Gang of 6...

This blog belongs to 6 ex COE students of NSIT... Though, now, we are all in separate places, studying or working, we hope to remain in touch with each other lest we forget the great time we had back in college. This blog is an attempt to achieve the same. Here's to us...!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Yo! the emperor is here

never to late eh?...hehe! finally got an invitation to the bloody blog!!...thanks john!!!i joined in 2006! yipeee!...cya around folks!

Chrstmas tidings..

Sorry for not keeping you guys posted...here's some news on my Italian Christmas: I had been invited over by a third-year Mathematical Engineering (even he is not sure what that is:) student at Politecnico, to his home for Christmas Eve dinner and then the Vigil mass at a nearby church. Davide's family was very happy to have me over, and there was lots of familiar bantering and leg-pulling (his grandparents and cousins' family were there as well). One of his cousins(Gabriele) had spent 6 months in Australia, and so naturally we ended up discussing the worth of the latest Bollywood potboilers and British sitcoms. I was surprised to find a very well-stocked library - Asimov, Clarke, Clancy, Ludlum..all the latest fiction/fantasy bestsellers..and all in Italian! In fact, I have been generally surprised to see the kind of preference Italians (and all Europeans, I think) have for their mother tongue. Understand, of course, that I come from a second-generation Malayali family settled in Delhi - and hence butcher both Malayalam and Hindi when I try speaking them(ok, Hindi not so much). But, in general, it is rather interesting to contrast an Italian 's thinking vis-a-vis English to the Indian's - it's almost as though we have no national pride! But, as I explain to others (and console myself) here as regards the general Indian facility for English - we do have good historical reasons for the choice of English. But, still, it would be nice to see young people in India love and use Hindi (or their respective mother tongues) as the Italians do their italiano.
Anyway, enough language politics. And what should I say about the food - lots of courses(all kinds of meats I don't recall now), and the Italians do seem to love their desserts more than Bengalis. Apart from the Pannetone(a typical Milanese Christmas cake), we had candied chestnuts, tarts, and what-not-else.
After the dinner, we went for midnight mass at a nearby church(apparently, no matter where you live in Milan, there would be a church within 5 minutes walking distance). Even though I could follow little of the Italian Mass, it was quite the only link I could find with an Indian Christmas; do you know I have yet to sing a single
carol!
On Christmas day itself, another friend, Luca Bergamaschi(3rd year student of Medicine) picked me up from the flat for lunch at his place. Here also, the family was quite happy to have me over. In general, people here have very little idea about India. They know it's huge, and has lots of (poor) people, but little else.
So I got questions like - Why do you speak English? Do they speak Hindi all over India? Why are Indians so good at IT?I hope I gave all of these nice people a good first impression of India (Summarised answer to all: We Indians are all trilingual, adept in English and abstract thinking:)

And on the 26th night, Marcello and Stefano(vice-directors of the residence) returned to Torrescalla(the name of the place where I am staying). So, now I am back in main residence - till they officially reopen the student residence in Jan, when I'll have to move back to the flat for lack of room here. Other students are coming back as well these days- right now, we have Arcen(Cote D'Ivorean), Marco(Peruvian) and Roberto(Italian studying in Paris) here. Nowadays, I just spend all day in front of my comp, following up on my Masters' applications.

We have all meals together - who had known one could tire of meat everyday! - where Snappo (= Stefano Neopolitano!) tries to force English down everyone's throats(while my Italian remains pathetic, I am quite sure everyone here would have near-perfect command of English idioms by the end of Feb:) So, generally, I am having a nice lazy
vacation - at least till Univ reopens...and what are you guys up to?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

batao..

Blogger's notice: " Your new version of Blogger is ready!

The new version of Blogger now has all the original features you're used to, plus new post labels, drag-and-drop template editing, and privacy controls. And, it's a lot more reliable.

After you switch you'll need to sign in with your Google Account, but your blogs will stay the same. Their content and layout will not change. "

Should i do it???

Friday, December 15, 2006

Gandhi, Ahinsa, and Britishers

The other day, I was watching the movie 'Gandhi' yet again, and it got me thinking (kabhi kabhi yeh kaam bhi karna chaheye) and confused (yet again).

The confusion part:
I find the British policies/behavior in their colonies very confusing. On one hand they were colonizing nations; enslaving generations; killing, imprisoning people as they wished; basically doing whatever they wanted. On the other hand they followed the prevailing law; wouldn't arrest/kill Gandhi even when its obvious that he is a danger to the British rule; have trials whose outcome everyone knows, like the Bhagat Singh case, when they could have simply shot the 3 'terrorists'.
Now what do you call this type of behavior: hypocrisy, sanctimoniousness, self-righteousness, or outright foolishness?

The thinking part:
Well, I cant express this till the above confusion is cleared, as I am not too clear on what I am thinking.

keep posting guys.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Discrimination

Some interesting arguments made.. I'll give a different take - take the fundamental biological and anthropological view - discrimination is reqd. for the success and well being of the human species and for that matter animals as well. Females discriminate between different males on the basis of some parameters which she wants her offspring to inherit and vice versa for males as well. Deep down inside is that primal instinct to discriminate.

Where discrimination goes wrong is when a group of people decide that their offspring will inherit their rights and property - this breeds incompetence and laziness which slows human progress ( caste system did this in india). We can probably learn frm animals here - there is no sense of inheritance in any animal species. The parents raise their young and then they r on their own. Whether they succeed or not depends on their hard work and genes and not dad's old bank balance. One view is that we some of us humans are guilty of doin more than our fair share in life - building huge empires and concentrating resources and money in few hands - this breeds inheritance and thus discrimiantion on the basis of inheritance.

I believe where discrimination creates the prb is wen the basis for it is applied in situations where they r not applicable - in todays globalized and free society everyone is capable of everything. The tech. and science revolution of the past 500 years has nt led to any evolution of the brains of any particular sub-species of humans. An African is no less a student than a European. Even differences like atheletic ability are been re-dressed. Chinese and Japanese have showed Asians can win Athletic events like sprint races and swimming competitions.

