Friday, December 12, 2008


Since i found out that I am a extremely self-centered person today, I am going to keep this post about some of the other people in my life; so I may feel better about myself. Music video dedications will be made to them, in the lines of MTV select - meaning it may be about them, it may relate to them, it may be songs I sing with them or it may just be something random that I feel like hearing right now.

Yeah, its still about me and I. Whatever; onto the dedications.

Snowie - for being a girl

Gautam - for being the jackass that called me out for the last many years

Archana - for being positive control

Blue - for energizing

Dennis - for bringing cool back

Affi - for sharing the treasure

Scoobie - for being master and commander of the far side of the world

Pa and Ma - for being different

Al Gator - for being leader of a religion of choice

Audi, Nayan, Geetha, Sridhar and Mumbai - for not changing

Matt - for crossing lines to pull over

Pammi - for keeping it real

This one is not a song but it fits here better than everything else I came up with

Subbu - for being the bitch partner

Manohary - for being special

Vid - for teaching without trying

Ibt - for important lessons

India - for some right decisions

Adi, Abi and Vaishu - for being friends

And finally music - for empowering

"Your favorite song comes here"

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Talent

A nice old friend of mine from school, who sends me automatic greetings on Diwali, occasionally also includes my name in a list that he sends youtube videos to. Once such video (two years ago) that caught my attention was of this five-year old playing Mozart for an opera audience in Canberra. 'Damn', I thought. 'Someday I should play like that'. I is not the first time I had thought that.

When I was six, my mom dragged me to the local temple for a Classical dance performance by a ten-year old. The audience would have tallied two hundred. I was not interested at all but I zoned in towards the last bit of the performance where the audience clapped heavily and lauded the girl. I was pricked. I spoke little on the way home but I burst out once we were there. 'I will be a better dancer than that girl...and everyone else out there'. Mom said 'Definitely', and put me to bed. The great fire lasted a few minutes until I slept off.

After that there have been many such fits (sometimes more than one a day). I still haven't learnt to how to use a paint brush, I hold a green belt in Taek-won-do, I field on the boundary line position where batsmen convert twos to threes, I last ten seconds in a deathmatch, I run a hundred meters in twelve-and-a-half seconds and I weigh fifty six kilos with my shoes on.

My ingrained epigentics logic always told me that it is because I was from a very ordinary family with ordinary people. I started running out of excuses for the same as I grew older though. My father turned out to be National Science talent scholar and a medal winning financial analyst, my mother - a vocalist and my sister sings, paints and weighs more (though I am the better fielder, ha!). My extended family helped more by snatching man-of-the-series awards at national tournaments, winning international quizzes and even landing a Padmashri. My best friend lead the brat pack in all that would matter to twelve year olds.

Oh and if you were wondering, my top rank ever in class was seventh. For one semester.

I had some talents of course. I knew (and still know) updated character bios on most comic book heroes and foes. Em...actually that was the only talent. The other one could be the ability to over-publicize myself but well. When people want to be nice to me they agree that the latter one is and former still is not.

It was getting serious. Old uncles were starting to call me a computer wiz for helping them send email attachments. I had to find something that my mom could tell her friends about. Ok, maybe not that. But something to show that I am cool too. I had always believed that my inner talent would burst forth and shine and two hundred people will clap for me...someday. But it didn't happen. I was starting to give up and call myself ordinary. Well somebody had to be average.

But it was weird to live that way because I was not allowed to. A small portion of my class called me a scolty-bhai (bambaiyya for scholar) while my parents got somber when my grades came. "You are spoke good English re", was a very positive remark I got when I returned "rich in experience" from a small voice-culture competition. My computer magic of course got its praise from some well wishers because my deeds had grown to helping them unmute microphones. I was getting eaten up. Either I should become what I am being called or atleast they should stop their nonsense.

Cutting across to now, after a couple of lucky public examination and admission breaks (my sceptics will agree), I cannot say that I have gotten any closer to greatness; nor has my undeserved acclaim come down. To some I am still the ace swimmer and a nobel prize winner. But one thing has changed and that is that I am at peace with it.

