Wednesday, 27 December 2006

MIT?! That's XLRI!

by iabervon (1971) Alter Relationship on 8:32 Wednesday 27 December 2006 (#17373136)

I went to MIT, so I can explain a bit about the culture in which this research was done.

First of all, there's always something you're supposed to be doing. If you have three assignments for a class due at the end of term, you'll definitely have more important things to get done all term, and then you won't have enough time at the end of term to do the assignments. Even if you didn't do anything fun all term, you'll have procrastinated by getting more of each of the assignments for other classes done than you would have had you worked on the end-of-term assignment earlier. It's really hard to give up on an assignment that's due tomorrow because you haven't started on the one due in two months. It's not just that you have a more immediate reward if you procrastinate the stuff that's not due tomorrow; the reward is calculated and reported to you in advance in percentage points, and you definitely lose those points if you don't go after them immediately.

Also, assignments are designed for maximizing the standard deviation, which gives the most detail for grading. This is achieved by having the average be 50. This, in turn, means that, if you're doing fine, you could do twice as much work and still not get everything done. And you could check over your answers if you really wanted to, and take even more effort. So it's not like you're ever done with all your upcoming assignments and have time to work on the long-range ones.

Also, the main risk isn't doing badly in classes or failing them, it's going insane. If you pass any of your classes (or even if you don't, really), you're better of than if you have to take a term off. So doing something fun and relaxing can actually be quite important. I heard claims that sleeping at night sometimes helps, too, but I didn't try that. Relaxing when you need to is always on a shorter deadline than the end of the term, so it takes precedence.

And, of course, every class has something or other due at the end of the term (or a final just after classes end). You're in trouble if you've got three things due for this class at the same time as every other class has some project or exam.

So the optimal strategy is probably to choose deadlines around when your other classes have big assignments and exams, and stick to those deadlines, but tell the professor you'll have everything in at the end of term (but then forget that you didn't specify your deadlines).

The thing I'd find most interesting is how many students chose to have the deadlines at the end of term, but then turned in the first assignment in the first half of the term.

Monday, 11 December 2006

With apologies to Ol' Bill

Canst thou, O partial sleep, give thy repose
To the wet sea-boy in an hour so rude,
And in the calmest and most stillest night,
With all appliances and means to boot,
Deny it to an XLRI student? Then happy low, lie down and free!
Uneasy lies the head that strives for an MBA degree.

Tuesday, 26 September 2006

Ah Linux..

I am now officially a MEPIS lover.

Oh joy :-)

Sunday, 17 September 2006


Getting back from (understatement alert!) a perfectly decent trip to Bangalore, I disembark the half-hour-delayed Udyan Express at Kalyan station, only to find all local trains are running indefinitely late because of flooding of the tracks at Mulund. "What the duck?", I think to myself, but fortunately a fast train bound for CST was just about to pull in. "Hurray", I think to myself again, and head for the platform in question, somewhat annoyed at the crowd for the time of evening, but mostly relieved that a train had deigned to pass by.

Stepping over piles of bags, some toes and a lot of slush (on the platform!), I make my way to the general compartments section. "Crowded!", I think to myself, yet again. As an aside - all this thinking to myself was only because I was alone, else I'd have thought out aloud to myself. Anyways, I wait for the wild Khopoli buggers to hop down, and begin to scramble inside. Managed to get in, bag intact, and got a nice little corner to stand in while waiting for the monster to edge its way towards Thane.

Dombivli came, Dombivli went. Then came the realization that something was not where it should be. This was instantly followed by the realization that it was my wallet that was not where it should it, and it should've been in the pocket of my jeans. "Uh-oh", I think to myself. All those proofs of identity. College ID, PAN card, driving license - all gone. Along with the usual bunch of credit cards and cash. But most importantly, the swipe-card to my XLRI hostel room was gone. HOW WAS I GOING TO GET THERE AND PATCH INTO THE HIGH-SPEED INTERNET WITHOUT ACCESS TO MY ROOM?!?!?!?!?!?

Panicked, calmed down, reported loss to railway police at Thane station, came home, related sob story to anybody who'd care to listen, sat at laptop to find out various banks' customer care numbers to report loss of credit and debit cards, and the phone rang. With news that some guy had found my wallet and wanted to return it.

"Hurray", I thought to myself. Fixed up a time and place to meet him, did so, retrieved documents proving one's existence, came back home after deciding to ditch the only Bombay Quiz Club meet one could have attended this term-break, and typed out boring blog posts. Here. Slashbot always has interesting stuff :-D

Which just reminds me, I just added a link to Slashbot to this blog. Pretty dumb not to link to your own blog, eh?

Geek hilarity! rotfl!

Died laughing...all thanks to dear, good old I miss working with it..

Note: Quite possible that few have a clue what's happening there - but this is a good place to ruin the joke by explaining it all..


You Are 76% Evil

You are very evil. And you're too evil to care.
Those who love you probably also fear you. A lot.

Thursday, 7 September 2006

Hiring now!

Wanted, one bright graduate student. Fun will come. Maybe, PITA also :-)

Wednesday, 6 September 2006

Totally kick-ass /. sig

Save the whales, feed the hungry, free the mallocs

Just saw this..

One would've assumed a person asking a question on Slashdot would know better than to ask questions that would so OBVIOUSLY result in a vim vs. emacs flamefest.

