Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Oram Po - a light hearted treat

Got to watch this tamil movie yesterday night with a couple of friends. Totally agree with The Hindu review of the film here.

http://www.hindu.com/cp/2007/12/07/stories/2007120750030200.htm


Definitely a fun filled package for hard-core chennai lovers :)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Software that makes my day

As a software engineer for the past 4-5 years, computers have been my best friends. I just felt like listing the software/web-applications that really make my life everyday.

If you are a newbie to the world of computers and are looking for a very handy toolset to start off with, u will find the list below useful.

Feel free to pour out your suggestions on as well in the comments.

Here goes my list
  • Operating system - I should say that I am still in love with Windows XP SP2/3. This rock solid OS is really the best one around today as well. I do own a Mac running 'Leopard' as well but I guess XP is the one I would suggest for general users. I haven't upgraded to Vista yet. Hence, I can't really comment much on it. But from my talks with friends who have Vista, Vista does a neat job as well - so either XP or Vista should be good. For a web or open-source developer, Mac OS X would be my suggestion because of its fantastic support for such development. Or if you wanna go for open-source, Ubuntu is my choice (http://www.ubuntu.com/). It's one of those Linux distributions that is a breeze to install and also work with on a day-to-day basis with a really powerful package management tool that just pulverises the issues with dependency management of packages. Common tasks like connecting with networks and installing hardware drivers are also made easier in this version.
  • Email - Gmail ( http://mail.google.com) is the one that I prefer over all other alternatives today. It really neat, professional and responsive interface and the godly 'thread' feature just blows away other competitors.
  • Media - Video - VLC player ( http://www.videolan.org/vlc/ ) is the winner here. Extremely light. Very easy keyboard shortcuts and support for almost every format make it the first choice.
  • Media - Audio - I do not use an audio player on the PC often since I have an iPod. I must say that I haven't found a really good PC audio player so far. Please let me know if you fell in love with any.
  • Office productivity - MS Office 2007 with its Ribbon interface ranks top-notch here.
  • Messenger - Gtalk is what I use almost all the time. Really light interface. For other protocols, Pidgin (http://www.pidgin.im/) is pretty neat. It enables one to have all the umpteen protocols under one light application - ICQ, MSN, Yahoo and Gtalk. For a Mac, Adium X is just one beautiful piece of software. (http://www.adiumx.com/)
  • Web Browser - Firefox is my favorite on a PC. Safari/Camino on a Mac are good ones.
  • Search - The search bar (Google search engine behind) in Firefox works like a charm here with auto-complete suggestions and obviously high on relevance.
  • Editor (mainly for developers) - Vim is my favorite here where it be PC or Mac.
  • Blogging - You obviously know this! Blogger of course. (http://www.blogger.com) But I guess there are quite a few alternatives that are good as well like LiveJournal. Not sure about the paid (value-added) services available around though.
  • RSS feeds - Google reader is pretty neat here. (http://reader.google.com)
  • Social networking - Wow, how could I forget this. As of today, Facebook with its re-designed interface with plentiful AJAX support ranks #1 (http://www.facebook.com)
  • Professional networking - Linked-in is a gem of a service in this space. True to its purpose is what I would say about this service. (http://www.linkedin.com/)
  • Photo management - Picasa is the best one I've seen so far in this space (http://picasa.google.com/)
There are quite a few more areas where I still do not have enough information to suggest a software/service on like - maps, news feeds etc. Hope to add them later on here.

HP touchsmart PC

Watch the second video from the list especially. Awesome!



Corrs - Joy of Life

Thanks to Anand (http://anandps.blogspot.com/) for introducing me to this.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Awesome talk on design




codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=8,0,0,0" width="432" height="285" id="VE_Player"

align="middle">














Monday, August 18, 2008

I love this world!

Thanks to Discovery for showing how I feel about this planet! :)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Another very different piece I found at YouTube

The first scene is kinda pretty shocking but it sets the pace for the rest of the movie.



More about this film:
http://www.robmeyerfilms.com/aquarium/home.html

Flex'ing my muscles a bit ;)


Hey people,

This weekend was dedicated a bit to learning about Flex - the programming model to the flash runtime environment exposed by Adobe. This is a great step towards bringing on the not-so-artistic guys into programming Flash apps. Did I say "programming" flash apps? Yup, ppl. It's true that Action script has been around in Flash for some time but the Adobe Flash interface with umpteen features used to scare me off at my earlier attempts ;).

I got really interested when I saw one of the applications that Adobe had built using Flex.
https://buzzword.acrobat.com/ (screenshot above)
I must say that this was one of the most beautiful calligraphy I have seen in a rendering engine inside a browser. It was smooth and flowed beautifully. Loved it!

Flex was refreshing! Got my first AJAX driven app running within about 1/2 hour of installing Flex. Awesome! It just involved a few "good old" :) xml files in the vim editor and a batch script to compile the same.

