Thursday, December 30, 2004

Dandeli Trip and Shetti's Wedding

Last weekend we set out to attend Shetti's wedding in Hubli. Since the wedding was on Sunday, we decided to spend Saturday visiting places around Dandeli (North Karnataka, 70 km from Hubli).
The Night Long Vigil
The Rajahamsa bus to Dandeli looked like it was on its last trip before being decommissioned. We had the last seats in the bus to add to the fun. After the bus is decommisioned, I guess it will be used to give budding astronauts a feel of the G-forces in space flight. The seats had a very unique feature. When pushed back, the back and head rest would tilt towards the adjacent seat. Great for couples heading to Dandeli for their honeymoon. But for the five of us, it meant an all night vigil guarding against involuntary lip locks. After Hubli, we finally managed to find better seats and get some sleep.
Unche Log Unchi Pasand
When we got down at Dandeli, we found that State Guest House, which is the only known decent place to stay in Dandeli town, was completely booked for a wedding. We tried a shady lodge next with dark corridors. No rooms there either. Finally we had to try the only other lodge in town, Prakash Lodge. The hotel manager told us that the place was almost completely booked for the holiday season. There was one room available though. The room was well appointed, with a study table and a thoughtfully placed recess in the wall, next to one of the beds. From the colour of the recess we figured it was for the unche log with unchi pasand to conveniently spit out pan or gutkha without getting up from bed. We checked out at 12 after checking with Shetti if he could book us rooms in Hubli. We arranged a taxi to go around Dandeli.
Kali River, Cyntheri Rocks and Syke's Point
The first spot was on the banks of Kali river. Good picnic spot. The water was clear and inviting, but due to the undercurrents and the sharp rocks, taking a dip was inadvisable. The forest department had a board with the writing "Number of deaths since ...:". No number was written to suggest that it needed very frequent updates. Next stop was Cyntheri rocks. The route to this place was picturesque. We had a flat tyre midway to let us enjoy the scenery. The rocks are magnificent. There's water flowing at the bottom. Again, no possibility of a dip. We finished our packed lunches here. After Cintheri, we headed to Syces point. Kamath had warned us that the locals pronounce Syces in a peculiar way. Since this blog is no adult site, I can't mention the word "sex" here. Let's just say the locals called it X-point. When we asked the driver what we'd get to see at X-point, he told us "X-point mein apko sin dekhne ko milega." For a moment we wondered what the place was about and then realized he meant scene. The spot was beautiful indeed. It looks into a valley with the Kali river meandering through it. There is a hydel power station at the base and photography is not allowed at the spot.
After Syke's point we headed back to Dandeli and then to Sirsi without realizing how far it was. We saw a fox and a hare on the route. This leg was disappointing. The driver was just taking us around to add up the miles. We traveled nearly 100 km to see two temples which weren't remarkable. After another 100 km we reached Hubli at midnight where Shetti-san was waiting for us on his wedding eve. Shetti arranged a good dinner for us at a nearby bar. At the bar, the waiter seemed confused when we ordered peas pulao and curd rice. He asked if we wanted chicken or mutton pieces in the "piece" pulao. Shetti had also arranged hotel rooms and return tickets for us at a short notice. (Thanks Shetti!)
The Wedding
At the wedding, Shetti was blushing all the time. We saw him first in a Gandhi topi. Lalith joked that we should get Gandhi Topis too. I didn't get the joke, so I went out with Don and asked an auto driver to take us to the nearest place where we could get Gandhi Topis. After getting some queer looks from the auto driver and the people at the shop we returned in time for the photo sessions. The five of us pulled out our topis on stage and surprised Shetti. The wedding feast was sumptuous. The rest of the trip was uneventful. I should add a special mention for Snu who did a good job of settling the accounts and then bullied us into thanking him for it.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Karwar Trip

Photos from the trip to Karwar last weekend are on yahoo now:

We spent Saturday at the Great Outdoors resort. The resort is on a private island named Kurumgad, 5 km into the Arabian Sea off Karwar. The island has a good private beach. You can indulge in water sports like kayaking and water skating. If the waters are clear, you can also try snorkeling there. Sadly for us, the water wasn't all that clear and a large group from Mudra tried all the water sports and the speed boat ran out of fuel. If you ever plan to go, make sure the resort isn't fully booked. We spent spent the morning swimming in the sea and tried kayaking.