Just so my position on this is clear, vim rules. Molenaar kicks.


Monday, 4 September 2006



(Are you Johnny Ray) who wants to know
(Are you Slim Ray) who wants to know
(Are you Faye Wray)
Who wants to know, who wants to know
(Are you Stingray) who wants to know

He would have. Ouch. You'll be missed :-(

Saturday, 24 June 2006

Here, and loving it!

[More detailed post on first experiences to follow when laptop comes to hand. My first laptop!]

Thursday, 8 June 2006


The reason for the existence of this blog has finaly been realized.

Soni kudi!

Person of unknown gender from Los Angeles, searching for Punjabi girls, visiting the blog of a Tamilian, settled in Mumbai.

This space - an equal opportunity corner of the World Wide Web. I promote diversity. Just like said L.A resident's ISP.

Thursday, 1 June 2006

Wonder of wonders

Goach stunned us all the other day, by throwing light on a particularly dicey problem. IN CODE! (This was enumerated here.)

As a result, I looked through the stuff, had no clue how to correct the bug, and fell back on that time-tested adage: Google is your friend. This was followed by some laborious scouring of some rather tedious (and terse) JS references, and managed to churn out another version of the random number picker thingy. (Wow, used a lot of adjectives there, dinn'I?)

Hopefully, it works now..

HT Funnies

No, not the daily comics.

First is the MTNL advertisement announcing that calls between Mumbai and Delhi will be treated as local calls, which carries this little gem towards the end:

One might argue this isn't really an HT funny. Indeed, the same ad was splashed in other newspapers. But this next one is most definitely attributable (is this word attributable to me now?) to HT:

If I were made to pay for sleeping, I'd go crazy and do crazy stuff too..

Wednesday, 24 May 2006

The PCC Experience

Myself and XL pals Sameer and Aseem want to do something out of the ordinary, and so decide to offer ourselves as guinea pigs for an experimental system that can change anything's phase from solid to liquid, and back.

The only hitch is - this system has a rather high chance of information loss during the transitions. But this element of risk is why we opted in, in the first place, so this isn't that big an issue for us intrepid go-getters.

So there we are, sitting in the Phase Change Chamber (PCC) and making lame jokes to hide our nervousness, when the mad scientist (can it be any other type?) announces that the process is about to begin.

In just about a minute's time, we feel ourselves sort of 'melting', and start feeling curiously high. Just as suspicion starts to creep in about the crazy scientist simply gassing us with dope, we realize that we cannot see anything around us any more, limbs are non-existent, and indeed we are completely unable to comprehend our own forms.

We're only just beginning to get panicky, but soon a funny sensation of total awareness of our surroundings envelopes us. So this is what liquids must feel like, we think, as we hear the scientist cackling maniacally.

But barely have a few minutes passed with us in our new forms, when, to our horror, we sense Aseem evaporating. Sameer and myself just stay put, dumbstruck with fear at this totally unexpected turn of events. I SHOULDN'T HAVE HAD THAT CHEESE-STUFFED VADA PAV FOR BREAKFAST, we can feel Aseem scream.

We are terrified by now, and start wailing for the scientist to turn us solid once again, which he does with eerie promptness.

That shouldn't have happened, he says, looking scared.

What do you mean?!?, we yell back.

Just what I said - my system is no tuned to handle gases, so I'm afraid your friend's irrecoverable now. Please accept my apologies. You may go now, is the rather disturbing response.

Resigned to the fact, we ask him (purely out of scientific interest) if any one of us had experienced any information loss during the phase transitions.

Mad scientist guy informs us that there was a minor issue when we became liquid, so we'll have pointy pixie-ears for the rest of our lives, but the liquid-to-solid change had absolutely no problems at all.

You see, he says, it was Aseem-less transition.

Tuesday, 23 May 2006

WTF! - 2

One should've noticed this interview with Kamal Nath before the Karan/Arjun (Karan/Kamal just lacks that ring to it, no?) episode.

Much hilarity are there.

Karan Thapar: The reason why this issue emerges is because the Prime Minister at the CII conference in April specifically called upon industry to make itself more representative of Society. He called upon industry to take affirmative measures to make its employment more representative of the profile of the society. I am now saying it to you that not only these industries already doing it but your figures NSSO 1999 prove that there are. So there was no need for the Prime Minister to make this call.

Kamal Nath:I really think that in industry, as you said, I am industry's minister and industry has not told me this. They may have come and told you this but they have discussed this with me.

Karan Thapar: Even if industry has not told you this, the NSSO is the government organisation NSSO 1999 are government figures, are you not aware of them?

Kamal Nath:I am aware of them. But in what context is it. I really don’t think there is any confusion in this. My context is that growth and development is to be all inclusive. You take one district and you say this is happening. Is it happening everywhere?

Karan Thapar: Yes these NSSO figures are nationwide.

Kamal Nath:Your figures are inaccurate.

Karan Thapar: They are not my figures, they are your figures.

Kamal Nath:That's what you are saying.

Karan Thapar: They are the national sample survey figures 1999. They are available from the government. They are authenticated by the government. They are disseminated by the government.

Kamal Nath:That's what you are saying.

Karan Thapar: That's not what I am saying, that's what the government is saying.

Kamal Nath: That's what you are saying what the government is saying. That's not what I am saying and that's not what NSSO saying.

Karan Thapar: It seems that you don't know the NSSO figures.