Maybe I did give it a try. Maybe it was my friends' fault for not letting me try and learn. Maybe I didn't have the right teaching or evaluation techniques. Maybe my parents should have enrolled me in a competitive class for art or sport when I was five instead of letting me watch tv. Or maybe I just did not have the drive.

But clearly I cannot suck for lack of a revolutionary talent. To the old uncles and the classmates and the friends who thought I had it, I made a difference for that moment. For those moments I did feel on top of things. I still do. And if I could achieve that without a real talent, any kid should be able to. It is not worth it to breed children to win. It is not worth feeding them on competition and telling them that a top spot is the only thing in life. But it definitely does them a great parenting service to let them be happy and help them discover things on their own. I thank my parents for that.

I am still working on it. I am pushing to improve every little thing i do. And atleast my housekeeping,badminton and vocal music skills are starting to show. The important thing is to try and do everything and sometime maybe, just a good paintball shot at that moment can make the difference to someone. I will open on batting and hit a six off the first ball one day.

Why college football?

Since a countdown seems to have been well appreciated by my wonderful reading community (Archana and Manohary on the author's request), I will use the same here.

10. Because American football is a fun game. I have no knowledge of its roots or its relationship with the beautiful game but it is good fun to watch on its own.
Because games end in three hours so you can do something less productive for the rest of the day.
Because it has the statistics, the strategies and the diagrams for the pundits and just lines to carry a prolate spheroid across using 11 players for less informed skinny non-immigrant graduate students.

9. Because of talent, effort, strategy and skill being involved.
Because it involves brains as well as brawn.
Because reading the opponent is every player's job.
Because a single person playing well does not clinch the game. Because the word team carries a lot of meaning.

8. Because the tradition is at least a 100 years old in almost every college.
Because professors wear orange and blue on fridays and wish you 'go gators' when they see you. It is funky enough to note that colleges are that old but to have a well encouraged non-curricular activity for that long makes it something to want to be part of.

7. Because the Florida Gators are one of the hottest college football teams (Obviously I wouldn't lend my support a bunch of pansies to make me proud).

6. Because it involves young kids trying to make a career out of it. You cannot buy them and sell them. Nor can you fix games.
Because the players play come sun, rain or snow. And the crowd endures it with them.

5. Because it is a great feeling to watch fellow students and games that you saw in person being in the national spotlight every weekend.

4. Because Subbu now calls the beautiful game soccer. And went to a Bulls game. A year ago he called football a disgrace in the name of the beautiful game.

3. Because a loss can crush your mood, but not your team spirit.
Because of unique cheers, bands, songs and trademark action sequences for every team and crowd.

2. Because being at the Swamp is like being at a rock concert. Only better.
Because you being part of 90,000 frenzied, screaming rowdy reptiles DOES make a difference to the players.

1. For the top reason I will use the phrase "A video speaks 30 x 1000 words per second"

Friday, October 31, 2008

Top Ten stereotype people who stereotype you

I will step away from my usual mode of excessive overwriting and keep this one at minimal overwriting. When I am mean and bitchy, these are the people I laugh at...

10. The weird guy who tries to be The Dude and thinks that anyone who does not party hardcore or enjoy rock is not living. Those who are lighter are lame and those who are heavier are villains to be bitched about. Can also be prone to extreme half-English subscription and ignorance of the stupidity kind.
Known allies: more "dudes" of the same level who keep them cool.
Lack factor: maturity.
Most fun when: discovered watching Rajesh Khanna movies from the eighties. Can also make for good comedy if called out bluffing when attempting to share excellent knowledge on what they think is cool.

9. The "good" girl who thinks that people who eat meat and drink are sinners and friends who do so must immediately be purged. Generally will never allow such elements within 10 feet of themselves. Smoking, drugs and having boyfriends may qualify you for the eighth level of hell. No worse deed exists.
Known allies: stereotype number 4.
Lack factor: tolerance.
Most fun when: their fathers and brothers share a drink with you in front of them.

