Cheers ol' chums!

Here's to my friends Nishant and Aniruddha. Both secured admissions for a masters degree at IIT; Nishant for an MTech at IIT-KGP and Aniruddha for Masters in Design at IIT-G.

2 good news in 2 days ...

Congratulations buddies. Rock on!

Price of Peace

Song for the mood: Peace Sells ... but who's buying? --- Megadeth

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we
fail." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

What exactly is the price of peace? What is that you pay with, for the cause of peace? What is the biggest argument, the biggest factor, in favor of peace? Is it love? Is it brotherhood? Is it freedom? Or is it even relevant to any of these?

I have a minor fascination towards the topic of wars, especially World War II, albeit recently developed. I read about it from an unbiased, neutral perspective. It is intriguing to read about it; the social dynamics prevalent during that time, the manner in which the politics exploited these social dynamics, the promising beginning of a man seemed destined to be a long lasting leader for millions of eager people, the lust of power that drove men over the edge and so many other things.

The topic of World War II is too vast. It is a daily-dinner-discussion topic for us and we never get tired of it. However, the above question rankles much deeper that anything else, for that is at the very heart of it all. For a moment ask yourself the same thing; what is the price of peace? In a strange way - call it demented if you want - it is war. At least in my opinion.

"I have never advocated war except as a means of peace." - Ulysses S. Grant

Before you misinterpret me, allow me to clarify my stance. For this I ask you another question. Can we feel peace?

I will diverge from the topic a little now, but that is only to elaborate my view further. My grandfather once told me about the times that were when he was born, when he was growing up and when he started earning a living for the family. It was pre-Independence time. He personally had to struggle a lot to just live on, had to get into the navy to start earning at an early age to sustain for the family - he started working when he was still not out of his teens - and had to see a lot of turmoil during the Independence struggle years. During that same conversation he said to me, "You take too much for granted". It hit me then but maybe because I took it the wrong way. Now when I think of it I see two things: One, yes compared to my grandfather or even my father, maybe I do take a lot of things for 'granted'. Two, I don't know what taking for granted really means.

I - this will hold for most of us - have never been deprived of anything. Let me put it this way rather; when I needed something it was there for me, so again, I wouldn't know what it means to be deprived of something. It is the way things have been.

Now taking this same perspective, I return back to my answer, 'War'.

"The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must
suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war." - General Douglas MacArthur

It is during war that the greatest tragedies are felt, loss of unity, loss of kindness, of love, of goodwill, of trust, of faith ... of life. It is in these times that man becomes the way the creator sent him on this planet, all alone. It is in these times when out of anger and frustration people do vile, inhumane acts towards others, who if they stop a moment and think are just like themselves. Nobody is a victor in war. Everyone only loses, some lose more than others. It is in the aftermath of wars that people realize what they have brought unto themselves.

"War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell

The horrors of such times call for peace. You can only experience it, that too, if you know in your mind why it is so important. It is through the efforts of a million survivors that a billion today are living in a world that we have come to know for how it is. But what about the future? What is it that will stop us, this generation, from starting new wars for whatever reasons? We have heard of peace but do we really know what it is? In the words of Albert Einstein, "So long as there are men there will be wars"... it is the circle of life.

"Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a
crime." - Ernest Hemingway

Till next time...

(All quotes courtesy the game Call of Duty Vol. 2. A list of quotes can be found here)

PS: I do not advocate violence. I do not advocate wars. I am sane enough to figure out that war will definitely not improve things, least of all allow me the freedom to write such long posts :-)

A marathon and a cheese toast

Song for the mood: Painkiller - Judas Priest

Painkillers, yes, that is what was missing Sunday evening. You see, me and my pal Santosh Kulkarni were at the Sunfeast Marathon past Sunday morning at 8:30am. Yes, morning ... for which I got up at 6:00am on a Sunday, and saw that the sun is up, thus disproving the Urban Legend that the sun doesn't rise on a Sunday  morning ...

