One of those things that nobody likes. Something that irritates the hell out of humans. The one thing that usually brings an end to relationships. It’s waiting for something or someone. Dadi had tremendous patience whenever I saw her waiting for an event. It took years for certain things to happen, and she waited on. Somethings never happened while she was alive, although she still waited for them. They didn’t happen even after she died.

There was this crazy talent-finding bug I had caught where I’d try out different things to see what I was good at. I was trying hard to be a good artist and made Dadi sit for about an hour (may be longer) so that I could sketch a portrait. She sat there waiting for some result. I am one of the worst people at anything drawing or related to art. At least that is one thing I am sure I will never be able to do. After spending about an hour something, I told Dadi that all I did in this whole while was her face. She looked at the crap I had produced and of course thought it was the best piece of art ever. I looked at it again and kept it aside until she went back to doing whatever I had interrupted her in. My agony suddenly increased not at the vacuum of art in me, but at how Dadi was unnecessarily waiting for something she was least interested in.

A few years later, she had a wish to come back home to Lucknow. She waited for it all that she could. When she told me about it, I knew that she probably wanted it more than anything else ever – and she had waited for it to happen for about nearly an year and half. It was the simplest wish ever: get back home. Doesn’t take more than a few thousand bucks and just one night. But, as humans, there are complexities involved – and people have priorities. Finally, her wait came to an end as my mother fulfilled her wish. Probably her last.

One of the simplest goals in life: to see everyone around happy, was what I learned from Dadi. Well, there were hiccups in achieving that, but it is incredibly simple and effective – and requires patience obviously. Although it meant that people misunderstood her at times, but she persisted on what she did – making sure she didn’t make herself look stubborn, and giving in at the right time. Even for patience, she made sure that it was truly patience and didn’t extend to lethargy or procrastination – efforts where needed. Some lessons I picked up.

Today marks the 6th year since Dadi was over phone with me the last time. Yep, I can still hear that you are alright.


Was wondering about all the dogs I’ve had either as pets or just good friends on the road (thanks to my better half for reminding me about them). Soni wants to have a pet for herself and I am quite adamant on not having one, even though I don’t love any other creature as much as a dog. Seeing one on the road, I cannot resist my temptation to caress them though it’s not something advisable.

For the record, I am not a certified dog trainer, but I have assisted in dog training sessions for about three years. Though it’s not much, but it did tell me something about dog psychology and how they generally would behave and function in a set of stimuli-response sets. As such, please do not touch any stray/street dog however friendly you think it is. This is especially more true in case there’s a gang. Stay away.

I have had 5 dogs as very close friends and have fond memories of those guys (all gone now). One of them was a pet we planned to keep at home – but it passed away in about two week’s time. That and other sad instances have kept me aloof from the idea of having or developing relationships with dogs any more. Though I should have learnt to live with the idea that they are not indefinite, I have not been able to cope up with the grief that strikes every time. I love them, but would not prefer to keep them home.

For any one reading this, who has known the buddies I am talking about, I hope you have the same memories and cherish them.

Inglorious Basterds – 4/5

Second film after Pulp Fiction, I haven’t seen Quentin Tarantino makes thereafter. I wasn’t in a mood to see jump cuts and just-another-Nazi hate movie; but for the sake of the reviews and some recommendations I went ahead.

First off, it is not just-another-Nazi hate movie. So you should get rid of the ascetic and erstwhile GermaNazia in yourself and brace up for peculiar humor. There are particular instances in the movie, especially the reference to Americans, Brits, Italians and Dutch that make it worthwhile and enjoyable to watch for a complete foreigner like me (and I assume some of the frequent readers here?).  The story has three extremely strong characters playing an amazingly threaded sequence. There are pitfalls though.

There are obvious problems with the script being a fantasy from LA with love, but then, didn’t I say it ain’t just-another-Nazi hate movie? There are some bloody shots, which I feel were more funny than gore – but then may be it’s the peculiarity of a Tarantino make. Chapter style driven, the flick is a tad bit long but you won’t feel it since you’re on the edges of what-happens-next like drama. For all you know, the plot in QT films could just turn any way.

My favorite quote:

“What the f*** are we supposed to do?”
“…supposed to have a Nazi premiere…”
“Like I said, what the f*** are we supposed to do?”

Go watch it!

WordPress plugin madness – You don't need them!

I was trying to get the correct plugin installed to do “that” thing. For over 4 hours, I skipped and tested over 50 plugins in WP to get the favorite look done, but nothing helped. Something would not look right – or I’d have to compromise somewhere.

Common sense suddenly struck as I looked up, stitched together a Template file and used a few get_posts and setup_postdata calls to do exactly what I was looking for. Damn those cheeky plugins that redo the same thing over and again but not quite much!

Specifically, I wanted to list out all my posts in (by) a particular category on a page – although I also wanted an excerpt to be printed out for each post. None of the available plugins are able to do this cleanly. Some would say – go edit the php file. Well, if I wanted to do php, why would I use a plugin? And that’s when I thought – yeah, why do I need a plugin anyway. Thus ends my tryst with plugins. I’d use them lesser and lesser, until it’s about some integration with a third tool.