The point is that with globalized lifestyles the discrimination is lessening. because of similarities in cultures lifestyles and up-bringing etc. humans every where have the same platform to launch from in life and they demand to be treated equally. We thus use merit to discriminate these people then.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Benvenuto a Milano!

Rats Galore

(I hope that was correct!)

I reached Milan safe and (mostly:) sound today. The flight was fairly comfortable(though the food was crappy) I had to reach the student residence where I am staying myself from the airport, but it wasn't much of a problem. The place is great - I get a single room, and net access and everything. ANd I will be going to the university on Monday, and meet my guide etc. Until then, I am free to do what I will! So today, in the evening for example, I am going to see a bit more of Milan, than what I managed on the train from the airport and then the Metro. More about these later..gotta go now!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

discrimination, dosent have to be negative always

the majority of people are always wrong, and (ironically) the majority of people also believe so.
I guess, everyone has different views so for a particular person the majority is always wrong.

Anyways, according to Webster's dictionary discrimination means the ability to percieve distinctions. So why is discrimination always taken in a negative sense? If a person from 'upper' caste dosent like people from 'lower' caste, its fine, everyone is not supposed to like everyone. But if a person from 'upper' caste dosent like people from 'lower' caste and causes harm to them, its not accecptable.

Besides all this, I just cant understand why would there be no discrimination, I mean there are over 6 billion human beings, each one different from the other; men are different from women, a Hindu is different from a Muslim, an Indian is different from a European... there are so many differences. Intelligence is one of them.AG, what you did was perfectly reasonable, its your time and energy that you would have put in and you didnt want to spend it with someone whom you thought was not up to the mark. If you call this discrimination then the whole education system is discriminating.

The problem is that there are differences but people want to think there are none. Women want to be equal to men, but the fact is both are different, neither is superior or inferior to other, just different. You call a black person a blacki or something, he will be offended, but why should he, a white dosent feel bad when referred to as a whitie. Thats the color of their skin, the truth. It should be a problem when these differences make people harm one another, but here the problem is not the differences but people themselves. Differences should be cherished, not despised. Diversity is what nature intended and without it the world would be pretty boring.

Socialism is based on the premise that everyone is equal, and hence socialism failed, something based on an invalid premise can't possibly succeed!!

capital punishment

I dont know if we, human beings, have a right to send another human being to the gallows. But what I know is that we should do something only if its useful. So the question arises what purpose does capital punishment serve? Is it there only for retribution or is it a sufficient deterrence for future criminals?

Capital punishment just for retribution... I dont know.
And is it a sufficient deterrence... I dont think so. One can say that there are two kinds of criminals who get or ought to get capital punishment. Firstly, there are terrorists, gangsters, professional killers, drug lords etc, i.e. their lives are at risk anyway. Secondly, there are rapists, killers, communalists, politicians like Saddam etc, i.e. the risk to their lives is not so much.

For the first category, if losing one's life was a deterrence, one would change professions.
For the second category, the question arises whether a 30-40 yr prison term or say a life term is a bigger deterrence than capital punishment or not? Now this is debatable, as Gaurav would say a prison term gives one a chance to live, but on the otherhand a 30-40 yr prison term destroys one's life.... again I dont know.

Looking from a different perspective, if people who actually perform the executions feel no guilt, there should be no problems with concept of capital punishment. However, if they have feelings of guilt, then capital punishment must be abolished. I mean what's the harm in doing something if no one feels bad, and what's the point in doing something if one feels guilty about it.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

What is right and what is wrong? Who decides? In an ideal world, an individual should be able to dictate his/her own choice of morals. But of course, we don't live in an ideal world.

So is discrimination wrong? Society says so. Then again, what degree and what basis of discrimination are we talking about here? Discrimination on the basis of superficial and general identities that humans have created for themseleves such as caste, colour, race, religion etc. is certainly wrong in this world. But what do you really think? Do you think that it is wrong to treat somebody unfavourably just because he/she is seemingly less intelligent that you are?

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Discrimination - a sin??

Continuing with what I had been talking about with Madhav and Gauri... Is being discriminative always bad?? I routinely find myself feeling a bit superior to other (less-advantaged) ppl. Is it a bad thing to have this feeling?? Irrespective of the reason??

For instance, take the time when some guy had asked me to work on a project with him. (for the record, u guys don't know him..). I plainly refused. Why?? Just because I thought ki that guy just wasn't good enough to work with. Now, I didn't think about it at the moment. But now, in retrospect, it seems as if that was just the kind of discrimination champu was talking about.. "Meritocracy".. I looked up the word at wiki and found quite a lot. Among the things I discovered was the fact that Singapore is a self-confessed meritocratic state. If anybody is unfamiliar with this word, let me help you. Meritocracy is a system(usually of a government) that is based on demonstration of merit and talent and not the power that one yields. Such a system proposes to be free of all kinds of cronyism, and lackeys pestering the ones with the power. That should sufficently help us get along for the moment. Otherwise, well, wiki is not going anywher anytime soon... ;)

So, as I was saying, I was left wondering whether that refusal along with the countless other similar things I must have done sometime or the other, make me a bad person! Or, perhaps, a person unft for this society. Because as aptly mentioned by mad and gauri (again), the reference point to judge you standpoint is always the society you live in. Either you try and fit in with the views of the society, you try to compromise, or you rebel and are termed an outcast. Or as I said earlier, a varying degree of a psycopath. But, what if the society is wrong all together. What if some people do realise that everything is going all wrong, and who would be the one to judge that these "rebels" are indeed correct??

Take my eariler example. Meritocracy. Aren't we essentially discriminating against people who are less apt in using their brains than we are? What parameters do we use for such a judgement? Because, throughout my life, there is atleast one thing that I have learnt. That the majority of people are always wrong, and (ironically) the majority of people also believe so. I'll leave it to you to figure out what I mean. Take this Manu Sharma incident. The one where Ram Jethmalani stepped in to save this kin of some powerful stalwart or smthng. (It's the Jessica Lal case, ain't it??) We, (and by we, I mean the media) have already tried Mr. Manu Sharma and convicted him finding him guilty on all counts. But wait, did we know any any, and i mean ANY, of the intricacies of the case?? Or the Mohammed Afzal case?? Or take the biggest fish of the pond, Mr. Dawood I(E??)brahim himself. For years, we have heard that he is the biggest don. He's the one responsibel for a thousand crimes. Maybe, he is. In fact yeah, I think he is. But the point is simply this, who decides it?? Certainly not the court. If my memory serves me well, I'd say that it was us, the ppl of India who convicted him first.

