Tuesday, July 17, 2007


The rules:
1. Players start with 5 random facts about themselves.
2. Post these rules along with your 5 random facts.
3. Tag 3 other people and notify them that they have been tagged.

Well, here's the roster of 5 not-so-random facts about myself..
  1. I am all of 5' and 8" in height. I am NOT tall, NOT really dark enough and NOT at all handsome even by the most remote of possibilities. But I believe there is something about my looks that unveils the smart me.
  2. I believe in the universal concept called "nonsense". If not for nonsense, there never were any "sense and sanity" out there.
  3. I whole-heartedly believe in hypocrisy. Because if not for those good many hypocrites out there, the others wouldn't be achievers. But I don't for any reason support them. Now you know what I am :-) Hyper-critics- Don't call out or you'll be shot!
  4. I'm not a nice guy and my sense of humour is appalling to say the least!
  5. I am a very good driver; I drive people crazy!!
I just hate to.. but.. I've myself rebuked fellow spammers severely in the past but as I'm saying this, I'm out to consciously spam three unfortunate guinea-pigs.

I thus tag- Mando, Venky and Vishwesh.

If you happen to be the curious victim or just a dawdler with the ulterior motive of wanting to trace the tags down to their roots, I link you to this.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Of NIT-T, NI(I)T and ... IT?!!

Been waiting for quite a while in bated breath, huh? Sorry folks but the recent turn of events (or the lack of any eventful enough) had eventually forced me into hibernation during warm months. Life is taking me through darkness at noon*, and I'm being crushed by this juggernaut of unimaginable proportions into this shell. Not that I have much of a choice or workaround, but I'm just helpless. I guess I'm doing a really shoddy job with (atleast) trying to explain my absence. But what the hell, did procrastination ever warrant an alibi? Thankfully today (with no logical connections to 231 years of July 4 and a free Uncle Sam, not even seemingly), I've been woken up by a bolt from the blues of news reporting. So bye bye Mr. Impasse, and welcome back Vikhy!

Early today morning, I got a couple of pleasant emails over the RECAL informal group network about the enviable placement scenario of my undergraduate institution. A proud alumnus of National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli (Formerly, Regional Engineering College) that I am! It was good news no doubt, perhaps a very significant milestone crossed by NITT and I must commend the director for taking the initiative to bring it all to light. But thanks to modern day journalism and (mis)reporting, big news has come out even bigger and in very bad taste.

Presenting the crucial facts as is from reliable sources...

Exhibit 1(a): TOI says-

NIITian grabs 23-lakh package
4 Jul 2007, 1851 hrs IST, PTI
TIRUCHIRAPALLI: IT education provider NIIT on Wenesday, said that it has struck a highest salary offer of Rs 23 lakh per annum for a student during the campus placement.

The salary was offered by multinational oilfield services provider Schlumberger to a mechanical engineering graduate with a CTC of Rs 23 lakh per annum for posting in India and Rs 44 lakh per annum in case of overseas placement, NIIT Director (Tiruchirappalli) M Chidambaram said here.

He said that the placements during the academic year 2006-07 was one of the best in the country, with over 100 per cent of under-graduate students and 94 per cent of post-graduate students placed through campus selection.

The companies thronging to the NIIT campus include MNCs like Schlumberger, Microsoft, Yahoo, Texas Instruments and IT giants like TCS, Wipro, Infosys and CSC and PSUs like NTPC, ONGC, IOCL, BPCL.

Exhibit 1(b): IBNLive says-

Fat pay packet: student offered Rs 23 lakh salary

Published on Wednesday, July 04, 2007 at 18:44 in Nation section

Tiruchirappalli: A student of National Institute of Technology (NITT), a leading IT education company, has been offered a salary of Rs 23 lakh per annum during campus placement.

The salary offer was made by MNC Schlumberger to a mechanical engineering graduate with a CTC cost to the company of Rs 23 lakhs per annum for posting in India and Rs 44 lakh per annum in case of overseas posting, said NITT director Prof M Chidambaram Tiruchirappalli on Wednesday.

He said the placements during the academic year 2006-07 was one of the best in the country, with over 100 per cent of UG students and 94 per cent of PG students placed through campus selection.

Bakthavatsalam, who heads NITT’s placement cell, said one out of every five students had got two job offers this year. MNCs Microsoft, Yahoo and Texas Instruments and IT giants TCS, Wipro, Infosys and CSC and PSUs like NTPC, ONGC, IOCL, BPCL had approached NITT for placements.

End of exhibits 1(a) and 1(b).

NITT and NIIT? A deemed university for technological excellence and a mere IT education provider? An IT Company? ...pause...hard brakes...screech...crash! I almost got thrown off my seat! It was like the most nauseating feeling that not even my wildest nightmare in seven lifetimes had given me!

