Sunday, October 31, 2010

Why 'Micro' rules the blogosphere

After breaking my so-called 'blogger's block' for the umpteenth time last week, during my time in my thinking-box (also called a 'washroom' :) ) I reflected on why I would put up a few dozen Facebook status messages a week, but had stopped blogging altogether for many few months altogether ! To put the question more technically, why micro-blogging was wide gaining popularity among the masses nowadays as compared to conventional blogs :). And I realized, the reason was for this was probably...

Pure Damn Laziness !

Or has it just become too fast a world to stop
and write ?

Yea, it takes a bit of an effort to go and write out that post in a few hundred words :). More effort than it takes to flip channels in ur TV using a remote, or watch videos in Youtube by clicking on 'Related links' an infinite number of times. And definitely more energy than it takes to log on to Twitter, Facebook or Buzz and write the answers to questions like "What am I doing right now?" or "How do I feel right now?" or "What do I feel about this" etc etc etc....

Yea, a hundred words is definitely more than 140 characters :).

Some months ago, Google decided to enter the microblogosphere by introducing Buzz, trying to catch up to Facebook. When google decides to follow someone, you know they're really business :). Attaching it to the Gmail Window, they made it easier for us lazy ppl to speak to the world in a few quick sentences ! :) They got an immediate response of 9 million hits on the first day truly buzz-tling activity :). Google were in buzz-iness. Puns based on 'buzz' were so abuzzed and rampant, one of my friends even started a buzz of a list of all the hilarious puns he could think of !

It's a clear message - microblogging is here to stay. Whether you tweet or facebook or buzz, a few sentences spoken to the whole wide world can be an effective and addictive form of communication. Its really sad for me as a blogger though, cos I miss the feel of the detail I used to give in a conventional blog (which may not be dying out but is definitely nowhere close to the micro version now). But then, the easier it is to speak to more people, with the least effort and time, the better ! So no more point staying away from updating that status message of yours, or writing a whole new philosphic saying, or putting up ur latest corny joke.. microblogging Is the communication of the future !

( PS: I saw Social network, a movie based on Facebook. It was awesome ! Fast paced and drama-filled. Justin Timberlake came out well.)

A (Birth)Date with innocence

It has turned into a regular practise among my friend circle here to be quite creative, stylish and extravagant with our celebrations. Starting with a treasure hunt my birthday in Jan, we never much compromised on the magnitude of a celebration :). Ofcourse I never mind, because like the rest of the 15-20 freaks circle here, I am always in for a party :). So when Naren's bday came recently, something similar was in mind. However, this time yet again, we were slightly different cos of the way we celebrated it. And I'm not talking about the 'haunting' celebrations we had the previous night ;).

On Saturday (30th of Oct) we made our way to Chen Su Lan methodist children's home (for underprivileged children). The plan for todays celebration was simple. As Naren had been wanting to do for quite some time, we would give the kids what they might have been wanting - Company. Spend time with them, play with them, have food with them, and entertain ourselves by entertaining them. In short, 'kid around' for some time :). That was the agenda.

What we realized is that nothing could be more satisfying than the date we had with the 25-30 odd angels there :). Yea, I'd say we found ourselves grow plenty of years younger in a matter of minutes :).

From the word go, most of the kids were forthcoming and friendly. Our job was made pretty easy really. Who said time-travel was not possible :P. The children were more than ready to give Naren their share of the bday surprise when he walked in mouth-wide-open into the place :).Then we went on to do what we do best in our labs and offices all the time.. TIMEPASS ! Musical chairs and passing the parcel (Oops, I meant squirrel, no offense to Basu's pet ;) ).. were a piece of cake (which we shared with them later, by the way). We barely noticed the fast moving hands of the clocks (there were none :P) as the lemon-and spoon and dinner sessions flew by.The guy kids were pretty bent on playing a game of soccer, so then we decided to play ball for sometime.