8. The person who is overtly frank (well beyond the good mark) and brash and acerbic but will cry when dumped by friends or told off. Generally carry a high air of humanitarian responsibility but do not use it for anything. Can carry a badly hidden conservative streak. Some call them a jackass.
Known allies: none
Lack factor: people who think well of them.
Most fun when: someone tells them off where they should not cry but can't argue either.

7. The grave person who thinks he/she "knows" all the hardships and cruelties of the world because he/she had the wrong friends/got dumped/generally feels that the world owes him/her a heavy compensation. Generally acts like everything is grey colored and no news is new news.
Known allies: a best friend (for that period) who nods to all that he/she rants about.
Lack factor: a life
Most fun when: someone tells them that they lack experience of the world.

6. The dumb blonde. (I was surprised to note that these actually existed. They are not dumb really but overdo the act so much that it becomes a hard to leave part of them). Generally marry and breed but claim to have socially active professional goals whenever asked.
Known allies: Posse
Lack factor: respect
Most fun when: they try to gain acceptance against their stereotype in serious situations.

5. The lovestruck loser who thinks he deserves every girl he likes (there may be girls in this genre also but they tend to gain their senses one bitten). He never plays by his strengths and tries using what he doesn't have to impress. May have occasional bouts of stereotype number 7 due to track record of failed attempts.
Known allies: half-nice girls who actually believe his act and listen to his sob stories and sympathize (but wouldn't want to be dating him!) The problem is they are not the ones he's trying to get with.
Lack factor: a good mirror.
Most fun when: he gets turned down and wonders how come (this one is like the old faithful).

4. The Jerrygirl (my innovative gender opposite to a tomboy) who can't say no because a girl asked him so. Weak in the knees and the speak-up-please. Can't snag a lass because he doesn't have class (but girls will come and toy when they need an errand boy).
Known allies: more drones of the same species. Bees that will encourage and buzz when in need.
Lack factor: Guy friends.
Most fun when: you watch him with more guys to laugh with you.

3. The Zombie nation that can be herded if you find the zombie leader. Generally never exercise an interest of their own lest they get thrown out of the bunch. Known to show a lot of superficial affection and concern when least needed. Cannot substitute for real people (unfortunately the most populated stereotype).
Known allies: fellow zombies.
Lack factor: brains, nerves.
Most fun when: you take the leader away or add more leaders and confuse them on whom to follow.

2. The auntie girl who will embarrass your mom by marching into your kitchen (when visiting you) and trying to talk/do auntie stuff. Ultra-socialite of the muah-muah type and painfully cloying by choice.
Known allies: their aunties.
Lack factor: sensitivity (though a superficial type is always on prominent display).
Most fun when: you dismiss her but muah up with her friend. Face swims in multiple colors.

And the number 1 stereotype person who would stereotype you is...

The smarty that quietly figures out the system and quickly works a way around it because the end justifies the means. Everything is dispensable in such pursuits and competition is a bigger high than XTC. The race is beaten more by covering your tracks than by actually running.
Known allies: A smarty side-kick to plot with.
Lack factor: real friends.
Most fun when: the naive simpleton always wins the race.

