Wednesday, July 25, 2007

in memoriam to auntie.

She knew me while I was growing up -while I was melodramatically realizing that even Cinderalla did hard time in the cinders, that she didn't just jump rightaway to "happily ever after". In some ways, she was the reason I grew up at all.

She taught me to use deodorants. She taught me to take care of pets- to bother about cleaning their bowl just as much as the other kitchen utensils. And she taught me not to believe in revenge, not to plot it, not to whimsically want it, not to wait for it. And she taught me to believe in magic even if it made no sense. And she taught me to believe in Karma (however childishly I've absorbed the concept in my life). And she taught me to enjoy solitude- which is one of her greatest lessons, considering I was a single child and didn't exactly grow up with playmates. And she taught me the joy of swings and the joy of reading and the joy of singing and doing everything without the need for an audience. She taught me the power of patience ( not that I've learnt it well at all).

She taught me how you could spend your whole life waiting for someone (she waited for her daughter who was lost somewhere in the Himalayas. Lost, she insisted. Not dead, but lost. No one could convince her otherwise). Yet, I hope she lived as fully as she could, as completely as she possibly could.

She passed away recently. I realized that a tad too late. Whether she did meet her daughter I do not know. But I believe in heaven. If she didn't meet her here on earth, she probably will meet her daughter in heaven. There is no one I know who deserved it more.

Oh auntie!!!

Thank you for everything.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

the devil's dictionary

it seems like a long time ago when i was sitting insanely cramming up words and their meanings to write the GRE.

if only someone had told me about the devil's dictionary, i'd have had a lot more irreverant fun.

here are some entries in Ambrose Bierce's devil's dictionary (copied from of course, wikipedia!!!)

A weak person who yields to the temptation of denying himself a pleasure. A total abstainer is one who abstains from everything but abstention, and especially from inactivity in the affairs of others.
An ingenious instrument which indicates what kind of weather we are having.
A soft indestructible automaton provided by Nature to be kicked when things go wrong in the domestic circle.

The civility of envy.
That which discloses to the wise, and disguises from the foolish, their lack of understanding.
The state or condition of a community consisting of a master, a mistress and two slaves, making in all, two.
One of the sauces that serve the French in place of a state religion.
A minor form of despair, disguised as a virtue.
A route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing.
To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled on behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy.
Devoid of all delusions save those of observation, experience and reflection.
A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable.
A strip of land along which one may pass from where it is too tiresome to be to where it is futile to go.
The instrument and symbol of a freeman's power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country.

A certain nervous disorder afflicting the young and inexperienced.
thankfully, a lot of his work's available online.

ogden nash

just love this whackpot of a guy.
he takes the simply vagaries of everyday life as we go about believing ourselves to be very special and just gives us something to think about (which is... duh... we aren't that special really)

like this

The hunter crouches in his blind
'Neath camouflage of every kind
And conjures up a quacking noise
To lend allure to his decoys
This grown-up man, with pluck and luck
is hoping to outwit a duck
or considering the war ridden world we are in today (yeah- when weren't we warring and sparring)

Once again there is someone we don't see eye to eye with, and maybe I couldn't be dafter,
But I keep wondering if this time we couldn't settle our differences before a war instead of after.

oh well... we'll just keep wondering i guess, until, we'll be as extinct as the dim witted dodos.

but ogden nash!!! love the guy.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

epiphany part 2 : cleaning day

in the spirit of sequels- shrek 3, pirates 3, die hard 4, fantastic four (2???) et cetera et cetera et cetera, the new spirit that awakened within me in the light of my epiphany continues to walk around alive and kicking.

which is why, today i find myself cleaning my room with a vengeance.
when i say with vengeance, i mean with fm radio, with water, with marie biscuits, even a book (an anthropologist on mars), and naphthalene balls und so weiter so that i will not have to leave that room till i really finish cleaning it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

of mouse and mice

i have always been a stickler for good english and completely lousy when it comes to anything computer related.

y'day i had a bit of an epiphany. i realized that i couldn't do anything involving a routine. i manage to brush my teeth everyday, but that's only because my mouth stinks otherwise. but something like bathing, i generally have to push myself to do. eating, i often refuse to do for reasons such as being too lazy to walk to the kitchen. sleeping, i do but there again the boons outweigh the banes. i had a scooty for 7 years, and not once have i remembered to keep it in the garage despite my mom reminding me every single day. no- some habits simply don't stick. now that i have a new activa and my mom has threatened to take it away from me the day i forget to keep it in ( and i am certain that she will act on the threat), i have changed ways. the reason she never threatened to do any such thing with the scooty was that- hello! her honda was so much better. mom doesn't believe in sadomasochism.

