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I’ve just had the weirdest dream ever, last night…

By on May 14, 2012 in On A Whim | 4 comments

I’ve had the weirdest dream ever last night. I was in post-apocalyptic Delhi, which looked much like a landfill, and was being chased by a pack of vicious and rabid street cats. I ran for a long time and lost them, came to this clearing were two big black bears were attacking a tiger. The tiger was losing. I hid behind a pile of garbage and was watching all this. The tiger somehow escaped, and there was Pierce Brosnan in his James Bond character also standing nearby so the two bears set upon him instead. Brosnan / Bond started dancing, and the bears started dancing along with him. Like on two feet. That kept Brosnan/Bond safe for a while. Then, he noticed me hiding in the garbage. So he decided I think the best idea would be somehow get the bears to eat me instead of him. So he took out a tranquilliser gun and shot a tranquillizer dart at me. Missed. I started running again, Brosnan/Bond started running after – while dancing, to keep the bears distracted – and the bears followed while dancing. I kept swerving and dodging while running but Brosnan/Bond kept shooting tranquilliser darts at me laughing a maniacal laugh that he’s had “enough shooting practice in the movies”. I ran into a mall to lose them. It was full of Chinese people, for some reason. I knew I was conspicuous in that crowd so to push through the crowd and reach the elevator, I was crawling on the floor between their legs, shouting the only bit of Chinese that came to my mind at that time: “Taigo lo!” (which I think means “It is too expensive!”) I pushed my way through the crowd to the front where the elevators were. They were made of a glass cylinder reinforced on four sides with a golden-coloured steel bars. The elevator was free hanging in the air, like, not in an elevator shaft, it was just hanging in the air. And then, it fell and smashed right in front of my eyes. Then my dad walked out of the crowd from nowhere and asked me what was the password to login to Tata Sky’s website so that he could renew the annual subscription pack. (I told him it was “tatasky”.) Then, in my dream, I cut away to a different scene. I am watching a documentary about how (my dream world’s) economy works. The financial power of countries in my dream world, and I quote the exact words here, is “measured by the magnitude of a normal vector drawn on the political map of a country”. And then the documentary shows this animated map with a single, normal vector sticking out of each country, each with a varying magnitude. “The magnitude of the normal vector is determined by how much cumulatively a country’s population score in the popular game of Minesweeper.” Not on a computer of course. Instead of laser quest and paintball venues like these days, in the dream world, there are Minesweeper parlours where friends go to have fun and play Minesweeper on actual tiles by stepping on them. Fake tiles of course with computer-generated displays, no real mines. And yet, even though people pretend they are having fun, it’s a dystopian society where they know that what their game scores affects their economic rating and thus their economy. Of course, people in wealthier countries can play Minesweeper more so they get higher ratings. This whole Minesweeper parlour franchise as well as the rating system is owned by one private corporation. This is where my dream sequence...

“Goodbye JEE”

By on Feb 20, 2012 in On A Whim | 14 comments

And most of all, peo­ple might start ques­tion­ing more seri­ously which col­lege they want to be at. The IITs seem to be becom­ing more gen­eral too. I’ve heard of some intro­duc­tion of some biol­ogy degrees at some IITs. I think a col­lege ought to be gen­eral. And very loose about what they want the stu­dents to do. And there should exist no 300 stu­dent classes at any point of time, because they serve almost no pur­pose at all. This will be of interest to my Indian readers in high school / university. I really liked Vishesh’s blog post “Goodbye JEE“. For a long time, I have rationalised, argued, and ranted with spittle flecks leaping out of my mouth about what’s wrong with the Indian higher education system. I’m glad there are still people fighting in that corner. On that note, also read Espera’s “Stupid TAs Annoy Me“. Me, I am done with trying to convince people, partly because I realised that a large part of understanding what’s wrong comes only through self-realisation. Epiphanies that you have through self-realisation have a far more powerful effect. I’d rather just smoke and pass the joint saying “It’s cool, bro”; I don’t feel the urge to make people drink my Kool Aid any more. *** Even when I was in Singapore, I felt an overwhelming bad influence of all that I feel is bad about the education system is in India. Don’t get me wrong, Singapore is doing so many things right – yet it’s getting so many things wrong too. I had this really awesome Canadian expat lecturer in software engineering who’s one of the few fighting to make learning more worthwhile and meaningful. You know what happened to him? He got brutally hacked in the student feedback. A different professor (also in Singapore) also once confided to me that a lot of them don’t want to challenge their students too hard in classes because their pay bonuses are linked to student feedback. Theoretically that’s a nice idea but what happens is that any professor or lecturer who really wants to push boundaries and challenge the class to do more get poor feedback from students across Asia (India, China, Vietnam…) who have been really used to one way of thinking / learning. The few professors who care and the new president of the university though really need to be commended for trying to shake up the...

