I've been bestowed with my first ever award, and it's a gift and not exactly an award.
Now this award is special for two reasons. First, it's my first original award. And second, this gift comes from a really witty person Richa.
Thank you buddy!!

Slow Internet connections...

If you are an engineering guy staying in your college hostel using an internet connection shared over a LAN, you know what I mean. If you aren't, read on.

If you are a person with a fat wallet and a high speed internet connection, you will never appreciate this post. You might say, a slow connection means pages load slow, isn't that all? No, you buggers, it is NOT.

Here's what happens when you have a slow connection.

* Pages load slow. Ha ha ha.

* My monitor cost me 10,000 bucks. I dread that some day I will hammer it. No hammers in my room.

* If you are planning to buy a PC that you would be using over a slow connection, buy a sturdy keyboard. I bang my keyboard at least five times every day.

* Youtube videos buffer so painfully slow. Worse, you leave a video to buffer. When you return to it, the buffering has hung midway. Or you replay and the buffering restarts. JEEEEZZZZ!!

* Take care of your social life-I. I find that elusive gal online and send her a hi over gtalk. She apparently doesn't reply and I sign out. Only to find out later that she had actually replied to me.

* Take care of your social life-II. Every now and then people haggle over what others have been downloading and how badly that has been affecting the speed.

* Uploading those vacation pics on orkut takes away half the fun of the vacation itself.

* Replying to blog posts that open in new comment windows becomes so tough. The comment box stubbornly refuses to load. If at all it does, you cannot save your comment. I missed commenting on Shweta's blog post, The harmless little breeze.

* Beef up security. Out of frustration I once installed a software that sent spurious packets to other PC's on my network and stalled their speeds. Someone found out in a week and I came seriously close to getting mashed up. Expect something similar if you are a marked torrent downloader.

* Beauty specialists reveal that stress can lead to premature aging. Health specialists say that stress can lead to hypertension, insomnia, diabetes and a host of other problems. I say that what is frustrating is essentially very stressful.

It's over.

It's over.
What is over??

Lots of things, actually. The last few days have been hectic. My quaint sleepy life was burdened with responsibilities, and I had to work for many more hours than I am comfortable. I missed reading the blogs I visit and I could not manage to write the one post I have been wanting to post for quite a few days.

A few days ago, I was chatting with a blogger friend.

A few more days ago I was chatting with the same blogger friend. It was after the Mumbai blasts. And my GOD, she was furious.

She was furious with the corruption in the government, she was furious about their vote bank politics, she was furious with the profit oriented media. She told me that she wanted to do something, perhaps take up matters in her own hands, perhaps join politics in her own way. She was hurt and so was I and so was the rest of India. It almost seemed that the great Indian middle class was on fire and the time was ripe to witness a historic change. Well, she was saying exactly what was on my mind.

I had almost forgotten everything until the chat a few days ago. In a flash, everything came back and I was tempted to ask her about her plans and what she had done with them. She replied that her normal life had taken over, she was busy with her projects and I saw that I was busy with mine. The great Indian middle class had moved on. And the Mumbai blasts were forgotten as another nightmare from a distant past.

How long has it been? Barely a fortnight. WOW!

Did we have another choice? Could we have done better? The blast has thrown unpleasant questions that we can't answer. How much more can we take before our fury actually spills over?

In time I will also forget these questions. And India would move on. Perhaps I'm getting too emotional. Perhaps it's a direct result of admiring the movie 'Hazaroon Khwahishein Aisi'. Perhaps.................

But what is also over is the extraordinarily long planned wait for me to update my blogroll. And I'm pleased to bring in Shweta, Richa and Divya. Oh yes, blogger friend, please don't mind. :D


Resolutions can be really really tough to keep. But strangely enough, almost everyone I know resolves every now and then. As far as I'm concerned I've had a pathetic track record. Here are a few faux pas.

* I shall blog more - I started my blog a year after I had resolved to do it. And ever since I did, I have lost all peace of mind. 'Cause I keep resolving something that I never do.

* I shall study - More than the 6 days of exams in a 6 month semester that is. I know it's hard to believe but it's even harder to repeat the feat semester after semester, trust me.

* I shall work out - This one was the joke of the century.

* I shall call up my folks more often - Before you think I'm a thankless prodigal, let me explain. I really care about my parents and spend almost all my vacations with them. It's just that when it comes to calling up, I develop cold feet.

* I shall finish projects - Four half finished projects and another four that could only exist in my brain. How does that sound?

* I shall get a girlfriend - For my buddies, it's the joke of the century. For me it's the tragedy of the millennium.

* I will not forget those birthdays - Yep, it has been a long standing problem. But I'm the understanding types, i.e. I do not mind when people miss mine.

* I will stop bunking classes - It has been a long time since I came to terms with reality. I no longer bother about this *wink*.

* Early to bed and early to rise - Self explanatory.

