Monday, November 28, 2011

My Kinda Meditation

It seldom happens that while reading one of the numerous books that you will read in your life, you come across something profound that totally resonates with you. One of those moments happened to me while while reading Mark Frauenfelder's book "Made by Hand" (Amazon | Flipkart) . He is the editor-in-chief of MAKE magazine & co-founder of bOING bOING magazine. In his book he quotes few lines by a cartoonist called Seth from his article in The Walrus Magazine:

But drawing and inking are different. They use different parts of the brain. I often find that when I’m drawing, only half my mind is on the work — watching proportions, balancing compositions, eliminating unnecessary details. 
The other half is free to wander. Usually, it’s off in a reverie, visiting the past, picking over old hurts, or recalling that sense of being somewhere specific — at a lake during childhood, or in a nightclub years ago. These reveries are extremely important to the work, and they often find their way into whatever strip I’m working on at the time. Sometimes I wander off so far I surprise myself and laugh out loud. Once or twice, I’ve become so sad that I actually broke down and cried right there at the drawing table. So I tell those young artists that if they want to be cartoonists, the most important relationship they are going to have in their lives is with themselves. 

to that Mark adds:

I wonder if one of the main reasons people garden, or knit, or retire to their garages and basements to tinker, is because they enjoy this unusual state of consciousness. Some people might be able to achieve it by meditating, but using your hands seems to do the trick, too.

Seth and Mark have given words to the feeling that most marker and storytellers can relate to. Maybe we should get our moms and wives and sisters to read this, perhaps then they'll understand what goes through our heads when we spend lengthy periods of time locked in to a particular activity which to them seems to be pointless or getting us nowhere. They would probably appreciate the emotions that run through us "boys" at those times. I am sure they can relate to these things too.

Come to think of it, there's a particular expression that appears on a person's face when he/she has achieved that level. Having experienced being in such a state many times, I think it would be easy for me to recognize one is currently in it. So now, I will wait till I find my mom in such a state - probably when she is busy with her embroidery. Then I will make her read this... :)

TEDxGateway 2011 @ Mumbai

Here is a list of speakers who gave talks at the event today (2011-11-27). The event was held at NCPA - JBT, Mumbai. The list includes links to their websites:
  1. Anu Sridharan | Grass Roots Entrepreneur |
  2. Kranthi Kiran Vistakula | Innovator | CEO Dhama Innovations - ClimaCon |
  3. Mallika Dutt | Human Rights Activist | CEO of Breakthrough |
  4. Jo Johnson| Member of Parliament Orpington (UK Parliament constituency) |
  5. Julia Silverman | Innovator - Soccer Ball Generator | Uncharted Play, Inc. |
  6. Raghava KK | Artist |
  7. Prof. Ramesh Raskar | Innovator - MIT Media Lab | EyeNetra | |
  8. Illac Diaz | Grass Roots Entrepreneur | A Liter of Light |
  9. Dr. M R Madhavan | Reformer - co-founder PRS Legislative Research |
  10. Narayanan Krishnan | Protecting the powerless - Madurai |
  11. Ryan Lobo | Filmmaker and Photographer |
  12. Michael Pritchard | Inventor - LIFESAVER |
  13. Suneet Singh Tuli | Entrepreneur - $35 Tablet PC |
  14. Shankar Tucker | Musician |
  15. Stalin K. | Media and Human rights activist |
  16. Sofia Jannok | Voice of Sweden | Swedish Sami singer from Gällivare | 
  17. Vicky Roy | Photographer |

... they left the audience with enough food for thought for many days to come
Event Website:

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Spirituality vs. Science

To all Spiritualists: Guys and gals please stop misusing words like "Energy", "Evolution", "Universe", "Knowledge", "Elements" etc. in your literature/justifications. These words have specific and precise technical meanings in science and us scientists and engineers are not going to pay heed to anything you say until you stop manipulating the meanings of those words in whatever you are trying to say. Invent your own words to express the various concepts you have come up with. There are a lot of sweet sounding permutations and combinations of alphabets still left out for your use.

To all Scientists: Stop looking for a precise definition of the word "Consciousness", "Mind", "Soul" etc. Let Spiritualists use them and define them. Stop encroaching on the words belonging to their domain. Do unto others like you want them to do to you.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Paintings on the Wall

Watched Class of '84 at Sophia College Auditorium today.
Followed by a walk along Peddar road and dinner at Cafe Mondegar.
Discovered this on the Juhu Aerodrome Walls today on the way back
Seems to have been done today itself - Sunday, 13th November 2011 - by school kids.
Some of these are really awesome. Proud of you Mumbai kiddos!!!

(Was in an auto returning home when I first saw these, reached home, got my cousin to drive me back there and captured the pics with his Canon 550 - returned home at 2:00AM 14 November 2011 - was crazy enough to capture them fresh!!)