- evil best

Sunday, April 06, 2008

A Statement of Purpose

I have received some remarks from friends on how this blog lacks a certain seriousness and directionality so this post will hope to infuse a bit of both. I will discuss my professional plans in this post and since that is a very serious matter, I believe that people will place me in that plane.
Though I seem to (outwardly) be proceeding in a stable, channeled direction and my general future positions in life seem fixed in some ways; my career interests go off on a tangent, retrace or even teleport elsewhere.
Getting married – I got my undergraduate degree certificate last week. It states that I am now an engineer (a technologist actually but for this argument they are all the same). On an archived article on, I had read on how the average doctor in Bihar gets 50 lakhs in dowry and the average engineer is bid for a crore (this was in 2006). Maybe I can quote India Today rankings and ratings on Anna University (my bachelors’ alma mater) and even get bid for higher. This income may be completely exempted from tax withholdings as well. The trick in this matter is to find a good prospective family that still does comply with these rules (these dratted liberals and non-conservatives are making the search worse by the day). I’ve already got photocopies of the Tehalka article, the India Today ratings as in 2007, a copy of my degree certificate, a bona fide certificate from my old department and my ocular prescriptions in a portfolio that I will release one day when I go to Patna (though I may not have to go that far – I am confident that I can find some sensible people in my native province for sure). If I do manage to complete my PhD, I could probably bargain for another crore. Marriage is a viable profession.
Beer production – Though I happen to be a non-alcoholic, I have friends who are very devout to the spirits. I have often seen how they claim to be moderate and that they are concerned about their close friends’ drinking habits. There is an open market of frustrated Biology students that wish to drown all their sorrow, joys and relatives in beer. I will probably pool ideas and capital (from my nuptial deals) with friends and start a beer that would be targeted at these biology workers. I have a background in Industrial Biotechnology that means I am tailor-made for this business (I have to be). The tentative name for this beer is ‘Topo I’. Because it is supposed to help you unwind.
An eatery – Of all the places that I have eaten at, I have found that my favorite places never have the ambience or the service that food critics talk crucially of. They are quite the opposite in fact. But they do have a certain magic that really makes you swear by some of their creations and makes the place a haven (I will elaborate on these in some later post). There is something in the food and the feel that makes it what is called a ‘cult place’. You have to go there every Sunday with your buddies. I am thinking of using the aforementioned capital to establish a small cult vada pav joint in Chennai (what the people ignorantly call “chaats” there have an emetic effect on me) that does sell real Batata vada made in real desi ghee and stuffed in real Maharashtrian sour pav. It will be a ‘first ever’. Marketing will be done entirely by word of mouth and direct customer care. It will be cheap, it will be hot and fresh off the tawa and it will be in a small shanty. And it will sell.
House spouse – Though I expect a stone-age rationale from my would-be father-in-law, I happen to be a liberal and a strongly egalitarian one at that. I have been in this graduate program for a little over eight months now and I have noticed that I do not have a great passion for science that many of my friends accord to. I have been a 9 to 5 scientist at best. But I have realized a new side of me through this period. I love keeping house – cleaning, cooking, purchasing, generally managing the house. If I do manage to find a prospective bride that would conform to the previous conditions as well as earn for the house, I can see myself happily settling down as the home-maker. My mom is a M.A. in Econometrics and back in the seventies that was supposed to be quite a classy field. However she chose to not work and I have spent a sizeable part of my teens asking her why she wasted her degrees. Now I know why it was a great decision.
The entertainment industry – I have often been testified as a quality entertainer is my circuits, probably for my talking style or my memory of movie comedy tracks. If all such testimonials are of real credibility, then that may auger well for a spot in the entertainment line. Since stand-up comedy is catching up real fast in India, I have been romancing with the idea of a small scale foray into it. However some more detailed testimonials argue that I quickly lose flavor and appeal and that could be a real problem. Fortunately I have another new talent that I could make quality use of. I have shown a remarkable patience and even liking for conventionally-trashed, unintentionally comic and technically jarring cinema. If I could strike a deal with the guild that makes such cinema, I could end up being paid for actually watching them. But I need to explore along these lines further.
And finally teaching – This is a traditional occupation. My grandfather was a school mathematics teacher before he joined the imperial navy. My father is a microbiologist who teaches bankers how to bank. I am currently in the academic line and in a certain thrust position for an academic life in research and teaching. Once I finish this PhD and if I sustain the patience for a post doctoral stint, I could probably have enough juice to land a research and teaching position in some university and I could nicely settle down in a quiet corner of the campus and walk my dog in the evenings. But I am not so serious on this one.
I have also played with the idea of having a mix of the above. Land a bride who brings in the pesos, make her work, establish a cult eatery and pay someone to make profit for you, manage the house and teach on the side and such; basically combinatorial delivery of the same goods. The challenge now is to put them in order and start from some point. Any suggestions?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Divine comedy

