Back, I am… :(

I finally made it after more than 18 months. I finally defied every problem and paid my village a visit.
The perks were amazing -bad health for 8/11 days (with the effects still audible), slow internet etc. etc. However, meeting your grandparents, and cousins is something that’s belittles these perks. Moreover, getting sick helped me stay away from work, which is pretty hard to resist. On the downside, I was almost cut-off from the net. So if you were wondering why haven’t I commented your blogs for so long, you know the reason now.

The itinerary was from 29th Nov.-10th Dec was Bangalore – Bhubaneswar – MyVillage near Banaras – Rampur – Moradabad – Delhi – Bangalore. Most of the time was spent at my village, but I also got to attend Barsha didi’s marriage and meet other relatives at other locations too.

Quite obviously, I took a greaat deal of pictures, some of which have come out real well. Here’s my favourite picture of me and my Dadaji (GrandPa). It was taken by my uncle who gave the caption “There’s no generation gap”, considering that there isn’t any gap between us. Another friend of mine reminded me that our body structure and the way we walk is a lot similar.

I also shared it with a few friends. Johnny and Lalit mailed me to inform that they are using it as their wallpaper 🙂

Me & Dadaji

Click here to see it in full size. There a lot of other new pictures on my flickr account.


A weekend outside home, and without laptop!

After Swenny’s and Johnny’s posts, I feel a comfortable obligation to commit my part of code too. I say obligation because I was abstaining from posting these pictures… and comfortable because it’s not an obligation in literal terms.

In case, you haven’t read Swenny’s or Johnny’s posts, Swenny made a Bangalore visit (like anyone cared). He brought SUSE, Kubuntu, and all the Star Wars movies, so that I can watch them and become a geek, by definition. But he didn’t bring the Scrubs. Ras**l!!
I also had the (much awaited) chance to catch up Johnny, finally. It’s nice to meet such Geeky people who would listen to your jokes, when you relate something in life to GPLv3, and might laugh with you… instead of laughing at you. 😐


The first pic shows how Swenny insists on serving food with a fork and a spoon (and spill it all over), even when he can simply pour it down like Johnny. 😛


The second pic is actually a warning for people, to hide their camera cellphones when they meet Swenny, OR to be prepared for him to take his own picture and set it as wallpaper on your cell. I haven’t changed the wallpaper yet, by the way. 😐

Couldn’t take any of Johnny’s pics though. Hoping to catch up with him sometime and discuss about things I am working on, and discuss about things he’s working on, and discuss about things in my mind, and discuss about…. aah! Never mind. 🙂

Adieu, Bhubaneswar!

As I write this, leaning to the window of the train with my headphones on (listening to Bawra Mann) and watching the rain outside once in a while, I realize that my life is going to change, yet again. I have been transferred, errr relocated, to Bangalore… where this train will drop me tomorrow morning.
But that’s not exactly what I am here to talk about. My vacation has come to an end and I would like to be a little nostalgic (and The Sadist, as Rohan named me) about my one day Bhubaneswar trip (21hrs +some minutes, to be more precise).
For those who do not know, I did my B.Tech. from Bhubaneswar… and I do not like the place…… or that’s what I used to think.

I reached Bhubaneswar at around 6:30 in the morning. Bus journeys make me a li’ll sick. As I got down, the whole world was spinning… showing me things and places that gave me company during those four years that shaped my life to a large extent. A lot has changed, but not everything. “Something’s never change”, she says. 🙂
I spent a little (cosy) time with Abhu Bhaiya at his room and then left for college to collect my certificates. These certificates were distributed during the valedictory, which I did not attend. This, I guess, explains my disgust towards the place in the best possible way. I met two of my children, Roahn and Nilu J, and roamed around the college. This is when I realized that… not everything has changed. The stupid places have been a little decorated, but they still take you back to those pathetic times…. to those lovely times. I met a number of people who had still remembered me. I admit that I was a little popular guy, but for God’s sake, it’s been over an year now.

