Friday, October 30, 2009

True Love

The pic below was drawn by a cousin sister of mine when she was in her 3rd grade. What really amazed me was the sensitive quote which was scribbled on it.

The transcription of the quote is below the pic.
A girl once asked a boy,
"Do you think I'm pretty?"
"No" replied the boy.
"Don't you want me?"
"Do you like me?"
I don't think you're pretty,
I think you're beautiful.
I don't want you,
I need you.
I don't like you,
I love you."
~true love~

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Sardar, A 'Yogi' and some Witty Comments

The English weather might have been mild. But the emotions running amok in the mind of one particular member of the Indian cricketing team were far from that.

That person was unhappy over a tiff with the Captain of the team. Being the senior most member of the team, he felt he should have been treated better. In retaliation, he decided to take an extreme stand. He deserted his team and took the first flight back to India [Link]. A shameful exit from international cricket, most people thought. But luckily, the man got another chance to play for his country. And though his last stint consisted of a few good innings, when he finally retired 3 years later, it was not as if the cricketing community was in tears over his exit. A promising career had come to a damp end.

But the man had more to say. Literally, a lot more to say.

After retiring from active cricket, this man became a commentator for international cricket. There he created a niche of his own - with humorous and witty comments blended with knowledgable inputs about the game. While cricketing pundits were aplenty, these comments were unusual in the cricketing world. And soon this commentators quips became famous in India and the world.

The shamed cricketer's footwork was impeccable this time and no one was going to dislodge his wicket for a while.

The man - none other than Navjot Singh Sidhu. His comments - now collectively known as Sidhuisms. Some examples below [from this link]:
  1. Statistics are like bikinis… what they reveal is suggestive, what they hide is essential!
  2. In the orchard of opportunity, you cant wait for the fruit to drop.
  3. Good intentions die unless utilized.
Personally, I find Sidhu's comeback story quite fabulous and inspiring. However, recently I read about a certain Yogi Berra, a famous baseball player and manager, and found out about his penchant for witty comments [Link]. His quotes are famous as Yogi-isms. I wondered whether this was a coincidence. Or was Sidhu just copying from Yogi's quotes. This suspicion jaded my respect for Sidhu a bit. But reflecting on the matter a few days later, and by actually comparing quotes of these two witty people, I now think that Sidhu is not plagiarizing. His ingenuity must be applauded.

To round up the article, here are some of Yogi Berra's famous quotes which are certainly worth sharing [Source: Wikiquotes].
  1. It ain't over till it's over.
  2. When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
  3. Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't go to yours.
  4. Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded.

Image credits:

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Something, Anything.

And in the Mumbai blasts,
Did any of your kin die?
Or any for whom you would shed a tear?
Would you have to skip a meal?
Or suffer damage to property?
Or have effect on monthly wages?

Then why do you say
You are affected?

You feel angry?
You could have been there, right?
So something must be done, you say.

You are right,
Something must be done -
But what?

You say - something. Anything.
Quick action.
Strong steps.
Ban the ***,
Hang the ***,
Raid the ***,
Kill the ***.

But then.
Hundreds die
Of floods
In Bihar every year
Or in Orissa of heat
Or in Delhi of cold
And on the day of such news
You calmly sip your morning-tea
And fold the paper
And call up your son.

What then?
Isn't it ironic
That when those people
Feel threatened
And insecure;
And some rebel outfit
Or insurgent group
Promises them security,
And they follow blindly,
You call them poor illiterates.

Come to think of it,
They too are just doing something.
Something, anything.

- Kriti Sen Sharma
Image credits:
(Poem 1 of 2 written as a reaction to Mumbai terrror attack, November 2008. Read other poem here.)

Was asked by friend, Deepu George, to write in my reactions to the terror attack. He planned to read out such inputs on his radio show (aired on WUVT). These two poems were written as a result of Deepu's request. However, after writing the poems I felt that many people might take offense at my emotions about the attacks. Eight months later, I feel these poems can now be released.

Firstly, Switch off the TV

Those who have lost someone of their kin, or someone close to heart, or those who have suffered loss of property in the recent tragedy in Mumbai, might find the following piece offensive. The millions of other people are requested to read on.

First of all,
Switch off the TV.
Don't look at the papers.

Go watch a movie
Gossip about stingy relatives
Gorge on glorious food
Or shop till you drop.

Then you will realize
You have not been affected.