On the outset, I must first echo the "happy" emotions that erupted for this (seemingly) benign piece of news is intended for good reasons. NITT has been a front runner among 17 of its peers as a leading tier-1 engineering school in India, one of the few there are. Obviously a boy wonder grabbing such an offer is bound set off ripples the size of the not-so-long-forgotten tsunami. But thanks to a few over-enthusiastic geniuses (the media people of course), this whole thing comes out utterly embarrassing, and a very bitter one at that.

Alright the accusation has been made. We obviously know who the culprit might be. Probably TOI has been all too compassionate towards the Vision/Hearing Impaired, and even encouraged them with all confidence to cover such BIG stories. I am not joking. When curiosity prompted me to pay a second visit to the article later in the evening, the stats on TOI proudly read some 94xxx against the number of views for the article, placing it besides a few "blasts here and there" and "the UK crackdown of the bad doc network" (both of arguably much lesser import) as the TOP STORIES of the day. How tragic of all of them?! I have, thanks to my being educated to lead a sophisticated life, inculcated the habit of keeping myself abreast with prolific news-tellers. I have heard of sensationalism,
yellow journalism, news making-breaking whatever, gonzo stuff and much more that place many a doubt on these news-tellers. Honestly and frankly, their stuff is by and large incredible and questionable at best. Now I know there's so much HEARSAY!!

The ratiocination act-
Looking beyond just the (let's say) inadvertent error which shall soon be followed by a very curt and diplomatic corrigendum as the cover up, the case presents a two-fold issue. Firstly, the news reporting system in India (perhaps universally) is pathetic. Yes we know that the poor reporter and his accomplice with the lens are running for their lives and are n-fold likely to jump the gun and miss precious detail in their desperate bid to come out with breaking news updates. Atleast the editor could ensure correctness using that thing of his six which, unfortunately, is not so common.

Secondly, it is a very shocking piece of reality that institutes (even the reputed technological ones) have to face. Whilst they've been denigrated to the ranks of IT training schools and IT companies, their outreach towards junta is best not spoken about. Even the well-informed sources are well and truly ill-informed! It may appear insignificant for T-schools on their list of priorities alright but they certainly have to take many a big step towards ensuring their rightful presence in the social circles. Branding of institutions is a daunting task that the big names in the academic circles are waking up to nowadays. The wild west has somehow stayed up all these years and been smart. But the situation back home is appalling.

Something needs to be done, perhaps right from the grassroot levels of both institute branding and news reporting. But I am happy enough to just expend my energy and words being the cynical me, rather than imploring a few zillion deadweights.

Concluding act-
1. I'm back.
2. News people suck.
3. News people totally suck.
4. News people will anyway suck.

As a (seemingly) less important gesture.. dear dude who bagged the 23/44 goose with the golden egg- hearty congrats and condolences. It feels awful enough being the baap!

*Darkness at Noon - by Arthur Koestler is a great novel. Certainly recommend it as a must read.

PS: In the midst of all this botch, I somehow happened to notice one good (perhaps unheard of) source which presented the facts of the case accurately enough to the much depreciated acceptable standards.

Exhibit 2: DNA (India)-

Student gets Rs 23-lakh salary package
Wednesday, July 04, 2007 19:51 IST

TRICHIRAPALLI: Technical education centre NITT on Wednesday said it has struck a highest salary offer of Rs 23 lakh per annum for a student during the campus placement.

The salary was offered by multinational oilfield services provider Schlumberger to a mechanical engineering graduate with a CTC of Rs 23 lakh per annum for posting in India and Rs 44 lakh per annum in case of overseas placement, National Indtitute of Technology (NITT) Director (Tiruchirappalli) M Chidambaram told reporters here.

He said the placements during the academic year 2006-07 was one of the best in the country, with over 100 per cent of under-graduate students and 94 per cent of post-graduate students placed through campus selection.

The companies thronging to the NITT campus include MNCs like Schlumberger, Microsoft, Yahoo, Texas Instruments and IT giants like TCS, Wipro, Infosys and CSC and PSUs like NTPC, ONGC, IOCL, BPCL.

End of exhibit 2

Atleast there's one smart storyteller out there....

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Done and dusted!

/krkt/ n.1 ME. [(O)Fr. criquet grasshopper, cricket, f. criquer crackle, of imit. origin: cf. (M)Du. krekel cricket, f. imit. base.] Any of various jumping, chirping orthopterous insects of the family Gryllidae; esp. (more fully house-cricket) Acheta domestica, formerly a familiar insect living indoors near fireplaces, ovens, etc., or (more fully field-cricket) Gryllus campestris, found in meadows etc. Also (w. specifying wd), any of various other insects related to or resembling the crickets.Comb.: cricket-frog a small N. American tree frog of the genus Acris, noted for its clicking call; cricket-teal dial. the garganey.

