Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Thought for the day

"If you resolve to give up smoking and drinking, you dont actually live longer - it just seems longer."
Playright Tom Stoppard, quoted in the London Express.

Make it thought for the year, or...probably thought for the rest of your life...

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Movie reveiw - Anniyan (tamil)

I have seen few movies that are as bad as this one. When I saw the mail that Anniyan was going to be screened, I screamed "wakaaw..!" to myself. I had not seen a tamil move for a long time and was looking forward to it. Its a Shankar movie and it has the usual dose of computer animation, "dic - chic" dance dumbers and a few dozen cars overturned. Shankar movies are usually the masala ones and this one is no different. But this one has so much of it that it leaves you gasping.

This movie is just an alternate version of shankar's superhit "Indian". It has some reference to the "Garuda Puranam", which talks about "hell" as seen by hindu mythology and what kind of punishments await the evil doers. It has the same format, the same issue and the same final message. The only difference is that Indian was good.

The movie starts with Ambi (vikram), an Iyengar lawyer. Ambi is a simple minded person who follows society rules to the letter. He quotes a rule in almost every sentence and tries to correct the entire system. A person straight out of utopia. With the result, he is a laughing stock at all situations, for being impractical.

Remo (vikram again) is a contrast. The self proclaimed charmer. He is the cool dude in town...a little too cool perhaps. Shankar's attempt to portray Vikram as a suave, self confident fashion model ends up with a over-stylized vikram with a fake accent and some corny pick-up phrases. "Come on babe..! Lets go do the yo-yo thing...!" he says to his love interest Nandini (Sada), which leaves you grimacing into each other's faces.

And then there is Anniyan (more Vikram..!) The Killer. The same character as indian thatha.

A series of gross murders by Anniyan sets a police investigation lead by Prakash Raj (DCP) in motion. The motivation for vikram to don the killer mask is again a sister (remember kamal's sis in Indian), who is killed in due to an unattended electricity wire that was cut due to rains. This impacts vikram deeply as a boy, and he takes it on from there.

The result is a senseless concotion of drama, action and romance. The movie constantly reminds you of other shankar movies, Indian, Mudhalvan and Boys. Vivek keeps you from walking out, with his witty comedy.

But the message is good. There are some footages shown in the movie about how our neighbouring countries have developed while India is still developing. Surely to set people thinking...and it does. But the movie fails hopelessly otherwise.

If you have seen Indian and read Sidney Sheldon's Tell me your dreams, you can write this story yourself. For the rest, dont decide to watch the movie reading some reveiw like this one...

Rating: (2/5)

Monday, August 22, 2005

The rise of Fall

I see people!
In your dreams?
While you are awake?
People like...in offices?
No. These are new students. Walking around the campus, like regular people. They see each other. Chat with each other laughing, smiling, and obviously enjoying themselves. They are everywhere.
How often do you see them?

Fall semester has started...!
I was a heartening sight...to see the campus abuzz with activity. To see so many people after the desolate look the campus wore for about three months. Drumrolls..!!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


I think I will agree with harry (in this matter)..! Change is required. It keeps you rolling. This is perhaps why I grow and shave away my french beard every 4 months. This is perhaps why I change my wallpaper everytime I feel like. This is perhaps why I have changed my apartment four times already...! (jest kidding') But still...change is needed. Else you cant even travel by public transport, let alone anything else.

As Rafiki, the baboon, nodding his head sagely, says in The Lion king, "Change is good." Anyway, there isnt much flowing out of my head these days. Maybe this new templete will knock some activity into my head and words out of my fingers. Amen..!

Friday, August 12, 2005

Sarkar: movie reveiw

The movie is good, but not outstanding.

Primarily, the entire portrayal of Sarkar seems a bit overdone. The way people, throng outside the gates of Sarkar's mansion to get a glimpse of Sarkar is a bit unrealistic. There are people carrying automatic machine guns in and around the house compound. But the public seems totally indifferent towards it. It is as if the whole of the masses fully understands the political dynamics of the state and completely endorses the activities of Sarkar. The news on TV too pretty much implies and accepts that it is Sarkar who runs the show.

