Sunday, May 14, 2006

Zack Baker has left the Building

Animesh, Zack and Marybeth at Graduation 2006

My officemate Zack is now Dr. Zack Baker. He left today for his new job at Los Alamos National Labs.

This post is dediated to him. Thanks for teaching me so many things I know Zack. Thanks for being a strong influence on my life for the past 3 years. You will be missed.

P.S. Dear readers, please do not be mistaken by this post -- the lull continues.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Rukawat ke liye Khed hai

Yes, I am taking a break from blogging.

Yes, it has been great to see your comments on my comments on recent matters, but my time needs to be spent elsewhere.

Yes, work calls.

Yes, I'll be back - but not anytime soon.

Yes, watch out for my IM status messages to change to "I am back!" [but don't hold your breath].

and Yes, I will miss this [and I will miss you all].


Monday, May 08, 2006

The story of a car-dweller

The Los Angeles Times has this article today about a lady who is living in her car for the past 8 years.

From the article:
When a reader in Playa del Rey suggested I track down Sevilla, I thought I'd find yet another L.A. story of hard luck in the shadow of conspicuous riches.

But this one stands out: a great-grandmother who worked her whole life, avoids trips to the doctor because she can't afford the Medicare deductibles and has to sleep with a foot on the brake.

Sevilla is from Long Beach but moved to Chicago with her husband. When the marriage came apart in the late 1960s, she raised her three kids by working as an interior designer. She returned to California in 1989, following two of her children, but found it difficult to get decent pay for honest work. She wondered if her age — mid-50s at the time — was beginning to weigh against her.

A daughter took her in, but the apartment was cramped and Sevilla felt uncomfortable about imposing. When the daughter got married, Sevilla packed her bags, determined to make it on her own and confident that she would.

"It's my responsibility to take care of myself," she said, but that was easier said than done. She found part-time jobs, but with a developing heart condition, she couldn't be on her feet for more than a few hours at a time.

For a while, she ended up sacked out at her son's place in Irvine. But he had been in a terrible car accident, suffered brain damage and felt horribly depressed about the burden he'd become.

On Christmas Eve in 1998, Sevilla asked him to accompany her to church, but he wasn't feeling up to it. The next day, he went off by himself, put a gun to his head and took his life. He was 40.

That's when Sevilla found herself living in the car, wounded, distraught, scared.

So, what does she do? She works as a part-time receptionist at a local paper, making $10 an hour.

After she gets off work, Sevilla motors over to the El Segundo Public Library on Main Street to work on her drawings. Employees and patrons were so impressed, they began bringing in photos for her to sketch, and she's good enough to command $60 for a print. For an additional $20, she'll make 12 postcards on handsome stock, using her laptop as a print shop.

A moving story, I wonder if I can do something for her [I am sure this woman will not accept donations, and I do not have enough for $60 paintings. Maybe I should track her down and become her computer-repairman :-).

Kudos to Steve Lopez for covering these stories of real life fighters!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Removing the "A" from Ahimsa

Was reading thru the Vadodhara incident reports, and a question came to my mind - what causes a peaceful protest against the demolition of a mazaar to turn into a communal riot?

A fictional situation [please pardon the filmi-style]:

crowd - please don't break the Mazaar, it is 200 years old and before your municipal times, this is not the definition of enchroachment
police - we cannot help it, the court has ordered, and we have destroyed temples also
crowd - please don't [grows in number]
police - no. Please move away

[you expect a peaceful event, possibly stalling the movement enough to get a stay order and proper investigation]

random miscreant in crowd - you *&%#$ policeman! [flings a stone/bottle/projectile]
police - lathicharge! [and shots to the legs]

so, the police lathicharge starts, possibly justified, but very unfortunate nonetheless.

Policeman A [cornering random simpleminded shopkeeper] - hey you, with the skullcap, you seem to be a muslim, why don't you all go back to Pakistan
Random Shopkeeper - Kya baat karte ho sahab, Hum bhi hindustani hai!
Policeman A - Sab samajhta hoon, you muslims will never become better! [hits with laathi/shoots in leg] [after all, today is the day the cop can be violent, and noone will question his acts - good time to get out ones frustrations]

Random Shopkeeper [hereforth referred to as Raheem Chacha] dies/becomes seriously injured.

Random Power-hungry Muslim leader - These Hindus will never listen to us Muslims, lets burn some buses!
Crowd - um... what?
Other jobless warm-blooded idiots - yes yes, they have hurt Raheem Chacha, I listened to him saying that he was hurt because of his skull cap - we must teach these hindus a lesson!
Crowd - um... well..
Local Leaders - no "um... well", have you forgotten what happened some years ago all over the state? If we don't act fast, we will be burned again!!! Here are the swords/laathis/random-weapons -- lets go and torch some hindu shops!!!

[riots ensue]

The rest, as they say, is the present!

So, who is to blame, no doubt the fundamentalist leaders who instigate the crowd, and the policeman who lets his sentiments get the better of him and comes down from his position of responsibilites.

Whoever it is, it is NOT the common man, who wants to only go about usual business, and earn his daily bread. I think it is time for me to watch Dev again.

Praying for situations to calm down soon,
P.S. Anyone up for making a skit/play/street-play on the above script and educating the public? You are guaranteed a donation from my side for production costs.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

What is "holy" in this war?

Yes, the LeT people have struck again.

From the article:
DODA: In a desperate bid to derail a fledgling peace process, terrorists struck with a numbing carnage two days before a round-table conference on the Kashmir issue was to start.

At the end of J&K's bloodiest massacre in three years, the toll stood at 32 dead, including a six-year-old, and about a dozen wounded.


They stormed into homes in Kulhand and herded terrified residents of two hamlets in Kulhand area into village headmen's homes, saying there was an important announcement. Then they mowed them down with a hail of bullets.

I wonder what it takes to brainwash youth to believe that killing innocent people is holy? Maybe if they were educated, they would read the holy books themselves and realize that this is not what the almighty asked them to do.


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Vidushak's last show of Spring 2006

Our Indian Improv group's last show of the semester is this coming saturday. A nice post about it is here.

Those who are around, please come... those who are not, I wish you were!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Driving in India - a nice take

I got this video in email today [hat tip by Mannu Bhai]

Never quite saw Indian traffic at this angle.

So, what feelings does this evoke in you? Fun, Anger, Disgust, Horror, .. ?

For me, it is Awe, mixed with pride -- something an ant would feel when it saw the top-view of its colony-members going about there business, without traffic lights or anything.

What about you?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Too many petitions spoil the cause

[short post, super busy -- but comments welcome]
I feel very bad about the new reservation issue, and want to do something about it. I also believe that petitions work.

However, which one do I sign - this, this, this, this, this, this or this?

Clearly, we need a central clearinghouse of petitions, with maybe a "petitions of the month" section on the mainpage.

Anyone up for maintaining or [both are unregistered, or maybe we should go for .in domains?]?

What do you all say?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Real Life RDB a little too much to swallow?

Update: In line with this post, I have decided to give up sodas completely! From now on, it is only fruit juice/ water/ tea/ coffee/ lassi/ thandai/other non-carbonated beverages for me. I shall miss Thums-Up.

Aamir Khan sought out to help out in the Narmada Bachao Aandolan, as you all know.

However, the read life RDB proved to be a bit much, according to this article.