A post related to the title tag-line of this blog. A million problems and issues ride our minds at every second - some real, some more important than that. Our big escape from that can be some form of stimulation – sports, meditation, arts or maybe cinema. Since I have a very poor relationship with the first three, I will talk of my only option - the last one. I am not an avid television person but I am crazy about cinema. It may probably be a small side effect of a Mumbai existence but it could be a general human feature.
In cinema, I subscribe to what the typical Indian movie maker sells, but I have a major craving for good comedy. It gives me all the high that I miss out from not using drugs. But of course, not all attempts at comedy are funny. The Hindi film industry had been starved for good comedy for close to two decades until the Dil Chahta Hai’s and the Lagaans came out. Though it has still not fully gotten back to the magic that prevailed in the times of Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Basu Chatterjee, there are at least the odd movies like ‘Kal ho na ho’, ‘Waqt’ and ‘Khosla ka Ghosla’ that weave in some really tingling bits into their script. The comedy tracks that prevailed until then were never good enough to be called lackluster (with the exception of some brilliant bits by Paresh Rawal and Johnny Lever in the movie ‘Judaai’ and a couple of Aamir Khan movies that could make you smile).
The other Indian cinema industry that I follow – the Tamil industry - fared and is still faring a lot better. What was started off by Thangavelu and Nagesh in the sixties and seventies was carried through the eighties and nineties by Goundamani, Janakaraj and Senthil and finally the torch still is held high by Vivek, Vadivelu and the recent Ganja Karupan, each of the stars adding their own colors to it. Of course there are people who never found any of them funny enough but they are not authors on this blog article. Comedy in this industry is so good that despite the current infection of the industry by some people who should have joined some other industry totally unrelated to entertainment, (someone please burn their D.F. Tech. degrees) the finances are still being held stable in many production houses single handedly by the comedy tracks that these greats graciously keep doling out.
Of course there is this whole parallel store of comic cinema that actually did not intend to be so, but nevertheless provides as much entertainment as a quality comedy track would. I talk of the Mithuns, the TRs, the recent Sam Andersons and even Shivaji Ganeshan from the seventies. These movies are meant to be taken in a serious nature (and there are the target audiences that does too) but some others like me take it as a different form of entertainment (hey, after all it is an entertainment industry!).
What makes these movies funny? Is it the excessive jingoistic overacting, is it the bloopers, is it the unbelievable nature of the cinema or is it the fact that the cinema refuses to accept its mediocrity? Jingoism, in my opinion is there in all cinema and some excessively jingoistic movies like Border were big hits not because they were taken to be funny. Second, bloopers exist in all movies and it just takes a keen eye to find them. Third, cinema is allowed to have unbelievable moments and larger than life elements because that is what makes it so fantastic and different and entertaining in comparison to real life. Though of course it is quite funny that a girl that is a third of his age goes weak on the knees for Vijaykanth, (as in that being unbelievably gross even in cinema) and a hundred people spontaneously combust by his very stare, it does not cover the entire spectrum of this parallel industry. There are some other grandpas who still are superstars. In fact such an extreme larger than life effect is taken very serious by most of the movie makers and a large fraction of the public. That leaves just mediocrity.
What defines mediocre cinema? Everyone comes to watch movies with a different mindset and look for different elements in it. Most often the quality of the cinema is based on the element(s) that they looked at but does not always cover everything. Then how can we call a movie mediocre in a general sense? Would it be by a majority of public opinion? In that case, what does the majority of the public call mediocre?