* Stop skipping breakfasts - This I really want to. Not that I do not want the others :-)

But I tell you, I'm improving. You doubt? How about this? This post is a direct result of my resolution to blog more.


Remember what I said about guest posts? Now forget all that and read what blogger Richa says. Thanks Richa!

Reading Pranav's posts about the traffic and traffic policemen, I am reminded of a few anecdotes and irks on the road, I have been thinking lately to jot them down, so here they come...

Anecdote 1.

Day/ Time- I was in 12th standard, so it must be around 2001.

I had learnt to drive a car when I was in 10th standard and since I was not an adult, I didn't have my driving license, but still I drove, but drove safe :D

I had to drop my mom and chachi to the hospital for a regular check up (my chachi was expecting that time). The hospital is at almost 2 kms from my home, so I drove them and was returning alone, when I noticed that the traffic police had set up a naka in the meantime at the signal. Now I didn't have a license, and I was confident enough- they didn't stop women/ girls for checking, I stopped on the red light. Then, out of nowhere, a female shapata (punjabi vernacular used for hawaldar) appeared and asked me for my license. Well, I told her confidently, that I had left it at home as I was in a hurry, and my home was just across the lights, I could go back and fetch it and show it to her. But she didn't seem to believe me- (obviously why would she??)

I kept on trying to convince her to let me go, and meanwhile I saw other girls/ ladies moving towards their destinations without being asked for their licenses... why me? I thought!! She was dying to write me a challan, which I was convinced not to let her do... I asked her if she could let me go anyhow, and this was what she had been waiting for.. She said "eddan taan 500 rupaye laggne" (otherwise 500 bucks would do)... I was taken aback. I told her I didn’t carry that much amount with me and on this she looked at me helplessly and annoyed and mumbled "enni waddiyan gaddiyan lae k turi firde ne te jeb ch paise v nai rakhde" (this big cars they drive and keep pockets empty), I looked at her amazed. but then anyhow I were saved of the challan- thanks to a VIP's relative who was also a fish to the traffic police, but whose approach saved us all in the queue!!

Anecdote 2.

I am sorry- but offense intended at all those labor class bhaiyas who move on the roads, high on drugs, or whatever they do..

This one is not that old, but a 4 years back almost. Mom and I were on the road, I behind the steering. At a roundabout, out of nowhere, a cycle appeared on the road with the two bhaiyas- one riding and other one hanging on it (I pity the cycle). And since it was so abrupt, I could not see them and could not apply brakes in time. They fell off the cycle and the cycle too- on them. And those foolish bhaiyas, they got up, smiled- rather laughed, picked their cycle, mounted it and disappeared. I was left on the roundabout, scared that I might have hurt them, but as they went away, the peechhe wala bhaiya waved at me, and my face went red with fury!!! Gosh, what the hell!! I could have hit them... but their cycle saved them...

I still fell heat erupting out of my ears while I write this X(

What irks me on the road!!

  • The honking people on the red lights or in the traffic jams.
  • The auto rickshaw drivers who break where ever they like- whether it is a turn, or a traffic jam.
  • The spoiled brats who think the road was gifted to them by their daddy on their b'day.
  • The spoiled brats who follow girls.
  • Aunties who do not know driving.
  • People who don’t know parking manners.
  • The beggars at signals.

The list is not exhaustive!!

Why Mumbai?

I never write about blasts. But this time, I have something to reflect on.

Please do not blame the terrorists. Yes, you heard it right, please do not blame them. They are a bunch of brain-washed, brave, passionate and maybe psychotic guys who cannot tell the right from the wrong. I'm not glorifying terror but think for a moment and you can't deny that the adjectives I have used are apt. Let us not be blind to the truth in our grief.

So why Mumbai? Not because Pakistan is our neighbor, no. Many states back terrorists to strike at other countries. But they do not bleed the way we do.

Do not blame the politicians. We elect them, yes, you and I. And it isn't like everyone has turned corrupt in a few years. This has been on for decades. But we continue to elect the same faces every time. And guess what, whatever we might say, we all know that this is what we would do again.

You see who was responsible for the strike??

What do you think will happen? Diplomatic edge and everything? Nothing is going to come out of it. India cannot strike Pakistan, it's a nuclear power and a strike is out of the question. Even the US cannot, more so when the country is your neighbor.

The US is backing India only because it does not want India to accumulate troops at the border. That will hurt US interests. The US is fighting for itself, not for India.
So, the great Indian circus show will go on for some months. Perhaps a bit more stringent security measures for some time. Then we will forget the wounds. And the netas would heave their sighs of relief.

What would you and I do? We would continue to run after our promotions and our IT jobs and MBA's. We would dream of that car and that apartment and that perfect home. Some evenings over coffee, we would reflect and blame the politicians. We are just not ready to get our hands dirty to do the cleanup job.

Until someone comes and blows up that dream. Then the cycle would repeat. And the news channels would say, life in Mumbai has come back to normal.

A cleanup isn't necessary for the nation. It is necessary to save our own skins.

A trip...

