Monday, May 23, 2005

Cave men!

Disclaimer : The following entry isnt something i am proud of but I would like to one day read this and experience what it feels to be a child again.

The ingredients for a heady mixture of adolescent fun:
4 men whos have read a lot of comics and who refuse to grow up
Non-sense of humour
2 tablespoons of salt or sugar for taste

The following Superheroes/supervillains and their superpowers are the product of the above recipe. The concept is still under development but comments and suggestions are welcome.

Sulphur Man - Can throw sulphur all around. No one knows what throwing sulphur around can can do but who cares!

Kracker Kid - He is the quintessential geek. Can hack into anything connected by a wire, even ur mom's clothesline! Voted "GEEK GOD" by the Cheek! magazine for the last 99999999 years(looks like he hacked their server too :P). He lives by the name "Biscuit Boy" in real life.

Narcissist Nazi - The villian. He has absolutely no powers. He is paralysed and cant move. He has no evil designs but our superheroes kick his ass anyway!
His Aides :
**** Boy - information censored
***** Girl - information censored

More Superheroes :
*Man(Read as STAR MAN) - He can replace anything. For ex. if he wants to become the wind he has to substitute "wind" in place of the *. He can also have multiple substitutions. Knowledge of ToC recommended for easy comprehension.
.Man(Read as DOT MAN) - Similar in super powers to *Man but can only substitute 1 thing at a time. Possible sidekick to *Man

A few more characters were also designed but i'll write about them when their roles are clearly defined. These characters were conceived in a cave(reason for cave-man kind of intelligence) by four of us. We were trying to make a list of hitherto unheard of superheroes and these were what we came up with!

The beginning of an obsession

I still remember the day we took a cable TV connection at home. This was around November 1994. The very first program i watched on that fateful sunday was a race. A race in which i had no idea who was racing whom or where it was being held or for that matter what it was called! But i still remember being mesmerized by the images on the TV. I still remember an incident(a collision) between two drivers which the commentators kept discussing for the whole race and even after the race. And amazingly after the race they declared that the World Champion was someone called "Michael Schumacher".
I vividly remember being dumbfounded on how someone who crashed out of the race could be the champion! But i was hooked to the spectacle though frankly, i did not understand anything. But i vowed to switch to prime-sports every sunday and watch every race from then on. But unfortunately the races never happened! I was in total confused but i craved for the races like a child for candy. After 4 months, finally in the March of 1995, i chanced upon a preview show of the races which explained the whole concept of Formula 1 and ran a small feature on each driver. Everything fell in place and i've been a F1 fanatic since then. I still root for Schumacher though he isnt the same force that he was for the last 5 seasons. How great men fall and yet how they remain immortal is for another post.
Here is more information on the first race i saw:

This time its two of my original quotes and not any incident. They are the result of fleeting moments of enlightenment.
"If work is worship then I am an atheist"
"You cannot argue with people in love for love is not driven by reason"

Thursday, May 05, 2005

"Kick start" life...

Finally I rode a bike on for more than 2 km's. This may seem farfetched but i am scared of two-wheelers. Might be because i've been brought up in an environment that systematically induced a fear of twowheelers in me. My mothers twin brother was killed in a two-wheeler accident in Bombay when he was just 20 odd. Then my mothers younger brother also had a major accident on a bullet and was almost paralyzed. He was bedridden for about a year. These two major incidents have convinced my mother that riding a bike is as good as inviting death. So my upbringing was severely biased against bikes. Even now if i tell me mother that i rode a bike she will freeak out. I still remember how i had to plead to get my first bicycle and how my mother cried when i told her i had ventured out onto the roads with traffic on my tiny bicycle.

I know that riding isnt the hardest thing to do. In fact i do understand that once you get the hang of it, its as instinctive as pulling your hand out of a hot stove. But i think i did pretty well. I did have a little trouble with the gears and the accelerator but the fact that the bike was a splendor did help. And moreover riding at 4:00 AM when every goddamn road in the country is a freeway does help. The road from Hitec to Secret Lake is really good and with the cool breeze blowing in my face i felt that nothing could go wrong. Its a special feeling when you control something. It felt great. And all this time the Eagles were singing "On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair" in my head. One thing is for sure Riding and Music is a magical concoction. But that is for another day and another post.