From the article:
Easa bin Abdul Karim from Plachimada, Kerala, who was participating in the NBA protest, badgered Khan to stay away from the soft drinks giant Coca-Cola. He said Coke plants are making tribal lands infertile.

"They are drawing out ground water through tube-wells to make Coke, drastically lowering water levels. Six litres of water is required to produce one litre of Coke. The remaining five litres, which have been treated with chemicals, are put back into the ground. As a result the land becomes infertile and tribals lose their only source of living," he said.

Interesting. Lets see what (if anything) happens.

Other things to talk about... too much work also... lets see.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Tribute to a real hero.

Update [Apr 17, '06]: Mridula is maintaining a nice blogroll about this incident here. Also has a snap of Javed, and info about a similar girl, Pooja, who is battling for life in Meerut hospital.

Have been busy lately with a deadline, and the lean phase will continue. Plz bear with me.

In the meantime, I would like to dedicate this post to a real life hero.

From the article:
When Javed, an 18-year-old class XII Delhi student, escaped the Meerut trade fair inferno unscathed he could have thanked his stars and returned home. But he did not. Aware of the grave risk he was taking, Javed moved back to the blazing pandal and pulled out nine kids to safety.

In doing so, Javed suffered 70 per cent burns. The superhero succumbed to his injuries on Thursday morning.

There are allegations that he was not treated properly at the hospital, and then there is the issue of the reason of the fire in the first place. Overall, a sad occurance. [also, I wonder what one's chances of survival are after 70% burns]

This post is for you Javed. May your soul rest in peace.

P.S. Can anyone from Meerut/Delhi reading this confirm how his family is doing? I mean do they have other children? How are they financially? Are the 5 lakh rupees given to them by the UP govt going to be enough [if the money ever reaches them, that is]?

Sunday, April 09, 2006

approx 50% reservation in all premier Indian colleges!

Yes, I am sure all of you are aware of this, I am too..

I am sure many of you, if not all, are feeling pained by this.. I am too..

This comment raises valid points, and pushes me to post about this issue.

I think what I am waiting for is some time [to make a proper post], and the link to an online petition against it [I am sure someone would have started it, please post the link as a comment if you know].

Trust me dear readers, I feel very yucked out about this issue, and feel that we should all protest, and that is why I hope that there is only ONE BIG online petition, about which everyone knows, and signs.

Thanks for your concern, and keep the flame alive!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Guest Post: Want to help people remotely?

Hi all,
Time for a guest post. This one is by Seema Jyotishi, my mami [mom's brother's wife, for those who do not know]. Ties in well to my thought of action, not just talk.

No more from me. Over to her.

Hi Everyone,
A time comes in everybody's life when they feel satisfied with everything in their life.They feel that they have got everything and in turn they want to do something for others. Isn't this is called the real SEVA to humanity.The world is growing at a faster rate and with it the problems are also.On one side we are gaining knowledge to advance till moon but on the other side the problems for the unpriviledged are also increasing. I am sure we all must have asked this question to ourselves,"Can we do something to reduce the problems of these people????"

The problem for many of us is we think we can only help by sending money...Right...Wrong . We can actually help people just by spending some time and effort on the computer.People in world some time need your help in the form of your advises and suggestions.

Nabuur is such a concept working as global village where virtual neighbours (you all )can actually help people of the entire world. Please visit the site to get more information about the work of nabuur.

If the idea of helping people across the world catches up with you than after loging visit my site at Nabuur to see the work. I also joined Nabuur as a neighbour In November 2005 and worked for Pune and madurai. Right now I have completed my facilitator training and the Kwangere slum is my first assignment.

Thus through my lettter I am extending an invitation to everyone to become neighbour and help people .If the idea of joining the village doesn't excites you than also my request is to kindly send this mail to friends you know so any one who is intrested can join the growing neighbourhood.

Thanks for your patience
Seema Jyotishi

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

War and Pieces

To begin this post, a question, to which we will come back later.

Just because a new pair of jeans is at 50% of regular price, would you buy it [although you don't need it] ?

The LA Times is running a wonderful series of articles covering the injuries sustained by soldiers in the Iraq war. Here is the latest story [and here is the first post]

I strongly encourage all of you to read this. The details are gory, but they must be told. Even if you choose to not read the articles themselves, read on with this post..

Some interesting quotes from the article:

Medics collect and bag body parts of the dead and wounded. "I don't want their buddies to have to do it," said Sgt. Tomas Chavez, a flight medic stationed in Balad


About 60% of the patients are Iraqi soldiers, police and civilians, including the very people who set the bombs that kill and wound Americans.
The hospital sometimes treats insurgents in the same trauma room as Americans they have just attacked.
Troops are often disturbed and occasionally enraged by the treatment afforded their enemy, Powell said. But medical workers say they make no distinctions. They compare treating insurgents to treating wounded cop-killers or drunk drivers in U.S. hospitals.

"You're not the judge or jury in the emergency room — you're a doctor," Powell said. "It's irrelevant to me what a patient's status is. I'm going to do what I'd do for an American."

A very nice gesture - reminds me of M*A*S*H.

One of the facts that the article mentions is that the percentage of casualities is much less in this war, as compared to the Vietnam war, owing primarily to better facilities.

And that makes me ask the question:

Just because you can save a larger fraction of soldiers, would you go into a war that was never needed?

I hope the question above ties in with the one in the beginning of the post, and you appreciate the absurdity of this war.

My take - just a set of points/questions. Comments most welcome.

- Thank you LA Times, for daring to show the american people the dark side of war. Nice to see american media finally telling the citizens what their sons and daughters are going through.

- Look at the ages of these people. 17, 20, 22. These kids don't deserve this much suffering, let along dying. How is dying in a war which was not needed different from crashing in a MiG that noone cares to buy proper parts for? [yes, I am referring to the RDB theme]

- Kudos to the medics who have to see this day in and day out. True, war scars a person for life.

- What about the troops in Kashmir? I am sure the situations are similar for our troops stationed there also. Can someone plz report abt the medical conditions there?[ Ms. Barkha Dutt, are you reading this? Please write something like it.]

- Thinking of how it is very possible that our troops may not be getting the care they deserve, how about making it mandatory for all doctors getting certified in India to serve in the armed forces for a couple of years? Hell, if needed, make the same for engineers and others also. What about that?

Too many thoughts, too many questions. Hope to find some answers as the days go by.
As always, comments most welcome.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

My dating profile is now online!

Hi all,
After a long time of being pestered by my good friends, I finally gave in and made my very own dating/marriage profile.

Go to Google Romance and search for "animesh pathak" [minues the quotes] to see it. Comments most welcome. You guys are the best judge of my profile :-).

That's it for now, have a great day!

Friday, March 31, 2006

Ten Simple Rules for Getting Published

The rri group has a post that points to this article, which talks about the ten simple rules to get published.

No quotes from it, go and read - a very good article.

So, What is your home?

Thanx: Thanks to all those who posted their comments on my Rang De Basanti post. If you have not posted one yet, please do - I am looking forward to them.

And now to the topic of the day ...

All us of have a homepage. No, not the one where you host information about yourself, I am talking about the one that opens by default when your browser starts. Some people have the default or firefox start pages, depending on the browser, whereas many have specified a specific page. Those pages range from news sites, search engines and movie showtime pages to modern day multi-information pages such as MSN Live, Google Personal Home Page and My Yahoo!.

