Thursday, January 31, 2008

Darn !

Iron Maiden are performing in Mumbai on Friday, 1st Feb ! How I wish I were in India :(

[Image Source:

Sunday, January 27, 2008


I take a deep breath and inhale the fresh air deep till the lungs cry out 'No more'.
The clouds are sailing in the background of a light blue sky.
The trees are divine after a sacred bath.

I look up to the heavens and say, "Touch me O' Almighty. Bless Thy child."
And I feel the drops of rain streaming down my face.

[Image Source:

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Something to smile about

The Teaching Assistant evaluations by my students of last semester has arrived. The subject was Analysis of Discrete Structures. Here are a few comments from them. I feel grateful. Thanks guys!

"Excellent TA, one of the best I have had"

"Thanks for all the work you put in"

"Very helpful with the homework. Thanks!"

"Great grading, very prompt and contains good explanation, Thank you"

"Our TA's were very helpful and made appointments outside usual office hours monitored the newsgroups carefully etc. I would like to have Bhavin as a TA again. Bhavin seems to know everything"

Saturday, January 19, 2008


And you run and you run to catch up with the sun, but its sinking
And racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in the relative way, but youre older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death

- Time, Pink Floyd

Friday, January 18, 2008

Thank you Mr. Bloomberg

[New York] Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is testing his appeal nationwide as an independent leader, outlined a bipartisan agenda in his State of the City address Thursday, including some tough new law enforcement measures, a major tax cut and expanded social services.

.....In his address on Thursday, Bloomberg took veiled jabs at the declared presidential candidates, some of whom he has criticized in the past for being anti-immigrant.

At the start of his speech, he introduced several immigrant families who live in New York City and hail from Colombia, China, India and Italy, and said: "To those who are wailing against immigration, to those politicians who, all of a sudden, have embraced xenophobia, I say, 'Open your eyes. Take a look behind me. This is what makes America great.'''

[Article at

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Run for cover

It is a dark night. There are so many people around me. All of us are huddled into some kind of a giant hall. There is pretty much nothing else in the room except windows.

The windows are open. But I think there is a lot of wind coming from outside which is making the windows smash on the frames. I feel cold too.

All the people have frightened look on their face. I don't quite understand what is going on around. And all of a sudden it starts to rain. It is raining fire from above. I see bright yellow fire balls coming down on us. And along with that there are bullets. It is unimaginably scary shower of fire and bullets whizzing past us.

People start running around like crazy. "Run for cover.. run for cover", I shout. People are stumbling on each other.

And before it could conclude, my eyes opened. Heartbeats racing and a dull trace of headache.

Not a very pleasant start of the day today for me!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A close call - Kahani Ek Damaged Passport Ki

"Hi, Good morning", I greeted her with my usual warm and affectionate smile. The official behind Korean Air's desk at the Mumbai International airport was a young, genial looking lady. "Good morning", returning my greeting with a reciprocative smile said she.

She took my passport in her hands and looked at her with a bit of puzzlement on her face. She called a man who looked to be in charge at the Korean Air area at the airport and gave him my passport. The man looks at it and says, "Sorry, but we can't allow you to fly without Immigration clearance of your passport. It is the case of damaged passport"

Darn, I cursed under my breath and looked at the passport. The lamination of the back page had been torn off and the page was exposed. Everything else looked in place. My negligence, I thought; I should never have kept the passport in my pocket. But I had not realized the gravity of the situation until I went to speak to the Immigration officer.

"Good morning sir", I started, "This is my passport and the Korean air people think it is a case of damaged passport and they want your nod before they can issue me a ticket"

The officer takes the passport in his hands and says

"Nahi ho sakta. Yeh to bilkul fat gaya hai. You can't travel with this passport"

I can't say I have never felt helpless and hopeless like this but this surely was one of those incidents in which your mind blanks out for a few seconds.