Kamal Nath: It seems to me that what you read, you do not reflect in the context in which it is.

Karan Thapar: When you distrust the NSSO figures ....

Kamal Nath: I am not distrusting NSSO figures. Do you think the government is off its head? We have been winning elections.

Karan Thapar: Well, I am not sure if the government is off its head. I won't presume to make the judgment. But I am indicating to you that when the Prime Minister makes a call on the industry to make its profile more representative of society, he seems to be unaware of the fact that industry is already doing it. And your figures prove it.

Kamal Nath: Certainly not. Our figures do not prove it.

Karan Thapar: Your figures do not prove it? So you are dissociating yourself from NSSO?

Kamal Nath: I am not dissociating. Our figures do not prove it. I am the industry minister. I am telling you on record our figures do not prove it, Finished.

Karan Thapar: So what are you saying about NSSO? That is wrong?

Kamal Nath: I do not know. You are quoting the figures. I don't have the NSSO figures in my pocket. But I must tell you we have done a district-wise study in the country. And we are doing this all the time.

They are doing this all the time, alright. Acting like morons, that is. Once again. Die. Seriously.

Oh that Rashmi

One of the best opening lines for a blog post that I've seen...and I'm kicking myself for not seeing the Karan/Arjun connection. Damn, seems so obvious now :-(


Such is the satisfaction one feels after applying oneself to something and getting it done.

For e.g, the random link generator thingy that's taken the place of my blogroll in the left sidebar.

It still has a couple of bugs (sometimes generates less than 20 links, and sometimes duplicate links) but overall kinda nifty..

Feel free to view source and re-use, although I'd really appreciate it if enhancements were shared :-)

Principles or violations?

Gaurav quotes Pratap Bhanu Mehta in his (Gaurav's, not Mr. Mehta's) take on the Arjun Singh interview by CNN-IBN.

The portion quoted was:
They (government) have violated four cardinal principles that institutions in a knowledge-based society will have to follow: they are not based on assessment of effectiveness, they are incompatible with freedom and diversity of institutions, they more thoroughly politicise education process and they inject an insidious poison, which will harm the nation's long-term interest.
The reservation/affirmative action issue aside, one wonders about this kind of sentence construction. I would've expected the four cardinal principles to follow the colon, and not their violations. Only a couple of blinks later, one could understand what was being said by Mr. Mehta. Tsk tsk.

Adherence to the CMP?

There's a reason why nobody objected to such a proposal at the time of elections. This was because the wording in the CMP is as follows:
  • to provide for full equality of opportunity, particularly in education and employment for scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, OBCs and religious minorities.
No politician in his right mind would say anything against "equality". The CMP makes no mention of reservations for OBCs. The only other bits of the CMP that make references to reservations are:
  • The UPA government is very sensitive to the issue of affirmative action, including reservations, in the private sector. It will immediately initiate a national dialogue with all political parties, industry and other organizations to see how best the private sector can fulfill the aspirations of scheduled caste and scheduled tribe youth.
  • The UPA will establish a National Commission to see how best the welfare of socially and economically backward sections among religious and linguistic minorities, including reservations in education and employment, is enhanced. The Commission will be given six months to submit its report.
OBCs do not form a minority, religious or otherwise. By the Parliamentary Committee's own data, they form close to 52% of the Indian population. Hardly a minority. Nothing in the CMP says "oh, but I really meant they're a minorirty within the institution.."

This is why protests were not carried out. Mostly vague wording, and no mention of the actual implementation plan.

And of course, this is assuming a large part of the voting public even read the CMP, which I sincerely doubt...

It is just unfortunate that no parliamentarian has the balls to come out against this proposal. Only serves to reinforce my belief that we aren't much better off than the Americans, who have to choose between the #1 corporate shills (Republicans) and the #2 corporate shills (Democrats), in spite of our multi-party system :-(

And it is also unfortunate that every time one decides to stay in the country, our own government gives us less reason to.

Monday, 22 May 2006


The most insane and pig-headed interview one can ever expect to read.

The man's response to all questions is basically a big, resounding "Because I said so".

I sincerely hope he dies.

Monday, 8 May 2006



Even more interesting are the reactions of the parents, who exhibited classic signs of being in denial, and sincerely believed their kids were defrauded. Or maybe not.

Such stipudness.

(Not really. Heh.)

Saturday, 6 May 2006

For a bunch of M$ haters..

over at Slashdot, and for a bunch where a large number claim to run Linux/MacOS X exclusively (Hahahahahaahahahahhaha up yours I'm Windoze-free!!!11), they sure use a very Windows-specific term far too often.

In this thread, almost EVERYONE, even the ones suggesting a Linux solution, use the word "folder" instead of "directory".

I wanted to point this out in the thread, but it was too late. Slashdot buggers stop reading a thread after ~4 hours, and anyone who does so later, read at a very high threshold :-(

And even if I had pointed it out, I'd only be slammed by the groupthink saying it's a GUI metaphor, and not specific to Windows. Go fark yourself, /.ers, and then think whether you used "folders" before Meecrobsoft Windows.

Thursday, 4 May 2006

One for the cartel

From Slashdot:
"I am not a big fan of legislation, but..."

I've read this a few times on Slashdot now. It's usually followed by some comment about a special case (or special interest?) where legislation is a Good Thing. This bugs me, because it's hypocritical.

