Days of our Lives!

October 26, 2008

Strange, isn’t it?

Filed under: Musings,Whimsy — Santhosh @ 3:50 PM

There are things
you want to do,
you would do,
you could do;
and yet…
you do only what you should do!

Like I said, strange isn’t it?
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April 19, 2008

High Jack in the John

Filed under: Musings,My Cup of Socie-Tea — Santhosh @ 9:30 PM

If every hijacker has to use the plane’s restroom to strap the bomb or assemble the gun,
Why the hell can’t we have a metal/bomb detector in the plane in the general area where the restrooms are located? These would at least work after the said bomb/gun has been assembled.

Meanwhile, why do all media portray all hijackers automatically as terrorists after 9/11?

March 10, 2008

Marriage is not a word – it’s a sentence.

Filed under: Mars and Venus,Musings,Top Draws — Santhosh @ 12:53 AM

A month back. A Sunday evening. Mobile buzzes.
Me : “Solra! Enna thideernu? Enga iruka?”
He : “Machan, nan onnu soluvaen, tension ayidadha!”
Me : “Solra, inna buildup ellam?”
He : “Kalyanam da. Nan. Idhu. Enaku. Adhu”
Me : “Suthama kaekalai da. “
He : “I mean, enaku da. Kalyanam*. Varra Sunday”
Me : “Ot*@, $#?^&!#^”

* Kalyanam – a form of masochism; also known as marriage.

And so, the floodgates open. Just like that. With that one nod of his head to his parents, he’s put an entire batch of guys at terminal risk of being poked in the ribs by old aunties and told “You’re next”! What makes Vijay’s marriage all the more impactful is that it doesn’t fall into any of the usual categories for an ‘early’ marriage: love marriage, lower strata of society, family emergency, long-term onsite, father into politics, etc. His is just a normal arranged marriage, which just happens to happen when he’s 24.

It’s never easy for a guy to bring about a mindset of getting married. I mean, one moment his only concern is on watching that borrowed dvd as many times as possible before returning it and the next moment he has to be managing budgets for all the things that his wife wants to buy that she didn’t get at her dad’s. He’s supposed to be this really mature guy who knows exactly the right things to say when his wife is crying (everyone says “I’ll take you shopping” works; does it really?), needs to be this all-in-all-alaguraja who can give suggestions on career guidance to the wife’s brother and assorted relatives. All this maturity and accumulation of knowledge and the change in mentality don’t happen overnight. There are no Bodhi trees or Schaum’s Easy Outline of Principles to being a great Husband around. Any guy will be scared, to put it bluntly. Scared of what he’s getting into, scared of the accountability for the actions of another soul who also happens to be perfectly illogical and irrational (apart from cute, perfect and not-so-fat, so chill!).

Something else also to be looked at is how men and women are conditioned. All through the long eventful history of mankind and apekind, the male has been brought up as this hunter-gatherer fella, the one with supposedly no cares, burdens or ties to weigh him down. And above everything, a guy always dreams of breaking free someday and soaring to travels and adventures; a marriage would effectively end his dreams on this front. Women on the other hand are literally groomed for the role, with choice phrases like “How will you live in your Pugundha Veedu?”, “Just wait till you get a mother-in- law”, “Learn this, learn that” being used liberally. So that by the time she finally marries, she’s rehearsed her role umpteen times with her parents, starting from her toy vessels and play-cooking when she was 3yrs old. Now how many times have you seen a 3 or 4 yr old boy playing with emotional compatibility and budget spreadsheets? I rest my case.
* ever wondered why the guy’s place is called a pugundha veedu for the girl?

It’s a hopelessly no-win situation. I mean, it’s almost like commentary on Ganguly and runouts :
~~ He’s run out – “Well, what did you expect from this immature jerk of a loser? Never really liked the look of him!”
~~ He runs the other guy out / the other guy gets run out – “The poor girl, he’s such an insensitive uncommunicative dork”.
~~ Ganguly manages to steal a brilliant quick single (diving full-length and all that) – “See! How nicely the wife has changed him into a responsible family man”.
~~ Nobody gets runout – “Ah! Now you know why arranged marriages work”.
Now replace Ganguly with the guy, the partner with the partner, and runouts with the wife crying (frequency of both should be roughly equal), and the comments are by the relatives.

So the next time the boyfriend says he’s not ready for marriage, don’t think he’s trying to ditch you, chances are he may really not be ready. And there’s no point in asking him how come his classmates married readily. Because they weren’t ready either, got forced in and that too because an arranged marriage also apportions a part of the accountability to parents and relatives.

A lot of people loved Salaam Namaste without ever realising the significance of Saif’s role – about an everyday guy who’s really crazy about this girl, really loves her and all that, but can’t bring himself to committing to marriage right then. And to be perfectly truthful, I think what Vijay’s done takes courage, not many from our own batch would have accepted such a phenomenal change in life at this point, and I’m definitely not one of them. In any case, if I marry now, I’ll be arrested for child marriage. I’m still emotionally under-age and immature, you see! Mommmyy, where is my G.I.Joe tanker???