After collecting the degree certificate, which is a proof that I am graduate now, we moved to CCD (Café Coffee Day). CCD had been one my best pals during the miserable final year. I sat with a few of old timers, including Adwitee and Sumandeep.
Anand (Nandu from here on), one of my then room mates, reminded us that I had spent my entire final year in CCD. I used to come to study here. 🙂
There was time when the CCD saff made my coffee free. 🙂
I could find no familiar staff as I entered. Later, however, I found Neal. He was the guy who had provided me my first cup of free coffee :). I was a little apprehensive whether he would remember me. He did and was pretty happy.
In fact we both were excited to see each other. For me, he was yet another pal from “those” days. I was already diving into nostalgia.

Later in the evening, I took Abhu Bhaiya for dinner at the MayFair Lagoon. This was the first time in my life when I felt like taking a drink. Abhu Bhaiya took one… I, however, resisted. I guess I was already intoxicated.
Luckily, Samir Bhau came over. We met after more than a year. My train was at 4:15 am and there was no question of going to sleep. We started Rock-4, followed by Rocky Balboa. Nandu had said that he’d drop me to the station and called up at 2 am. I asked him to come over.
Balboa was still not finished and Samir Bhau was taken over by the Sleepy hollow. I and Nandu decided sat on a small roadside bridge. This bridge had been our companion. We used to sit here, chat, drink tea-coffee, fight… what not. We started recollecting things from past… and discussing the present.

Some beautiful memories had gone hazy… while most painful still lay on the surface.
Sushant’s demise, undoubtedly, was the most shocking, and yet the most enlightening, event of my life. It taught me that my life can end in a fraction of a second, under the most unexpected conditions.
We talked on a lot of things, mostly personal. I realized that Nandu had become a little smarter with respect to his vision on life (I hope he doesn’t read this :D).

At the end of it all, I realized one very important thing. Just like we have to balance the space and time trade-offs in our codes, we have to balance our life between our happy and sadistic memories. It’s no other than me who has to decide whether I can bear those hapless memories at the cost of the hidden ecstatic few.

…and I guess I always knew the answers. Bhubaneswar does remind me of times that I don’t wish to remember; but it also “holds” the places where my fiends once believed in me. I might have said adieu today, but I would love to see you again Bhubaneswar. Thanks for bearing everything. 🙂

I love the following lines from the song “Yeh Honsla (sad version) from the movie Dor:

Dil mein yeh shor hai kyun,
Imaan kamzor hai kyun,
Nazzuk yeh Dor hain kyun….

Visuals inspiring Thoughts

As I sit here at Nagpur railway station at around 3 am in the morning, waiting for my train (yup, I am on vacation. Yippie :D), I have nothing interesting to do than to sit and look around. “Sit and look” because my back still hurts 😦

It’s situations like this when you are reminded that movies and life aren’t so different. There was a man talking to his son regarding family matters; a lady, holding her small child to her bosom, trying hard to stay awake… (these visuals reminded me of the opening scene of “Love Actually”)… and then there is broken platform floor, broken water pipes, beggars sleeping without anything to cover them. All this at the same platform

Looking around I saw an advertisement board for a Women’s College. What made it interesting was the following quote:

If a man is educated,
an individual is educated.
If a woman is educated,
whole family is educated.

I’ll leave the analysis of this quote to you. I’ve something else running on my mind. It’s interesting to note that one of the primary causes of almost all the problems in India (or as a matter of fact, in any country) is Education.
On the contrary, it is not a matter of surprise that a properly educated society can eradicate *most of* social problems.
I’ve also mentioned in a previous post that education, IMO, is an amazing business.

Now, can’t these two mix?