For beginners, the "Getting Started" app is a great way to learn the ropes - http://learn.adobe.com/wiki/display/Flex/Getting+Started

There is one small setting change which I had to do to get my .swf running. Basically, for security reasons, the Flash Player does not allow random swfs (ones that you dont trust) to access the Internet. The following links help one to configure the flash player to trust the .swf files that you want.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Happyness

Come long weekends and it's time for introspection.

This time it's been -
"what does it take to be 'happy' at the end of every day?"

Several coke bottles and walks later, it's down to 3 simple things - nothing else - just these 3.
  • Learn to let go
  • Be true to yourself
  • As Nike puts it,"Just do it"
Let me go ahead and elucidate the 3 principles:

Learn to let go

Learn to pull yourself out from stuff that normally have a tendency to make you focus on stuff that does not really matter. For example, "Work" is from 10 to 6 (9 to 5 is kinda tough for the new gen ;) ). Just learn to pull yourself out from it at 6. That is the single most important thing which will spell magic for other things.


Be true to yourself

This one's simple. This is how it goes: Never try to cheat yourself into believing something that you truly don't. If you are afraid of something, agree with yourself that you are. You will then find ways to overcome it.


As Nike puts it, "Just do it"

When you feel like doing something, just go ahead and do it. Whether it is go forward and tell someone you love that you like him/her (or) it is to tell your boss that your current workload is high. Whatever be it, big or small, just do it. Don't bother about the results of these actions. The fact that you did what you wanted to will give you the satisfaction and happ'y'ness you desire.

This post tries to list out 3 very simple rules that I have set about for myself. Am a person who tests out a variety of principles and loves to understand the changes and the impact they have in my life. These 3 are the culmination of nearly 5 years of trying to understand what satisfies oneself. Hope these are useful to you as well.

Signing off,
Hemanth

Beautiful piece of filming

This one brought my interests in film-making back!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Online advertising

Hi everyone,


Have started exploring a bit around the online advertising industry lately. Being a developer on the AdCenter team in Microsoft, thought I would start understanding the industry that we serve. Over the coming months, I plan to jot down my learnings about this industry on my blog here. Let's get started.


--------


Have always been searching for a good primer on "Online Advertising". This was one really nice set of articles that I found on the topic.

http://www.liesdamnedlies.com/online_advertising_business_101.html



Every article on online advertising talk about quite a few acronyms like CPC, CPA. Wikipedia had a neat definition of the most common ones. Archiving a link to it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_advertising#Purchasing_variations



This post by Scott Howe (VP and General Manager, Advertiser & Publisher Solutions Group (APS), Microsoft) is a real good one for those looking to understand how to understand and use ad networks to much better benefit.

http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/6915.asp

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Movable type installation on Mac OS X Leopard

This is kinda a follow up on the previous article. Tried my hand at setting Movable type up at my home as well on my Mac. (running Leopard).

The set of instructions for windows pretty much worked except for a few changes again. Have archived those pointers for reference.

1) There are no perl addons as such available with Xampp for mac os x. But, the xampp installation itself has perl with some basic modules packaged in it.

2) Also, the developer package for xampp also had to be download for building some of the required perl modules (download location - http://www.apachefriends.org/en/xampp-macosx.html#849)

3) The mysql installation included in xampp is configured to expect the include files at /xamppfiles/include. So I just copied the include folder from the developer package to that folder. (Copying the entire developer package for some reason messed up my xampp setup - that is why I had to selectively copy)

4) The DBD::mysql perl module has to be installed on the perl installation used by Movable Type.. Movable Type on my machine was using the base perl installation from my Mac (at /usr/bin/perl) as against the perl installation on xampp (this can be confirmed from the data that is dumped at http://localhost/cgi-bin/mt-check.cgi

Confirm the perl installation you are installing the modules to is the same as the one used by Movable type. Here are the steps to install the mysql perl module.

Type
> perl -MCPAN -e shell
Choose 'yes' for automatic CPAN configuration if this is the first time. Automatic configuration worked fine for me.

Now in the CPAN shell, type
> install Bundle::DBD::mysql

That downloads and installs the correct versions of the perl module and its dependencies from the internet.

Once that is done, just ensure that the DBD::mysql module shows up as installed at http://localhost/cgi-bin/mt-check.cgi If yes, then proceed with the Movable type installation.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Movable type installation on windows

Have been meddling around with a blog management software (Movable Type) for the past few weeks. Finally got it running on my windows box after quite a bit of struggle. The problem was in finding the right set of tools/instructions to get it up.

Finally found a good set of instructions at this site http://emptybottle.org/glass/2007/08/installing_movable_type_4_on_xampp.php

I have archived some pointers against the above instructions for reference.