How many people are required to shoot down two unarmed men in a lonely boat jetty? 10 armed men...! And do they do a good job at it? NO..! The first walks in the way of the bullets and gets shot, while the other runs away...! Abhishek Bachchan sprints across the wharf coolly dodging the bullets of 10 men, while the background score goes..."govinda...govinda..." Jeez..! You can attempt making reality movies but there is no denying the fundamental laws of bollywood.

The women of the house are portrayed loosely. Their sole purpose in the movie seems to be for dispensing tea and coffee to every minister or arms dealer who walks into the house. They are all around, calmly listening, if not making suggestions about who to thump and where.

But there and no songs thankfully! The casting is pretty neat. Amitabh, his right-hand man, Abhishek, his evil elder brother (this guy has done very well), and the evil gangs...all have done a clean job. The cinematography is nice. Shots from under the table, beside the coffee cup, and beside the fence, all give an elegant effect. The close-up shots are classy.

The movie lacks the vibrance and energy of Mani Ratnam?s 1987 hit Nayakan. But all the while, it is definitely a movie worth watching.

Read Apercevoir's reveiw too..!


Tuesday, August 02, 2005

To put it simply !!

The life of a grad student in the US can be summarized as:


Monday, July 25, 2005


I have this insatiable thirst to read novels...novels, that are not mine. Yeah, I am shit pissed with myself in that respect. I have bought dozens of books till now and never have I competed any of them. A lot of my friends have successfully read the books I have, while I just cant bring myself to read my own novels. However, when it is someone else's book, it is devoured instantly. I am a victim of this compulsive passivity I have toward the books I own!

I can draw only one conclusion from this...but I dont want to...
Instead, I think I will get back to my flatmate's "The Client".

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Random observation

Poeple like to be called desis, rather than Indians...

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Indiana Polis and the Fast Crusade

The mere presence at the venue is exhilarating. Moreover, for a person from a placid town like Rolla, where one hardly sees more than five people on the street, this was quite a sight. And for a person who is there for the first time, the experience is fantabulously mind-blowing, even though only six cars ran the race.

On Saturday morning, we (i.e. Ajay, Prashanth, Raj, Vishnu, Prabhanjan, Shiv and Me) piled into an SUV and left for Indianapolis. Spirits were running super high. We reached Indianapolis at about 6 PM. Since we had to reach Purdue University for our night halt, we could allot about 3 hrs for seeing Indianapolis downtown. Moreover, everybody in the trip had the trip objectives clearly laid out.

Objective one: F1
Objective two: Have Indian food

We visited the Indianapolis state park, cycled around the river, and after about 1 hour, left for the Maharaja Indian Restaurant which was supposedly one hour away.

We reached the restaurant after about three hours, thanks to all the wrong exits we took. The restaurant had closed. The time was 9:30 PM. We all were famished and infuriated. After some phone calls and furious discussions, we decided that we just can't give up now. Desi food meant a lot more than sleep and fatigue. We left for another Indian restaurant, a few blocks away. Luckily, we found it in a little while and soon we were treating ourselves to a sumptuous north Indian Thali. Guys could be seen smiling after a long time. We reached Purdue University at 2 in the night.

Morning came and after a quick breakfast, we left for the Indianapolis motor speedway, at about 8 AM. We reached the place at about 10:30, armed with Indian flags. By US standards, this was a massive crowd.

As it always is, the scarlet fever was the most predominant. There were many Indian flags fluttering too.

For the entire race, we never got to our seats in the paddock. We were too excited to sit in one place and walking up and down the aisles in the paddock, clicking photos. We got nice pictures of Rubens Barrichello and Schumacher. But when our boys spotted Narian, they went totally berserk.

The absence of the 14 cars was a big disappointment. The audiences were not told about this at all. It was only after about two to three laps that we heard the news, amidst the 'boos' and the 'bullshit..bullshit' chants.

After the race, we were on our way out of the city, when we spotted an Udupi restaurant. Amazed by our stroke of luck, we rushed to the restaurant. The buffet was divine.