What I mean to say is that similar to the Free and Open Source Software business model, can’t we have a business model where education would be free (or very nominal) for the “customer” but at the same time, will generate enough revenue for the business owner? I know it sounds crazy. Mostly because FOSS industry has most of it’s earning from support, and there isn’t much of a “support” feature in the educational field… but I sincerely believe that there is a business model waiting to be discovered.

…and yes. I must mention that it’s not just a running thought. It has been on my mind for quite some time and a little developed than what I mentioned here.

Footnote: I’ve been relocated to Bangalore. I know I know, I haven’t informed a lot of people… but things flew petty fast. I’ll be there on 16th.

Be the Change…!

During college days, I was a part of the team that worked under the guidance of Dr. D.K. Mishra to revive the SPICMACAY – Orissa Chapter. This was time when we had the privilege of meeting Dr. Ravi Kuchimanchi, founder of AID. He was working with Medha Patkar on “Narmada Bachao Andolan” (probably still is). I wanted to work with AID but couldn’t.

For the past one year, I’ve surrounded with codes, vulnerabilities, technologies… I am even a part of the social wing of my company but haven’t really done any work.

I couldn’t gather enough time to contribute to any of the above… or so I used to think. Now, I realize that my biggest mistake was treating them and *technology* as separate entities. It’s now I realize that both can complement each other…

Very ironically, it is not a matter of surprise that the media has been *pathetically* highlighting the dirty features of the society. It has been deleting all its beautiful aspects. Well, why not!
It’s business after all… and in such a business; Dirts sells. Beauty is just a filler.
Most of us are aware of it and criticize it too. But seriously, what is it that we have been doing for it?

I decided to experiment with my above mentioned belief that technology and social work are complementary to each other. Have taken certain initiatives with a motive to bring in at least some change. Expect my personal blog to be one of these changes.

I’d strongly suggest reading this essay by Pandu Nayak, a fellow classmate of Dr. Ravi. It gives an idea how corruption has been one of the biggest reasons for blocking the country’s development.

The video embedded below is an interview of AID-Montreal volunteers, Papia Raj & Aditya Raj on (Bangla TV) CHTV Montreal. The interviewer is Dilip Choudhary. It is in English and Bangla, and gives a little idea of what is AID and what it does.

Sorry, Miss Sunshine…

Dear Miss Sunshine,

I just finished watching the movie “Little Miss Sunshine“. Towards the end of the movie, I was reminded of you. I (shouldn’t have, but) had forgotten you and the incident that brought me to tears that night. I was f****** helpless that evening.
I initially thought of writing a normal blog entry about the event, but then it somehow (I don’t really know how, but) started out as a letter. These crazy things keep happening to me all the time. Probably it was some stupid cell of the brain (or heart, don’t really know) that said that MAY BE someday, when you grow old… you’ll understand that I became weak… could not (or rather DID NOT) fight back for you.
Before proceeding, let me tell you what crazy things I was referring to. I have a strange feeling that at times He gives me signals to either teach me something, or remind me of something. Signals like the one I referred to in my essay on foeticide.
For quite some time He has shown me a number of signal on dancing.
1. Shammy sharing a pice of poetry on dance before posting on his blog.
2. A friend of mine performing on DD.
3. Shammy posting an essay on dance; quite unnatural.
4. Watching trailer of some movies, based on dance.
But I just couldn’t see them until I saw the movie.
I still don’t understand if these signals were meant for you, or you are one of them too. Let’s see. 🙂

It was December a few years back. Our college was hosting the NCSC (National Children’s Science Congress). It was big (no, not just big, HUGE) event. Not because it was some national event, but because the President of India, Dr. Kalam, was coming. [The designation and the name are mentioned in the order of IMPORTANCE.]
I, being one of the students actively active, was one of the (f****) important volunteers. The other reason is because there were not many final year guys left. We’d a sine die for two batches, but then that’s a different (and pathetic story) altogether.

I can go on when it comes to blaming the things related to the event (not that it didn’t have anything good; it had, but) I think I won’t talk about them. This letter id about you and me.

