Saturday, January 28, 2006


His was a poor penniless life,
Yet had to support a daughter and a wife
He would labor two jobs a day,
feed his mouths to feed, pay his bills to pay.

She led a pretty and prosperous life,
Never had to struggle, no strife.
She had a daughter, too, a cute little thing
Who to one and all joy did bring.

His daughter wanted a toy doll one day.
He worked harder; overtime; so that he could pay
And buy her the doll, she would be so happy,
The gleeful smile on her face, he would see.

Her daughter wanted the doll too -
She was so busy at work, so, purchase she forgot to.
She recalled on the way back, but the shop had passed,
So, she desperately exclaimed "Please get me a doll God!"

He worked in a sewer that day,
Started home with the doll in his bag,
He tripped and fell, and in the darkness the doll was lost.
And he went home, depressed and distraught.

While she was driving home in her Merc,
she saw something secluded on the sidewalk.
"Ah, the doll! My prayers have been answered,
God is great, he has listened to my word!"

She started believing in God all the more,
And decided to spread his word to the poor.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Ethical way to eat meat

I am a vegetarian primarily because I don't want to hurt the animal which is dying. Being a vegetarian has been an ethical choice - a humane choice. I do not want to be cruel to the animal by creating pain for it.

I suppose there are a lot of people in the world like me. People like us, of course, cannot help but feel their mouths water when they see ads for steaks and the like advertised on TV. And guess what, there IS a hope for us! This 'hope' can be summarized in a four letter word: CIPA. Congenital Insensitivity to Pain with Anhydrosis.

It is a rare genertic disorder in Human beings which shuns pain. Children with CIPA are known to bang their heads against walls - and essentially be extremely careless. That what you would expect when Nature's feedback system is overriden. Apparently, only 17 people in the United States have CIPA.

So, essentially, the crux of what I am saying is, do research. Develop a CIPA injection .... can be injected into cows, chickens, turkeys, hens, donkeys, horses and other animals ... and then the guillotine treatment. The animals won't feel a thing ... and Presto! You got humane meat.

We can extend this to include Euthanasia. An extremely sick person can be given this CIPA injection and then be, say, electrocuted, for all practical purposes. I, however, do not recommend the CIPA injection be administered to a criminal before executing him, for the lure of a painless death may encourage suicidal maniacs to go on a killing spree, something that everyone would like to avoid.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

How Efficiency Can be a Pain

I've been an avid net junkie and a Firefox devotee for a very long time. I was one of the first to install Firefox. I felt happy when it was doing well.

Back in the old days, when something wasn't working well, there was one sure way to make it work. Start it again. Uninstall and reinstall the program. Start with a clean slate essentially. But of late this comforting "backup" has come under fire.

Firefox goofed up finally. It's not loading any bookmarks on my toolbar; there's a grey space below the status bar and it's not behaving as nice as it used to.

So, I tried looking up forums ... but there were no discussions regarding my problem. I decided to do something that usually works, viz. install over it. The new version of firefox that I installed over it, of course, installed perfectly. When I started Firefox the next time, the same problem. Frustrated, I uninstalled the progam and reinstalled it.

And guess what? The same problem all over again. Essentially, I think there's something wrong with my settings somewhere ... that's what is killing the progam ... and these stupid settings are saved when the program is uninstalled and restored when reinstalled.

I think modern programmers, in the guise of making things more convenient are conspiring to make the lives of the computer user tougher. I have a feeling they are in cahoots with brain doctors or something.

The next time I see a program which gives me such trouble again, I would really like to tell the programmer to stick his keyboard where it hurts.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Living with a tough name

Pronouncing my name is not a treat - even for a masochist. If you're not from Andhra Pradesh, pronouncing my name will take a lot of perseverence. And I am not that important to be persevered about.

Back in India, I never really lived in Andhra for more than a couple of years. I had more friends who were not from andhra. So, when I inflicted them with "*@#!*(" they felt deceived. Some took the easy way out, calling me "Rap". Actually, all did, except some professors.

The problem with such a difficult last name of course was that I was treated like something of an outcast in class. Almost everyone else's name would be pronounced right: and an embarassing mistake would be committed ("*?") when it was my name that was to be spoken out loud. I was a lone outsider for most of the time in India. The Deepak Yadhavs, the Sunil Kumars and the Murali Krishnas were the "in crowd". And I would be down in a corner, alone.