For a long time, I was wondering what my homepage should be. Since google can be searched using the address box in Firefox, having it as homepage did not make sense. Then I chose the USC homepage, just for a trojan feeling whenever I open my browser.

It was during the search of the best homepage that the idea struck me, what if I can do some charity just by selecting a homepage? And that is why I chose the hunger site as my homepage. Just by clicking on the button, you can donate 1.1 cups of staple food to a hungry person somewhere - talk about RoI!

So my homepage for a long time was the hunger site, until I discovered, the Indian equivalent of the hunger site. I wanted to make that my homepage too, but felt sad betraying my old homepage.

And that is when the magic of firefox came in handy. Did you know that in firefox, you can have multiple pages open in multiple tabs automatically as you open your browser? Think of this as a homebook [as opposed to a homepage].

All you have to do is to to list all the urls separated by the pipe symbol [the " | ", located above the " \ "] in the homepage field, and there you have it, a homebook!

Request: I know you have your fav homepage, which you want to see. But please go to tools - options - general [or edit - preferences - general, if using Fx on Linux] on firefox, and set your homepage to

" | |"

Remember to remove the quotes, and replace the last url with your preferred homepage.

What this will do is that when you open firefox the next time, three tabs will open, with the hunger site in focus. Click, Close Tab, Click, Close Tab. You now are where you were before making this change, and you have already done two actions of charity! Talk about getting a warm fuzzy feeling first thing in the morning!

Question: Please post comments if you have any confusions in this process. I am sure any tab based browser would support it [IE users will have to wait till the next version, or download firefox :-) ].

Also, what is your homepage? I will be interested in reading the comments, as always.

Love and Luck,
P.S. and yes, if you are around the USC area on April1, we are having our first desi improv show! Do come! [In spite of the wonderful date, this is not a joke :-)]

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Finally, I am also spring-colored

Spoiler Alert: This post will spill some beans, so watch the movie before reading it. However, even if you think the beans have been spilt [by some spoilsport friend of yours], go and watch the movie, for the feel.

Yes, I finally watched Rang De Basanti. Before you come to me with your criticisms for the delay, I think I have a valid enough excuse - first, I did not watch it since I wanted to be a PhD. Candidate before that [which I am now, BTW, after passing my quals], and then I realized that saturday nights were not free, since sunday mornings were marathon practice times. So, the saturday after the marathon, I was at Naz.

Anyways, this post is not about why I was not able to watch it.

This post is also not a detailed review of the movie, since many people have written that, and have done a good job at it. No point in me reinventing the wheel.

This post is about what I felt during the movie, and that's what it is.

I knew all of them die. I knew they try to kill the defence minister. I knew that Madhavan dies in an air crash. But I did not know about the way they have intermingled the freedom struggle scenes and made it revelant. The cinematography, the acting, the background scores - everything was just great! Someday, I shall be able to create a fraction of this effect in my theatre.

I must confess, I was in tears for a large part of the movie, but I think of late I have learnt to not stop them [touchy-feely, I guess]. The tears ranged from missing-home-style during the title song, so happy-for-them during the engagement-ring scene to angry-and-sad-at-the-same-time during the lathi-charge and the commando-attack scene. After a stage, I stopped wiping them, no point.

As H so aptly pointed out, the director gave us "breaks" to wipe our tears and compose ourselves before launching another salvo of emotional scenes at us - very aptly done. BTW, H is an american and liked her first hindi movie so much that she is going to recommend it to her friends!

I especially loved the fact that they did not justify the killing of the minister - shown when Karan says "sorry" to the school principal who calls him.

In my view, what the movie tries to say is that situations are as sad today as they were under the British Empire -- and the people are noting that -- except no one is doing anything, and it definitely succeeds in conveying the message.

It was also interesting to see that the situations here in the US is no different -- if pilots die due to low-grade airplane parts there, then young soldiers of this country die fighting a war that was not needed. Same problems, different flavors.

I loved the message the movie gives, if you feel bad about stuff, go in and clean it -- no point in staying away and giving gyan.

So, now that each of us have seen the movie, it is time to act. Given that you belong to the intelligentsia of your nation [whichever nation you belong to], what are YOU going to do to improve your nation's status?? Let us all know by posting a comment to this post. And then, visit this a year later and see where you are.

My plan:
Finish PhD, join ITBHU as a prof. Make sure I instill these values in my students, so that they go out and become good citizens, who don't indulge in corruption etc.

What about you?
P.S. Here is the wonderful "Sarfaroshi ki Tamanna", just in case you wanted the words.

Update: Thanks for the comments so far, but please realize that this is not about how the movie was made, but about how you will contribute for your country. It will be great if your comments are in that line.
Looking forward to some insightful ones,

Saturday, March 25, 2006

So, after the marathon, what next?

Well, I actually put my right knee in a crape bandage and went to perform in the first show of our Indian Improv group - Vidushak after the marathon.

Read on here for more details. Pd has done a good job writing the report. And for all of you at USC, please join the Vidushak mailing list, our desi show is coming up in a week!

And yes, thanks for all those wonderful comments. I have nearly healed, but no running for 2 weeks. After that, lets see.

back to work now,

Thursday, March 23, 2006

26.2 miles of pain, sweat and perseverance ...

... or how I ran the LA marathon.

As mentioned in my previous post, I ran the LA marathon last sunday, and this post is a [somewhat] detailed account of the same.

Lets revisit some of those moments: [link to route, for reference]

Saturday, Mar 18, 6pm: The team got together for a carbo-load potluck dinner. The atmosphere was charged and the coaches each gave a small motivational speech. Also, everyone appreciated my chawal-ki-kheer [or Indian rice pudding :-)].

Saturday, Mar 18, 9pm: I was busy copying songs into my mp3 player so that I keep going. I had gotten somewhat bored with my current playlist and there was more space remaining, so I figured I should load up. Rang De Basanti, Paathshaala and Raahe Raahe remix by Rishi Rich are among my favorites.

Saturday, Mar 18, 11pm: Two hours in bed, but
no sleep -- too much adrenaline I guess. Somehow I got some sleep.

Sunday, Mar 19, 6:30am: I was waiting at the assigned spot. The rest of the team came and we biked to the Marathon starting line in downtown. For those of you who are wondering why we thought biking back 2 miles after running 26.2 would be a nice idea, the answer is towards the end of the post.

We all got together, took some pictures, and squished together near the starting line. With 25,000+ people running, it takes quite some time if you are not in the front of the bunch. The atmosphere was electric, with choppers above us, music around us, and tonz of adrenaline inside us! We all were together, wearing our USC Marathon Team T-Shirts, and did a couple of battle cries! You had to be there to feel it!

8:17am: The crowd started moving and we knew that it had begun - the first marathon of my life. Heather Hydzik and I started together, and the plan was to run together, as we had done in the practice runs. It was cool, us running together, sharing headphones, with Daler Menhdi going "Rang De Basanti" - very cool.

Mile 2: As I had expected, my IT band started to complain. I knew it was not long before the pain would make me walk.

Mile 5: I told Heather that she can go ahead after mile 6, since my knee was going from bad to worse.

Mile 7: I stumbled strangely, the right knee giving way. I told her to go on, and started walking. Her final words were, "resume running soon". I walked for some time, my right leg straight. Tried running but too much pain. Then I saw written on the T-shirt of the guy ahead of me "This is my first Marathon, and I am 50!". That was motivation enough for me to take some 20 steps running, crossing mile 8 in the process.