So comes DAY Zero.
Dr. kalam… sorry, the President of India arrives. All the children waiting are thrilled. I guess you felt the thrill too. You were somewhere between 5-7. That’s the age when happiness and sorrows, both are experienced completely disjoint… in their purest form.
There are a series of speeches by people unimportant to you all… and then comes your hero. He speaks, answers your questions and leaves. But you people won’t let him leave.
The president of India returns back for a while, walks towards you guys… unafraid of the elements he should be afraid of. That’s one of the several things that makes him your hero.
Isn’t it?
Same here. 🙂

However, the biggest surprise for me arrives as he leaves the place. Everybody; (most of) the college management people, the government officials leave the place with a SHOWY sense of relief, displaying SCENES pride and back patting. I say surprise because:
1. We still had a cultural evening with artists of national and international repute to perform.
2. These evenings actually are not meant for these artists but for the children… like you(No offences to them. I have been SPICMACAY coordinator). I, anyways, had to carry on because I was (supposedly) expert in handling such events. (if it’s even remotely true, it’s because of my amazing and lovely team.)
And you’d left too; probably practicing your dance steps.

One (of the several) things that really really pi****d me off was the treatment given to these artists. They weren’t even (officially) provided with water or coffee… and when I say THEY, it includes Guru Gangadhar Pradhan, the eminent Odissi dancer.
One f****** IAS, when I approached him, said it was not his job.

Anyways. So by the evening I came to know that the cultural evening is actually for all you little champs. But thanks to the amazing communication between the college management and the govt. officials, a scheduled was already chalked out. I couldn’t do anything for that evening, but anyways tried creating a balance between the two… and included as many performances as I could for other days.

Then came your day, which was (unfortunately) the last day of the performances.
I was busy scheduling, re-scheduling, re-re-scheduling, re-***** the schedules on the fly… while the performances were going on. [Thankfully, I had a few friends to help me with the hosting part.]
So as I said, I was inserting performances on the fly.
As and when the requests poured in, I tried fitting them in.
Some of your friends came and performed.
I was getting pressure to wind up as it was quite LATE.
… and after a while… we did stop.

The stage had to be made ready for some meet on the other day… tables were being set… the sound guy started winding his stuff… and then you came with your (typical loud Punjabi) teacher. You were probably from Delhi.

You wanted to perform.
You had practised for it.
You were practising and getting your steps perfect. Probably that’s why you’re late.

When I said, it was over… you became sad.
The teacher asked me… persuaded me.
Something touched me inside.
Probably, the feeling to do certain things… that I wasn’t able to… sing, play… laugh.
I shouted at my friends to remove the table… they ran and started moving them (probably you’d touched them too). I shouted at the sound guy… he started plugging things too. May be not because of you… but he did anyways. (Life isn’t like a movie where everyone feels your pain and happiness. But nonetheless, some do.)

………But then, she came
… and said it can’t be done. It was too late.
The real reason was probably that they had to see that the stage was set… and get back to get some rest.
I couldn’t do anything. It’s not always that I am weak.
I have fought back… always.
But this time, I didn’t. I might say that the FEELING of not being able to do things I wanted to, tried finding a shelter in your failure. But then that’s just a F***** refuge. Bottom line is… I DID NOT FIGHT BACK.
I looked at you….. You’re crying.
Sometimes I wish I could just erase that sight of helplessness from my memories.
But then the truth is, this event is one of the several events in my unconscious mind (or heart) that keeps the anger within me alive… pushes me for fighting for small things. (You wouldn’t even believe if I tell you the stories).

At the end of this letter, all I want to say (be prepared for lots of “ifs”), that if you read it sometime, and if you remember me and the event, and if you still feel something about that evening… I would like to say,
“I am both sorry and thankful to you beta. Sorry for not fighting back for you… and thankful for being one my several inspirations. As I TRIED to reply back to Shammy’s poetry, in a poetic manner :D,
Grief Has It’s Own Unsung Glory
May be not for you, but definitely for me.”