Slide Show and link to all the 44 photos.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Life's Calculus

All emotions are beautiful. But what seems to make life less boring and more exciting are not the emotions themselves, but the rate of change of emotions. The impulse & step functions which cause sudden changes in emotions - "surprises" for example - are the best of them all; they spew harmonics all around and over!!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Sometimes we ought to STOP and smell the roses (or exhaust in this case)
Stop Signal Art - Mumbai Autorickshaws

Monday, October 24, 2011

Chin up bar

I bought a chin-up bar today. Idea is to regain the muscle mass that I think I have lost due to excessive computer use. This rod cost me 650 rupees. There were two cup like discs which had to be fixed facing each other on the door frame. Each had 3 screws to hold it in place. The rubber edges of the rods would sit it these cups. The rod comes with an L key which goes into the hole at one end of the rod. The rod to fixed into place by using this key to rotate the inner cylinder which telescopes out there by increasing the effective length of the rod slowly with each twist. The rubber ends compress against the cups which had been previously been fixed in the door frame. As it is with most things in life, if u tighten something too much, it break - observe the rubber end which buckled under pressure. I think the rod is still safe to use.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Girls are mad, and boys are dumb

Girl thinking: "I don't think its gonna workout between us, he doesn't care about what I want!"
Boy thinking: "Isse kya ho gaya hai?"

Girl thinking: "He never thinks about our future together...."
Boy thinking: "What is she thinking? Lagta hai maine kuch galat kiya hai..."

Girl thinking: "Bolta tha palkon pe bitha ke rakhunga, yahan mitti ke dher pe lake khada karke bada khush ho raha hai jaise pata nahin mujhe koi hill station pe le aaya ho!"
Boy thinking: "Lagta hai use kuch cheez chahiye thi, she was expecting me to understand it without her saying it..."

Girl thinking: "Isko samajh nahin aata ki mujhe ek cell phone ki zaroorat hai, itne saste ho gaye hain aaj kal, price list dekho! fir bhi janab ko paise bachane ki padhi hai, post office bonds me daal diye is mahine ki salary"
Boy thinking: "Hmmm.. lemme trace what we did till now, we got up in the morning, I got an SMS that my salary has been credited today, we went to the post office to submit the bond application, and now we are standing here, hawa khaate hue bus ka intezaar kar rahe, aur ab yeh sad face banaye hue hai, lafda kya hai? maine kya kiya?"

Advice to the boy: Abe dhakkan, ek hafta pehle usne tujhe Femina magazine mein kuch dekhne ko kaha tha .. woh Samsung ke naye phone ki advertisement dikha rahi thi aur tujhe laga ki woh uske baju wale page pe money savings ke article padhne ko keh rahi hai.... popat... She is a woman .. women always think of spending, not saving :P

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Stuff under a 30x Microscope

Bedsheet Fabric

FT232RL on an Arduino Duemilanove

Pyjama fabric

SMD Resistor and LED on an Arduino Duemilanove

Hair on the back side of my palm

Logo Engraving on a Canon Scanner

LCD Monitor Pixels

If these photos fascinate you, then do check our these photos taken by a Scanning Electron Microscope which have been published in the book Microcosmos: Discovering the World Through Microscopic Images from 20 X to Over 22 Million X Magnification by Brandon Broll (Amazon link)

While you are at it, you may also like: Would dew believe it: The stunning pictures of sleeping insects covered in water droplets

Friday, July 1, 2011

There is a plan for each of us

Watched the The Adjustment Bureau today. Reminded me of Allama Iqbal's quote:

Khudi ko kar buland itna ke har taqder se pehle
Khuda bande se ye poche bata teri raza kia hai

Full poem here


Omniscient (Thank you Google)
Omnipresent (Thank you 3G)
Omnipotent (Thank you cloud computing)
Is Internet God?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Family Time

Tata Sky+ set top box got messed up today - video was all right but there was no audio. Tried to fiddle with the audio settings of the TV as well as the set top box but couldn't get it fixed. Had to watch Munnabhai MBBS in complete silence while eating food with family. We were having fun trying to remember the dialogs from the last time we watched the movie. Since none of us could remember all the dialogs, we were helping each other complete the lines. It was like family movie karaoke. Should do this often. Discovered a new fun family game. Some movies which are a good candidate for this came (atleast for our family):

Border : "Bhairosingh MMG sambhalo"
Speed : "Harry! Tell me good news, man."
Sholay : obviously..

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


First there was asexual reproduction and evolution chugged along really really really slowly. Then Natural Selection seldom had candidates to select from and push forward beyond the other individuals of the species.

Then sexes separated and evolution leapt forward. The Natural Selection's offices were then overwhelmed with applicants. The ones with superior genes lived longer and passed on their good genes to their children. But in most cases, Natural Selection weeded out the inferior ones by ensuring that they were killed - in many cases by the superior ones, in other cases by the hazards of the environments or diseases.

To ensure that the superior genes replaced the inferior ones, all the individual with the inferior genes had to be killed and the population which remained would then be the descendants of that one individual which acquired the superior gene first.

In olden times, the population size was limited, so it was easier for Mother Nather to cause death of the non superior individuals.

In modern times, the process of Natural Selection is becoming less relevant. The human population has increased to such a level that say if a single individual had a superior gene, then ofcourse it will take like forever wait till his descendants completely spread and replace the existing population. Only something drastic could do that, like for example a disease which wipes out everyone except a few unique individuals.

On a day to day case, it does not matter if you have some inferior set of genes, because technology and medical advances allow you to over come them artificially - so if you have Type 1 Diabetes, you don't have to worry about dying soon, unless we have an apocalypse and we run out of and start fighting over insulin supply. 

Genetic engineering has been progressing an alarming rate. Soon we would be able to add/replace superior genes into bodies of grown adults. We would be able to take control of evolution over from Mother Nature. 