Then, we sped on the freeway for 6 hours and reached Rolla at about 2 in the night. The F1 discussions haven't ceased yet...

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Carry on camping...

We went camping yesterday. The last of the semester's presentations got over yesterday and I was standing outside the lab taking deep breaths, gazing at the campus through the window and generally letting the feeling sink in. I met Dave there and he asked me if I would like to join him and his friends on a camping trip that day evening. It was a place about 40 minutes from Rolla. Well, why not...!!

We were off at 6:30 PM in David's car, armed with sleeping bags and other accessories. The road we took soon turned into a twisting hilly road, reminding me of the Ooty trips. Dave's friends had already arrived at the spot. As we entered the camping site, we were greeted by Dave's friend who came to us and said, "We killed a snake."

This black copperhead had taken its afternoon off and was lazily crawling around in the woods when it unfortunately encountered these guys setting up a camp. One of these guys had a .22 with them and was eager try it out on something other than empty coke cans. This snake was spotted by the one of the guys and they promptly shot it down.

"Its a black snake, atleast 5 feet long", Dave's friend was saying. When I saw the snake, it was not black anymore. It was pink. Only then I realized that they planned to eat it! ugh..!

I will not go into the details of that. But the general opinion after 1 hour was than snake was indeed quite tasty. As for me, I ate some potatoes and green pepper and some bread. Then, it was just the "around the fire chit-chat" till about 1:30 in the night. Then crash. I had some funny snake dream... ("It's moving...!"), but I can't recollect much now. We were back in to Rolla at 9 in the morning. Nice start to summer holidays...

Sunday, May 08, 2005

My bike

I bought a bike last week (OK fine...CYCLE!). Got is second hand from Dave. He bought it from his friend - second hand...I couldn't trace it back any further. Anyway, its great. The name has peeled away. The handlebar is slightly bent on the left, has 18 gears, but the chain refuses to go beyond two disks and the brakes have functioned in more than half the occasions. Today I pedaled all the way to Walmart... and returned! An excellent, sturdy bike, and I love it...!!! :-)

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Hard work...bah!

I find this phrase really irritating. It is one phrase that has been used so extensively that it has become more a symbol than a phrase. Haven't we all been grilled into it all through our schooling and possibly beyond? Right from babyhood, I have been told over a million times, "Karthik, you have to do hard work?!" (grammatically incorrect statement, in the first place) by a million people. The phrase has yielded into a cliché. It has become the unquestionable, indisputable universal mantra for success. So much that, if you pick up a resume and scroll down to the Strengths section, the first line you would probably see is, "I am a hard working individual."

In my opinion, the phrase "hard work" is very negative in implication. First of all, why should you work "hard"? When would some work be hard on you? Only when you don?t like what you are doing. So "hard work" fundamentally suggests that the work at hand is despicable. Thats a totally incorrect school of thought. You have to be taught to enjoy the work you do. Once you start enjoying your work, it would no longer be hard on you.

What does hard work really mean anyway? How can we fathom the "hard" in our work? If you ask me, none of us work hard. We only work to the extent we can, nothing more. Of course, if you mean sitting up late into the night and not watching TV for hours, yes, but it still cannot be classified as "hard". You are doing it only because you are conscious of the bigger implications. I agree, it could be mighty infuriating to study network protocols when Federer is taking on Roddick in center-court, but here is no good in explicitly preparing you for it. So is concept of "hard work" essentially framed for fortifying to face that moment? This once again leads us to the same idea of "work-loathing" mentioned in the previous paragraph.

I think we have to emphasize on the sincerity with which we work, rather than how hard we work. The seriousness in our efforts to complete a work must be highlighted. Satisfying ourselves that full justice has been done to the work at hand, is far more rewarding, rather than thinking about how hard it had been on us.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005


The past few days have been a fascinating series of amazing exploits about which I have had many profound insights. But frankly, none of it is any of your darned business, so butt out!

End of update.

Too good, Watterson is..!! :-))

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

One thousand thundering typhoons...!!