But why?? Maybe because he killed a hundred people?? Or ordered them killed?? Or extorted a gazillion ultra-rich film stars?? or kidnapped their kids?? Yeah, I thnk he did all this?? Yeah, and I think that that is very wrong. But wait.. Pause.. Even Halt.. Why this sudden jump from stating that he kidnapped ppl(or whatever...) to calling him a criminal??

Our entire lives we have been conditioned to think this way. Links are what are sub-consciously formed in our minds between these things.
Steal -> Bad
Kidnap-> Bad
Beg -> Bad
Cheat -> Bad
Threaten -> Bad
Kill -> BAD

and just one more...

question the dogmas of the society.. -> BBBAAADDD!!!!

WHY?? We believe Mr. Dawood killed. Yeah, agreed. But whom did he kill?? Innocent people not in any way connected to him or whatever his cause might be. Yeah..

But is that really wrong?? Did we ever stop to question his reason for doing so?? Don't think that I am trying to condone this guy's actions. I am not. But, what was hi reason. We've all heard of Robin Hood. And how, he was, is and would probably always be treated as a hero. What differentiates him form Dawood?? Or for the killings, why is that any different from the Holy wars, where so many ppl were killed for so mindless a thing a stressing on the superiority of one religion over another (though indirectly, but still..). Did we ever, EVER try to find out?? I sure didn't. Can't say about u guys specifically. But ,I can assure you that if you did, you would be among the miniscule 0.001% of the population..

My point being, that we decide what is good and what is bad. It's like Black or white.. No other combination's possible.. But come on man.. U can't ever judge a perosn's absolute skill depending on just a few discrete factors. There are just too many things to look at.. Heck it all, even GOD doesn't ever discriminate amongst us. We all die, don't we? We all return to dust, don't we?? Then why all this discrimination. which brings me back to the moot point- Does my being discriminative - irrespective of the reason, as i mentioned before - make me a bad person??

The basis for discrimination could be anything -colour, looks, money, sex, something as mundane as marks, or something as (seemingly) equally profound as "intelligence". What is it?? How do we judge people?? From the level of happiness they spread or their efficiency at work. The proponents of ree market would have us believe that it is the latter that is more important than anything else. In fact, they would say that the two are nmutually exclusive. But, then these people would have us believe a lot of other useless crap too. What do you think?? Am I being too damn harsh on myself?? Or am I just plain stupid to even raise the question and this entire post serves no purpose whatsoever?? Whatever you might think, I would surely like to know...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

What do you think??

I guess the both the point of views are important. One the one hand the company has to make profits and don't all companies desire a monopoly over the market?? I personally don't see anything wrong in MS's intentions but maybe the execution of the intent was all wrong.. But, somehow I can't see such a case coming up in INDIA, ever!!Even if it was admitted into court I am sure that the petitioner would have lost it quickly..

But yeah, on the other hand, the customer also needs to be protected. This debate somehow remonds me of that research-should-not-be-commercialised thing, you know.. The same arguements apply here as well...

Anyways, waise Deepak, I did ask you to write about something, but, not this yaar.. :-) Kuch aur.. I really can't comment much about such stuff.. So here's something else. I guess that this is gonna suit Mr. Krishna and Johnny-who's-won-another-quiz-but-still-no-sign-of-treat as well..

Hmm.., so what do you guys think about capital punishment?? Do you think that we, human beings, have a right to send another human being to the gallows?? Or do you, like Gandalf, believe that it's not a matter for mortals to decide, coz after all, even the very wise can not see all ends.. think about it...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

what all (is/should be) in a os?

Ag has cajoled me into this.. (is this the correct usage)

i just finished a book about us govt's antitrust lawsuit (antitrust: deals with monolopies) against microsoft.
some background about the case:
1995: netscape is formed and launches its web browser, its an instant success
1995-96: ms is worried about netscape, as the browser gives an alternative environment to developers, ie instead of using api's of windows developers can use api's of the browser. this was a threat to ms as this lowered 'applications barrier to entry' in the os market. ('applications barrier to entry': developers write applications for the more popular os, and more the applications more popular the os)
1997-98: ms bundles IE with windows 98, saying its an integral part of the os. (with win 95 IE was an application, not a part of the os). but its competitors and the govt thought otherwise, and the lawsuit followed. ms also prevented computer manufacturers like compaq, dell to remove IE from windows. (later ms also bundles media player with the os.) this pretty much kills of netscape.

now all this got me thinking, what all is part of the os? (speaking both technically and from the user's point of view) .
technically speaking, all things needed to 'operate the hardware' would be part of the os. this would mean that os is bascially a set of device drivers, along with memory management program, schedulers. hence 'applications' like IE, media player, even notepad should not be part of an os.
from a user's point of view, an os should include all software to do some basic operations with aid of a computer. now according to this viewpoint, an os includes applications like IE, media player, notepad, even word and excel. because when you buys a computer, you expect it come with most of the software you need. now these software could be part of os or could be installed by the computer manufacturer.
now software industry is a fairly fragmented one, besides ms there is hardly any software company which is a market leader in a number of products. this means there would be integration issues. i mean, how often windows crashes and how often its due to some application not written by ms.

ok, now this is a long post for me..

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Hmm..

That is a pretty nice point that you have raised, deepak. The fact that there are questions that can not be answered, and the fact that we can do nothing about them should imply that we don't worry about them. But, isn't that the irony of life?? That, this is exactly what we refuse to do? If only, I could be as non-chalant as some people are, life would be so much easier for me(and for you guys as well..hehe ;-) )

And maddy, yeah, i agree with you when you say that we should be content with what we have right now and not worry about the future, living without the "evil" feelings of pain, jealousy etc.. I agree. But, isn't it also true that a person only appreciates love, joy, satisfaction et al only when he has been deprived of the same for some time. Isn't that the cycle of life? Pain has to follow happiness and vice versa..