That must have been the most animated and hilarious game of football in my life :).We found it hard not to hog the ball (even after hogging at the dinner session :P ), but the kids showed their footballing skills against us anyway. Especially worth noting was the moment when a shot was taken with/at the ball at Mrinal :P. Goals were flying left, right and center, and the goal celebrations grew grander :). I really found it hard and sad to walk away from the ground after the game.

I dont know about the children, but I'd say we were touched by the experience.Wont mention any names, but many characters among the kids are still fresh in my mind.Many eyes filled with innocence. A whole talkative, naughty bunch of them. And I'm pretty sure I'd love to do that some day again :).

Many thanks to the ones who helped pull it off. To Nancy, Doreen and the rest at Chen Su Lan homes. And starting with Manish and Maggie who took care of the communication part, to the rest of us who went around buying, deciding and ordering stuff, guys - any day in life with you guys is worth it, but this day was one that will stay etched in memory for sometime :).

(PS: Yea its another hopeful case of breaking bloggers block, which I should abbreviate to BBB, since I use that word a lot anyways :P ;). So no more disclaimers on the long gap without posts :D.I wanted my last post to remain posted for quite some time)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

In the Na(i)me and memory of Nai..

I do this in your memory. In honour of Mahesh Mahadevan, aka Nai.. truly one of the greatest human beings I have known in my life. No exaggerations.

In honour of your never-ending positivity.. infinite energy.. addictive enthusiasm for knowledge.. boundless intelligence..

In honour of your technical PJs (which only I would understand half the time :P )..

In honour of your multi-faceted talents that always left me mouth-wide-open, in everything, from music to mechanical engineering.. computers to quizzing..

Mahesh, you have always been a wonder. A symbol of something impossible to attain. Not just to any arbit junior at Bhavan's Varuna Vidyalaya, where u inspired hundreds of people u havent even met, but even to me and and the rest of your batchmates. If only you could read all your wall-posts now. Even when we won all those quizzes together because you knew all the answers.. even when we did our C++ superprogram experiments in lab with everyone else staring.. Even when we discussed problems in class behind the teachers back thinking we had solved the next biggest thing since e=mc2.. cracked away puns to the limit getting on everyone else's nerves- Dude, I was always awed, and secretly envious of you. How could you exist.. how could someone love knowledge as you have.. I think half of my outlook towards knowledge has always been you, dude, You.

I take honour in claiming you have been one of my closest friends up to date. Even when you turned heads all over Kerala with your brilliance (see this and this) I was telling people : "Thats Mahesh, my school buddy"

For the love of the world, none of us can understand how this happened to you. And no, we do NOT believe you are stupid enough to end yourself. Yet. All I can do now is hit myself on the head for not having been in touch with you for the last 2 months. Yes, you are at the opposite side of the world, but I cant help thinking I missed you out somewhere. Cant help thinking: you wanted to tell me something, but I didnt hear. Cant believe that will never again chat to me. Cant stop reading the chat history again and again.

Cant believe ! no one will end chats again with me with a full loud BHA! (watever that meant, originating from Butylated-Hydroxy-Anisole in Saritha maams to another hundred meaningless expansions).. that legacy is dead..

Dead.. That word has a numb feel to it. Dead. As in. No more half dazed
'Bha'rking Nai's out there. Dead, as in, the world will be devoid of your loud chuckle and sly smile forever.

You owed yourself to the world dude, and you owed yourself to us. The world needed your brilliance.

I cannot think of any way to honour or mourn you now. I'm in that mode of helplessness, and I know it will take sometime to subside. I'm in that life-death-philosophy mood that everyone goes to when they see someone so near is suddenly missing. Yea, world, be wary of philosophic Me for sometime :). I will learn to accept once again that every person I see now, it might be for the last time. And all I can do is to try even more harder than ever to keep in touch.. and listen intently to everyone of my friends out there.. I have learnt that this is the one of the hardest things to do in life.. but I will still attempt it.. for who knows when the last time will be ?

But for now, in the name of all Varunites and friends of Nai out there: I remember you, my friend. I have no illusions that this blog will do anything productive than take up kilobytes of webspace, and invite comments, but it is the least I can do. I remember you, and as long as my healthy memory permits, I will. Your memory will not fade away into the "unseen orphaned pages of the cyberspace discontinuum" like your last post.