Repositories for 11.2

I had to struggle a bit to get Amarok 1.4xx installed on a Gnome based openSUSE 11.2. The reason is that Packman’s 11.2 repository hasn’t been quite updated. So, even if you are on all the latest repositories, there will be a bunch of packages missing which would disable amarok installation. Since amarok is a must in my family (and the family laptop got upgraded to 11.2 too), these are the repos I used to make it work:

# sudo zypper ar vlc
# sudo zypper ar kde3
# sudo zypper ar kde4.3
# sudo zypper ar x-suse-11.2
# sudo zypper ar gnome
# sudo zypper ar
# sudo zypper ar
# sudo zypper ar packman.unix
# sudo zypper ar debug
# sudo zypper ar non-oss
# sudo zypper ar oss
# sudo zypper ar source
# sudo zypper ar update
# sudo zypper ar standard

Just in case you want to use the commands as is to add these repos, I am listing them out above. Just copy paste into a terminal, and you should be good. (Some of the repos are redundant there – overlapping mirrors; but it doesn’t matter much).

openSUSE 11.2 – a sweet end to 2009 (ver1)

Last time I upgraded my installation to 11.1, I was truly disappointed with the release and resolved to create an extra partition on my laptop to make sure I test future releases for days before I really plan to move. I cannot afford any downtime or maintenance activity on my system since it literally takes my whole self offline.

This is where 11.2 comes in. I was ready with extra space and all the parameters to test out the release – and was in for this surprise! I didn’t need it (life’s like that). There are tons of feature improvements with 11.2 and some really nasty bug fixes (which I had trained myself to live with after the disastrous move to 11.1 from 10.2 – which was quite stable for me). The official list of bug fixes might not be very relevant to me (or some other users), so I am listing out my own experiences here:

  • scrolling in Firefox/Thunderbird etc. was extremely slow – fixed
  • compiz wasn’t working out of the box – it didn’t for a while this time around either
    • but after a logout and login (and enabling the Window manager together with making sure it had –replace in it), it works!
  • NetworkManager works much better now – no buggy behavior anymore when I switch from Wired to Wireless etc.
  • ext4 – yay! – I am so thrilled that I have an ext4 ready system now
  • an annoying coredump by konsole (every time I shut it down) – fixed
    • I use konsole+klipper in my Gnome environment, since these two apps are irreplaceable by anything in Gnome world

Update on 2009-11-20

  • dual monitor management was a PITA and I had personal scripts to automate switching+desktop extension using xrandr – fixed
    • no need for the script – if some *Ubuntu guy needs it, be my guest – [evil-laughter] (sheepy smile now)
    • this is not yet fixed – as soon as I took the lappy out of the docking station, it went back to single screen
    • and never came back to dual screen; the only way out is to logout/login (nothing else makes it work) [ashamed]
  • fingerprint scanner on my lappy works like a charm – there’s an error about “Cannot write PAM settings.” – but that can be easily fixed by:
    • editing the /etc/pam.d/common-auth to include the line:
      • auth    sufficient
    • or whatever has been written on in the /etc/pam.d/common-auth-pc file (you can check the log: /var/log/YaST2/y2log to see what exactly is going on


  • as soon as you start up yast for software management, it assumes you want to install a bunch of packages
    • may be it was my system, but it still should give me an option to not do it!
    • I finally had to select every package to manually install and then remove it from the list by clicking on “remove’
    • best thing was, zypper doesn’t do anything when you do a sudo zypper up (while yast goes over the board)

All in all, I am very pleased with this release and applaud the openSUSE community for this release.

The Canterville Ghost

Nice classic to be read. The story is completely satirical with humor flowing in unexpectedly. The blend of characters with the central theme is completely homogeneous and that makes the flow all the more interesting. Though I missed the narrator’s introduction somewhere, but I assumed it to be the author in first person and that didn’t bother me much. Shouldn’t take a lot of time to complete this one, probably three sittings of two hours each or so. One of my favorite moments follow. ROTFL. Am sure you’d like the story!

"My dear sir," said Mr. Otis, "I really must insist on your oiling those
chains, and have brought you for that purpose a small bottle of the
Tammany Rising Sun Lubricator...

You can get a free copy of the e-book in the public domain here at Project Gutenberg.


Extremely engaging and has a series of experiments, encounters, real life situations along with supportive theory behind how the human mind does a lot in a very short span of time. Gladwell has balanced the subject quite well appealing to both sides of the coin – things can be accurate in a blink as well as disastrously false. This was something I liked the most – although at one point it leaves you confusing as to what is being achieved. Fact is, the complexity of the subject leaves little to having a straight line define everything.

One of the best takeaways was that it is extremely essential to train yourself for extreme situations by subjecting yourself to such situations time and again. That trains different parts of your brain and nervous system to not lose control on the highly cognitive processes in emergent situations.

I’d highly recommend reading it in case you are even slightly interested in Psychology.