There are lots of moral implications of this. It was okay for mother nature to cause mutation to randomly bless some with superior genes and curse others with inferior genes, but when man acquires power to try and do this to himself, he is accused of "playing God". Of course we are playing God. God wanted us to. Mother Nature selected unique individuals over the ages to bring us to this level of technological advancement. If God did not mean for us to discover/invent various aspects of Genetic Engineering, then s/he wouldn't have allowed us to progress to this level. (God also wanted us to build huge buildings of reinforced concrete, but that's a discussion for another day)

So now instead of leaving to chance, the process of natural selection/evolution, we can now identify individuals with good genes and introduce them into the rest of the population and enhance everyone. No part of the population needs to die out. Of course we cant grow a new 6th finger, but if we have the gene introduced within us, then we can pass it on to our children who will then have 6 fingers. 

Obviously, while carrying out this process, we will make mistakes. Many patients who "volunteered" for this experiment would die. But we have to think and decide for ourselves - When mother nature did this, it was ok, but when this happens through our hands, it is immoral and a murder! But are we not instruments of God?

We owe it to ourselves and to the power that created us to move forward without fear. The moral rules which tie us back bind us from taking leaps. Maybe our children who will rewrite their own moral rules will be able to accept this fully and progress unhindered to the next level.

One thing if it happens before we reach that level would be good - abolition of poverty. For that we would need clean and abundant source of energy and interstellar travel and knowledge. Instead of amassing wealth, we would need to focus our attention elsewhere - This is the star trek philosophy. This will ensure that everyone has access to improve themselves through genetic engineering - something which only the rich and the wealthy would be able to afford otherwise. 
If that does not happen, the difference between the rich and the poor will widen so immensely that, the suffering which will ensue would really be heart rending. Of course the rich will then have an option to acquire a gene which would let them turn off empathy within them.

In the end we will become what we are to become. This might sound fatalist, but it seems Mother Nature had deliberately planned to hand over her tricks of trade to us - it is her calculated move, A leap in Evolution.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Mars and Venuses

From: Anurag Chugh
Sent: Sunday, June 12, 2011 11:50 AM
To: Upasna Sachdeva
Subject: epiphany of the day..

Women just want to look pretty in every way - Simple.
Men just want big dicks, which I guess doesn't even matter that much to their life partner.

From: Sachdeva, Upasna
Date: Sun, Jun 12, 2011 at 12:12
Subject: RE: epiphany of the day..
To: Anurag Chugh

I don’t think so.

Absolute wants never decide anything.

If you ask anyone absolutely, they’ll even want two or three or four husbands.

Unless and until you have choice… you need to give up something to get something else… you have to choose… you cannot measure the true value of anything…. that is how even monetary systems work…

So maybe women want to look pretty … but am sure a lot of them would trade that for intelligence, or just plain chirpiness… or to be good mom…..

Men on the other hand … I don’t know …. :P

From: Anurag Chugh
Date: Sun, Jun 12, 2011 at 12:30
Subject: Re: epiphany of the day..
To: "Sachdeva, Upasna"

Kaun tha yeh ?yeh kaun tha??
Original wali Upasna ne jusk peek kya thakeli upasna ke peeche se!!!
Original wali Upasna is still there!!! BRING HER OUT BRING HER OUT!!!

btw, relative wants creates jealousy creates fights.
Absolute wants creates dictator types
Thats why gyaani log kehte hain, capture a snapshot of urself today and agle din try to become a bit better relative to what you are today.
And to decide which way is better, well uske liye ur neural network is constantly learning to identify others who are better than u in some apect so that you know the direction in which u wanna move.

The race should never be against others.. but with ur ownself.
When u get a spouse. You sort of merge together and then the game changes from a single sprint to a three legged race.
It becomes tougher I guess but a lot more satisfying/exhilarating and carefee in a weird way, coz you know now that you will never fall, because ur partner will always be there to save you. And besides if you do fall s/he will fall with you and then you roll on the running track laughing with ur one leg tied together... FUN!!

From: Sachdeva, Upasna
Date: Sun, Jun 12, 2011 at 12:43
Subject: RE: epiphany of the day..
To: Anurag Chugh

Dono original and thakeli upasnas office mein baithi hain lekin… K K K

From: RP (bestfriend, guy)
Date: Mon, Jun 13, 2011 at 20:01
Subject: Re: epiphany of the day..
To: Anurag Chugh

Women also want their partners to look good - they scarcely say this. But god they so want it.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

From higher dimensions

Jiddu Krishnamurti's discourses makes him seem like A. Square from Flatland who has been to worlds of higher dimensions (3D) and is now trying to explain and induce the feeling of what he felt about that higher truth to his 2D country men. He tries hard to put all that he experienced into words but it is of course impossible for 2D beings to grasp the reality that is 3D.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Incomplete Brownian