December 22, 2007

Taut for the Day

Filed under: Musings,My Dayz — Santhosh @ 1:48 AM

The trouble with having lived a life that’s been every bit complete and filling is that every now and then you seem to want to bookmark your current state and go back and relive those years all over again once more.

October 10, 2007

Thol(l)aipesi

Filed under: Musings,Whimsy — Santhosh @ 11:45 PM

How do I “dial” the number on my mobile phone?
How do I give you a “ring” in the age of hello-tunes and ring-tones?
How do I “hang-up” on you?
How do I leave my phone “off the hook”?
How do I sing “Telephone mani pol sirippaval evala!“?

ps: “Badly” is not an answer for the last one, please!
pps: Any girls out there who read my blog, you may provide your mobile numbers in the comments. I won’t sue you. Promise!

September 17, 2007

The Santhosh Trophy – for T20 though.

Filed under: Musings,Sports — Santhosh @ 12:27 AM

Some rules I’d bring in if I had my own T20 league to run :

  1. Allow only 6 wkts (8 batsmen) per innings with a 7th wicket as an extra innings to any one batsman. This will allow the crowd a chance to watch more of someone who’s on song, and for the no.8 batsman to play without being stranded.
  2. Allow the batting team to trade for extra wickets if needed, with a minus of 20 runs* from the total for each extra wicket used. But for this, it will be the usual way – down the batting order. This may allow a handy no.9 batsman to hang around a top-order player and add to the score in case the captain feels there are enough overs to be effectively utilized.
  3. Increase the maximum overs per bowler to 6 but with a constraint – no two bowlers can have bowled the same number of overs except if the number of overs is 1. This shouldn’t be too difficult as 5 bowlers can make it (6+5+4+3+2=20). By this, any bowler good on the day can bowl more overs and so bring his side back into the game, while the batsmen will be looking out for any bowler who has an off day.
  4. Allow 2 substitutions. The substituted player can play no further part in the match and the substituting player can only complement the guy he’s replacing – i.e., complete the overs to a total of 4 or get to bat only if the substituted player hasn’t. The captain can now go in with attacking players (good for the crowd) as he has the flexibility to call in a containing bowler or a gutsy batsman if the situation demands, or atleast call up a specialist fielder if everything’s going well.
  5. Add 5 runs to a batsman’s score if he’s dropped. It’s a dropped catch if a fielder got a hand to it.
  6. Add 5 runs to a fielder’s batting score if he gets a direct hit run-out or pulls off a one-handed catch. Remember, in a run-chase, the target will be updated after each such instance and it will also make the fielding team to try and pull off the simpler chances with one hand, but with the knowledge that a dropped chance will go against his team.
  7. It’ll be called a six if the ball hits the roof over the ground****. Apart from making sure rain doesn’t play a part, it will also prompt the batsmen to invent shots and who knows, a miscued top edge may well save his team.
  8. In the case of a tie, have a hit-out, since we all know it’s a batsman’s game. Line up the teams (the starting 11’s) at one corner of the ground, ask them to throw a ball up tennis style and try and hit it the farthest***. The distance will be measured upto the point where the ball first hit the ground. The combined scores of each team’s 11 should give us the winner. Sit back and listen to the roar a Monty or a Murali would get when they miss the ball completely.
  9. And then tag other sports – a one quarter basketball game, a one set tennis match, a three innings baseball game, a 5 laps F1 race.

* may be mutually adjusted to 10,15, or 20 at the start of each match based on the average score of the last 5 matches at the ground.
** it’s up to the captain for combinations based on his bowling options : (6+5+4+3+1+1), (6+5+4+2+1+1+1) ….;
*** since it’ll be at a corner of the ground, the probability that someone may hit it out of the park is negligible.
**** if I can start a league, I can bloody well have my own retractable-roof ground at an optimal height for hitting.

#1 makes sure that the out and out bowlers will be picked because they’re not required to bat, #5 and #6 will make sure fielding will get more emphasis and interest, #4 and #6 will help in defending even a very low score, and allrounders will as usual be useful on account of #1,#2,#3, and #4.
All these will make sure there’ll be more strategy and planning in cricket, coaches will get roles more like what we have in soccer, and there’ll be a lot more decision making on the feet. There’ll also be more close matches since it allows teams to make up for a bad batting or bowling performance. Above all, the crowd will give an emphatic roar if we do a Lara and ask them if they were entertained. What do you think?

August 20, 2007

There is History. And then there is History!

Filed under: Musings,My Cup of Socie-Tea — Santhosh @ 4:29 AM
“We learn from history that we learn nothing from history.
George Bernard Shaw

I was bad at History in school. It’s a statement of fact. And I loved History. Which is a much stronger statement of fact. So why then did I mess up badly at History? It was the exams, or rather the questions they invariably came up with in the History exams. What were the dimensions of the bath used by the Indus Valley people? How many wives did King So-and-so have? What is the date, time and celestial arrangement when Queen Mary the ninety seventh picked her nose for the fourth time while signing the treaty? Sheesh!
To me, the purpose of History lies in the lessons it teaches us, not in the historical dates and names. Somewhere down the line, a combination of factors have moved the emphasis to the when’s, who’s and the where’s rather than the how’s, why’s and why not’s.