Behold...! I have had 1000 web farers stop by my blog page till now...!!!

Donno how many chose to come back. But truly an occasion that deserves a blog to its credit... :-)

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Iniya tamizh puththandu Nal Vazthukkal*

*Wish you a happy tamil new year

Yeah.Its the Tamil New Year today. April the 14th. Received a lot of wishes; mostly over chat. Everybody kept asking "So, how did you celebrate new year day?" What can I say? "Oh yeah.I did celebrate.Ate a bar of Hershey's almonds and drank an extra can of Pepsi..." How else can I possibly celebrate Tamil New Year is this place?

If I was home, it would have been a totally different story. New Year ritual at home is one of a kind. Every year I go through this rather irritating, later amusing affair. First I would be woken up early, much against my wishes. I won't get my morning shot of coffee and will be asked to take bath instead. My mom would have kept an assortment of fruits, a bowl of grains, some cereals, a heap of coins, money, jewelry and a mirror in the Puja Room (the sacred place) in the house. She would then tell me to go look at the things kept. Yeah, fine. A superficial glance is sufficient to see what has been kept. Moreover, I would already know what will be kept. I do this every year, dont I? But no. She would say, "Look! Look at everything kept there! Look slowly! Why are you in a hurry?" Sigh..! I would turn back to them, force myself to concentrate and stare hard at them, trying to see every detail, notice every fruit, the design on the bowl, the crack on the mirror frame... She wouldn't be satisfied unless I spend about half-a-minute admiring these exciting things.

(The idea is to start the year by seeing pleasant things.Thats become a custom now.)

And then I would be rewarded with coffee for going through the ordeal (along with some grumbling about my impatience in everything, followed by advice).

Sigh! Though I hate to admit, I do miss home.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects. - Robert Heinlein

And its variation...

A programmer should be able to fix a bug, market an application, maintain a legacy, lead a team, design an architecture, hack a kernel, schedule a project, craft a class, route a network, give a reference, take orders, give orders, use configuration management, prototype, apply patterns, innovate, write documentation, support users, create a cool web-site, email efficiently, resign smoothly. Specialization is for recruiters.

Source: the web

Yes. I agree. One can no longer afford to restrict oneself to a certain domain and vehemently justify his/her ignorance in the rest, by calling oneself a specialist. Specialization is necessary. But not at the cost of losing resourcefulness. It is very vital to be conscious of the bigger implications.

A counter argument to this is on the quality issue. What good is it to have 100 averages? 10 specialists can do better than a 100 averages.

Well, the point that is being driven home is not about sacrificing quality for the sake of diversity. Quality is absolutely required. However, the point is about seeing the "big picture" in everything. There are thousands of cases where state-of-the-art technology has failed due to the absence of a market. A "NEED-MEANS-EFFECT" approach is necessary. Specialization comes after clearly identifying the need for a resource, the means for achieving it and the effects of realizing it. Not before that. Specialization must not be a veil. It is only a means.

Monday, April 04, 2005


Okaaaaaaaay Claaaaaass...!!
Spring break is over...Put your toys back into the cupboard and get inside the classroom...!!!


Sunday, April 03, 2005


Two brothers stuck in a feud
Swore at each other in a language rude
Said one to the other
Hear me oh brother
One more word and I'll have you barbecued!

Its merely just a tissue
So its no big issue
But if you want them
And cant find them
You dont wanna know what will ensue

A tenacious new breed
A canine that just needs to be freed
A prowler in the night
Is quite alright
Thirteen round the navel guaranteed

copyright the k factor 2005

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Dont kill me for this...!

Question: Why are Boeing aircrafts the safest?
Answer: Because even if they crash, they just bounce away...boeing...boeing...

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Spring break...!

Spring break is here...!!!. That means a week of nothing. A week to sleep late (i.e. later than 10:00). A week to do whatever you want to.

