I Think

Karthik, the farmer

I have always been a romantic, not just any romantic but Gladiator-Russell-Crowe kind of a romantic. When I look into my future, I do not see karthik, the coder or karthik, the entrepreneur, but I see 'karthik, the farmer', living by a countryside, upon his couple of acres of fertile land. I dream of the day when I would wake up to the warm scents rising from the earth swept by aqueous bovine excrement. I have even chalked out my typical day, I would wake up and take that half feet wide track to the banyan tree overlooking my farm.

Now before I go too far into this fantasy, let me make it clear that this is the future where farming methodologies and genetic engineering have advanced to the point that I really dont need to know any real farming to be a farmer. This isnt so unrealistic, today we have folks using computers without really knowing what's under the hood, i expect that the really major farming decision that I would have to make will be choosing the color of the farm, I have decided, its gonna be purple. I expect that the entire farming process will be encapsulated in the press of a few buttons(and that too only to make me feel like I am doing some work). And once I have done that I would have nothing to do except wile away my time by the shade of the tree, reading a book or two, when mayil or kuyil or ponnatha or any other bharathiraja-village girl would hop down that track, with her arms outstretched like a pterodactyl, one hand holding the saapattu tooku and the other stretched wide for balance. Did I mention that she would be following the dress code of pathinettu patti, the one about no blouse during working hours?

Once I am done with my meal, I would try getting to know the neighbourhood, I plan to start with sending gifts to my neighbours. I would then venture into a stroll over my neighbours' farm, where if I find crows spoiling the farm I would heartily chase them away, I expect to be good at this and who knows I might even earn a buck or two. Upon returning to my farm, if I find any black sheeps roaming there, I would try my hand at shearing, the worst that could happen is that I end up mutilating it into a sheep orc, but if I succeed I could sell the black wool at the market. My gut tells me black wool will be the a big hit in the future. As the day wears on I would visit my barn of genetically superior animals. I plan to have three cows, O. Lakshmi, S. Shenbagam, C. Gomatha. 'So what's the deal with the initials?' you may ask, well, O lakshmi gives good old Ordinary milk, S Shenbagam squeezes out Strawberry milk and C Gomatha lends nice creamy Chocolate milk, which I could drink and also sell at the market.

That was a nice fantasy, but do you know the worst thing that could happen to a wild fantasy? it is seeing 50 million people living my fantasy. Why almost every one at my workplace owns a farm, enjoys a nice session of crow chasing, and sells chocolate milk at the market. The only solace is that they are yet to enjoy the pterodactyl hop of mayil. Did I mention her dress code?

Now I have to start all over again with a new wild wild fantasy. Aha!

I have always been a romantic, not just any romantic but Godfather-Marlon-Brando kind of a romantic. I dream of the day when I would be the head of a mafia family…

PS If you havent understood anything, you are probably not on facebook yet or if you have, you are in a statistically impossible social network of size 1, thereby allowing you to not get infested with the deadly farmville and mafia wars viruses. You have a life, I envy you.

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Docomo destined to fail

I will try to prove here why docomo is destined to fail. As I am putting this blog, I am planning to do some SEO tinkering, a little bit of link farming so that when someone googles for docomo this blog entry would turn up. And when that happens, I dont have to prove anything, for 'if it is in google, it has got to be true'.
Until then, here is a half baked.. er.. highly cogent argument for why docomo will fail.
1. It doesnt seem right, pay-per-second that is. It sort of feels just as absurd as walking into a restaurant where the manager comes and says pay only for the number of parukkais you eat. If that doesnt feel absurd to you read point 2.
2. Commonsense tells me that the real fans of docomo will be those who are a) economical with words and b) economical with the little bits of paper and plastic in our wallets. Commonsense also tells me that the real real fans of docomo will be a combination of both. For a company that depends largely on people talking to each other to make money, having laconic misers as the primary audience is a sure road to doom.

Anyway, I have been wondering how docomo can get out of this mess. They can go the google way of making money from ads, they can play audio ads while the caller is waiting for the call to be answered and thereby make money from advertisers. Once that starts working.. ie annoying users, they can offer block-ads as a value added service and charge for that as well. Its a win-win for docomo. Damn, that is another million dollar idea that I have spilled in my blog.

Jokes aside, is anybody using docomo? how different is it?