After a quick nap in the afternoon, we set off to the beach again. Vijay and Mohan tried beach volleyball for a while. The sunset with a distant lighthouse in view was spectacular. Then Mohan's creative juices started flowing. His ideas for some creative shots around the setting sun had us wondering if he had chosen the right profession. Most of us who heard him have been scarred for life. I wonder if we can ever watch a sunset again without the disturbing imagery of Mohan's ideas. At dusk, there was more to come. We had a barbecue in the moonlight. A little beer and Seshu started off on yet another chapter from his dukhbhari dastaan. This time there was an unusual twist to the story. Mohan and I realized that counseling under influence is fun. Since this is a PG rated blog, I can't get into the details about Mohan's sunset ideas or Seshu's story here.

The next morning we set off to Gokarna. As we were leaving the island, we finally saw two dolphins near the boat jetty. The weather at Gokarna was sultry and there wasn't much to do there. The town was pretty interesting though. The hippies outnumber the locals there. The little town is lined with jims, restaurents (sic) serving peanut butter, cyber cafes and even advanced computer technology centers. We couldn't figure out what attracts the hippies in hordes to this place. Apparently, Om beach, which is at a distance, is spectacular. We just went to the main beach (quite ordinary) since we had the return bus at 7. Probably will plan another trip to this place.

Pretty good trip. Could've been better if we had done some water skating and snorkeling.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Sanjeev Kapoor Tandoor

This weekend I was mostly indoors and in front of the tube. The pick of
weekend television was an ad (or should I say infomercial) about a tandoor grill so revolutionary that Sanjeev Kapoor chose to lend it his name, calling it the Sanjeev Kapoor Tandoor. This revolutionary tandoor has a sloping plate with ridges to let the oil flow out into a tray. The tray is of course thoughtfully included with the product. The ad featured Mr. Kapoor himself giving a demo to a soap opera queen and a live audience of about fifty people who had come to witness the miracle first hand.

When I tuned in, a 32 year old software engineer was telling the audience about how he had considered buying a treadmill due to growing fitness concerns. Luckily for him, someone recommended the Sanjeev Kapoor Tandoor instead. So now, instead of working out on an expensive
treadmill, he keeps fit by having his fill of lip smacking oil-free delicacies grilled in the Sanjeev Kapoor Tandoor. Wow! Fitness equipment manufacturers are doomed.

The demo continued with oil being squeezed out of various grilled items in the tandoor. The soap queen displays the glass of extracted oil to the audience. A horrified mother, clutches her son and asks the opera queen if her son was actually ingesting all that oil. The opera queen
grimly answers in the affirmative but quickly reassures the petrified mother that the horror has come to an end. The twit she was clutching on to adds, "Didn't I tell you that oil is bad, mom?". For some reason the audience laughs out loud at this.

Next, Mr. Kapoor offers some aloo tikki grilled on the tandoor to the soap opera queen. She nibbles and says "Yeh achha *nahi* hai ....". This my friends is one of the most delicate moments of suspense witnessed on television. The lively audience suddenly goes "Huhhhh!?!" and there are puzzled looks all round the studio. People shrug their shoulders and stare into each other open mouthed, seeking an explanation. My heart too skipped a beat as she continued "... yeh to *bahut* achha hai." The audience let out a collective sigh of relief and broke into spontaneous applause. From the looks of the audience during these vital seconds, I suspect the woman would have been lynched if she had prolonged the suspense. It would have been a sad end to Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Whatever Thi. I shudder at the thought of a parallel universe where the lynching would actually have taken place.