Now for a witty line which probably says a lot about me. We were discussing our future when i innocently said that in case i ever was in a mangerial position in a game designing studio my designation would read "Manager cum Gamer". Pat comes a comment: "No your designation would read Manager kam Gamer jyada".

Deja vu , minesweeper and mangoes!

I sometimes get a feel of deja vu when i am watching a movie. Maybe that because i have seen so many movies that even if i am watching a movie for the second time I'll not know it until i have watched a significant part of the show. But seriously speaking i have sometimes felt during many a conversation that i had talked to the same people about the very same things at the very same place at some some time in the past. Maybe there is a scientific explanation to this feeling. It has been said that deja vu is just an anomaly of memory. But the human subconscious is a great force and not to be underestimated. For that matter even our conscious mind hasnt been understood yet. I have tried doing that and have subsequently proposed a theory regarding the mind and minesweeper. :D

One of my all-time-favourite games is Minesweeper. I have been hooked to it since my summer in Samudra in 2002:) I've made significant progress in improving my skills in it through practice. But at the same time i've also improved because of my theory about how the conscious mind influences this game. Minesweeper as you must know(if you dont pls find out by typing "winmine" in the run box if you are using windows.. sry i donno the command in linux) is about how fast you can think and click. So whatever processes that run in your mind will affect your performance in the game. After hours and probably days spent on this subject i've concluded that when you think about things as distant from minesweeper as possible during the game you tend to get better times in the game. Do try it out. I recommend counting numbers while playing the game. I had read somewhere that at any moment only about 25% of our brain is actually used! So counting numbers isnt going to really tax your brain. Whatever be the results for you my times have improved since i put my theory into practice. My best times are now 3(beginner), 23(intermediate) and 93(expert). There is no proof for my theory. You will have to take my word for it. (an unintentional pun :P)

I once read a nice little story in Tinkle(i was only 10 then :P). Its pretty much related to the mind and how we think. I feel i must share it with the world. Here is how it goes.

There was once a king(interesting that there is always a king in most stories) who was suffering from a grave ailment. His court physician could not cure this mysterious sickness. So the king sentenced the physician to the gallows. The physician(our hero) was a clever and intelligent young man who's brain ran faster than a computer(oops wrong story :D). Our hero goes upto the king and tells him that he has a medicine that could cure him but it would work only on a condition. The medicine was to be taken continuously for 7 days but the condition was that at the time of dosage the king should not think of a "mango". Everyday for seven days the king would come for the dosage. But the physician would remind him that he should'nt think of a mango. Automatically the king would think of a mango and at the end of seven days the physician had saved his head.

I now notice that my post is way too long and not even coherent. Probably this was written in a subconscious state! So i'll end it here. "Only a diamond can cut a diamond". A similar analogy exists. "Only a brain can understand a brain" :D

An unbearable loss ...

Yesterday i lost a dear friend. After a whole day of mourning i have finally gathered enough courage to write about the incident. It is particularly tough to write about this great loss to me because i was involved in the incident. In fact i was more than involved.. I was responsible for this tragedy. I am still recuperating from this shock and am still groping for answers.

For 2 whole years my friend was beside me for more time than anyone else. I spent my life, not just a lot of time, with my friend.. my mornings, afternoons, evenings and even my nights. It was more than a friendship to me. My friend was my guide, my philisopher, by beacon of light, my trusted companion through life. Hell, I even slept on my friend! A loss like this is particulary hard to bear and more so when you are reliving the incident for writing about it. But i'll go through the pain again so that the reader will understand my plight.