And then
Before you go to sleep
Think -
Can you do something
To prevent another Mumbai
And if the answer is yes,
Get up and start working on it.

Otherwise go to sleep
And remember -
Every scared and threatened mind
Is another victory in the terrorist's tally.

- Kriti Sen Sharma
But till when?)
Image credits:

(Poem 2 of 2 written as a reaction to Mumbai terrror attack, November 2008. Read other poem here.)

Was asked by friend, Deepu George, to write in my reactions to the terror attack. He planned to read out such inputs on his radio show (aired on WUVT). These two poems were written as a result of Deepu's request. However, after writing the poems I felt that many people might take offense at my emotions about the attacks. Eight months later, I feel these poems can now be released.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Getting Things Off My Chest

Someone once noted that there is a clearly proven statistical risk in driving a car. It seems car accidents have killed more people in history than did all the killing World War II. Despite that, driving remains a pleasurable activity. On certain days I cannot but agree more and more with this. When the wind brushes through your hair, and you whiz past houses, people, trees, forests, lakes and hills, it truly is an out of the world feeling. And on top of this, if the radio churns out a song which is just right for the moment, well that really makes your day.

And that was the exact feeling I had the other day. Which brings me to the main reason for this blog post. I just have to recommend this song to everyone. Hopefully not too many have heard before and would enjoy it. (Caveat: A bit guy-friendly perhaps.)

Here's the song: "Save a Horse Ride a Cowboy" by 'Big and Rich'


And while I am on the topic of recommendations, there are a few other recommendations I would like to get off my chest.

'Spreading the light', 'My good deed for the day'... call it what you want, good things should be shared with everyone. So here goes my list (of recommendations):

The Movie: "I Want Candy"
(Rated R for sexual content and language. British comedy.)

The Other Movie: "Remember the Titans"
(Awesome Awesome Awesome movie. For the whole family. I do not know why no one had told me about this earlier. This movie is just too good.)

The Cartoon: Series on "Economic Meltdown" by David Horsey

The Powerpoint Presentation: "Impact of Social Media in Our Lives"
(Amazing presentation! Huge number of slides. But believe me... It flies away in a jiffy. Also you get to know many interesting facts about Facebook)

Thursday, July 02, 2009

A Field Switch

So in the field of my research, I begin work on a new field.

I stay within the broad realm of 'Biomedical Imaging and Image Processing' but my topic of research shifts from the field of 'Imaging for Virology' to 'Computed Tomography (CT)'. As I begin on this path, a vast plethora of information comes up. There is information of various types - historical, business-related and technical. Historical information includes: when the CT was invented (1937), when major advances were made (1960-s by Hounsfield in EMI labs, the same company which owned the Beatles label!), and so on. Business-related info deals with leading CT scanner manufacturers (Toshiba, Marconi...), costs of various technologies etc. The technical angle translates into the literature survey, or papers I would have to read (YES.. it's pretending-to-read-the-paper-but-actually-sleeping time).

And while treading my first few steps on this path (the de facto first step was reading the Wikipedia entry), I came across a nice video (embedded below) about a group of researchers giving ideas for improving CT technology. I loved the presentation style. So I watched other videos by this group (on different techonologies) - I especially liked these two: On controlling a helicopter by neural control, On inexpensive Virtual Reality.

PS: One query for the writing gurus out there.... Is the usage of de facto in my post correct? Or would you suggest something different?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Is This India's SSN?

SSN is all sacrosanct in USA. Now, India is setting up an agency to provide Unique ID (UID) numbers to all citizens.

Now considering that one of the aims of this is to provide citizens access to services like Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (for people below poverty line), I wonder whether this is a move towards the social security structure of USA. My understanding of social security in US, and I might be technically wrong, is that the government promises to give employment, medical care, housing to all its citizens; and in this way, UID sounds similar.

One good thing about the implementations in India: Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani has been made head of the agency for implementing UID.

PS: Junta in US, did you know that SSN is not mandatory. People can opt out if they want to. Read more about this at the Wikipedia entry on SSN.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Why is Safari Sticking to (new) Windows?

So what with the release of Safari 4, I decided to finally shift from Firefox to Safari on my Mac. On my PC, I use Google Chrome. And I dare say that Safari does not come close to Chrome in terms of the beauty of the user interface. But Chrome has not yet launched for Mac, so Safari it is for now.