After everything was back in control, Mr. Kapoor roasted a chicken leg and showed yet another cup of oil to the audience. He picked a sardar from the audience to taste his masterpiece. One bite and the sardar was overcome with emotion. He joyously declared that he hadn't tasted stuff like that since he left Ludhiana. At this point I couldn't take the emotional stress any more. Wiping my tears I switched to Cartoon Network where the Powerpuff girls were saving Townsville from Mojo Jojo.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Amazing Weekend Adventure

This weekend, Ramu, Kamath, Mohan and I set out on the popular trek on the abandoned railway line from Sakleshpur to Subrahmanya along the Ghats. This trail passes through one of the most scenic railway lines cutting through the ghats with umpteen tunnels and tall bridges over waterfalls and gorges. Trains have been stopped on this route for quite some time now since the tracks are being converted to broad gauge. We initially thought this would be an easy trek. The plan was finish it by noon and reach Mangalore in the evening. Little did we know about the adventure that awaited us. Before I ramble on, here's the link to the photo album:

A Bad Start
We reached Sakleshpura at around 3:00 am. Kamath made one attempt to get some sleep at the bus-shelter but a grasshopper that took shelter in his pants foiled his plans. The 5:15 bus from Sakleshpur dropped us at least 4 km before the trail. From this point, we split into two groups and hitched rides to the start of the trail. We were dropped off 2 km apart and with no mobile coverage, it was 7:30 when we finally traced each other and started the hike from Donigal station.

The First Bridge
The first bridge arrived soon. It was the scariest sight. In the pictures these bridges look all right. If a train can go across these why can't we? Well, there is no protection on the sides. The gap between the sleepers is wider than you think and the sight of water gushing a hundred feet below isn't pretty. I couldn't estimate if the gap between the sleepers was wide enough for me to slip through. One of the rare occasions when a beer belly can be useful. There are metal sheets laid along the centre of the track for people to walk across, but often they aren't secured to the sleepers properly and most of them look like they are from the beginning of the iron age. On the sides of the bridge there is a continuous girder below the sleepers and the gaps, but walking along that is not a good idea since a slip sideways and you'll be up in the clouds twiddling strings on a harp. The bridge must've been a 100 ft tall. We thought reasoning might dispel some fears. A height of 20 ft or 200 ft is really the same. A fall from either will send you back to your maker in quick time. A 200 ft bridge would afford you a little more time to come up with a good wisecrack for your last words. But then, there won't be anyone around you to record it and etch it on your tombstone. So heights beyond a certain limit don't really matter. Another comforting logic was that the backpacks would hold on even if we slipped into the gaps. Kamath and Ramu crossed first followed by Mohan and I. Kamath and Ramu had the pleasure of watching Mohan patting his thighs and prodding himself at each step.

More Bridges and Tunnels
As we moved along there were more bridges and tunnels. After the first few bridges we got the knack of crossing them. One should never look below through the gaps. On long ones, one should avoid looking up to see how much more there is to go. At one bridge there was sand on the sleepers. At another there was a trolley right in the middle and we had to walk around it along the edge of the bridge. The scariest one however was a very tall and long one with some sleepers missing. We had to carefully get down to the girder on the side where the sleepers were missing and get back on to the sleepers. After doing this part I thought I'd conquered all fear and even took my camera out while standing on the bridge. But as I focused on the stream below, I got the shivers. I quickly snapped a few shots without looking into the viewfinder and carried on. The tunnels were not scary at all. The longest one was about half a kilometre long. They are totally dark and the long ones are full of bats. The bats didn't bother us much but they do raise a stink.

Destination Yedukumeri?
We reached Yedukumeri at 1:30 pm, covering 18 km in 6 hours. After a quick lunch, we started off at 2:00 pm to the highway. Two guys at the station said we could go with them. Apparently there was a truck going to the highway soon. We were soon busy planning the rest of the day in Mangalore. After we followed them on the track and crossed two scary bridges, we asked them where the truck was. Just 5 km away they said and we'd have to cross a few bridges and tunnels to get there.