And like someone said, I will always await that one more smartass comment from you. Or one last PJ. Yea, just once more would be good..

(PS: For those who are clueless, Mahesh Mahadevan aka Nai was my school friend from BVV Kochi. He was found dead in his university UC Irvine a few days ago.I think the rest of the blog is self-explanatory)

Please also check

The organisation called Surabhi is collecting money for the cause of bringing Mahesh's body back. You can donate money to help bring his body back here. There is already and outpour of funds for this, apparently.

For those with doubts, I have (kind of) verified their authenticity by contacting his sister, who has said she has been contacted by the group which says they will take care of the return of his body. For further enquiries you may mail the ids on the website itself. Also check:

Another blogpost regarding Mahesh


News reports regarding this :

- UC Irvine

- Asianet (outrageously crappy piece of reporting. What nonsensical yellow journalism in Kerala.)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Fun in the Sun at Batam

This time, it was Batam. Located about 20 km south of Singapore, Batam island is very much similar to Bintan which we had visited last year. Lush greenery, plenty of 'sea' to 'see', sun, beaches and sand. Nothing less to expect from this truly beautiful island in Indonesia.

Our population doubled this time - we were a group of (lucky?) 13 restless souls, just waiting to get our asses out of our labs and a few hundred kms away from research. And get off we did, in style :). Merry-ly taking the ferry ride from Tanjong Pagar, we made for Batam on Feb the 15th, the start of Chinese New year hols. The ferry ride is a most enjoyable experience - apart from being hot due to the sun, the ride is actually pretty Cool :). Watching the busy Singapore skyline (and along with it, all memories of research fading into the distance.. seriously, no feeling could be better !

Pt-KTM resorts - thats where we stayed. Beautiful place. No testimonial would be enough to do justice to the five-star royal treatment we got there. Just - dont try to expand the name K-T-M :). Since the exchange rate was pretty high, we were millionaires by the time we reached, and immediately set about blasting off every inch of currency that we had stored up.

Water sports are one of the major attractions in Batam. Para-sailing, Jet-skiiing, Banana-boating and Kayaking - these were the items on the menu. Needless to say, we ordered all :). The para-sailing was a first for me- being slightly afraid of heights, I never thought I'd pull(rather, fly) it off, but it turned out to be an awesome experience with a sufficient amount of 'high' to it ! :). After sufficiently wetting ourselves (no pun intended ;) ) on all the rides, we decided to call it a day (er.. at 4 pm in the evening) and go around city-seeing a bit. The Barelang bridge was 'bery bery laang', and actually a let-down.. there was nothing to do there except to.. er.. watch it :). Tired of letdowns, we retired to our beautiful villas.

Needless to say, the high-night was one of the high-lights of the trip. Dumb-C was called for. Despite being 'dumb', we were pretty noisy out there, mind you :). 3 hours and a few kilos of junk food later, we made for the beach, and wasted away sometime until we decided to call it a.. thats right.. night. Next day, after refilling ourselves with enough food for a few days, we set out to Nongsa beach.

Nongsa is one of those paradises on earth called a beautiful beach. Thirteen hot people out there (yea yea, hot cos of the sun ;) ) - we 1st cooled ourselves in the inviting blue waters. Few hundred pics and some desperate attempts at swimming and stunt-making. A pitiable round of volley-ball was followed by a coconut break, and even more pitiable gaming :). Truly, I have never had enough of sea, sand and sun in my life. Finally when we'd all turned different bright shades of crimson, we decided to call it quits and return to the city. BCS mall was our final stand - our shopping consisted of an incredible mixture of tatooing, food, and sun-glasses ! Loads of them ! Finally we made a desperate rush for the resort and then the ferry terminal.

The night trip back on the ferry is a beautiful experience too. An hour or so later, we were thirteen tired but satisfied souls, cribbing about what lay ahead for us in our boring labs the next day. Ofcourse, that was enough inspiration for us to float our next trip plans :). Cambodiaaaaa, here I come !