Saturday, December 11, 2010

Hyderabad 10K run

I participated in the Hyderabad 10k run on 29th Nov 2010 and completed it in 1 hour 7 minutes, 11 seconds. Pretty good timing for a first-timer :-).

Friday, October 15, 2010

Ghonchu gets an email

[Thanks to Soumava for the idea of this story]

Everyone gets emails from time to time.. Why should anyone be surprised that Ghonchu got one!! Well, this one was special.

Ghonchu switched on his computer at office on Monday morning with a bleary eyed look, of having to withstand five continuous days in office again. Outlook said 17 unread mails in his inbox. Indifferently, Ghonchu turned away to drink a cup of tea assuming most of them must be from his manager asking why he still hadn't started on a task expected to complete last week.

After drinking tea, and chit-chatting for some time, Ghonchu got back and casually perused the subjects and the senders of the mail. His heart leapt (as it always did) when he saw that one of the mails was from Sweetu, a colleague in his office. Even though he knew that the contents would be purely impersonal and would probably about some technical ask, he still cherished it. Ghonchu did not open the email from Sweetu straightaway. He was like a child who didn't want to eat his ice cream out of the fear that it would be finished too soon. He stared at the name for some time, gloated over the fact that he got an email from Sweetu and very carefully with one religious click of the mouse opened the email.

The email was very short. The contents were :- "Missed you :)".

Shocked, Ghonchu's heartbeat increased from 85 (when he was opening the mail) to 110. Ghonchu read-and-reread the mail again in a state of shock.. "Does she have similar feelings.. Are we twin souls after all!"

Ghonchu quickly started composing a reply to the mail. "Dear Sweetu, Even I missed you over the weekend. Two days are quite a lot of time to be separated from you. Regards, Ghonchu." Ghonchu re-read his email a dozen times, removed the second sentence as being too mushy and changed the word 'Regards' to 'Love'. Finally, as he was about to press the 'Send' button, when he saw something else which made his heart turn cold.

The original email from Sweetu had gone not only to him but also to Irritatu. Ghonchu uttered a few choice things (@#%@#$#^#) he would like to do to Irritatu whom he had always suspected of being too close to Sweetu.

However, he didn't have too much time to ponder before Sweetu and Irritatu came over to call him for lunch. Ghonchu glared at Irritatu, smiled sweetly at Sweetu and joined them. The two of them were casually chatting about some movie which Ghonchu had not seen, so Ghonchu fumed inwardly.

In the midst of conversation, Sweetu turned to Ghonchu and asked, "Oh Ghonchu! You will follow up with the partner team on our requirements, won't you."
"Eh!", said Ghonchu blankly.
"I forwarded you an email! Didn't you see? To both you and Irritatu."
"Oh!", said Ghonchu.
"The mail I had forwarded contained the context of what needed to be done. I had forgotten to add you and Irritatu in the thread originally, so forwarded it to you both in the end."
"Ok!", said Ghonchu quietly and focused on finishing his lunch.

Ghonchu went back to his desk and reopened the mail. This time he read it completely.

From: Sweetu
To: Ghonchu, Irritatu
Sub: FW: Partner

Missed you :)


From: Sweetu
To: Senioru
Sub: Partner

Ghonchu and Irritatu should be able to take care of the dependency on the partner team......

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ghonchu goes to Nagarjuna Sagar dam

Ghonchu got up in the morning, feeling excited. He was to go on a road trip to Nagarjuna Sagar dam on Krishna river, around 150 kms from Hyderabad with his team-mates Vidu, Ronku and Somu. Had he known what all adventures lay in store for him, his excitement might' ve been much lesser.

Having rented a car, they set off with Somu at the driver's seat. After however driving for an hour or so, they ran into their first hurdle. The car started stuttering, and finally stopped. However Somu and Ronku had some expertise about cars and they figured the problem was that the car was overheating. On opening the bonnet, they figured out that they needed to feed something called coolant to the car. Ghonchu, who himself didn't know anything about cars, pretended to nod intelligently agreeing with the others.

They all bent expectantly as Ronku poured coolant into a cylindrical can under the bonnet. For a moment, nothing happened. Then, there was a sputtering noise ptttr, ptttr and steam started coming out of the outlet. Ghonchu, whose nose was closest to the bonnet in his bid to show-off his knowledge of cars; jerked backwards and landed 4 feet away on the ground.

Ghonchu decided nodding at the right time was sufficient to look intelligent.

After performing some more experiments on the car, and it failing to start, they started despairing. They kept pouring more and more coolant; which the car kept happily guzzling, making noises like grrrp grrrp grrrp. However, they were lucky enough to get hold of a car servicing shop where they towed their car, left it for repair and continued their journey to the dam by bus.

On reaching the dam, Ghonchu felt it was worth the effort taken to have come there. The dam looked monstrous with water flowing elegantly out of six of the gates, and causing a waterfall-ish effect with water hitting the standing water with brutal force.

Soon thereafter, Ghonchu's friends decided to take a bath in the catchment area. Their enthusiasm went up on seeing other groups there - with girls. On reaching that area, they saw a sign - "Danger. Crocodiles may be found here. Do not enter the water." However, Ghonchu's friends disregarded the sign seeing other groups there. Ghonchu, himself was extremely worried and judging by his reaction to lizards, his fear of crocodiles was only around hundred times more. Since he did not wanting to seem a coward, he entered the water. Since Ghonchu didn't know how to swim, he didn't stray too deep. He just stayed close to land and looked around at his laughing friends who had gone further in. The other groups had gone. All seemed peaceful.

Ghonchu decided to put his face underneath water. Having done so, he saw something which sent a chill up his spine. He saw a long, dark object floating towards him. With a strangled yell, he shouted "crocodile". He was waist deep in water, and hurriedly tried to run back to land. In doing so, he lost his balance, but still managed to reach the rocky outcrop near the water. With his eyes facing the water, he moved backwards until he stumbled and ended up sitting on a log of wood. The others had swam out of the water too and were watching with baited breath.

Gradually, a shape emerged.. It turned out only to be a log of wood.
"Whew!", exclaimed Ghonchu and wiped his brow and looked at the others in relief. However, the others still seemed to have expressions of horror on their faces. Ghonchu quickly cross-checked the log, and then told the others, "Hey, its just a log of wood. Can't you see?"