By the way, this is not what i was referring to when talking about "living for the moment". I was actually talking about how some people claim to not be thinking about the future at all. After all, even you are talking about planning. And that is all that I was trying to say, plan for road ahead. Maybe I should have added what you just said. Plan, but don't fret.. Hamaare vichaar kitne milte julte hai.. hehe..

So, nice discussions we seem to be having here. But we just missed something. John won a quiz again. And still the treat is nowhere in sight!! Come on john!!!!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Life is complicated, so enjoy it...

I am really sorry about Raj.
Some time back, when my mausaji passed away I had similar thoughts as Anish. Life is so fickle, one never knows what will happen the next moment. A very small incident can , in just a moment, completely change the lives of many people. A person drives a bit too fast, and many lives change. A doctor makes a very small error in diagnosis and it has an enormous effect on lives of some people. But one cannot control these things. (This is when I think wouldn't it be great if had the option of undoing things, a second chance, as we have in computers)

Then there is this question, why are we here? Is there any special purpose for our existence as preached by many religions, or we are just a result of chemical and biological processes.
Then there is one more question, what happens,if something happens, after death? Do we have a soul, and that goes to some place, or the cells in our bodies just stop functioning.

These questions plagued me for quite some time. I don't know the answers, and probably no one does and probably no one ever will. Then I thought what's the point of these questions, since we will never know the answers. I have come to accept that there are certain things which I just cant control, so why bother about them. If I cannot do anything, then what's the point in worrying. On the other hand, if I can do something, then again there is no point in worrying. So I just try to enjoy life. Its anyway very complicated and tough, why make it more complicated and tougher by fretting on things beyond control.

PS: you read in the paper 100 died in bomb blast, its just another news. Prince is trapped and may die, the whole nation is worried. Why??

Do your duty, the fruits will come

Raj Kiran..... RIP

I want to talk about faith.... not the religious kind. I'm referring to that sort of faith that drives us, that gives us hope that tomorrow will be a better day, that actually makes it possible for us to go about our lives without thoughts of the morbid and of death. Faith keeps us grounded, faith keeps us sane, faith is the basis of human life - it's a belief in the aphorism "I will overcome", that the world shall live in peace one day.

Yet, faith, does not include ignorance; admittedly, one must ACCEPT reality; I highlight the word "accept" here because I feel that it has a very strong connotation - to be able to examine a given situation, let it sink-in/understand it's bearings (correct usage?), possbily learn from it, but not be overwhelmed by it in any way. So when there is a death in the family, or of someone who is close to you, what gives you the courage to carry on? Faith. Life goes on. Instead of turning into a fatalist, you must accept such situations, take control of your life and start "living in the moment". Abhinav may call the latter bullshitting, but it is true, and possible as well. For me, "living in the moment" means many things actually - it entails being without any worry of the future, being happy at the current moment in time, being without the emotions of jealousy, hatred, anger etc. (these, I feel, are emotions that make one undermine the value of life), being thankful for what you have and being ready to ACCEPT what may lie in the future. So, you may plan out the future, but if it doesn't work out in that fashion, do not waste time on self-pity or melancholy, learn from the mishap, accept it and plan ahead.

I really feel that this is the key:

"karmany evâdhikâras te
mâ phalesu kadâcanamâ
karma-phala-hetur bhûr
mâ te sango 'stv akarmani"

"No matter what conditions you encounter in life, your right is only to the works--not to the fruits thereof. You should not be impelled to act for selfish reasons, nor should you be attached to inaction."
-Bhagavad Gita 2.47

Anish, thank you for sharing this experience.... it has driven me to think on various levels... some of which I've tried to share here.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The point is...

Firstly, really sorry about Raj, anish. When I told my mom about this and told her that he was a friend of yours, she actually got depressed. She started telling me all the things that you are talking about.
And I agree with most of those things, if not all. It's definitely sad to lose someone you know. Even I have, though we were not much more than classmates back at skl. It sure does hurt and does put everything in perspective.. All your plans, your desires and especially all the places where you think that you were unlucky or were short-changed, now that you still remain even though the other is not. Of course, everybody feels that all the bad things just can't happen to them. "Somebody died in that bomb blast. A kid was orphaned!! Man, I feel bad." And that's it. Full stop. Nothing more. I feel the same. Maybe I would get bleary-eyed for a few seconds, but half an hour later you just might catch me watching the episodes of seinfeld or reading LOTR for the 100th time and laughing at kramer's or at sam's histrionics. Because, life goes on. You put it really well anish, when u said that the universe doesn't revolve around us (or should i say, me??)

As you said, we should stop putting off things for later. We should realise the value of time in our lives, coz we aren't here forever. Agreed.

But anish, having said that, it doesn't mean that we stop planning. That we stop thinking about the future. I have heard, so many times, of people who say that they take life as it comes. I say, that's all bull shit. You have to plan, john. Life can't simply be one knee-jerk reaction after another without following any specific plans. There has to be a reason, a method, an underlying framework to structure our lives.

You say, that whatever we do for ourselves doesn't matter. Of course it does..
Maybe I am digressing here, but the point is that no matter how you perceive your life to be, irrespective of whether you think of yourself as the world's biggest recluse or maybe an anchorite, the truth is that there is someone or something whose life you always have an effect upon. There is always someone who depends on you, who derives emotions of either connotation from you. Be it happiness, or displeasure. Be it elation or disappointment. Be it love or hatred. Somebody, somewhere is more dependant on you than you can ever be aware of. And that is why you have to plan. You have to lead your life in a certain fashion which would help your "someone" also lead a happy and successful life. Of course, you shouldn't lead a selfish life, nor do you have to behave like an altruist all the time, but as long as you take care of the ones you love, and the ones who love you, who is to complain?? All we need to do is care. And people won't remember us after 2-3 years?? The ones whose life you affected would. always. As long as I am able to make even one perosn genuinely happy in my life, as long as I can educate even one person, as long as I can bring into the life of an unprivileged person, lasting moments of unbridled joy and leave even a small impression on his heart, I will be satisfied. And I've done that. Atleast some of it. And that's why the fire burns inside me to do something more for humanity. For nature.

