats to pass beside each with their bellies brushing as they walk past. Such being the case, a pin drop would amplify enough for you to think some lab window was broken, and one is thrilled at the prospect of excitement in an otherwise deathly quite building. There is one shock for which, however, i was little prepared as i took up my first and new desk in the building. I sensed vibrations on the floor, and i heard hoofs. First just one or two, and i was amused at the thought that some eccentric professor might've brought his pet horse along(its not such a wild idea in this 'free' country really). Then the sounds grew louder and louder until it seemed like a stampeding onslaught of the Persian cavalry, and i wondered what they wanted from my spartan lab office. Just as i shuddered and turned my head towards the door, a slyph-like woman in high heels passed by.

I've finally figured out why these PhDs are called Doctors. A doctor, according to my dictionary, is one who makes you wait so long before you can meet him, that you are cured by the time you enter, and you just pay him the fees, thank him, and walk out dumbstruck. It seems to me PhDs should be no different, at least judging by the amount of time i have to wait before i can meet my advisor because there is someone else in the room at my hour of appointment.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

My wisecrack:

The higher the GPa, the higher the stiffness.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Coincidental discovery!

A friend of mine happened to post Excerpts from the Painted Veil which contains some very nice quotations. One such is this:

'When all things lasted so short a time and nothing mattered very much, it seemed pitiful that men, attaching an absurd importance to trivial objects, should make themselves and one another so unhappy.'

While i was reading Maugham's short stories over the weekend, i came across this:

'I permit myself a trite remark. It is strange that men, inhabitants for so short a while of an alien and inhuman world, should go out of their way to cause themselves so much unhappiness.'

I'm thrilled that through this queer co-incidence, where she happened to have given importance, too, to such a sentence as that and written it down for posterity, I have been able to perceive one of Maugham's most fundamental convictions, for why else would two such similar observations on the nature of mankind appear in his two pieces of work that are separated by almost six years?

Life is indeed beautiful!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Hearken ye!


Friday, April 27, 2007

I TA for this student:

On 4/26/07, < > wrote:
It seems you have not turned in your lab report on xrd(lab no. 3)

This is true. The reason for not having it turned in is that it was not written. Thank you for the notification, but do not expect to see it unless I hear back from you requesting otherwise.
- Allen

Friday, April 20, 2007

Fermat's principle:

Light follows a path which minimizes the total travel time.

Law of reflection, and law of refraction are a direct fall-out of this!

Courtesy: Applications of Calculus, Philip Straffin

P.S: They chose not to copyright this book! ^:)^

Sunday, March 25, 2007

All is well with this world.

There has never been a time in history when massive amounts of weapons were developed just for intimidation. They have always been used, and abused, till better ones came along. I little expect that the tonnes of nuclear weapons existent, and growing each day by taking the largest chunk of government expenses in many countries, is merely for the personal amusement of defense ministers. They are going to be used, and it is only a question of time. Taking into consideration then that a war today can wipe out all of the population, and assuming that all are not wiped, merely for the sake of argument, we have to determine the nature of the few that survive the holocaust. Now, these few might have vary proportions of people from the civilised and uncivilised races. Conisdering that the world after a nuclear holocaust would only upset the natural balance more than it is already offset, it is essential that the men that survive be incapable of upsetting this balance further thus reducing the chances of survival of the human species. So, in order to give time for restoration of natural order, the surviving humans have to be uncivilised. Assuming the holocaust to be perfectly random in its selection of people to wipe out, the more the uncivlised people on the planet before the holocaust, the more likely it is that there'll be more of them left after the holocaust. From this point of view, it is best if the less civilised races proliferate while the civilised races diminish. This is indeed the scenario in the world today, and hence, it seems that in spite of the superficial turbulence and the burden of overpopulation, all is well with the world. \:D/

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Funny gods!