Bank clerks would have a tough time trying to get my name right. So would Railway reservation clerks, Airline tickets agents, passport office clerks, post office people...... Some would listen to my name in disbelief and give the impression that they did not approve of the Andhra system of nomenclature. You would think my name was a curse in their native language. Does "Rallabandi" mean SOB in Marathi or Tamil?

Ironically, coming to America has changed all that. To the average American, "Deepak" is as tough as "Rallabandi". Since they can't ostracize the entire South Asian community here (who'll run the Silicon Valley then?), they have no option but to concede. Thus, I automatically gain acceptance. I can live with respect again. Possibly the only place outside Andhra that I can live with respect in. Come to think of it, Rallabandi means "stone-carriage" in Telugu. How much "respect" is that going to earn me in Andhra?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

India's Jewish Mother

People in the "enlightened" west shudder at the thought of governement controls. Actually, not as much shudder as hold in disdain. Infringement, they reckon it is.

But India is a country where some so called "Pundits" in Delhi or some pompous fool heading a maniac-fanatic cult (such as the RSS) tries to govern the way India acts. I am talking of the moral police that are harassing citizens everywhere. Men and women when together are frowned at. (Western values "permeating and polluting" virgin India). Obviously, these idiots have never been either to Kajuraho or Ellora. And to make humanity run out of options, Homosexuality is sneered at too, which makes acceptable the company of eunuchs. And there's not too many of them around.

Put your leg up on a table or chair somewhere, someone will come and tell you that the heavens are going to fall on you. Oft, rudely. (Perhaps, this is a rather unjustified comment. Things are costly, back in India. People value whatever resources they have, oft meager).

So, certainly, coming from a such a society, is does not surprise me that Arjun Singh is throwing water on the International Aspirations of IIMs.

People in the government, there are better things for you to worry about. A five letter word, Bihar comes to mind, obviously. Not that slums elselwhere are fantastic. Not that people don't live in utter poverty and misery.

Leave the IIMs alone. Let them spread abroad. They are not using any taxpayer's money. As a matter of fact, tax them even more. And use that to alleviate poverty. Make sure that the corrupt hands of Laloo and the like don't get to touch the money.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Of Ideas, Humans and Bathtubs

I remember reading in a recent issue of Time or Scientific American (I forget which), that ideas come to people when they’re either in the bathtub or in the gym. I could not help but agree with this; Archimedes came to mind, exclaiming “Eureka!” on the streets in a state of embarrassing undress having discovered his principle while indulging in a bath. Umpteen other examples can be cited of people hitting upon a sudden stroke of genius either while bathing or while in the gym. As a matter of fact, I got the idea for this post while bathing!

I believe that this tendency of humans to think while in their baths shall be the solution to all of the third world’s problems. A country like India, stuck in a stagnant rut of corruption and poverty requires creative solutions to its day to day problems. Creative methods to make money. Creative policies.

So, the panacea to this problem would lie in building more bathtubs. It is my strong belief that funds that would otherwise be used to educate the illiterate by building schools be used to build public bath tubs. And public gyms. People on utilizing the same, shall, no doubt, be struck by at least one stroke of genius per head per day, thus alleviating the whole country from the aforementioned poverty.

Perhaps a considerable amount of the defense budget could be spent on building bathtubs for leaders so that they can come up with creative solutions for the Kashmir issue. And the music directors of these Hindi Movies sure need all the bathtubs that they can get.

On a different plane altogether, I believe this tendency of “good” ideas to materialize during a bath (or a workout) is merely a manifestation of Murphy’s law. What worse time to get an idea than when making a note of the same is next to impossible!

Hail Murphy.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Of Mosquitoes And Nations

His Omnipotency found the planet Earth drifting out of control, and decided to decide what to do about it. He recruited a troupe of mosquitoes and sent some to every nation he thought was of concequence to "test the waters". This is the story of those awful winged critters and how governments reacted to them.


The mosquitoes had a tough time flying over the great wall of China, but they never forgot that they were God's critters. They, after a lot of toil, made it to the other side. The females started stinging people as they went around. This did not go unnoticed. A few government officials were monitoring the mosquitoes, and they made their reports to the overlords at Bejing. A few journalists also saw the mosquitoes and were about to report the same in the next morning's news papers.

Of course, the government killed all the journalists and never ever admitted that there was anything wrong with the Nation at all. Anyone who missed the journos was told that they died of mosquito bite. The head of the state hailed the Mosquitoes (only privately, though) as a gift from God to reduce the population. Since these mosquitoes were not capable of killing anyone, the only way the population was in control was by the state when it killed the "enlightened" journalists.