Yes, you will marry, have kids, and a job. And he won't. Yes, you might live up to ripe old age and he won't. But does that really matter. Maybe he had achieved all that he wanted from his life. Maybe what would have remained ahead of him was nothing but hardship and struggle and nothing else. In fact, how do you know that you aren't in for all that?? Not for nothing has this earth been called Mrityulok in Hindu mythology. And agnostic though I am, I am sure of at least this much. That, everybody is here for a reason. And you live only so long as to fulfill that reason. Nothing more, nothing less. He was here for a reason, and he went away when the reaosn ceased to exist. So will you, and so will I. But as you said, we aren't the centre of the universe.

So, we remould our lives and continue. Why feel guilty for that?? Why feel guilty for the fact that you can enjoy many things that (supposedly) he can't now. Who knows, maybe he is the one who is now in the best position among us all, having finally unravelled the mystery of death and residing with the almighty one?? Being as close to him as is possible and free of all burdens. Ain't that something to cherish, even desire? Ultimately, why should we fear death?? Because we would leave all the worldly attractions?? All the things that tempt us, force us to commit sins?? It is the ultimate irony of life that we humans cherish most what is the most harmful to us. Money and power.. Imagine a life (yes a life, because that is what it is..) free from all cares and worries, where you could rejoice being close, at last, with him. Imagine being in that state and gettin all the wisdom form him. And imagine that you have to work hard before you could reach him and be worthy of his attention and love. So, don't treat your life ahead as a sinned gift. Take it as an opportunity to wash away your own sins and redeem your self. And to do that, don't just live for the moment, at the moment. Plan. Think. Accomplish. That is what I believe. And that is what the point is..

Sunday, October 01, 2006

what's the point?

Ummm. This is something personal - a bit 'too' personal for some people? I knew Raj Kiran, the AIIMS student who died yesterday due to complications from Dengue fever.

I had known him for around 2 years; first met him at Kamet. Kinda like a friend one might have had at VMC or Fiitjee - not particularly close, but I ran into him quite a few times. Have played badminton with him sometimes, have been to his hostel room, have talked about stuff in general on the bus... It is not clear what I feel worse about - that I will never see or hear from him again, or that I don't feel enough.

It never really hits you, the inherent unfairness of life, unless things like this happen to someone you know. And I can't help thinking about it - how his parents and close friends must feel, all his potential and dreams gone up in smoke. The really tough part is knowing that I'll live after he's gone, that I would go on to have a job, kids, whatever, and he'll not - it will be lucky if I even remember him, what he looks like. That is, of course, if a car doesn't slam into me at an intersection one these days...the first thing I thought when I heard he's in a coma is 'It's not about me.' I interpret that now as meaning it could happen to anyone, including me. The world doesn't revolve around me, life would go on as before for most people around me. I could cease to be and I would cease to matter.

I mean, it never really occurs to me generally, that there can be life-changing(life-ending?) events waiting for me just around the corner, things that I would never have planned for. I might plan to apply for an MS, join a CS program at USC, then work in some Silicon Valley startup, and so on...and then something like this could happen to me. You could go out with barely a whimper, and there'd be little memory of you in 2-3 years. Or there might be, for entirely other reasons - like in the case of Raj, who died the ironical death of a doctor falling to a treatable disease, discovered too late. What about Raj the sportsman(he was on the AIIMS volleyball and football team), Raj the musician(he played the guitar and piano quite well) and Raj the student leader(He was elected general secretary of the AIIMS student body, and was busy helping organize the AIIMS fest PULSE a few days back)? I am happy I have those memories of him as well.

I think that young as we are, we simply don't think about this aspect of life - that it has to end sometime, and that that can happen at any time. And I think one needs to be prepared for this possibility - though how one does that is beyond me. Knowing that one can not be absolutely sure of living beyond the current moment of time is important. It helps shape your attitude towards life, towards others. The following are some really relevant lessons, at least for me:
I should stop putting off things for later; once I complete my exams; for after my BE; once I am 25; once I make enough to retire rich.
It's not about me - it doesn't matter in what I do, as long as I do it only for myself, it simply is of no consequence in the long run. What can I do for others? How can others benefit from what I have/can do? I don't mean philanthropy, setting up trusts etc - do I help at least my friends with what little I can offer? Can I help my parents out sometimes without complaining? Can I stop complaining about stuff, about people, when I know I am not helping?

I don't mean to lecture, I just think it might be a useful way of looking at things. Someone I know, from my generation has died. Should not that affect me?
Among more positive things I have thought of - I am beginning to think I might learn to understand things I thought weird earlier. Poems...lovesongs...art..romance...emotions... I can begin to relate to things like "It's better to have loved and lost, than not loved at all" I can kind of understand why introspection is important, not just to clarify one's thoughts on something, but also to know oneself better.

I don't know what you guys think of all this. Like I said, may be it's something I should really keep to myself. I just think it's useful to think of deeper things sometimes. You can brush it all off as sentimental sermonizing. (I think you guys expect that from Johnny:) Or you could think about it and write in what you think about it.
Separation of India's military and civilian nuclear programmes:
This is not only India's perogative but India is the only authority on it. US can only wish that all civilian facilities are placed under safeguards, it cannot make that happen. Recently it was in the papers that the Fast breeder reactor progamme (has not been/will not be) placed under safeguards and hence will not recieve technological inputs from other nations.

The fact that in India nuclear research has never been classified as civilian research or military research is a problem. Segregation of facilities will definately prove to be expensive (moneywise), as India won't be able to use spent fuel or byproducts of civilian programme in the strategic programme.

India must always be wary of US for the simple reason that US is not a peaceful nation; Americans just love wars. For the last 100 years it has always been at war. There hasnt been a 20 yr period of peace for the US armed forces. Its also interesting to note that Israel, created by Americans; Pakistan, supported by Americans; Taliban, nurtured by Americans;(there must be a few more) have also been a source of conflicts.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

My thoughts about the nuclear deal

Let me start from the very starting and explain why I think, what I do think.