The Long Trek to Gundya
The 18 km trek to Yedukumeri had exhausted us and after assuming that the trek was over, we weren't prepared to cross bridges again. This stretch was a nightmare. We had to find our way through tall elephant grass and bridges were more numerous, rickety and some had creaking, rotten sleepers. The guys leading us were very fast and it was hard to keep up with them. After a while we were crossing bridges fast without worrying too much. The stretch also had some flooded tunnels and we had to take a few detours. The guys leading us surprisingly didn't need torches in the dark tunnels. Mohan and the guys also spotted a snake along the way. Luckily it was in a clearing and was spotted easily. At 4:30 pm we reached a site about 7 km from Yedukumeri where gauge conversion was on. Mohan had counted 50 bridges in all (from Donigal).

When we finally reached the work site at Gundya, we lost sight of the two guys and the truck left without us. All our hopes of going down to Mangalore for a well deserved rest were dashed. At the camp we were told that there were two options to reach Gundya. A decent road that the lorries took was 10 km long. There was a 3 km shortcut trail through dense woods that was very steep. This trail also had a stream towards the end that would be neck deep in water when dam upstream opened its gates. We were too tired to walk any further and we were told that elephants roam the jungles along both routes. We thought we'd take shelter in one of the tunnels for the night. We didn't have any bed sheets or warm clothing for the night. Luckily for us, the railway contractor, one Mr. Ankaiah Naidu was a benevolent man. He arranged a good dinner for us and put us up in a thatched hut with very comfortable beds. Workers told us that he does this often for stranded trekkers. May his tribe increase! We slept well that night.

The Highway, Finally
The next morning, we thanked Mr. Naidu and took ride on one of his tipper lorries that was going down to Gundya. It was a bumpy ride along the newly cut out road though the forest. After about 5 km, a tree that had fallen blocked the path. Attempts to pull the trunk out of the way using the truck failed. Luckily a jeep had come from the other direction. Both vehicles turned back after exchanging passengers. We reached Gundya at 11:00 am and finally got bus that got us to Bangalore by 5:30 pm.

An enjoyable hike, but I wouldn't recommend this to anyone with a fear of heights. I don't think I'll walk across railway bridges again.

A conversation between Mr. Naidu and another man that Ramu overheard:
"Where are these guys from?"
"Did they come here all the way to walk on the tracks??"
"Yeah. They like the scenery here."
"Oh. When the tracks are ready they can just take the train and avoid the walk."

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Long Weekend

I had fun this weekend writing an app to sync my phone from Linux. (Sound of people typing in "fun" at LG doesn't provide syncing software for Linux and it doesn't publish the protocol used either. So I had to do a bit of reverse engineering to figure out how to do it. With a serial port sniffer, I found that the sync software wasn't doing any voodoo but simply using AT commands (though they weren't standard commands you'd find in the GSM AT specification). After that I learn a bit of serial programming from an good online guide and found a python module for serial programming. So far I've managed to extract the schedule from the phone. The next step is to create a good front end for it and maybe share it on the web. There is a project already for Nokia handsets called gnokii.
Other than that, after yet another failed attempt to rent out The Usual Suspects I ended up watching Toy Story and North by Northwest. And there was a trip to the perpetual mela called Forum with Danny. This week's amusement was watching the suckers who had queued up to get inside McDonalds. Danny has become interested in Krishnamurthi's books. Both of us bought The Ending of Time which contains conversations between Krishnamurthi and David Bohm. Yet to start reading it.
Anyone interested in a hike on the abandoned railway track from Donigal that Snu went on last weekend? Here's a friend's travelogue on this hike.

Monday, October 18, 2004

The SEP Field

The SEP field is an amazing technology introduced in Douglas Adam's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy "trilogy". It is a cheaper alternative to the invisibility field and serves the same purpose. So how does it work? Well, SEP stands for "Somebody Else's Problem". The SEP field relies on the human observer's tendency to subconsciously ignore the existence of things that look like somebody else's problem. Read on here for a funnier description.
If you're wondering why I posted this today: Mohan and I were going out for breakfast a while ago when the lift stopped at the third floor. When the door opened, there was this guy briskly sweeping a pile of dust into the lift. He probably was a bit late in seeing the lift occupied and then changed the direction of the sweep a bit. Neat idea though. If you can't sweep it under a carpet, just use the lift and make it somebody else's problem.
Coming back to Hitchhiker's, there are other articles in Wikipedia on The Total Perspective Vortex, Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster and Vogon Poetry. If this whets you appetite for the book, you could borrow the "trilogy" from me.

