Monday, October 29, 2007

Say it with pride

Who hasn't heard of the word Procrastination in Grad-Student life. Procrastination is good. It is beneficial for mental health. And Procrastination is the inalienable right of every grad-student.

It is like continuing to smoke Cigarettes arguing, 'One day everyone has to die, I might die having a little fun on my way'. It is like playing with fire knowing that it can burn you. But the satisfaction it gives is priceless!

Why not delay something if you possibly can? You know that life is so uncertain. Due dates of assignments are extended, exams are canceled, lectures get canceled, research meetings get postponed and so on and on. Why not live the moment happily and keep the work till the latest moment possible?

If you procrastinate in your assignments, you are not the first one to encounter the difficulties. You can always get the clarifications and work on the problem with a lot of ease. If you procrastinate in your job, the requirements of the client might change and you might not have to do the work at all, rather than changing everything you have done.

Apart from these trivial and overt advantages of procrastination, the best part is the thrill. You keep the things pending till last moment and you risk so much. And this keeps the rush of adrenalin flowing in your brain. It makes you more efficient if you do the work at the last moment and makes you take a lot less time than usual.

So, Do not be shy in saying 'I am a procrastinator'.
Say it with pride.
Enjoy this moment, keep the pain for some other moment.

P.S. No pun intended to those hard working people who finish their work one week before the deadline and eagerly wait for the next one to come !

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Song for the Lunatic

And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear
You shout and no one seems to hear
And if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon

[Taken from Brain Damage, Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon]

What would he have felt when he saw his own creation slipping out of his hand? What would he have thought when the band started selling platinum albums without him? He created the genius and could not be part of it for long. But he would not have been in a state of mind to ask such questions. He had transcended into another domain. He became what we call 'Lunatic'.

Syd Barrett's story is full of such sad questions. Gilmour has always been very respectful towards Syd's legacy and in every concert or interview he acknowledges Syd's genius. You are immortal Syd. Millions of thanks for creating Pink Floyd.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Hypocracy of CNN-IBN Live

This post has been removed because I fear that because of the high visibility of this post, I can become the target of some unwanted actions by those whom I might have angered.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

For you, Father

Today's is papa's birthday. I wrote a little something for him. This is for you papa.


For you, father

I look back and think

About cricket, cards and learning math

Those were the days with you, father

I halt in the pace of life and ask

Can I go back in time and live those days again?

You are the teacher of all good things to me

Honesty, Values, Affection and Hard Work

You have been a guide and a friend, father

I take this moment, to thank you

For making me what I am today

Crossing the streets, holding your hand

Climbing on the back seat of our Bajaj

These are the moments, father

I miss them when I look back and wonder

How lucky I have been to be your son

The days are past and childhood gone

You moulded yourself in every stage of my life

To teach me the tricks of life, father

Whatever I am today, I am because of you

Mom and your love has taken me here

Thousands of miles away from you

I stand holding my head high

I thank God silently, father

I thank him for giving me parents like you

Across seven seas away from you

I stand bowing my head low

I pray to you, father

You are dearer to me than any God

With Love


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Classic Quotes from Edsger Dijkstra

Dijkstra, as the computer scientist would know, is one of the greatest 'Computer/Math Gurus' who walked the earth. A man of amazing intellect, patience, order and methodology, he has contributed a great deal in the areas of formal system design, algorithms, operating systems, distributed systems, programming languages. Here are some of his quotes.

"Object-oriented programming is an exceptionally bad idea which could only have originated in California."

"If in physics there's something you don't understand, you can always hide behind the uncharted depths of nature. You can always blame God. You didn't make it so complex yourself. But if your program doesn't work, there is no one to hide behind. You cannot hide behind an obstinate nature. If it doesn't work, you've messed up"

"The use of COBOL cripples the mind; its teaching should, therefore, be regarded as a criminal offence."

"It is practically impossible to teach good programming to students that have had a prior exposure to BASIC: as potential programmers they are mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration."

"Programming is one of the most difficult branches of applied mathematics; the poorer mathematicians had better remain pure mathematicians." [ Hail Programmers !!!]