This Indo-US deal basically states that the US of A will make some ammendments in its own Nuclear control and export laws specifically for India, lifting curbs on export on nuclear fuel and ~technology that had been imposed way back in the late 70's (don't know the exact year..) India, which has shown an impressive record of non-violation of any international laws pertaining to nuclear armament save a couple of nuclear testings, and which has shown to the world that it is indeed a responsible nuclear nation, will according to the treaty be bestowed all the privileges of a globally accepted nuclear nation and that too without signing the NPT. All that India has to do in return is to agree to be placed under the same scanner as the other nuclear nations. This includes, among other things, a complete separation of India's military and civilian nuclear programmes and henceforth, placing the civilian facilities under the IAEA safeguards.

Now this is where the problem arises. The bone of contention is this separation of the civilian and military facilities. The problem is two-fold.

One, who decides as to what's civil and what's military? India (rightly) thinks that it is their prerogative. The US think otherwise. According to them the civilain list must include all facuilities including experimental & research installations, which are not directly related to nuclear weapons. This choice has to be made carefully, keeping in mind the strategic importance of India's military nuclear programme and the fact that in India , both civilian and military programmes are, well, quite entangled, which takes us to the second problem.

In India, never has nuclear research been classified into civilian research or military research. Our scientists don't exactly work full-time on either. Our nuclear programme is one monolithic mass encompassing all aspects of nuclear science that are currently of any significance to the country. Scientists, presently, work on their own research projects and whatever reults are thrown up are incorporated into the approppriate technology/field, be it for civilian purposes or for military ones. This is not to say that there is no larger plan being followed, it's just that we don't have any clearly demarcated civilian or weapon related installations or programmes. All of our military programmes are but individual resarches that have been carried out by certain teams within the larger framework of academic and civilan research.

Now, do you see the problem?? If US has its say, it will put all of our nuclear establishments into the civilian category. And what would that do?? Place all our establishments under the purview of the IAEA, which is what no country can ever accept!!

Indeed, some version of this has long been US' aim and its only now that they have got around to try and fulfill it. And coupled with this is the fact that they badly need a prospective superpower in South Asia to counter their biggest emerging threat, CHINA. It is an open secret that the US, in the longer run, sees India as nothing but a strategic partner to counter the effect of China. And the irony of the situation is the fact that the Indian think-tank is well aware of it, but can't do a thing, as at this moment India badly needs US support to further its nuclear programme whihc is on the verge of an untimely death due to lack of enriched fuel.

Indeed, even if we had been in Manmohan Singh's place, we would have been as hard pressed as he is to find any alternative for a way out of the current scenario. Reject the help offered by US, and ,well, I don't need to say what the consequences might be. Accept it and, well, we might get around to seeing that soon, won't we??

What's gonna happen next in this wierd scenario?? Wait and watch !!

What perspective?

I was under the impression that this blog was created for all of us to get to know EACHOTHER better, on a deeper, more personal level...
As far as my previous post goes, it was written in a jocular vein and I hope nobody took it too seriously.
I for one am an apolitical person and therefore, totally detest discussing things such as the Indo-Pak issue and their ilk. I would, however, like to discuss more meaningful issues that concern humanity in general... religion, spirituality etc..... let's see if we can turn the discussion towards such issues. I am aware of the fact though, that Gaurav and Danish - two of the most vociferous debaters on political issues whom I am aware of - are a part of this blog, but I still think that you people still have time to reform! ;)

nuclear deal

quote
"From what little I have been able to gather from the various tit-bits that keep making guest appearances in the newspapers, the agreement does not really give India many opportunities to develop its indigenous nuclear-enabled power generation and associated (or otherwise) research??"
unquote

From what I understood, the agreement says that nuclear facilities which recieve fuel and/or technology from other countries have to be placed under international safeguards. The rest can continue as India pleases, also new plants can be established and if these do not recieve any inputs (in terms of fuel or technology) from other countries, any kind of work/research can be done in these facilities. In the facilities under international safeguards we should be able to do some research( I am not very sure if the agreement prohibits this or not).

But whatever the case may be, the fact is power infrastructure in the country is in a very bad shape. When the capital itself reels under frequent power cuts, one can only imagine the situation in the rural areas. This deal enables India to obtain necessary fuel and vital technological inputs from abroad. Hence all in all I consider there are more positives for us than negatives, if any.

Lets have some perspective Guys!!

First of all, what's ROFL?? And second of all, let's just close this discussion about my cribbing completely. We could go on for ages, and besides this is not what I had in mind, while agreeing to anish about the blog.. We have ample time in college to talk about this seeing that we haven't been attending any classes even if we are at college.. So, let's take the discussion there instead.

Waise, was talking to Danny abouyt it some time back. Am I alone in thinking that the US is actually taking India for a ride in this nuclear-deal?? I mean, yeah, the foreign ofiice, the PM et al have brains, but aren't we losing perspective?? From what little I have been able to gather from the various tit-bits that keep making guest appearances in the newspapers, the agreement does not really give India many opportunities to develop its indigenous nuclear-enabled power generation and associated (or otherwise) research??

Your views guys...

P.S. : Maddy, if you really want a laugh, I'll get you some more of Mithun's movies. They would definitely be more amusing than my posts. Plus, I'll throw in Himanshu's PC too. So u could really have a laugh while crashing it...!!!

ROFL!

Obivan's last post just has me in splits! And by the way, Obi ol' boy, that post of yours just weakened your position by many notches.
Okay, you're called a cribber by everyone but that doesn't mean that you go on explaining why you shouldn't be called so... you almost have an essay there! And use all the euphemisms that you may ("I don't crib, I complain"), the bottomline is, you do crib. The post before the previous one is proof of that...
The problem with you is that you take everything too seriously... okay, you didn't do well on a mock test, big deal! You didn't get a job in company X, get over it! You have every right to be disappointed, by don't go harping on about these things... and most of all, don't go on berating yourself... that is the worst thing to do. The faster you ACCEPT the obstacles that come in your way, the faster you can find a way AROUND them. And please, do something about our sensitivity to failure.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

ag and john at it again

hmm... you two never stop!

abhinav you do crib a lot, more than most people, but its not such a bad thing. i think your cribbing makes you work harder and hence be successful. and as you said, you are also quite modest for a capable person like yourself. so keep cribbing.
so i suggest that instead of calling him a cribber, lets stick to 'clc' and his being g**!

waise today mush's book is coming out, and with it many new contoversies, many of them just amazing.

