Kya aap panchvi paas hain?

Song for the mood: Teacher's Pet - School of Rock

Disclaimer: This has absolutely nothing to do with the television game show of the same name.
"You don't need more than standard 5 maths to solve this puzzle."
This Friday, me and Vijay were chatting for a very long time with Mandar. Anyways, so Mandar recently put up a really cool puzzle on his blog, which, during our long conversation he posed to us. Check out the puzzle first.

Ok, so me and Vijay were Harry and Draco and Mandar naturally became the great wizard (don't say anything). So we started. Below are the excerpts of what Harry and Draco said, while the Great Wizard left speechless owing to our abilities ...
"Mandar, I think this is an infinite series"
No it isn't ...
"See, the same term can't appear on the board twice, so at some point of time you'll exhaust all possible numbers"
Some semblance of hope for Mandar, or was it?
"I got it! I got it! The larger number should progress to the smaller number in steps of the size of the smaller number ... no wait ... but there is a number on the board smaller than the smaller number ... so is that ... smaller?"
Yes. How good are we! 5th standard maths is such a piece of cake!
"I am confused"

So Mandar finally had to step in. Patiently, he took a few examples and solved it out for us. It worked out that you need to find the smallest number that is 'somehow' yes somehow related to both of the original numbers and then divide the larger number by that somehow-number to figure out how many turns can be played in total. Accordingly you can decide whether you should play first or your opponent should be made to. So what is this somehow-number?
"Hey it's called a co-prime! Yes, co-prime ... right?"
"Arre moron! Smallest possible number related to both ... its common sense ... it is their LCM"
Wrong again, especially since LCM or Least Common Multiple is larger than or equal to the larger of the two numbers.
"If it is not LCM then it has to be that other common thing yaar. Ummm ... ya! GCD!"
Yes, the somehow-number is the GCD of the two. The whole process of computing the GCD and then dividing the largest number etc etc is called Euclid's Algorithm, which according to Mandar we have studied in Standard 5.

So, kya ham panchvi paas hain?

Hello. Hellooooo ...

Song for the mood: Hello I Love You - Doors

One of the most irritating experiences is when you get a call, you attend it saying "Hello" but no one responds from the other end. Yes, it has happened with everyone ... yesterday, a week ago, maybe a few months ago, once upon a time ... but yes, once in your life you were left saying repeated "Hellooooo"(s) on the phone. At such times it is, although, better to keep down the phone after the first "Hellooooo" so that they don't turn into the choicest of nice and nicer words.
Hello. Hellooooo! Arre Hellooooo!
After having to Hellooooo for about 5-6 times in a single day, it is quite natural to lose your cool.
(Click) I dunno who the f*** is calling ...
Moreover, the prankster at the other end doesn't wait on the line for long. A few seconds that's all. So by the time you are through with the 'Hellooooo' and have begun to user nicer language, the person is no longer on the line.
Hel ... (Click) ... I'll get this f****r next time! Let him call again!
The important thing to remember is, always receive the call by saying, "Hello"
You asshole! You wasted f**k! Can't you mind your own business ... stop wasting my time you piece of s**t! Hello ... Hellooooo ...
Yes, very important. The word 'Hello' ... remember ... lightning doesn't strike the same place too many times.
For the last time ... f**k off! Go get a life man! Don't waste my goddamn time! Get that straight you bloody asshole! Got that, ASSHOLE! ... Hello ... He ... ? ... ! ... :O ... (shit) ... good evening sir ...
The above narration is about a true incident that happened about 6 years ago, and contrary to popular opinion after reading the article, it did not happen to the author. Further, all this is strictly in the context of land line phones ... so please do not put your detective hats on and think of caller IDs. Hello. Hello. Hellooooo ...


Song for the mood: Echoes --- Pink Floyd

I woke up a bit late today morning. I didn't give much thought to brushing my teeth and taking a bath and all those 'worldly things'. When I finally did brush me teeth I was watching TV at the same time ... hadn't done that in quite a while. I had my tea leisurely, sipped it so slowly that it had gone cold by the time I finished it. Then out of sheer habit I checked my mail.

Till 9:00 today morning I was starting to get into vacation mode. You know vacation, the time when you actually have enough time to feel bored after wasting enough time in the first place ... yes precisely. Then I read the joining date on my offer letter, 1st July, and realized this is my last vacation ... and it is not starting, it is almost done ...

Now let me interject here before any purist starts to point me to any dictionary meanings. A vacation for me, this far in life, was something that came twice a year, lasting at least a month anytime. There was always enough time for me to begin the vacation as, "I need a long break ... " and end it as, "... but not this long."


There is this scene in some movie that I can recall where a woman is panicking just a couple days before her marriage is about to take place and one of the things she says is, "Is he gonna be the last man I ever sleep with?". Well,
"is this the last time I have been 'given' time for the sole purpose of wasting it?"
What I wouldn't do now for those summer vacations again! 2 months of blissful ignorance of everything that is beyond cricket, bicycles and mangoes! The next time if and when a vacation comes it won't be given ... I'll actually be taking it ... sounds so ridiculous that I should kick myself!

Oh, but tis true!

Maybe if I pinch myself hard enough I'll wake up in standard 4th and realize that all this was just a big bad dream I had when I dozed off in math class. Sure, maybe I'll get punished; stand on the bench with your arms in the air ... write 'I won't sleep in class a hundred times on the board' ... get your calendar signed by your parents ... blah blah ... but soon then summer vacations will come around ... 2 months of blissful ignorance of everything that is beyond cricket, bicycles and mangoes ...