"Program testing can be a very effective way to show the presence of bugs, but is hopelessly inadequate for showing their absence." [Dijkstra was very particular about designing your code well rather than relying on testing for a bug free software]

"The question of whether Machines Can Think ... is about as relevant as the question of whether Submarines Can Swim."

"Elegance is not a dispensable luxury but a quality that decides between success and failure." [Very typical thinking of Dijkstra]

"I mean, if 10 years from now, when you are doing something quick and dirty, you suddenly visualize that I am looking over your shoulders and say to yourself "Dijkstra would not have liked this", well, that would be enough immortality for me." [What would he feel if he sees the software engineering practices which rely on Rapid Development and Prototyping!]

He is immortal for us indeed.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Nothing 'Left' to say

Left parties are like those spoiled kids who will do anything to get attention of their parents. They will cry, they will shout, they will whine and put all kinds of unreasonable demands. They will throw tantrums at their will and make sure that their demand is fulfilled.

Dr. Singh, who is definitely not one of the strong prime ministers India has seen, had to call up President Bush and convey to him that the Nuclear Deal was put on hold because of internal political pressure on him. The deal empowers India to obtain nuclear technology from US with certain conditions which are not too outrageous. Neither these conditions jeopardize the sovereignty of India by any means.

But Left had to disagree. It had been long time since Left had demanded something from Govt. The 'little child' was feeling unimportant because nobody was noticing it. They had to grab people's attention towards them. So what do they do? They sabotage the Nuclear Deal. They do what they are best at. They threaten to pull down the Government. Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, the 'so called' new age avtar of Mrs. Indira Gandhi comes out in full support of Dr. Singh and blasts the Left parties in her speech. Any effects on Left? Nope. They still persisted and finally the Govt had to put a lid on the deal.

Result? The Govt is red-faced. Dr. Singh was humiliated on the political stage of the world. The Indian entrepreneurs and industrialists are unhappy. India lost a very good deal and an opportunity to strengthen the situation of better energy resources.

But look who is happy. Pakistan is happy. And lo! The Left is also happy ! The unruly child is smiling.

An Inquiry into necessity of Religion in society

Why do we need Religion? This question could not have been more relevant at any time than it is today. Today the world faces crisis under the pressure of religious fanatics. Hundreds of lives are being taken every day in the name of religion.

In these times of turmoil, we stop and ask ourselves, ‘Do we need a religion at all?’ I am reading a book named ‘Breaking the spell – Religion as natural phenomenon’ by Daniel Dennett. I do not place this book among the high quality thought stimulating material. But it did provide some useful insights into the rationale of an atheist. Dennett is more of a scientist – a proponent of evolution theory and Darwinism. He views everything from the point of view of Darwin’s theory and tries to fit the argument at hand into the Evolution theory. Therefore his arguments are almost always based on Darwin theory. The motivation behind this post is not to critic Dennett. I might write a critic on the book sometime later. The objective of the post is to present my thoughts about the need of religion in a society and why people follow religion.

1. To teach us to be good, just and loving to each other.

Although there will be a faction of people who would not agree to this, in general, I believe almost every religion has this foundation. To teach people to be good, just and loving to each other. The fundamental message that the religion is supposed to convey is the overall good of humanity and peace. Most certainly, we can say that there is no religion which is founded on the basis of hate or violence.

2. To teach us how to live our lives beautifully.

They act like cookbook solution to making our lives happy. They teach us good practices. They spread the message of happy living.

3. To give us shelter in the name of intangible and invisible ‘Almighty’

Sometimes, we do not have answers to complicated questions of life. We can not understand why the fate is so cruel to us. We do not have a way of knowing why our loved ones depart. We are upset with ourselves. We are upset with the whole world. The God or Almighty is the answer to all this. We say it’s the Almighty’s will. At least, it gives us temporary respite.

4. To help us achieve ‘Moksha’ (Salvation) after death

Most religion describe the goal of humans as to achieve ‘Moksha’ or salvation. Although we do not know what lies behind the closed opaque doors of death, we always long for a beautiful ‘after-life’. Salvation from the circle of life. Nirvana.