Rainy season is here. Someone left a polystyrene cup out under the tree. There are no stains in it – tea was not its occupant. Vodka seems more like it. A droplet of water slides over the waxy leaves of the tree and falls into it making a plop sound. The water in it seems clear. I think of the restless atoms and molecules that make up the liquid confined by the walls of the cup. Small groups of balls strung together, bouncing off each other, jostling around. Each one alike, yet separate – Kind of like the thoughts in my head. I imagine my brain to be made of water (70% of it must be anyway) contained by my skull - which is also white in colour like the cup.
A dust particle – probably a string of dead human cells - falls into the cup. I look closer as the particle moves over the membrane-like surface of water. Brownian motion. The particle reminds me of a Pinball machine – with the particle’s motion likened to the motion of the ball hitting various invisible thumper bumpers on the playfield held up by the surface tension of water.
Fickle and Non-Linear. Like the thoughts in my heads. I go upstairs to my rented apartments. As I unlock my door and remove my shoes, I decide to allocate some of the processing power of my brain to a sentry task which observes what the rest of my mind is thinking. I have been working on an RTOS/Microcontroller all day long. I will pretend to be a microcontroller running an RTOS with one of the tasks spying on what the other tasks are doing. No wonder that the rest of the world think IT guys are mental – you work on microprocessors day in and day out and sooner or later you start acting like one!
But this time I don’t care. No one is there to observe and taunt me. Sure I am going to blog about this, but that’s another thing. Moving on.
So now it was like there were two of me in my head – the “real me” and the “observing me” – or rather “the experiencing self” and “the remembering self” (Daniel Kahneman@TED).
I let my mind wander. Invariably it lands on the thoughts of my friends. Friends and family – stuff that fuels the engine that is Anurag Chugh. I imagine a huge engine churning. People go in, create memories and come out the other end intact. I remember my first day at L & T – soft skills training session. The instructor from Hero MindMine asked us to speak about an object we relate to. I already knew my icon - The Sun. Source of all life on Earth. All Life. My mom says my life is my friends (and now that I am in touch with them – my extended family or as my mom calls it “my biradar” – sounds ghaati J). Of the various important roles that friends play in one’s life, I fixate on the most important one (atleast to me) and look for a metaphor to describe them. I soon find one in Birbal’s Khichri. I remember the poor man in the story who is denied the prize because the warmth from the earthen lamp (diya) kept him warm as he spent the night with his body submerged in the cold waters of the river. Life is like a cold river with all of us floating in it, moving with the flow – our friends are like diyas which spread the light and warmth around us as we make our way thru the calm water as well as the rough rapids. They need not be with us all the time to inspire us, energize us. Some may be thousands of miles away and yet their presence would inspire us as if they were right there next to us. I can recall numerous times when after racking my brains at a problem at office, I decide to take a break from frustration and remember my friends and what they would be doing at the moment. I would crack my knuckles, stretch back on my chair and think of them. Ranjit probably sleeping in his bed with arm under the pillow. Sneha sleeping too, or waking up yawning.  Nupur staring at her screen working on a report. Upasna using arrow keys to navigate through thru the excel sheet full of numbers describing the valuation of some company.  Ankit calling / facebooking our other friends while travelling back home in his cab after a long flight. Ruchir waiting for the signal to turn green so that he could rev up his Cedia and hit 160kmph for 5 seconds on Western Express Highway. Aastha and Sapan chatting over Sametime planning to go for a swim after office. My dad still wearing his boiler suit, while unloading the photos from his camera for insertion into his weekly report. Juhi finishing off yet another article for the local news website. Deeksha sitting the consulting room at HERI thinking of the idea for next week’s P-TAPs as a burkha clad lady patient calls on her. These thought of these and other people around whom my life revolves brings a smile to my face. It gives me sense of “all’s well with the world”. I exchange messages with a few and maybe call one or two and a few minutes later I am recharged and I can return back to work. As we float together through life, like real diyas, sometimes our own light begins to flicker in the winds. That’s when the light and warmth from the surrounding diyas rekindles our own flame and keeps it alive. 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

tareekh pe tareekh

A day is but a single frame in the film reel of your life. Last day pe play hogi movie tumhare life ki. And you will be the only audience. Let it leave a smile on your face when you take in your last breath. One chance, one take. Make it worthwhile :)

abe! sanskar?

Amit Varma's Article To Hell With Family Values
 reminds me of a thought I ones had about KKK soap operas on Indian Television.

Mom discovers medical report which her daughter was hiding from her. Just then daughter  enters the alishaan house. Mom is in designer saree. Daughter in bechari salwaar kameez. Mom confronts her daughter, saps her and shouts, "kahan se muh kaala kar ke aayi hai". Daughter bursts into tears. Mom faces the camera "hey bhagwan kya humne aise sanskaar diye is ladki ko ki aaj hamari naak katwa di!"

I always used to wonder "abe sanskaar diye bhi they kya?"

Khud ke koi sanskar nahin ho toh woh apne bacchon ko kya dega? I think we all need to think before having kids. Of course I am totally unqualified (yet!) to speak on the subject but I think people should spend 1-2 years retraining themselves and modifying their own personality, cultivating discipline into their own lives to prepare themselves to become good parents before they actually produce them. Maybe natural selection extended the gestation period for humans to 9 months so that the offspring's parents have enough time to get into the grove - get serious and responsible for the new life that's about to enter the world and be dependent on them for years to come. But lagta hai humans ka zyaada bheja hone ka disadvantage hai... I think we are prone to "haramkhorgiri" way way too much as compared to wild animals...

AV also links to this poem in his article: This be the Verse - Philip Larkin

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Different kinds of scholars.

Been having this thought for quite some time. People who have PhD and those who heal people have the same title conferred to them. Seems a bit unfair to me. Besides it creates unnecessary confusion among the general public (Remember Ross from F.R.I.E.N.D.S.).