My aim was to somehow cross the halfway mark, since after that, I knew I would be able to push myself - running, walking, crawling, whatever!

The people on the sides of the streets, cheering every runner, gave me energy, and so did the oranges handed out by them.

Mile 10: I was happy to be in double digits, 1/5th running, 4/5th walking. That is where I met Ashiya, from the USC marathon team. She was also sore, but going on. More inspiration.

Mile 13.1: The halfway mark! I stopped at a medical station, and got painkiller spray on both my knees, and got an ice-pack tied to my right knee.

I thought, I have finished the half marathon, now even if I don't complete, it is ok. But then Adrian's words came in my mind - "They are going to give medals to all those who finish, and what a medal it is!" - I definitely wanted that medal, and 13.1 miles stood between me and it. Needless to say, I kept on.

Mile 18: I met Adrian, who was having his own problems with the IT band. Since his left knee was busted, we walked symmetrically for some time - his left leg straight, my right leg straight - funny :-).

Mile 19: I randomly met Sumun, who had come with her husband to cheer one of her friends. It is amazing how good I felt to see another known face cheering me on!

Mile 20: 6 more to go! I took a stretching break. Then resumed. There was loads of downhill stretches and I used them, since you can run downhill in long strides without bending your knees :-).

Mile 22: 4 more to go, and the stretch on Olympic Blvd. started. Thanks to the training runs on this route, I knew exactly what was coming from this point on. I knew I could do it, it was just a matter of time now.

Mile 24: I saw Heather O'Shea [different from the Heather I started with], sore all over but fighting on, just like everybody else! She proposed that we cross the finish line together, but our speeds were different. I sped ahead, hoping to finish the run before I collapse.

Mile 25: I feel tears in my eyes - I cannot quite explain why this spontaneous crying thing happened. I see that I have 15 more minutes until 6 hours, and decide to finish before that. Time for running!

Final half mile or so: So, I turned left from Olympic on Flower, and could see the finish line, I put on "Rahe Rahe" for the nth time and kept running. I could see the clock ticking to 5:56:59 as I crossed!

On the other side: After I finished, I was like "give me that medal!", and "I want to crash", and "water", and many other feelings, but most of all, I was surprised to see Heather O'Shea standing next to me! It seems that she sprinted the last part and we finished exactly at the same second! Her idea came true after all :-).

Zack was there, as he has always been, waiting for hours for the slow ones to finish [he took 3.5 hours, the fastest from USC]. He took my snap [and one with Heather also, who was all smiles].

Zack and I then biked back to campus. It was interesting to see how biking was not tough at all, partly due to the downward slope, and partly due to the fact that it uses a completely different group of muscles.

Epilgoue: All through the marathon, there was one question in my mind -WHY? - Why do these people stand on the side of the track and cheer complete strangers, give them high-5s, give out oranges and water [even beer at one place!]. What makes them spend their money and time on this day. And yet, who knows how many people like me would have dropped out mid way if it had not been for those who were cheering me. People would go "hey USC, Fight on!" when they would see my Jersey. Some even shouted my name, reading it off my race bib. I wonder what makes them do this?

And then I thought, what made me do this. Why am I paying money and training and then running 26.2 miles, when I am sure to not get the prize? And I guess there I had my answer - it is a great feeling to be part of a marathon, running or otherwise.

So people, make sure you run at least one marathon in your lifetime - no one can be explained what the experience is like, much like the matrix.

Still a bit sore, and still in love with the whole world,

Monday, March 20, 2006


5 hours, 50 minutes, 10 seconds -- that is how long my 26.2 mile trip to hell and back took.

For those who are wondering, I successfully completed the LA marathon today. Thanks to all those who supported me during the training and the race.

That's all for now, I am now going to tend to my sore body, and also prepare for the first show of our Improv Group - Vidushak.

Off to the freezer now, to get some frozen spinach to tie to my right IT band.

in love with the whole world,

Saturday, March 18, 2006

No Danish PM for us Indians please, we are crazy fanatics!

Many sources are reporting that the visit of the Danish PM to India has been postponed because of "fears that the trip could provoke fresh protests by Muslims against cartoons of Prophet Mohammad."

Shameful. utterly shameful. The Indian govt should be able to assure that there will be no violent protest as a result. And peaceful protests should not scare a PM away.
The image of India has taken a beating. I think the drunk guy is winning [ref to my comment]. Sad.

It will be interesting to see someone come forward and "assure" the Danish PM of no untoward incident at his trip.

Fanatics 1, Moderates 0. Who are you cheering for?


Friday, March 17, 2006

Victory for the Moderate Muslims in Varanasi

Update: Remember to read the comments, they add to the article. Thanks for them, folks!

Some weeks ago, I was sent this article [free reg required, you can use bugmenot]. The point the article made was that Islam is suffering because somehow the moderate section of the community is not coming out strongly, thus letting the fanatics rule the roost and dictate the policies. Some very valid points and a nice read.

I have been engaged in a strong debate, both on the web and off it, regarding my pro "do not call Varanasi bombing a religious attack since it was not, and this might cause riots" stand. You may want to see my comments at the bottom of the post linked above. More about that issue some other day.

On to the latest news, I just saw that the Varanasi muslim moderates got a fatwa issued by the religious officials there against terrorism. Pretty cool, I say.

From the article:
Quoting references from the holy Quran, the mufti said Islam strongly condemned and restricted the 'fitn-o-fasad' (violence).

"Islam is synonymous with peace and protection of humanity," he said, adding that Allah has expressed unhappiness on all those acts that breach peace.

Allah says: "Slaying an individual without any reason is a heinous crime and sin; if one kills an innocent person, it is the killing of entire humanity, and if one saves an innocent person it is an act of protecting the entire humanity." (Quran; Sooreh Maida, Ayaat 32).

The fatwa against terrorism came in response to the written queries put before the Mufti by Qamar Jehan, former head of the department of Urdu, Banaras Hindu University, and Muniza Rafiqu Khan, registrar of Gandhian Institute of Studies, to know whether terrorism had any place in Islam.


The three-page fatwa said all human beings of the world were members of the family of Allah. The safety of each individual is essential and there is no barrier of religion or geographical boundary.

The holy Quran strictly denounces the act of violence through its different 'ayaats' including 'Sooreh Bakara - 60 and 205', 'Sooreh Araf - 56' and 'Sooreh Qasas - 83'.

It is the duty of each and every Muslim to have good relations with all individuals, irrespective of their religion. The fatwa further stated that a person of any country or religion involved in act of terrorism goes against the teaching of Islam.

Such persons could not be termed as religious-minded, as terrorists have no religion. Islam not only restricts a person from doing wrong, but also commands not to support evil as it is a sin.

I know some of you will brush it off as mere lip service, but honestly, isn't this a pleasant surprise, coming from a community where we were thinking that the moderate voice is not loud enough.

I wish for more such pleasant surprises in the future.

P.S. I got new shoes [unevenly worn out, thus playing a part in my ITB injury] and Zack, my officemate who is one of the coaches in the Marathon team, corrected my running style. Lets see.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

So, just because it is tough, you won't do it?

A lot of you would have seen this quote in my signature, and I guess it is time to put it to practice.

The LA Marathon is here, this coming Sunday!

Here is the route. [switch off the elevations and unzoom a couple of levels to get a complete picture]. The mile markers are a bit off due to not considering elevation, but you get the idea.