Nobody responded anything. All three, Ronku, Somu and Vidu seemed to have frozen into silence with shocked expressions. Before Ghonchu could ponder more on why that was so, he started to feel the ground shake. "Hey, an earthquake's happening!!", Ghonchu exclaimed thinking that so many things were happening today. The others still didn't react before Vidu slowly raised a finger pointing towards Ghonchu.

The log of wood, Ghonchu thought he was sitting on was actually a small crocodile which had just moved. When Ghonchu realized that, he leapt up in alarm with another scream and sprinted away from the catchment area. He kept runnning and did not look back until he reached the road.

Soon the others reached to the safety of the road as well with panting breaths. Ghonchu's face was ashen white from shock and it did not seem that he would ever speak again. Somu quietly asked him, "Ghonchu, are you ok?" Ghonchu tried to reply but no words came from his mouth. When finally he was able to say something, it sounded very similar to the noises the car had been making in the morning. "Gpppr wpppr", his teeth chattered with numbing shock.

They collected the car on their return journey, with Ghonchu still not speaking too much. Unfortunately, on their return trip too, the car started giving trouble by overheating. Since it had now become dark, Ronku asked the others to provide light from their mobiles while he poured in the coolant. Ghonchu, with quaking hands and remembering his morning experience enlightened the surroundings as Birbal had once prepared khichadi.

Ghonchu eventually reached home at midnight. He consoled himself with the thought that if nothing else, atleast he got a nice snap taken of himself with the dam in the background which could be posted on facebook/orkut. This was the pic taken!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The beauties of nature!

A few weeks ago, I went by an early morning flight. It is a sheer delight to watch the moving clouds, and then see the sun rise and hit those clouds.

At one point, the cloud cover was so magnificent that it formed a complete massive snow-like bed on which the aircraft seemed to be gliding. A massive swirling pure white, lit by the sun's rays and the only thing visible from end-to-end; the soft-cloud bed seemed to stretch endlessly.

The aircraft continued to glide on the white sheet underneath, which gave an impression of some heavenly land. No wonder, we always perceive that heaven is up somewhere; if one is an admirer of natural beauty, what I saw could easily be described as heaven. I had this crazy impulse to walk out of the aircraft, wrap myself in a blanket of soft white cotton-type cloud cover, and go to sleep in that serene environment.

And then, all of a sudden, the white land ended abruptly with a gigantic abyss of nothingness. Watching the aircraft moving from over the white beautiful land to just empty space, where nothing exists underneath gives a queasy, yet amazing feeling feeling. Almost as though one were traversing a river and unexpectedly encountered a waterfall chasm with a dramatic drop.

It was beautiful. Period.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Some inhabitants of my terrace

Ghonchu learns cooking – Part 3

Links to Part1 and Part2

Ghonchu walked into the kitchen and switched on the gas with the expertise of a professional cook. “Phatak”, said the lighter; “whoosh”, roared the flames in the stove; and Ghonchu replaced the lighter with the smugness of a job well done. Having learnt to light the stove and cook magi previously, Ghonchu was already an accomplished cook. However, an artist’s pinnacle is achieved only if he cannot surpass himself any further. Ghonchu had decided to paint his next stroke in the art of cooking. This time, he intended to make chapattis (roti).

Any reader who was worried on reading the above line underestimates Ghonchu. The Ghonchus’ of this world may not be great cooks, but they are hard-working and perseverant and accomplish their task no matter what.

Ghonchu had learnt the steps to cook a chapatti. He took some wet flour (atta) and made a ball out of it. Having smeared dry flour over it, he began kneading the flour. He started using the belan to knead the mixture of wet and dry flour. On using the belan once, the round flour turned to a reasonable flat shape. Emboldened, Ghonchu swished the belan a few more times. However to his consternation, the flour started sticking to the belan, the roti plate and his hands. Having recently watched Spiderman, Ghonchu was reminded of how Tobey Maguire must have felt when he first learnt about his spider-like characteristics. With a ‘yuck’ emanating from his mouth, he quickly went over to wash his hands. Afresh he started over. Slowly, the flour, albeit wet and sticky began to take shape. Ghonchu paused for a moment to admire his handiwork. After some thought about the shape of his roti, Ghonchu eventually concluded it was like those amoebae drawings in his ninth grade biology book (read shapeless).

He put the wet amoeba on the gas allowed it to get dry. After some time, he decided it was time to turn over the amoeba. With this intention, he touched the roti plate with his fingers. Two seconds after that he was licking his fingers. It is best not to talk about the screams and oaths heard in those intervening two seconds.

But the Ghonchus’ of this world are not to be outdone. He cleverly found a pair of tongs. “Ha! Where will you run now?”, Ghonchu mentally asked the hot gas plate and the overheated amoeba. Using the tongs, he turned over the amoeba. After a few more tosses and turns over the gas, his first amoeba was ready to eat. With a smile of satisfaction, Ghonchu sat down to taste his accomplishments.

The roti tasted like papad as it had been overheated. However, Ghonchu still proudly ate or rather munched his amoeba shaped, papad-like roti.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

In retrospection..

I completed one year in office life two weeks ago. My thoughts on office life, and other things I learnt in the last one year..

- I need to thank all my team mates and friends made in office. Before joining the industry, there were the usual doubts which everyone has, how different is it? Is there peer pressure? Can one be thyself without facing any politics and so on and so forth?

I am happy to put all those doubts to rest. I found that people are friendly, helpful and great human beings. I could be myself without having any thoughts of all of the above mentioned things at any point. Or it may be the case that I am too blind to notice anything wrong (which may not be actually bad). I have been able to transition from college life to industry without any glitches; I can still play sports, still talk nonsense most of the time, still make people smile and still hopefully not be judged too much (not sure about the last part :-) ). This part of the post is a testimonial for all my office mates.

- Something I learnt about people in the last one year. Most people are good, if you choose to look only at their positive traits. Something I learnt about myself. It is worth investing the effort to try and look at the positives when you are talking to someone. It changes the dynamics of how the conversation occurs.

- Another thing that I learnt that is staying aloof and not talking too much is the worst thing you can do when you are already down. It formulates a vicious cycle in your mind, and coming out takes more effort than it would have been if you had shared your thoughts.