Here they are:

1) The latest version of XAMPP has some issues with the perl addon. When the Movable type installation is started, perl (5.10) crashes with a dll not found error. Had to revert to an older version of XAMPP which was compatible with Perl 5.8 (I used 1.6.0) (Download location - http://sourceforge.net/projects/xampp)

2) Download location for the perl addon (I used 5.8) - http://sourceforge.net/projects/xampp . Choose download -> browse all files -> windows add-ons)

3) Go to http://localhost/security/xamppsecurity.php and setup a password for your MySql database in the Xampp installation .

4) Then go to http://localhost/phpmyadmin/ . Login as root with the password you specified in the previous step. Go inside and create a new database .

5) mt-config.cgi that I used:
CGIPath http://localhost/cgi-bin/mt/
StaticWebPath http://localhost/mt-static
##### MYSQL #####
ObjectDriver DBI::mysql
Database [database name from point 4]
DBUser root
DBPassword [database password from point 3]
DBHost localhost

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Smiles that make your day!

Could be that I have been experiencing this daily all through my life but been oblivious to it for so long; but, better late than never as they put it.

Was really wondering about people in India. We probably expect the well educated to be ones cultured and polite mannered. But just as an observation, from my brief journey from home to office - which involves a walk from my house to the auto-stand, a brief 5 min auto-ride and then a short walk from the office gate to my cubicle - guess who were the most-cultured, friendly and respectful people I met?

No chocolates for the correct guess :). It was the watchman, the auto-walahs and the office boys. Most of them had nothing to gain from giving a broad wide smile to me as I passed along but they did. Every one of them .. a wavy good morning from the watchman, a jolly hello from the auto-walah and a well-mannered and warm greeting from the waiter at the idli counter at office ...
in fact, just so happened that at a blind corner in the office, I met kinda head along with an office boy. We just missed butting into each other. The office boy was really hysterical and kept continuously blurting out, "sorry, sorry sir .. really sorry". I was surprised. It was in no way any fault of his. I had to really pat him on the back and tell him "kya bhaiyya, kiske liye sorry? " [since am not "yet" aware of the local tongue here .. my broken hindi "what brother! sorry for what? " is the best way to communicate around] athough I have "received a bulb" several times (this phrase in chennai college tamil means "to be embarrassed in a silly fashion") from the office boy who might reply my native tongue (tamil that is) ;)

Many a times, the people whom we kinda take for granted in our lives are probably those who add the most value to it. Am sure every one of those warm hearted smiles did a lot of make life a great one for me today and every other day.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Flight of a lifetime

This article was written on request by my cousin Deepa (who just finished her 10th grade) about her observations on her first flight experience. I was just amazed by the maturity in her thinking. Wanted to share it with all of you. Here it goes :

FLIGHT OF A LIFETIME

A journey by air is an enriching experience. There are numerous instances of parallelism between a plane journey and the journey of life in general and of a career in particular. Every physical aspect of the plane journey brings to light a deeper, symbolic aspect of life.

First the plane moves slowly over the ground until it reaches the clear runway. At this point, it neither sees nor is seen by the world. Similarly, the beginning of a venture does not show us the destination in its true colours. We must not lose heart and move forward patiently.

At the right time, the plane gathers speed and takes off. In the same way, anyone who perseveres eventually takes off in life. While taking off, the noise made by the engine increases and the plane is inclined at an angle,causing discomfort to the passengers. A drop in atmospheric pressure may also cause ear-ache. All these stand for the trials and tribulations everyone must face, in one way or the other, on the way to the top. Moreover, the horizon disappears into a haze. Likewise, There is no clear demarcation between low and high, Between failure and success. A lot depends on people's perception.

Once the plane reaches its optimum height, the going becomes smoother. Similarly, on reaching the optimum height in life, the hurdles appear to lessen and a sort of uniformity sets in. However, along with the pleasures of success, the risks of failure are also proportionately magnified, just as the impact of a fall becomes more profound as we scale greater heights in a plane. One of the perks of being a celebrity! Also, the skies pose their share of obstacles in the form of clouds, gales or other weather-associated hazards. Likewise, there will be minor hitches in every success story. The heights of fame and success breed negative emotions like envy and even hatred. Controversies are a part and parcel of the lives of celebrities. It is imperative to remember that like the clouds, all rough patches in life shall come to pass.

Another binding factor between a flight and life is our perception of it's speed. While looking down from above, the world seems to crawl at a snail's pace, whereas in reality, the plane is whizzing by at a phenomenal speed. In the same way, while the successful phase of life is on, it appears as though the phase stretches on infinitely before us, but in fact, it is short -lived.

Finally comes the destination. Before the plane takes off, all that is known about the destination is what is heard or seen virtually. In the same way, we cannot have a real picture of our destination at the start of the journey. Once at the top the wide world is spread before our eyes. But the higher we go, the less detail is visible. It is important to have gathered sufficient knowledge beforehand to be able to recognise the destination with the minimal features visible from above in order to guide the plane or ourselves safaly to it.