Since yesterday, I was annoyed to see that in Safari, links opened up in new windows instead of new tabs. According to me this is pure sacrilege. So I Googled "safari open link in new tab" and got the solution at the bottom of a forum thread. Here it is for easier reference
1. Open terminal. Cut paste the following line:
defaults write TargetedClicksCreateTabs -bool true

2. Restart Safari. And voila. You are done.

E=mc... WHAT!!!

This reporter at ITN news has found a way to travel at the speed of light. According to him, flight speed sensors in the doomed Air-France flight became defective and this might have caused two things - ONE, the plane stalled and went straight down, or TWO, the plane approached the speed of light and the plane disintegrated at that high speed.

Did he say speed of light? I think I can hear Einstein turning in his grave.

Watch this video from around the 1:10 mark.

Well, that's what you call a silly mistake. That reporter must be getting a good leg-pulling from his friends today.

Finally my sympathy lies with the victims. And what a shame for technology that days have gone by and all bodies or the filght's black box have not yet been found.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Ai Chin Can Tok

Recently, I thought I should start to learn the Chinese language.

And so I Googled the keywords - "learn Chinese". Google suggested "learn Chinese in 5 minutes" and I found out the language is not so difficult after all. I am pasting the tutorial below. All you need is to speak out the tutorial loud.

...which led me to this awesome awesome website which collects all these funny images. Which led me to spend zillions of mouse clicks browsing one image after another. Bad Bad PC.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


Since Seeqpod seems to be down, I tried out Grooveshark. This is the link.

And here's a sample playlist of Yanni created on Grooveshark.

A Classic F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Scene

Ross and Rachel have had their first kiss. Rachel relates the story of their kiss to her lady-friends the next day. Ross does the same, only this time, he is talking with his guy-friends. The contrast in perspectives is hillarious.

See the first few minutes of this video - and enjoy!!!
(PS: Unfortunately embedding of this video was not allowed)


Car enthusiasts would love this...

"Drifting" - this is a particular style of driving in which the driver purposefully makes the car skid while making a turn. The trick is to maintain control over the car even while doing the skid/drift.

YouTube has been promoting this over the last few days. See the following video to see how drifting is done in the nation where drifting was born - Japan (skip the first 1 minute 30 seconds, and be ready for a visual treat thereafter).

Or this explanatory pic (click to expand). Image credits:

Friday, February 20, 2009

Baa Baa Black Ship

The 2nd episode in my 3 part series on faux-pas in conversation.
(Episode 1)

At age 14 or 15

One of my first "hanging around" groups comprised a set of people much elder to me - 2 aunts, 1 uncle, 1 sister, 1 brother-in-law, my mom and my dad. Now had there been another kid of my age, I would probably have played carrom with that kid in another room. But there wasn't and so I became a regular member of their "adda" or discussion. Many a times, I contributed to their conversation and got the happy feeling that I was as old and as mature as them 1. And then, sometimes, there were times like this one which put me where I belonged i.e. in the correct age bracket.

I was sitting next to my Mesho (maternal uncle) that day. Now Mesho was a tall man who spoke less. But when he spoke, everyone listened. The expression used to regularly describe him, a typically Bengali expression, was "Onaar khoob personality aache." which I think translates into "He has a very intimidating personality". Now, if being like one of the elders was cool, being like Mesho denoted a Nordic level of coolness. Addressing a sentence to him usually required careful consideration and thought, but my Mom presented me with such an opportunity that day, that I pounced upon it with eager glee.

The topic of discussion had veered to the subject of ships, and my Mom committed the typically Bengali error of pronouncing 'ship' as 'sheep'. My first language English education was aroused; here was an opportunity to gain some brownie points in front of the insurmountable Mesho, a pucca pundit of the British language. He undoubtably would be glad to know that I took so much care of restraining the 'e'-s in 'ship', and so I said, "Dekho Mesho, Maa'r ki baaje pronouncitation. Ship ke sheep bolche! (Just look at my Mom's poor pronounciation. She's calling a 'ship' as 'sheep'.)"

I finished my sentence and was eagerly awaiting a pat on my back for my diligence, or a commiserating sentence about the sad state of English pronunciation in Bengal. But my Mesho's face remained expressionless. I became a bit anxious. Finally, he spoke, "Pronunciation-er banaan bolo to. (Spell pronunciation.)"

I gulped. Had I goofed up somewhere? But he was asking me a sitter... I was too good at spelling to make a mistake at this one, and so I said, "P-R-O-N-O-U-N-C-I-A-T-I-O-N."