Fine, fine

make the blog whatever you will...but there should be no need to constantly justify its use. A person can have any number of reasons for maintaining a blog - why keep arguing whether the prime reason is correct or not? What is 'correct' here anyway?
Think of it the other way - perhaps, someone would actually like to hear from you. Maybe, what you really want to say is also useful for other people. Or, ermmm...it helps you discharge your tension in a people friendly manner. All I am saying is, there is no reason to hold back just because you think youll be perceived so-and-so, and therefore when you do write, preempt the possible attack by justifying oneself, or deflect attention through sarcasm etc(I know, I know!) - this is not a real-time strategy game!
And of course, totally agree with Abhinav on the innermost private thoughts vs public domain conflict - one must exercise self-censure, "Do unto others what I'd have them do unto me", modesty, or what-have-you.
@Obivan: You didn't spare any oppurtunity for launching "...attacks on me..." either, did you:)

Monday, September 25, 2006

And also the time to...

... clear up some misconceptions. First of all about the paradoxical-finger-pointing thingy. I agree that at times one feels the need to discharge any pent-up anger or anxiety, or a phaadu new idea or even some gossiping. After all, my last post is nothing but a superb example of the stated fact. But, I also do vehemently believe that a better place to do so, as danny also agrees, is in one's own private diary, and not, as I've said before, in the public domain. And that is not (just) because people like me, might believe, or at least be tempted to believe that the piece of literary brilliance u've just churned out is just an audacious attempt (mark my use of words john.. trying not to be too judgemental) to get the 15 minutes of cyber-fame. Instead, it is to prevent anybody from prying into my personal life which i would rather like to keep personal, thank you very much. And sometimes you can do a lot of harm by a seemingly innocuous but impulsive piece you write and publish on the net, which would have been perfectly harmless had it been confined to your mind or ur little diary (or maybe the pensieve, if only it was actually thr... (sigh)!!)

Sometimes it is much better to keep your thoughts private and even if you do feel the need to discuss, then better later than now. In fact, as the age-old adage goes, "Future generations would one day regret the use of live media. They would be saying to many things quickly that would be akin to putting their exceptionally large feet into their even larger mouth".. or something in that vein..

Well, this is what i think, or at least thought till some time back. I haven't given up this line of thinking, but if you re-read my first post, u'll see what I've written at many places. Words like "..I used to think.." and "..lately, I've been having doubts.." I hope that this does convey to you the turmoil in my brain regarding to what I believe about blogs and their need, especially as far as my need is concerned. And what I realised was this, I guess I should have mentioned it earlier only, that for quite a lot of people, a blog is definitely all that I have ever thought it to be. But, there are many many others for whom blogging is serious business, as u have mentioned in your post john. I agree with that now. To an extent, at least. And that is the reason why I actually did create this blog in the first place. Because I realised that your intentions, at least, were correct. Hope this clears everything up.

Now a second thing, which I feel the need to straighten up. And that is this reputation I seem to have acquired for cribbing non-stop. Now give me a break here guys (as this is for everybody, seeing that almost everybody who's decently close to me, reckons me to be some version or the other of the king of cribber world or something..). Let's clear this mess up. First, the simple and obvious fact. I do not crib. I complain. Verbally. Why do I do that? Why can't I keep the complaining to myself? Because that is how I discharge my tension, my anxiety (and not by blogging..). This is the only way I know to make my heart lighter because I need to hear other people's reactions and gather their advises to find out where I stand, to see whether what I feel is correct or not. I am used to thinking aloud in such situations and depending on the person whom I am talking to, I have to decide what to say:

a) If it's someone whom I am pretty close to, like our gang, then I simply tell the truth, whatever I feel. And what I feel is disappointment. So I let it out. And please don't even bother to tell me that you have never felt disappointment. You might be adept at concealing it, but i am not, and labelling me a cribber because of that.. nahhh, i don't think that's too fair, is it??

b) If it's anybody else, I try to be modest. And the only way I know to behave modestly is by appreciating the other guys and make them seem to be better than me on any day, at any given time. But sadly, here too, I am mistaken to be a cribber, a thoroughly dis-satisfied person who can't ever be content with what he has got. And hence, the nickname again.

Now, tell me. Is it really fair to call me what you do call me. OK, sometimes it gets excessive, but that's rare. I regard myself to be pretty OK in that respect, and I believe that I still do possess enough mental faculties to be able to decide the appropriate time to stop any such (cribbing) activity.. As I said earlier, Give me a break guys!! It's past the joking or teasing stage now. Its getting too much..
And yeah, u'll see my hidden talent, whatever it might be that you are searching for, once you stop cribbing about calling me a cribber.. ;-)

Waise, it did take me about 2-3 minutes to figure out that it was you john, with your new profile name and all. Pehle I was quite confused ki yeh kaun aa gaya aur aise jaanlewa shabd kaun use kar raha hai while at the same time attacking me. But the sarcasm at a few points showed me the way nevertheless..

Time to.....

...provoke some more people into responding via blog(understand the mazaak now, Deepak;)
Hmm...now, what had I thought of saying. Yes, all that about the self-obsessed, attention-seeking profile of a blogger, which everyone seems to believe in(and yet, doesn't count oneself guilty while pointing fingers at the other). I protest.
I don't think it's inherently misguided to attempt to bare one's thoughts on an online medium, accessible to all who care enough to click. I know, it's really easy to be misinterpret, to take offence at something written when half-asleep or really-mad, but sometimes, having something to express your views at is really cathartic (Abhinav take note - it means 'Emotionally purging' here, otherwise can also imply a 'strong laxative':)
I don't now about you, but there are lots of times when I really feel riled up about something or am very upbeat due to some other thing...but can find no one free to hear me out. Or when you feel really strongly about something, and wish you could do something about it - but don't know how justified your take on the subject is. Or you might have gotten some insight into something you feel might be useful for others. for Or you just got to know some juicy piece of er...news, and really have to share with someone. Or countless other little things that pop into your head at odd hours(in the AI class, in the shower, some crazy day-dream-sequence you had on the bus...) but can find noone else to share it with at the time(ok, that last might seem a bit self-obsessive...but I think I just defined most 'thass' there:) As long as no-one takes himself or what's written here very seriously, I think a blog can be a useful post-it board, where we float ideas not for someone else's approval but for their perusal - "that's what I feel, what do you think about it"....if nothing else, at least an interesting social experiment...
And Abhinav, I am still waiting to see your hidden talent(besides the not-so-well-hidden cribbing of course:)

Horrible horrible horrible day!!!