Excerpted from Oxford Talking Dictionary
Copyright © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Lightning has beaten the odds and stuck thrice at the same place! The kangaroos are cock-a-hoop over the pitch; punter's men have done it again; their sledging shall ramble on;
a pigeon is fluttering away into the oblivion called retirement; a "class" act has concluded and the curtains have been brought down on Lara's theme; the blue billion are aghast; and the marathon world cup has finally ended, in dramatic fashion! The inevitable has happened and proven that it is inevitable after all!

ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 kicked off in style.. it had all the ingredients to make it the most happening tournament ever... and more, for it was being celebrated in Carib style! But I suppose certain things about it, which many didn't fear initially despite their imminence, were a foregone conclusion after all. A 2 month long carnival turned out to be too flat (as the pitches in zone are), and failed to capture our excitement. More or less the kind of thing which can spoil your road trip if all four tyres on your car were to burst in unison! Men in blues were dumbstruck by the blues next door.. bookies ran amuck, endorsements faced a burnout, our men ran for cover behind the Wall.. much to the disappointment of well.. er.. just about everybody under the sun I guess. But atleast the blue billion were fed some food for thought!

Besides India and Pakistan's shocking knock out from the league, the remainder of the tournament was by and large uninteresting. The Aussies simply shoo-ed off all skeptics and went about their task with surgical precision.. the kiwis came a cropper largely due to injuries and form woes, SA were at waterloo yet again, England had a bunch of stand-up comedians in their camp, the Windies appeared to have big goodbye to glory days for good (and Lara has finally hung up his boots!), Lanka were anyway second best and ofcourse there were a few alsorans to make up for the motley crowd.

I stopped stopping by the union to catch the live feed the moment Dhoni tried his exquisite late-cut off the wizard on his first ball, on a middle stump line, only to be shown the door for wonderfully guarding his wicket. Wish he could show some heroics from behind the stumps! Alright, agreed it was a pathetic show by a lackadaisical bunch of freak shows... but what beats me is that even the other teams literally sucked! The final was no better.

Imagine the FIFA World Cup final being contested for 60 minutes.. or a 3-setter for the men's championship at Wimbledon.. 28th April had all the makings of a sad day for a gentleman's game. Weathergods permitting, the Aussies took charge with a belligerent Gilli - I almost sank in my seat at the imposing target they set. Futile hopes had been pinned on the lions, their pride, the swashbuckling Jayasuriya and of course the wiz. But their roars were tamed down to a hush! The sledgemasters had fixed it all.. in the way they know best.. beating the living daylights out of their opponents. Glenn has come out the better of the Bonds and the Malingas even at twilight, as one star called Irfan has already dropped 20-odd K's in his prime! Sri Lanka did put up a decent fight, but this one was just a bridge too far for their might.

It is nothing new for the World Cup championship game being one-sided; with due regards to that, our glorious campaign of 1983 was arguably the most nail biting encounter, besides of course the 1987 rubber. But the on-field drama that happened some 3 overs before the finish shall never be digested. Of all 24 on the ground, the umpires evinced maximum concern over light and had to bring the game down to a grinding halt. SL were chasing a random infinite number, Ponting knew no clue of the revised target he was defending and the umpires went to sleep over the course of things! The live feed had all the ingredients of a parody in it... the Aussies huddled up in jubiliation, the batsman were amused at being offered light and instructed to take it (more so like the compulsory electives we've seen in college :D ), ground staff hurried on to the field to prepare for the presentation ceremony... GREram was laughing his ass off on Cricinfo's jokes at the proceedings and I was gtalk-ing with him through all of this.. when suddenly the umpires played foul. They apparently wanted the last 3 overs to be played out the next day.. quite a match it would have been, poor ol' cricketers losing a precious Sunday, the World Cup decided with nobody to cheer from the stands! Wonder what brainwaves were tunneling between he minds of Steve Bucknor and Aleem Dar?! Fortunately the captains intervened and had the issue done and dusted away with.

Even the presentation ceremony was nothing near interesting, for the Aussies seemed to be totally bored at having won three in a row! Glenn had a fitting farewell to bid, but that apart, the whole affair appeared to be some bungled up, and mismanaged one as those symposiums we've seen in college. All in all, it has been one forgettable experience. GREram summed it up aptly when he said "It is a travesty of a world cup final!"

I only pity that wretched soul some seven seas away from home, who sits in a lab under artificial light, fights against a stubborn and artificially intelligent entity that just won't behave, and whose only hope against hope hopen this spring, besides eternal sunshine, was to find solace in the world cup and unwind at the courtyard cafe!

Alls well that.. well.. ends!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Ignorance ain't bliss..