As an example, the entire concept of laissez-faire (free-market) economics (thank you, Adam Smith!) is based upon assumptions that do not hold in the real world. If we want an economy that even approximates a 'free-market', then we need legislation.

Look at Microsoft, or AT&T. Were it not for legislation, there's be no check to their anti-competitive practices. In my opinion (FWIW) the natural end-consequence of a totally free market (in the absence of any control) are cartels - massive companies bribing (what remains of) the government, and helping their cronies and friends.

Wednesday, 3 May 2006

Yet another email address

Thanks to Thennavan, I am now reachable at

Oh joy.

Wednesday, 26 April 2006

Oh ag

Oh Suri, Suri, Suri...what EVER will you think of your dad? Sheesh. Yuck.

Here we go again

First nerdiness, now this...Fortunately, this shows off my relative sanity.

major geek

Oh yeah, and just in case people didn't already know:

i love the interweb

Wednesday, 19 April 2006

Ah Finally!!!

Gaurav's finally put up a post about the more important things in life.


Wise up, Slashdot

I have no idea why Slashdot news posts link to CoolTechZone so many times. CoolTechZone writers suck, and rarely have any clue about what they're talking.

Monday, 17 April 2006

How he makes me weep


Oh that Scott Adams. He doesn't need Dilbert to be funny. Or mindblowingly correct.
Mockery is an important social tool for squelching stupidity.
...I've never seen anyone change his mind because of the power of a superior argument or the acquisition of new facts. But I've seen plenty of people change behavior to avoid being mocked.

TOIlet paper

No wonder they're called that. Alowing monstrous dillholes to write such articles, just so they can show a contrary view.

Incidentally, when I think of laddus, I think Tirupati laddus. Not Agarwal Sweets (WTF are they?) or Haldiram (great savouries, but laddus?!).

Education minister my ass

I cannot argue as well as Gaurav, Amit or Falstaff, or even Dhoomketu, so I usually don't put forward very cogent presentations on why some things suck.

I go for the gist of the idea instead. Hence, I think I make my feelings perfectly clear when I call this proposal the MOST MORONIC IDEA IN TEH WORLD EVAR!!1eleven.

'Nuf said.

No wait, since Mumbai Mirror links vanish (WTF aren't they doing something this anyways?), here's the entire article:

Make Maths optional, says Minister

Education Minster Prof Vasant Purke has proposed this for students after Std VIII; will discuss it with experts and the public soon

If you're a student and hate the very mention of the word 'maths', the state education department has some good news. It is proposing to make maths optional after Std VIII, offering subjects like computer science, agriculture and handicrafts instead.

Education Minster Prof Vasant Purke has already started meeting academicians and
educationists to discuss the proposal. However, a final decision will be taken only after a huge public meeting to be held next month, where the common man's opinion will also be sought.

Prof Purke's proposal comes in the wake of numerous cases of students from the city as well as rural areas unable to complete their SSC because of maths. Presently, most students are forced to take expensive tuitions to pass the subject.

"We are looking at agriculture, computer sciences and handicrafts as optional subjects but will finalise a list only after feedback from all quarters," said Prof Purake. "We will also consider public opinion and after compiling suggestions will decide on subjects that can be offered in place of maths," he added.

According to education department sources, "Maths is the one subject that most students fail in the SSC exam. We are looking at those students who give up studies after failing the subject repeatedly. Day by day the exam burden has increased and students are under tremendous pressure because of maths. Prof Purke has put forward this decision after receiving numerous complaints from parents."

President of Jagrut Parents Association Suresh Lad said, "It's a good decision. Students who are weak in maths can now be encouraged to at least complete their basic education till Std X."

Two things:
  1. You can't do "computer science" without at least 10 years of schooling in Maths. Solitaire, clicking on "Start", MS Office, heck even VB do NOT count as computer science. That's just "computer awareness", and not that even, really. That's just Microsoft Windows awareness.
  2. At the end of the article is an anecdote of a guy who dropped out of school in the 10th std because of Maths. He had problems in Algebra and Geometry. And he's now an accounts excecutive. He says the government should remove the subject from the curriculum so that it would deter people from dropping out.

About #2, WOW, just WOW! Super logic. Hey, Bill Gates dropped out of college, and made a HUGE pile of money, runs a HUGE company, and is HUGELY charitable too. He didn't need college to do all this, so why would anyone else?

I love the solution being proposed here - too hard? No problems, drop out and blame the government. Guilt trip the government into making brain-dead moves.

Most of my argument can be summed up by what a professor had to say about this, in the article:

Maths is an important aspect of modern technology as the world is making big strides by introducing technology in all walks of life. That's why maths cannot be left out of a curriculum. Removing maths will only make the future generation of this country incompetent.

Saturday, 15 April 2006

HTF did this slip through the spam filters?

Dear Partner,

This mail will definitely be coming to you as a surprise, but I must crave your indulgence To introduce myself to you. I am Mr. Mark j Clark a supervisory manager working with a Bank here in London. However I got your contact through the International web directory.

Recently we discovered a Dormant Account with a huge Amount of Money Valued USD17,600,000.00 (Seventeen Million, six hundred thousand Dollars Only) that belongs to One of our late Customer MR. KRAANVOGEL DIONIJS. who died In a plane crash.