Khushwant Singh puts it in better words in the last week's edition of his column "With malice towards one and all" which appeared in Hindustan Times:
Professor RC Sobti, Vice Chancellor of Panjab University and Registrar A K Bhandari came all the way from Chandigarh to confer an honourary doctorate on me.
Though overwhelmed with gratitude, I feel I must confess my shortcomings as a scholar. I went through school and colleges in Delhi, Lahore and London barely able to pass examinations I had to take. Having such a poor academic record, having four doctorates conferred on me is hard to believe.
My motive in writing about it is not a devious way to indulge in self-praise, but to draw the attention to the misuse of the word doctorate.
It has three different meanings. One is for qualifications as a healer of sick people. The second for scholarship in writing theses on topics hitherto not touched upon. And the third for honouring people for their achievements in any field. I think it is time we had three different words for them. Only those in the medical profession deserve to be called doctors.
We have to coin different words for scholarly works and recognition for achievements. Try to think what they should be in Sanskrit, Greek or Latin. And make it obligatory for recipients not to use them.

Friday, May 20, 2011

This is me

Take me.

Take me as I am...
.. with my acne (comedones) ...

... with my uncleared ear wax and hairy tragus ...
..with my many blemishes...

 .. and a million other imperfections.

Take me.
Take me with my Canon 550D 18 megapixel DSLR.

I will show you how imperfect you are, and yet love you perfectly.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The engines that I work on

Saturday has just fallen off the cliff. Sunday has entered the scene and is now trying its best to put up a good stunt. 
No matter how hard it tries to climb the jagged rock wall, 24 hrs later it too shall meet the same fate and fall and end up back in the line behind the 6 other contenders. One hour into the show, Sunday's act was proving to be boring. So I drifted, thinking of the previous one's performance.

This Saturday was different. It was my first working weekend at my third job. Reflecting back on the day, I realised, I had solved three major issues at work. Three issues which had cascaded to result in an irritable bug on the Head Unit of our in car entertainment system - the master microcontroller wasn't able to talk properly to the radio tuner chip. Integrated Circuits and the computers made of them can be made to talk in many different ways, not unlike the numerous human languages. The language of the day was I2C or Inter-Integrated Circuit. This one was invented by some guys over at Philips a few years ago. It's a language specifically suited for a certain kind of scenario. If you recollect the movie "The Mummy Returns" (By the way today is mother's day, happy mother's day to my mummy - Indu Aunty :), just before the final fight scene, Oded Fehr's character utters some words in Hebrew which is immediately recognized as "The language of the Slaves" by Dywane Johnson's character. I2C is somewhat like that. It's used for communication between microcontrollers (the smart ones) and the dumb slave ICs which have each been bred to do one and only one task. The microcontroller is the master in that sense that it controls the tempo (The clock signal) during the whole transaction. All the slaves are lined up one after the other as the master microcontroller speaks its will. The master first yells out the slave number and makes it heard to all of them. Only that IC whose slave number matches the one uttered would bow down and acknowledge, making its presence known to that master. The master would then proceed with delivering its instruction to this one particular selected slave one by one. The slave is obligated to acknowledge every piece (byte) of command sent its way. When the master is done with one slave, it will address the next one and so on and repeat the cycle. This seemingly simple round robin process made our system go. But today, one of the slave was being insubordinate. We wanted to teach it a lesson.

Over the course of the saturday, we found three problems with our system. First we found that we were using the wrong wires to communicate with the slave. This was like climbing out on top of the effiel tower and shouting out instructions, when all your slaves were kneeling down in front of the taj mahal. Of course they couldn't hear zilch. That problem was easily solved by modifying a few lines of code and diverting all the data traffic to the proper wires. Made a note to self - RTFM. 
The second problem was related to hardware. The clock and data signal were short circuited. The clock signal sets the pace or the tempo of the communication and the data signal, well carried the actual words. Damn, our king was bloody tounge tied. We applied a little solder flux on the copper tracks (the mouth of the master) and blew hot air (at 200 degrees centigrade) over it. The solder melted and the surface tension caused them to fuse to their bonding pads and become isolated from one another. With the tongue untied, we proceeded on to the next step.
The third problem was to do with the reset signal. The Master Micro wasn't letting go of the reset signal going to the FM/AM Radio Tuner IC. Remove the tape from the slave's mouth when you want him to respond goddammit!!. Easily fixed.... backspace backspace backspace... type type type.. recompile, re program and we are in business. 
OK so now the slave is responding. It can hear the master and we can see it saying "yes sirji" after every byte. We eavesdropped on the master microcontroller and the slave IC's convo using a device called an "Oscilloscope". We can see them talking. We can see the master issuing instructions and the slave acknowledging each one, but we don't see the slave doing what its told - we can't hear any "big, Red, AIR, mirchi, City". Lagta hai apna Master sathiya gaya hai. Bakwas kar raha hai. Slave bechara sun ke le raha hai lekin use samajh nahin aa raha ki woh kya kare. 

We came home, leaving the problem unsolved. Tomorrow, we will teach our master a lesson it will never forget - how an Audio Head must talk to a Radio Slave. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

yeh kya bakwas likh daala?

demag ki dahi mein daalo excitement ka masala,
masti karo jee bhar ke, warna nahin hai guzara!

chote se bacche ne dekho hai kya kar daala,
haanste haanste uske papa ka muh hi dho daala!

engineer ne dekho kaisa code hai likh daala,
chalta walta kuch nahin, client ka paisa khoti kar daala!

dekho dekho Nek Chand ne collect kiya hai kabada,
dekhtay hi dekhtay usne Rock Garden hi bana daala!

tumne hamari zindagi ko aisa hai sawara,
ki ab gali gali ghoomte hai hum, kutte sa awara!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

girl to boy

"abbe kya dekh raha hai? to you I might seem like a delightful arrangement of atoms, but come any closer and TERE arrangement ki dhajjiyan udha dungi!"

