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Friday, August 28, 2009

W.I.P. in Peace

Yes, the exams are still going on and our institute has not been flattened by an Iranian nuclear strike. The reason I’m back here is because I opened my blog yesterday, and didn’t like what I saw. All the images had been replaced with a photobucket message saying ‘bandwidth exceeded’. Consequently, I had to duck in here, and make a temporary fix at least.


So, here I am. Ostensibly not with the best of templates, but at least it works. Personally, I prefer something simpler and less jarring to the eyes. But, I’d love to have your opinions on this.


Kindly pour in your thoughts, and I shall make the necessary fixes once exams are over.


P.S. I think my comment about 3 months was misinterpreted. I don’t intend to disappear for 3 months. What I meant was that I’ll fight these exams and drive them away for 3 months, meaning after that, they will be back – more evil and more strong.


P.P.S. If you haven’t voted so far, kindly do so. I’m leading the contest, but just barely!! :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Here today, gone tomorrow

It is with the deepest regret that we inform you of a scourge having struck down the author of this blog, rendering him incapable of blogging till further notice.


The symptoms of the disease include sleeplessness, palpitations, hypertension, and small pieces of paranoia and schizophrenia. The patient suffers from delusions, loss of appetite, and an overall feeling of morbid depression.


No, the disease is not swine flu, it’s something worse.


What I will be facing tomorrow is the worst four-letter word I’ve ever heard. It’s called ‘EXAM’.


So, yours truly must march out to face this monster, and eradicate it, or at least beat it black and blue for 3 months.


Take care, people! As the Terminator said, “I’ll be BACH!!” (Till then, you can be Mozart or Beethoven, or whoever else!)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Games People Play – II

I write this post with a smirk on my face. People who turn abusive or vitriolic for no reason at all amuse me, rather than irk me.


Let me quote one such example:

Your blog title is just right. It really matches you. You are INSANE if you think you can get away with all those fake accounts, comments and votes.
The Slideshare team has already been warned of your doing and you should see your account suspended in a few days. How does that sound to you? :)

That is a comment made on my last blog post by some really courageous person going by the name of ‘Anonymous’.


Well, Mr. or Ms. Anonymous, I think you’re just someone who wants to take my case. Go right ahead! Though, I’d probably take you much more seriously if you’d identify yourself.


Take care!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Games People Play

All right, here’s another shamelessly self-praising post. Thanks to the support shown by people, my presentation is now ranked 9th worldwide, out of some 1150-odd contestants. With another 18 days of the contest to go, there’s a strong chance of making it big.


I’m embedding the presentation right here, for your folks to see it. In case you like it, please do vote for it.


Irrespective of whether you vote for me or not, do write back if you like it. Even if you don’t, please convey the improvement areas I could work towards.


Also, I’d appreciate if you share it on blogger, facebook, twitter or any other medium you like. (In case you’re tweeting about it, please use the tag #bestpreso).



Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Surge ahead, democracy!

Yet again, the writer of this blog has resorted to a misleading title. Yet again, you will probably stop reading soon or curse him or both!

The scene is that has launched a ‘World’s Best Presentation’ contest. And yours truly, being reasonably adept at making presentations has decided to participate. Of course, in the hope that his friends and family will go all out to enlist support for him.

The contest is scheduled to run for another 15 days, and the leading presentation so far has 111 votes. My target is to get at least 200 votes, and lay my filthy paws on a shiny, new Mac.

Hence, I’m counting on you, dear reader to back me up and vote for me. Please visit and do the needful.

I assure you of a grand treat, in the event of my winning any of the listed prizes.

P.S. I don’t know if I should be advertising myself so blatantly, but what the heck! :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Great Deluge…

The professors at XLRI seem to be inspired by the great flood. Like the gods angry with humanity for its sins sent the great flood as punishment, the professors here seem to have decided to do the same to us poor, hapless students.


Sadly enough, I don’t have a clue about how to handle this situation. After all, I’m not Noah. So, no Noah, no ark.