All this was all those years back, before the era of Google and Wikipedia, sometime in the late nineties. Back then there were these things called libraries and sections in them called “Reference Books” which you couldn’t check out even for a photocopy. Apart from providing the base for one of the biggest kadi’s of our school life about en-cycle-a-pidiya, the Encyclopaedia Britannica used to be the internet back then. I’ve spent hours poring over them, fascinated about the content in them, marvelling over how far man and Mother Earth have come, comparing notes with the three other sets of Encyclopaedias.

I had my own much more fascinating syllabus, reading about the rivalry between the Templars and the Hospitalers, about knights in shining armor and gleaming black horses, about Ivan IV the Terrible of the Russian Tzars, about Michelangelo who spent months on his back painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, about the Vikings, the Spartans, the Dark Ages and a whole lot of other stuff. Hell, I read Hitler’s Mein Kampf when I was in my 8th while the official syllabus wanted me to by-heart the birth date and the middle name of an old lady wearing a top hat who helped found an obscure society to “prepare humanity for the reception of the World Teacher when he appeared again on earth“. Now that is History if you ask me, without even getting into dinosaurs and the stone age.

So, what was the point of all that? At the end of it all, I have a 10th board exam marksheet that could have done with a few extra points in History. This refusal to bow down to what is needed may even make a difference when I go for my Masters. Mathangi Miss, my History teacher in 10th told me the last time we talked that a few years down the line, once I’ve matured more and looked at how life deals the cards, maybe I’ll look back with a tinge of regret at not having given my best for what was “needed for life”. I’m looking back now, and I realise that in effect, in the eyes of a society that is going to judge me objectively, maybe I come about as an ‘almost’ above average success (like 76%, or is it 79?) in History. But then all that other stuff that I’d read when I should have been memorizing dates and figures have helped me in innumerable quizzes, essays, conversations and, Hell, even in posts on this blog. And I also realise that this characteristic of mine to do things my way is precisely why I am me, that if I have a chance to go back and edit things, I wouldn’t touch this part. I also know that I qualify as a success on the terms by which I quantify. You know, you were not entirely correct Mathangi Miss.

July 24, 2007

Page and Brin, hear me?

Filed under: Musings,Tech — Santhosh @ 3:18 AM

The perfect search engine would understand exactly what you mean and give back exactly what you want

Larry Page,
Google co-founder.

Google has always gone on record that they want to develop Google into a search engine that can deliver exactly what the user is looking for, every time. There are a few areas that I can think of off-hand, where they can do some tinkering :

But first, let’s go back a couple of years. Yes, tortoise-coil-rounding, painting-out-of-focussing and all that.
Year 2005.
A smart, intelligent, handsome boy (did I mention humble?) walks out of college and comes over to Bangalore “to work among an esoteric set of highly talented people working their brains out to make the world a better place”; atleast that’s what everyone told him when he asked what a software engineer does.
Yanyways, he and a friend of his get into a Webworld on MG.Road and try and search for some accommodation. Now, it seems Friend has been preparing for one of those 3-letter exams and they end up Googling for “a domicile with 2 bedchambers, a living room and a parlour”. So he grabs the keyboard and types in the only word he knows about living places – “rooms”, for which Google promptly comes up with something related to hot neighbourhood aunties. In the end it took a gazillion permutations of playing around with the different words meaning room, home, house, PG, lodging, and the like.

And here, gentlemen, is my million dollar you-know-what : synonyms.
Google could try and incorporate something like this into their algorithm so that users dont need to have a degree in etymology to be a good Googler. It shouldn’t be too hard – when the user hits “Search”, draw up a list of phrases with the key words replaced with words taken from a pre-defined thesaurus and then sort these according to their Page Rank. Google can maybe provide this type of search as an extra option, so that the speed of the search results doesn’t fall by a few precious nanoseconds or if the user knows exactly what he’s looking for. But this type of search should be really helpful for random searches, like “open positions in IBM” or “hot girls in Bangalore” ;).

On a related note, but all the more sillier, Google (for that matter, all search engines) returns different results if you search for something with an integer and if you search for the same but with the integer as a number string. For example, “2 bhk in bangalore” and “two bhk in bangalore” returns totally different results.

July 23, 2007

Under the ban(i)yan tree

Filed under: Musings — Santhosh @ 2:26 AM

We spend our entire lives chasing things which are within us and can be found in any other human being. But by chance or choice we never look there; we must follow more glamorous paths to waste our time in order to discover that we have wasted our time and are right where we started off.

Wow. Did I just say that?
Hmmm.
Must be the power cut.
And my having had too little sleep.
And my having had too much food.
And the way India’s playing this test.

July 3, 2007

The percentages

Filed under: Musings,My Cup of Socie-Tea — Santhosh @ 8:58 PM

If we go ahead with more than 50% reservation for the OBC quota, wouldn’t the colleges have a majority of minorities?

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