Today was a special day for me.. supposedly so, as is the case normally with every April 14 for a Tam Brahm (just in case I forgot to wish you, "Iniya Thamizh Puththandu Nalvazhthugal"), for during each and every one of the blissful 22 years of my 23, I've been treated to some of the most mouthwatering delicacies of my mom's culinary skills.. Maangai Pacchadi, PoLi, Vadai, Poosinikai-Kadalaikai kootu to name a few. Fortunately for me this time around, it was to be some "pazhaiya soru" with "puliccha moru". And so like every other day, my frustrations were compounded and I was in my usual foul mood. But for the sake of the occasion, I placed a few calls to home and relatives to lighten things up.

Later in the evening, I attended a carnatic concert, performed by Padmasri Sudha Raghunathan, with a few friends. As is the case with a bunch of grad studs (by and large given-up-in-life cases), the session was filled with cheerful badger and jibes at our comical state (fortunately for me at C-U, I'm not the hot favourite for their pranks as the case was during Trichy days of yore). Much to our surprise, there was a grand dinner buffet with soda, salads and desert to round off the occasion. But coming to more important things, it happened to be my first "hi-profile" concert. Within a few moments after the invocation/welcome/intro of the musicians, they proved more than convincingly as to why they are true virtuosos in their respective speciality.

I have watched such performances on the silver screen, but I must admit that being out there live, observing the artistes provide soulful renditions of divine compositions, and experiencing the feeling of getting elevated from ground level closer to divine portals is a completely different and thoroughly refreshing experience. My knowledge of music (particularly classical), the Ragas, the Thalas etc is at best "naught". Yet, when she sang some of the Anamacharya Kirthanas, I could remember very well, having listened to them as a kid generally during Gokulashtami celebrations at home. Fortunately for me, the lack of a musical background ensured that I just listened and enjoyed every moment of the programme, without a discerning ear and critique. The duel between the mridhangam and morsing in the middle was particularly electrifying and had every one of us enthralled. Says who that classical music is lacking in vigour or not stimulating?

After two and half hours of forgetting the world, my lab, homework, grad life and everything, I am now reminded of the conversation I had, on music, with my uncle, the day before I flew for joining grad school. I was protesting with him that western musicians reach out more and have a strong message to put forward much simpler terms, in contrast with the abstruse language of our very own carnatic musicians. (No offense towards anybody though, for I only base my views on the consequences of the lack of understanding a certain profound art form). My uncle brushed away my argument by bluntly stating that the former are more concerned with the most basest of human instincts. I do not wish to dwell any more on this opinion and attract brickbats for myself. Today, however, I realised how true he may be. I just sat and listened to things and lived the experience. It is so pacifying yet stimulating at the same time. No wonder my uncle was spot on, for he certainly is more worldly wise than I am. To summarize and put things into perspective on a lighter note, I'd like to recall and draw a parallel with Kamal Hassan's comical punchline from Pammal K. Sambandham- "... Adhu ellam anubhavikkanum da, aaraikka koodadhu" ;-)

To conlcude, the experience has affected me and left me completely refreshed, and with an ironical thought... in pursuit of post-graduate enlightenment, I am chasing a wild goose which supposedly lays golden eggs with which I shall build castles (hopefully not in the air).. at the same time I am able to associate so closely with such a profound art (science, say, for all art is but...), yet my aptitude for this wonderful science and its unfathomable depths is fundamentally zero!

Now I know what it is like being illiterate.
And.. ignorance is certainly not bliss!


Friday, February 09, 2007

About Chicago

Hi! I'm back again... after a not-so-long break of 2-3 days... ;-)

Today's space is reserved for a review of my trip to Chicago, as I had mentioned earlier in dampened spirits that I'd write about it. If you ask me what gives me this sudden inspiration to write about that, for after all Chicago is truly a great place in its own right, with a great history about it, and it doesn't really depend on patronage from you know what kind of people..., I'd blame it all on the weather. Over the past week or so, the midwest has been engulfed by a protracted cold storm and its raging flurries, to the point of life almost coming to a standstill. Whereas when I was in Chicago, barely three weeks earlier, I was treated by fine weather and had a memorable experience...

To start with, my first few days in Chambana as I've already bragged about, were boring. Thanks to Sushanth and Co., and kulli's stopover plans, I got sinister ideas. I took my "ever dependable" pal a whole week to figure things out (actually he never really figured out anything!) and I was off in a flash, on the friday evening LEX. Thanks to his brilliant sense of directing newcomers, I ended up getting lost from my local bus ride (supposedly to Lincoln Park/Armitage) at the right place! ;-) And the moment I met up with them late in evening (kulli was still jetlagged and starved of sleep), the party began. We had a night-out party at his friend's place nearby and I got introduced to many of his cohorts. Some Miller Lite, Martini, Tequila and good ol' hindi party music kept things afloat. 5:00 am- job well done, thank you very much, good night and bye everybody.