- The next thing I learnt, is that how one sees thyself is of paramount importance and that ultimately makes all the difference in self-confidence irrespective of however highly or indifferently one is perceived by peers or friends.

- Ok, enough of serious things. On another note, I joined facebook a few months ago. While I haven’t become an avid follower as yet, what I seem to see most is that some ‘friend’ or ‘friend of friend’ is getting married/engaged daily. Depending on my mood, it either worries or delights me :-). More often than not, it is the last of those. But there are signs of change amongst my peer group. Instead of updates, someone going on trips etc etc, as it was up to a couple of years ago, there are more messages of ‘got engaged’ types.. Times are changing..

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Spain are World Champions !

This post didn't appear earlier because there wasn't much to write about the final. All one could say is that the game was a poor advertisement for football. There must have been millions of people who were non-football followers but just watched the finals; and they would have been disappointed. Many must have wondered why this is the most popular game on earth. And that is a pity, because the tournament was played at a really high quality, and mostly in good spirit.

So Spain did the double with the Euro Cup and the World Cup. Deservedly so. Netherlands, to their credit tried their best, kept Spain at bay for all of 117 minutes before a weak clearance undid all the good work. Such are the small margins which decide high stakes.

The only point worth mentioning is that how a number of people feel that Spain play only possession football and have won just because of that. I beg to differ. What I would say is that the quality of Spanish players is such that they are the only team in the world which has the ability to keep possession for long periods of time. No other team in the world would be able to play short, clean passes, even when they are being harried and closed down by the opposition.

Sneijder, De Jong, everyone tried their best; and were successful largely because for most part Xavi and Iniesta didn't have much of an impact. Two clean chances for Robben, both created beautifully by Sneijder; and Robben might be left ruing all his life, that the world cup was in grasp. Ironically, for a player who has been much maligned for diving, Robben chose not to go down when Puyol tackled him. Had he gone down, Puyol would have almost certainly been sent off, and that too might have changed the course of the game.

Sneijder had a great game and would be my man of the match despite ending on the losing side.

The World Cup has come to an end. A small word of appreciation for the hosts who did an apparently great job w.r.t all arrangements. Lets forgive them for the vuvuzelas :)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

SF2 : Efficient Spain shut out Germany 1-0

Spain did what they usually do. Pass the opposition to death. Germany tried to do what they did against Argentina and England. Counter-attack. Unfortunately, they faced one minor problem in this game. To be able to launch a counter-attack, you need to get the ball first. Also they got an early goal in both the previous games, which drew the opposition out and made it easier for them.

One of my hunches before the match was whichever team scores the first goal would win. Although this match ended up having only one goal, things turned out as expected. Spain passed and passed and passed, when they finally scored late in the 73rd minute, they shut out Germany after that with some more passing. Had Germany scored first, things would have been more interesting. That would have drawn Spain out allowing the much-famed German counter-attack.

For the purists, this one was a lesson in football. Spain showed tonight why they are the rated as the most technically fluent team in the world. Tonight, one major quality which Spain possesses was on display, something which isn't so obvious and usually gets hidden behind the brilliance of Villa or the passing by the trio of Xavi, Iniesta and Alonso.

'Off the ball running and closing down the opposition!' This is something the entire Spanish team does so efficiently and so brilliantly that often it doesn't allow the attack-minded opposition players to even come into the game. The same reason caused Ronaldo to cut a forlorn figure in the pre-quarters, and tonight again, Klose and Podolski were barely allowed a touch of the ball.

For all the beauty, the technical ability that Spain have, they work together as a unit and close down the opposition players superbly. Force the opposition player into making a mistake, give the ball away, and then the whole probing cycle of Alonso, Xavi, Aniesta, Xavi, Alonso, wide to Ramos/Villa starts all over again.

Man of the match : Carlos Puyol. While he had a very poor game against Paraguay where he was caught out by Nelson Valdez's pace, tonight he displayed great mental strength to come back with a strong showing and showed the positive trait of his defending - dealing with high balls with strong dominating headers. To cap it all, he got a goal with another of those powerful headers. A rare direct goal by Spain.

For Netherlands, they can only win against Spain if they accomplish one task. Outrun Spain. Paraguay tried it to good effect in their first half, but couldn't sustain it. Close down, don't allow the fab two, Xavi and Iniesta, time on the ball. Yes, Spain will still have majority of the possession, but if allowed to pass, they will just pass Netherlands to death. Just as they so neatly and efficiently, wrote the obituary of an upto-so-far rampant German team tonight.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

QF4: Spain vs Paraguay 1-0

So Paraguay found out what must be done to contain Spain. Run, run and run. Close down, work hard and fight for the ball. Leave Spain on the ball and they will murder you. As I write this at the end of first half, it seems Paraguay know the formula and indeed look the likelier of the two teams to score. In fact, they have had a goal ruled out incorrectly for offside. Puyol has struggled against the pace Nelson Valdez and another striker might have made more use of it.

The two Xavis', Alonso and Hernandez have done extremely well with their inter-play and intricate passing, as always; but most of it has been sideways and in front of the stubborn Paraguayan defence.

Paraguay is aware of the formula, all they have to do is the minor task of implementing it.....

A dramatic second half which saw two penalties, and two misses all in a span of less than 3 minutes spiced up a drab encounter. Spain were a touch lucky, with a couple of decisions going in their favour; one the earlier disallowed goal, and the second where the Paraguay penalty should have been retaken. It would have been really interesting had Paraguay scored.

But, notwithstanding those decisions, when a dull game needed a bit of quality, a bit of finesse, a bit of crispness, in cometh Andres Aniesta. The man who was unlucky to miss the Player of the Year award in 2009, showed what a class act he is, yet again. Driving at the heart of the Paraguayan defence, he cut past a couple of defenders, to lay a perfect pass to Pedro who was unlucky to hit the bar. Who does the ball fall back to? Yet again, the Spanish talisman, David Villa. If you ever need someone, with the ball at his feet; the opposition defenders diving desperately in front of him; and all you want is someone with composure, calmness and the ability to slot the ball in the net; you couldn't ask for a better person than David Villa. Had the same composure been shown by Roque Santa Cruz a few minutes later when he was one-on-one with Casillas, the match would have been back in the balance. That is all what differentiates a good striker and a great one.

Did Spain deserve to go through? Not sure. Paraguay were definitely unlucky; and one must say that it remains to be seen if Spain can come back from a losing position, if they encounter such a situation in the later stages.