To me, spring break started with the cancellation of my ticket to Chicago. Due to multiple problems like logistics, cost and timing, the plan had to be revoked. But then, I am not grumbling. I have a whole week ahead of me to go ahead and complete all my work. A time for movies and hobbies. A time I can spend completely for myself without any disturbances. "Quality time with self" is what I have decided to call this week. I have scribbled down a list of "things to be done". Now all that needs to be done is to work that plan. I am yet to take a second look at the list.

Today, we celebrated Holi here. It was good fun, but not quite. Because the important bit was missing. The entire fun of Holi lies in the resistance to it. The real essence of Holi lies in getting "those" people dirty who do not want to get dirtied. However, the people who assembled at Schumann Park today where the ones who intended to get dirty. Unlike in India, where you go around in bikes to find unsuspecting friends, pull them out of their houses, douse them in colored water, drop egg grenades on their heads and create a big galata, we had to play it straight here. No nonsense. We were all limited to Schumann Park.

And if there is something in smearing and getting smeared with blaringly colored powders and end up looking like angry baboons, there is a great deal more in doing all this at 3 deg C. Bloody freezing...!! Thats what it was. Moreover, most of us were in our sleazy old t-shirts meant for holi. With the result, many were huddled in a corner after going through their part, while a few others were dancing ferociously to the tunes of "Rang bharse bheege..." to beat the cold and avoid getting frozen.

Finally it was decided that it was time to leave. After mumbling "buh...buh" to each other, we trundled back home for an ultra hot shower for 15 mins and a generous dose of shampoo. We assembled back in the community hall for a delicious steaming lunch of Pav Bhaji, fried rice and badam milk. Then I got back home for a nice nap.

That was day one of spring break. You never know what tomorrow would bring.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Some thoughts...

I am on my way to my lab and I meet this guy on the way.

"Hi dude...!! Whats up?" I say, trying to sound as cheerful as possible.
"Yaaaa... (In falling pitch)"
"How is your work going?"

A shrug and an array for facial expressions ranging from a weak smile, to exasperation, boredom and fatigue. I stand there for a second or two, listening to his sighs and a half-hearted attempt to summarize his activities for the week. (What he is finally trying to say is that he is having more work than he can handle, so leave me alone?!)

"Well, see you later.take it easy man." I say and walk off.

This is not new. I have met a lot of these unhappy people. They make it look as if their work has taken away all of their life. They hardly have anything to think or talk other than their boring life. Their life is all but meaning. They claim that their busy schedules don?t give them any time to indulge in anything other than work. Even a casual conversation finally ends up in work load and uninteresting life.

I feel that there is a lot to enjoy in life. Let's admit it. Everybody has their share of fun. No matter what. Whether you are in a great company or a not-so-great company, whether you have money or you don?t, whether you like your work or you don?t like your work, integral (birth to death) fun-in-life dx is the same for all. What you think about your life purely depends on how you look at it. You just have to find that right perspective to look at life and look from that angle at all times. Granted, things are never easy. Things are more "not the way I want" than "the way I want". But that is what keeps us going? As someone wisely put, "Man survives, oddly enough, only in a challenging environment." Its only when a shark is lurking about; a fish remains frisky and healthy. The same applies to us as well. Well...I mean, in spirit...(Aaaaahhhh...!!! There is a shark in my room...!!!)

So first let's convince ourselves that our lives are indeed exciting. And you can make it more exciting by making time to do things you want to do.

So, go ahead and find such things. And do it. You have only one life...live it.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Its cricket time?!!! Ow?.!!!

Cricket always has its special effect. Especially if you are an Indian. So no sooner the test match started off in Mohali, than the desi boys here scooped up the wickets they could find, dug out a tennis ball and a bat and headed to the closest ground. A basketball-cum-volleyball court now became basketball-cum-volleyball-cum-cricket court.

I heard about this only yesterday and promptly got to the ground. After some hurried bowling and catching practice, I was in. A furious series of matches ensued between teams of six. The battle raged for about three hours, along with frequent interruptions like?"hey!! the score is 26 not 27"? "No?one more ball left" ?"That was a wide?no it wasn?t" ?. Man..!! gully cricket does have its class.