Yes, my Ilio-Tibial band is not in the best shape, but I am still hoping to cross the finish line, a little late, a little limping, but crossing it for sure.

So wish me luck! [and be at Vermont and Expo at marathon day if you are in the USC area!]


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Holi Cow! No punishment to stung MPs!

Happy Holi to all! Hope your life is colorful and you make up with your enemies :-).

And now to the main issue, I was shocked to read this article in TOI today telling how all the MPs in the MPLADS scam have gotten the benefit of doubt.[link to one-page version, cancel the print option when it comes]

Let us look at some snippets of this superb article.
While maintaining that the conduct of none of the four members "was above board and they need to be handed out appropriate punishment", it gave the benefit of doubt to the four lawmakers saying the "improper conduct" on their part "did not, strictly speaking, relate to their parliamentary duties and none of the said members was actually shown accepting the money".
"Alemao Churchill (Cong), Paras Nath Yadav (SP), Faggan Singh Kulaste and Ramswaroop Koli (both BJP) may be reprimanded. They may also be suspended from the membership of the House till 22 March 2006," recommended the Committee in its 51-page unanimous report tabled in the House today.

And how is this punishment "appropriate" ? Agreed, they did not accept the money on camera, but they did write those absolutely bogus letters! What about that?

The Committee recommended that the Government suitably revise guidelines governing MPLADs with a view to plugging various loopholes and lacunae.

A suggestion made by the Committee to the Government on implementation of the MPLADS scheme was that NGOs and private institutions be barred from getting any funds under the scheme.
This was because most of such NGOs are "merely facades for unscrupulous organisations formed to usurp funds" from MPLADS, which are meant for community development works.

Under the scheme, each MP is entitled to sanction developmental projects in their respective parliamentary constituency to the tune of Rs two crore annually.

So, what the committee is saying is that the money should not be given to NGOs, then who will do the work? The government organizations? I wonder how much it is going to affect the "good" MPs who want to use these funds to support actual projects. [or maybe there aren't any left]

It asked the Government to initiate steps for laying guidelines and norms for sting operators.

The Committee expressed concern that the media has been indulging in "sensationalism on a competitive basis" in a race to achieve viewership.

It noted that in this case, a television channel had implied that all MPs were susceptible to corruption.

"Carrying out such operations in an unregulated manner, which cast aspersions on MPs, erodes the credibility of our democratic institutions," the Committee said noting that "such motivated trial by the media needs to be regulated".

This surely takes the cake... instead of lauding the efforts of the media, the committee is busy reprimanding them. While agree that tainting a MP by sending a girl to her place and assailing his character may be below the belt [since it has no relation to his work as a parliamentarian], why should the media not find out their corrupt dealings?

And what would these norms look like -- please submit in tripilicate the names/addresses of your sting operatives and the target MP three months in advance, so that we[govt] can go after you[media]!

Funny how this is called operation "Duryodhana", and I was reading the "gambling scene" in the Mahabharata yesterday. It is said that when Dushasana finally got to disrobing Draupadi and fabric appeared magically to cover her, Dhritarashtra and others realised how everything was so wrong and that the end of the dynasty is near. Somehow, with the recent Jessica Lal case and now this, I see the proverbial cup of corruption running over in India.

Reminds me of..

"Yada Yada Hi Dharmasya. Glanirva Bhavathi Bharatha,.
Abhyuthanam Adharmaysya. Tadatmanam Srijami Aham'.

Bhagavad Gita (Chapter IV-7) [ref]

I think it's time -- so where art thou?


Monday, March 13, 2006

India Shining: A video is worth a thousand pics

Harshit sent me this video, which ties in to my post a few days ago.

Watch it [7 mins] if you can, if you don't have the time, watch the last 40 seconds, where they discuss as to "what is it that makes Indians study"

Suddenly, I feel a little happy to see these non-Indians in awe of my culture :-).

But all the same, we must remember that a lot needs to be done before we reach what we deserve... I just hope the huge legions of youth in India get proper guidence as they grow and mature.

Amen to that.
P.S. The marathon is in 7 days, and my knee is busted! Going to the doc tomorrow.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

How to react to a bomb blast if you are a politician

I was checking out desipundit and saw a link to this post by Sonia Falerio -- absolutely great!

No more from me, visit the link above... sums up my opinions. Also, read the comments, they add to the article.

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Banarasi Spirit Lives!

My Siddharth bhaiya pointed me to this news, and what a news item it is!

TOI [and others] are reporting about a candle light procession taken out by shopkeepers in Varanasi to protest against the bomb blasts. The article also talks about how the vigilance of a vendor saved people from the third bomb!

I must confess that my eyes welled with tears seeing people from all communities in the pictures above. I am so relieved to see the show of solidarity from all communities. This is a clear signal to all the disruptive forces that this attack is clearly a "terrorist" activity, and not a communal one.

I hope the students of ITBHU also organize a procession of this sort to show solidarity with the people of the great city of Varanasi.

This reminds me of:

"Kuch baat hai ki hasti mit-ti nahin hamaari
Sadiyon raha hai dushman, daure zamaan hamaara!"

Long live the spirit of the people.

a little overwhelmed with emotion,
Update: Arvind points me to this NDTV article about BHU students and secularism.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Varanasi is us

Mukul sent this today -- wonderful article.

I am not saying much about this since the article so aptly captures what I had to say -

Of all the soundbites that emanated from the mouths of leaders after the Varanasi blasts, it was surprisingly Uma Bharati — the “daughter of BJP cast out in the darkness” — who spoke with the most wisdom. The burden of her words was this: these attacks are not about religion, they are about crime. The nation needs to remain united now more than ever. True, many others expressed similar sentiments, but when the woman who had once celebrated the fall of Babri Masjid expressed them, they assumed importance; and when her words were compared with the statements of her former colleagues in the BJP — including of course those of the inimitable Pravin Togadia, anxious to convert the blasts into bankable political capital — they assume even greater importance. Because these, precisely, are the two ideas that need to guide political and popular response to the grave and wanton aggression on Varanasi. One, do not communalise these attacks — criminalise them; two, come together in resistance against them, don’t fall prey to the larger design of their perpetrators.

My prayers go out to maintaining calmness in the people.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Mayhem in Shiva's City

All of you know it by now, about the varanasi blasts. Abhishek Khanna from ITBHU talks about it here. Looking forward to more blog entries from the city itself.

A sad occurance, and a time for calmness and restraint. Everyone in the city is now apprehensive about riots, with the RAF deployed everywhere. I hope that people remember that the reason the terrorists chose to target Varanasi was to cause communal tensions - and if communal violence flares up, they have achieved exactly that.

I wonder what all it takes to prevent such occurances, a sense of responsibility in the powers-that-be to heed to intelligence reports as and when they come in, maturity in the population of the city to make sure that noone provides a safe-house to such criminals ... I wonder.

Sad, and a little worried,
Update: The explosive used, the no-good-causing bandh, and the proposed "yatra". [Everyone knows what happened after his last yatra!]

Sunday, March 05, 2006

25 done... onwards now...

So, last friday was my birthday. And no normal one, it was my 25th birthday!

This means a lot to me, being half as old as my advisor [he is turning 50 this year], not having to pay extra when renting cars, paying less for my car insurance ... and not being picked on by my "older" friends [they know I am talking about them :-) ].