"Sir please. I am a student. My flight takes off in a couple of hours and I have to fly. I have no other way"
"Nahi ho sakta. Impossible hai. Agar humne yaha se permission de di to aapko aage jake problem hoga aur humko bhi musibat hogi fir"
"Sir you show me a way. What should I do now?"
"Cancel karva do ticket"
"Sir ticket to refundable nahi hai"
"Sorry. Bola na aapko nahi ho sakta kuchh bhi"

Now I had realized the pathetic situation I was in. Trying to find a reasonable argument, I worked out various scenarios in my mind as to how to go back to Ahmedabad, how to book a new ticket and so on. I continued,

"Sir aap apne sahab ko puchh lo ek baar. Unke paas koi raasta hoga. Please aap meri situation samjo. Yeh abhi Ahmedabad-Mumbai flight mein hi hua hai. It was not like this before I boarded the plane from there. It got damaged in my pocket on the flight"

"Thik hai, puchh leta hun", and he goes inside to meet his boss. A few seconds passed and I saw him coming out of his boss's office. My heart raced at the speed of a Ferrari.

"Impossible hai", and my heart sank. "Sahab bol rahe hai nahi ho sakta. Yeh bilkul damage ho chuka hai and we can't do anything. Naya passport banva lo"
"Sir, naya passport to kaise banva lun abhi. Usme to time jayega and I have to reach my college. Please aap kuchh kijiye". Now I had almost lost all hopes but yet I hung around for those last desperate few moments. As if waiting for the last and final blow in a fight.

"Sir please. Kuchh karo aap"
"Thik hai, jaao flight ke representative ko bula ke lao yaha pe"

Hearing this, I felt like a loosing boxer who got an unexpected time-out from the match referee.
I rushed to Korean desk and asked that person who had sent me to Immigration to come with me and deal with the situation. He looked uncertain but certainly unhappy with this. He clearly did not want to get involved. Helping a troubled man was not to his liking for sure. He mumbled something and called out another person to go with me. He turned out to be a real kind hearted man. He came along with me to the Immigration and met with the boss there, indicating to me when to speak, when to follow the boss, where to stand and so on. He certainly seemed to know the ways of bureaucracy.

"Why are you going to US"
"I am a student sir, I study at University of Arizona"
"What do you study"
"Masters in Computer Science"

He walks away to some immigration booth. This was definitely a positive sign. More time indicated less probability of rejection. He spent about 5 minutes there, came back and handed my passport to that Korean air guy and whispered to him about signing some agreement.

"Ho gaya hai. It's okey", he came to me, smiled and said.
"You just need to sign an agreement saying 'Korean air is not liable' for this"

Whatever. Let me out of here, I thought. So finally I signed that agreement and got my boarding pass. I almost flew away from there without looking back. Lest they change their mind and call me back.

Throughout the flight the thought of having problems at the LA immigration check troubled me. I have done nothing wrong and it happened while I was in flight, I kept convincing myself.

Luckily the immigration officer didn't seem to be bothered about that page of the passport and I had no trouble clearing the immigration.

Happy ending to a tense situation. Thank God for that. It reminded me of those trying moments during my visa interview where I had to struggle for more than an hour and thirty minutes to convince the visa people of genuineness of my case and establish my credibility.


My sheer dislike for travel is not unjustified. I always get my checked in baggage in the end after every bag has arrived on the carousel. Whenever there is a connecting flight, the two gates are separated by at least a mile's distance which I have to walk. I hate packing. I dread those narrow seats and small legrooms on the flight. How I wish I could avoid those long queues at security check in and avoid the trouble of emptying everything on your body except clothes (Thank God and American Government for that). And now this incident!

[Image Source:]

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Book review: Next by Michael Crichton

Dear Mr. Crichton

I have some difficult questions for you that you are not going to like.

Were you compelled to write this book just with monetary gains in mind? Because there sure is no soul in this book. Why could you not create intriguing and gripping plots like Airframe, The Great Train Robbery and Timeline? Were you in too much of a hurry to get a book out just for the sake of it?

I am really very very disappointed by this book, sir. The book has no strong pivot around which a story could firmly revolve. There were several loose threads in the story which you could not tie properly at the end. And honestly, the whole cloning issue is far too old and worn out now to impress anyone as a fiction work. Your book I read before this one was Prey. And that too had a glimpse of weariness in your writing. But this one was a complete failure in my critical point of view.

I am still not giving up on your established brilliance and mastery of writing a researched fiction. Hope the next one will not disappoint me.