The invasion of the mosquitoes was shown on all Channels on TV, right from MTV to C-Span. Bill O'rielly expressed outrage at this, and Stephen Colbert said that bears were worse. The army was rushed in, tanks were fired, a nuclear bomb was dropped on each of the mosqutoes obliterating the same (while they were still on international waters, exposing Cuba to deadly radiation) except for a few which were retained for research on stem cells.


U.S reckoned that Iran was harboring the mosqutos and decided to attack them. Ahmednijad, of course, denied that mosqitoes could ever cause malaria (stating that all the malaria cases in the world were a myth). To prove this, he slept in a room with only mosqitoes in it. He died of dengue fever the next day. The US attacked Iran the next day, trying to find the mosquitoes. But since a bomb had been dropped on Ahmednijad's mosquito filled room obliterating his deceased body and all the mosquitoes, they could not find the same. Of course, a debate ensued in America regarding bad intellegence.


Some mosquitoes went to the southern Metropolis of Chennai and were immediately killed by the high temperatures and Humidity. Some went to Delhi, where enthusiastic journalists conducted sting operations of them, adding some irony. The mosquitoes were then broadcast on National TV. They were remanded in judicial custody, and their trial date was set 50 years later. Some mosquitoes went to Bihar and bit two people, one lower caste and another upper caste. Of course, a civil war erupted between the Ranvir Sena and the Maoists. God was pleased with the mosquitoes for this. He had been trying to get rid of these organizations for a very long time.

N. Korea

A massive famine was averted in North Korea. This was hailed as a blessing from God. Mosquito fries became very popular. Since cooking killed pathogens, if any, the only worry that Kim-Jong-Il had now was corpulence, and of course, the US nuking him for "breeding agents of bio-terror".


The mosquitoes added to the already prevalent malaria pandemic in Africa and killed the entire aids ravaged continent.

God was so upset with this that he took a Gun and shot himself. He then went to hell, wrecking the entire balance between good and bad.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Indian Weather

Almost an NRI of sorts, I decided to get back in touch with my roots by looking up the weather in Motherland. And I was in for quite an ordeal. I clicked on and tried to check out the weather in India. I went to their weather site and clicked on Delhi. Minimum 8C. Nothing worrisome. Normal, I reckoned. I checked out other places too. Pune showed a low of 18! It felt a little suspicious, but I let that go.

Then I came to the main page and saw the headlines. Delhi had its coldest day in 70 years. Frost. 0.2 C! What the hell was the 8c doing on the weather map? Pune was enjoying a brisk 8C in the morning. Not Delhi, as I found out later after digging the IMD website. NDTV (Pranoy Roy et. al.) should really do some serious thinking before they try to pass this crap in the name of weather.

Talking of crap in climate journalism, one must not forget to mention the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD). Their website bears a dilapidated and decrepit look, reminding one of the internet when it was new. ( If you dig in deep enough, you will find Doppler and satellite imagery of sorts buried under mounds of verbosity. In the US, these are always standard. Clicking a concealed link in one of the pages will lead to the "current weather observations" table, in which the "current" temperature of cities (selected at random) is shown in an HTML table. The saving grace, of course is that these observations are accurate. But really, the presentation disgusts one and all.

Compare this with the American website. Kind of reinforces the notion that America is way more developed than India, doesn't it?

Freakish weather was, once upon a time, attributed to God. Now, it is the omnipotent El - Ninio. If there isn't ample reason to blame the El~Nino or the La~Nina (if the weather-girl in the news channel can't pronounce it, that is), then the Western Disturbance over Pakistan caused it. Makes poetic sense too - the hostile neighbor sending harsh weather.

I just mentioned weather girls. Weather girls are girls (as their name suggests) who look symmetric (and pretty?) and know as much about meteorology as I do about the string theory. And I don't know much. They are aired on TV channels, keen on enhancing their ratings.

India needs a more sophisticated weather information system. Period. Something like the weather channel in the USA. Or at least the NOAA website! Lots of farmers are being harassed by the unpredictability of our immediate weather. Better forecasting systems would go a long way in helping the farmers out, during the monsoon and the winter. Not to mention hurricanes (cyclones in India) and floods. Why not do it when we can? Why should we rely on age - old
methods ("rules of thumb") to predict the climate, when sophisticated methods can be used?

The IMD does seem to have some sort of information available. But in my opinion, they need to hire more experts and certainly improve their communication. Lots of lives can be saved by this. And India will be another centimeter closer to being a developed nation.