A deserted lonely locale, placid murky beaches, average food, 10 close friends and lots of gossip.

How does that sound as a vacation? Not good enough?
It sounds fabulous to me. More so, 'cause the above description is of Bakkhali, a sea beach we visited about a fortnight ago. If you are a person who likes to visit the places no one visits, ie, places tourists haven't started crowding around already, it's just the place for you.

The above description is ironic, but I can't help it. It's similar to saying that I would love to get stranded on a deserted island for two days with lots of delicious food. Here are some pics(click to enlarge) of the trip that I wanted to post.

The unique job interview....

I've been really busy over the past week and miss blogging and stopping by at your blogs. This is an old draft that I felt wasn't good enough to post. But I thought I better post something so I dug it out.

My first and only job interview turned out to be really unique. Check.....

Now I had decided that I was going to go for the kill right from the start. It didn't matter whether I got the job.

So I enter the room looking more respectable than I ever have in my life.
Three men are sitting. (Thank god there aren't any ladies.)

MB> May I come in sir??

(Guy1, 2 & 3 in unison) Please do.
They point me the chair and I sit. They introduce themselves and say hello. I say hii.

G1> Yes?? can you be a bit louder please.
No one says that to me. I've always been asked to be softer, irritation seeps in.

MB> I'm sorry sir, I will definitely be louder from now on.

G1> What's the problem with your leg??
I realize that I have been shaking my leg. Now, come on, give me a bit of time to settle down, will you? I get really irritated now.

MB> It's nothing sir, I apologize again.

They introduce themselves. Then there is a pause, thanks to me.

G1>And you are?

MB>(Cursing myself. I shouldn't have messed this up) I'm Mahul Bhattacharya.

G1> Introduce yourself.

MB> I've been waiting for this one. Sir, I'm ..... from .....(college) . I come from a middle class nuclear family. I dream of of being an entrepreneur some day. I have good analytical skills, value creative satisfaction above anything else and love taking risks and shortcuts. I hate being on the taken path.

The men squirm in their seats while I pause for a breath. But the effect has been achieved.

G2> Risks and shortcuts??

MB> Yes sir.

G1> Tell me one risk you have taken that has paid off.

I fumble for a second. But only for a second. Then I'm back in control.

MB> Sir, this year the placement scenario in our campus has been dismal. But still I skipped all the companies that had confirmed. At one point, there were no longer any confirmed interviews left and I was yet to appear for a job. But look at it sir, your company did confirm and I was back in business. Today I will have a job and Samsung and Microsoft have confirmed as well. Now those very guys who had a job are regretting their decisions. That was a huge risk back then that has paid off now.

G1> Oh really? So which companies are you talking about?

I name one. He asks me why and I vent out the entire frustration of not having a job on that poor organization. He listens patiently.

At the end of my neat criticism, he reveals that he is an ex-employee. Bechare ne personally le liya. And it seemed that he would have killed me if he could.

In case you are wondering, yes, I still got the job.
All said and done, I would not have given him the job had we swapped places.

Blogosphere fever

This had to come, I was itching to get into this controversy.

The blogosphere is currently suffering from a serious bout of guest post fever.

Why guest posts??

* Everyone has a blog, at least everyone who writes a guest post on someone's blog. Well, almost everyone.

* I haven't seen many guest posts, only invitations for them. *wink*

* A blog/web log is supposed to be a dairy on the web. Do you invite others to fill up your dairies? That's the purist view.

* Amitabh Bachchan's blog does not host guest posts. Neither does Aamir's , Salman's or Sobhaa's. Nor do the celebs write any guest posts. Ain't we supposed to ape them?

* At the end of the day, isn't this just a way to show off how popular your blog is?

To tell the truth, I have run out of reasons now.

But also consider that......

* Someone might want to write something about something on someone's blog.

* I haven't read many blogs. I might be missing.

* A web log is not exactly a diary. You do not show your diaries to people.

* Amitabh Bachchan's blog is boring. Sorry Sir, I hope you will understand.

* I have an unpopular blog. Grapes are sour.

* I find the idea pretty interesting.

So maybe I would like to host some guest posts myself. Someday when I'm confident that some people would be interested. Till then, I'm happy criticizing.

November post

It's my first post of November.
I'm a bit disturbed, and there are a lot of things going on in my mind. Here are a few.

* I'm a lazy blogger.

* I write extremely poor book reviews. Hope I refrain from writing another.

* No one visits my blog. Well, almost no one.

* At my current rate of adsense returns, it'll be 50 years before I receive my first cheque. If google keeps the amount fixed at $100, that is.

* A lot of hits can be traced to a comment I wrote on someone's blog. Maybe I should start commenting generously on the blogosphere.

* People aren't downloading my new pdf tutorial (How to assemble a PC).

* Almost 75% of my total hits(counter at the bottom) are my handiwork. *grin*

* It's been months since someone scribbled on my cbox. If you are unfortunate enough to be reading this post, you know what I would be asking for.

