Friday, April 29, 2005

In Mars We Trust - III

I had not really thought I would make a third and even when I originally planned it, the third was not meant to be like this....but there has been this concatenation of circumstances which I really had no control on......I really think this is's a real-life incident and is just hilarious.....and no, I have not made this up, or exaggerated or anything....

First, I'll post below this a message that a fresher who has just made it to IIMA posted on their Discussion Board.....below that is the reply that a second year student sent to that mail. Go through at leisure....the question posed by this mail really has convinced me that there's no accounting for people and the depths that their IQs slip to.....

The mail:

i need a cell cuz i want to stay in touch with my guy. also i may not be in my room/ be able to come to my room to make/take calls at all times, but i can always carry my cell with me anywhere!!

ofcourse i will get std activated... but messagin u can do only thru a cell...

i get teh point abt matchin networks to reduce cost... n here is my dilemma

my guy has an airtel connection
my dad has a reliance phone
my brother has idea
and our home phone is a tata indicom.

now what???

i need to have teh most cost effective way out...
which wd be covenient fr my parents, bro and guy too!!




The reply:

This is a very good query. I also faced a lot of problems when I came
to IIMA because I wanted to stay in touch with my guy, bhains and bakri (If I had an elephant, it would have been a simple matter of making a trunk call). Considering the reverence that Indian culture accords to the bovine and the divine, staying in touch with cattle is a very important issue.

One needs to only read the Hindi stories of Munshi Premchand, such as Heera Moti and Godaan to realize the deep bonds that people in the cowbelt have for their livestock. Of course, calling Munshi Premchand a Hindi writer is slightly misleading because his writings have a proliferation of Urdu words, reflecting the degree of intermixing between Urdu and Hindi in pre-independence Uttar Pradesh. The alphabet taught in schools during those days began with
Aliph, which interestingly is a derivative of the Greek alpha, which had first made its presence felt in India during the times of Alexander and Selecus Nicator. And perhaps it is divine happenstance that Alexander the Great had to retreat from the Ganges, thereby
completing the UP connection. However the Greek influence in India did not die out with him, his generals (if you are still reading this then I can only wonder how exciting your work is) established mini kingdoms from whatever they could salvage of his victories and particularly interesting is the case of the kingdom of Bactria (in present day Afghanistan), a Greek island in a South Asian sea. The great king Menander of Bactria is the same Milinda, the celebrated king who had a dialogue with the Buddhist sage Nagasena on the semantics of being.

But let me not digress from the core issue, which is your connectivity query. Well as you know, India has undergone a telecom revolution in the past 10 years or so. It all began with the breaking down of the monoploy of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and the
establishment of quasi-autonomous bodies like the MTNL and the VSNL. For the purpose of cellular communications, India is divided into a number of contiguous circles, which roughly correspond to the boundaries of the states (which is very convenient considering that the states of India were reorganized on a linguistic basis in the 1950s, thus going to show how farsighted our planners and statesmen were at the time). Initially, for reasons of viable competition, each circle could have 2 private operators and one network from either MTNL or BSNL. At the moment, I think 3 private operators are allowed and plans are to allow a further private player in a circle.

So what you need to do is, locate a map of India, find the telecom cirlces and identify the players operating there. Formulate a matrix to display this information and then apply the concepts of cost minimization (modified simplex method) to identify the optimal network combination for your needs.

Hope that helps..

Monday, April 25, 2005

Stained Glass Windows

She looked a lot more frail than when he had last seen her. Though it had been only four months since they had met last, she seemed to have aged ten years. Yet now, as he sat there, he felt at peace. He'd just been through his own private Hell, but he knew how insignificant it was in comparison. It was one of the few things that had kept him going all through.

As he buried his face in her hair, his mind went back to the night before when he'd stood looking out at the sea. It was a beautiful place. Right across the bay, he could see the arc of lights from the marina, they looked beautiful at night. And the dark water below.....the entire thing seemed like life itself...dreams etched in our minds, with the darkness of reality all that separates us from them. So near, and yet so far....just like it had always been.....

He came back to the moment abruptly as he felt her drawing away from him. "Go away". Her voice was firm, there was no hint of a quiver or any wavering. It was almost as if she'd decided after a great deal of thought and was totally convinced. Knowing her as he did, he also knew it was probably the way it really was. "I can't. I won't. Not now....not like this". He reached out for her hand...she drew it away.....that hurt even more than the words.