“File note: patient is showing extreme agitation…”

By on Oct 3, 2011 in On A Whim | 7 comments

I can hear the sound of a kettle boiling over inside my head every now and then…

Shoutouts for some lovely people

By on Sep 11, 2011 in On A Whim | 18 comments

I wanted to do a few quick shoutouts for some lovely people, wrap them up in one post. First up is Moazzem, my roommate from last semester who’s participating in a reality show by Bloomberg Television called Techstars about the next big thing in tech and he needs visits from as many unique visitors on this URL to make it on the show. Why him? You need balls to me an mechatronics engineer and still kick ass at programming, like he does. Be nice and click on the link, okay? Then there was Esya 2011 at Indian Institute of Information Technology, Delhi that was held last weekend – oh god Espèra is so going to have my scalp for this because I promised to write about this before it took place – a code jam / tech treasure hunt / quiz. I so wish I could attend this because Espèra (and other friends like Utkarsha) were on organizing committee. Speaking of tech events, last month also saw Code Wars 2011. Pulkit and Aditya upheld Code Warriors tradition by pulling together the best tech symposium conducted this year (from what I’ve heard) with an able and committed as ever involved. I’m proud to look back at these guys and hear about what they have pulled off, because I know how much hard work went into it. This is the first time in five years that I’ve missed a Code Wars event; I feel a curious mix of a sense of loss and pride. Kudos to Arjun, Vivek, Karthick and all other alumni for their contribution too – and they certainly pitched in with crucial inputs on research! NOW LOOK AT COOL VIDEO. I also conducted – with Vivek Nair as co-host – a general inter-school quiz for the DPS Society at DPS Vasant Kunj on the one day I got to spend in Delhi before flying to the UK. This has been in works for a long time and I’m glad to see it come to life, be a part of the first edition. Most of the credit should rightfully go to Vivek who worked on logistics months in advance of the event while I was in Singapore, worked on a majority of research for the quiz, and a charming albeit nervous first-time co-host. On my part, I’m fucking tired of quizzes stuck at 60-70s classic rock and 50s Bollywood with contemporary Indian heritage, so one of my main objectives was to make an ‘international’ outlook quiz. I may have veered a tad too much towards South-East Asia but if in the end it makes more quizzers go back and read about these places, I’d be happy. Along the way we had ‘fun’ moments: my ‘wardrobe malfunction’ when I tried to take my t-shirt off on stage (with Chairman, Director of DPS VK and staff of participating schools in attendance) where I accidentally flashed the audience; gifting a duty-free sealed kaya spread bottle along with a book to ‘Learn Mandarin in 60 Minutes’ stuffed with condoms between its pages (unused packed ones, in case you get the wrong idea); giving out clues that made participants call Dominos Pizza in Bhatinda at midnight…Comprende Nair and I tried to make a quirky event not just with question but by trying to give this a unique, how should I put this, editorial voice. Hope everyone enjoyed the event! Download DPS VK Grey Matters 2011 quiz archive here (~43 MB, zipped). Have a look at the archive, tell me what you think – I’d love to have feedback from blog readers as well as participants from the...

Cockroaches and nuclear holocausts

By on Jun 25, 2011 in On A Whim | 12 comments

The first short story I ever wrote (at age 9) was about a family of cockroaches after they survived a nuclear holocaust. This is not scary. What is scary is that I was writing about nuclear holocausts at age 9. Too much Discovery Channel. (Yeah yeah, I know, this is déjà vu for my Twitter / Facebook followers. I felt like sharing it with an extended audience, m’kay?) I’d kill anything to come up with ideas like that to write these days. Stuck in a rut. *** Fact: Merely looking at this Cannes Silver Lion award-winning advertisement puts on an FBI watchlist. Even if you live in a country outside of FBI jurisdiction. *** Sachin Tendulkar wearing “a large, khaki-colored, floppy hat. Like, that a lady would wear while gardening. This is apparently legal.” Billie Jean. And a “vital, passionate Afridi”. This is what you get when two Americans who’ve never watched cricket ‘live-blog’ an India vs Pakistan match months later. Cannot. Stop. Laughing. (via...