Friday, April 29, 2005

Of Comics and Cartoons

I love reading - its been my favorite pastime since the time I was a kid. Those days were good - vacations would be heralded by a visit to Easwari Lending Library(in Gopalapuram, Chennai) and I would be allowed to take how many ever books my bag could carry. I would stock up on Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl and lotttts of comics. Nobody frowned on me then, it was as though my age was some kind of licence to read books with more pictures and less words.

Like any other kid, cartoons caught my fancy early too. Tom & Jerry, Bugs Bunny and of course the Walt Disney classics - kids can't grow up without Mickey Mouse! :-) And I used to watch indigenous cartoons too - Dark Wing Duck, Super Ted, Alice in Wonderland(in Hindi!). People used to give me indulgent smiles then and went on with their work.

The point is, I still like reading comics and watching cartoons, but suddenly it isn't cute anymore! :-(

I don't understand why it is wrong to read Asterix and Tintin when you are 22. Their humor still makes me laugh. So it's alrite to enjoy R.K.Laxman, but not books where pictures tell the whole story, even though the plot and dialogues are sufficiently "adultish"?

And don't get me started on cartoons! I just discovered that discussing Cartoon Network with my 6 year cousin is "uncool". Cartoon Network to date remains one of my favorite channels. I still enjoy Bugs Bunny, not just for the slapstick obvious comedy, but for the subtlety of humor thats present in the dialogues, if you care enough to listen. For the same reason, I have never got company to watch animated movies like IceAge, Finding Nemo and so on. Just because it's animated, doesn't mean it's for kids. The tagline for IceAge is "They came, they thawed, they conquered!" - meant for preteens indeed!

Manfred: Guys, I thought we were in a hurry. And Diego, spit that out. You don't know where it's been.
Sid: Boy, for a second there, I actually thought you were going to eat me.
Diego: I don't eat junk food.

And I rest my case! :-)

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Iduva Aduva?

Having access to webmail but not IM messenger or the other way round?

Staying with parents or with friends?

Coming to work on a thundery rainy day or staying at home under blankets?

Windows or Unix?

Calvin or Dilbert?

Movie and dinner or dinner and then movie?

Coke or Pepsi?

Having a blog and not posting or not having a blog at all?

"If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions?" - Scott Adams :-)

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Highly Dynamic Destination-Sequenced Distance-Vector Routing

Nah, I don't know what that means either! :-) I just wanted to know how it feels to blog about something as complex as "Distance-Vector Routing". (Networking gurus please don't start bragging by telling me what it actually means - I couldn't care less. And yes I know it is not plain tripe, I picked up this title from CiteSeer.)

Recently I came across this site from Boing Boing. I had had a lot of fun with it, generating a paper called "Contrasting Consisting Hashing and Web Services" and sent it to all and sundry and for a few hours made them think I was worth something after all! :-)

There is something between me and papers though. Through my four years of BITSian life I had always wanted to present a paper for APOGEE(the only tech fest I have ever attended, no actually I attended this thing in my 9th Std in Asan Memorial and put a skit or something about viruses and stuff... But I am digressing now, time to close the braces). During my first year the homeward pull was much greater than any desire for academic excellence and I went home. The second year I assumed I would working hard for mech assoc (which I didn't) and didn't even attempt to prepare one. My third year - the year when everyone becomes serious about studies, I was serious too and pulled my roommate also into the grand scheme of things. We browsed and did this and that(less of browsing and even less of the allied "this and that" activities to be honest), just to come to the conclusion that a tech paper would be terribly cliched since everyone was doing that. We decided to do something literary and hit upon analysing the works of Wodehouse. And then, we started planning a trip to Jaipur and Wodehouse was promptly forgotten. We hung on to the Wodehouse idea during the psenti sem(final semester) also, but something bigger got in the way then(Amritsar, Chandigarh and Wagah Border).

Looking back, I have 0% regret of not writing a paper, 'coz now the photo albums of Jaipur and Amritsar give me more happiness than a certificate stating that "Janani Sundarrajan had participated in APOGEE and presented a paper on blah blah blooh blah"!

And that's the way the cookie crumbles! :-)

Monday, April 25, 2005


Most of my dreams(good ones that is!) when I was in Pilani and when I am in Hyderabad used to involve being in Madras(I prefer Madras to Chennai). I have this tendency to compare every place I go to with Madras, and somehow Madras always comes off favorably. Once I step off the train onto the Chennai Central, my heart feels light, my step becomes a skip and a song plants itself magically onto my lips. The long and short of it is, in my mind Madras is close to heaven.