Overall, a summarization of the last few days goes like this:


a) Had a viva on ‘training and development’ – messed it up totally! Out of the 6-7 questions I was asked, I could not answer even one. (I was underprepared.)


b) I am perpetually short of sleep. There is no teacher who has not had to wake me up in class. (YAWN)


c) I’m perpetually irritable too. In fact, anyone who has been looking at my facebook/gtalk status messages would know. (They range from “…”, “bored”, “frustrated” to “AAARGHHHHH”. Sometimes, in an intellectual frame of mind, I even go as far as “Who is John Galt?”)


d) I think I’m frustrated with the way things are. There are some milestones I want to reach soon, and I see myself nowhere close. In fact, I’m not even on the right road, I guess.


e) I’m probably turning into an individualist from being a strong team player. I don’t like that, but people have left me with no choice.


f) The world is selfish. There are people who pretend to be your bosom buddies, just because they need something from you. After they are done, they treat you worse than a used piece of toilet paper.


Kindly pardon me for ranting and venting some frustration here. However, I think I talk more to my blog than to real people these days.

Monday, August 17, 2009


Today, I came across this song on someone else’s blog and simply loved it. (It’s by a techno artist called Moby. The track is titled ‘Porcelain’. Short, sad and lovely. Haunting too.



Here are the lyrics for your reference:


In my dreams I'm dying all the time
As I wake its kaleidoscopic mind
I never meant to hurt you
I never meant to lie
So this is goodbye
This is goodbye

Tell the truth you never wanted me
Tell me
In my dreams I'm jealous all the time
As I wake I'm going out of my mind
Going out of my mind

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Martyr


I savoured my evening drink in my room,
as my bright fire shut out the gloomy twilight,
my wife and daughter peacefully slumbered,
and I smiled at the precious sight.


I was startled by a knock on the door,
there was someone out in the night,
I crept to the window to see who it was,
a lonesome figure stood, his face weary and tight.


“Come in and warm yourself,” I said to him,
“have a drink or two at the very least,”
replied he, “I have no need of your hospitality,
you don’t have to offer me a feast.


He bent and lovingly unwrapped,
a piece of cloth from his tattered bag,
saying, “This shall always keep me warm,
the saffron, white and green of my flag.


I’ve been part of many a battle,
I’d fight against one and all,
I’d kill a man or more,
to ensure this flag doesn’t fall.


Tell your mind to be bereft of worry,
have no fear, harbour no fright,
go back to the fire in your hearth,
for you and your loved ones will be all right.


I said, “But is there something I can do,
for you’re wet from the rain and sleet,
come, enter my warm home,
have your fill, and be replete.”


His eyes welled up with tears and he said,
Mortal things are no comfort for the soul of the dead,
value thy freedom, respect my sacrifice, and remember,
you breathe this air because, I fought and I bled.


Note: I wrote this one a couple of years ago, but never posted it to a blog.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Independence Day

He felt tired, oh so tired. It had been a fair bit of time since he had been fighting along with his comrades to break through the bars of his cage, where they kept him. In vain of course, otherwise he wouldn’t still be there. Some of the others were still foolishly struggling and straining against what kept them from spreading their wings, from soaring to unchallenged heights like they used to. Before ‘they’ came and trapped him and his ilk.


It had been a struggle that had lasted far too long. Probably, because his brethren were not united amongst themselves. Some of them believed in constant struggle and violence towards their enemies, while others advocated a path of perseverance and non-violence.


He had been torn between the two options, his confused mind unable to process which one was better.


Now, he lay there bleeding, broken in spirit and body, all the fight knocked out of him. But somewhere, deep within him, a faint voice whispered to him. A voice, that was frail and weak, but a voice that stirred his very being. It asked him to stand up and fight just a wee bit longer, and success would come.


He reckoned that it couldn’t possibly do any harm. What if he got himself killed while struggling against his captors? It would only improve his lot, wouldn’t it?


With this thought in his mind, he resolved to launch one final onslaught and attempt a ‘do or die’ approach.


With hope in his heart, he issued a clarion call to all his peers asking them to throw himself against their bonds and break free. They were sceptical at first, but he managed to win them over. With a huge war cry, they broke through the barriers that had held them for so long.


It seemed unbelievable! To breathe the fresh air again, to flap his wings in the familiarity of his beautiful meadow. He uttered a shriek of delight as he flew past more of his friends enjoying themselves thus.


His cries of joy turned to those of outrage and pain. He felt a sharp beak pierce into his shoulder and turned in surprise to see someone who had been his friend trying to attack him with malevolent rage. He expressed his anguish and wondered why he was being attacked. His ‘friend’ told him that he was no longer welcome among the ‘different’ birds.