Friday, April 29, 2011

Nervous Intrepid Explorer

In the deep dark cave, his nervous head bobbed up slowly, breaking the surface of water - just like how the plastic air filled ball inside the flush tank would when a some man pressed the lever painfully slowly towards the unsure end of the urination.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


It’s hot and I wish I had 16 fingers. 8 on each hand.
No, I don’t want wish that I had some extra super human capability over and above the rest of the population. In fact my wish requires that all of the human species have 16 fingers.

A bead of sweat makes it way down the side of my forehead and slides like a glacier over the side of my cheeks. It leaves a burning trail. I hate shaving on summer days. I hate running out of aftershave even more.

I wipe off the sweat and suck on the straw leading into my cold coffee.  Nothing comes up. I suck harder. Cold coffee! What a joke – it’s a mix of super-frozen ice crystals, milk powder and ground coffee bean powder. CafĂ© coffee day Express. I remember Scrooge “Bah! Humbug!”

I reconnect with my train of thought (taking a nanosecond detour there to Sheldon Cooper and back ). The only naturally feasible way – think evolution – for 16 fingers to be possible is if our predecessors – all the numerous monkey species should have had them too!
And considering how humans have a knack for over complicating things with their “ingenuity” and uncommon common sense, I will include in my wish that we (and our monkey great grands) have had the same number of digits on their toes too – sweet sixteen !

I suck on the straw with all my strength now, putting to shame the suction capability of even the best vacuum cleaner in the world. Just before I was about to burst a vein on the side of my neck, a barrage of ice crystal spurt forward into my mouth. 2 seconds later brain freeze!!

As the pain subsides, a huge pile of innumerable consequences of having 3 supernumerary digits on each hand and toe slump down upon me – or rather spurt into my head akin to the way those ice crystal rushed into my mouth. I try to organize them in some fashion before I start slicing up my brain time to process each of them.

Enhanced pleasure – more fingers to touch, more fingers to feel. Enhanced speed – more toes, more thrust. Enhanced gripping strength – more fingers to pull-up your fatty fat body as hang on to the door pole of the oh so full fast local.. hey but wait! Damn! We would lose out on the most popular and expressive gesture of all – because now there is no middle finger!!!  With that said, I am sure we would come up with an equally capable gesture to replace that one.

The heat distracts me again. I wipe myself with my handkerchief. If we had eight fingers, I am sure the Chinese wouldn’t have gotten around inventing the hand fan – Who needs one when you can just use your hands to fan yourselves. The Japanese who had improved the hand fan by making foldable versions would have instead invented some sort of gloves to add webbing between the fingers and increase the airflow. I try to think how one of those would look like and absentmindedly  wrap my handkerchief around my hand trying in vain to create simulate one.

I fiddle with my phone. Landmark and Shopper’s Stop can’t stop offering me discounts that I am not interested. The SMS spam guard app kept the phone from buzzing and irritating me when they bombard me with texts. 900 rupees well spent. But the phone complains. It’s battery is low.  Which brings me to the point – the batteries of our devices would last longer – if we had those extra fingers. 16 of ‘em.

Computers and all kinds of tech gadgets have the same basic architecture. There is the Central Processing Unit, Inputs /Outputs and Memories. Inputs are those signals which are external to the system and fed to it via some interface. In case of cell phones these are the keypad for the humans to type with, microphone for them to speak into and the radio receivers – one each for the Cellphone network (GSM or CDMA), WiFi, Bluetooth and FM Radio. The USB interface is also considered and Input when connected to a PC and so is the button on the wired headset. The outputs are the RF transmitters (for GSM/CDMA, WiFi, Bluetooth), Speaker (ear piece, loud speakers and ringer), LCD screen, vibrator motor and the various LEDs which light up the LCD and Keys. The CPU is loaded with handling the plethora of I/O devices (some phones have even more of them, accelerometer, compass, GPS, proximity detector, touchscreen, FM transmitter) and hence the code comprising the software running on it is huge – millions of lines. And people like me all around the world spend their days staring at the computer screen trying to make sense of what the guy who wrote the code in the first place was thinking when he put together the piece of crap on the screen in front of you.

You curse the manufacturer when your phone dies on you. But the truth is that some dude just like you was responsible for the messed up code running inside it.  But that’s deviating from the topic. I round up back to the power saving part. Computers and computing gadgets spend an immense amount of electrical energy trying to move data from here to there.  Data which is represented in binary – numbers which are represented with just one and zero. Now just because we had 10 digits on the ends of our limbs (10 fingers and 10 toes) we learnt to count with 10 symbols – 0 thru 9 and not 2 or 4 or 8 or 16 which are powers of two. Computers use up extra processing power to convert these binary numbers from binary to decimal just so that its naturally legible to us when printed on the LCD screen.  If a two digit binary number can have 2 values (0 or 1), then by extension, a two digit binary number can have four values (00, 01, 10 and 11) similarly a 3 digit binary number can represent 8 distinct symbols and 4 digit binary number can represent 16 distinct symbols.  Displaying numbers which are stored in binary format but need to be displayed on the screen in a number system in which the number of symbols is not a power of 2 will always require processing. This means someone has to write code for doing this and what you have are thousands of billions of gadgets around the world doing exactly this and wasting energy. So much effort, so much time, so much energy – all wasted – just because we had 10 fingers and not 16 or even 8 for that matter. By the way, there will be the energy wasted in the extra muscle if we have 16 fingers, but balls to that. Making my life easier as a programmer (and the user of a cell phone that doesn’t waste battery on stupid tasks like number conversion) is the point here.