Further, a plane journey reminds us that we eventually have to land. Just like taking off, landing will be a rough patch too. It will be especially difficult to come back to the ground for good after experiencing the splendour and exhilaration of heights, which would have taken us to new heights as a person. The summit within lies in accepting this basic principle of human nature - transcience. With this maturity, we can keep the landing too gradual and smooth and return to our roots with grace.

Perhaps the most relevant point of parallelism between a journey by plane and life is the risk involved. It cannot be otherwise. Like alternative landing sites for planes, we too need to keep alternative options in life so that if things come crashing down, we still have straws to clutch on to. Just as a plane journey is controlled by a control panel, so too is our life by the divine power, whom we call God. As passengers need to have faith on the control panel, we too need to have faith on God to successfully go through the journey of life. Where there is faith there is no fear.

In addition, passengers need to be aware of safety measures to respond effectively in case of any untoward situation. The more the passengers are in touch with the control panel, the more safe and secure they will feel. Likewise, we need to keep in touch with God for a sense of security and well-being.

The following quotation would be an appropriate conclusion:

"Success is a journey, not a destination."

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Ramblings of an idle mind

Came home early today; feels like I have a lifetime ahead to make a place in the history of this world. Wondering what that would take. What would basically shape the future of mankind in the next century?

Two streams of thought/action seem to be vitally important:
  1. Artificial Intelligence vs. Genetics &
  2. Social Entrepreneurship
You might wonder why on earth did I pick these two from all that I could chose from. Where did - Media, Information, Global warming, the Web x.x, the threat of nuclear wars, human rights violations, health hazards all go?

Confused me as well in the first place. But then, I realized that the above two might pretty much capture the future of the world for many centuries to come.

Let's take Artificial Intelligence(A.I.) vs. Genetics first. Today, the advancement of the human race in terms of technology is actually fast forwarding the evolution of a new consciousness. A consciousness that might outlast mankind itself.

Set's us thinking - by the unified theory - was the human race eventually designed to be replaced by a consciousness that did not suffer the same deficiencies as us? Our weaknesses against diseases, against hunger, against age might eventually prove very costly. I guess you might have an inkling of understanding on where Genetics comes into the picture. Genetics is the solution that the 'civilized' world is looking at for all the problems that are listed above. Putting a 'stopper on death' is probably the catch-word here.

The coming years will define which of the two fields survives.

Ah .. time for the second one, Social Entrepreneurship (let's call it S.E.E from now on).. here we go ..

Today's the world's focus seems to be on comfort at one's finger tips - the explosion of ideas and companies centered around taking advantage of the pandora's box opened by the Web.

But what we are missing here is that - all this seems to be centered at less than 1/6th of the world's population - the same part that is already well to do in terms of basic necessities - in fact, the same part already has enough beyond the basic necessities. And yet, the focus is on keeping them busy "consuming". 'Consumer' is the name of the game here.

The need of the hour is the birth of Social Entrepreneurs (let's call them S.E.E.R.S ;) ) who enlighten the world as to the grave situation and re-align their thinking on what's important. These are the people, the messiahs that the world needs today. People who really care.

Huh! .. Just woke up, was really surprised to see what I had written above ;) .. Anyways, am really hungry now and want to watch a movie ..

What's the website for Pizza hut? ;)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

A stroll in the park

A busy day at office,
Umpteen thoughts in my mind,
Struggling to make meaning;
Walk did I off my apartment,
Leaving them all behind.
Realize did I not until encircled,
By a bed of daisies shivering in the breeze.

Generous had been, the evening shower,
To sprinkle a thousand diamonds around,
Busy bees on their final stop,
Chipmunks tussling over the fallen fruit;
Life's slow in these wonderful moments,
Blessed are they who pause to take a breath.

Gazing at that wondrous spectacle,
Realization peeked into my senses,
Life's a puzzle,
Put together by a multitude of tiny moments,
Race do we through them,
Savoring not them, which matter so much.

The walk back to my apartment,
The transformation from barks to bricks,
Opening my door, landing in my couch,
Pausing for a few moments to meditate,
It all happened then.

A soft touch on my face,
A wet lick on my toe,
Opened my eyes to those beautiful round eyes,
Of an expectant three year old,
His buddy, a lab pup, mirrored the same feeling from
down below.
Leaning back to see the lady of my heart smiling,
By the kitchen door,
The decision was made.
Your heart's desire is right here in front of you;
Just heed its calling.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Beach




She stood alone on the beach,
Listening to the hush of the breeze over the waves,
Feeling the gentle flow of the waves over her ankles,
Savoring the ozone filled atmosphere,
Her mind in resonance with the Universe,
Listening intently to her heart's beat,
The rhythm that hath never ceased to sing,
The promise that it held within.