so y'day i was sitting in front of the computer when i suddenly had this epiphany about how perhaps if i manage to make those small changes, they'll dynamically multiply and bring about super size changes. like the butterfly flapping its wings somewhere and there being a downpour elsewhere.

so i thought i'd clean my mouse.

and i cleaned it with electronic cleaning fluid. but for some strange reason the mouse didn't work. another bad habit of mine is just giving up. so i told myself sternly, that i wouldn't give up. i got a screw driver set and vowed to open the mouse up and fix it. i had no idea how i was going to do it. but mostly i figured that if i opened it up, i'd find little drops of condensate, which if i let dry, would leave the mouse beautifully working again. yeah- i opened it. there was no condensate. i lifted the chip. and then that parts started falling off. there was this spring metal thing that fell and an L shaped metal thing that fell, and the rolling wheel was attached to something, and i didn't know how i was supposed to fit it back in.

i felt very glad that i was in india where cobblers and key duplicators and mobile phone repair(ers) and dvd servicers were just a earshot away, generally found happily colluding with the vegetable vendor, the pharmacist and the "iyengar baker" (whose honey cake and bun with tea, i must say, is so much more tasty than the black forest pastry and terribly puffy puff at sweet chariot). anyway, i put the mouse and it's electronic intestines, and its metallic thingummies (which i hoped would be as vestigeal as an appendix) into a plastic cover and took it searching for a repair wallah. when i eventually found one, he took one look at it, said it had come part by part, why was i even bothering to fix it, a mouse cost only 200/250 bucks.

alright! i was shocked it only cost so much. sometimes i don't understand the logistics of economics. i saw SIVAJI for 200 bucks (not worth it). somehow that justified spending 250 on the mouse (just a lil perspective).

i found my regular computer applicance shop, which sits rather smugly next to a tailor and a stainless steel vessels vendor (as a kid, i used to enjoy looking at new plastic soap dish designs- still do, as a matter of fact). while walking into the store, i wondered what i was gonna ask.

do you sell optical mice ? no- that sounded ghastly. am sure he'd laugh at me for having such terrible pronunciation. the i(soft "r") ony!!!

do you sell optical mouses ? sounded more right, but somehow not quite there.

do you sell rats ? overdoing it there.

so then i figured, i might as well resort to a language that i wasn't squeamish being bad at.

i went up boldly and said "optical mouse(u) sell madtheeraa ???" which i suppose was better than "optical mouse(galu) sell madtheera???".

the shopkeeper didn't so much as bat an eyelid.

black or white ? he said.
silver, i said.
USB or PS/2 ?? he said
ah! i knew this one!
USB, i said.
six months warranty or 1 year warranty he asked ?
the cheapest, i said (i have to save up for the next rajni movie you see ? which i will watch without even bothering about tickets being inexplicably expensive. but good mouse(galu), had to be got for 250 bucks. 400 would be unjustified. )

so i got this silvery black/slim/ ENTER brand/ cheap optical mouse which i successfully connected to the comp without encountering any problem. i even figured that my old mouse was actually a USB one that was connected to a PS/2 port via an adaptor !!!

about the confusion about whether it's mouse or mice.
i am assured that its rats and mice and dormice and computer mouses.
why computer mouses ?

because in language, usage is king. what's acceptable is decided by the majority. not by a lexicographer in his ivory tower. but by talking using people. in this days of blogs and chat rooms and instant communication by laymen, if they decide its computer mouses, no one can stop them.

and if u think of it, computer mice sounds a tad too much overdone. it's like too much lipstick.

for future reference- the brand of the electronic fluid cleaner is called Endust. it works rather well. and it does say "do not spray on vented surface"

i will not even begin explaining where and all i sprayed the cursed fluid.

yours humbly and ignorantly,

Saturday, July 07, 2007

terry bisson

This is something that Terry Bisson wrote. Apparently, he's quite famous. I myself have been blissfully unaware of him until now. I came upon this script entirely by chance. I'm putting it up here to serve me as a reminder to read more of his stuff, which thankfully, is on the net on his site (i think). But for now I'm putting up his one act play here.

this is legally wrong- putting up someone's stuff without authorization. but the upshot of this, is better circulation stats for Terry Bisson which ultimately is what all writers need. therefore, it ain't morally wrong. :)

Apart from h2g2, this is the only other intergallactic sci-fi stuff that's impressed me. This one is incredibly humorous, tongue in cheek, and strangely humbling. We're just made of meat- finally. And that's the most miraculous thing about us. That we're made of such silly squishy goo and and are capable of so much. Were we made of more complex stuff, perhaps it wouldn't have been so unbearable to believe.