The cell phone beeps and displays the battery low message again. I imagine it shouting at me as if it was a real talking person “abe battery kam hai, charge karna!”. In hindi? Yes, sounds more dramatic that way. I would imagine it saying that in Gabbar tone.

Cell phone (in Gabbar tone): “Kabhi charge kiya tha?”

Me: “Kal Raat”

Cell Phone (in Gabbar tone): “Kitna kiya tha?”

Me: “pacheees minute”

Cell Phone (in Gabbar tone): “bas pacheees minute charge kiya, lekin istamal 10 ghante kiya? Bahut na insaafi hai”

Of course, I am surely must be exaggerating. Playing doodle jump on my Nokia 5800 definitely used up more juice than the trivial itoa() and atoi() conversions. But still Mother Nature has made it a bit inconvenient for us to discover it secrets. She plays with us. It sent us the wrong signals and caused wrong ideas to develop and by the time we realised what was happening, we were already used to the old convention that we found it difficult to change to the actual truth. For example thanks to Benjamin Franklin’s and his gang we have to contend with messed up electric charge signage. Current flows from positive to negative, while in reality the negative electrons which constitute the current flow the other way. And we had to rack our brains to deal with the equations properly while working on electric systems.

Other complications are manmade:  like the plethora of measurement units – Airbus’s A380 was delayed because while building the first prototype, some guys thought the measurement in the drawing was in mm and not inches.  Also the lack of symbols in Greek and Latin alphabets has really made life difficult. Many of the physical quantities have been assigned the same symbol. On top of that, unintuitive use of symbols as operators in Mathematics (like Calculus) haunts all students when they are first exposed to them. The only field of since which suffers the least from such kind of “natak” is the field of genetics. Genetics seems to be one of the youngest and most organized field - thanks in part to Mendel, who cared enough to acquaint himself with Scientific Method before getting on with his research. Genetic knowledge has few of these weird problems with formal representation of real life phenomenon.

So what we need is a full reboot of the human society withal the kinks removed.  That might just be possible. We have screwed up everything here on earth anyway. Maybe when we colonize Mars (aauw – closer to Sun – means “garmiiii”) we will get a chance to do that.

We definitely need to engineer a new breed. To do that we would need to create a transitional breed of engineered humans who would arrive on mars with all the kinks in their scientific knowledge removed and smoothen out. They would then procreate on the new planet - story would be somewhat like James Bond's Moonraker, but we will leave Earth intact. 

We would need to draft and document a new legal and socio-economic system. We would even need to get these new seed people to learn and use Lojban – a logically engineered language which eliminates the possibility of misinterpretation of meaning by the listener. This might be the only chance for the people who invented and promote this language to actually get some to use it.

The seed people would be bought in an isolated environment where we teach them the laws and language of the new society which they would create on the target planet.  We will teach them to count – using 16 digits and not 10. Just so that it comes naturally, we would need to pre-modify their genes while they are in their mother’s womb – even before they are born – so that they are born with 8 digits on each hand and feet. As for the mathematics teachers who are to teach them, we will hack into their hands & feet and implant 3 extra digits.

So calling all Genetic Engineers of tomorrow (i.e. biochemistry students of today) – there is lots of work to be done. You need to isolate the genes  for Polydactyly (mid ray duplications) and when the technology develops (and people stop cribbing about ethics regarding human experimentation) get hold of some good looking, well built, smart people and get them to have sex with each other and while they are pregnant,  screw with the fertilized egg and introduce the gene to create the next stage in the evolution . I remember the documentary they showed on TV about an Indian village where everyone has 6 fingers – what’s its name? Golida?. To start off, they can study the genome of people living there. Or what about that guy from Udaipur who has 12 fingers?. Or even Akshat Saxena : The Indian kiddo with 34 fingers and toes!

While you guys do that, engineers like me will fiddle with our gadgets and modify them for use by these new species. Gadgets ergonomically designed for 16 fingered humans (or whatever we call them) which last longer on a single charge because they don’t have any stupid power wasting numeric conversion calculations to perform.

I dunk the plastic container in the bin. Bid tata to the day dreamer in me and start forcing my mood to flip to being a Tata Consultancy Services employee. This I.T. Analyst has done enough analysis paralysis for the day. The software for 10 fingered humans must still be developed, tested and delivered to the clients. It will be a long time before the 16 finger thing happens. I might not be around till then. And so, I do what’s asked of me. At least the AC is working in the room where my workstation is located.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Look closely

Look closely at the patterns around you...

..... zoom out a bit and perhaps then you would be able to answer the question "why am i fat and unhealthy?"....

Photos titled: "McDonald's ki maa ki aankh!"

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

nice quote

Life is about the people you meet and the things you create with them :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Almost Died

warning: unpolished and a bit incoherent BUT factual story ahead (appended video is totally unedited real life video!!)
incident time: 2011-02-27
It was a grand plan. A grand plan to admire the beauty of much much grander one - The Sealink.
We were going to shoot a superb video of it and upload it online. We had done it before.
But this time we wanted to be alone about the bridge. No excited shaking and panning around of the camera.
No juvenile shrieks in the background. Just a serene video exposing the awe and wonder that is the Sealink.

We set out. Me at the wheel, Deeksha shotgun and Nehal in the backseat without a belt. Nehal without a belt.
As a driver I was just 5000 kms old. My car was as old as I was a driver - 5000 kms.
I had earned a few minor bumps and scratches over the time but got them old fixed during the second servicing of my new car - A shit coloured Maruti Swift.