People of all religions offer money, usually as bribery for a favour, to the gods! :)

Or they offer money to the representatives of gods, who would claim no interest in the money, so that the fingers are finally pointed upwards! :)

And he's supposed to have created my beautiful universe?


Saturday, March 03, 2007

On settling in the U.S.

I have noticed that even a lot of the second generation Indians, who I see as undergrads at school, have a largely Indian friends circle, though the Indians in this case are fellow ABCDs. Even their boyfriends/girlfriends are these ABCDs. It makes me wonder to what extent one can hope to get absorbed into this civilisation just by staying on in the country, when even one's kids, seemingly, aren't absorbed so fully, in spite of their having full-fledged american accents, clothing, habits, lifestyle, and in general being in no way different from their other classmates. It does not seem to me that that kind of absorption is very unlikely. There's this famous chap Russell Peters, who does stand-up comedy. It seems to me that in spite of being fully americanized, and bearing a name that does not reveal his nationality, he finds himself not wholly absorbed, and hence, suffering from a complex, that makes him re-iterate his indian origin in his shows, and make jokes at the expense of both the Indians and the 'Whites' as he calls the Americans often - the Indians because he can't bear that he isn't American, the Americans because they won't absorb him. Anyways, if one generally looks at the socializing circles of the Indians, it seems to be largely with their own type, and this is also true of almost any other nationality. While this is natural to some extent, because people of the same nation do have more in common with each other, to find that even later generation people of different nationalities aren't soaked in more thoroughly makes me wonder about the eager hopes of many of my fellows who wish to blend into this nation. Ah well..

Thursday, March 01, 2007


The joy that i obtain from music is growing each day. I have no idea what it is i like about music. In fact, my knowledge is so limited, i have no real idea of the repetitious patterns in the frequencies either so that i don't even know what music is. But it doesn't matter. The joy that it gives me is so immense these days that there isn't much else in my life that gives joy in the same measure. Its one thing that i enjoy it so immensely even when i listen to it casually. But there are these moments when i feel so strongly that i must listen to music, an urge as strong as an addiction, and when i indulge myself in those moments, it stops nothing short of orgasmic delight. Then i'm filled with a general happiness, as if all were well with the world. I feel no spite, i feel no bitterness, i feel no envy, i feel no pain. I'm happy for everyone, and, more importantly, for it is more difficult to see this around me, everyone seems happy to me. I realise how blessed i'm to be in this world. I feel humbled by the noble souls who make such music. All in all, i'm in a state of meaningless elation! I get that feeling which i've heard my friends convey, "I might as well die after listening to this."

Every note strikes a chord. Every chord is harmonious. Every harmonious piece is full of life. And life itself is a song!

Monday, February 19, 2007


There is this cartoon faced Chinese student in the TA office. He had pulled together three or four chairs and was sleeping across them rather early on a cloudy Monday morning. As i took a turn to head to my seat, i found myself standing directly in front of his foot, and in his immediate line of sight. Since he opened his eyes and was stairing like a frightened cat into mine, i thought i'd make small talk. So i started off with, " Been working rather hard this weekend?", to which he earnestly replied, after a slight delay to jerk himself out of his stupor, "No, i feel tired because of the rainy weather."

In the evening on this same day, i was in my apartment talking to my new roomie. I asked him about his plans for spring break, and suggested that he might go to his sister's place in Denver when he said he'd made no plans. To this he responded in all seriousness, "No, i don't want to go to my sister's place now. We have bed bugs here, and if i go there i'm sure to take them with me. I don't want to trouble my sister with bed bugs, so i don't think i'll go now. May be in summer, if the bed bugs in our apartment are gone by then."

Its now night on that very same day and raining outside as i write this. Somehow everyone seems to be in a mood to make me laugh today. I was correcting the lab reports of one of my senior undergraduate students. It was a lab on X-ray diffraction, and in the discussion section, under sources of error he writes:
The results above support the idea that this lab was not without many possible sources of error such as a bad sample[full-stop] after all the groups never saw or touched the sample until the day of the experiment,[should have been full-stop] the XRD could have been out of tune[full-stop] after all the one next to it was being serviced which may have also caused some intereference.