Friday the 13th

Song for the mood: On a day like Today --- Bryan Adams

There is a weird notion of 'bad-luck' associated with this date, Friday the 13th. A small read of the wikipedia article will tell you that the day is not feared for any associated history with it apart from the fact that the day 'Friday' and the number '13' are both considered unlucky. Talk about adding up fears! The fear of this day is also called paraskavedekatriaphobia ... I bit my own tongue trying to pronounce it. It is a version (yeah, version) of the fear associated with the number 13 which is known as triskaidekaphobia. I didn't even try to pronounce that one ...

Anyways, bad luck or good luck or something else, Friday the 13th of this month, proved to be good in the end for a lot of us in college. Me and 5 others got selection news for IBM. 3 others got Oracle offers and 1 person got an awesome offer for Texas Instruments. Congratulations to all you guys! (and me too of course ... )

For some interesting reading check out this article on the fear of 13 on mathworld. The most interesting snippet from the article says, in a study conducted by the British Medical Journal which analyzed the relation between health, behavior, and superstition surrounding Friday 13th in the United Kingdom by comparing the ratio of traffic volume to traffic accidents on Friday the 6th and Friday the 13th over a period of years found that,
The risk of hospital admission as a result of a transport accident may be increased by as much as 52%. Staying at home is recommended
Talk about a free holiday ....

Life is a masala dosa

Song for the mood: Pukarata Chala Hoon Main - Mohd. Rafi

Masala Dosa: A masala dosa is made by stuffing a dosa with a lightly cooked filling of potatoes, fried onions and spices. It wraps the dosa around a onion and potato curry.
(courtesy wikipedia)

Masala Dosas have become a regular in the diet these days, it's only fair that this unassuming food variety gets a blog. The closest Andhra Mess (there are 3 big ones in electronics city, never counted the smaller ones) serves decent dosas (strictly decent that too on a good day)alongwith coconut chatni. With a plate of dosa you get unlimited portions of chatni and alu sabji although the smart waiter takes away the chatni container when he sees you've eaten too much. No sambar is served, which doesn't bother me much, but prompts my good friend Gooth to start philosophical conversations of how dosas should really be eaten. A trick to eating in Masala Dosas in Andhra Mess is to order plain dosa instead. They serve some masala along with dosas which is same as the masala in the dosa ... I still dunno why it is semi-liquid ...

Masala Dosas are served, a lot crispier, at Pavithra Darshini which is a 5 minutes walk from college. You can watch your Dosa being made - its an open kitchen like many other small eateries in Bangalore - and it comes pretty fast. The masala inside the dosa used to be a lot better, now it just looks like a lump of potato smeared with salt. You can eat as much chatni and sambar as you want, though I doubt you'll want to. Although ever since I saw the serving guy mix extremely clean water, used for washing vessels, into the chatni I stay away from it. Oh, did I miss something here? Yes, the water is mixed 'after' the vessels are washed in it ... maybe their secret recipe, who knows?

Masala Dosas, with two varities of chatni (coconut and coconut with tomato-ginger I believe) and a larger bowl of sambar are served at Salem Kitchen in Transit, a food joint in Forum Mall at Koramangala. Given the 'largeness' of the place it tends to be a bit heavier on the pocket. Nevertheless the dosas are tasty, no chance to complain. You can also get rava dosas instead of the rice-batter dosas here and they taste pretty good.

Masala Dosas which I really liked a lot are served at Jaynagar, at a place aptly called Dosa Centre. The size of the dosa not withstanding these are the heaviest dosas I have eaten in Bangalore so far. The masala too is the best of all the places I have eaten masala dosas at; the potato is properly cut and the amount of chilly is enough to make your tongue tingle.

Masala Dosas at Pongal, a small outlet in J B Nagar are, hands down, the best damn dosas you or your friend or his friend's friend or his third cousins twice removed will ever eat in Bangalore. Period. The masala itself changes substantially when you order among the following Masala Dosas -- Chettinad Masala, Podi Masala, Tanjavore Masala, Malli Masala etc etc. I have been going here with fraandzz every week for about 4 months now, but I still can't identify which is which, but they all taste different, that I can assure you. You can get a rava masala too ... rockin place!

Masala Dosas can be eater with multiple chatnis and an endless stream of sambar at Krishna Kafe (yes with a K not a C) in Koramangala. This place is famous for its Paper Masala Dosa, a megamoth which covers the entire table and could feed the whole of Ethiopia (sorry Vijay), but on a given day is only enough for me and VKRN with a few bites for a couple others. Don't complain you 'others'. If you do, won't even get that much next time around ...

Masala Dosas, closer to where I was interning for 5 months, are served at another Darshini, much larger than the one near my college. This place serves really large portions, comparable to any other place I have mentioned so far, very clean, very tasty. I was also having daily lunch here for 5 months ... internship is over now so I dunno if I'll go there again. Someday if I pass that place, maybe the waft of the pungent chatni and spicy potato masala will prompt me to stop and have a bite ...

In a good masala dosa, the masala is always well tucked inside the dosa. You have to get through the crust to get to the masala. There is always some sambar or chatni alongside, to spice up things a bit, and sometimes the crust changes, in size or kind, but it is still the masala that makes or breaks the dosa ...