Whata perfectly horrible day!! Abe mera english me kuch karao!! scoring 14.5 in a test where everybody else is scoring atleast 25 with ease is a huge shock!! Mera kuach karao bhai log... :( :(

so johnny has finally succeded

Good work Johnny.

Though I detest typing and I agree with Ag and Maddie on blogs, still a community blog seems a nice idea, at least worth a try.

And before anything else, "glaring down donkeys" - Yeh kya Mazaak hai.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Hmmm.... I dunno actually

Now you've done it! Finally! After all that raving about creating a team blog, however useless I may find it, you have finally gone and done it! As Obivan says, quite correctly, that blogs are for people who are emotionally needy. I say, ((attention hungry)AND(net addict)OR(drowned in self pity) = blogger); it's not even a derivable law, it's a bloody axiom. I mean, who in his/her right mind would spend even five minutes a day on the internet, creating a so called "log" of sorts of their general rantings? For empathy you say, wrong! For attention. In fact, worse are the people who go on reading the blogs of random people, I mean, get out of the virtual world and get a REAL life for God's sake!
All said and done, if we really are to keep in touch, I doubt how far this blog idea will go, though it's worth a try. I mean, if Danish is coding the latest app, Deepak is looking at asses (don't mind the pun Pinky - I just reiterated what Johnny said), Gaurav's taking over STM, Obivan is cribbing his way to the Chairmanship of some company and I'm designing a Machine Translation System for all possible language pairs of the world (along with Johnny, at the same university; considering how things are going), who is going to have the time to post here?
Enough blogging about blogging... I've just wasted 10 whole minutes of my precious time on this God forsaken activity. But, you can count on me doing so in the future as well ;)

Saturday, September 23, 2006

well begun is half done....

yes Obivan, definitely more interesting than the usual drivel you crank out:) And I do agree with most of what you said - in fact, I think I must have thought up some of the arguments myself, trying to convince you guys of the idea some time ago(when all everyone could say was, hmm...interesting, let's see how long Johnny keeps this up if I ignore the suggestion altogether;)

I especially agree with the thing about sticking together, no matter where we be at the moment - so though Danish may be coding the next hot-mobile app in Gurgaon, Deepak be glaring down some donkeys in his cubicle next-door, and Gaurav be teaching the STM log the Six-Sigma way, it'll be great if we can still keep in touch on a regular basis. And this way, Madhav can even give e-classes on how to keep negative emotions at bay to all of us, all the way from Stanford or someplace(what say, Maddy?;)

I believe it's really worthwhile to invest some effort and time to get used to writing for a blog(rather than dispensing our ideas and thoughts to the winds, at the back of the bus, for all co-passengers to frown at, eh Gaurav?) and I think this is a great start - anything that gets Abhinav to think positively about something is great, right? So, I hope to see more of our people using this medium in the future to express, vent and thrust their views etc - at least we have a written record of who said what?!

Now what??

Well, here it is. At long last. After so many ppl berating me for being against this whole blog phenomenon, I have decided to relent. But only so....

For long I have been one of those who believd that blogging was for the attention-seeking, or for the emotionally-deprived ones who seek to find solace on the net, while unabashedly assuming that I wasn't either. To be frank, I still do believe that I definitely not among the first kind. But of late, I have been having doubts.. Anyways, I digress.. So, I was saying that I definitely did not perceive myself to be an individual who would like to drown himself in a chullu bhar of sorrow (atleast publicly) or gloat in his own acheievements. Nor am I a sort of person who would like to disclose his life to anybody and everybody. What then is the purpose of this blog??

Well, that was the question holding me back, until the grt UC of UC, his majesty, his royal righness, the great purveyor of all deeds done and undone, suggested a nice idea. Hey, what abt a team blog?? Me, the blog-ignorant, self-confessed Tolkein loyalist and pseudo-religious fool (as some ppl describe me, not least ze divine master), was utterly bemused..

"A team blog??!! What good would that do?? Don't we all meet everyday and chat and chat abt everything under the sun (well, atleast the sun that shines over our college, so we ultimately talk abt books, cricket, rant about the exams, and some arbit discussions on israel, and the indian army) ?? Why do we need to create another apothecary of our uncherished dreams and desires? What could we possibly talk about?? Or would you like to make some apocalyptic disclosures and expect the other to do the same?? nd last but definitely not the least my dear, why do you want to subjugate the innocent reader who might stray accross our page to unending sarcasm and scathing and delirious remarks and rebukes??"

Of course I never got down to putting these thoughts down, until now. All that I managed to say then was a measly "are you crazy?? Let's study for the placements.." But since then, I have had time to think, seeing that that's all I have been doing of late. We rarely do talk about the stuff talking about, do we?? Once in a blue moon, when we both happen to be going back together (seeing that u have been getting lifts from everybody nowadays), we might talk about some new book, or something equally mundane. But nothing much constructive. Not just that, we hardly know much about each other except what we might have done in the last 4-5 years of our lives..
And before long both you and mads would have left cahsing your dreams abroad and then maybe orkut would be grossly inadequate.. ;)

So yeah, I thought it would be nice to keep a blog which we can all access, and talk about stuff.. We can all properly communicate, which we haven't really until now. And maybe the army nd navy dudes can start discussing anythng they want about the armed forces without us getting vehemently bored and feeling either suicidal or tempted by murderous thoughts.

So, as I said, here goes. And enfin I finish what I had to say. And dedicate this blog to us all. What we choose to do with this is in our own hands. But what it will ultimately become, I have not the answer.. There, sounding larger than life again, so I'll simply say ki chalo, atleast we have started, and at the risk of sounding incredibly cliched "aage aage dekhte hai hota hai kya!!"

CHEERIO!!

AB