He looked at her,
An angelic silhouette against the golden sky,
A tribute to a promise never broken,
Memories rushing back to the years,
To the moments, so joyously spent,
Never to be forgotten,
A relationship forever carved in stone.

A gush of breeze,
Blows the flowing curls of her hair over her face,
Was it instinct that made her turn or was it the connect,
Eyes meet, history relived in moments,
Then, barriers break, she falls into his arms,
Support so badly longed for,
Rivers of joy abound,
Locked in arms,
Into the mist they walk away,
Their shadows merging into one.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Bangalore and me, scripted ;)

Hi all,

Here is my first attempt at a script. Infact, my friend Sai co-authored it as well.

This was written quite long ago. Wanted to share this one with all of you. (Note: this is written in the traditional script format)

OFFICE, MORNING 11 A.M.

Start off with the sound of coffee coming from the coffee machine.
Sai walks from the pantry to his desk. Receives a phone call
then.

SAI
Hello ma!

SAI'S MOTHER
Hello Sai, where are you?

SAI
At office only ma. Tell me ..
what is it?

SAI'S MOTHER
Are you free for a few minutes? I
have something important to ask
you.

SAI
Umm .. important? .. go on ..

SAI'S MOTHER
What time are you planning to come
home today?

SAI
As usual .. around 9 .. why?

SAI'S MOTHER
Well .. one of your father's close
friends and his family are coming
home this evening ... it would be
great if you are here ...

SAI
Oh ... ma ... you know that I don't
like these get-togethers .. why
can't you and Appa handle this? why
should I be there?

SAI'S MOTHER
Sai .. actually .. they are coming
to see you ..

SAI
See me? What for? ... Ma! don't
tell me that they are coming for ..

SAI'S MOTHER
Well, they are .. And why should
they not? You are 27 now and your
father and I are getting old ...

SAI
What?!!$$ I need to get married
because you are getting old ...[Sai
almost shouts]

Everybody turns and looks around. A bit embarrassed, Sai continues
in hushed tones, moves into a conference room and closes the
door.

SAI
Ma, please ... You know I told you
that I dont like this arranged
marriage stuff ..

SAI'S MOTHER
Sai! I know that ... but you can't
keep us waiting indefinitely ... I
won't say anything if you can find
a girl fast ...

SAI
Ma! Girls can't be found like
fruits on trees ... I need more time ..
Just a sec, ma

From outside, some of Sai's colleagues are making faces at
him. Sai's gestures to them that he will kick them when he
is out of the room.

SAI
Right ma, continue ..

SAI'S MOTHER
Ok .. but atleast just come home
today .. if you dont like the girl
or you say no, it is fine .. but
just come home na, please ..

SAI
Umm ... okie .. but I warn you if
you start more stuff like this ...

SAI'S MOTHER
Okie okie .. sure .. we won't ..
okie kanna, see you in the evening
.. bye

SAI
Bye!! (reluctantly)

Sai cancels the call and walks upto his desk (quite irked up)
and sits down. His colleague Karthik comes up to him.

KARTHIK
Hi Sai, enna da? .. Girl hunting at
home?

SAI
Enna nakkala? Naanae kaduppulae
irrukkuraen .. nee vaerae ..

KARTHIK
Hey, what's the problem? .. You
don't want to see her? .. Just say no afterwards,
na?

SAI
Yeah, I can ... but the problem is
.. why to unnecessarily see someone
when you know the answer is a 'no'
.. it is a bit hard on the girl na?

KARTHIK
Oh .. umm .. yeah .. I hadn't
thought of that .. ummm .. no problem, da
... tell the girl the real reason
.. I guess she'll understand ...

SAI
tell her? [Sai swallows a bit] let's see 
.. let's see ..

REST OF THE DAY

Sai is shown to be restless at his desk the whole day.
Seeing the clock. Staring at his desk with hands on his
head. Trying to meditate in the conference room.

SAI'S MANAGER
(Talking something official ..
Sai in a dreamland) .. What do
you say Sai?


SAI
(Jolted out of his
pre-occupation) eh ... err ..
yeah?


SAI'S MANAGER
Enna Sai, thinking of your girl now
itself (with a twinkle in his eye)

Sai throws a frown at Karthik who smiles. Sai gestures to give
him a beating later.

SAI'S MANAGER
(Continuing to smile) guys,
let's not bother Sai today ..
let him dance around with his
dream girl

Everybody laughs ..

EVENING 6 P.M.

Sai comes out of office looking 10 years older. Tense, his eyes
searching for any auto rickshaw he could hire.

It seemed that everyone on earth had decided to take an auto today,
and none passed without a passenger in them.