Sunday, October 17, 2004


I'm not going to write on the "I want to save the planet" or "I want to soar like and eagle" or "I want to give Schwarzenegger a wedgie" kind of dreams here. It's about the more interesting ones I wake up to on some days.
Just yesterday there was this guy from college (barely knew him) who suddenly turned psychotic and started chasing Kamath, Sito and me with a bazooka in hand. After a long chase we managed to give him the slip and end up in a lake bed. Just when it looked like a safe place to hide, we see pug marks. A little away we see granite sculptures of some animals. As we move closer, one of them roars. It turns out they are tigers covered in foam. I didn't know tigers also had foam parties. I tell others about a report and photo in The Times about foam formation in Bellandur lake due to effluents from textile units. Kamath helpfully adds, "Know what? We are in Bellandur." Satisfied with the explanation we let the tigers continue their party and move on. We soon find other victims hiding there and get into a meeting to figure out why the psycho is after us and where he got that frikkin bazooka from. Don't remember much after that.
I've spent most of my conscious hours today trying to figure out how the subconscious comes up with such interesting stuff. The foam from the lake can be attributed to the photo in The Times yesterday, but where the heck did those party animals come from? I haven't been watching any NGC, Discovery, Animal Planet or AXN this weekend. Also couldn't figure out why that sidey from college was after us either. Even if I'd inadvertently done some harm to him in college, why was he after Sito and Kamath? Anyone who does dream analysis out there? Dirty Freudians can stay out of this exercise!

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Plan 9 From Outer Space

Did you know that Plan 9, the OS from Bell Labs is named after the movie Plan 9 From Outer Space? It's one of those movies that is so bad that it is actually a good watch. Here's a site on Plan 9 flubs. This reminded me of masochists in college who liked suffering first day first shows of Mithun Da's B grade movies. If you are a bad movie aficionado, here are some links that you can use to populate your TO DO lists -
Bad movie reviews (Turkey ratings)
Worst movie list on Wikipedia
The Golden Raspberry Awards
The IMDB bottom 100 list
There is also the IMDB top 250 list if you are looking for good films.

Quote of the week: Tau at dinner last Friday - "Whenever I have a difficult choice to make in life, I always consult my dad. I know for sure I have to make the opposite choice."

Friday, October 01, 2004

Narasimha Parvatha

I was down with viral fever for the last four days. The stud that I am, it is unlikely that this had anything to do with last weekend's trek to Narasimha Parvatha. The 7 km trek up to the top was fun. This was the popular trail and not difficult at all. Rains and fog spoiled some of the fun of camping at the top. The next day, for the trek back, some of the more adventurous members suggested we take an 18 km trail that would take us through dense forests. Reasoning was that since it was downhill, it shouldn't be difficult. Well, it did turn out to be downhill from there on (figuratively not literally).
For one, the trail went steeply downhill and then it was mostly uphill. The next problem lay in the jungles. The guy who thought of the phrase "jungle mein mangal" probably wasn't in his right mind (or in his left one for that matter). The only things that seemed to be doing any "mangal" there were the gazillion leeches that had come out in the previous night's rain. Getz you here, getz you there could well be the theme song for our trek through the jungle. It's hard to describe leeches satisfactorily without resorting to profanity. Suffice to say that you would be happier letting Dracula coochie-coo with you than having one of these slimy blood suckers in your shoes. The trek back started at 7 am and ended at 3 in the afternoon with two stops in between for "de-leeching". One of the stops was at Barkhana falls where I discovered that these slimy @#&*er$ don't drown. At the next stop I learnt that stomping hard on these slimy @#&*er$ only damages your knees.
I've posted selected photos from my camera here. There are more photos by Manjula and Prabhu here.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Google Code Jam