The next day began at around 1:00pm or so... everybody (with the exception of an insomniac) had slept a log. As usual, we we short of ideas and so it was Saturday at Downtown Chicago. That was where I got to see a good many wonders... the drive beside Lincoln Park by the side of lake Michigan, and then onto Michigan avenue- the prime avenue of downtown... Chicago Tribune, The Ritz, the Water Station which is a lone survivor of the great 1900 inferno, the bridge on the river Illinois... and a few other tall boys among them. We spent a good deal of time shopping some random stuff at the malls out there... I happened to meet Vaibhav, a long time friend from NPS, with whom I hadn't spoken in like 6 years! Of particular noteworthiness is the G A P showroom, where we were holed up for over an hour for want of an evening plan. Thanks to some genius getting a brainwave, we carried on to go Bowling. I was a once-upon-a-time accomplished 'underarm bowler' with many back-to-back strikes to my credit, but I realised the hard way that after 4 years I had little grace in this sport! ;-) Some tortillas and pizza to fill-in-the-blanks and we were out by 8:00!

The night still young, we thought of watching a movie, and thanks to an excellent suggestion from one of his ever so knowledgeable friends, I ended up sleeping through my first movie ever, an animation at that, in all of 22 years. The verdict was unanimous- Happily Never After! But it was just 11:00pm yet. I went along with his friend Rohit, who was accommodating me at the IIT dorms. I just did a few random things, met up with a couple more friends (Sriram and Jathurshun), had a chat, plus did some random stuff before deciding to retire for the night. Barely 10mins later, we got a called to a sports bar.. okay, so get ready, drive down across half the city and end up reaching there some 5mins before closing time. Nothing much happened, getting kulli into the car turned out to be a gargantuan task, and the three of us (Sriram, Rohit and I) had to walk down the streets of Chicago during the cold, wee hours of the night. And the fun part was when I went to Sushanth's place to pick up my stuff... kulli stole the show with her melancholy wails - "I don't like grad school; I won't do my assignments; I won't pass out from grad school!" Lol!!

Sunday was a great experience.. It was Bhogi and we decided to go to the Lord Venkateshwara Temple at Aurora. The drive was smooth (we cruised at some 80-odd mph), and kulli treated our ears to her mellifluous voice along the way. It took no more than an hour to reach there, and I was completely enchanted by the place. The temple is beautiful, it has all the amenities for the American way and yet retains the best part of our Indian traditions. For the first time, I had been to a place where all Gods had their own exclusive Sannadhis, all of equal import. I had never expected to find this several nautical miles away from home! And now for the best part- I came to know that the Aurora is famed for its brilliant roster of South Indian cuisines. And so for Pongal, it was all of Venn Pongal-chutney, Vadai-Sambar, Puliyodharai, Thayiru Chaadam and Oorugai- Semma Vettu! ;-) That was like the fulfillment of a long time dream, especially after missing good home food for days, and the days to come ;-) We got back, a little stressed out for lack of sleep. Some went off to watch the Chicago Bears in action while I just did some random stuff for a couple of hours before packing off.

At around 4, I said goodbye to all- kulli (she had her flight on Monday), Rohit, Richard, Jathurshun, Sriram et al and left for Union Station. Sushanth, for once thankfully, got me the the place in the nick of time. Just before leaving, I got a chance to walk by the Sears tower, stare its magnificent rooftop up somewhere in the heavens, obscured by the haze of the clouds, and took one last pic before adios ameego to Sushanth. And then, I got back again to a damp Chambana amidst torrential rains, late in the evening.

And that is all I have to say about Chicago, folks!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Oh Hell, how much more ThermoD?!!!

This time around, I am posting an article I received, by chance, as a bulk forward from a good friend of mine. Not to be dismissed as any random forward though. Needless to say any more, for this piece shall speak for itself. Just read on...

The following is an actual question given on a University of Liverpool chemistry final exam.

The answer by one student was so "profound" that the professor shared it with colleagues via the Internet, which is why we now have the pleasure of enjoying it as well.

Question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?

Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's Law that gas cools when it expands and heats when it is compressed or some variant.

One student, however, wrote the following:

First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving. As for how many souls are entering Hell, let's look at the different religions that exist in the world today. Most of these religions state that, if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell.

Since there is more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell. With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially. Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell. Because Boyle's Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay constant, the volume of Hell must expand proportionately as souls are added.

This gives two possibilities:

1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose.

2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.

So which is it?

If we accept the postulate given to me by Sandra during my freshman year, that "it will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you," and take into account the fact that I slept with her last night, then number 2 must be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is endothermic and has already frozen over.