Then, finally an auto comes by. Sai blurts out the locality
of his destination. The words seemed to put a shock in the
auto driver, and he nodded and then sped away without a word.

A few more auto wallahs like that.

Then, Sai, in a tantrum, now. Does some antics in the middle of
the road to stop some auto rickshaws which speed by empty!!

Another one seemed to approach, but stopped just short of Sai.
A middle aged man boarded it, and with an air of triumph,
commanded his destination. But for the man, this ride could
have been Sai's. A rush of anger sprang over Sai's spine.

Another auto came by. A good looking (rather head turning ;)) maiden in front of him had
also signalled it to a halt. The driver naturally :) stopped
before her, and she told him her destination. Even before
the driver could react, Sai jumped into the picture and
spoke.

SAI
East End Circle ... One and a half
.... ok?

AUTO WALLAH
[looking at Sai and smiling] ok sir
.. get in .. sorry madam (he told
the girl)

Sai threw a gesture of triumph at the girl. The girl stood stunned.
The auto moves by.

AT SAI'S HOME 6.30 P.M.

Sai's parents and two more people are talking in the house. The
bell rings. Sai's mother goes to open the door. It is Sai.

SAI'S MOTHER
Sai! .. appada .. I thought you had
forgotten about the get-together
... come in

Sai walks in. Meets the girl's parents.

SAI
Hello uncle .. Hello aunty ..

GIRL'S FATHER
Hello Sai .. good to see you .. you
must have had a busy day at office.
Go and freshen up and then you can
join us.

SAI'S MOTHER
Yes .. sure ... by the by, it seems
Kruthika is also late. ..

Sai seems a bit muddled at the name. He looks at his mother.

SAI'S MOTHER
Oh .. You have never meet Vijay
Uncle's daughter na? .. Kruthika is
a software engineer like you too ..
she is also coming here directly
from her office .. she will be here
anytime

Sai goes in to freshen up. Joins the discussion and after some time, the bell rings.
Sai goes to open the door.

FIRST(RATHER SECOND) MEETING

Sai is lost in confusion to see the girl he left behind in the
auto rickshaw standing before him. Had she tracked him down?
He swallowed.

The girl seemed to be extremely stunned as well.

Sai looked at the girl in confusion.

SAI
Eh?

KRUTHIKA
I'm ... Kruthika

SAI
Oh .. yeah .. come in

Sai turns his back to her and walks towards his parents. His face gives a
distraught expression that kinda indicated the flow he expected the discussion to take.

SAI
Mom, Dad .. Kruthika vandhurukkaa

SAI'S DAD
Hi Kruthika, come sit down.

Uneasy silence for a while as nobody is ready to talk.


KRUTHIKA'S FATHER
Enna Sai, ivalo naeramma ottawai
irundha nee ... ippo endha paechu
kaanom? Kruthika'va paarthu
bayapadathey

SAI
Adhellaam edhuvum illae uncle ..
[looking uneasily at Kruthika]

SAI'S MOTHER
Why don't you guys talk and get to
know each other a little?

SAI
Hi [Sitting in the same place
.. a little shy but not very
impressive...]


KRUTHIKA
Hi[very unwilling one... almost a
very uncomfortable one]


SAI'S MOTHER
Eh .. Sai, Why don't you take
Kruthika to your room, you guys could
be more free there instead of in
front of us all

SAI
seri ma [rising and looking at the
girl as if asking why don't we go]

[Sai and Kruthika walk away, Sai muttering pochuda to
himself]

SAI'S ROOM

As Sai is shutting the door of his room, Kruthika's irked up face
remains unchanged.

KRUTHIKA
Are you sure you want to do this?

SAI
Yes... No (like a confused dolt)

KRUTHIKA
(with a troubled expression on her
face) Huh?

SAI
As in, I am sure - Yes (moving face
in vertical moves), that I don't
want to do this - No... (nodding
sideways)

KRUTHIKA
(ready to head out) Then let's just
tell them...

SAI
Hey no! I mean, it would be better
if we remain here for some time,
say 10 minutes and then go out...

KRUTHIKA
10 mins!??

SAI
Oh, 5 minutes, then? please ..
eh.. it would better that way
because our folks would think we
did talk and you could go home and
tell them that you didn't like me
and I'll tell my parents that I didn't
like you too. Much more smoother
than the trouble if we head out now..

KRUTHIKA
(Looking at his eyes, twisting her
lips as if considering unwillingly)...
Ok, but what the hell do we do for
10 mins? Stand like this and stare
at each other's faces?

SAI
(trying to give a smile)... no we
could just sit somewhere.. you can
read some magazines over there.
(pointing). I'll probably sit
somewhere here (pointing at other
end) and do something else.

Kruthika, looking not very impressed, gives a troubled stare at
him.