Pretty recently, three people I know became fathers to their lovely daughters. I feel so joyous about this fact that I couldn’t help writing it up here. About an year and a half back, another close colleague fathered his daughter and that gave me unbound joy.

The scientific fact is that daughters are beneficial to the society in more ways than one (if you can please keep your sexist prejudices aside). This article from NY Times talks about how an increasing male population of the society can actually harm the internal stability of a country. Not surprisingly, both India and China feature in the top two such societies that want more male population than female. Uneducated people are not the only ones though, it’s the socio-cultural fabric which makes this demand from the people. There are highly skilled people who would prefer male over female because of social and religious shit.

There are some spurious (or seemingly so may be) studies too that say that “attractive people are more likely to borne daughters”. This article from associated content talks about one such study and it’s numbers. I feel the numbers are too convoluted and the theory is too good to be true. This other article talks on how evolution is going to make women more beautiful. “But the forecast isn’t so rosy for men.” Heh.

Well, for the close friends and colleagues, I am confident that these daughters would take their families much further ahead than anybody else could. May they always prosper, grow and beat all the guys! (BTW, I don’t have anything against guys. Just that my preference is for the girl child.)

I love India – why?

The question is  more about “how and for what you define your love” than the actual “why”. Why do we love India? Why are we proud of it? Are the words in the constitution making me proud? Is the rich history enough to give me a kick? Or the lands and it’s mountains?

I raised this question at a local platform and got various answers with vivid points of view. If anyone has seen the “Discovery of India” tele-series, this question was beautifully answered by the character of Nehru played in there. (I am not really sure if that was indeed the answer Nehru gave, so I am just being politically correct here).

That answer seems correct to me as I long pondered over the question before finding the same answer somewhere else.

So here it is, the answer. The reasons behind why you love your country could actually vary a lot. The fact is, the real reason should be the country’s people. If you really do love your country, you should respect and love all it’s people without any prejudice. Blind love for one’s country means blind love and respect for all the inhabitants there. You work for them and their goals and that is when you can really say that you are patriotic and love your country truly.

Patriotism actually comes without the drums and music. I saw it in an old man walking along the intermediate ring road (Bangalore) wishing “good morning” to everyone jogging past with an occasional “how are you?” or “why are you sad?” (True story).

I really am looking forward to a day when everyone looks at their fellow people with respect and dignity. I have heard that there were pockets of our country which cultured this, and they used “patriotism” to instill this. In the long run, a lot of us were left with patriotism which is either meaningless or means dying in a war of some sort.


Someone: Not the right time to talk on his allegations. 63  people died across the state so far some are heart attack and some are suicide cases.

Me: How can I be so sure that the person was shocked because of a certain death or any other ailment he had?

To take this further, shocks happen when you have absolutely no clue of the news and you suddenly get that “X” happened. In this case, there was a build-up of a missing helicopter for over 24 hours and hence any shock that someone is dead was not supposed to be a shock. If they were so concerned, they were closely following the news and probably already had the idea that the people are dead. That is not to say that people didn’t really get shocked, but it is highly unlikely. To get media attention, there might have been wrong reports and wrong attribution.

Someone: We are nothing to do with his newspaper and news channel and steel plants rather than some employment to the public.

Me: Why so? There should be a thorough investigation into where the money came from to start up a news channel. I am not able to build a bloody room for myself and people go setting up their own steel plants? If I stopped paying the taxes that is being used in ways I don’t know (leading to Naxalite activities), I could at least think of loaning my own house. That steel plant is profiting from your money. Everyone has the right of question.

This is not just about Andhra Pradesh or this particular incident. This is about how we go about justifying actions about anyone who is dead. Going to the deathbed doesn’t mean you automatically become an angel and escape scrutiny.

We really need to change this attitude – “blah opened up two hospitals and three schools” and so they must’ve been really nice. Come on, you can’t stay in power by just building elephant figures and your own statues everywhere. You have to achieve public work, and almost every politician achieves that by merely following what the bureaucrats tell them to (so that they remain in good books).

I don’t trust media’s conclusions – they are biased, tilted and most of them have a single source, so there’s no cross-verification. That doesn’t mean we all go out in our own chartered helicopters, but that we don’t form any judgments and always remain in this fuzzy state of stupidity where we really don’t know what the exact truth is.

Fighting IndiaBulls on Wikipedia

People on Consumer Voice India (a yahoo group) commented on how there were allegations against IndiaBulls that they were cheating people by taking on their blank checks and submitting them in to banks.

I went on to wikipedia to see how’s IndiaBulls doing there. To my surprise, I saw that the search engines show a different version of the article than what was there on Wikipedia. The “Controversies/Allegations” part for IndiaBulls was missing. Hence started an edit war there. See the history of the page here: http://en…Indiabulls..history.

It’s not very hard to guess what those IPs are from where “section blankings” are coming in, have a look: http://wikipe…talk:

Now, I only wonder aloud if this could be produced in court as an attempt to subdue information and make the case stronger for the people fighting IndiaBulls?