Man of the match : Andres Iniesta for his moment of magic.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

QF3 : Germany trounce Argentina 4-0

So the much hyped match, touted to be a virtual final after Brazil's loss yesterday turned out to be a mismatch. And that seems surprising, judging by what had been written about Argentina till yesterday. In hind-sight of course, it is easy to take Maradona and his boys to the cleaners and talk about the beautiful football played by Germany.

Interestingly the teams that have won in the later stages have quality midfielders who have the ability to stamp their class. One of my beliefs is that a midfielder or a defender has to do far more than what is expected of him to be talked about in the same breath as a forward. A forward, however all he has to do is his job, score goals and he is labeled a hero. So when the world sits up and pays attention to midfielders or defenders, it means they are special.

And that has been the hallmark of the two quarterfinals. You talk about Sneijder and Robben in the same breath, but you don't do the same for Kaka/Fabiano and Gilberto Silva. You watch a poetry in motion when Messi gets the ball, but are unmoved when Mascherano is on the move. However, for Germany Schweinsteiger and Klose are talked about in the same breath and the same is true for Spain where the diminuitive Xavi and Iniesta are talked about as much as Villa or Torres.

So it proved to be difference today. Argentina for all their class, needed the supply. When that was cut out because Schweinsteiger and Khedira dominated Mascherano and co, Tevez and Messi had to often come back deep to get on the ball from the halfway-line. Even if Messi got past one,two defenders as he did on a few occasions, there was the giant frame of Mertesacker to snuff out any danger.

To be fair to Argentina, the scoreline as in the case of England doesn't really reflect the true state of the game. Germany were just more clinical. They were deadly in counter-attack, dominated the midfield and solid in defence.

Man of the match : there could be many really. Schweinsteiger, for his drive (similar to Sneijder yesterday), or even for his single handed creation of the third goal; Mertesacker, who stood his ground against the likes of Messi, Tevez, Higuain, or even the skipper Lahm, who was his usual best, strong in defence (totally nullified Maxi Rodriguez), and rampaging while going forward.

However I would like to nominate Joachim Low as today's man of the match, because nowhere was the faith shown in his young side more sweetly proven until tonight. The Germans were swift, speedy in closing down, had the energy to counter-attack at a swift pace in both matches vs England and Argentina. The reason - they had age on their side and the legs to do it. That alone was the single point of difference between two quality sides today. And how !

Friday, July 2, 2010

QF 1 : Holland vs Brazil : Tenacious Holland keep European hopes alive

Prior to this match, both teams knew that winning this match may effectively give them an entry into the final. With all due respect to Uruguay and Ghana, both Brazil and Holland must have been licking their lips on seeing the draw after group stages. They both saw off Chile and Slovakia clinically and this was the main hurdle in their paths.

The first ten minutes made it look almost as though it was men vs boys. Brazil took the game to Holland, had a beautiful move which culminated into a goal ruled out (correctly) for offside; and then went ahead by a superb through-ball and a first time shot by Robinho while the Holland defence had gone to sleep. Brazil continued to dominate, keep possession, draw fouls, and amidst all this, Kaka had a beautiful curling shot saved in a move which had originally been created by Robinho's industriousness down the touchline. In another flowing move, Maicon had a thunderous shot saved down the right flank.

Brazil, probably playing their most attractive football all tournament went into half-time 1-0 feeling pretty comfortable. Holland huffed and puffed, and for all the hard work by Sneijder and De Jong, and the threat posed by Robben, they were unable to impose themselves on the Brazilian midfield.

All great football coaches, the Mourinhos, the Fergusons are known by what they say to their team at half time. Whatever Bert van Marwijk, the Holland coach did say to his team, it had a tremendous impact. They came out looking sharper, began to close down Brazil far more swiftly and Sneijder began to show his capabilities. Much like Xavi Alonso or Xavi Hernandez, the play-maker; he began to influence the game.

The goal when it came had a touch of fortune, where a decent cross into the six-yard area caused confusion and the Brazil goalkeeper collided with Felipe Melo inducing an own-goal. Communication (which was lacking in this case) is often to key to handle such situations.

The situation changed dramatically thereafter. Not having to chase the game anymore, Holland looked more comfortable while Brazil tried to regain the earlier dominance. However, Sneijder, Van Bommel and ever-hard working Kuyt did not give an inch of space this time around. Another innocuous corner for Holland, led to another goal, this time surely through something that must have been rehearsed in the training ground. One touch header, nodded on goalwards, another touch - goal. Simple, effective and for all its predictability, still a goal worth its weight in gold. Holland lead, suddenly Brazil looked insecure, panicky and tried to press forward, but the Holland midfield kept them superbly in check.

A red-card to Felipe Melo for a spiteful tackle further changed the complexion of the game. Was it a red card offense? Yes. Period. To give credit, Brazil continued to press forward and earned a few corners in quick succession, but the closest they came was Kuyt safely diverting a header away standing 2 feet in front of his goal. For all the quality of Kaka and Robinho, there were no clear-cut chances and the no-nonsense Holland midfield and defence stood stubborn.

Did Brazil deserve to go out. The purists might disagree, but based on Holland's second half performance, they definitely deserved to go through. They may not have the flair that South American teams have but they have the tenacity and the stomach to fight, something which is typical of European teams. And for flair, they can look to one man - Wesley Sneijder.

Man of the match : easily Wesley Sneijder, and not because he scored the winner, but primarily because of ability to dictate the play against the likes of Gilberto Silva, Maicon and co.

Journalistic tendencies..?

From now on, I have decided to write my opinions on the soccer world cup matches I watch. One more voice amongst the thousands that are out there expressing their views.
There are 7 matches remaining (I may not watch the Uruguay-Ghana match).

So here goes ...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Writing code...

For 8 long years...from class XI and class XII, to four years in B.E., to two years in M.E.; I was taught one and only one thing.

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER (I don't remember how many never's were there) use GOTO while writing code.

The first function I wrote last week (which would go out as an industrial product) had a GOTO...

So did the second, fact all the functions I have written so far, have gotos :D:D.

So much for all those GOTO haters..

On another side note, I realized recently that books like 'Exploring C' weren't books just meant for placement preparation. Am needing to read it again..