SAI
Hey look here, I am sorry for what
happened. I am sure you have not
become a fan of mine after that
incident, but I didn't know about
this entire thing till this morning
when my mom called .. and believe
me.. I am not in for arranged
marriages anyway... but she was
insistent that I be home by 6 and I ... I
had a meeting till 5:30 and no bloody .. (Sai's checks himself)
... no auto was stopping by .. I
was just getting frantic ... and am
sorry to say, but sometimes these
autowallahs favour girls more... as
in, you know... or may be they
don't.. but I hope you get it. It
wasn't anything personal.. so I am
sorry, ok? So can you please be just normal...
we don't really have to get
anywhere after we are done with
this meeting... probably would
never come across each other... so
just try and don't be so mad at me
the way you seem to be... it just
happens sometimes that I get pretty
irritated...

KRUTHIKA
[Signalling a halt with her  hands]
Any idea of stopping?

SAI
Huh?

KRUTHIKA
Ok, got what you said. Are you just
going to continue talking for the
next 1 hour.. or can we just settle
down? (folding her arms) Its ok..

SAI
(weak smile again) Sure... please.

Both go to opposite ends and Kruthika simply starts flipping through
some of the magazines on the bed and Sai sits, looks around
for a minute before grabbing a diary.

After a few minutes...

KRUTHIKA
You weren't brought up in New York,
were you?

SAI
(slightly thrown off track) Eh..
No...

KRUTHIKA
How come no Indian comics here...
TIME, SPAN, Archie's

SAI
(understanding dawning
on the question) No not really
..... now c'mon these mags are
deftly sold here... so they don't
really make me from New York you
see...(QED expression) what do you
want.. Tinkle and Champak?
(Slightly naughtly smile)

KRUTHIKA
No please! Just remembered how you
talked Tamil in the hall too... you
speak as if you don't know Tamil...
was wondering if you thought it was
style or something.

SAI
(flustered at this girl). No
actually I was born and brought up
in Dehradun, never really got to
speak Tamil with others other than my
parents... so it is not a conscious
effort (as a matter of fact
expression)..

KRUTHIKA
Aww.. ok.. anyway.. (and again
looking at the magazines)

After a few more minutes... by this time, Sai has started writing
something in the diary.

SAI
(stopping from writing, looking in
the girl's direction for a few
seconds as if thinking something)
You aren't a very polite girl, are
you?

KRUTHIKA
(Registering a question) What?
(because she didn't hear it right)

SAI
I said, you aren't a very polite
girl, are you?

KRUTHIKA
(finding the question funny) Hello!
Why? What do I sound like?

SAI
No I was just wondering if you were
always biting like geese with fire
on her tongue...

KRUTHIKA
(looks at him with slitted eyes
giving a threatening look at first,
then relaxed face and sighs)
actually I know what you mean... no
I am not this way, only when
required, with only the required
people (smile).

SAI
he he... ok.. agree... (and gets
back to his diary nodding while she
continues looking at him)

3-4 seconds of she looking at him...

KRUTHIKA
Hey you know what? I am sorry
too... ok?

SAI
(pleasantly startled).. for what?

KRUTHIKA
I was irked up tooo.. as in I
wasn't prepared for this kind of a
thing and mom suddenly insisted
that I had to be home.. she had
decided something important and you
know.. all that crap that moms can
sometimes give you. I just had to
heed because of what dad might
say.. and I was also irked up. So
sorry about that. (Now both smile).

SAI
Hey that's ok. I understand. (and
once again starts scribbling
something at his diary.)

KRUTHIKA
So what is it that you find so
important to write while someone is
talking to you?

SAI
Hey no... just my daily journal.. I
thought we didn't have much to talk
anyways...

KRUTHIKA
(kinda ignoring his answer) So what
do you write for your daily journal
today, that you met a not so polite
girl who bites like geese with fire
- on - her - tongue??

SAI
Ha ha (for the first time, a not so
weak or fake laugh).. no simply...
just recording today's events..

Kruthika rises from her position to come towards him... and he
stops writing

KRUTHIKA
Can I see what you are writing...

SAI
(closing the diary with the pen in
it...) No.. not really .. journals
are supposed to be personal!
(Smile) and don't worry I didn't
write you are not polite.

KRUTHIKA
(Looking at another shelf near Sai)
You better not mister!...So do you
write only journals or something
else as well? Don't tell me.. code!

SAI
He he... no I sometimes write short
stories too. but then that's it..

KRUTHIKA
Really? (genuinely interested and
much of the initial uncomfort gone
by this time).. I write poems
too..but only I read them (giggles to
herself)...

SAI
Same with me.. only I read my
stories I guess!

KRUTHIKA
I could probably help you out.. wat
say?

SAI
He he..sure they are all on my
blog...all entries with zero comments!
I'll give you the URL if you are
interested.

KRUTHIKA
Sure, I'll take it when I leave.

Few seconds of silence.