During our investigation and auditing in this bank,my Department came Across a very huge sum of money belonging to MR. KRAANVOGEL DIONIJS from Beverwijk, Netherlands, who died along with his wife, MRS. KATRIEN DIONIJS and Daughter, MS. SOFIE DIONIJS so the fund has Been dormant in his account with this Bank without Any claim of the fund in our custody either from his Family or relation before Our discovery to this development.

The Banking law here stipulates that if such money remains unclaimed for 15 years, it will be forfeited to the Bank Treasury as an unclaimed bill. It is only a foreigner that can stand as a next of kin and it is upon this discovery that I decided to contact you to collaborate with you to pull out this dormant order to avert this negative development.

On behalf of my trusted colleagues we now seek your permission to have you stand in as next of kin to Our late Customer so that the fund will b! e releas ed and paid into your account as the beneficiary’s next of kin now that the bank is still expecting a next of kin or relative of the deceased, MR. KRAANVOGEL DIONIJS.

We could have done this deal alone but because of our position in this country as civil servants, we are not allowed to operate a foreign account and that would eventually raise an eye brow on our side during the time of transfer since we still work in this bank, this is the actual reason why we required a second party or fellow who will assist us forward claims as the next of kin and also provide either an existing bank account or to set up a new Bank a/c immediately to receive this fund, even an empty a/c can also serve for this purpose.However, on smooth conclusion of this transaction,you will be entitled to 35% as gratification for your assistance to us, while 5% will be set aside to take care of expenses on both sides that may arise during the time of transfer and also for telephone bills, and the remaining 60% will be for me and my colleague.

What I want from you is for you to act as the deceased next of kin. I have in my possession, all the necessary Documents to successfully accomplish the operation. Bear in mind that this proposal is 100% risk free. Further Information will be given to you as soon as I receive your positive response. I suggest you get back to me as soon as possible stating your wish. For confidentiality please.

Best Regards,

Mr. Mark j Clark

- mark clark

Link love

Wednesday, 12 April 2006


Some things just make you lose all faith in humanity, especially the male portion of it. These are actual unedited scrapbook entries for this female in Orkut (who's racked up scraps like the cutest dog begging for food, except she hasn't spoken a word):
  • hi prettygirl u seems to be an advventurous girls as i have heard that punjabi girls are striong. i am also an nature boy intrstd in trekking in forest viewoing wildlife, bird watching. if u thnk we can be good frnds then response otherwise have a nice time. bye tc
  • hi,prettygirl this is raj from bareilly i want to friendship with you.if you want to friendship with me you plz tell me.
  • hi prettygirl, i m deepak working in BSNL mobile exchange, bhopal.Do u like 2 do frndship?
  • hi
    prettygirl, this is aryamann,want to join as a friend with u,
  • hi pretty this is krishna a guy from media line want to join with you as a friend
  • hey pretty..can i ask one thing?? please do add me on ur frens list coz being an aquarius i luv to make good frens.. and i feel i can make good frenship wid u.. hope u also feel the same in making good frens.. do add me as ur fren..
  • please reply my friend request...............................................
  • u looook mind blowing, can we be friends plzb
  • Hi Prettygirl

    I m here for frnds.

    Wanna b so of me ?

    Then pls join me .
  • do u like to be my frined.
  • hi prettygirl.. luks too good in ur photo..nice photogenic features..... Wanna Frens
  • hi honey... after having a glance at ur pic. i was very much irresistable from sending u msg..hope tat u will definitely accept my friendly proposal... i am eagerly awaiting for ur reply......
  • hi prettygirl hw r u n u luk stunning yaar.N after reading ur profile i find u as an interesting person with whom i wld like to make frdship can v be frds.
  • pls be my friend
  • oye gulabo..
    Tere galo ka dimple.. mar dala re.
    Here is another 'LEO'. Would like to add to my friends list..
  • hi prettygirl,abhi here if u hv time lest friend
    i like making goodfrds will u?
  • hey
    wanna frndship
    plz make me ur 1st frnd(on orkut)
  • would you like to do friendship with me?
All instances of the girl's name replaced with prettygirl. All instances of the guys names left intact. I have no intention of shielding these losers.

Tuesday, 11 April 2006


A lot of posts supporting reservations have cropped up, and most of them rail against these two arguments in particular:
  • the "brand equity" of the IITs/IIMs
  • merit

Basically these posts say that all talk of the "brand equity" of these institutions is a load of hogwash. Okay, I'm not going there.

Let's take on the argument about merit. Most of the pro-reservation bloggers have said that saying merit will be sacrificed due to increasing reservations is a bunch of crap, because scant regard is given to merit anyway. Evidence being the huge capitation fees and rampant bribery and nepotism.

Hokay. So now it's okay to continue devaluing merit just because it's always been devalued?

1: "Hey, there's a rickety old building. Lets break it down!"

2: "Uh, why? Why not make it stronger?"

1: "It's weak anyway. Who cares if it were to crumble into bits?"

By the same argument, we could keep extending bad treatment to whatever we've been treating badly for all this time. Hey, we were doing it anyway, right?

The comment wars continue

Dr. T. Jayaraman responds to my comment on Abi's blog, this time with a minor personal attack. Such fun. Once more, I reproduce my rejoinder in full here:

I would like to reiterate my point. If my comment was read carefully, you'd have noticed I've not expressed my views about reservations or Dalit oppression. My only grouse is with the statement that alleges "dirty looks".