Today I am sitting in the lab and feeling like a bull which has survived its coup de grace. My neck and shoulders are in enormous pain. Hip is hurting badly too. Guess I am done here. That is all I can blog. Bye. Iodex power cream, here I come.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Winning, and the people

I have played a variety of sport with a variety of people. I am not talking about team games. I am talking about the games played one-on-one or two-on-two. In all of these games, one thing is quite evident. Everybody wants to win. But there are different ways in which people regard winning. There are varieties of people, with widely different outlooks, when it comes to that. I classify them into five categories.

1. The bone crushers

These are the people who want to win no matter what. They will go to any lengths to win at a game. "Win at a fair fight" is not something they have been told about in school. There are very few of these interesting people around.

2. The wee wilys

These are reasonably fairer. They don?t want to cheat to win. But they want a victory. So they adopt slightly milder techniques. They try to scare you, mislead you, discourage you. They smile a lot, while launching a jovially colored psychological attack.

3. The jumpy jackals

This clan of 'would be' winners is a jittery kind. They are in a hurry to win. They are aloof about the remarks or comments or anything else that is happening around. To them, the game is a painful chasm between them and the victory, and want to get over with it as fast as possible.

4. The playmakers

These are keen about the quality of the competition. They are not really interested in winning. They just want a good serious game.

5. The slumber jacks

These are the worst of the lot. They are the ones to whom nothing matters. They are just having fun. These are usually the ones who don?t know the game. They do not have any determination to win. They end up spoiling all the seriousness, causing the standard of the game to plunge.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Indian cinema scenario

A sequel to this post.

A famous actor (who has worked in Bollywood and Tamil cinema) said this in one of his interviews.

"It was my first movie and I was working with the great director X. I was all excited when he called me and offered me the role. One the first day of shooting, he came to me and said "Dont go act there. OK? When you are out there in front of the camera, dont act." It took me a moment to understand what he said. I am also glad that I was able to fully comprehend his message and do justice to my roles."

These are the elements that bring out movies with class. However, in recent bollywood movies, movie quality is an afterthought. People are merely "acting" here. Hopeless.

And then the music. Its either a dik-chik version of some old song. Or, if you are slightly unlucky, it will be a dik-chik version of another dik-chik song. Or worse, It will be a song with the same music from a totally unrelated movie in a different language. That means, there is every possibility that music composed for one song in some language, will be used over and over again till it has made its appearence in all languages. Then, it will be handed over to the DJs to embellish it further. Jeez...!!!

And then there is this cheap pornography element that is being forced into every movie. The latest joke is that Hollywood is finding this embarassing.

Where are we heading?

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Lesson for the day

Plan to waste time.

You know what pisses me off the most...? Not the fact that I waste time; but the fact that I waste THAT time which I had allotted for work. I then get frustrated about the time wasted and end up wasting more time. Now I have realized my mistake. My mistake was that I had actually not allotted any time for wastage at all...!!! That was the problem. Now I have decided that I have to plan to waste. It's important that you please yourself. It works?!!!

Monday, February 21, 2005

Book reveiw

Book review: The purchase of the North Pole

I am sure very few have even heard of this book. And to get your hands on this book is almost impossible. I was able to get a copy in my university library archives. This book is one of the masterpieces of Jules Verne, perhaps the oldest and greatest of the science fiction writers (along with H.G.Wells). And, take a look at the title. That?s something you can expect. Jules Verne's themes always carry a certain degree of "weirdness" in them, and this book is no different. But he has a scientific approach to his themes. Though the ideas are unreasonable, his approach to them is always logical.

Fiction and logic can be described as the two covers of a sci-fi book. While Jules Verne's books can be total fiction to the point of being absurd, they stick to the rules of science. That is the thing I admire about Verne. This book is an example.

The book opens with the following proposal. "The north pole is an area entirely covered with ice. Hence nobody has really found out what lies beneath. No expedition has been able to even get close to the pole till now, because of the extreme climate. But there are reasons to believe that the area under the ice in the North Pole has rich deposits of coal, and various other minerals. This resource has to be exploited. So all that needs to be done is to melt the ice. The rest is simple....!"