The corollary of this theory is that since Hell has frozen over, it follows that it is not accepting any more souls and is extinct...leaving only Heaven, thereby proving the existence of a divine being - which explains why, last night, Sandra kept shouting "Oh my God."


Friday, February 02, 2007

As an afterthought to yet another of my reckless antics..

I am feeling terrible today. Much of it I would attribute to the faulty monitor of mine, at my office desk with the CEG - Beckman Insti. I was prepared for a decent take-off today but as it turns out, I am grounded indefinitely until my secretary gets a new one installed. Of what use is a few gigs and some more of raw and supreme computational power when you don't have the primary accoutrement to interact with it, in your desperate bid to tame its unyielding nature? And so I am jobless all over again. It just seems like the vicious circle which the poet, Ogden Nash is renowned for ;-) In my case, more than just a double-ended pun... more of a all roads lead to Rome (joblessness) curse! So let me flip myself back to the sinister face of the coin...

In my last post, I had briefly referred to my friendship with the likes of some very illustrious men of yesteryear, and how I knew them... I am actually reminded of this very popular joke of the famed thambi comedian Vivek, from the movie Minnale, which goes as follows...

Vivek has been dumped by his pal Maddy, who is crazy about his proposed gal- Reema (HOT!!). Maddy jumps a signal, crashes under a lorry and gets going in search of her while Vivek is left squeezing the juice out of the drishti kazhikkara elimbichcham pazham under the lorry. A brief verbal altercation follows between him and the driver, before the traffic cop arrives at the scene for his share of the pie... Vivek builds up the scene beautifully with his usual nakkal-nayyandi-thanamaana style and has the cop and the driver literally at his feet by claiming- "Enakku I.G. romba nalla theriyum" (I know the I.G. very well)... but his tryst with trouble had to be more dramatic and so he also adds on- "Aana avarukku thaan enna theriyadhe" (But he doesn't know me at all!)... the result that followed was natural, I don't think I need to even describe his state after that :-)

For a more accurate, and dramatic description of what I just mentioned, you can check out a clip containing that sequence from Minnale

Now, the reason why I've quoted this is... basically I know, some of the illustrious men that I have mentioned above, very well... aana avangalukku thaan enna theriyadhu! And Prof. Einstein couldn't have probably cared any lesser for me! ;-)

So with due regards to my maligned friend GREram, who knows me well though, I would like to openly declare that my last tryst with entropy and availabilty before I got sinister ideas yesterday was some 4 years back during Trichy days. And GREram has gone many levels up onto a higher plane and articulated, in sublime form, his take on how enigmatic entropy is. With a new and profound reverence to his perspective, I am all but compelled to direct you to his blog- Mercurial moods (Enigmatic entropy)

Thats all folks!! ;-)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The availability paradox!

I am suddenly gripped by a burning desire to write... joblessness as usual. I don't really need to go through the whys and wherefores of being so frequently jobless (not merely in the literal sense, of course), since I've already complained enough in my previous posts. So much so, that even I have become sick of repeatedly being in a jobless state of writing about my being jobless. Awright, thats enough of playing around with recursive gimmicks! :-) So my state of perennial joblessness (not to be mistaken for steady state as by nature I claim to be versatile, dynamic, vivacious, etc etc) coupled with the fact that I am a wanderlust, makes my thoughts wander beyond the realms of sanity... at grad school, you have to do this on a routine basis in order to prove a point or two and get your name prefixed with the coveted, elusive "two magical letters and a dot". While I casually generalize, you must not mistake me for being insane; or for that matter I am not claiming to be the only sane chap around. I just wanted to let you know, that insanity is fast catching up with me, by using the most imprecise, uneconomical and hyperbolic choice of words and expression. Now you know that there isn't even a mathematical chance of ruling out possibility of my being eccentric! ;-)

Now that we've got off to a good start, its time to consolidate. Let us touch upon subject matter and analyse...

A couple of days back, I was in the most common state of joblessness and resorted to watching a B++/A- grade thambi movie. Basically the protagonist wasn't an anti-hero and his chick was HOT, so it was a decent thing for timepass alright. But somewhere in between, I unfortunately had a quick chat with GREram at his best - reading up some blog by a seemingly not-so-eccentric but in all probability a yet-another-very-eccentric friend of his (I can safely count on you for not getting a quick cross-reference towards me - yet-another-friend of GREram for I believe I have already supplied you with a well-posed problem of determining my state of mind, and obviated the need for that with a reasonably strong disclaimer). Touching upon sensitive matters like the zero-circle-infinity connections, and presented his Mundane Philosophy with compelling reasons and examples, in a very witty and entertaining fashion. Although the crux of the matter was discussed in a state of mabbu, I would give it a lot of credit for the ultimate conclusion drawn that "nothing means anything to him". Except of course for the one thing I'd like to point out to him that his "the shape of zero is the stroke of a genius" funda is a li'l bit flawed to this extent that in the extreme limiting case of an infinite circle (r~inf.), we end up with a straight line! I don't wish to undermine his claim by any means, since the shape of zero to me is like the most obvious. That is self-evident truth for me! :-)

Hmm.. seems like I've wandered too far, thanks to my fantastic habit. I suppose you are still puzzled at what mundane things like the zero, circle, infinity etc etc have got to do with "The availability paradox!" I am sorry to say, that if you actually had hopes of such a connection, even a tangential one at best, you have also unfortunately crossed the barriers of sanity as I am walking you along. So let us well and truly revert to subject matter, this time around.