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Ghonchu and the random experiment

Ghonchu and his flatmates Maalu and Telu were sitting on the sofa. All three of them were looking at each other hopefully. Being extremely lazy, they were trying to decide which one of them would get up to switch on the TV. Eventually after three full minutes of discussion, it was decided that Ghonchu would do the job because the TV was nearest to him.

With a nasty expression on his face, Ghonchu obliged. Just as he was about to sit down, the bell rang. Maalu and Telu convinced Ghonchu that since he was already standing it meant less effort for him to go and open the door.

Unwillingly, Ghonchu traipsed off to open the door, and it turned to be the pizza they had ordered. After paying and just as they all were getting ready to eat, Maalu remembered, "There's no ketchup."

All three of them looked at each other again. The shop where ketchup could be purchased was at a mammoth distance of 100 meters away. Three options were presented. Option one was to eat without ketchup. Option two was all of them go and get the ketchup since neither was willing. Option three was to make one of them go.

(There was an option four also which they had used up the previous day. Wishing to eat maggi, and there being no maggi in the house, they ordered five kilograms of atta to go along with maggi. Reason: the minimum order for home delivery was Rs 100.)

None of them liked option one. Option two was discarded as it was a waste of effort. "Why should everyone suffer!" They had to fall back to option three with the only thing left to decide who would undertake the herculean task of getting up from the sofa, wearing sandals, walking 100 meters, buying ketchup and then walking all the way back.

Ghonchu had a brainwave. With a true engineer's mind, and wanting to leverage what Professor Chiru had taught them in Modeling & Simulation course, he proposed a coin toss.

Maalu looked scornfully at Ghonchu and said, "we are three." Undaunted, Ghonchu explained, " we will use two coins." The others, having taken the course themselves quickly understood Ghonchu's idea and assented. Telu, being most cunning, quickly took out two coins and said, "I will take two tails; Maalu, you take two heads; and Ghonchu, you take a head and a tail."

"Done", said both. For some inexplicable reason, Ghonchu observed both Maalu and Telu were smiling. He concluded it must be due to the novelty of the idea.

The coins were flipped in the air. Everyone watched the coins with bated breath as though their lives depended on it. Due to asynchronous throws by Telu, one of the coins landed first. "Heads", screamed Telu in relief. The other coin span almost for ever in the air while Maalu and Ghonchu watched it with bated breath. It landed tails.

Maalu and Telu started celebrating as though they had won the annual grand lottery while Ghonchu left for the shop looking as though he had an albatross around his neck.

He didn't hear the sound of renewed laughter as he closed the door.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Rain rain come again..

It rained today. Heavily ! :-)

And I walked around 500 meters with the heavy downpour beating on my face, getting drenched to the skin. With no worries about getting ill, or having to wash those dirty clothes blah blah.. I could see expressions of 'this-guy-is-mad' on some peoples' faces but walked on indifferently.

And I enjoyed every moment of it!

Sometimes, we must forget rules, propriety and dignity and try and remember what it was to enjoy such beauties by nature when we were young.

Quote from Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix : 'Youth cannot know how age thinks and feels. But old men are guilty if they forget what it was to be young ... and I seem to have forgotten, lately' ... This seems apt here (notwithstanding the old :-) ).

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ghonchu's nephew - Vedu

Ghonchu's two year old nephew, Vedu had come to stay for a few days. Some snippets of his stay.

Scene one :

The moment Ghonchu's sister and Vedu came over, Ghonchu welcomed him with open arms. As Vedu was perched safely in his mother's lap, Ghonchu was ignored. However, when Vedu was eventually transferred to Ghonchu, Vedu opened his mouth to make the first sound of the day - 'aaainnnnnnnnnnnnnn'. Vedu went back to his mother. Ghonchu went back to welcoming Vedu from a distance.

Scene two :

Over a few days, Vedu had now got used to Ghonchu's presence. One afternoon, he was sitting next to Ghonchu, feeling bored. Looking around, he found a new play thing. He smiled, went upto Ghonchu's face. Ghonchu, delighted at this gesture of affection, put his face forward. Snatch, went Ghonchu's spectacles. Alarmed, Ghonchu looked to see what Vedu did next. Vedu looked at the specs thoughtfully wondering in what manner to crush it. Ghonchu now decided to play tug of war with Vedu for the specs. Being (slightly) bigger, Ghonchu won the battle. The next audible sound was 'aaainnnnnnnnnnnnnn'. From the other room, his sister's voice came, "Ghonchu, why are you troubling Vedu?" Back went the specs to Vedu, and all sounds stopped. Ghonchu consoled himself with the thought that he could claim spectacle expenses as part of his company's medical reimbursement policy.

Scene three :

Ghonchu was watching IPL with intensity on television. Also sitting on his stomach was Vedu. Playing horse-horse. Sachin hit a straight drive boundary and Ghonchu exclaimed "ooooohhh" with delight. Vedu jumped on Ghonchu's stomach and Ghonchu again screamed "ooooohhh", this time because he was winded. Ghonchu looked angrily at Vedu who looked delighted with the soft flabby thing he had found. Ghonchu became engrossed in watching the match again and Vedu had to remind him of his presence by jumping again, this time a little lower. Ghonchu lay there unable to speak or move with a look of resignation.

Scene four :

"Ghonchu, I am going out for some work. Take Vedu for a walk in the park," requested Ghonchu's sister.
"Sure", said Ghonchu.
"Make sure he wears a diaper and also take his ball".
Ghonchu began day-dreaming of all the girls in the park who would be impressed on seeing him taking care of Vedu.

In the evening, Ghonchu took Vedu to the park in the evening and set him down on the grass to play with his ball. He himself sat on the bench and looked around to see who all were observing him admiringly. Sadly, the total count was zero. Ghonchu in his quest to look for admirers soon forgot about Vedu.

Soon, however a woman came up to Ghonchu and said, "Hi".
"Hi", replied Ghonchu delighted (He said "bingo" in his mind).
"You don't mind my son playing with your son's ball", she said pointing to where another little boy was now playing with Vedu and his ball.
"Eh!", said Ghonchu blankly.
The woman repeated her statement.
"He is not my son. He is my nephew", Ghonchu managed to stutter with a mortified expression.
"And no, your son can't play with mine because we are leaving now".
"Oh", she said and turned away.
"I meant my nephew", screamed Ghonchu at her back.