An international association is formed to auction this piece of land globally. No country is interested in buying this land, considering the odds. A club called the Gun club in America buys it.

(The Gun Club: This club, comprising of intelligent, influential but eccentric men, is always after the impossible. They appear in many other books of Verne, trying to send a projectile to the moon, Traveling on a comet and such other things?)

The Gun club decides that going to the North Pole to melt the ice is too inefficient a job. Besides, thats normal, rational approach. Hence, not acceptable. So what's the Gun Club approach? Change the axis of the earth, so that the North Pole will come into the region receiving normal sunrays and the ice will melt all by itself. No problème..!! Since people can't go to the pole, get the Pole to them...

Now comes the question, "How to turn the axis of earth?" Earth has to be rotated by 23 degrees of latitude so that the North Pole comes into the region receiving sufficient heat to melt the ice. How can this be done? Think about it for a moment. If you were consulting the Gun Club, what would be the solution you will provide to change the axis of the earth by 23 degrees laterally. What kind of a device would you use? How will you rotate earth by being "on" it?

Here lies the ingenuity of Jules Verne. The simplicity of the solution he gives is astounding. And obvious too. To arrive at the solution, we have to first consider these facts. To rotate the earth, we have to apply a force at a point on the surface of earth. A force, that will bring about the required change in the angle of the earth. However, the earth is not resting on anything. It is suspended in space. So there is no reference object with respect to which we can apply a force and rotate the earth. So..., the only possible means of applying a force on earth is by recoil. The solution to this problem is to fire a huge projectile from earth into space using a gigantic cannon with enormous power. For maximum efficiency, the projectile will be fired from a point on the equator. The recoil will produce a force which will turn the axis of the earth?!! Quod erat demonstrandum. Simple, yet effective.

No doubt it is impossible to build and fire a cannon of such proportions and it would be catastrophic to earth if such a mission is undertaken. But thats a different issue altogether. It is the logic behind the solution that is appreciable. Coming back to the book, it is with this plan of action that the Gun Club proceeds to build the monster cannon. I have made my point. The ending of the story is not important from my point of view. If you are interested in finding out whether the axis of earth has indeed been changed, read the book yourself. You can get online copies of some Jules Verne books at:


Incidentally, March 24, 2005 marks the centenary of Jules Verne's demise.
Centre International Jules Verne , Paris is hosting a large international gathering of writers, researchers, collectors, and literary enthusiasts. It is being organized in the cities of Amiens, Nantes and Paris from the 19th to the 27th March 2005. An event to laud the man who wrote the future of science.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Twinkle Twinkle...

We have all chanted and clapped to the tunes of nursery rhymes in our childhood. Nursery rhymes are our first venture into academics and often have a lasting impact. Most of us still remember a few rhymes (at least the tune).

However, there is an apparent contradiction to this entire issue. In fact, this feature is quite lucid in many rhymes. I am talking about the fact that most of the nursery rhymes seem to carry a downbeat mood in them. Most nursery rhymes have a satirical and sadistic expression. If we dig deeper into nursery rhymes, it turns out that these rhymes are actually describing events from history. And more often than not, these are great wars and catastrophic events that have pockmarked our history books. And in many cases, these Nursery rhymes are political in nature. They deride rulers, scoff at political systems, and have implied meanings.

It is evident that Nursery rhymes were not written for children. So, why are these Nursery rhymes of this nature? The answer is quite logical. These Nursery rhymes were composed by common people who did not dare to oppose the monarchy or ruler openly. To incur the wrath of the ruler, only meant death. These were hence composed using pseudonyms and analogies. They were written as a testimony of the misdeeds and incompetence of the system of government that existed those days.

But not all rhymes are of this nature. Some rhymes are indeed innocent stories to entertain children, but some are narratives of suave political moves and swindles, while some more are nonchalant descriptions of gruesome murders and deaths. In a way, nursery rhymes have become a record of the tumultuous times that the world has seen.

If you have decided to start a research on nursery rhymes and their origins after reading this piece..., dont... Here are some links that contain useful info.