Yesterday at around 6:00 AM after playing monopoly all night long i thought i would watch a movie. So i got the ambience ready, chose a good movie and clicked on play. It was at this exact moment that i lost my dearest friend. The chair i've been sitting on broke and down i fell on my bottom. The steel bar holding the seat had finally given in to the pressures that i put it to. I had finally broken a long lasting relationship. I LOVED my chair. It endured me for 2 whole years. I even moved it with me when i changed rooms. I think i slept on my chair more than on my bed. There have been innumerable instances when i fell into the arms of sleep in the cozy embrace of my chair. It has been there for me at all times, at my highs as well as my lows. There is something amiss in my room now. The void left by my chair will never be filled even if u get an exact copy of it. But life will go on.

All this reminds me of a line from one of my favourite movies - Fight Club. "The Things you own end up owning you".

I miss my chair :((
Since i am still in mourning, i feel its not apt to write anything funny. ;)

Few things more beautiful than poetry...

I was browsing some arbit stuff when i happened to stumble across some of shakespeare's sonnets. I've been an ardent devotee of poets and especially of Wordsworth,Keats and Tennyson. But somehow Shakespeare has always been special for those plays of his. I never did get a chance to read any of his wonderful sonnets. But now that i've finally laid my hands on them thanks to the wonderful thing called the internet. The following four lines are from the is the first of many that he wrote.

From fairest creatures we desire increase,
That thereby beauty's rose might never die,
But as the riper should by time decease,
His tender heir might bear his memory

Here is the explanation to the above lines.... taken from

"From fairest creatures we desire increase"--that is, that we desire beautiful creatures to multiply, in order to preserve their "beauty's rose" for the world. That way, when the parent dies ("as the riper should by time decease"), the child might continue its beauty ("His tender heir might bear his memory").

I was at a loss for words after reading these lines. For many years i've dabbled in poetry. But it was always about getting the lines to rhyme. Never have i written anything thats even remotely as thought provoking as this. The beauty of his writing isnt in the rhyme.. its in the words he chooses to express them in.

Now for the customary incident..
For the past 1 week we have been playing Monopoly aka Business on an average of 10 hrs a day. There have been arguments during these sessions and tempers have flared. During one of these monopoly sessions one of us got angry at another over a deal. But a tense situation was defused when another of us, very wittily i must add, commented, "Mind your own Business guys".

Tricks of the trade...

I've read a lot of blogs and it pains me to read the ones in which people just crib and crib. *I Guess i am doing that right now!!* So finally i've come up with a set of rules to follow while blogging. These are the rules of engagement ... in my opinion.
Rule 1 : NO cribbing or backbiting
Rule 2 : NO taking names
Rule 3 : NO personal stuff(you get to define personal)
Rule 0 : Follow above rules!

I must mention that these rules are only for me and me only. I've religiously followed them till now and will in the future. You must come up with your own rules that are tailored to your requirements.

Now coming to the funny incident that i promised.. here goes.
This happened around 3 years back. I and a friend of mine(see no names :D) had a small problem. We needed Winzip but since the network was down we couldnt copy it or download it. So we had to transfer a winzip installer of size 1.5MB from one system to another. All we had was 1 floppy. As you might know a floppy can take only 1.44 MB of data. Being such brilliant minds, we hit upon a marvellous idea and we zipped Winzip and compressed it to 1.3 Mb. Now our problem was solved and we transferred the data to the other system. But now we had a zipped Winzip file which meant that the unzipping software was itself zipped!! We had nothing to unzip it with and were back to square one. We have a hearty laugh over this now, but at that time we looked like morons.

Algorithms of life..

Priorities.... you have them all the time. Leading busy lives most of us dont have the time to do everything. We are, in a way, like multitasking machines with a huge pool of tasks. The algorithm that we choose to do the scheduling is one based on priorities. Its a very complicated program but at the same time very short like one of those recursion ones. (For a very very long time I was dumbfounded at that 4 line towers-of-hanoi program).
Do I sound like we are machines and we dont have a heart? Do i sound like we always let our brains do the deciding. But wait.. even the heart has a say in this. Or else to what reason would you attribute a gamer playing CS all night long with 2 exams on the next day! I would have given an example of lovers(love being the most irrational phenomenon) but i havent any experience of it. So CS will have to do :(
According to my theory this complex program takes inputs from two sources.. the brain and the heart. All the people in this world can be divided into two categories. The ones that listen to the heart and the ones that listen to the brain. There have however been incidents of people who have listened to neither but i'll conveniently choose to ignore them. You can decide what category you fall in.