In between the posting of my previous comment and this one, I spoke to a lot of my friends (who happen to be both "upper caste" and "not-so-upper caste", and hey, what do you know, even non-Hindu).

All of them said the same thing - in college, the students do not care about caste. It ceases to be an issue after the entry point. Nobody says "Oh look, that guy's struggling to clear his papers. He must've got in through reservations, and now cant keep up." What's usually said is "Poor guy, he's struggling." and IT STOPS THERE, if anything is said at all, because, frankly, one has enough worries about one's own self in college.

In fact, Mr. T. Jayaraman's reply only serves to reinforce my point that students left to themselves do not care about caste. Using SFI data? Sure, trust a political organization to give out unbiased, neutral information.

SFI will care because it is a political, not student, organization. In fact, SFI seems to concentrate on inflating the caste issue in colleges. Keep the SFI away from students, and see magically how caste never surfaces as an issue.

You cannot simply extrapolate a Dalit's position in society to his/her's in an engineering college. Completely different place. The classroom != society.

Once again, please note that I am NOT saying anything about Dalits position in society - only taking exception to the "dirty looks" remark. I am also

Please, Abi, don't be condescending. I am not talking about my own college alone (a private engineering college in suburban Chennai), but about a LOT of colleges in Chennai and Mumbai, at least, because I have friends who have studied there, as opposed to hearsay from politically affiliated units.

Once again, like I said in my earlier comment, I do not know how old Mr. Jayaraman is, and I'm once again guessing that he has no idea of the college atmosphere in these times. One cannot walk into a campus, and immediately pass judgement on it. The college environment is NOT a mirror of the state of society, and vice versa.

Engineering college is different. No, I'm not claiming it is the ideal world - all I'm saying is that it doesn't work the same way as society does. Please do not do college students a disservice by accusing them of indulging in caste politics. I beg you to ask people who have studied in top-notch colleges, and seek any of this "dirty look giving".

Abi, your students? Surely you could ask them?

No amount of disparaging remarks about "shouting in uppercase" will change anything. And why is the burden of proof on the accused, instead of the one making the accusation?

No, it is most definitely NOT logical to conclude that the discriminatory attitudes
continue inside the institute also. Please do not bring logic into this mix, for the very article that makes the "dirty looks" allegation is completely devoid of it. (Different coloured papers? Oh please.) And also, please do not bring African-Americans into this. Different kettle of fish altogether.

In your first comment, you want to "pause to consider whether indeed the allegation
is true" and in general state that you only agree with the sentiment expressed in the allegation, without being too sure about it's veracity.

And suddenly, in the 2nd comment, you supply anecdotal evidence from your long-standing associations with various groups (SFI, Dalit students). Did the memory of these associations not strike you, in the first post, where you were, in your own admission, only assuming it might be true?

I wonder how you managed to conclude that I have "picked up little sensitivity..."

I never mentioned in my post that discrimination is not a problem. I never said
oppression is not a problem. I never said Dalits enjoy equal status. I also never said reservation should be abolished.

I am very well aware of the social problems plaguing my country, thank you very much. I just choose not to believe every single thing I come across that would happen to be in line with my opinions. I do not assume anything would be "fairly common in a large number of engineering institutions across the country" unless I had first hand information, from unbiased sources.

Maybe it's still not clear, so I'll say it again (I would say it in caps for emphasis, not shouting, but it doesn't seem very popular): I understand the situation in India. This comment is NOT about the situation in India. It is about how engineering college life cannot be equated with society.

And sensitivity to issues does not mean agreeing to your opinions on them.

Monday, 10 April 2006

The mind boggles

at the levels to which people can stoop while mudslinging. Take this comment from Abi's blog post about reservation in IITs, and read the last paragraph, which justifies the following allegation from this page:
" dirty looks from caste-hindu students for the 'lower cut-off mark"
by saying:
...since the article in question is a rare one of its kind, articulating a Dalit perspective on the problem, one must pause to consider whether indeed the allegation is true. I am sure that such attitudes are fairly common in a large number of engineering institutions across the country, so I am not sure why the IITs should be such an exception...
One may argue about the merits of the concerned article or otherwise, but here is perhaps a case for some introspection by all of us.
I was, obviously, incensed, and responded accordingly. In case the comment is taken down (I don't believe it will - I respect Abi tremendously), I reproduce it here in full:
Why must one pause to consider this kind of thing at all? Is it because a Dalit is levelling the accusation? And what makes you sure that such attitudes are common, leave alone a large number, but in even a single engineering college?

I do not know how old you are, but I'm guessing definitely three generations at least. Caste has never been an issue in college. Once in the college, students do not care. I repeat, STUDENTS DO NOT CARE ABOUT THE CASTE OF THEIR PEERS. Unless they want to embark on a relationship with one (or more) of them, but that's a separate discussion. But seriously, NOBODY CARES if their classmate got in on pure merit alone, or reservation.

Maharashtra engg. colleges have 1/3rd reservation for women. Would anyone ever give dirty looks to a female for getting in using the reservation entry?

I am not flaming - just asking you to justify your stance that such an occurrence is commonplace.

But, seriously, when students are left among themselves - NOBODY CARES ABOUT THE CASTE.