Bruised and battered, he made his way dejectedly to a distant corner of the meadow as he saw various groups of birds fighting it out with each other. Soon, he was joined by a bunch of his own kind. Angry at being shunned by the others, this group attacked whoever strayed into their territory.


It still hurt him to think about the irony of it all. When they had been slaves, they had toiled side by side and striven for freedom, and now when they were finally free, all they did was squabble amongst themselves.


But, he did not have the will to rebel against his fellows. So, he trudged on, keeping his feelings bottled just to keep his tribe happy.


Eventually, all the groups gained control over territories that they guarded fiercely. Any truant bird who strayed here or there was dealt with strictly. There was an element of mistrust in the air all the time.


Suddenly, he hit upon a fantastic idea. To protect himself and his tribe, he devised a mechanism to keep the other birds out. He would construct a barrier that prevented his tribespeople from straying out, and other tribespeople from straying in.


The others loved this idea and hailed him as their hero, their messiah. He assembled a motley gang of enthusiastic workers and set to work.


One day, the fruits of his labour were ripe. The barrier was ready. No longer would their children have to fear attacks from others, no longer would there be a chance of anyone straying. The barrier would ensure that everyone would be safe from marauders.


Exhausted but happy, he went back to his nest. After all, like every year, he had an Independence Day to celebrate.

Desolate Thoughts…

Echoing laughter,

a voice that lingers on,

crying out in anguish,

at finding you gone.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Stumbling Blocks!

I was thinking that there are so many people whose blogs I’ve simply stumbled upon through links, social networks, and god knows where all.


However, if I find a blog worth reading, I don’t currently have any way of promoting it except to advertise it on facebook/orkut/gtalk. Someone suggested using the site StumbleUpon, where if you like a site you can ‘’like’ it and if you don’t, you can choose to not like it.


I think that could be a great way of sharing the right kind of content with people. What say?


If you do have a StumbleUpon account, do add me at


If you don’t, get one before you’re considered as ancient as a dinosaur!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Pay it Forward

My blogger friend Scriber, comes up with some really awesome concepts. She is super talented and has a rocking sense of humour too.


One of her ideas I loved is the idea of ’paying it forward’. In her own words, here are the rules:

  • I make a handmade gift for the first three interested people who leave a comment on this post.
  • I have 365 days in which to do it. What it will be and when it will arrive is a total surprise!
  • The catch is that you must participate as well: you must have a blog and continue to pay it forward. Write a post on your blog about paying it forward and invite your readers to participate. Keep the fun going.
  • Anyone who is interested in receiving a hand made gift from me must provide a shipping address to me in an email.


Now, I’ll not pretend to be extraordinarily creative and say that I’ll make you the moon and the stars. But I shall be diligent and sincere and do the best I can.


I had read Scriber’s post about paying it forward earlier too, but was not quite sure of whether I’d be able to do it or not. However, I’ll give it a shot.


Are you game? :)


Edit: I would recommend that you be circumspect with giving out your address to an absolute stranger. Thanks for the observation, Megha.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Mockingbird

He was a mockingbird, a little hatchling. He had newly learnt to fly, from his parents. He dreamt - of flying to faraway lands, meeting other birds, and talking to them. He dreamt of making a nest in a faraway land. He told his parents of his wish. They were sad, but told him to go and chase his dreams and fulfil them.
One morning, he flew away. He flew over mountains, and rivers, and dense forests. He flew as far as his wings allowed him to. Tired, he stopped to rest. He found a cool stream nearby to quench his thirst. There were trees laden with exotic fruits to satisfy his hunger. There were none of the predators that his worried parents had warned him about. So, he was happy and content. He decided to stop chasing dreams, and enjoy reality for a while.

Over time, he forgot all about his dream. To him, his current surroundings seemed like paradise. He grew fat and lazy. Then, one day, he woke up to hear a new voice. The voice belonged to a beautiful sparrow. She asked him to tell her the story of his life. She made him dream once more. She made him believe in himself again.