"Confident?" he asked.

I thought to myself, that's how I pronounce it when I say it, and that's the easiest way to work out spellings, so I must be correct, "Haan. Confident. (Yes. Confident.)"

Mesho smiled now, a smile which I realized was not for the reason I was hoping for, and said, "Kaal English teacher ke jigesh kore niyo. Spelling taa bhool, uccharon-taao taai bhool... Ota 'pro-NOUN-ciation' noy... ota actually 'pro-NUN-ciation'. Nijer Maa'r uccharon theek koraar aage nijer taa theek koro. (Ask your English teacher tomorrow. You spelt it incorrectly and hence your pronunciation is also incorrect. It's 'pro-NUN-ciation', not 'pro-NOUN-ciation. Son, before you correct your Mom's pronounciation, correct your own first.)"

I could find myself wanting to melt away as he spoke, but an embarrassed exit is all I managed that day.
1 At age 14, kids long to grow older and be free from the shackles and rules enforced by their parents. By age 26, they learn better.

... 3rd episode coming up.
PS: I had been itching to put up this PJ that I came up with the other day. I would have included it here anyway. But now that I used the word 'intimidating', I get legal privilege to put up its' 'dictionary' meaning here (For those uninitiated to PJ-dom, this is no way connected with actual meaning intended in above piece.):
Pronounciation: intimi-dating
The process of asking a girl out for dinner and threatening her with dire consequences if she refuses.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I saw them together

I saw them together:

The bushy tail
of a running squirrel
going swish and swash.

And a jogging girl's
Pony tail
Bobbing up and down.

Two planes.

One big one small.

One fast one SLOW.

Flying .....high.... flying ....low....

A white trail behind one,
A constant "whirring" sound from the other.

A bevy of leaves -

Young yellow
and Fresh green

On a single tree.

Bright red berries,
on a tree.
Lush green grass,
And to fill the empty spaces,
pure blue sky beyond.


Friday, January 30, 2009

It's Only Words

I have to admit (with a tinge of regret) that I have had my fair share of faux-pas in conversation. In serial fashion, here is a list of 3 forgettable incidents.

(At age: 13 or 14)

My Dad and I were sitting side by side facing the TV - Dad reading the newspaper, I with a book in my hand. My mind was elsewhere - things at school had been a bit rough that day, thanks to the actions of one particular classmate. To lighten my load, I struck up conversation with Dad, "Baba, Rajat ke mone aache?" (Dad, do you remember Rajat?)

Dad replied, "Haan mone aache. Keno ki hoyeche or?" (Yes, what about him?)

I continue, "Kichu hobe keno? Just bolchi - o ekta real bugger. Shobai okey hate kore. Aajke jaano ki koreche - teacher homework joma newar kotha bhule gechilo. Aar amra-o decide korechilam je kicchu bolbo naa. O Beta hothat uthe bole ki naa, 'Mees, aajke homework joma neben naa?' Beta bohut jalaaton kore."
(What about him? Well only that he is a real bugger. And that's why everyone hates him. Know what he did today? Miss had very conveniently forgotten to ask for the homework, and we had got it all figured out - no one would utter a word about it. And then there was Mr Rajat, standing up to point out to his dear Miss, 'Meees. Won't you take the homework today?' Man, does he think he is Jesus Christ.")

Having thus vented my frustration on the despicable Rajat, I was feeling a little elated. However, my elation was to be short-lived. Dad, who had been patiently listening all the while, said, "Son, you're growing up. As you grow older, you will take up jobs of responsibility and meet up with people for important work."

I was getting confused. I wanted him to join me in the denunciation of Rajat Mehta, and he was talking about my future! Dad continued, "In those times, you need to remember to choose your words correctly."

Come now Dad, can't we have the vocab class later? I realized not, when Dad concluded thus, "Otherwise people might misinterpret you in a terrible fashion. I agree that the word 'bugger' seems to mean a person who disturbs you. But I promise you that if you will go and have a look at the dictionary, you will receive quite a shock."

Perplexed, I left the room. There I was thinking of ways to teach Rajat Mehta a lesson next day, and now here I was forced to go and consult the dictionary. However, after seeing the meaning, I could not enter the room again for quite some time afterwards. Rajat bashing would have to be taken up some other convenient time.

The meaning listed in the Cambridge dictionary was this:
- One who engages in sodomy, especially with animals.

... to be continued
[Image Credits:]