*This blog makes me sound like a stuck up person who has no fun in his life! Hence from now on, every post will carry a witty or an amusing incident from the world around me. Please note that these are not copied or stolen from others pages. They involve me and the people around me.*

We were on our way back from our professor's place. It was a long way and there were 2 different routes we could take. And as expected one of them was about 3-4 km's longer than the other. One of my fellow riders, who didnt know this fact, took the longer way. I had to make a decision whether to call him on his cell and tell him he had taken a longer route or to just let him take the longer route. At this point i asked my friend his opinion to which he punned : It's your call !!

A second chance...

Life is filled with events and memories. Some good and some bad but they are what define the person you are. As Metallica sings or rather screams.."Ash to ash, Dust to dust, Fade to black... But the memory remains." TIme is like the river that flows forever but your memories are permanent imprints on its banks. You are what you have been till this very moment and, like it or not, there is nothing you can change about it. However you can choose to remember the good ones and conveniently forget the bad ones or at least push the bad ones to the back of your mind.

But at sometime or other there will be an incident that will trigger memories relegated to the garbage dumps of your mind. It is at these precise moments that feelings of regret, of hate, of remorse and the like overpower you. People have gone on and on about how a thing of great beauty can silence anyone as one is overwhelmed in its pristine glory. But let me assure you that when these hidden memories come rushing from the back of your head to your eyes and you relive those moments you are nothing short of stunned and speechless. It reminds me of the "Shock and Awe" that the US so proudly and falsely( i might add) claims to have mastered. The pain is all too visible on your face as you analyze the mistakes and how you could have changed the event in hindsight.

There are a lot of things we would have done differently if we were given a second chance. But have you ever thought that this very moment you could be getting a second chance? You could be be making a decision right now that you have already made once before and have been given the privilege of doing again!! Now in this light you would most probably make the same decision as before. You will in all probability make the same decision no matter how many chances you are given. So stop cribbing about life and how you could have changed the world given a second chance. You dont need a second chance.

At every moment of your life you have to make choices. You would like to make the right ones but occasionally, as we are still humans, we will err and make the odd mistake. The odd ones will pain and they will remain to haunt you till the end of time. But is it worth giving up all those good memories for a few bad ones? Yet another choice that you have to make. I hope you make the right decision this time.

On opinions and prejudice..

Though it might sound stupid but I've tried my hardest not to blog. But when everyone around you is blogging it is hard to not be influenced by them. So as Bryan Adams sings... Here I am - this is me. There's no where else on earth I'd rather be... I am finally here to write about what i think.

*every statement from now on is a personal opinion of the writer and if you have a different one i am ready to respect that but dont expect me to agree with you*

For all those people who consider they are not prejudiced.

I've thankfully never had a paucity of opinion but i've always felt that i am rational and logical in that regard. Mind you, having an opinion and being prejudiced are not two different things. They are as diffferent from chalk is from calcium carbonate. I like to believe i am not prejudiced but tell me who isnt? There is prejudice in this world and there will always be because we live in a linear world. Linear in the sense that time moves forward and we can only learn one thing after another. It would however be wonderful if we lived in a multidimensional non-linear universe where time would remain still as we hop from one dimension to another. But reality is that once you find something out you have formed an opinion on it. You have made a choice and everything you find out after that wil be influenced by what you already know. People would like to have an opinion but would hate to be called prejudiced. But if you have an opinion you are prejudiced. Think about it before you make a decision. Think why you made that decision which changed your life. Think is all i ask of you.
Well people are probably prejudiced against prejudice.