But one small incy-wincy teeney-weeney complaint that I have about Madras is CAS! Even with so much restriction and regulation all the Tamil channels have escaped unscathed - totally unjustifying the need for a set top box. It's channels like Zee Cafe(formerly Zee English), Star World, HBO et al, that have taken the axe. More than movies, my heart goes out for sitcoms - my favorite being the endearing F.R.I.E.N.D.S. My day doesn't feel complete if I don't watch compulsive Monice, oh-so-cute Rachael, geeky Ross, drop-dead funny Chandler, plain dumb but sexy Joey and wierd with so many rings Phoebe(I don't like her all that much!). No matter what anyone says, I don't find them cliched at all, and I really wonder how anybody could not be in love with them! Maybe its mere candyfloss, but hey, I am shallow too and this is a shallow blog! :-) Be it reruns or rereruns or (u get the point right), I want my dose of Friends everyday. Zee Cafe folks aren't carrying it beyond the ninth season. Can any gentle reader help me with Season 10 CD/DVD? ;-)

Will & Grace is another favorite of mine - "Just Jack" is enough to keep me laughing for hours! Caroline in the City is another that I find funny enough to keep watching repeats. Star World does itself well too, airing Grounded for Life, Everybody Loves Raymond and That 70's Show.

So no-one told you life was going to be this way... :-)

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Old Books and Stores that Sell Them

There is something about old book stores that I can't quite describe. I don't know if it is the sight of piles and piles of books arranged in no particular order or the musty smell that old books seem to emanate or some other quality I just can't quantify. But its a good kind of "something" anyways. As a child, one of my happiest hours were spent among old books, picking out out bedtime tales and read-aloud stories. I have bought the wierdest of books from such places - Russian fables, Chinese tales with a moral, Ukranian short stories and many others.

Old books also have this nice feeling about them. I feel like I have a piece of history in my hands. "To Sahli, with love from Dev" - this kind of stuff make my day. I start wondering if Sahli and Dev were in love and if this was his first gift to her and in this vein, I can even build a blockbuster movie out of it!

Today I went to an old book shop in West Mambalam - quite by chance actually. It was nice to browse through oodles and oodles of books by authors I'd never even heard of. To be fair, he had a neat pile of books by popular authors as well - Grisham, Sheldon and the whole works.

What book did I want to buy? - Ponniyin Selvan which wasn't available
And what did I end up buying? - The Odessa Files by Frederick Forsythe. :-)

Friday, April 22, 2005

Home Sweet Home

After four long months! There's something about coming home after a while that triggers some kind of unexplicable emotions. It felt like coming back to where I belonged, coming home to be precise!

My journey was uneventful - I didn't do anything out of ordinary, I got on the right place, off at the right place and didn't do much in between. Train journeys are always interesting from the spectator point of view, especially while travelling alone. Right in front of me was this morose young man who never smiled and spent all his time fiddling with his socks. Seriously even the man who has to announce the end of the world would be cheerier(not that I've met men who announce the end of the world!). There was this regular salesman guy who kept talking loudly into his phone. His ringtone in itself could be the subject one longgggg post. Most interesting was this family who got on at Sec'bad - mom, dad and young Nikhil. It was like watching a soap in action. The typical Tam Bram dad, trying to be hip with his sunglasses, french beard(which he referred to as his dhadi), his bermudas annnnnd his "oasis drinking water" t shirt! The mom was a north indian(gujju by my guess) - wearing a chiffon saree with the complete works for a hot night's journey. The kid was a school lad - shy, introvert and pretended to read a book the whole time. And of course no journey will be complete without "the pervert" and this was no exception. The pervert kept looking(do I dare to use "leering"??) and staring the whole time and justified his existence.

And then the usual stuff I do everytime I go home - hugs, exclamations of "You've lost weight", sweets, endless phone calls, lying on amma's lap, ghar ka khana, Madras edition of "The Hindu"... Life is good. :-)

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

My first post!

And now I don't know what to write!

Now don't get me wrong here, I like reading blogs. My day begins with checking on my favorite bloggers(nah I don't do the RSS thingummy!), in fact I do this before even checking my mail sometimes.

I wondered if this has something to do with the written word. I mean, I love reading in general - books, newspapers, mags. Maybe blogs just fall into that category and I am not just meant to "do" blogs!

But then again its not like I am so fascinated with words that I can only stare at them. I can write too. At school I used to be the first to take part in all kinds of creative writing stuff(the fact that I never used to win is actually irrelevant here!). The fact remains - I am not intimidated by writing.

G, as always, had a ready answer to this problem of mine, "You don't have anything to say! You don't even open your mouth in team meetings, I can't imagine you having anything so important to say to the whole wide web world". I pooh-poohed this at once. For God's sake I am not setting up a news site or some kind announcement portal. It's just my place on the net where I talk about things that matter to me, happen to me or don't matter or don't happen yada yada yada. "There I go", I thought to myself smugly. I have got the whole thing figured out now. I just need to find some topic under the sun, that interests me even slightly and I can blog my heart out - that should be easy!

Which brings me back to - And now I don't know what to write!