So, we the ran the marathon. By the way, it was the Sunfeast Marathon, at Kanteerva Stadium, featuring the world's richest 10km run. We ran the 5.7 km majja run, figuring, who's gonna run 10km? The highlights of the event were - the Kingfisher girls standing every 1km at water booths to serve water. Now I know I can drink a lot of water even when I'm not thirsty. Damn! If I had known this before the event started I would have run 10km. Why the Kingfisher girls at a Sunfeast marathon? Well, firstly you are not supposed to be questioning good things, and secondly, the event was in Bangalore! So, Mallya and his girls have to be there! Period.

After the event, we both headed out, after grabbing our refreshments and taking our own snaps; a proof that we were there! It was about 10:40am at that time. I took about 30 mins to run 5.7 km, beat that! Or, don't ... thanks. Anyways, so we headed out, thought, let's get a bite to eat. So we walked another km to a joint called 'Lake view Milk Bar' (sic) popular for good sandwiches, pizzas and burgers. Once seated in, we were told that there was a power cut, which was fine up until the point where Santosh wanted a cheese toast ...

"I'll take french toast, one fried omlette and a cheese toast"

"Sir, no cheese toast, no power. Can't make toast"

"But you said yes for french toast"

"Yes, french toast is fried sir"

"Then fry this also!"

Believe me when I tell you this; the waiter walked away!

"Dude, just order something else ... he can't toast it"

"He can!"

"Only the french toast! You know how it is made right? Smear eggs on the bread ... and then ..."

"Well then let him use cheese instead of the egg ..."

End of conversation.

Well, he finally was settled by the waiter for a cheese sandwich. How? Well, he just brought and placed it in front of him ... and walked away again! Now, top this!

A painkiller would've been nice a few hours later ...

Anyone can be smart...

Song for the mood: Shake that thing - Sean Paul

Here's an example of what bad English can do to a really meaningful sentence.

"Anyone can be smart in hindsight"
meaning you can always be smart when thinking about what could've been done in the past, instead of what eventually got done. The fact is, you can't change it.

Hmmm ... I like the fractured version of the above more, which although doesn't make much sense, sounds a lot nicer :)

"Anyone can become smart when looking at their hind"
not really, right! Fact is I can't get a view of my hind, neither can most. Their own I mean ... snap out of it you pervert! See, even if I am tall I am not a giraffe! And I think it would take a very weird giraffe for it to stare at his own hind.

However ... there is a modification to the above :) You might sometimes 'feel' smart when looking at particular hinds, right? Spot example: Scarlett Johansson's in the opening credits of Lost in Translation. Oh, so now you agree! Hmmm ... good ...
Enough! Stop dreaming! She's not there!

Displaying this smartness in public could be termed not so smart...

Don't talk about Rajnikanth

Song for the mood: If you want blood (you've got it) - AC/DC

A conversation that borders on Rajnikanth, always ends with Rajnikanth. Following are some excerpts of my conversation with a 'Rajni' fan. No clues as to figuring out what part of the following was said by the fan.

"Rajnikanth has style, I agree. But the guy is short."

"Shut up! Another word you say about the thalai (head) and your thalai will fly off from your body".

Honarary silence. There is nothing you can say in reply to this ...

"Rajnikanth is tall. If you say that a height of 6ft is tall, then he is 6ft tall. If you say 5ft is tall then he is 5ft tall. The tape will adjust itself when his height is measured."


"You will never understand the superstar. The one and only."

"I don't know what he did to become a superstar"

"Mind your language. Rajnikanth never became a superstar, because he was born a superstar."

"Ya he will always be a superstar and then die also a ... aaah my neck!"

"Shooo rascal! He won't die a superstar! Because he won't die!"

"Leave my neck fool!"

"No more arguments about Rajnikanth."

"Aaah. Who wants to argue about him? It could get me killed around fanbois like you!"

More silence followed by another round of neck grabbing and ear twisting.

"Look, the plain fact is I think it is great that he can do so much just with his screen presence and style, else with such plain looks a man can't get anywhere"

"Rajnikanth ... is handsome ... ohhkay ... you are stupid and blind. Curse you"


"Shut up! Anything more you say I am going to take it personally"

Moral of the story: Never ask a man his salary and a woman her age. (And don't talk about Rajnikanth)