Link to Terry Bissons' showcase


by Terry Bisson

"They're made out of meat."


"Meat. They're made out of meat."


"There's no doubt about it. We picked up several from different parts of the planet, took them aboard our recon vessels, and probed them all the way through. They're completely meat."

"That's impossible. What about the radio signals? The messages to the stars?"

"They use the radio waves to talk, but the signals don't come from them. The signals come from machines."

"So who made the machines? That's who we want to contact."

"They made the machines. That's what I'm trying to tell you. Meat made the machines."

"That's ridiculous. How can meat make a machine? You're asking me to believe in sentient meat."

"I'm not asking you, I'm telling you. These creatures are the only sentient race in that sector and they're made out of meat."

"Maybe they're like the orfolei. You know, a carbon-based intelligence that goes through a meat stage."

"Nope. They're born meat and they die meat. We studied them for several of their life spans, which didn't take long. Do you have any idea what's the life span of meat?"

"Spare me. Okay, maybe they're only part meat. You know, like the weddilei. A meat head with an electron plasma brain inside."

"Nope. We thought of that, since they do have meat heads, like the weddilei. But I told you, we probed them. They're meat all the way through."

"No brain?"

"Oh, there's a brain all right. It's just that the brain is made out of meat! That's what I've been trying to tell you."

"So ... what does the thinking?"

"You're not understanding, are you? You're refusing to deal with what I'm telling you. The brain does the thinking. The meat."

"Thinking meat! You're asking me to believe in thinking meat!"

"Yes, thinking meat! Conscious meat! Loving meat. Dreaming meat. The meat is the whole deal! Are you beginning to get the picture or do I have to start all over?"

"Omigod. You're serious then. They're made out of meat."

"Thank you. Finally. Yes. They are indeed made out of meat. And they've been trying to get in touch with us for almost a hundred of their years."

"Omigod. So what does this meat have in mind?"

"First it wants to talk to us. Then I imagine it wants to explore the Universe, contact other sentiences, swap ideas and information. The usual."

"We're supposed to talk to meat."

"That's the idea. That's the message they're sending out by radio. 'Hello. Anyone out there. Anybody home.' That sort of thing."

"They actually do talk, then. They use words, ideas, concepts?"
"Oh, yes. Except they do it with meat."

"I thought you just told me they used radio."

"They do, but what do you think is on the radio? Meat sounds. You know how when you slap or flap meat, it makes a noise? They talk by flapping their meat at each other. They can even sing by squirting air through their meat."

"Omigod. Singing meat. This is altogether too much. So what do you advise?"

"Officially or unofficially?"


"Officially, we are required to contact, welcome and log in any and all sentient races or multibeings in this quadrant of the Universe, without prejudice, fear or favor. Unofficially, I advise that we erase the records and forget the whole thing."

"I was hoping you would say that."

"It seems harsh, but there is a limit. Do we really want to make contact with meat?"

"I agree one hundred percent. What's there to say? 'Hello, meat. How's it going?' But will this work? How many planets are we dealing with here?"

"Just one. They can travel to other planets in special meat containers, but they can't live on them. And being meat, they can only travel through C space. Which limits them to the speed of light and makes the possibility of their ever making contact pretty slim. Infinitesimal, in fact."

"So we just pretend there's no one home in the Universe."

"That's it."

"Cruel. But you said it yourself, who wants to meet meat? And the ones who have been aboard our vessels, the ones you probed? You're sure they won't remember?"

"They'll be considered crackpots if they do. We went into their heads and smoothed out their meat so that we're just a dream to them."

"A dream to meat! How strangely appropriate, that we should be meat's dream."

"And we marked the entire sector unoccupied."

"Good. Agreed, officially and unofficially. Case closed. Any others? Anyone interesting on that side of the galaxy?"

"Yes, a rather shy but sweet hydrogen core cluster intelligence in a class nine star in G445 zone. Was in contact two galactic rotations ago, wants to be friendly again."

"They always come around."

"And why not? Imagine how unbearably, how unutterably cold the Universe would be if one were all alone ..."

the end

Link to Terry Bisson's Showcase