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Barack, The Messiah

Read this first -> http://beta.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/article34090.ece
Typical elitist iyer monologue that complains about the degeneration of society and offers hinduism as the best recourse. What is this decadence in northern hemisphere that he is talking about? Is he living in the same planet as me? And what is this grudge against science and technology? He speaks as if only science is abetting power crazy fanatics, what he doesnt realize is that we have had such fanatics ever since we left the trees. I wouldnt read much into such complains, I have seen enough mamas say things like 'the world is going to dogs' or 'kali muthi pochu' over perfectly normal incidents like saadam kozhanjufying or cycle tyre getting punctured. My only apprehension is that these hindu radicals are projecting advaita just as hitler did with ubermensch.

And what is this nonsense about some cosmic voice whispering in white house? If Barack is hearing disembodied voices, its time he takes a bath under Niagra falls, the kutralam of america.

And why all this Morpheus-like belief in Barack as 'The One'? Vitta Obamakku kovil katti, kumbashishegam panni, vyayakazhama-sanikazhama vada maala saathuvaaru pola. I am betting my bike that he goes '…Baracko devasya dhimahi…' while doing sandhi. What has Obama done to justify such adulation. He appears to be talking sense but so far it has all been rhetoric, I think we should wait for action and not prematurely beatify him.

P.S The author of the article, my father tells me was the CJI long while back, disappointing that such a respectable person can write an empty pointless article.

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Giddy with notoriety

I blogged for the first time at work a couple days back. A series of dumb posts forced me to lash out a scathing rant where I asked the dumb bloggers not to litter the internal blogs. I was promptly slapped with a cogent reply that if I dont like it I shouldnt read it and that instead of asking for better blogs from other folks I should maybe try writing or else shut the fuck up. In my arrogance I forgot to use the faculty of reasoning, a common mistake. Anyway, spurred by that comment I put another blog, the one about deepavali that I posted here, and boy, did I enjoy it.

The post gathered over 500 views and 25 comments, more than the sum of all the comments that I received for all the blogs here. 'Disgusting' read the first comment, '.. you are pathetic at history and culture' read the second, 'no social consciousness' said another. 'would you dare mock any other religion like this?' was a popular sentiment. Comments of the last sort were the ones that really bothered me. Admittedly, I would think twice before being critical of islam or christianity. But I think folks really missed the point with the blog*, when a person comes to you and says your house isnt clean, the right thing to do would be clean it up, asking 'would you dare say that to that or this neighbour?' is somewhat stupid. Not all comments were negative, some saw it rightly as a joke and some, thankfully defended me from the attack.

Learnt a few things from that blog. a) Blogging here, out in the open, gives me the freedom of anonymity. With a fairly limited audience I can to an extent speak my mind without being chastised. b) That religion is a touchy subject is no news to me, but tolerence, which is supposedly a key attribute of hinduism was found lacking upon criticism. c) Being notorious, oddly, feels good. I have never been much of a rebel. I remember triggering a mass walk out from TA pushpalatha's class back in college, its a bit sad that this incident has been the only rebellious one all my life. And then now, I sort of feel like the badass guy, like galileo and as I said it feels good, and will till the day I get stoned in the lunch hall or something like that. d) People dont get causality. My father thinks that my latest gastric trouble is a result of pazhichufying Rama(I told him about the blog after he asked why I was being needlessly smug), he doesnt know that I have been oversampling the deepavali bakshanam for the last two days.

*honestly, there was no big point to make, it was meant to be a funny, albeit sarcastic blog.

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Deepavali rant

Different cultures celebrate deepavali for different reasons. In north india, it is celebrated to mark the victorious return of Rama to ayodhya after the war and the completion of his exile. I am guessing the tradition of annual celebration was passed on as a royal decree, in which case it is ludicrous that we continue to hang on to outdated imperialist dogma. The sending off of Rama on exile was totally a private affair and it is unreasonable to solicit public participation in the event of uniting of the royal family. Besides, the war that Rama undertook was also on questionable grounds. Having one's spouse held as a captive in a hostile neighbouring nation is distressing, agreed. But Rama hardly followed the correct protocol of diplomatic dialogue to free Sita. He sent a mischievous simian to negotiate the release of Sita. If I were the king of Lanka, I would quite naturally feel outraged at such insolence. And what was Rama expecting? a release after just one round of talks? He should have arranged talks at neutral venues like Doha, Cairo, Geneva and then hoped to see progress. Besides Sita had only been in Lanka for a year or two, we have people like Sarabjit Singh spending a couple of decades in a similar situation and still wait patiently for justice. In what can be described as a classic case of juvenile intolerance among the upper rungs of society, Rama went to war and victory in such a war is hardly a reason to celebrate.