The answer may not be very simple but can be illustrated to make it quite clear. Rajnikanth’s movies are not called mediocre in the Tamil industry because they are taken seriously and his extreme acts and punch elements are called entertaining. The very same act by T Rajendar would be heavily laughed at. One could argue – T Rajendar looks like a Neanderthal’s poor clone and Rajnikanth has a better style. But his son Simbu does look more human than Rajnikanth does and can be made to act well in some situations too. Why did his attempts at heroic dialogue in his debut movie get laughed at, while his later Vallavan (that did not show better acting/screenplay/dialogue/direction in any way) was called a serious hit? Vijaykanth looks like the same species that T Rajendar is claimed to be. But the former is still taken more seriously (not wholly but still substantially, to quote Pt. Nehru). Does Vijakanth offer a better quality in his movies (at least currently)?
One more element to add before I discuss the above - the Hindi movie industry does not seem to offer any extra quality in their acting, dialogue, comedy (already established above) or cinematography. In fact, cinematographers are drawn from the south. Then why is it so that in Bombay, Delhi and Jamshedpur, south Indian cinema (read Tamil cinema. Most people north of the state of Karnataka are not aware of the other south industries. Except for maybe the Malayalam industry but that is thought to entirely be a soft porn industry) is hugely made fun of and the same godly Rajnikanth is mocked openly with the mind-its and the quick-gun Murugans? The answer probably is – budget. The recent ‘Shivaji' by the same person was actually taken seriously in these provinces because of it record – India’s most expensive movie yet. One may scroll back to the previous paragraph to see it sound a bit clearer now.
This argument could sound specious but there is more to stimulate the thinking mind. The bollywood industry, as the Indian industry is popularly called abroad, is called so because it was made in Hollywood’s image – a rip off. Of course the aware world citizen would laud the bollywood industry as ‘full of color and masala’ but it is never treated in the same level of seriousness as a Hollywood or a British production. That is not a result of lack of reach as Indians have migrated to even El Dorado. It is similar to how the Hindi industry treats the Tamil industry.
Big budget is the new brand word. Big budgets mean quality – that is what is sold. The media is worried more about the budget of the movie than what its USP is. And that has carried over to the consumer as well. ‘Taare Zameen Par’ was a big hit; ‘revolutionary children’s movie’ – it was hailed. But the same public never even knew an even more revolutionary ‘Halo’ by Santosh Sivan because it was low budget. There are a million better examples of this but the point driven is the same.
However the purpose is not to promote sensible cinema watching or cut down on excessive expenses in cinema. As stated before, it is an entertainment industry and we draw what we choose from it.
I am a big fan of the Mithuns and the T Rajendars. Not just because of some comedy involved but because of the other thing that they are doing. Though they are not getting great movies out, they provide jobs to so many people who entirely depend on it for their frugal existence. Why is it so important to have a great fight in the movie even though it doesn’t add to the story in any way? The stuntmen and the doubles depend on it for their bread. Technology has pretty much limited the roles of extras, spot boys, doubles, make-up artists, art persons, set designers and makers, stunt men and such. You can be waving your hand in front of a blue screen and the final movie can show you as a great knight slapping an army of dragons. Low tech pavilions that remain – the Bhojpuri industry and the b-grade industries, T Rajendar, Joe Stanley and so many other grass root production houses are their last hope.
To conclude a post that could have taken lesser words to get across, I have always wondered why Kamal Hassan always had to have a car stunt in every one of his movies after the eighties (with the exception of a bare few) even though it never helped the plot. It provides employment. I have even heard that during the 1997-1998 Tamil industry strike, when a lot of the lower rung industry workers faced unemployment and poverty with nowhere to go to, he brought together a team to make a movie called ‘Kadhala Kadhala’ when went on to become one of his best comedy movies and gave a lot of jobs to these people while the actors’ guild refused to do something about the situation. Most of the actors and the top rung members of the movie did not draw anything for their work but passed on the entire sum to the ones who really depended on it. That’s probably why the movie had large numbers of extras going around doing nothing and most of the movie involved sets. Kamal Hassan has his heart in the industry. Mithunda and TR fall in the same league.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