And I got a bunch of gifts too -

  • Numerous wishes on facebook and orkut. Thanks to all who sent me those lovely messages. And add to that the number of calls/IMs/emails/SMSs .. I am touched!

  • The gang got two cakes at midnight and applied part of it [add some beaten eggs] on my face/head, then gave me the customary "birthday bumps" [oww.. it still hurts!]

  • Zack made a carrot cake and we had a cake-cutting ceremony in the group in office.

  • Rosine, our division coordinator took me out to lunch to the parkside cafe, the best food place on campus! The Oreo pie was awesome!

  • Diane [from our main deptt office] told me that my quals passing papers have finally reached her! Maa, main pass ho gaya! Say hello to PhD. Candidate Animesh Pathak!

  • Lots of my friends came for the party in the evening. I made ghughni, which is like chholey, except made with black chana, which is smaller. Traditional bihari dish. Wish mom was here in LA to taste it :-)

  • We went to see second nature perform after the party, and after the show, Eddie, their leader said - Today is the birthday of our biggest fan - Animesh!. They also gave me a T-shirt.. how sweet :-).

A lot has happened in the past 25 years, maybe I will blog about the milestones some other time, but a lot is going to happen in the next year - especially in research... I am going into my paper publishing mode, and that will mean less time for blogging.. but all for a good reason.

Thanks to all who have shaped my life till now,

P.S. I was told this morning about the Varanasi bomb blasts! I pray for calmness in the people of Varanasi and elsewhere in India.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

India Shining.. or not?

I was interviewed today by the university television channel for my views on USA and India as an Indian student ... nice to see the motherland getting importance.

This was aptly followed by an article link sent to me by Rishi.. so here it is.

India, Asia's other Superpower Breaks Out - article in Newsweek. It is a little long, but worth the read. This issue of Newsweek is dedicated to India!

However, I should also point out a couple of other articles that bring us back to the ground and show how there is much more to be done, and India's prosperity will come in spite of its politicians/bureaucrats, as opposed to due to them.

Here is Rabri Devi, the leader of the Bihar opposition, showing a chappal to someone in the state assembly, and there are reports about how a dalit woman who was going to represent India in a UN forum was given her passport one day after the convention started in New York! That is why I say we need to progress despite the system.

Here's to Mera Bharat Mahan [? maybe not yet.. but in some time]


Outsourcing Medicinal Testing?

Hi all,
I am super busy nowadays... hence the lull in posting... but could not resist to post on this news item about how a hostpital in Sevagram [yes, where Gandhiji had his ashram] is letting its subjects be used as guinea pigs to medicinal testing.

From the article "A Nation of Guinea Pigs":

The drug regimen, known as Aggrenox, was being tested for its ability to forestall a second stroke. S. P. Kalantri, the doctor tapped to lead the trial in Sevagram, quickly grasped the offer's appeal. Patients in Sevagram are poor enough that the benefits of taking part in the study would amount to a health care windfall; among other things, Boehringer Ingelheim guaranteed participants two physicals during each of the three years that the trial would run. For each person enrolled, moreover, the hospital would receive 30,000 rupees (about $665) - no small amount, given the puny budget of the center's stroke ward, a single room of eight pallet beds. Kalantri talked the matter over with the chair of the hospital's ethics committee, and the two concluded that the trial drug itself, with its possible side effects and limited efficacy, would provide little benefit to their patients. Then they went ahead and signed up.
Little by little, however, Kalantri began to see the problematic side of outsourced trials. "When I try to explain that a drug is experimental, that it might not work, the understanding is not there," he observes. "One woman said to me, 'What do you mean, the drug might not work? All drugs work!'"

Interesting.... I recommend reading the whole article..

I _so_ look forward to going back my motherland... it will be an interesting phase of my life.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Next step in Manjunath's battle

Posting an appeal I got today in email. Please help out. Previously discussed here and here


Feb 23rd is the birthday of Manjunath Shanmugam - an IIM L (2003) alumnus who lost his life for his fight against corruption. He died on November 19th, 2005.

As a Sales Manager with Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (IOCL), Manju turned down bribes and ignored threats, to do his job – check rampant adulteration of petrol. He was shot dead in Lakhimpur Kheri by a petrol pump owner and his gang.

To most of us, though we never met him, Manju is extremely familiar and is, in part, within every one of us. This is one cause we CANNOT turn away from. We have no excuse. We must ensure that his death does not go in vain.

The Manjunath Shanmugam Trust is now a legal entity with 2 trustees - Anjali Mullatti (IIML '93) and H. Jaishankar (IIMB '91).

The immediate and urgent focus of the trust is to take up the legal battle and ensure quick justice for the murder case. The murderers must not go free.

The broader objectives of the trust are

a . To establish and maintain an award for individuals/institutions working to uphold the values of truth and honesty in the face of danger to themselves.

b. To provide aid to individuals fighting a legal battle to uphold the values of truth, honesty or justice in the Indian corporate, government or public matters.

For updates on what we have done to date and our next steps, please visit the trust website:

How can you help?

Firstly – funds are needed to pay lawyers' fees, case costs, build an award corpus.. this will be a long and tedious battle. Please donate just one day's salary for the cause.
Our first donors: Rs. 44,500 ($ 1000) from Sanjay Khanduri, Wharton Class of 2006, and Rs. 30,000 from Akhil Krishna, IIML 2003.

Secondly, if you can commit time and effort, please write in and be part of the team.

Thirdly, if you have close contacts in media, police, legal, judiciary who can help, please let us know.

It is heartwarming that so many people have already reacted immediately and generously – across the spectrum of media, legal, police and the IIM fraternity. Be part of that group.

How do you donate?

1. Write a cheque favouring 'The Manjunath Shanmugam Trust' , and courier it to:
2909/1, Raghavapriya, 3rd Main, V.V. Mohalla, Mysore 570 002, India

2. Write a cheque favouring 'The Manjunath Shanmugam Trust' , and deposit it in any HDFC bank drop box, with a deposit slip, account number 0651000091870.

3. Do an online money transfer , to the HDFC Bank a/c , from your ICICI /HDFC/Citibank a/c. Account number 0651000091870.

Currently FCRA regulations prohibit us from accepting foreign remittances - we're working on getting special permission. For now, please route all overseas donations via your regular Indian rupee accounts.

We have also applied for income tax exemption for donors under Section 80 (G).

Please contact me for any further clarifications -


Anjali Mullatti - IIML class of '93
Catalyst Consulting
Dir: +91.821.4288688
Cell: +91.98801 91323

Engineering Auction Videos

This is super cool..

Check out the videos here!

This is a sample of what coolness happens when you allow an open mindset for your engineering students.... wish we had things like this in ITBHU :-).

And now to look for the female who will find a engineering PhD student attractive (now _that_ will be a surprise :-) ) ...

P.S. yeah, posting after a long time, super busy in work.. but great videos!

P.P.S. Thanks to Kimish for the link

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Idea #5 online - What should Google videos do next!

Yes, I finally posted my new idea.
Go here to find out my views on improving google videos.. and the life of the rest of us :D.

As usual, comments welcome.

And now, back to work!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

What would Muhammad do?

Hi all,
I have been super busy writing that addendum to my proposal.. so I shall keep it short..

Go and read this article in the LA times about the recent protests by muslims over the "offensive" cartoon of prophet Mohd. It is written by a muslim gentleman who is a professor at Cal State LA.