The compelling urge that I started off with (and didn't quite manage to touch upon yet) was a random login to Gtalk. For some weird reason, I found my entire list of friends to be available! Alright, I know that it is not a unique spectacle for even such an occurrence has a substantial probability associated with it, but I am trying to look beyond just that... like I said, crossing the barriers of sanity to prove blah blah blah... More than just the uninteresting mathematical connection, the "Available" hit me like a buzzword, thanks to thermodynamics. I am naturally inclined to this line of thought process for I am well and truly mechanically aptituded, as I have already posted earlier.

In thermodynamics, we spend eons of time in trying to understand Energy and its associates. An axiomatic zeroth law, a qualitative first law, two quantitative second laws, the death of perpetual motion machines and consequently our limited ability to do work, and the third law. A few wise men like Joule, Kelvin, Planck et al had stopped at that, fortunately. But I'm afraid there was this one slightly more mischievous friend of mine by the name of Clausius (infamous for the Clausius inequality for non-quasi-equillibrium and irreversible processes), who had to perform a complete autopsy on entropy, free-energy, spontaneity etc, to finally state that since the universe itself is a naturally occurring spontaneous process, all energy is not completely usable, irrespective of the form it manifests itself in.

Okay, I have somehow managed to state the underlying certainly-not-so-mundane-philosophy behind my claim, with the least damage inflicted, to the best of my capability. I will now go ahead and apply this concept of availability<1 (it is a perfect inequality, mind you) to what I observed of the status of my friends on Gtalk. I do not know in what form each one of them intended to say that they were available. It is quite obvious that they were here to chat, present physically at their desk, but I have no idea about what their state of mind was and what kind of talk they wished for. Some like it smooth, some hard while others go well with a heady mix of both, but all of that is extraneous to my analysis. I claim that they were NOT available, even if sitting at their desks, staring blankly at their chat window with blinkers on.. The reason is quite simple and obvious- they were involved (at levels of varying intensity, obviously) in a spontaneous act, which has a positive entropy associated with it, which is accounted for very well by their availability being less than 1. Now if you are wondering how I am trivially connecting a highly involved Thermodynamics funda to a mundane and low-impact activity like Gtalk-ing, I would like you to consider my friend- the late Prof. Albert Einstein's proof of mass-energy equivalence. So whatever the matter be, it is ultimately a manifestation of raw energy and hence the availability paradox holds!

If that still weren't enough to convince you, don't get started off thinking that you are a tough-skinned hard nut to crack. If time permits, look up one Werener Heisenberg who proved beyond any element of "doubt" of the absolute existence of uncertainty of both position and velocity. So that implies that all of my friends were matter waves and in any case associated with their own values of uncertainty in position (I don't really care about velocity and momentum here, for we are not dealing with rocket propulsion!) and consequently their complete availability is uncertain and very much open to debate! ;-)

If I were to generalize this (I don't know how sane or insane) philosophy of mine, it may become quite apparent as to why an artist doesn't at any point of time have all his talent available for use, and hence produces just "the one" masterpiece in a lifetime instead of "a" masterpiece every time.

And an even more compelling, though insane, thought- whenever your prospective girlfriend (or boyfriend for girls) comes forward to tell you that she (he) is available, you now know that it may not entirely be true. So beware! ;-)

Closing note...

It is my utmost belief that anybody trying to validate a claim, should do so by himself complying with his logic, and thus prove how worthy he is of his salt. I would at this juncture just go ahead to state that my presentation of this theory is a testimonial in itself- it is a hare-brained act of spontaneity, much of my intellect and sanity (perhaps all of them) were not available in the very development of this hypothesis, and it was lacking (at least partially) in subject matter anyway! ;-)

I sincerely hope that you haven't managed to read all the way through to this point. If you have, God save the world from yet another lunatic!

Finally, I'm left wondering.. why did I have to go through all this, when I could have instead buzzed on one of the seemingly available pals of mine and rather made a more worthy expenditure of my time?

The dawn of a new era of.. well.. er.. joblessness for me.. Lol!!

Friday, January 26, 2007

I don't really know what to title this one as..