To be precise...

What is a nerd and what is a geek? Often I have observed the use of these terms interchangeably and sometimes I have seen one term being used to cover elements that conform to both terms. I wouldn’t say it is wrong; I support colloquial definitions (not very ethically, but yet quite clearly) in English and other languages partly due to my own ineptness in living up to the standards of Victorian English. But the thoughtless misuse of the terms creates quite a degree of confusion and misinterpretation in many circles.
Both terms are American (anti-British if I may) and have specific characteristics and differ in many senses and many of them are not just subtle. Doubtless, there are similarities – both are characterized by a certain degree of academic drive, social ineptness and a certain lack of focus on appearance. But both terms have evolved over time with continuous tampering and refining to their present positions where a clear distinction may be made.
The first point of difference is the origin – the word geek actually has an English (meaning fool) source though the meaning has been corrupted and evolved with time and use. The term nerd has no English origin (though it may be a derivative of certain known words but that is not clear). This may not be a very consequential difference and so it will not demand attention beyond this.
A more embodied difference is the appearance. Though both may be thought to lack focus on appearance, often once can see a nerd being very conventionally unsightly. The geeks of the current timeline are not so easily identifiable. They may have a pretty smile and may still retain the geek gene. A nerd would typically have untended oily hair, glasses that were a trend when glasses were invented, pants that were a in vogue more recently in the 1920s, a shirt that would be slightly too big or slightly too small, a very noticeable lack of fat and a certain dental aberration. A geek can manage to escape that to a fair extent but may not to the point where the pay attention to how they look and match their pants to their shirts. Often they wear only t-shirts (primarily because they are easier to live with and don’t have buttons that require painful attention but it could also be that geeks have a liking for messages on their shirts and very few of such condition lack the t- element). Nevertheless, a geek is not so likely to win a date by his/her allure quotient as the focus lies in a different direction.
A geek is characterized primarily by a passionate drive for certain things like academics (though not at all limited to), technology, gadgetry, music, movies and such. In fact, such a tendency is the very definitive factor of a geek. A geek may conform to all or some of these conventions. So a non-academic person may still be a geek if he is crazy about electronics and his favorite outings are to best buy and circuit city. Such drives are often prioritized over social needs and hence there is a certain lack of real friends (though geeks may be very socially active in the virtual world) and social participation. A geek may be really cool in his/her own perspective and in the perspectives of his peers making him a success in some circles but not in general ones. Their train of thought also runs along the same lines and that limits the extent to with others may relate to them or vice versa.
A nerd on the other hand is driven towards only academics and its allies. The books read are science-fiction. The social circles are math and physics club. Nerds may not have the choice of rejecting social calls; they are often excluded before that. They have a resultant social hunger that drives them to do some very silly things and nerds are often found approaching the other sex in quite a sloppy manner. Nerds may not always be the best people to talk everything with, though they may be very good for academic discussions. A nerd friend is not a conventional social asset unless you are a nerd too (though it may be observed that nerds often watch each others’ backs and make good friends within their own kin so it is not all hope lost to be one). Nerds are generally thought to end up very successful due to their academic motivation and may often be found dating supermodels after they make their first few millions, though a geeky habit may not always be a very productive or vocationally viable one.
Both terms have evolved from extreme to extreme through time. In the past, the n-word carried a milder tag while the g-word was often used for offense. In their current avatars however, being a nerd may conventionally be less desirable than being a geek.
Being a geek has evolved to such a positive state that often geeks proclaim their condition out loud and strong. There is a certain ego and arrogance that goes with the tag and they chose to retain all of that. It feels good to be someone who’s rejected society for technology. It feels good to be a competent geek in geek circles; you are respected by that circle for it. It feels good to hit out on the world for being unable to see what you see, from your weblog.
Of course nerds also follow suit for similar reasons. You can be a reject through your childhood and college life but once you have salvaged your academic potential for professional success, you can hire many conventionally popular individuals to do your bidding at will. Definitely that fosters a dormant ego that does not wish to stay quiet about it.
I would think that such appeal (or the lack of it) can be bred or avoided by personal choice. One definitely can be what one chooses to be if one does carry a true motivation and genuineness for it. Some things are skin deep and others can be purchased for a small fee. It is the mindset that makes the individual that the social pundits pass judgment on.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The guy quotient

I made this post many moons ago and descriptively wrote at great length on it with many revisions and additions. Out of simple mortal fear, I have deleted everything to give you basic commandment.

"Thou shalt fulfill the guy quotient. No matter how old you get or how forth in a relationship you are, your time with the guys is an essential. Lose it and you lose the ability to do something when you are told to get a life."