* I'm clueless about my reaction on Obama winning the election.

* I'm tired of writing this post.

So, bye.

A Thousand Splendid Suns

An interesting fortnight ends. It started with the end of a vacation, a hugely entertaining college strike and ends with the onset of another, shorter vacation. But I enjoyed this fortnight because I read three brilliant novels back to back. The Namesake, The God of Small Things and A Thousand Splendid Suns.
A Thousand Splendid Suns deserves a review. It's a beautiful tale, as radiant as the title suggests. I was aware of the valor of the Afghans, but took it for the guns and violent bravery associated with a war ridden country. But this book shatters all notions and brings out the silent, enduring valor of the Afghans. And all along you have this eerie feeling that the characters in the tale exist all over Afghanistan.
The simple and plain Mariam is a character you rarely come across. She is so ordinary like one of us and yet, at the end of the story, it's Mariam who continues to haunt your memories.
I'm left with one regret. I do not know farsi or pashtun and I cannot admire the poetry and the title in its original flavor.
Thank You Mr. Khaled Hosseini.

An ode to the bum

Yes, this post is dedicated to my bum. And yours, and the guys and gals next door's. And to the beggar's, cop's, shopper's and shopkeeper's in the street. To cut it short, everybody's.

Imagine what you could not do without your bum. What would not be possible if humans did not have one.

What would happen in a bum less world?

* You can't sit. How would it feel standing all day?
* You can't sh**. Where would you from?
* You can't celebrate birthdays. No birthday bumps.
* Urdu would miss one of it's most admired greetings. 'Tashreef laiye zanaab'.
* English would miss one of it's most loved swears. 'Kick his a**'.
* People would look weird. I would have a difficulty admiring them.
* Kylie Minogue would be half as famous as she is. So would Rakhi Sawant.
* Sidney Sheldon's novels would grow thinner.
* My headmaster's canings would become unbearable.
* Nudity would grow into a necessity. Unless everyone starts wearing frocks of course.
* Where would the docs give injections?

If for some reason you believe that I should not have written about something so lowly as bum or that this post is below taste, I apologize. Please post accordingly and I would apologize personally to each of you.

India and US

I'm back after a real long break from the cyber world, thanks to a fortnight of vacation. The day I went off, I asked myself a rapid fire question, "What is the difference between India and the States"?

The answer was a bit peculiar, probably because I have never been to the US. Or because I was on a train.

In the US, when you buy a ticket, the clerk calls you 'Sir'. In India people call the railway reservation clerks 'Sir'. A bad joke, but probably true.

Do looks matter??

I'm no metrosexual. Actually, I'm the exact opposite of what you would call metrosexual. The only cosmetic I use is boroline(during the winters to prevent bleeding lips), if you can call it a cosmetic.

Now I've no dearth of friends who fret over what they look like. Some allege this indifference to my very average looks. The indifference might be attributed to the knowledge that no amount of grooming can turn me into a stud. I can't comment. Who knows what a bit of good looks could have done to priorities? But if that be the case, I'm very grateful to be born looking average.

Yes, fretting over looks does irritate me. There are very few things that can touch me enough to irritate me and this is one of them. Do people have nothing better to do for themselves and for the world when so much always remains to be done? I apologize if I sound preachy.

But look at it the other way. I'm no admirer of the classic blonde, but how many average looking gals do I notice on the street? And yes, most guys try to get cozy with the pretty looking gal, while a more refined average looking person rarely becomes the center of attraction. I bet it's the same with the opposite sex as well.

And yes, if I can hone and flaunt my intellect and be dubbed intellectual, why do I fret when a person tries so hard to be called beautiful? On a purely logical level, I guess it's the same.

It's all very confusing, isn't it? And that's why it's so amazing. You can keep debating with yourself for ever.

Why am I single??

Not many people ask me this question, but some do. This post is not an endeavor to answer them. Rather it is an effort to answer myself.

Now, I do not look good but I do not look ugly either. Since I was destined to study computers, God had decided to fit me into a skin and bones wafer-thin package. Other than that I am your pretty normal, average looking guy.

I'm certainly not Wilhelm Kanaris but I talk sense mostly and nonsense otherwise. I'm a bit geeky and some complain that I've this touch of a cynic, but gals can't possibly know that, can they??

I run on a tight budget but everyone knows that I would be earning the software big bucks, so that should not be much of a problem.

So to find the answer, let's dig a bit into history. After all that's the reason I had been made to study history in school, to find answers to today's questions in yesterday's problems. See, I told you guys I was intelligent!

Thanks to my wafer slim size and harmless countenance, I actually used to sit beside gals till class 5(What a miss!). I was too young to feel anything back then. But some more ripe guys started poking me because I sat beside gals. So guess what, I changed my seat and never sat beside a gal since!

By the time I did ripen up, the same honchos who had made me abandon my seat had girlfriends. Most of the better gals in my class were taken. Not that it mattered since it was something mom had warned me against and I always listened to her. (Not that I do not now, but back then it was like a disease). So I moved out of class 10 thinking that I was too young and should give myself more time. What a duffer!