If there has been any incident of an upper-caste student "giving dirty looks" to a Dalit student, it was most likely because of some personal issue - NOT BECAUSE OF THE CASTE. STUDENTS DO NOT CARE ABOUT CASTE.

Just like you were "sure that such attitudes are fairly common", I am also sure that whoever made that statement on the site is either:

a) Making it up
b) Lying
c) Fabricating
d) Misinterpreting an offhand glance
e) Lying

I just read that article, and it is so blatantly flamebait, and basically full of unsubstantiated allegations, Abi, that I'm surprised you even link to it.
Once again, the article linked to, is this. Ouch.

Talk about anti-reservation!

Anantha is one rabid anti-Mandal politics guy!

As of now, I wish everybody in the Government would just drop dead of unknown causes. Actually, I'd settle for known causes as well. Just so they drop dead.


Friday, 7 April 2006


Blogger's anti-comment-spam measure "Word Verification" is becoming tougher by the month. Sample this:


Tough enough to to read in plaintext, and almost impossible as a squiggly image with the letters all running into each other. I say almost, because I passed :-P

Thursday, 6 April 2006

May the force be with you

Recently, Vivek and I were doing what software engineers usually do - chatting on the intranet IM service.

Now, Vivek signs off each email of his with "May the Force be with you", so we were discussing how one would use this to wish someone other than Luke Skywalker good luck.

And this is what we came up with. Some of these may not be too correct, but hey, that's the best we could do..
  1. Stockbroker - May the bourse be with you
  2. Golfer - May the course be with you
  3. Richard Stallman - May the source be with you
  4. Boatman - May the oars be with you
  5. Obelix - May the boars be with you
  6. Soldier/sailor returning from a long hard time looking for a good night out - May the whores be with you
  7. Congenitally seasick landlubber - May the shores be with you
  8. Viking lover - May the Norse be with you
  9. Lion recovering from sore throat - May the roars be with you
  10. Personal lawyer - May divorce be with you
  11. Banker - May endorse be with you
  12. Sponge - May the pores be with you
  13. Quadruped - May all fours be with you
  14. Marvin the Paranoid Android - May the bores be with you
  15. Telegraph operator - May the Morse be with you
  16. Mallu guy stranded in the desert looking for a way to escape - May the horse be with you
  17. Big B/Sachin - May the crores be with you
  18. Terminally lazy person - May the snores be with you
  19. Housemaid - May clean floors be with you (aside: a housemaid's hesitant lover might say "I may clean floors to be with you")
  20. Mafia don - May the chors be with you (can also be used above - chores)
  21. Peahen - May the mores be with you
  22. Jim Morrison fan - May The Doors be with you
  23. Democrat American population in 2000 - May the Gores be with you
  24. Winnie the Pooh who's just stolen the donkey's tail because he wants it for himself - May Eeyore's be with you
  25. Sutherland employee - May outsource be with you
  26. Miner - May the ores be with you
  27. Shopaholic - May the stores be with you
  28. Selfish person - May what's yours be with you
  29. Hot babe who keeps getting annoying IMs from unknown idiots wanting to be friends - May ignores be with you

Any more suggestions?

Wednesday, 29 March 2006



You have been selected for the Programme for which you have applied to XLRI Jamshedpur.

Please wait for the official letter from the Chairperson, Admissions, XLRI Jamshedpur.

... Chairperson , Admissions

Tuesday, 28 March 2006


You decide.

If duets were contests

Then this song is no contest. Chinmayi wades into it so deftly that Harish Raghavendra is left gasping for breath.

It's like Federer taking on..say..Lleyton Hewitt. You know the opponent is gifted, but at the end of the day, Federer wraps things up so neatly, it's really quite unbelievable.

Seems obvious now

Google's Open Source Program Manager, Chris DiBona, is a fellow Slashdotter.

Friday, 24 March 2006

2 points

1. A shady looking website is casting aspersions on the English victory.

2. (More Brokeback stuff - what can I do? I keep coming across these things) Turns out, not only does the movie have gay cowboys called "Jack" and "Ennis", there's also (get this) a sheep farmer played by an actor called Randy Quaid!

Wow, and I thought Ang Lee was deep with "Wo hu cang long"..

Where *IS* all this action?

Jerry Pinto wrote a Bombay Times article about how kids are doing it left, right and centre in schools.

Ravi Rao told me people do it left, right and centre while in college.

News articles say people are doing it left, right and centre in their workplaces.

What come I seem to be the only one missing out on all this action?

Life just isn't fair.

Tuesday, 21 March 2006

The Mountain of Mystery

One can understand the "Brokeback Mountain" is a movie about gay cowboys. Gay as in man lovin' a man.

Quite possibly, this is portrayed with great sensitivity in the movie, and not something like Cartman going neener-neener. This portrayal is bound to be talked about, in which course the world would find out that it's a movie about gay cowboys.

And yet, as if to drive home the point, the protagonists are called "Jack" and "Ennis". Surely this must cause a few sniggers!

Monday, 20 March 2006

I cannot hold back any longer

Yes, I must say it. I'm in love.

I love you, Wendy. I'll wait for you to grow up.

Spoke too soon :'(

over here. Looks like it's not returning after all.

Just when I find something interesting enough to warrant logging into Blogger and put up stuff, I have to recant. Life just sucks :/

Sunday, 19 March 2006

Tuesday, 14 March 2006

That man, I tell you


Damn you, JAP, for forever ruining my life (for today, at least)

Friday, 10 March 2006

Internet Explorer


Don't use it.