Warning: Geeky Content.
I participated in the Google Code Jam challenge phase today. You are given two problems to solve in one hour. On problem is for 1000 points and another easier one is for 400 points. The solution can be submitted in C/C++, C#, Java or VB.NET (Python not allowed :( ).
I worked on the 400 pointer first. You are given a list of strings like {"...Y...T..",".......T..",..} where Y denotes your position and T denotes an enemy. You are to return distances to each enemy. Pretty straightforward (piddlu in IIT lingo). I guess the only factor here is how fast you can code up the solution. Passed the test cases in the first attempt. That left me about 45 minutes for the 1000 pointer.
For the 1000 pointer you are given the weight, coordinates and time of a rock falling into a pool. With each passing second, a ripple moves around the rock with the initial amplitude equal to the rock's weight. The amplitude falls with time as the ripple moves out. The ripple is square shaped. Ripples from different rocks add up. You are given a list of strings of the form "weight time x y". The function should return the highest amplitude at any point of time in the pool. Took about 40 minutes to code it up slow and steady. There were two errors which I couldn't fix in the 5 minutes that remained for testing. The sad thing was that one of the errors was was a stupid optimization that I shouldn't have added before testing (premature optimization - BAD). The other was my old nemesis - a boundary problem (< instead of <=) that resulted in one edge of the ripple not containing all points. I submitted the code anyway. In another 10 minutes after the deadline I was able to fix the errors with a couple of debug prints of the pool matrix. I wish I'd added the debug prints initially. I guess I should have attempted the 1000 pointer first (I have solid 20/20 hindsight) but the 1000 pointer in the practice rounds had given me the heebie-jeebies.
The 1000 pointer in the practice round had a graph where all nodes are connected to each other. A pseudo random generator gave the weights of the edges initially (note initially). You are given two nodes and the shortest path between them has to be determined. Looks like a simple application of Dijkstra's algorithm so far. But, the weights of the edges change while you are traversing the graph. If you travel along an edge of length 3, you need to recompute the weights three times (the new weights are pseudo-random). You have the option of looping at the same node. A self-loop has a weight of one. Solutions to most problems involve looping at a node multiple times till the weights are favourable. I coded up a brute force algo that worked for two of the three test cases they'd given. I didn't know Dijkstra's algo then. The program couldn't complete within the 8 second limit for the larger graph. I found another guy's solution later. It took me four hours just to figure out how that worked. That scared me off the 1000 pointer problems.
If you're interested in the problem statements and the solutions, drop me a mail (binu#removehashes#k#s at gmail com).
All in all a good experience (I now believe firmly that participating is much more important than qualifying :) ). There are other contests on TopCoder which is hosting the Google contest. Some nice links I found during all this:
Graph algorithms on Wikipedia
An online book on algorithms
A quick STL tutorial

Sunday, September 05, 2004

The Free Taxi

I pulled off a nice surprise on Rupa (classmate at IIT-B) who came over
from Bombay this weekend. Rups had given me the flight details but he
wasn't expecting me to pick him up from the airport. As I saw him coming
into the arrival lounge, I hid behind a pillar.
A taxi driver swoops down on Rupa: "Sir, Taxi?"
Rupa (busy punching some number on his mobile): "Nahi"
I move in from behind: "Sir, Taxi chahiye kya?"
Rupa (again without looking up): "Nahi. Katao."
Me (expecting Rupa to look up this time): "Sir free taxi hai."
Rupa (yet again doesn't look to see who is offering a free ride): "Nahi
Me (sure he'll look this time): "Sir apko Binu se milna jana hai na?"
Rupa (finally looks up bewildered): "Abbe!?"

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

The Life, the Universe and Everything

Try this query on google:
answer to life, the universe and everything

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Vacation Snaps

Snaps from my recent trip to Wayanad and Cochin. This time I took the more scenic route through Mysore, Gundulpet, Kalpetta (Wayanad) and Kozhikode to Cochin. It takes much longer to get to Cochin this way compared to the Salem, Coimbatore route but the terrain is far more interesting. Spent a day in Wayanad to see Edakkal caves and Pookode lake. There's lot's more to see if you are willing to trek and camp. The best time to go is between Jan and March. It was a 6 hour drive from Bangalore. Got to try the route through Nagarhole and Mananthavady next time.
I also found a secluded unspoilt stretch on Cherai beach to laze around. The more developed stretch has gained too much publicity of late and gets jam packed in the holiday season.