Class 12. I'm no longer @ home but @ hostel. So I spend time sleeping and sleeping even more. I hardly get to school and on those rare occasions that I do, gals fail to notice, fair deal. I miss out again but friends promise me that once I get into an engineering college, I would start feeling like a playboy. God, I did believe them!!

College. My friends were probably right. But I made it to a decent college. Pretty gals do not study in decent engineering colleges. Those rare gals that do, have a huge queue of suitors. My wafer slim frame is too slim to get noticed. It's too late now. Unless you have a string of break-ups behind you(read experienced), there's no way a gal is even going to look at you. Once a loser, always a loser.

Some duffers still believe that once they join their jobs, they would get girlfriends. Don't you still get it guys?? See, I told you I was intelligent.

What?? Why did I never look for gals other than those in my school and college?? What am I supposed to do? Chat up with a pretty faced in the middle of the street? Or call up random gals in the middle of the night by indexing into a telephone directory? Think before you speak man.

Enslaved !!

The day was the 11th of September, 2008. It was a sad day in the history of progressive people, for it was the day when the great, indomitable, unconquered Mahul Bhattacharya formally sold himself to International Business Machines. And with that ended his quest and zeal to constantly innovate, create and design.

I have been constantly asking myself, why did I get this job??

I did not answer a single technical question in a selection process that lasted 13 hours. Can you believe that? Not a single technical question! This could well have been an interview for a receptionist or a call center executive.

Actually I got this job because all goddamned guys in the United States of America would charge the same amount that I charge for a month to work for an hour. I can think of no better reason than that.

Let's hope that 2-3 years from now the enslaved, unhappy, frustrated and weather beaten Mahul Bhattacharya would manage to emerge from the whirlpool of the IT industry to do what he does best- design and innovate.

It's not what he can or what he might do. It's what he must.

Old Photographs

Even the most familiar things can spring surprising surprises.

An object which you perhaps see every day, and see nothing new about it, can surprise you, trust me. The minute graphics in the pen you use every day but never cared to look, the sunlight on the wall next to your bed.... it might well be anything. It just shows how amazing, mysterious and beautiful our world is, if only we would care to look.
I was browsing through some old college photographs last night when I came across some which suddenly seemed funny. Now these images were all in the background and I had never noticed.
Here's a set of four for you if you would care to look.

The day I won........

Today I met up one of my favorite profs, over a DRDO contest we are planning to participate in.

It brought back memories of my first interaction with him, it was quite an interesting one.

This one was way back in fourth semester. It was a robotics contest we had decided to participate in.( We were three, but one of us was down with loose motion, so it was just the two of us). We had zero experience and near zero knowledge.

Someone suggested we meet up with a certain Prof from the computer science department and we did. We were excited and fired up, it wasn't a good approach. However. the person turned out to be quite supportive. He listened patiently and promised us help. Finally, he asked us to consult the person in question from the Department of Applied Mechanics for the mechanical design.

So the further excited duo walk into the mechatronics lab one fine morning. It's a 30'*25' room full of arms and motors and gears that do look robotic. On one side there is an array of computers. In the middle of the paraphernalia sits a pleasant looking middle aged gentleman. A couple of guys I know are sitting at a machine in one corner of the room.

I'm the public face of the team, so the onus is on me to start the conversation. I steal a glance and a smile at the familiar guys in the corner.

I>> May I come in Sir?

P>>(Looking up from his laptop and grunting) Hmmm..
I>> Sir, I'm fourth sem IT and he is fourth sem ETC.

P>> Ok.So?

I>> We want to participate in the so and so contest. Sir, we've decided to go for the .....tracker problem. We...

P>> (Cutting me off) No you won't.

I>> (Getting the shock of my life) Sir?? (can't manage more)

P>> One team is already participating( he points to the familiar guys, Grrr.... So that's the reason the buggers are here).
There isn't any more time and you don't know anything, so you can't participate.

I>> But sir...

P>> No no, please don't bother me with this(eyes almost going back to the laptop).

I>> (By this time, I'm desperate, angry and red. What the hell do those buggers know that we don't?? Just because they are mechanical guys.... no I can't let this be).
But Sir, we just had a chat with Prof ... and he has agreed to help us. In fact it was he who told us to consult you for the mechanical design.
(eyes get back to me and I seize the opportunity. I bring out a pen from my jeans pocket and yank the notebook out of my friend's hand, not letting P open his mouth in between).
We have done our homework, we gathered info about the probable drive systems( the pen has started to run and my partner had started a live commentary of what I'm doing, even the familiar guys have started to notice. Almost all of what we knew comes out in the next two minutes ).

P>> (By this time P is genuinely interested and is almost as shocked with me as I was with him. He clarifies few areas) Ok, you meet me this evening.

We>> ( Fist pumping has almost started ). Sure Sir. Thank you sir.
(We leave).