Sometimes, things just aren't what you'd like them to be. What do you do when faced with a choice that affects too many things that matter? Do you forfeit your desire for someone else's happiness? At times, yes, it seems the done thing, when that person has done enough for you to make it seem the right choice......but what when that choice is something that will determine the course of life itself?

Do you settle for something that will work though your heart's not in it? Or do you choose to pursue a dream that seems so unlikely that it's dangerous......damn, no one ever said life was easy, but there seemed to be too many things to decide right now....

"Why? Don't be stupid. Just go. It's better that way, and you know it. I'm not going to be here you know, so you might as well realize that now". "I do.....but I'm still going to be here..."

Saturday, April 23, 2005

It's Tough At Times

He was sweating....he could not afford to slip up this time. Success in his mission was critical. It had taken him a long time and a lot of effort to get to this point. Blowing things now, would mean a lot of effort gone to waste. Not to mention the enormous, he just had to get the job done.....he could not falter.

The darkness wasn't making things easy though. It was as if he was searching for the proverbial needle in the haystack......except that the light being so bad reduced his chances even further. His hands had been trembling since the moment he had realized that this was the moment he had been waiting for, but now, they were also becoming numb. Not a good sign when you were involved in such a delicate operation.

"Relax...easy does it. Just a slight press and then a tug should do it....just be calm", he told himself. If only it was that easy!!! Still, he had to try. Slowly he let his fingers stop shaking. Then, he pressed....and nothing happened. He could feel that the damn thing was still in the same position. No change whatsoever....what the Hell was it going to take? Dynamite?????

He also realized that he didn't really have time on his side. He swore silently. A more experienced person would have finished this task with consummate ease. His peers had spoken about it so casually. Maybe he should have gone into a bit more detail then....but it was too late now....the moment had arrived and it was upto him now to deliver.....

He drew a deep breath and changed the angle with which he had grasped it. Gave him a little more leverage this time......then he slowly pressed his fingers close had to happen this time......

He felt her move slightly and snuggle closer.... Damn! It can be really tough opening a clasp!!!

** The inspiration for this post came from a close friend of mine who recited something similar years comes nowhere close to that rendition.....the language and expressions she incorporated were stunning and not something I can manage to put into words.....thanks Carol....

Monday, April 18, 2005

Hard Talking

The previous posts were actually intended as part of a was just aimed at having a bit of fun at everyone's expense, mine included.....but then things have this habit of being insanely silly at times....the way you intend them to be is rarely the way things are.....and I don't think I will complete that series.....

A conversation last night made me realize just how different reality is from the way we would like things to be.....we'd so like to believe that we live in a civilized world; a world where education and, like it or not, monetary well-being, have inculcated in us an open culture, a sense of respect for other individuals and their beings.....

We like to dream that the society we are a part of has progressed and has reached the stage where it is only the lower classes, the "lesser mortals" who indulge in a certian type of lifestyle.....and that all is well with our own surroundings.....

Sad, so bloody would think that exposure to a "liberated" society would open the eyes of people, that living in a developed place would liberate their thought processes......surprising at times, how events can have a reaction that is completely the opposite of what you may expect....

Thursday, April 14, 2005

In Mars We Trust - II

"Hang on a minute will you....just callnig N". I'd just entered his room, so I made myself comfortable while this visibly content and much-in-love friend of mine made his call....

"Hi"....squawk squawk squawk....."yeah but,"....squawk squawk squawk....."yes, you"....squawk squawk squawk....."I was"....squawk squawk squawk....."and then"....squawk squawk squawk....."but you"....squawk squawk squawk....."I only"....squawk squawk squawk....."but list" (click) "en"!!!! "She cut me off! :-("

Hmm....this was the moment where I got to display my sagacity and new-found wisdom of course.."You know K, the problem with you is that you don't LISTEN to her!" "Yeah? But I was.." "There. See? You don't LISTEN!!! You're always trying to talk, to give're always trying to SOLVE things! You need to listen to HER!!!" "Yeah! By Satan! You're right! That's what she was just telling me! That I don't listen to know what? I'm going to meet her.....and this time, I'm just going to do what you said. I'll listen!!!"