From the article:

The khateeb (the person delivering the sermon) stated that it was not right that Islam was the target of abuse. He said some will go out of their way to disrespect Islam. He said the Muslim community demands an apology, and (thankfully) he called on Muslims to be peaceful and forgiving.


Some Muslims may say that public opinion does not matter when it comes to Islam. Yet if one examines the life of the prophet Muhammad, one would conclude that he carefully considered public opinion. When he negotiated a treaty with Arabs who were at war with him, he did not insist that his title as "prophet" be placed in the document (this act horrified his companions, to the point where they thought it was sacrilege). Instead, he had his name written as simply Muhammad, the son of Abdulla. This placated his enemy and was essential to successfully concluding the treaty, which gave the Muslims an extended period of peace that allowed them to publicize Islam. In fact, the opportunity the treaty created may be responsible for Islam's existence.

Interesting.. read the whole article for more... I would specially love some of my muslim readers to comment.

Love and Luck,

Friday, February 03, 2006

Appeal to Support the cause of new IITs

Dear Readers,
Some of you are from ITBHU, some from the IITs, some from the 7 institutes that are in the new-IIT race, and some from others. It is my strong request to all of you to read through the following, for my sake, and support the new IIT petition.

The petition is here, for those who want to open it in a new window/tab while reading the following.

The story so far...
As we all know, some months ago, the Indian government decided to create some new IITs. Since then, a lot of deliberation has gone in this and a committee consisting of leading academicians shortlisted 7 institutes for possible conversion to IITs.

The committee then visited all the institutes and has prepared a report-card of all the institues and will be submitting it to the MHRD soon. The idea is NOT to convert ALL institutes to IIT (if that was so, then this process of evaluation was not necessary!). Instead, depending on the worthiness of the institute, it will be either be converted to an IIT or be put on an IIT-track whereby its progress will be evaluated after some more time to re-evaluate its worthiness of being an IIT.

Why is it important to sign?
Well, there are various reasons.
1. We need more IITians. Read the paragraph in the petition where the Chinese premier talks about how China will have 100 IIT-like institutions in the next few years.
2. Only the institutes that pass the test should be converted, and they should be converted for sure. This will encourage the others to come up to speed and improve their infrastructure with the grants given.
3. Many deserving institutes that were not considered in this round will see the open-ness of the government to convert deserving institutes as an opportunity to strengthen their case and fight their case strongly, thus giving us better engineering colleges.
4. Last but not the least, the decision will be taken by the goverment in the coming week, and this is the time to act!

So dear friends, thanks for reading till here. I strongly suggest you to sign the petition, and ask all your friends to do so.

I am open to discussion, and can be reached at

Love and Luck,

Disclaimer: I am an alumnus of ITBHU, one of the 7 institues proposed to be converted to IIT.

Interesting reads: (Dataquest Ranking of Engg Schools) (IAS Assessment of Research Output) (The New IIT Process) (IT-BHU's Turn?)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Saraswati Puja

Today is Vasant Panchami, the fifth day of the bright fortnight of the lunar month of Magha. It is important to me in many ways.

Firstly, it is Saraswati Puja, when Hindus pray to the goddess of wisdom, Saraswati. More about that here and here.

Interesting facts:
However, the most significant aspect of this day is that children are taught their first words on this day, for it is considered an auspicious day to begin how to read and write.

I still remember writing the first character on the thaali full of rice grains :-).

Surprisingly, Vasant Panchami is the second most important festival in the Pakistani city of Lahore. Despite being a Hindu festival, it is still celebrated in Lahore with the same enthusiasm that was evident in the pre-partition times.

Interesting, very interesting... can someone confirm this?

Secondly, this is the day when Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya laid the foundation of my beloved Banaras Hindu University, home of ITBHU.

I wish you all a very wisdom-filled Vasant Panchami/Saraswati Puja.

And now, back to work...
Love and Luck,

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

[Nearly] There

The quals presentation went fine, but there is more to be done.
The professors were not very clear about the details of my work... so I have one week to prepare a 5-page document explaining in details my assumptions, inputs, outputs and problem statement, and formally describe my early results... and that is when I will be done completely.

That's it for now.. back to work.

And yes, thanks for all the good wishes.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Quals on Wednesday!

My PhD Qualifier Exam is on Feb 1, that is the coming Wednesday!!!!!

For those who do not know what it is, this is the day I face 5 professors who are experts in their fields and present to them what I want to do in the next 2 years which will give me my PhD. 1 hour for the presentation, one for the questions. Somehow I can feel my knees going weak....

So dear friends, I am gonna lay low for some time, no more blogging.. only PPT making and practicing for me...

Wish me luck,

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Shubh Ganatantra Divas 2006!!

Hi all,
Today [Jan 26, 2006] we Indians are celebrating 56 years of being a republic. I strongly encourage you to read through the address to the nation by our dear president Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. [Thanks to Abhijit for the link]

We hoisted the tricolor at USC this morning at 7:30 and it was interesting to see that at least 15 out of the 1500 Indians at the university were there braving the cold and having woken up on time.

The sweetest thing happened after we had taken down the flag. A girl [sorry I could not make out her face since I was not wearing my glasses] came up and asked why the flag was not up. We said that we had taken it down since we cannot leave it up all day. Upon that, she said, "Please at least show me the flag. I am feeling so homesick". Sweet.. very sweet.

The I-day and the R-day both evoke mixed feelings in me. Since I never saw the country in times of explicit peril [wars, pre-independence, etc.], I feel that sometimes I undervalue the importance of these occasions. So my dear readers, I pose this question to you:

What does the Republic Day of our great nation mean to you?

It will be interesting to see your responses. Hopefully it will answer some questions I have been struggling with.

My answer will be in the comments.. see you there!

Jai Hind!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

IITians make a political party

Yes yes, I know many of you have read it already, but here goes:

Many sources reported today that a bunch of IIT graduates have formed a political party, having left their lucrative jobs.

Nice to know about that, lets see how far this goes. It will be interesting to see how they can maintain "quality" while growing in size.

From the article:

“People think we are crazy so much so that our families have also failed to understand our motto, but we won’t give up,’’ he added.
The core team of “Paritrana’ ’ comprises Rajpurohit , Shukla, Amit Beesen, also the vice president and a B Tech (Mechanical) from IIT Bombay and a LLB graduate, Chandrashekhar (national treasurer), B Tech (computer science) from IIT Kanpur, Bharat Sundaram, the PRO of the party and B Tech from IIT Kanpur and PhD in electronics from Melbourne.
“Paritrana means complete relief from the various causes of distress, and that is what we want to do for our people,’’ added Chandrashekhar. Low funds have not discouraged them in their efforts of holding door-to-door campaigns in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and parts of Maharashtra.

Kudos to you all people... maybe I shall volunteer for this party once I am back :-).


Monday, January 23, 2006

His Eye is Safe!

Various sources are reporting that the eye-gouging sentence to be meted out to the Indian guy who injured a Saudi person's eye [mentioned on this blog first here and then here] is not going to happen!

A really happy news indeed. Best wishes to his family and congratulations to all those involved in saving him!

From the HT article:

"The victim has pardoned Naushad. This has been authenticated by a Saudi court," Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed told reporters in New Delhi on Monday.

The decision to pardon Naushad, currently held in a Saudi jail, was officially conveyed to Ahamed by Saudi Ambassador Saleh Mohammed Al-Ghamdi on Monday evening.