5. To give the follower a sense of belonging to a group

Herd mentality. It gives us a sense of belonging to a larger group. We Hindus. We Muslims. We Christians. It makes us feel stronger. It has ramifications of both nature. Good and Bad. People gather and pray in group. On the other hand, people also form cults and indulge in unacceptable activities. People form mob and spread riots or commit hate crimes.

6. To help keep people away from crimes and anti-social activities

‘Thou shalt not kill’ as the bible says. Killing is bad. If you hurt someone, God will never forgive you. As if the God is omniscient Supreme Court Judge who has absolute discretion and power. Even though nobody is watching, we do not steal. Because we are taught that ‘God is watching you’.

[Image Source:]

Monday, October 15, 2007

500 !

Today I finally saw the landmark figure of 500 hits on my Blog. It's been about 1.5 months since I started the Hit-Counter. Feels good :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Recollections: Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits) in Mumbai, March '05

Today I loaded my iPhone with some classic numbers by Dire Straits. And I was listening to them while walking back from school. It was 'Sultans of Swings' - the phenomenally successful song by Dire Straits which reminded me of his Mumbai tour a couple of years ago.

Mark Knopfler- known as voice and guitar of the band Dire Straits, toured India in March, 2005 and I was fortunate enough to go to his Mumbai concert on 5th March. I visited Mumbai just for one day for this purpose and was looked at with some strange stares when I told people about it. Understandable, as Knopfler is not too popular in India.

But the concert was worth every single rupee I spent for the ticket and travel. Knopfler is a legendary artist who has exceptional control and creativity over his guitar. And his impressive husky voice adds to the charm of his songs.

As a man of simplicity he is, he was in his typical outfit of white shirt and black trouser. His spectacles gave him a look more of a professor than a rock artist. Never running around on stage, not trying to woo the audience, no shouting. Absolutely no-nonsense approach towards his music. This is typical of Knopfler. And this is the attitude which commands tremendous respect towards him as an artist.

Lovers holding hands and dancing to the sweet tunes of 'Romeo and Juliet', young enthusiastic teens jumping and feet-thumping on the beats of 'Tunnel of love', sensitive music lovers sitting down on the ground and enjoying the sad and grave notes of 'Brothers in arms', Knopfler had something to offer to everyone in the crowd. And I remember the surge of enthusiasm when he started his good old 'Sultans of Swing' song. The whole crowd was up on its feet, cheering him. Crowd was thin though which was kind of expected as not many people know Dire Straits in India.

An evening to remember it was.

[Image Source:]

Monday, October 08, 2007

Life's a Trip

I went to our local grocery store yesterday, wearing my good old UMM T-shirt which has 'UMM - Life is a Trip' written on the front.

One jolly old fellow looked at it and said, 'Hey, you think life is a trip? With a one way ticket or return? Do you believe in re-incarnation?'

And I was thinking ... Hmm .. Interesting observation ! Is life a one way trip? Or it is actually a return trip. You go back to where you have come from. No strings attached. Visit an exotic place called 'Planet Earth', stay on an extended vacation, and go back. Go back where? Back home?

Friday, October 05, 2007

You get the chance to put the knife in.....

"....You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to
So that when they turn their backs on you
You'll get the chance to put the knife in....."

This is an excerpt from the song 'Dogs' by Pink Floyd. I love this song for the power of its lyrics. Look at the flair and killing instinct of the above lines. Sheer disregard for ethics and morales. Pure animal instincts.

My inquisitive mind again became active while listening to this song and started asking numerous questions.

Why is it that only humans have an obvious obligation to display ethics and morales? Why do values not apply to any of other species of life?

Darwin theory - 'Survival of fittest'. It does not say something like 'Survival of most kind' or 'Survival of most ethical'. Hasn't God made all the species of life equal from His perspective? Then why do we have to follow rules, social norms, ethics and morales?

Why can't we also be flagrantly bad in our behavior, corrupt and pervert, just like coyotes and wolves and other wild animals? Why can't we let our animal instincts take over us and live free and wild?

"...You gotta keep one eye looking over your shoulder
You know its going to get harder, and harder, and harder as you get older
And in the end you'll pack, fly down south
Hide your head in the sand
Just another sad old man
All alone and dying of cancer...."

