Saturday, January 28, 2006


Or as Shetty would have it "Naireyeyeyeyeyey......" Well... What can I say about this relation with Prashant which spans most of my happiest times with any of my friends. Ever. It was always about life's smallest things but gave us immense happiness. If there were ever an example for twin paradox then he would be one of the twins, the younger one.
Fresh with an extraordinary sense of levity. Very Breezy. Extremely Youthful & Optimistic. Its hard to recreate that aura with anyone else. Then it happened :
Dhuaan chataa khula gagan mera
Nayi dagar naya safar mera

Jo ban sake tu hamsafar mera
Nazar mila zara

Darsana ne nazar milaya aur khel katam.Dookan Band and Roobaru and all that good stuff! The guy's got hitched. So much so that M was asking me would his wedding be classified as a "Child Marriage".

We have small lake of memories on which we throw stones whenever we meet. If I wax about this guy from the bottom of my heart then there will be enough room for ample misinterpretation, so constraint would be the operative word here.

I cannot quite remember how we quite got to be this thick but we fairly remember "Jeet's Kitchen" had a role to play in it. I have seen him at his various hues. The serenity of his Banjara Nagar home, where we were served garma garam pakors from the kitchen while lazing around and talking nothing. His Olivetti machine on which countless games of "Prince (Of Persia)" were played. Exchanging books and learning the recipe for avial. When everyone in his group left he held on, trying to make something by staying close to home. Home is Hyderabad!

Then came Tambaram posting, outskirts of Madras. Where our "Street of India" never failed to surprise on our way to eating idli from a sea of sambar or katta pongal. His bored job where he was playin video games just to engage his mind and the plans we made while listening to "Sifar".
Then came crossing the Atlantic to Villanova. Some of the best times he can recollect in his school/personal adult life. I can see how this shy guy can be the most popular guy at the uni, the kind of adoration he commanded from the rest of the folks. The dinner and song serenade at the diner.Thanks for dropping by my graduation and it was fun to hang out with you in the best of your bachelor years.I still remember your farewell party with those never ending train of vodka shots..

The Phd paper where you made a world famous professor say "Please..". When it rains and I am having my coffee, I often stare into the rain thinking "what if..?" in regards to your temple days. It was nothing but fun the time I spent you. You, non judgemental, much like a buddhist monk, just choosing to speak when it was absolutely neccesary, the very incarnation of honesty going back to India only to make it there.

The way DSR wont leave you, the way you have one job an year and the way you easily get bored yet be nonchalant about the daily inanities. What can I say about you except that the peak of the iceberg that you potray is only 15% of whats your essence. I drink deep from within those deep personal artesian wells of yours and it makes me healthy.

No matter what happens prash, I wish nothing but the best for you and I hope you preserve that "exclamation!" of yours with all the child like wonder which accompanies it. I am grateful to be in your company and that our paths crossed. I definitely cannot calculate the probability of that..

I drink to thee's health,wealth and happiness in your future endeavors..

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Long Tail of India

Someone emailed me after my looking at my last post, saying is this all you got on your trip. Well there is more except that I cannot sum that experience in a single post. Ok, let me try atleast.

For starters, there is something called as "The Long Tail" used in math, economics and other allied fields where applications of this phenomenon are being discovered. For example, the recent popularity of the book "The Da Vinci Code" prompted a lot of folks to look around books the subject of early christian rituals, codes and other stuff surrounding the concept. The total sales of those books would far outweigh the sales of this book alone and whats more is that there is still roonm for a new entrant. This in short is an application of the long tail phenomenon. For those who are technically inclined, the cache hit ratios in a typical proxy cache like squid can be modeled using zipf's law and accounts for most of the complexity involved in cache design considerations. Enough on that digression.Lets see where am I...