In retrospect that conversation displayed more of her lung power than anything else, I guess, but at the moment, it had seemed like the right advice for me to was I to know that she would later dump him for being too "unresponsive" and "too occupied otherwise" and "not giving her enough attention"....Jeez! Now, just what do these creatures want????

And then, in my darkest hour, I turned to my very own Diotima (Diotima, for the uninformed is the priestess that Socrates turns to in "Symposium"). "O Most exalted one. O fountain of knowledge, beauty and all other things that women do not exemplify (though you be one yourself), help me. Show me the light, so that I may rise above the mundane!"

Diotima: What do you want, you miserable scum? (No, she didn't use those words, but I don't want to use words that are inappropriate for juvenile audiences)
Me: I want to know three things:
1. What do women want?
2. Why don't we men know anything about what they want?
3. Why on Earth are women so incredibly senseless and gullible?

Diotima: Well, I shall answer your questions in reverse order
3. Women are so senseless and gullibe so that mankind continues to procreate
2. If you think about my answer to the previous question it may throw more light upon this answer, though of course, if you choose to let my words confound you any more, you will find that the innate simplicity of the answer will devour you in it's extremely complex meaning and the light that shines on the dark parts of that miniscule piece of lard that you call your brain will cease to illuminate even the parts that it earlier did...
1. Women do not know what they truly want, but in truth the fact is that they want nothing much more than what you really already know, except for the fact that you having confounded yourself with the previous answer find yourself unable to employ anything other than the model of projection of desire which is essentially flawed in this case because women do not JUST WANT SEX UNLIKE YOU MISERABLE MANIACS!!!!!!

Now that was a particularly and singularly enlightening conversation. Although I must admit that she confounded me more than anything else, I realise that the only reason I am confounded was the profound truth of all that she had said....don't ask me to explain any of what she said (she's a woman after all, and therefore completely incomprehensible for me) but I have always believed that if anything completely confounds you, it is apt to be because it is correct!! After all, how many of us understand a word of Electromagnetics......or even Community Living for that matter????

Well, that put an end to one part of my quest, but up had cropped another question....that of the "projection of desire" thingy that she had spoken of....the problems that my subsequent quest led me to, shall be documented in a later post....

Oh and by the way, for all those of you still not convinced about the depth and truth of the words spoken by women, here's something said to me by a friend yesterday.....24 hours, and I am still no closer to figuring out the meaning, so all you women out there, please do lend me a helping hand....

Me: I'll give you a call then, when I leave and will tell you where to meet...
She: Noooo....I don't feel like going home before coming out....
Me: you want to go just now?
She: Noooo....don't want to go right now either.....
Me: then what do you want to do???
She: I don't know...I want to go, but I don't want to go to my place.....but I don't want to go right now tell me what to do....

*Sigh* That's exactly where I gave up.....

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Appendix for "In Mars We Trust - I"

Don’t know if you ever studied it, but when I was a kid in school we had a subject called “Community Living”. Now that I look back on it I realize what utter crap we were taught in that subject. Take a small example. “When crossing a road, first look to your right, then to your left and then to your right again. If there are no vehicles approaching, it’s then safe to cross”, it said. Now, if you live in Bombay like I do, or in any other civilized city (which therefore means you live outside India) you will know what utter crap this is….

Follow this teaching and of course, you’re going to be consigned to a life on the pavement, filled with all the joys of being one of those “waiting-to-cross-the-road” In-duh-viduals. And that would be the way you’d then be destined to live until a stray meteor fell on your head putting an end to your incident-packed and pollution-filled existence. The sensible way to cross the road of course, is to run onto the road with wide eyes and arms waving wildly in the air, screaming that there is a tsunami headed in this direction. Upon hearing this all the motorists immediately freeze or turn their vehicles around thereby allowing you to cross the road like Moses crossing the Red Sea (the water connect leads me to believe that Moses used a similar method).

Ah well, that’s just one of the senseless things we were taught….there were tons of others, like offering a seat to a lady….the last time I tried that, all I got was a look that indicated that the lady thought I was trying to rape her or something……which was highly unlikely considering that she was only around a hundred years older than me….*sigh*……it’s a tough life…..