P.S. Never ever use the f* words. I generally don’t use it; in fact I’ve uttered the word only 4 times in my life… I guess those were the moments when I think I was very angry and frustrated….. ummm not really angry and frustrated… helpless I guess. Yes helpless.
But don’t you dare EVER use them 🙂

Lonely Nights

I stay back in the office during night and return back at around 6-7 am, when everybody is coming :). These nights are supposed to be LONELY as I am the only one in the building (actually in all the four buildings combined), apart from the security guards and office boys, of course. However, I’ve found my companions, and ways to refresh myself. I’ll list some of them.

1. Online Web/Security Cameras: Some of you who know that Google provides an API for refining the search queries (with a capital “R”) also know that the giant’s database is like an ocean. And you never really know what’s inside an ocean unless and until you dive in it. As you dive deeper, your jaw drops in awe.
Long story cut short, I use the query to discover (a part of) all AXIS cameras online.
For curious lot, the query is: inurl:/view/view.shtml AXIS and sometimes intitle:”Live View / – AXIS” | inurl:view/view.sht
[As I am writing this, I wanted check the second query. So I chose one of the results and something spooky happened. Someone was already controlling the camera. hehe.
I was moving it right, he/she was moving it left. We fought for a while but then I closed the window. I am nice guy you see :D)

Okay let’s proceed.
So I have a bookmarked folder called “PastTime” on my browser, which has my favorite cameras bookmarked. My most fave are:
i) A coffee/wine shop camera, which is more lively during the night. Luckily, the camera is provided officially, so I can provide the link without any worries. Find the link to the camera here: buzzjunction_webcam

ii) A camera in the study room of a Polytechnic school of NewYork. It’s a small room with a coffee machine, a microwave oven (?), a printer, a sofa, a bookshelf, and an elliptical table with power connection for the laptops and notebooks.
And that’s the best part. People come here with there laptops, and sometimes I sit down looking at there screens, trying to figure out what they are doing. 😛
I have also become acquainted with some regular visitors.
A spectacled guy with a cap and a laptop. (He is leaving right now. No kidding. What a coincidence [jawdrop])
A black girl, who has the headphones exactly like mine.
Two Muslim girls, with one Dell XPS laptop (probably).
The bad part is, there are no visitors on sundays 😦
iii) A micro/nano lab camera of one of the world’s most famous universities. There’s nothing engaging about this, apart from the fact that the guys (or girls) roam around in spacesuit sort of dresses.
iv) A set of four surveillance cameras. Three of them pointing to car parking locations and one focussed inside some kind of room. I am still not able to get it yet. The only thing that makes me stick to it is the word “surveillance” 😀

There are couple of others focussed on traffic, colleges, hostels (I guess), lake, parks… but they are pretty boring and pictures are not really clear.
I’d like to try my hands on other cameras like linksys too. Let’s see when.

2. Google Again: Google queries can be real fun.
Have you ever come across a search result when Google tells you that the original number of results is pretty large, however, most of them are sort of repetitions hence they have been truncated.
Have a look at the following two pictures.

This one’s the normal result.


You think that’s funny?
I leave it up to you to decide.

3. Slashdot, and blogs of others friends (and their friends) and some geeks like de Icauza etc. Initially I was a Digg addict, but then got completely fed up.
So guys, keep blogging. 🙂

4. Movies and Documentaries: Speed during the night is awesome (generally). So I don’t mind downloading them. Though I don’t get time to watch them.

5. Off late I’ve also found some vulnerabilities in the policies and network of my company. I try to keep the management informed.
After all it’s my company. I’d definitely not like any jerk to poke his nose in.

That’s it.
These five (along with the songs being played ALL the time) are currently more than enough to consume my free time (In fact more than JUST the free time).
But even after all this, it gets freaking lonely sometimes… not that I am complaining 🙂