Saturday, November 29, 2008

An idea

It occurred to me that we do not have great libraries in India and books are not very affordable. However, there's a vast reading public in all the major cities, whose home collections if brought together would provide for an excellent library. With this in mind, I am thinking of the possibility and issues with setting up an intermediary, a company which sets up one or multiple offices in a city(depending on the size of the city) which act as nothing but an exchange medium for books in the following way: People can become members of the library on the company's website. They can then upload the list of books they possess with basic information like author ISBN no. etc: When a user request is placed for a book, the search will retrieve all the sources of the book and the edition/year etc: If they are interested they then place a request for a copy of that book. The source can drop off the book at the nearest office of the company and the requester can pick up the book from the nearest location to the user. The company can commute between its various offices transporting the books. The company would be charging a monthly/annual membership fee and a borrowing fee which will be a fixed daily rate ensuring that the source gets a fee in accordance with the number of days the requester keeps the book and the company gets a commission out of each transaction. Any issues with this? If you can think of none and you are person with entrepreneurial ambitions reading this, you are free to take up the idea and start a company.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Another gem I need to remember:

Some of us friends were camping in the Colorado mountains over the labour day weekend when one friend came up with this absolute gem(it loses some of its 'effect' when translated from tam to english but the idea itself is still stud)!:

Why do you think Indian women wear sarees? Way back in the past our great ancestral men realised that all our Indian women bloat up into 'drums' (peepas for those who know tam) soon after they are married. Earning only mediocre incomes they realised they can't afford to keep buying new clothes every year, so they decided to come up with the these 9 yard long sarees so that the women will never grow out of their clothes!


A couple of gems:

Just so that they are registered in my memory(:-|):

"Stable relationships are for horses" - Gautam Prakash

"Stable relationships are with horses, after all you can ride a horse" - Satya N Vishwanathan

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A game I like

It was 6 in the evening on Halloween. I was waiting for a bus at some isolated place in order to get home. The stop was deserted except for a young mom with a cat's mask waiting with her kid who was in the costume of 'hulk'. As I approached the bus stop the mom started staring at me. Being November it gets dark early and it was just about dark then. I thought she might be suspicious and to put her mind at rest I was walking about far away from the seats at the stop. One could see youngsters in costumes galavanting about. It reminded me that I must go to downtown later that evening. So many people gather on that one street that it really is more crowded than the mumbai station. Its a sight worth absorbing because usually the people keep a goods train distance from each other. The bus was being unusually late; one would think it was getting into its costume for the evening. I could see the mom turn back and throw quick furtive glances in my direction now and again. But I got tired of standing and went to sit down anyways. I sat in the seat farthest from her. As we waited, the kid got restless. Eventually, he struck conversation with me, and having heard me for a while the mom got friendly too. Meanwhile, a man jumped the waist high wall that defined the parking space of a fast food store behind the bus stop and approached us in haste. Before we realised what was happening, he pulled out from behind him a big bag of chocolates and said, "My wife thinks this kid has the cutest costume she's seen all evening and wanted to give this to the boy." The mom accepts it gratefully, but abashed by the unexpected kindness. The man jumps back up over the wall and departs in his car. The kid plays around with the bag of chocolates while the mom and I get acquainted with each other. Time flies by during conversation and the bus arrives. As we get in, the driver pulls out a bag of chocolates, shows it to the kid and says, "I just picked up this bag before the beginning of this trip so you're lucky kid." As we are seated in the bus, we are given company by a couple of drunks, one of whom was a guy intending to sell drugs to the college students at the mall close to campus(I know because he showed us the stuff in the middle of happy conversation). At the next stop, a couple of white trash people walk in. The lady has just enough teeth to prevent the jaws from colliding. The man is hunched enough that if you put a mirror to his face, you can see the outline of a dome from the side. As the lady sits down, she is feeling around in her purse for something. I presumed it was a vanity case, because that's the only thing I've seen women ever feel around for in their handbags for during bus journeys, apart from cellphones. She pulls out a candy, and hands it to the kid saying, "I don't know how it got in there, but that's for you kiddo!" The kid must've been pleased with his good fortune because he was all hyper in the bus and doing various antics that had me smiling and indulging him with attention from my cell phone camera. I got some really neat snaps(one of the drunkards can vouch for that!) considering the bus was moving and I didn't exactly have image stabilization and a tripod to work with. So the drunkard asked the mom is she wanted to give her email address so that I could send it to her. I made no offer because I thought she was somewhat the shy sort. She smiled and said nothing. After about five minutes, while I was still indulging the kid with my camera, she asked for one to be taken with her and the kid together. I knew the email address was coming. Five minutes later she passed me a little piece of paper with her phone number on it. Coincidentally, we were getting down at the same stop. She asked me to call her so that she may give me her email address to which I could send her the photos if I would. I agreed to that and she quickly disappeared in the opposite direction to which I had to go in.

Later that evening I went to Mill Avenue, the downtown. I went with a book in hand because there's a bookstore (Borders for those of you familiar with it) nearby and I had a feeling that I would get bored of the costumes. I took a quick scan of the two sides of that street. It was mostly what I'd seen in the previous two years: Young girls in slutty costumes showing plenty of meat, guys in scary costumes, and kids in cute costumes feeling a want of attention from all the elders furiously trying in vain to catch each other's attention. I went into the bookstore and sat reading till the store closed. As I sat there, I thought of that mom and her kid who were merely returning from the kid's school as on any routine day. It amused me to think of the curious game of Chance in which the kid got completely unexpected gifts of chocolates from strangers whom he'd never asked for "Trick or treat?", photographs of himself to admire from another stranger, and compliments on his delightful costume from drunkards and drug peddlers, while in stark contrast there were gathered the several hundreds crowded into this one street desperately seeking attention, and may be a bit of 'luck' in their own notion of it.