That evening he offered to fund a part of our project. And after a fortnight of net surfing, the familiar guys ditched their project.

These days, we buggers who hardly know a thing about mechatronics, are celebrities in the lab.(overstatement)

It was the day I won!

What to choose??

Tough call.

IBM, Infosys and Ericsson comming over to my university campus this month. I got to decide which to sit for and which to eliminate.
None of the packages are interesting, I must confess. And well, I have already gained notoreity around my campus for skipping jobs. ( The list includes Wipro, Tech Mahindra , M.N. Dastur and ITC Infotech ).
And hello, all this doesn't assume that I'll manage whichever job I want to.
Any suggestions anyone??

Book Review: The three mistakes of my life

Welcome to my first ever book review, The three mistakes of my life by Chetan Bhagat(Rupa).

The characters are brilliant and very much alive. The book brings back the old appeal of 'Five point someone'. One book designed to leave all nerds and geeks feeling better. The build up to the climax is brilliant. The story weaves and blends in real facts convincingly.

In trademark Chetan Bhagat style, the climax is a bit tough to digest, but isn't that why we love Chetan Bhagat?? However, I felt that the climax was a big let down. It almost spoiled the fun of reading an otherwise brilliant book. If only Mr. Bhagat would conjure up some more earthly endings.........

But I guess it's all a justified part of Mr. Bhagat's objective of making India read. And well, to be India's most popular author, rather than the most admired one.

You doubt?? Go and watch a Sunny Deol movie.

I'm a misunderstood guy.....

Everyone says that, isn't it??

So it's no big deal if I say the same.

When I was a kid, my heart was an open book. I would say whatever I felt. So the world said, "Hey, come on, what is this sh** you are saying". They mocked me coz I said the unpleasant. It hated me because I would point out it's numerous flaws. I would praise myself whenever I felt like it. So, guess what, I became UNPOPULAR.

But I am no dumb head. So I found out what the world wanted from me. And I became that, I transformed myself into a non-temperamental, super-cool, self-depreciating slimeball. And whoa!! I am one of the POPULAR guys in college.

But now the world has a different problem! It says I am unemotional and heartless. Are you kidding man?

So what is it that the world wants from me??


Yep, that's what I said 5 minutes ago.

Placements have started and I'm yet to get a job, yes, I'm unemployed.

No, I'm not that big a duffer as you might be assuming, I haven't tried any company yet. But you know what, it hardly makes a difference.

But there is one positive to it. My frustration levels are increasing every day and if I manage to use that to motivate myself, I might actually end up doing something worthwhile in my final year.

I have one unfinished project and I need to start another as a final project, its irritating. And yes, the GUI for the search engine is yet to start, though the rest is done.

And if there is anyone waiting for my software, I apologize. Laziness has come in the way of the software getting uploaded, but I will do it very soon.

The IC tester.....

Long time since I last posted. Thanks to Feedjit, I found that most of my visitors visited my projects page which has no mention of my current favorite baby- The IC tester.

When I used to look at IC testers with their little LCD screens and heavy price tags, something in me told me that not everything was the way I wanted it to be.


Now all testers contain some microprocessor/microcontroller, LCD screen/7 segment display and all such stuff. I'm not doing anything out of the world, all that I plan to do is to use a processor and a display far better than possible in an IC tester. But won't that cost even more?

Thankfully no! Because my customer would already own it, since it would be a computer present in all hardware labs today.

Such a design would have other advantages as well. When I add support for new IC's, all that would be required is to upgrade an existing database, and it might prove to be as simple as downloading a file from a website and pasting it into a directory!

Here are the basics. The tester consists of an interface with a PC which can be used to switch between the various pins of an IC (to be tested). Now similar to an 8051 microcontroller, data is always written to the port latch for each pin and read directly from each pin. Initially, the data lines are switched between each of the pins and then data is written to the pins. Now the controls switches to the O/P pins and the voltage values available there are read into the PC. These values are matched with the values in the database and the IC can be tested.

Every pin can be configured as an O/P or I/P pin as per requirement and hence a wide array of logic IC's can be tested. Moreover analog voltage values can be applied and hence most analog IC's can also be tested.

Other than building the actual tester, I am currently working on the design to enable it to test sequential circuits as well. I'm keeping my fingers crossed as far as the pricing is concerned. If all goes well, it can be priced very competitively.

The search is ON

The UNIX desktop search facility is almost complete. At least I'm in a position to release the first edition of the utility in about a week's time( optimistic view ). For those interested, this blog is going to sport a download button very soon. Do keep me posted about any bugs or suggestions, they are going to be very helpful ( do understand that I'm still an undergrad student ). So what are the features that I would be providing?? Not much really, people would need to wait for features. Right now, all that I offer are:-

1. A simple search utility that would search your local disks for files, by name only( non -indexed, no content searching ). Format searching is supported, i.e. *.jpg and *ash*.jpg* are all valid formats.