Ghonchu looked at Vedu who came up to him and clambered on his lap. Just as Ghonchu got up to leave before other people got the same impression as the woman, he felt something.

That something was something wet on his trousers. He had forgotten to put the diaper on Vedu. With an expression of 'the-worst-has-happened', Ghonchu looked down at Vedu's black shorts which remained of the same dark colour, and at his own white trousers which now looked a pale shade of grey in an area where one wouldn't want it to look grey.
                               A picture of my nephew - Vedant

Ghonchu learns cooking (Part 2)

Now emboldened with the fact that he had learnt the basics of cooking, Ghonchu decided that he should make a supreme dish. Such a dish, that everyone would appreciate and say "Wow! Ghonchu, you are a wonder." After a lot of thought, Ghonchu decided to make Maggi - every bachelor's bread and butter.

The planning complete, like a true software engineer, Ghonchu moved to the implementation of this task. His prior investigations had taught him how to light the gas, so that hurdle could be easily overcome.

Ghonchu lit the gas, took a vessel, filled it with water, put maggi and the masala into it and looked satisfied. "I am a born cook", he thought. "This should be ready to eat in a couple of minutes, as the advertisement claims."

Ghonchu waited for a couple of minutes and looked into the vessel. It looked like the Ganga river with a lot of floating snakes in it. Perplexed and convinced that this isn't how maggi looked like, he decided to wait. After ten more minutes, he put his head over the vessel again. With steam coming out of the vessel, the maggi was fermenting and frothing and dancing like the Eyjafjallajokull volcano.

The volcanic steam also succeeded in disrupting the flow of air traffic in Ghonchu's nose (made him sneeze). In a state of panic, Ghonchu switched off the gas and decided to eat the ashes after it cooled down. After ten more minutes of waiting, Ghonchu brought out a plate to transfer the maggi from the vessel. However, he realized that still a lot of water remained in the vessel and hence decided to eat whatever had been prepared in the vessel itself.

Ghonchu dug a spoon into the vessel. All that came out was murky water which slipped back into the vessel. Changing tactics, Ghonchu tried to pour out the Ganga into the sink without disturbing the swimming snakes. All the masala drained out with the Ganges.

Ghonchu now sat back happily and ate the leftover bland sticky remains of what was once known as maggi.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


The other day I went to watch the match between Bangalore and Bombay in IPL. There were a couple of low intensity bomb blasts nearby, outside the stadium while I was there along with my friends.

Later on, I came to know about how a few people (whom I wouldn't have expected) had tried calling me up, when they became aware of those incidents. As luck would have it, the networks were jammed and no one was able to reach me apart from my parents. This post is to thank all those people who tried to call me then; it feels nice to be cared for and I really appreciate such a gesture.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Ghonchu and the Lizard

Ghonchu walked briskly towards his house. Having played cricket, he felt sweaty and dirty and decided to take a bath.

He unrobed himself and moved towards the bathroom in a towel. Just as he was about to enter the bathroom, he saw an unexpected gate-keeper guarding the bathroom. An enormous lizard was hanging precariously on the half-open bathroom door. Two of Ghonchu’s favorite nightmares were, one where he would be trapped in a den of crocodiles, and the other where a lizard would fall out of nowhere on his shirt and go underneath it. In this case, the latter wasn’t possible because he wasn’t wearing anything other than his skin.

Ghonchu looked at the lizard. The lizard looked at Ghonchu. Both eyed each other with mutual respect which foes on a battlefield have for each other. Each waited for the other to make the first move.

Ghonchu enumerated the possibilities. He could try and drive the lizard away but that was fraught with danger. The lizard could go into the bathroom instead and then he wouldn’t be able to take a bath. He could go carefully into the bathroom without disturbing the lizard and take a bath with the door half-open. Or else, he could simply wait till the lizard decided where to go next.

Discarding option two, he decided to go with option three for some time before risking option one. Ghonchu waited 10 minutes for the gatekeeper to give way. While waiting, Ghonchu was standing on one leg with a towel robed around him in a ready position to make a dash for the bathroom should the gatekeeper gracefully give way. The gatekeeper refused to budge. Feeling itchy and sweaty, Ghonchu in a rash act of bravado decided to try ugly tactics and move to option one. He knew, if the gatekeeper went inside he would be stranded. It would be like Abhimanyu who went into a chakraview without knowing how to get out of it.

Ghonchu said “hooosh” to the gatekeeper. The gatekeeper looked scornfully back as though it would lose the battle so easily. It remained undaunted and ready for Ghonchu’s next attack. Ghonchu’s next attack was “hoosh hoosh”. The gatekeeper started ignoring Ghonchu now thinking him to be an unworthy opponent.

Now, Ghonchu lost temper at being ignored and felt that’s enough. He started poking the gatekeeper with a newly-found stick. At first, the gatekeeper ignored him busy looking for dinner (mosquitoes). Suddenly, when the stick came quite close to it, realization struck the gatekeeper. Ghonchu had struck back with a vengeance. With a look of disdain, because the opponent had used a new weapon not originally mentioned in the battle rules; the gatekeeper quickly moved away.

Ghonchu waited with baited breath to see where it would go. The gatekeeper moved away and out of the bathroom door. “Yippee”, screamed Ghonchu at having won the battle, albeit unfairly. The gatekeeper no longer was guarding the door, nor did it go inside.

But, Ghonchu though delighted at having won the minor skirmish, had not planned for the entire war. His opponent had another tactical masterstroke in hand. Just as Ghonchu got ready to enter the bathroom, he observed the lizard sticking a tongue at him before entering into the cupboard where he kept all his clothes.


As a response to this post, I received this wonderful anecdote in the form of a poem composed by Divya.