Use Opera! Or, grudgingly, FF..but don't say I didn't warn you.

Anyways, stay away from the Interweb Exploder. All it needs is a two-word review:


Wednesday, 8 March 2006

Brokeback Mountain: An SMS review

Why would anybody want to see "Brokeback Mountain"?
My reply:
Hey, for the powerful emotions it arouses, and its bold exploration of a
hitherto neglected segment of society, that has languished in closets the world
over. The way the two protagonists initially give in to the ways of the world
and abandon their personal preferences for adhering to societal norms, and then
throw caution to the winds and reconcile themselves to who they really are, is
masterfully depicted by that old warhorse of allegory - Ang Lee.
Thank God for T9!

Disclaimer: I have not seen the movie. That is exactly why I rock :-)

Friday, 3 March 2006

While still on the topic

of behind-punting, I might as well throw in Indian Ocean.

Was meaning to blog about me attending their concert (yeah!). Rocked beyond all measure. Bah, who needs dope..

And that's just the synopsis!

Just finished reading a synopsis of the Mahabharata [Courtesy: Mama, Shakuni mama]. Sans B.R Chopra's magnificent special effects, of course, but with all the intrigue intact.

Addendum to earlier post: Crazy Frog also kicks hiney. Especially when he's not been censored :-D

Holy krap!

Ronaldinho kicks so much posterior I get goose-pimples.

He rocks - almost as much as Legolas (from the movie), bot honestly nobody can be that good...

Thursday, 2 March 2006

But Mr. President...

In response to a bomb explosion near the U.S Consulate in Karachi, George Dubya Bush had this to say:
"Terrorists and killers are not going to prevent me from going to Pakistan."
Ah, but Mr. President, they will prevent you from coming back from Pakistan.

Tuesday, 21 February 2006

Monday, 13 February 2006


Q: How does an office romance end because the guy is too stingy?

Toner is black,
Blueprints are blue,
Copies are cheap,
And so are you.

From here. Do check out Scott Adams' blog, if you haven't already done so. Not that he needs my meagre referrals, but who knows - maybe some day he'll return my favour and link to me.

Hey I can dream, can't I?

Wednesday, 8 February 2006

Grow up, sheesh


Theatre owners, who released Vijay's `Aadhi' a day after Pongal, have
demanded compensation from the actor for the losses suffered by

"In the past, Rajnikant, Vijaykanth , Kamal Haasan and T.
Rajender have compensated when we suffered losses..."

Sangam secretary P. Kannappan said that unless Vijay compensated the loss,
they would take the drastic step of deciding against giving theatres for Vijay's
Great. Sure. After all, when you got into the business, you knew that all movies were going to be surefire hits, right?

Bah. The above-mentioned 4 actors should be severely reprimanded for spoiling the theatre owners. And the theatre owners themselves should be sent to kindergarten, and made to re-learn concepts like dealing with stuff.

Nitpicking Gaurav some more

In Gaurav's quiz here, Q.No 17 is a connect between various songs/pieces of music, one of which is mentioned as Andy Williams' Speak Softly Love.

Technically, while Andy Williams may be the crooner, credit for the MUSIC (which was filched by Annu "chalti-hai-kya-nau-se-barah" Malik) must go to Nino Rota. Who had used the exact same piece (albeit a much faster version) in a movie called "Barbarella" "Fortunella" about 4 years before "The Godfather".

Response being made here because I really couldn't be bothered with bending myself in knots to email him.

Incidentally, Annu Malik had claimed that "Akele Hum Akele Tum" was his most original movie ever.

Tuesday, 24 January 2006

Destroy evil forces with your votes

Yadaa Yadaa hi Dharmasya
Glanirbhavati Bharata
Abhyuttanam Adharmasya
Tadaatmaanam Srujamyaham

Paritranaya Sadhunaam
Vinaashaya ch Dushkritaam
Sambhavami Yuge Yuge

IIT graduates - we're proud of you.

Friday, 20 January 2006

This is weird...

Go visit the miserable failure, preferably in Mozilla Firefoz or Opera, and check out the favicon for that site. I know, I know, it's supposed to be the coat of arms of the country and all, but the favicon size makes it look like a slightly piggish-looking bull...

Wednesday, 18 January 2006


Going through some geek blogs, and came across the funniest blonde joke in the world. Ever! (Although us desis might want to call it a Sardarji joke, it really can't be carried off...)

Sunday, 15 January 2006

Almost there now

Now that I've discovered how to use my HOSTS file effectively, this probably means curtains for Firefox. Opera is smaller, faster, and generally (I think) looks nicer. Oh yeah, and and I can use it for 5 hours at a stretch without my system complaining.

Monday, 9 January 2006

Non-stop fun

Try the Indian Railways 'Vox Populi' link - guaranteed entertainment for hours.

Sample this
Feedback number 16

Remote Address : Armando D'Souza Date : 2- 1-2006 Time : 11::16::10
Server Name : Armando D'Souza
User Name : Armando D'Souza
Email Address : _______________
Status : Read
Comments :-
The Manager,
Indian Railways,

Wish you all a happy new year 2006.

There in train no proper sanitation.No proper door are locked in toilet and not working properly the toilet flashing.

So.Please do come forward to make better improvement in latest world humanity.
Thanking you.