Isn't the end going to be the same for everyone? Why listen to the Aesop's fables and learn morales? Why not live the life the way you want? Why rein our natural inclination for promiscuous behavior? Why hide our obvious lust for money and other material pleasures in the deep dark closets of our conscious?

[P.S. The above thoughts do not reflect my ways of living life. They are just what I call them. Thoughts. ]

"...You gotta be crazy, you gotta have a real need
You gotta sleep on your toes, and when you're on the street
You gotta be able to pick out the easy meat with your eyes closed
And then moving in silently, down wind and out of sight
You gotta strike when the moment is right without thinking...."

Keep the fire within alight. Keep such killer instinct in your lives. The world is brutal. You have to sleep on your toes and gotta be able to pick up the easy meat with your eyes closed. Strike when the moment is right and win. There is nothing more important in life than winning. And if you deny, you are being a hypocrite.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Bryan Adams in Phoenix

There are moments in your life when you just want to freeze in time. The sweet and mallow sound of 'Everything I do', seductive lyrics of 'Let's make a night', ground shattering guitar chords of 'Summer of 69', haunting echoes of 'Heaven' and so on and so forth. Yes, I am talking about our good old Bryan Adams!

I had the opportunity to attend his concert in Phoenix yesterday thanks to my dear friend Quadir and of course his car! This was my first concert experience in US. I have been to a few concerts in India. And I wanted to attend one in US since I came here. And my wish came true yesterday. And in a grand fashion! Live concert of Bryan Adams is indeed a enchanting experience.

We - Quadir, Parag, Karthik and me, were right on time contradictory to our habit of reaching a bit late! The size of audience surprised me. Merely a few hundreds people were seated. Apart from the fact that the size of the theater itself was small, not many people had turned up. There were a few empty seats. And I was a bit startled to see empty seats in a Bryan Adams concert!

The beginning of the concert turned out to be funny. The concert was named 'Bryan Adams/George Thorogood'. George Thorogood is an artist, lead member of a group called 'Destroyers' of which I had never heard before. He began the concert with his banal, un-original rock-n-roll style of songs and tried to woo the crowds in which he failed miserably.

And this went on for about an hour and half. And we were starting to get worried that we might have only a guest appearance of Bryan Adams on this show! But enduring his music for sometime, he finally ended and the crew started to clean up the stage, only adding to our fear of being swindled in the name of BA. But hope and excitement took over our fears and we could see the stage being set up for a new beginning!

And then came the moment. BA in his typical carefree and charming style appeared on stage doing what he does best. Playing guitar and singing! And the whole crowd went up cheering for him. He started with a song I had never heard of and I can't place which album it could be in. And then he went on to his usual charismatic songs like 'Summer of 69', 'back to you' and so on.

And music-crazy soul I am, I could not sit on my seat and I got up and went near the front railing to cheer and shout! Quadir and I both stood there for the rest of the concert.


1. The crowd severely lacked enthusiasm. People were sitting on their seats when he was singing songs like 'Summer of 69' or 'Back to you'. I can't imagine how you can be so calm when such songs are being played. This is a rock concert, not an opera. Come on.

2. I couldn't help compare the audience with that in Mumbai concert that I attended. People were berserk there in Mumbai. They were constantly shouting, jumping, singing along with him and were lost in his music totally. This crowd, except a few in the front rows and some in the back rows like us was more or less cold. Not responding to his crowd cheering techniques like offering the microphone to the crowd and asking for feedback etc.

3. Like he always does, he called a girl on the stage to sing 'Baby when you are gone' with him. He did this in Mumbai also. But I must say, the Mumbai babe was far more charming than the girl he called yesterday on stage. Mumbai babe was acting and singing so well on the stage that it looked like she was all prepared for it!

4. No songs from the album Spirit which happens to be my favorite album.

5. Acoustics of the hall were nothing more than average. The sound was not crystal clear and it lacked clarity many a time during the show.

6. Just like he always does, he closed the show once, bade good bye to the crowd and then returned on stage after a few seconds singing 'Run to you'. This guy knows how to make audience love him!