It is yet another Thursday, this time the 25th of January. The time is 2:35pm I don't know why I am mentioning this as it is of no great consequence anyway. At grad school, they say that you are neck deep in work.. if you aren't, something is wrong.. big time! And as a matter of fact, I am presently jobless, so jobless that I have slipped into an introspective mode- the one thing I have always dreaded, for I am an introvert, whether I like it or not, and it isn't a very pleasant feeling to get back into what happened, when it happened, how it happened, why it happened and etc etc. Trust me, on this one atleast. So now, that I have ascertained that I am slipping, beyond my control, but all within conscience, into my weakness, I am compelled to write. To write about my fantastic experience of flying some 10000 miles, how I was looking forward to it and how it turned out to be cold and anti-climactic... Well, nobody needs words to complain.. the thought process works things out naturally for you, but somehow, I am lost for some 4-5 words.. I really don't know what to title this one..

But anyway, as the saying goes it is the stuff within that matters and others are merely supercillious. So here is how Jan 1. 2007 happened for me.

3:30 am IST - Chennai Intl Airport sounds the last boarding call for BA 36.. I am on it, settled comfortably into my seat. I am saying "comfortably" because I had to be comfortable at any cost.. an 11hour long non-stop haul is no joke and it is not a very fun-filled experience by any means, on any given Sunday; although in my case it happened to be a Monday! :-) The flight is very normal, BA serves good stuff, and the flight attendants occasionally mumble out instructions even in Tamil! We land at Heathrow some 10 minutes or so late, but thats not a big deal really by flying standards.. But we only land 10mins late. We get off some one-and-half hours later. Talk about one terminal of the world's busiest airport, with all of its 25gates not able to free one for an international carrier, and that too their own! So it was pretty much obvious that I had to miss BA295 which had a mere 100mins connecting time. But they accommodated me on the 297 so I didn't really mind. With some 2hours of connecting time, I had a good glimpse of Heathrow... in all its spledour during Christmas and New Years' time. I'm not surprised at all why people hail it as a marvel.

On the 297, I had been given an auto-upgrade to exec. class - what more could anybody ask for on an economy fare, during his first time? So it was 9hours of getting pampered all the way to Chicago. There was some 'good food for thought' and a whole lot of wine served on board. The gentleman seated next to me was an Indian as well and he had been flying since 87.. so he had loads to speak about... and some specific to Baltimore. But I didn't mind for BA took good care of me.

At Chicago, we landed on time approximately. I don't even know when we did. Sunset had occurred by 4:30pm itself and it was dark anyway, so it didn't matter. I got through all the formalities quickly and went on to receive my next big surprise by the luggage carousel. BA had lost my bags! What was I to do, whom to go and ask - the massive machines or the tall towers?! People around me were not surprised, as if it was a routine thing for them to lose bags and so they told me not to worry. I checked into AA and took the short, turboprop to CMI.. the thought of losing my bags had totally overshadowed this 26min experience and I was just waiting to get off and see if my bags made it this time atleast. But yeah, the only thing I vaguely remember of this journey is the airhostess very animatedly demonstrating the lousy safety instructions, besides the deafening noise emanating from the massive turbines from the back; it was perhaps predetermined that I had to be put on the last seat of an empty plane! :(

At CMI, let alone my bags not making it, I landed into an empty airport. I haven't ever been to any place so empty that I have all of some 2000 sq.ft to myself. I am not claustrophobic by nature, but I felt very ill at ease. There wasn't even an attendant readily available, for me to lodge a baggage claim. I didn't even have a nickel to call anybody. Somehow, after exploring just about everything there is in the terminal, I located a toll-free booth and called a taxi to come down and pick me up.

Cont'd. on another Saturday, the 27th of January at 9:00pm...

At some 7:30pm (of January 1, remember.... and that is my best surmise, for every piece of me, including my watch, ran on IST as always), I had a ride around a deserted, but not as bad as a ghost town, looking C-U.. and it wasn't anything out of the ordinary to be spoken of. I had gone through arguably the most elaborate preparations, spread out well over six months. But landing into an empty town, without my baggage was not the kind of honeymoon-like experience I had envisaged, even in the wildest of my dreams. And too add salt to my injury and rub it deeper still into the wounds, I didn't get to see my bags for another four days. Who would have ever thought that he'd come in to the brave new world and live his first few days in filth?! (From an alternate logic, it seems to be very synonymous with the funky, hip-hop and anti-foppish ways of the land) and added to all this, the bitter cold out here... aight, I think I've over-exaggerated :)

But since I came down there wasn't much activity for the first two weeks, and so I had the opportunity to plan my first act of escapade to Chicago. But the postmortem for that shall feature in my next post since this one is particularly outlined to be yet another embodiment of my wailing.. :)

So long.