The reason this applied to India is that you can take any nice subject on India and you'll find enough exceptions to the general theory you form that they overweigh what has been said in a single context you picked and hence I think Shashi Tharoor is right in claiming that you can never talk about India in a singular sense and India has always to be dealt in plural (E Plurubus Plurum).
Anyways speaking of India, one general guideline I establish is to understand India in the context of Mahabharata. After all this epic "What is here is nowhere else; what is not here, is nowhere". Find one example that isnt there and we can debunk that claim :)

I dont need to resort to that either I can simply take a text that was earlier than that: lets take Ramayana. Now if you carefully read the original, it states some nice things which dont get mentioned in the standard textbook editions. For example, Sugriva had a fat neck, Kaikeyi had such a slender waist that it was the first thing Dasratha amazed at, Manthara has a humpback and Hanuman was very old. Why do I say this? This tendency of physical features essaying the personality of the person has presumably improved upon by the rest of the folks. My folks around me have this tendency to rate prospective girls on the basis of color, the aqulinity of the nose, etc. (Hmm..Some things havent changed since 2000 years.) Speaking of which, lets take another digression, What are the names of the wives of Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatrugna? So little is told to us about Shatrugna (or for that matter Nakula and Sahadeva in the other epic) that we tend to discard them as inconsequential. (BTW for the record the names of the spouses happen to be Maandavya and SrutaKirti). We know a wee bit about Lakshmana's wife Urmila having slept for the entire time of exile in sleep (Rip Van Winkle must have been her descendant).The point here being that I get to hear a lot from/about from a few popular folks and I dont get enough information about some hardly communicative fellows be it relatives, friends or acquaintacnces.

And then is the point of selective interest. I get terribly interested in some person's life but wouldnt care to hear more about some others. What does this lead to? Some acute knowledge of how a person has come to shape by and some understanding behind that persons' actions versus being clueless about some things about these fellas whom I havent followed. Sticking to the theme of mythological analogue here most people would know Jatayu as the bird whose purpose seems to be the communication of the abduction news of Sita after its wings got cut by Ravana.(Apparently tried in vain to fight him). But Jatayu has a elder brother called Sampati who burnt his wings trying to protect Jatayu from some kind of Solar Flare when Jatayu was young.Of course, Jatayu also happens to be like Jyoti Basu in that it has supposedly ruled the avian kingdom for about 60,000 years.

Finally there is this other key thing in the senseless beauty of relativity. While the Mosaic Decalogue says "Thou Shall Not Kill" or the Quereshi folks who are inclined to say "Thou Shalt Kill a infidel" ( which are both kinda absolute and global), India seems to be believe in micorpersuasion and a special kind of truth before which a personal pronoun can be attested.

Anyways I have dumped what I got,so this my friend, is the whole enchilada of my recent trip. Hope this whets your appetite :)

Sunday, January 22, 2006

India Shining

After my recent vist back to des, the most common question I had to answer was "How was India?" . Lets start with the economy ( as they say its a gamble in the monsoon rain )

The Sensex was at an all time high when I was around. The institutional investors all are loaded up on stocks like SBI, ICICI and many other financial institutions which tells me that the credit cycle in india really did catch up. The fellows with black money are making hay on the real estate boom all across the hot metros. If you look at Infosys' balance sheet you'll see that they have a nice bunch of land holdings (wonder why?) . Forex flows are great (albeit in the short term they look negative thanks to the capital account convertibility). If I have to invest, I would in infrastructure.
In short we are just like Japan in the 1980s.

Good for everyone :)

Monday, January 09, 2006

Home Sweet Home

Just came back after a grueling 42 hour trip to home. Lost my luggage and I come home to see that someone vandalised my car in a vain attempt to steal stuff. Not exactly an exiciting way to come home. More chronicles of "Swades" follow soon. Funny moment was that when my flight was accelerating to leaving the runway in Bombay, I was reading Shashi Tharoor's "Bookless in Baghdad" where he quotes Rushdie (The Ground Beneath her Feet)

India, my terra infirma, my maelstrom, my cornucopia, my crowd. India, my too-muchness, my everything at once, my Hug-me, my fable, my mother, my father and my first great truth. It may be that I am not worthy of you, for I have been imperfect, I confess. I may not comprehend what you are becoming, what perhaps you already are, but I am old enough to say that this new self of yours is an entity I no longer want, or need, to understand.

India, fount of my imagination, source of my savagery, breaker of my heart.