He had his doubts, but he started readying himself for his long journey for he had begun to love the sparrow. But since he was busy regaining his strength for his journey, he was able to devote less and less time to the sparrow. Gradually, the two broke apart. One day, the sparrow flew away. He was heart-broken. He remembered all the happy times he had spent with her, and cried. He did not want to pursue his dreams alone. But, he forced himself to work hard, and prepare for his journey. He resolved to proceed on his journey alone.

He was almost ready to leave, when he heard a beautiful song. A little dove was singing a song - of sorrow and joy, of hope and despair. The song brought tears to his eyes. He requested the dove to sing to him everyday. And each day, the lovely dove would sing a special song for him. He began to look forward to listening to her each day. She became his isle in the middle of a desolate desert of emotion. Without even realizing it, he fell in love with her.

One day, when the dove sang a song that told a tale of love, he could stop himself no longer. With tears flowing from his eyes, he told her of his love for her. The dove smiled through her teary eyes, and told him that she loved him too, and wanted to be with him through his journey towards his dreams.

At the first light of dawn, they flew away together towards the horizon... towards their dreams...


Author’s Note: I wrote this close to two years ago. It’s not quite the best piece of writing I’ve done by a long shot, but it still is special to me in a unique way.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

You rock my world!

Ah well, I hope the post title did not lead you astray. I was simply referring to the late night earthquake that hit Andaman yesterday. Tremors were felt in my current dwelling place of Jamshedpur too.


Since we guys were on the fourth floor, we did experience a fair bit of shuddering as compared to some of the ground floor junta who slept through it and are disgruntled because they ‘missed the fun.’


I’m just thankful that no casualties from across the country have been reported though there are warnings of tsunamis on the coast.


No, this is not meant to be a newscast updating you on the latest bit about earthquakes in India.


I guess I’m just using an earthquake as a metaphor to refer to things that are rocking my boat these days. I won’t talk about them for now, but hopefully some day I will. :)


And here’s a happy thought from the late Michael Jackson to close:

You rocked my world, you know you did
And everything I own I give (You rocked my world)
There is love you'll need to find
The one that you call mine (You rocked my world)
You rocked my world, you know you did (Girl)
And everything I own I give (I want you, girl)
There is love you'll need to find
The one that you call mine (You rocked my world)

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Magnolias Still Bloom

Some friends who were going through the story suggested that I include a post which links to all the chapters in the story together, to make for easier reading. So, here goes:


Chapter I

Chapter II

Chapter III

Chapter IV

Chapter V

Chapter VI

Chapter VII

Chapter VIII


Once again, I must thank all you folks who read the story and kept me going throughout. Thank you!

I have miles to go to be a better writer, though this story was one of the more satisfying pieces I have written so far.


Yes, I know it’s been another trip away from Insanity Avenue for me. However, life has been pretty busy with poor me being carpet bombed with assignments, exams, deadlines, group projects and god knows what all!


One of the highlights of the week gone by was the submission of an assignment on Gandhi. One of the Hindu scriptures, the Mahanarayana Upanishad, lists down some 12 pillars of leadership excellence. We had to evaluate Gandhi according to those pillars and comment on him.


I do have my reasons (or biases if you want to call them that) against that half-naked fakir. However, for academic purposes, I decided to be as fair to him as possible.


I don’t really consider him the architect of our freedom. In fact, personally I think we won freedom not because of Gandhi, but despite him. However, I do appreciate the fact that he was a man with an iron will, and was truthful throughout his life.


Still, I don’t think sleeping with two naked girls embracing you just so that you can prove your chastity and show the world that you shun sexual pleasures is not noble, it is sick! (Especially if one of those girls happens to be your grand niece.)


Also, my research indicated that he was not really trying to do some good when he refused to disembark from a ‘white’ compartment in South Africa. Apparently, he was just trying to protect the rights of upper caste Indians. (In fact, he wrote many letters to the South African government referring to the blacks as ‘kaffirs’.)


Agreed that he did practice penance and self-denial. However, the Upanishad says that self-denial practiced to attain some goal or purpose is ‘asuri tapas’ – meaning it is somewhat devilish or satanic. (Not exactly though, but the English language has no suitable translation there.)


One positive about him was that he was frugal and a man of few needs. He didn’t mind touring abroad in just a flimsy loincloth.


The conclusion that I reached was that being a human, he did have his set of failings and weaknesses. However, there were many positive contributions also that he made. Still, I think that ‘Father of the Nation’ is a bit too much.


Your take?