2. An indexed search utility that would also search for file names only( No content searching, yet again). Format searching would be supported as above. The entire file system can be searched within 10 seconds. (I'm no google, at least, not yet. )

System requirements are not demanding, as can be expected. 256 MB of RAM and about 50 MB of hard disk space would be enough.

All I need is to write an installer and upgrade the indexing process to a daemon process. All valuable suggestions and queries are welcome.

I've got a little problem with my sanity...

Yes, that's right what you are reading, it's no smart bluff.

I was down with typhoid for 10 days or so( the reason for my not posting for so long), and I feel my sanity was dented as a consequence. The day my temperature finally came down to normal, I sang in my croaky voice for the entire day!!. Now I hum or sing aloud occasionally, but that's something I've never done before. I wasn't deterred even by my frequent bouts of coughing and sneezing.

And one of my friends made a similar casual remark, God knows what's happening.

However my mom, being the eternal optimist that she is, assured me that the very fact that I felt something was wrong was reason enough to show that everything was fine. I hope she's right.

Well guess I would find out for certain in a few more days. I would keep this blog posted guys, so watch out.


The monsoons are here!!

Yes, there's no escaping it, the monsoons are here. I might sound wooden and unromantic but I do not like it. I have never loved the rains.

It gets humid and I hate the damp that comes with it. It makes me want to go for a walk when its raining cats and dogs, which I can't and that frustrates me. I wear leather floaters and they suffer in the water and the dirt( I hardly get to use private transport ). I have skinny legs and I hate it when they stick out under my rolled trousers. Then there's the usual battalion of bugs to deal with. And I just detest tagging an umbrella along wherever I go, let alone using one. The gloom in the season just puts me off. I could list a hundred reasons.

But I hate the monsoons because it makes me go weak in the knees. It creates a void in me, a gaping aching hole that no one or nothing would fill. I've never managed to get used to it. And it's a feeling that I want to run away from, I fear it so much. Normally I'm a guy in control, a happy guy without a care in the world. And I do not want to be anything else.

I fear that one rainy day, I might fall in love. Putting it otherwise, if I ever fall in love, it would probably be on a rainy day.


I'm no photographer.

I snapped this shot ( the person in question is a buddy ) on a trip to digha after I had a nasty fall on a rock. I had been irritated like hell.

I fell in love with the shot. It wasn't pre-meditated and it helps that others admired it as well. But that isn't why I love it.

Someday I would love to give the sun a try as well.

I'm happy at last!!

Yeah, I'm happy today. My search program is working with its index. Indexing is really painful, it takes around two hours to index the entire file system in my machine. Searching is still painfully slow by industry standards, but yes, it works! It took around 4 seconds to list all the .jpg files in my system. I dared to speculate that the google desktop search would take less than 0.5 seconds. Yes, lots of guys more experienced than most of my profs work on their projects and get paid for it as well, but still, I gotta do better. I say so cause deep inside me, I feel I can bring down the time. A lot still remains to be done, the volume of pending work is huge. Google indexes content, pictures, music, media and more. And I've just been indexing names. But, picture abhi baki hai mere dost!. And the Satan in me (the guy's real powerful), says that people really never search content in a desktop file system *wink*. But I will do it anyway.
Right now I must fine tune the indexer, it must keep running on(rather than running just once as it now does), restrict its RAM usage(it hardly runs like a background process these days), and move on to multilevel indexing and also introduce search options with flags. I would love an API. If only someone were to gift me one, I could do anything for the guy. And I need one more brainwave. Maybe I should try more visits to the loo, yes, that's where I get most of my brainwaves *guffaw*.
I haven't been posting for quite some time, but that's not because I did not find time to post( in spite of my sems being on, that is). Actually it's because I did not have the liver to post. Three exams dealt with, and they went off quite well. In fact it was better than I had reason to expect. But there are still four more to go, and Digital signal processing isn't over yet. Thanks to the strike in the city, I am enjoying an extended break which adds one more to the reasons why I love Kolkata. But it also means that I would need to put off my trip back to sweet home which adds one more to the reasons why I hate the city. I am confident that I wont manage to sit down amongst books for at least two days out of the five day break, so I hope can use some of the time to work on my projects. Placements are just a month off and I have planned to complete two pending projects before that, so I would better move ahead with some of the work.
The other evening I was chatting with a friend and the discussion hovered up to power and the powerful. As is the case with lots of other places, we have quite a bit of power politics going on around here. I came up with a definition of power and in retrospect, I am quite pleased about it. I defined power as the ability to influence fellow men to act in a manner in which they would not have acted under other circumstances. And I classified it into power that originates due to something that is mundane and something that originates from the force in a man's personality. The former type of power might not last for ever because the advantage might be lost. But the force in a man's personality is an attribute that is perhaps destined to be with him for his entire life, if not more.

The gecko on the wall.

Gecko on the wall, gecko on the wall,
are you wiser than us all??

We've been living side by side since so long,
Can't say about you, but I was really young.