Here are some pictures:

I feel an emotion is a feeling

A discussion with a friend got me wondering 'what is a feeling?' I thought for a while and the only thing I could conclude was that the feelings are different forms of vanity. But in a sense that might be trivial because all things might ultimately boil down to that. So I went to the lord who provides all the answers. Google's first worthwhile hit was wikipedia. It taught me a valuable lesson in tautology.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Reality professor

Below is a picture of a note that was stuck on one of the professor's doors during his absence. The numbers beginning with 'B' are room numbers in which he might be located. Below that is other places where you might find him available and open to discussion:

Friday, November 07, 2008

Shop till you shop

I just thought of a nice line to represent the consumerist women:

"I'm going shopping for clothes to wear when I'm going shopping for clothes."

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Aaj kal, mere kuch pal

I've been tagged by Silverine. A few years down the line I fear my memory might not permit me to do such tags so it is very fortunate that I received it now.

The Tag

Two questions in each category answer them and then tag your friends from the blog-o-sphere. Leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been tagged and you are all set.


Your oldest memories...

The oldest memories that 'I' can recall are probably from the third standard. I recall having a fat friend called Jaganath whom I really admired for some reason(yeah, oldest memories are like that only!). I had a friend called 'Vaidish' who was the principal's son and I was strangely excited at being his friend. I viewed the principal of the school with the same kind of awe with which a religious man might view god. So I was pals here with Jesus no less, and always felt a special thrill to be going around shoulder-to-shoulder with such an important man! Then what I have a very vivid memory of is this incredible thing called 'soya milk' which used to be served chilled in little steel containers at the lunch hour from a steel drum for Re. 1 by one of the 'aayah's . There would be a mad rush for it, and that drink always felt like ambrosia to me. I never lost my desire for it but they stopped the supply that year or the next :( I also remember our 'pochaiah' ringing the bell after every period. (I believe that was his name and he was actually the peon, but I was for a very long time under the impression the guy who rings that bell is called 'pochaiah'.) I also remember a guy called 'Sunil' who was actually the school watchman's son. I have a distinct recollection of his face with his half-chipped front tooth. I remember his clothes were always very yellow(we had to wear white shirts). I knew he came from the hut behind one of the classes. I understood that he was poor. I remember feeling sad about it. I remember him as being an extremely fast runner. I greatly admired him for that. I wanted to run like him. I also remember that this other guy called 'sohail' used to beat me in running. I must've taken my running very seriously back then.

What were you doing ten years ago?

I was a stranger in my own home :( Perhaps many of you don't know this but I was in the US during my 7th because my dad had to come to the US on some research assignment for a couple of years and he wanted the whole family to be with him for the last year before returning. When we went back, I was quite lost. I remember that when I first went back to my school, I came across my third standard teacher. I knew her well so I wished to make a salutation. But I didn't know whether to say 'hello' as I was used to saying or to say 'namaste ma'am' with the hands pressed against each other as we were used to doing in school. I think I ended up saying hello with my hands pressed together. I had a hard time in school that year having become very stupid from staying in school in the US I suppose, and my ambitious dad sent me to sanskrit and mathematics tuitions. I hated the mathematics tuitions because the teacher was a tyrant but I liked the sanskrit teacher so I really began to enjoy the sanskrit subject. Apparently, I had a terribly american accent :( Till my last day in school I used to be mocked for this incident which occurred: On the first day I resumed school, which was a little late, the class teacher asked me to stand up and introduce myself. I gave my name. Then he asked me where I stayed. I replied, "Yellareddyguda" and the whole class including the teacher was in suppressed grins. Apparently it sounded very funny in the american accent. I tried very hard to get rid of the accent after learning that. But the sad part was I never knew there was an accent so I didn't know that I actually sounded different from others. In my head I thought I was speaking exactly like them. So for a while during that year I used to check with friends after random periods of time to see if I was speaking normally yet :(


Today was an interesting day. I had lunch with my groupmate, his girlfriend and his girlfriend's groupmates. The whole lunch we sat discussing politics and had some interesting discussions. I had on an earlier day got sucked into helping out with some propagating materials science event in the evening. On that day I thought it would be fun to help out, which it was but then I also really wanted to work today because I was trying to understand some results so I was a bit disappointed about that. However, there was some work I had to do for collaborators that was going to do me no good and I got done with that so that pain's out of the way and I can deal with my work in peace the rest of this week. Also, I am currently listening to 'aaro viral neeti' by KJ Yesudas. I just love the man's voice! Wish I had a voice like his.

If you build a time capsule what would it contain?

Time capsules are too hard to comprehend, but taken to mean what's most precious to me, I'd say my family.


Tomorrow I hope to do the work I didn't do today.

What do you see yourself doing 14 years from now?

I don't think so far ahead any more. I am happy I'm not in a position where I can answer that question. I am afraid of being in a position where I can answer that question. Also, in general, I'm finding it very hard to think about the future. I find that my notions of 'the future' are very vague. Although I say stuff like, "I'm looking to graduate in two years" to the most common question asked me, the truth is, I'm not looking to graduate in two years. I have no idea when I want to graduate. Its not something I think about seriously. I also find it pointless to think about questions that reach so far ahead. The complex network of possibilities almost make the question seem absurd. I bring this up because I also find this to be the case with the near future. I am highly unable to think about the future in a sincere way because I realise that in truth I can't even define my present state of mind and the present course of action I'll follow. Making plans for the future seems a futile waste of time. Those are my present thoughts on the future.

I tag:
Turkey/Hari/Babe(if you guys still write on your blogs?)