Monday, August 09, 2004

The Onion

Sometimes, people just don't get satire. It can get very comical at times, like when a Chinese daily printed a translation of an article from The Onion assuming it to be a credible news source. Another instance (though not exactly satire this time) was when the information on a website on di-hydrogen-monoxide was used by a city council to almost ban the use of this chemical in producing styrofoam cups.

The Personal Space Concept

Remember the MTV lift-man - the guy with the bald pate and missing teeth who would rant about the new generation and the stuff shown on MTV? A series of close encounters with the young college going crowd has made him my hero. Pity I couldn't find the guy's pic on the net.
My pet peeve so far had been about dull conversations being shoutcasted to all unwilling listeners at restaurants. But my experience at a dance fest yesterday makes this chitter chatter tolerable.
It happened at a dance fest called Prayog at the Chowdiah Memorial Hall yesterday. I had taken a seat right next to the aisle. There isn't much of a gap between rows of seats at this hall. This young thing comes in to take a seat somewhere in the middle of my row and I withdraw as much as possible to make way. Then she spots a friend in the the aisle. A long exchange of pleasantries begins. The nubile thing stands facing me. If I had a navel fetish I wouldn't be complaining (but I'm a pretty normal guy you see). For a minute or so I tried to act cool about it, fixing my gaze on random things on either side. When the giggle fest didn't show any signs of ending I decided to reclaim my rightful personal space. I finally looked up and asked her politely to either move in or out. The encroacher moved out with a sheepish grin.
Note to Kamath: The girl didn't say "Excuse me uncle" at any time during this incident - I was genuinely aggrieved. And I eagerly await your blog's launch.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Urban Legends

Can Coke dissolve nails? Should mobile phones be switched off near petrol pumps? Check out urban legends at

Monday, August 02, 2004

Smashing the Stack

A classic article on how to get a shell from an application with a buffer overrun:
Read the jargon file if you are interested in hacker slang, writing style and culture. Hacking need not anything to do with computers. The MIT Hack Gallery contains some interesting hacks.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004


Hilarious! The Kibology FAQ. If you really want to know about Kibology check out the Wikipedia entry.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Reflections on Trusting Trust

An article by Ken Thompson on the cutest program he ever wrote:

Wednesday, June 30, 2004


The cow is of the bovine ilk; One end is moo, the other, milk.

-Ogden Nash

More quotes ...

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Lactose Intolerance

I often find myself in awkward situations when visiting friends or relatives. The standard beverages offered are tea, coffee or milk and I end up looking like a fussy character when I refuse all the "options". Not everyone has the enzymes to digest lactose in milk yet few people know about lactose intolerance. I can have curds though since the lactose is already broken down. Ice creams are OK too since contrary to popular belief, there is little or no milk in most ice creams. Many ice cream brands sold are made using vegetable oil unless they specifically claim to be selling dairy ice cream.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Power Napping

What do you do when you feel drowsy after lunch at work?
Try power napping. It works very well for me and some others I know at work. Fifteen minutes to half an hour suits me fine.
Sleep study seems to be serious business looking at the number of sites dedicated to everything about sleep.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Chacha Choudhary and Spiderman

Our Chacha Choudhary has a website too. Check it out. Who says you need to wear tights to be superhero? Spiderman is switching to dhoti too.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

HitchHiker's quote

"You know, it's at times like this when I'm trapped in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelgeuse and about to die of asphyxiation in deep space that I really wish I'd listened to what my mother told me when I was young!" "Why, what did she tell you?" "I don't know, I didn't listen."

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

E-mail disclaimers

Ever wonder why your employer adds those stupid e-mail disclaimers that begin with "If you are not the intended recipient ..."? Well here's a site that collects stupid disclaimers.
Some funny parodies that you can use in your mails.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004


Wikipedia is an excellent online encyclopedia. Check it out here.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Test post to get the pic into the blog.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

So Sito has got a shiny new GMail account now. Wonder how many posts I need in my blog to get mine? Sigh ....

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

allo allo