I brought in a bright butterfly with zeal,
You ate it up and said," What's the big deal ??"

I was on cloud 9, dad had gifted me a toy,
You said,"Won't last long, neither that nor your joy".

I flunked my exam and I sobbed alone
You said,"where the hell has his sense gone ??"

My mates mocked and I was scolded by maa,
You said,"that's the best thing that ever happened to ya".

I fell in love, showed my gf my place.
She grimaced at you, and I went with her face.

You laughed,"Watch out, never go over the moon kid".
It was I who broke up, you never did.

I fussed over my work, I wanted more money.
You kept on saying,"Cockroach is sweeter than honey".

I fretted over my kids, you had six !!
Yet you said," Their life is theirs to fix".

And the time has come, time for us to die,
And you are alone, but so am I.

(P.S. Sorry, had to extend this gecko's life to about 5-6 times its original, hope no one minds.)

Crazy beings!

If you are not a nature lover, perhaps you are a person not at peace with himself. And you are not a nature lover if you are a person who doesn't love animals( not necessarily the PETA brand of affection though).
I'm an avid animal lover, and I just adore pets. Now my parents never allowed dogs and cats as they required much attention, but in retrospect, it meant that I had the craziest and weirdest collection I could have ever had. I had a collection of tortoises, all shapes and sizes of ugly birds and fish- both edible and the aquarium variety. But the guys which fascinated me the most were the squirrels.
I had an entire collection of them- once up to four of them simultaneously. They are a treat to watch, and i would often spend hours just lazying around watching their antics. They can be extremely playful with humans, require very little care and are ready to eat almost anything and everything that's offered. In fact they adore food that's oily and unhealthy for them.
I have done some of the craziest things with them. I once made a 200km up and down trip on a crowded local train with a squirrel in my trouser pocket. Another time I cycled for 2kms with a squirrel asleep under my shirt collar. I once even tried to give a nice refreshing bath to one, but was bitten in the attempt(the only time one of them did). They were no losers though. They chewed up the ends of my spectacles, tried their teeth on anything wooden and one shredded up a cherished globe. One even sneaked into the loo and managed to fall into the toilet seat!!
So if this has impressed you, get yourself a squirrel, i assure you will never regret it. I would just put up one request, DO NOT put it in a cage, cause they do not belong there.

Pressure got me one more time..

It invariably starts off a few weeks before the semester. The pressure gets stifling. Vivas, which I'm clueless about, a healthy bunch of class tests, piles and piles of lab assignments and a complete absence of books, class notes and hand outs. But the most frightening facet is perhaps the speculation whether i would successfully manage to give the slip (one more time) and sit for the exam with my way below the required attendance.

Why do i write this now??
Because today morning, the 14th of May, when i got out of bed @09:00 am, i felt i needed an anti-G suit to survive. I have a website submission lined up for tomorrow (multimedia), a monstrous accounting assignment, a rather laborious matlab assignment, an 8086 assembler to submit, three class tests and a grand viva on top of it, all lined up by the middle of the next week. And i haven't started on any of them (other than the assembler which is half complete). I have a 25% attendance in my management course which requires an attendance of 75% adjustable upto 50% (after much hankering and medical proofs).
But that is not the complete story. I further aggravate matters by my inaction about it. Perhaps i can do no better because the pressure renders me inactive. It's only when the pressure goes beyond a threshold that i start working again( i coined a term for it and its famous now but i cant post since it isn't parliamentary). At times is feel like running away. I don't, but that's only because i have nowhere to run to. Some of my pals would say that all this is crap, cause i have managed decent marks every semester, but I must say that it always has been very very close.

Are all engineering graduates actually engineers??

Engineering is undoubtedly amongst the most desirable undergraduate courses available. But I often come across engineers/engineering students who are into engineering for every conceivable reason other than the one reason that would justify it- They love being engineers. Well, it's definitely lucrative as a career option with all those heavy salaries and exposure and blah blah, but if it's not something that a person would have chosen to be even without that salary, then perhaps he would never be at peace with his choice. And as someone has rightly said, if you are really good at something, there will always be someone to pay you handsomely for doing it. So why waste four years of your life doing something your heart doesn't want you to??

All I need is to figure out my destiny.

Every man has his destiny. He may choose to ignore it, as most men do, but then he would be just another man. It's only when he chooses to follow his destiny that he achieves success( not essentially fame or money). I have no idea what my destiny is, but as Paulo Coelho would say, I'm trying to look for the omens.

There is a snob in all of us !!

There was a time when the creator thought that the world was getting too filled up with the same types, he decided to send a new type as an experiment, and i was born.
Soon people around me felt i was different, new introductions agreed with them and I felt I was kind of well.... umm...... a bit different actually.
So i decided to honor the creator by proving that his new experiment was a success, and failed miserably in the attempt, but the creator just said, "Why do u worry buddy??, You are a success. YOU ARE THE NEXT IMPROVED VERSION OF MANKIND!!!"