In south india, deepavali is celebrated to commemorate the slaying of Narakasura by some goddess(was it parvati?). Narakasura was the self proclaimed benevolent dictator of the dominion of… well, all earth. During his reign he had inadvertently made foes with the Devas(a powerful lobby, which controlled everything from wind, water, air etc), after usurping their powers. We only know one side of the story, it could easily have been a case of well meaning bureaucratic restructuring and reshuffling that every regime change brings about. In any case, his beheading was unwarranted. Had it happened today, we would have had Arnab Goswami and Barkha Butt screaming with righteous indignation and pontificating why this constitutes an act of terror, and why we should stop all emotional sympathy to the goddess. The real reason cited for celebrating deepavali is that before dying Narakasura requested that his death be celebrated. Now at what point between his head being severed and dying was this request made will remain a mystery. I think Narakasura would have said something like 'deepa cut aairukku, semma vali, tincture kodunga ' and the onlookers would have misheard it as 'deepavalia kondadunga'. Still, murder is definitely not a reason to celebrate.

So why do we go on with it?

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Shopping algorithm

Some of the most profound thoughts have come to me at moments of great distress. One such thought i had yesterday was "People are like jeans, they are all different yet the same". Ok, that wasn't so profound when put into writing. Anyway, it came about during an aborted attempt at shopping yesterday.

Having hibernated through the fashion revolution that swept our country during the previous and the current decade, I am finding it difficult to adjust to the current trends now that i have awaken. A hundred varieties of jeans have spawned in the malls and each seems to be different and yet the same. I don't know what algorithm is used by the modern youth in picking out a shade of blue from the lot and i am unsure if there is one.

I usually avoid buying clothes. No I don't run naked, I have enough shirts and trousers(except recently, the atoms that have so far held together my trousers have decided to move on to better things, thereby prompting me to visit the mall), and even when I have to, I don't spend a lot of time selecting shirts and trousers. I have reasoned that instead of spending my precious time searching for the perfect shirt through the million aisles, I could be spending quality time, at home, with my family of videogames. If you are wondering what my cloth selection algorithm is, here it is.

1. Go to the nearest mall.
2. Stand before a shelf of shirts of my size and randomly pick 3 shirts/tees.
3. Use inky-pinky-ponkey and narrow it down to one.
4. Ask the cloth store person what colour of trousers match the shirt chosen.
5. Use the algorithm similar to the one used for shirts, only this time pick the 3 trousers based on the colour suggested by the store helper. 

There is this question of why 3 random shirts and not 2 or 4 or directly 1 random pick. A random selection of 1 shirt denies the illusion of choice, while 2 shirts does offer the choice, it still appears constrained. Further experiments in this direction have shown that increasing the number of choices has a corresponding increase in the sense of being overwhelmed with choices. After rigorous analysis, i have picked 3 as the optimum number of choices, that neither leaves me constrained nor overwhelmed.

Although this appears to be a foolproof algorithm, there are some documented cases where the method has failed. I will go through a couple of them just so you don't get struck in case you come to use my algorithm. For example, there is this case when the shirts turn out to be ramajaran coloured ones. The ideal solution for this would be to burn the shirts and prevent road side pasumaadu from losing their eyesight, but the practical thing to do is to quietly move the ramarajan shirts to a different aisle and repeat the method. There are also times when I am confused whether the final ponkey should point to one selection or if pon-key is for 2 choices. In such cases, I pick the last and the penultimate choices, toss a coin and pick a shirt. Ok, that explains why my wardrobe is crappy.

Anyway, this algorithm seems to break down when i try to apply it to jeans. Because of the similarity between different pairs of jeans, any 3 random picks, are hardly random and they sort of nullifying the illusion of choice. Yet at the same time, i am aware that they are fundamentally different. It is some kind of a mental block where i cannot pick a pair of jeans without feeling like a fool constrained by the whims of mindless trend setters, despite the knowledge that our tastes and choices are at most times defined by others.

So if you have a good and simple algorithm to pick jeans, please tell me.

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