Thursday, February 10, 2005

You only see what your eyes want to see

I woke up today morning. I am usually late. I did not have the digital clock at my bedside. My roommate was using it as he wanted to get up early.

I reached for my analog wristwatch on the table and saw the time. 10:30. Shit...!!! I scrambled up and rushed to the bathroom. In 15 mins, I was out and preparing breakfast. As the coffee was getting heated in the microwave oven, I glanced at the kitchen clock. What...!! 8:20 AM..!! Now what's wrong with the clock...!! I picked up my watch to set the correct time in the kitchen clock. I froze.

The time in my watch was 8:20 as well...

This is what must have happened. I had misread the time when I got up. I was up at 8:00 AM. I saw the watch upside down and thought it was 10:30 AM. But, even then, the time would be would have been only 2:30?!!! What is happening to me..?? Actually, this is not the first time such a thing has happened. I have done this "misinterpretation of time" before by looking at the watch upside down.

There can be only two plausible explanations to this...

a. You only see what you want to see. You usually have a guess in your mind about what the time is. When you glance at the watch, you are expecting to see something close to your guess. Nobody reads the numbers on an analog watch. The needles' position would suffice. So it is possible that the brain gets confused and reads a time that isn't.

b. I am the first victim of the MVS (Mirrored Vision Syndrome)

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Lesson for the day...

While removing a container from the back row of the kitchen larder, watch out for the container in front... :-(

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Windows to the Past

The language, whichever it is, is a fundamental part of everyone?s lives. Just imagine how it would have been if there was no language. If we begin to ponder about the necessity of a language, it takes us back millions of years ago to the time of human evolution. True, the language we use is as old as the human race itself. Each word we use today has its date of birth ranging from many thousand years ago to a few decades earlier. With every word we use, we are using a part of history. We are handling the result of human intelligence, in its purest form. So, logically, the usage of each word should give us the same feeling of exhilaration as having a Michelangelo in our drawing room.

But none of us ever feel that way. Language is perhaps something that has never got the respect it deserved. It is unfortunate, but true that we all take language for granted. We regard language as a set of symbols. We regard language as if it was issued by the government on morning and proclaimed that it was for the public to use. We fail to realize that each word was born due to a series of events. Each word is like a window to the past. Each word came about due to a dire necessity. Each word has a story to say. Each word has lived through thousands of years and has undergone many changes in its spelling and meaning.

English is a rogue of a language. From differences in pronunciation like ?put? and ?but?, to silent lettering in words, to obscure grammar, the language has always tormented its users. But it is these supposed imperfections that make this language a loveable rogue. What makes the English language more interesting than the others is that it has words with roots in nearly all European and many Asian languages. It has words borrowed from Greek, Latin, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Czech, Japanese, Chinese, Malaysian, Arabic, Persian and our own Sanskrit, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. It even has some words, which are derived from proper nouns. No language can boast of such levels of adulteration?!!Etymology is the study that deals with the origin of words. Etymology can be a very interesting hobby. We can go through volumes of history with a single word.

At least, if not anything, let us be conscious of the fact that that, what we are having at our mere disposal is indeed the greatest invention of mankind.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

As I see it...

Life never gives you more than you can handle. This is true in both senses.

One, life always gives you what you deserve. If you want something, you have to be made of the right kind of material to handle it. Life will grant Money, Fame and Victory to anybody who just asks for it. But, ask yourself, ?Am I good enough to deal with it???

In the second sense, life will never assign you a task you cannot handle. It will never throw at you something you cannot cope with. Just take one step at a time. Don?t grumble. Think that, only because the work is difficult, has it been assigned to you. Else, anybody would have done it.

You have only one life?Live it.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005


Boni in kannada, tamil (maybe telugu too) means debut (first debut...as somebody put it...). Often used by vegetable and fruit vendors. Also auto rickshaw drivers.
Wonder where the word came from. It certainly doesn't sound like a sanskrit or tamil word (the 2 oldest languages in India). Might have come from a different country....urdu/persian perhaps...

That was MY boni..!!!