SAI
Hmm.... I guess its around 10
minutes... you want me to write it
for you on a piece of paper, its
not so straightforward to
remember... we can probably leave
now then...

KRUTHIKA
No its ok... unless you want to
drive me away immediately!

SAI
No nothing like that.. its been
sometime, thought you'd want to
leave..

KRUTHIKA
I guess its ok... lets make it 15
minutes... 1 and half times you see
(in an imitating voice)..

SAI
You are really sarcastic, aren't
you?

KRUTHIKA
He he.. maybe and I would want to
add funny too!

SAI
Yeah, very!

KRUTHIKA
Thank you and you can write that in
your journal (winking! wow!)

SAI
he he.. I will...

KRUTHIKA
Hey actually, forget the time, its
not a contract now, ok? They'll
probably call when they want to
call us. Let's just get to know
each other..

SAI
(Smile, large breath) You are sure
you want to do this?

KRUTHIKA
Yes... Yes (like a robot)

SAI
You!! Really cheeky that was!

Ha ha... both laugh...

KRUTHIKA
You see if not anything else, we
can make good friends, a chauvinistic
guy and a sarcastic girl! wat say?

SAI
sure sure.. (again laugh...)

darken the screen... pull away.... credits

This is THE stuff

Here's an example of how just a beautiful presentation of the truth can change one's perspectives forever. Thanks, Annie!

THE STORY OF STUFF
People with enough bandwidth could directly watch the video at
http://www.storyofstuff.com/

For those who have Quick Time, you can download/watch the movie at http://web.1.c3.audiovideoweb.com/1c3web3536/StoryOfStuff.mov

For those bizzy guys who want a short summary of the video before watching it. Here goes. This poem was written by my cousin Deepa who has just finished her 10th board exams.

THE STORY OF STUFF
(a poem based on Annie Leonard's story by N.Deepa, 16 years)

It all begins with extraction
of materials from the earth.
This trashing of the planet
has caused of resources a dearth.

The second stage of production
uses energy to create stuff.
The toxins in and toxins out
make life on our planet tough.

The third stage of consumption
involves use of manufactured goods.
The large numbers soon to be trashed
put ecosystems into bad moods.

The story ends with disposal
of garbage in different ways.
For the dioxins produced by incineration,
every living creature pays.

People are involved in every stage,
braving a health hazard.
The growing power of corporations
has brought in democracy a blizzard.

As the golden way for consumer stuff,
recycling has been shown.
But for the junk produced upstream,
the solution is yet unknown.

On a finite planet like ours,
a linear system can't forever function.
So making the system circular
would be the perfect solution.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Freedom at Hyderabad

The fresh air of Hyderabad greeted me as I landed in the Begumpet Airport in Hyderabad on one Saturday morning. It was the start of a weekend that I knew marked a significant change in my life. It was the last operational day of the Begumpet Airport. All flights from the very next day onwards would operate from the new International Airport. I felt that this mirrored the changes in my life very aptly - out with the old, in with the new. Hyderabad to me signified the start of a resolution that, from now on, this free soul would search for what it likes and would pursue it.

Shyam, my best friend right from the college days, met me here. He is a tall lanky guy with broad shoulders. We setup our base here in Hyderabad in a small private colony; a beautiful place, at peace with nature. An entire plethora of wildlife rallied along its course right at our doorstep; squirrels, sparrows, frogs; not to leave out several other birds that I could not put a name to and probably, a snake or two at nights.

Although I did really want to put the practice of doing what I like into place; remembrance of my earlier experience at resolutions always kind of gave me the jitters. They had never worked. Not even one of them! So, there was always a nagging doubt at the back of my mind as to how long I would hold on to this one. But there were quite a few surprises in store for me.

First thing that stood out in stark difference to whatever I had experienced earlier is the fact that two confused individuals with similar resolutions kind of made up for each other's weaknesses. Basically, it meant that when either of us strayed from the line of focus, the other came in handy to pull you back on track.

Second was the revelation that meditation as a practice to seek peace with oneself just does not mean sitting in a secluded corner, closing one's eyes and concentrating so as to control one's thought streams. It just could just be as simple as realizing our oneness with nature.

This is what we experienced when we just took a bike ride on an empty road in the night. It was fresh pure air; and with the cool breeze gushing against our faces, both Shyam and I just melted into silence in nearly a twenty minute ride. I guess both of us thanked the other for not breaking the peace in that interval.

I experienced the same in walking back home one evening listening to some beautiful songs from the movie "Music & Lyrics" on my iPod. Again, a feeling of oneness with all things around me just flowed through my veins. I somehow felt free - free to enjoy and savor every particle of matter, every wave of sound that surrounded me.

Salaam Namaste to Hyderabad for the experience. All this in just one week too! Let's see what else is in store. For one, it has started me writing again as well ;)