Shit coloured - 'coz I didn't care to accompany my dad when he had gone to book the car. Of course the receipt said it was "Sunlight Copper" but that's just
a shiny name for orangey-brown. But once I learned to drive it around, I didn't care - despite the colour, I had managed to convince two girls to ride in it with me. Of course I had grown up with them, had known them all my life and one of them was going to be hitched in a few months - but that’s not the point.

Night. Car. Girls. Sea Link. And a camera to record the beauty. Beauty not of the girls, but of the Sea Link.
I just needed the girls to hold the camera while I drove.

We hit a massive body of traffic while moving on the road next to Juhu beach. People had come out late at night for some god forsaken reason.
Bumper to bumper traffic. I sighed! The city that never sleeps?? Balls!
The city which experiences traffic jams even at 2 am. Damn you Mumbai! Even though you fuck with me, I still love you.

Deeksha was beginning to feel pukey. I had to constantly alternate between accelerating and braking and this was making her nauseous.
Maybe she could hold her stuff till we reach the Sealink. Then I could stop the car and take a photo of her as she puked over the railing.
The camera's flash would highlight the length of her pukey stream and against the dark backdrop of the sea below, would show to the viewer how high the bridge is. I wished we had some water that I could offer her to thin out her puke and lengthen the stream.
I imagine her sticking her head out over the windscreen trying to dodge the wipers and sipping from the mist spray.
That's not what I was thinking as we were stick in traffic. But it could very well have been this. All I remember is that it was something with similar gross factor.

The final vehicle in front of us cleared out and we were free of all the traffic. We rolled down the window to enjoy the breeze. And because that would make Deeksha feel a bit less nauseated. But the damage was done. She declined to hold the camera to shoot the video. She just wanted to go home.
What a bummer. I pressed on "We have come this far, lets atleast go over it and take a u-turn and come back". She agreed.
Nehal, without her seat bealt on, wasn't saying much. Maybe she was asleep too. I thought to myself "thakeli kahin ki".

75 Rupees. Thats all it costs to experience driving over the bridge. Twice.
This time I drove slowly. Below the 50 kmph speed limit. I wanted us to experience the complete package of pleasure one gets by riding over it.
It reminds us of the power man can have over nature. I remembered the three reasons which make Reinforced Cement Concrete possible - steel and concrete have the same coefficient of thermal expansion, the microscopic surface of the steel is such that it improves the cohesion of cement to it and finally the alkaline nature of cement causes a passive formation of film on the steel which slows down corrosion. The awesome fact that all this is possible would make any one start believe in the greatest dude of all - God!. I don't know what else he wanted us to do or how he wanted us to live our lives. All I know is that he wanted us to make buildings. And bridges. Lots of them. And huge!

Anyway coming to back to the story, I drove over the awesome bridge, came out on the worli side turned around the circle and then a U turn later was back on the road leading back to the bridge. I was feeling sad that the girls were being useless and wanted to do something about it. I took out my cell phone. While driving. Over the bridge. Right when I thought the curvature had ended and the straight section had begun. I was fumbling with the cell phone trying to get it into video mode. At 80 kmph. Just then Deeksha shouted "Aya aye hey Anurag!".

I was about to drive into the side wall, and get us all killed. We could have dashed into the side wall, flipped over to the other side, crashed into the oncoming traffic in the other lane and then finally be bumped off into the sea where the filthy mutant fish flourishing in the mouth of the nala that is the Mithi River; would devour our bodies and return it to the polluted nutrient pool.

But that didn't happen. Amazingly neither did my testicles suddenly disapparate from my sac and apparate in my mouth. There was no adrenalin rush.
Within that split second I was able to brake just enough and steered and got the car to veer off away from the wall and back on the track.

Nehal was jerked hard to the other side and hurt her shoulder.
I thought the girls would kill me now. But neither of them knew how to drive. They had learnt how to but never practiced. So atleast I was alive till I got them back home till Andheri. I apologized profusely. I felt different. Like a hypocrite. I felt angry at myself for getting us killed almost. It didn't matter to me that we were still alive. Because this is how people die and I had done everything that could lead us to that. Sealink. Deathlink.
I felt as if my project had failed. Project, not to shoot the magnificent sea link, but to get us killed.
I wanted to kick my sorry ass. I remember thinking to myself that maybe I ought to drop them home and go right back and drive off the sealink. Fucking Shit. How could I do this.

"Dar gaya na" Deeksha said after a few minutes of driving in silence. Yup I was scared all right. Not at The moment when it could have happened. Weirdly I hadn't felt any rush at that moment when it happened. Maybe that helped  to save the car and myself and the girls. The scary part came later as I realised slowly what could have happened. And what made it worse was that I was very much capable of screwing up like that in the future too. Maybe I should give up driving. Maybe everyone should give up driving. Damnnnn...

Instead of screwing up my case, Deeksha was in fact thankful to me. Who doesn’t want added excitement in their lives?

As for Nehal, who wasn't wearing a seat belt, she wore her scar on right shoulder proudly. It could very well have been a hicke. So she thought that people would think.

As for me the experience was life changing. Worth sharing. Online.
Worth risking it being read by our parents.
I hope the probability that they will ever stumble across it is the same as the minuscule probability that saved us.
Or better still, I hope it’s the same as the combined probability that we lived and that the camera actually recorded the whole incident!