Looking at the USA, this surely can be done. Do something, Dr. Singh!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Blogging in the open

A lot has been said of the bitchiness of a certain Mother Nature. But one must give her credit when credit is due. She has conjured up more or less a month of flawless comfortable days in winter, the maximum seldom dipping below the 16C (60F) mark. And this has meant tremendous opportunities to walk around, bask in the mild winter sun and blog in the open.

Certainly, this pleasure comes with a hefty price tag to some other people. Mother nature is not being a bitch to me right now because my home in all probability is not in flames. Other people here in Texas or Oklahoma are not so lucky. A bitch to them she is.

The previously blogged about trip around Texas has got me moderately obsessed with photography. This winter, Texas saw three people (a couple of geeky guys and cute girl) armed with cameras roam around taking photographs ranging from the provisionally exciting to the awfully mundane. Some of the best, it is assumed, shall pop up (mutilated and photoshopped?) here.

I'm pretty bad at photography, and am a believer in the point and shoot philosophy. The subtlelities of exposure and aperture control have yet to diffuse into my eternally dense brain. Needless to say the photographs I take suffer with an apalling lack of creativity.

So, what does the coming semester have in store for me? A couple of exciting courses, for one. A new roommate, qualifying exams for the PhD and a trip to Purdue. The course on turbulence sounds promising. I hope I get to get my hands dirty with the math this time ... the previous course back at IIT was more qualitative than quantitative, nevertheless probably the best course I ever underwent.

I hope not to be disillusioned like I was the previous semester. The courses are better this semester. I shall start research this semester too .. things are actually looking up this semester. I have a gut feeling that I will start liking my life a lot more henceforth.

Another thing that needs to be done this semester is, of course, getting the driver's license. The problem, of course, is that the DMV is across the highway, and there's no way to get there. Some more of that beggary will have to be performed ... perhaps sometime next week ... I need to beg someone with a car to take me there.

Anyways, in hope of better days ahead, I'll sign off now.

Friday, January 06, 2006


Not that I went anywhere of consequence. Let's just say that I have been suffering from a bad case of writer's block. (I know, calling myself a "writer" is taking an optimistic liberty But I hope the reader is in a forgiving mood, and shall take this in his/her stride and not think too much of this momentary lapse of reason.). After almost an era I'm back on the hot seat, blogging away to glory - or to shame, as one anonymous commentator would have it.

Since I have no real issue to rake up right now, I'll talk about what I did (or what I did not do) in the last few days. Read this if you can't afford those costly insomnia medications.

But before go into that, a small social note here. Don't you get the feeling that someone is taking your brain, squeezing it dry, stamping on it and feeding it to a dog when you see someone use 'ur' for 'your' and 4 for 'for'? I believe it is the leading cause of mental anguish for all English Speakers, an endangered race anyway. Anonymous, take notice.

So, what did I do these holidays? Well, some friends came over. Met them after a long time, a joyous reunion was effected. Some adventures in the kitchen ensued - often led to success in moderation. A car was rented, and the sole driver was exploited. State parks were visited, freeways were traveled the wrong direction upon. Photos were taken, fun was had - more so in the drive than in the actual destination.

The Houston space center was visited. An 18 year old cannot explain rocket science to a bunch of eternally cynical IITians. A favorable impression did not form. But photos were taken, as they always are, and some fun (of sorts) was had. Of course, extortionate amounts were paid to the starbucks guys for coffee, and queues reminiscent of a ration shop back in India had to be stood in only to be ripped off.

College Station was walked around, a couple of movies were watched, one of which could have been called the highlight of the trip. The movie, a musical, insisted that Hitler's full name was Adolf Elizabeth Hitler, and peals of laughter were consistently expunged into the air in the duration of the movie, for the plot was ridiculous. The Producers. Check it out sometime.

And now the friends have gone home. So, loneliness has come by again. And this time, I am spending my time cannibalizing many Mr. Peanuts. Self shall become one of those rotundas that airports boast of. A sort of inflated feeling persists even now. Lots of jogging seems not to help.

Woe is me.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

What to do with secrets.

Do you have a secret that you're trying to supress? Is it trying to burst out of you? Are you scared that you will embarass yourself thoroughly by blurting it out in public? I have a solution to this irksome problem.

Emails are too risky. Too many people are trying to hack into your account. And twelve digit paswords are a little too tough to remember.

Blog it!

No one will ever know. No one ever reads blogs anyway. I would know. No comment for the last month.