Anyway, some people asked me to post the joke about the genie and the highway, so here goes (I’m surprised you haven’t heard this really…though I am sure you know the meaning anyway)…..

There’s this guy that, as happens in all jokes of this kind, gets stranded on a deserted island (will someone tell me where all these deserted islands spring up from and how it happens that no jokes find people from other jokes meeting up on their deserted islands????). Well, anyway, this guy is on this island somewhere around 10,000 miles away from home…….and once again, very predictably, he finds a magic lamp. Wonder of wonders, he realizes it’s a magic lamp, and having heard of Alladin and all those of that ilk, decides very sensibly, to rub it…..

There appears this mandatory genie of course, who tells this chap to ask for a wish. The conversation between the genie and the chap thereafter went like this:

Chap: Uh, I’d like this 8-lane super-expressway right upto my doorstep in California, so that I can drive home and can drop back here anytime I want to, coz this place is really beautiful.
Genie: Are you freaking insane???? Do you realize the logistical problems with that sort of project??? The concrete, cement and steel required to build supports right from the floor of the ocean…that too for 10,00 miles??????? Ask for something else dude….
Chap: *Sigh* Well, ok….you know what? I’d like to understand women…as in really know what they’re thinking…so that I know what I can do to make them happy….
Genie: *Sigh* How many lanes did you say you wanted on that highway????

Saturday, April 09, 2005

In Mars We Trust - I

Statutory Disclaimer: The incidents described in the following post have all occured in reality. All opinions expressed belong to the people expressing them, and not the author, except of course, the opinions expressed by the author himself......and if you disagree, go sue the aliens that possessed the mind of the author and prompted him to go ahead and write this against all the sensible thoughts that endeavoured to prevent him from this disaster-inviting post......

It all started with the thought that the sole reason women were created by those that created them, was to torment men and make them look forward to Hell as a pleasant vacation. All this, however was to be accomplished in a sly manner wherein men needed to be convinced that women were actually exalted beings that needed to be cherished and kept happy and praised and lavished gifts on if life was to be considered a success. All part of a vicious scheme it seemed to me at that time.....

But then, there was this contradicting thought that it couldn't be, really.....surely there was more to women than that....but then, why were women so damn impossible to understand? We all know the joke about the genie and the six-lane case you don't, drop a comment and I'll post it in my next post ;-). Anyway, I decided then to investigate this phenomenon in an endeavour to reach the truth (Shows you just how "vella" - jobless - I am right now)

So I called up an old friend of mine, a woman whom I rated to be more sensible than the average woman (though I know that's not saying much). Before I could start on my deeply researched and well thought-out questionnaire though, she started on a torrent of her domestic problems....if any of you has ever tried stopping a woman in such a mood, I am sure you'll agree that stopping a speeding locomotive is a highly preferable and much easier option. Still, nice chap that I am (since no1 else will say that, I must take the initiative of complimenting myself here ;-) ), I tried suggesting a solution.......big mistake!!!!!

Her: What do I do...I mean, you tell me, what do I DO???
Me: See, you could...
Her: SHUT UP!!!!
Me: Errr....but you just asked...
She: Just LISTEN, will you...just L-I-S-T-E-N!!!!!
Me: OK.....
She: So, anyway, and then he said....and WHAT am I supposed to do????
Me: Well, cou..
She: What's the PROBLEM with you guys?? Can’t you just listen?????
Me: Uh-yeah, ok, sure, definitely, go on….

Well, this actually put me one step behind in my search for the answer I sought. After all, if the woman I rated as being less incomprehensible than most gave me such a problem, what would the rest be like?? Just then, I had a brainwave. I remembered this other woman I knew whom I thought was pretty bright. I hadn’t ever spoken to her actually, but she hadn’t yet said anything that I didn’t understand. Sad to say, it did not strike me at that moment that the only reason I had never failed to understand her was that she had never said anything to me!!!!!

Anyway, I approached her and what ensued was:

She: Hey!!! Where’s your girlfriend?
Me: Girlfriend? I don’t have one…anyway, I wanted to ask you some…
She: Don’t lie. Come on now. Be a good boy!
Me: Listen, I told you, I’m single….now, if you’ll listen, I want to…
She (with stupid girlish know-it-all expression and voice): Come on now, don’t tell me YOU are single…
Me: Damn it! Why don’t you listen??? YES! I am. Now, see, what happ….
She: Don’t tell me…I refuse to believe you..
Me (exasperated): Why? Do YOU think I am THAT hot??
She: Err….no….but….