"Subah Subah - ek anchaha mehmaan "
Aaj yu hi jab darwaza khola wo saamne tapak gayi
bin bole bin pooche bas yu hi ander chali aayi
isse pehle ki main rokti kuch kehti wo meri table ke neeche jaake baith gayi
maine bulana chaha darwaze ki taraf ishara kiya
par wo wahi baithi mujhe tukur tukur dekhti rahi
use bhagaane ke liye maine jhoothi mooti safai ka natak kiya
jhaadoo leke uske aaspaas mandarayi
par wo to bas wahi usi jagah jaise chipak hi gayi
maine thoda aur zor se khule darwaze ke aur ishara jo kiya
to wo bhaag ke mere kamre me aur ander aa gayi
ye dekh mere muh se zor se aawaaz nikli nahiiiiiiii
fir shukar manaya ki mere padosi kabhi aise shor pe dhyaan nahi dete
ab jise ander aana tha aa gayi thi ye samajhke
maine us khule darwaaze ko band kar diya
socha ki kahin uske jaise aur ander na aa jaye
use daraane ki chah thi par khud hi darrti rahi
wo itni chup aur shaant thi is dauraan
ki thodi der me hi mere kamre ke ek samaan jaisi lagne lagi
itna ghulmil gayi wo mere kamre ki cheeso me
ki main uski maujundgi ko hi bhool gayi
kamre ko band karke aaraam se tehelne nikal gayi

ab jab wapas kamre me jana hai to lag raha hai ....

wo chipkali abhi bhi mere saamaano me kahin chupi hogi !

Friday, March 26, 2010

Ghonchu's machine hangs

(Thanks to Raunak for this story)

Ghonchu walked into his office humming a self-composed tune "Chahe jo bhi ho jaye; humein kuch nahi hoga". He climbed the lift and went to fourth floor towards his cubicle. He saw Ronku and Punu who were discussing something. They greeted him enthusiastically but Ghonchu swiftly moved ahead after greeting them cursorily; he was worried they might include him in their discussion and his total ignorance about everything would be revealed.

On reaching his cubicle, he felt something was wrong. After racking his brains for 2 minutes, it finally struck him. His machine was unlocked!!! Ghonchu mentally abused himself for committing such a stupid mistake. Here goes my 1000 Rs, he thought. There was an unwritten rule in his office that if someone left his machine unlocked; there would be a mail sent from his Outlook, "I am giving a treat at Barista today."

Ghonchu rushed to Ronku who was nearest and asked, "Tell me, am I giving a treat at Barista today?"
A nonplussed Ronku said, "We won't mind if you do. Why, what happened?"
"I left my machine unlocked."
"Oh", said Ronku, now smiling along with Punu.
They all went back to Ghonchu's machine. Punu suggested, "Just check your sent mail. If someone has fooled around, you will know."
"Good idea", Ghonchu appreciated his friends' help mentally.
However, when Ghonchu tried to open his mailbox, nothing happened on clicking Outlook on the task bar.

Ghonchu tried to open other items, and then to his consternation he realized even though the mouse was moving around, his desktop seemed to have hung. Nothing was opening. He even tried the keyboard, and then realized that keyboard too was not responding. The keyboard and mouse connection ports seemed to be fine.

"Damn Windows! Why can't these folks make a reliable product which doesn't crash?"

However, soon he began to appreciate the fact that because Windows hung, no one was able to send a Barista mail. "Thanks to Windows errors, I escaped", Ghonchu exclaimed in happiness to Ronku and Punu.

"Yes, but what about your machine now?", asked Ronku.
"Oh, I will restart. All Windows problems go away with reboot", Ghonchu said confidently.
"But your keyboard isn't working. If you reboot, then you won't be able to login."

Now, Ghonchu got worried. He had to show something to his manager in an hour and hadn't done anything. "Ronku, can I remotely login from your machine to mine and check if it works that way."

"Ya, sure", said Ronku, all helpful as usual.
"Thanks a lot, man."

Ghonchu tried that approach but even then that didn't work. Now in panic, Ghonchu looked for inspiration at his two friends. "What should I do? Seriousu won't accept this as an excuse for not doing work." Seriousu was their manager.

Punu and Ronku listed down the possibilities. Ghonchu couldn't use this as an excuse so he somehow had to get his machine to work. Calling Facilities to change his keyboard would take some time, and he didn't have time.

"The only option left now for you is to fix your machine on your own somehow without restarting. Take 10-15 minutes to do so, then finish your work in 45 minutes", Ronku calmly concluded as though it was as easy as eating breakfast.

Ghonchu tried all he could think of, with various suggestions from Ronku and Punu. Still nothing. Now their expressions were as follows. Ghonchu, in a state of total panic looked like a cat trapped in a den of crocodiles. Ronku's expression showed concern while Punu was trying to restrain himself from laughing.

Ronku remonstrated with Punu for laughing, and Ghonchu also felt very bad and decided that Ronku was his only friend. However, Punu couldn't control himself any longer and started laughing in full flow. Then, Ronku also joined him and both of them just kept on laughing unable to stop.

Perplexed, Ghonchu looked at them with questioning eyes of a curious cat.

Ronku and Punu had taken advantage of the unlocked machine. They took a snapshot of the desktop, copied it in Paint and just opened it in full screen. The real desktop was hidden underneath. Also, a small piece of paper had been inserted in the keyboard port such that it was invisible to naked eye and was the cause of keyboard not working.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Of nostalgia and memories..

Two small incidents triggered this post..I just saw Yuvraj and Kaif batting together the other day. And then I suddenly yearned for one of those partnerships of yore, where they played together. And then sadly I was reminded of the realities of life, that this is now 2010 and not 2002 when Kaif got out after a miserable couple of hits.

The other incident that happened was Sachin hit a hook shot yesterday...after probably half a decade. I suddenly wanted those days back when hitting two boundaries an over were cherished and only classy people like Sachin were capable of it and not every Tom, Dick and Harry as is now the case.

I also saw a random advertisement the other day of some Max insurance where a child plays the fool with his parents about his marks and then recalled myself do something of that sort when I was around 10.

And then I stopped to think about it, and then remembered a lot more things which I suddenly missed. I missed the random nonsense shared with my BTech friends; the close ties, the fights, six people sitting on the corner-most table of 4 during meals with my IISc friends; the solving of intensely difficult Maths problems with my school friends and struggling hard preparing for IIT; all of which are now no longer possible.

Do I wish to turn the clock back to change anything? Probably not, those were great days with no major regrets. If anything, I would love to rewind it to the 2003 World Cup final, where Sachin would've played that recent innings of 200 and won the WC instead of miscuing a pull to McGrath in the first over.