(Still) Yours faithful

Friday, January 11, 2008

Forgive and Forget
Life is too short
Move on

Monday, January 07, 2008

Betrayed. Defeated. Humiliated.

January 6, 2008. Death of 'A Gentleman's game'.
Indian team defeated by the trio of umpires and Australian team's stinking attitude towards game.
Once again Australia proved that their cricket sucks.
Ponting is one of the worst, most greedy and unethical cricketer and captain of all time.
Symonds is opportunistic.
Kumble handled the situation very gracefully.
ICC is sold out to the anti-asian and racist clique.
BCCI's stand will be interesting to watch.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Rush to save the wild life - At what expense?

Gujarat Govt. announced aid of Rs. 40,00,00,000 ($10,000,000) to save the wild tigers/lions in the state. Along with that the govt. announced aid of Rs. 20,00,00,000 ($5,000,000) for girl child education program!

Is it really that important to save some endangered species as against spending that money for the benefits of poor girl-children's education?

Shouldn't we take poverty and illiteracy more seriously as compared to wild life protection? I seriously believe our first responsibility as a citizen is to help our fellow citizens in our society rather than frivolously dedicating financial resources to environmental jingles like wild life protection.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Welcome 2008

Five friends
Smooth lounge music
New year eve
Masala Chai
And 'catching up talks' of last one and a half years

What more could I have asked for? Would I have wished for anything different? May be a discotheque, dancing to the tunes of latest hip-hop and rock, flashy lights and strange foreign beauties? Naah... Nothing could have been more perfect than this new year eve.

We went to lounge9 - one of my favorite cafes in Ahmedabad. A relatively quiet and uncrowded place that was an unusual sight on the new year's eve.

This time the celebrations were at their best (or noisiest, most elaborate and craziest) in Ahmedabad. All roads leading to S.G. Highway were flooded with vehicles. (My wounded knee must have cursed me for I had to keep my left foot working on the clutch.) We took a first shot at Lounge9 and it was successful. We got the sofas for ourselves.

There was euphoric celebrations outside the cafe with loud music and lots of fancy fireworks. As Priyanka also mentions in her blog most hilarious sight was Santa dancing to the tunes of Daler Mehandi's 'Kala Kaua Kaat Khayega'. The creators of this mythological character would faint at this sight for sure!

All in all, it was the best new year eve I could have asked for this time.

[Image Source:]

Book Review: The Kite Runner

"There is a way to be good again". This statement is the center of the magnificently crafted art work "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini. The only difference between an author like Hosseini and a renowned painter is that an author creates pictures with words rather than colors. Kite Runner is undoubtedly one of the best books I have read. Poignant, powerful and vivid, Kite Runner is a work of amazing imagination. The story is simple yet heartfelt, and Hosseini is a master recounter.

The story spans about four decades and is set in Afghanistan, Pakistan and California. It's the story of a man's journey to redemption. To see a sin being committed, without trying to stop it is a bigger sin. And the guilt stings more than a bullet wound. Amir, the hero of the story sees a crime being committed to his servent's son, who is his best friend too and lives his entire youth years in the guilt of standing there doing nothing to stop it. And after all these years, when a time comes to redeem himself and drag himself out of the quagmire of guilt, he takes up the challenge and does something which is going to change the rest of his life.

This is the story of love and loyalty of a simple and honest servent. It is the story of a man's conflicts with his inner soul. Torn between his friendship with a servent's son and his own pride, the conflicting emotions of Amir have been depicted in an excellent manner by Hosseini.

Apart from being a story of one man, this is also the story of changing times in Afghanistan. With subtle colors, the author paints the grim picture of the doomed Afghanistan, first by internal wars and then by Taliban.

This is Hosseini's first work of fiction and he has done a supereme job. There are some authors who write like journalists. Some others write like blogs. But Hosseini writes like a story teller. He pays attention to smallest details. Details not in the surroundings but the details of the characters' emotions.

I would recommend this book to all those who love to read stories. Also to those who enjoy an excellent writing. Thumbs up for Kite Runner and Khaled Hosseini.

P.S. Thanks Priyanka for such a wonderful gift :)