Ah! Had her silent for a minute….so I told her about my conversation with the earlier mentioned woman and asked her for her interpretation…..

She: You see, when we women tell you about a problem, we don’t want a solution.
Me: But then why talk about the problem? I thought the question, “What do I do?” was one that begged an answer!!!
She: NO! You’re supposed to LISTEN!
Me: I did listen! That’s why I suggested…
She: Shut UP! Don’t you understand???? We don’t WANT a solution!!!
Me: That’s silly! Because then what’s the problem? And why crib about something you don’t want to solve?
She: We DO want to solve it! But we DON’T want a solution or suggestions!!!! We just want you to LISTEN!!!
Me (totally frazzled with the last statement): * Sigh* OK. Thanks a lot…that was really enlightening….

The next part of this doomed-from-the-outset quest for the solution to mankind’s biggest mystery shall come after a while…as you can imagine, these exertions have taken a severe toll and recuperation is a necessity….

Monday, April 04, 2005

Dyed In a Haze

Ever had a feeling of total detachment? It's awesome really. You start thinking about something and then obviously the flow of thoughts goes further and further......and then at one point, suddenly you realize that you're detached from your thoughts in a can see them and see the flow......and it's as if you're just an observer....passive....

Experienced one of these phases on the journey to Bombay a couple of days back (Yes, am now back in Bombay). It was quite enjoyable. It all started with something a friend of mine had said to me earlier in the day and then from there on, it just kept going....and yeah, it ended with me thinking just how we manage to get into such a state....where you see your thoughts....and yet are detached....fantastic....

The first year at L is over.....and I must say that now that it's over, it seems to have passed pretty fast......another classic example of how our brain masks things it doesn't memories get coloured and biased with time....selective recall...whatever.....anyway.... On campus it used to be a case of, "Damn! When will this get over so that we can go home??? This is interminable!!" And now that it's over it's a case of, "Oh! One year gone??? Already??? Wow!!! That was fast!" :-)

Was also quite hilarious seeing some of the folks pack! It was almost as if they were leaving for good and had to clean out their rooms or something. There were people taking like, 3 suitcases and all that.......and all the while I'm like thinking to myself, "Jeez! Have I missed something then? Coz I can't think of what to take to fill my bag up!!!!" And trust me, I am renowned for NOT knowing how to travel light!!!!!! Hmm......maybe it's down to the fact that I'm gonna be buying my new wardrobe so I didn't carry too many clothes......but still, 3 suitcases??????????????????

Friday, April 01, 2005

The Crowd Within

I hate crowds. Can't stand them....yeah, I guess you're wondering how I happen to love Bombay so much then.... But it's not like I hate crowds as in the crowds one sees on the railway stations...those are just a mass of people.....I hate crowds as in a large group of people I know, of which I am supposed to be a part....

It's something I have been conscious of for ages. In Engineering college, people couldn't understand my reluctance to join them in their revelry, they took it as snootishness and of course, I was classified as a "snob". Still wasn't enough to spur me into making any social overtures. And it's still the same....all these years later, I am still where I was then.....

I feel stifled in the crowd....there are people you will like...but in the same measure there will be people you don't. You share a different level of acquaintance with each person there, some are just casual "diplomatic" acquaintances...some are intimate. But you've got to play to the tune the masses want. So much better just sitting with a small group of two or at most three people whom you are really comfortable with.....if not alone.....

But we all make mistakes and you do occasionally put your foot in the mouth in the biggest possible way...."Careful what you wish, careful what you say, careful what you wish, you may regret it, careful what you say, you just might get it", as Hetfield puts it so beautifully.....sometimes you ask for a finger and get an arm that you just don't want!!!!

It's almost as if people feel better surrounded by a if it satisfies their need for social acceptance....satisfies an insecurity within...or is it just me that thinks that way? I don't know...and frankly I am beyond caring....

Exams are over.....will be heading out of here tomorrow.....wish I had a bit more of the old rebelliousness tonight.....the will to just turn my back and walk away from certain things......ah well, I'm going to face certain things for the rest of my life.....may as well start now.....