Now things are just so dramatically different in office life, that all those days of school and college just mean nothing but memories. Not that office life isn't fun but still...the three earlier lives were great fun too while I was in those phases. Maybe one just has to move on, with nothing but all those memories left with you.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Visitor Count

Ghonchu opened Mozilla Firefox, pressed Ctrl+T and quickly wrote He had told a girl named Sweetu in his office about his blog and had boasted that it had more than 1000 visits. The statistics on the right panel said 963 visitors. He wanted to quickly get it to 1000 visitors. His hard-work of opening the site three times daily in the last 321 days had successfully paid off. He was now only 37 short of the magic figure.

Desperate to reach 1000 visitors on the same day, Ghonchu thought of various ways to reach the four-figure mark. His possible options were:- 1) open and close his blog page 37 times. 2) Requesting a number of friends to open his blog site.

Ghonchu pressed the refresh button. The visitor count stayed at 963 visits. Previous experience had taught him that won't help, but being an optimist he anyway tried that trick again. He then closed the web-page, closed firefox, reopened it and reopened his blog page again. His web-page visitor count stubbornly refused to move. With sweat dripping from his face (although that might've been due to Hyderabad's temperature), he now restarted the machine, opened firefox and then opened his blog page again. The visitor count limped to 964 visits.

Whew, said Ghonchu to himself, "I can't restart my machine 36 more times." He decided to move to option two. He pinged Keechu, Pingu, Quietu and Chintu and told them to quickly visit his blog page a few times. Their response was typical. Quietu and Pingu did not reply back. Keechu exclaimed, "Sheesh, why on earth should I visit your blog? Don't I've anything better to do?" Pingu just started laughing on being told that Ghonchu had a blog, so Ghonchu decided not to pursue the matter further.

At wits end, Ghonchu wondered what to do. Then he remembered bhOndOO. bhOndOO was an old friend of his whom he hadn't talked to recently. bhOndOO maintained a blog too which was far more popular.

Desperation makes people do strange things. Ghonchu called up bhOndOO and requested him to visit his blog. Every drop was crucial to fill the ocean of 36 leftover visitors. bhOndOO in his usual non-committal way replied, "I will see what I can do." Ghonchu disappointed with all his friends, decided to give up and felt that he would have to apologize to Sweetu.

On reaching office the next day, he tried to avoid Sweetu. However, she met him unexpectedly and exclaimed, "Wow, Ghonchu! Your blog is really popular. You weren't boasting." Startled but delighted, Ghonchu quickly checked his blog-page and saw that his visitor count showed 1021 visits. Shocked and perplexed, Ghonchu thought how did this miracle happen!!

Then, while surfing he accidently went over to bhOndOO's blog. The topmost post said, "This post is for Ghonchu who is currently in a lazy mood. If you have his email id, please write to him some inspirational songs." Also provided was Ghonchu's blog link.

Ghonchu uttered a few abusive words like "#$%@^@^$@#@$@!#^#$%!!%$@#$". But then he smiled recalling the appreciation from Sweetu. So what if a few thousand people got to know that he was lazy.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

One year completed

Today this blog celebrates its first birthday. The first post was on Feb 16, 2009.

(Thanks to Rupesh for pointing this out)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Ghonchu learns cooking

Unnerved by his previous rash experiences, Ghonchu decided to take a break and focus on personality development before proposing to someone again. He decided to develop his culinary talents which would add to his curriculum vitae before making another move. He began dreaming of himself as someone who would be surrounded by eager females once he added this noble art to the other skills (or the lack of skills) that he possessed.

Ghonchu entered the kitchen with an expression of one who is about to start a conquest. He looked around trying to decide what to start with. He went over to the stove and decided that every cook worth his salt should know how to start the gas stove with a lighter. With his face averted and hands outstretched and from a distance of 3 feet he tried to start the gas using the lighter. The distance between the lighter and the stove was 10 cms.

“Phatak”, said the lighter in his hand.

The gas remained stone cold. Slowly, Ghonchu moved closer with trepidation walking on tiptoe. The distance between Ghonchu and the stove reduced to two feet. The distance between the lighter and the stove reduced to 1cm. His hands outstretched, Ghonchu used the lighter. “Phatak”, said the lighter again.

The gas remained unmoved by Ghonchu’s attempts. The distance now reduced further. With a perspiring face, Ghonchu tried again. This time the lighter (along with the hand holding it) touched the stove for a split second, said “Phatak” and immediately withdrew to a safe distance of 3 feet and waited to see the after-effects. He averted his face as though a bomb might blast any moment.

The gas sneered at Ghonchu and the lighter. So it seemed to him. He began to think if this was worth the effort. Then he remembered the greater objective. This was part of a noble cause. So what if his hand got burnt. That would be a small sacrifice to make in the quest of crossing the first hurdle on his path. With a grim face and a steely resolve, Ghonchu tried again.

This time he said a prayer to God, mentally forced his hand to stay where it was, kept the lighter in contact with the stove and tried again, "Phatak". Same reaction by the stove. Nil! Ghonchu looked angrily at the unhelpful gas stove and uttered a few abusive words to it. He felt as though everyone in this world was conspiring against him.

Ghonchu decided to take a break. He went over to the sink, washed his sweaty palms and perspiring face, dried himself with a towel, drank a glass of water and prepared himself for another arduous battle. The first round had been won by the gas stove.

After loosening the top button of his shirt and rolling up his sleeves, Ghonchu faced the stove again. Taking a deep breath, courageously, he tried again. And again. And again and again. For around 15-20 times. Total reaction shown by the gas stove : nil.

Now tired, a thought occured to Ghonchu. "The gas may not be working. What could be the cause?" With an engineer's mind, Ghonchu listed out all the possibilities mentally and tried to pinpoint the fault.
"There is no gas. No, that is not possible since we started using this cylinder only yesterday."
"Could there be a faulty pipe due to which the stove isn't working? Let me check?"

Ghonchu bent down, looked underneath and tried feeling behind the stove. When he withdrew his hands they were full of soot. After he wiped off sweat on his face, the soot happily decided to settle there. Luckily there was no mirror in the kitchen.

With a black-and-white face, a tired body and nearly-reduced-to-tears, Ghonchu's eyes rested on something while his body was in the same bent position.

His eyes registered a knob below the stove, which had On-Off markings and a sign which indicated rotation.

Heaving a sigh, Ghonchu straightened, rotated the knob to the 'On' position and lit the stove calmly as though he had been doing it all his life. The gas burst into flames.