"We are very grateful to the Saudi government for this generous act," Ahamed said. "This is just the right gesture that will boost goodwill between the two countries."

Notice how the "victim" has pardoned him, leading to his freedom. Interesting.

That's it for now folks.... back to work now.
P.S. And yes, I ran 14 miles on sunday... took 3 hours... but it is not hurting so much, so all is good :-).

Thursday, January 19, 2006

If you wanna marry her, rape her!

A couple of interesting articles, all deserving your attention, dear readers.. so read on...

First, there is the news that gives this post its title : about how a rapist has offered to marry his deaf, mute and mentally challenged victim. Article here [make sure u read thru all 3 pages]

From the article:
The victim, who worked as a domestic help at Dilip's residence, was raped by Dilip and his accomplice, Vinod Chauhan. Meena's mother had abandoned her at the Ahmedabad Mental Hospital, near Dilli Darwaza on August 18, 2004, promising to return with some biscuits for her.

The MoU, according to defence counsel, was made after Dilip and Meena gave their consent for marriage. According to public prosecutor Sudhir Brahmbhatt, "the consent of the victim, who according to medical reports is equivalent to a 10-year old child, cannot undermine the case."

Fair or not? What do you say? I strongly recommend you to read the article to form a proper opinion.

Second news is that the family of the person who is facing the eye-for-eye verdict in Saudi Arabia [talked about earlier here] is planning to meet the Saudi King. Lets hope something nice comes out of it.

Finally, here is a nice interview with the Bihar Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar. I am really looking forward to some development happening in this state.

That's all for now folks... back to work now!
Love and Luck,

Amul does it Again!

IndiaFM has an article about the latest ad of Amul Butter, based on the hit movie, bluffmaster!

These guys are so creative! Simply love them!

... off to the Indian store to buy some Amul butter...


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Arz kiya hai...

Okay.. so the busy phase continues, and I am postponing my "India trip report" .. sorry for that!

But, to feed your minds, dear readers, here is a nice link to Varun's blog, where he has recently posted a bunch of his new creations. Amazing stuff!

For those who don't know him, Varun Grover graduated from ITBHU with a B.Tech in Civil Engineering in 2003 and now works as a writer in the Mumbai showbiz industry. The name Rahul-Varun that you see in the credits of "The Great Indian Comedy Show" is Varun Grover, my friend. I had the honor of working with him when we ran GAP Productions back in ITBHU [GAP = Grover, Arya, Pathak, for Varun, Pranay and Yours truly].

Keep em coming Grover!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Local Indian computing and a movie to watch out for

My "India developing" post that is long overdue... but I shall keep it due for now.

Got some time, so felt like telling you all abt two interesting items I came across today.

1. The trailer of Darna Zaroori Hai is online now. Go here to read a review of the trailer and a download. Look at the list at the bottom! I for one am looking forward to it, but first I would like to watch the first one :-).

2. There are two articles today about how local customizations of things common in the western world are coming up in India. After all, if you can get 1/6th of the world to buy your service, that translates into LOTS of money! The articles I am talking about are about launch of a tamil browser and a much bigger news about Microsoft Research working on an interactive, multilingual map of India.

From the article:
The research prototype enables the addition of information such as the location of polling booths and other data, that helps citizens create and maintain maps that are uniquely relevant to their communities. Microsoft Research India and the Department of Science and Technology plan to leverage experiences from this prototype, to develop effective country-wide mechanisms for spatial data creation, collection and dissemination that can be useful in a number of ways, such as for disaster management.

Interesting things happenning in that country... lets see how this proceeds.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Indian Pride, and Indian Shame

The busy phase continues.. but I thought you all might be interested in the following.

1. India develops its own SCRAMJet [here].
From the Article:
ISRO considered this achievement as a major technology breakthrough in air-breathing propulsion. Other than the United States, which had recently carried out in-flight demonstration of supersonic combustion for a short duration, work related to supersonic combustor designs in other countries like Japan, China, Australia, Russia and Europe were either in their initial or ground testing phase.

At the same time, we have Neeraj posting on this very interesting topic of Prithviraj Chauhan's death and the current state of his tomb. Makes me wonder... who is going to have time for launching a mission to get the remains of the great Indian ruler back from there if the political parties are busy preventing guys and girls from meeting [remember operation Majnu!].

That's it for now folks.. now back to work!
P.S. I saw Owen Wilson [wedding crashers] yesterday in his limo when I was runnin near campus!!! Boy, now I feel like I live in LA!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

A Tale [tail?] of Three Kitties [200th Post!]

I am super swamped currently, hence a lull in posting, but hey, this is the 200th post on this blog! Never knew it would reach this milestone when I started this blog a year and half ago.. thanks for the encouragement.

So, coming to the point, since time is less, I felt I should post about the three felines I came across in the past month. Here they are:

Cat #1:
Name: Daisy [or Desi, as I call her ;-)]
Location: Varanasi, with my cousin
Special: Rescued kitten, now lives inside my uncle's house and has amazing concentration when it comes to stalking mice [as in the pic]

Cat #2:
Name: "Billi" [cat in Hindi], that's what mom calls her
Location: Mankapur, with my mom
Special: Lives around the house, with mom giving it some milk occasionally. Has learnt how to catch mice so is sufficiently self-sufficient. Dad does not like her, or so he tells us :-). Sneaks in every once in a while to steal some milk.

Cat #3:
Name: Cucho or Cuchito [Shweta, his owner, says this means cat in Spanish, but Babelfish does not agree]
Location: Los Angeles, with us!! Soon to move to the east coast
Special: We are cat sitting for Shweta till she takes Cucho in two weeks time. He is very gentle, and likes to sleep on Karthiks's legs, but also licks his mouth when he is sleeping... no wonder Karthik has been a little drowsy in the day of late :-)

That's it for this time folks... back to work! Once again, thanks for supporting me till the 200th post!

Love and Luck,

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

in HKG.. again!

Wohi Hong Kong airport.. wahi free net waali machines... aur wohi main.... waiting for my next flight to LA....

14 hours more...

Interesting journey so far, met an ITBHU MECH-85 alumnus who is a patent attorney in LA, and a 12th grader Canadian girl who was in India for 3 weeks [her first time in India] meeting her sister who goes to school here!! Also, there was a "is there a doctor" announcement in the plane, too bad I do not have my PhD yet :D.

Saw xXx and "The Skeleton Key"[minus the last 5 minutes, because the plane landed!! .. wonder what happens in the end]

Lets see what else happens in this journey... on to LA!! [home sweet home?]

Monday, January 02, 2006

I am back... almost

Hey people,

Wish you all a very happy 2006!!

I missed you, and hope you missed me too :-).
I shall be back and posting starting 3rd Jan evening, LA time.

Abhi posting from a Reliance cyber cafe in Delhi, sitting with my cousin, who also has started blogging.. more abt that later.

The India trip has been nice, I gave talks at my high school, and several at my college.. hopefully the kids will learn from the mistakes I made. It was heartwarming to see them at the point where I was some years ago. Still cannot believe I passed high school 6 and a half years ago!

ITBHU now has online access to all journals, IEEE, ACM, Springer.. you name it... we are going for wireless access in hostels soon.. things are looking up.

I have some interesting pics too, will upload when I get back.

And now, back to shopping and meeting people... see you all when I get back!

Love and Luck,