1) LOL at his imagining the samples desoiling themselves because the students hadn't touched them.
2) ROTFL at his conception of sisterly concern among XRD machines! =))

All this from a senior undergraduate! :-|

Saturday, February 10, 2007

A favour.

shoot the vain peacock,
or smash his head against a rock,
he'll be grateful to you,
and you'll reach heaven without ado

Friday, February 09, 2007

Thought processes.

The elements in each row are equivalent, and the rows are listed in descending order of the extent to which they stultify thought processes:

1) Video,real life and music.
2) Pictures and conversation.
3) Text and radio.

Many might refute 1), but those elements reduce in stultification power only by repetition. The fractional effect of repetition in wearing away the stultification power decreases from row 1 to row 3.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Good old youth.

Too many youth in their twenties complain of feeling old these days. I don't think its due to any excess of wisdom in them. Its just a consequence of over expectation, or excessive ambition, and its entailing, overwork. This leads to nervous fatigue, and a general disinterest in things they deem 'useless', hence making them feel morbidly bored when they don't have work assigned to them. This makes them weary, and combined with the nervous dystrophy makes them feel old.

P.S: This post is meant for me to save my thoughts. I don't have the patience to create a private blog now just because a handful of people will be reading this post. So I've disabled the comment option instead.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Evidence to the earlier post.

'Iran is ready for any possibility over nuke row'


Tehran, Jan. 19 (AP): President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad lashed back over the US military buildup in the Gulf, saying that Iran is ready for any possibility in its standoff with the West over its nuclear programme.

The US deployment of a second aircraft carrier to the Gulf appeared to have alarmed some in Iran's hard-line leadership. A prominent member of a powerful cleric-run body warned yesterday that the United States plans to attack Iran in the coming months, possibly by striking its nuclear facilities.

Washington has accused Iran of backing militants fueling Iraq's violence and has tried to rally its Arab allies in isolating Tehran. The Iraq crisis has increased tensions between the US and Iran amid the yearslong dispute over Iran's nuclear programme, which Washington says aims to produce nuclear weapons.

The United States this week sent an aircraft carrier, the USS Stennis, to the Gulf -- the second one to deploy in the region -- in a buildup that Defence Secretary Robert Gates aimed to impress on Iran that the four-year war in Iraq has not made America vulnerable.

In an apparent reaction to the deployment, Ahmadinejad yesterday vowed that Iran would not back down in its nuclear programme, which it says is peaceful, aiming only to produce energy.

"Today, with the grace of God, we have gone through the arduous passes and we are ready for anything in this path," state-run television quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Talks offer not a sign of weakness: Manmohan

This was one of the headlines in today's 'The Hindu'. The prime minister of India was reassuring its citizens that its offer of having talks with the ULFA was not a sign of weakness on the part of the government. It is interesting, and alarming, to see such is the mind-set of people that the desire for peace or a relinquishing of weapons is a sign of weakness. Perhaps this one incident is insufficient evidence to make a general conclusion, but the general practice of most nations seems to be much in agreement with this conclusion. The frenzied pace at which nations are bolstering their military might is frightening, and there is now among nations an obsession with creating, or if it is incapable of that, collecting, nuclear weapons, each wishing to establish that it has power, and hence cannot be taken lightly. What is this madness, and how will it end?!

Friday, January 12, 2007

A rhyme.

I'm not sure if this qualifies as poetry. In fact, i'm not sure what qualifies as poetry. To be on the safer side, let's just call it rhyme, though, if you are a nursery kid, i wouldn't recommend this to you:

I watched with awkward eyes
the grey that suffused the skies
in fear of gloating Gloom
i ran from my rueful room

i'm caught by the ravaging rain
which seeps into my brain
and plays a melancholy refrain
oh where can i seek refuge from pain?