Friday, March 14, 2008


There are some aspects of life, science even, that everyone experiments on everyday, and learns and knows and uses. For example, at the end of high-school, one often thinks that one has seen and known enough stereotypes and flavors of people to the point of being able to predict people by mere observation. Vehicular kinematics, cooking, animal psychology, plants, machines and even academic research get a lot more predictable with repeated exposure. Life occurs like a standing wave - it is quantized, and it has its nodes where you know you've finished one wavelength and you're going to start another with negligible amplitude running in the current moment.

This experimental procedure has its perks - you know more, sometimes more than people around you - thats a perk sometimes. You use it to make it to your cheese with minimal effort, thats a very constructive perk. You enjoy being in control of things - things come your way and you think you knew it all along and planned it, thats a perk. You become a person that everyone else thinks is the counselor; you're in demand - thats a great perk.

My favorite perk is where I find myself again.

The quanta of my life and their associated elements on the whole have been very nice to me. But contrary to its overall structure, in each one of them I have found a similar pattern that drives me to associate life with the shape of a standing wave.

I start a section and probe; the first steps are silent. But once I feel the floor under I start jogging, thumping hard and finally running. I leave my friends behind. It feels good, it feels like I am doing what I was meant to do. I stretch out. I look around. I see a lot more around me now; and it is beautiful. The medium that surrounds me has liked something in my exercise so for. It claps and cheers for more. I can now stay on at the same pace or evolve and sate the medium's request. I smile. And stretch out further; I evolve. I am safe. This is a good change it is. The medium watches. And then it happens.

Something limits the stretch. Something blocks it. I look around frantically. I see some distortion; it is not the perfection I had thought it to be. I do not want to believe it. I push myself harder. That that surrounds me must be good and perfect and true. I work and pant and sweat and strain and scream and then I faint. That that I had feared most has come to occur. I am done for. I am quenched. The medium watches.

But I am not dead. I am diminished but i retain my old form. I get up slowly and stand again. I start walking slowly. And then i trot. I remember how I used to love trotting in my previous segment. I look over my shoulder, and spot my friends. They have caught up with me. I smile back. And together we trot till we are close to the end. A couple of others join us. A good pace is now needed to jump through the wormhole into the next segment. We improve our speeds slowly and gracefully run though. The medium watches.

I, again, am at a similar point - the end of one wave and the start of yet another. But it is a lot more similar than just that. I ended it with the same people that i started it with. I ended it with the same pace that I started it with. I even ended it with the same mood that i started it with. Strangely I feel that I have run back to the last node and merged with what I was then. Or maybe reinvented my old form with more reason backing it this time. I trace my short trip - I started off well, lost myself somewhere, found myself again, ignored the medium and its bulk, found my friends and myself again.

It is a standing wave in many ways. In others, It is like a set of adventures of a comic-book hero - each segment ending with "happily ever after".

I am relieved, ecstatic, content and raring to go, all in one moment; not as much for passing the segment, as for the fact that I regained myself. I look at the medium from the corner of my eye again. It watches. It does its job. As I am meant to do mine.

I will start again. I will stretch out and be challenged and hurt and fall. I will be struck out. But that will not keep me from playing the game. I love being the element that is me.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Structural wars

A computational biologist, an NMR spectroscopist and a crystallographer went to the races. The computational biologist whipped out his laptop, opened a couple of program windows and exclaimed, " i've found out the outcome of this race! The horse named gonio stat will win. I have run a simple simulation of the entire thing with all variables taken in good account. Gonio stat will win by many lengths."

Needless to say, the NMR spectroscopist and the crystallographer disapproved and questioned.

The NMR spectroscopist narrowed his eyes and said, "how can you say you have everything accounted for? Did you account for the track conditions? what if the track is muddy?"

"Thats a good point". said the computational biologist. he quickly modified his codes and parameters and observed the results. Gonio stat's position in the race was negligably changed. He still seemed to win by many lengths.

The assured NMR spectroscopist quitely placed a 50 buck bet on the horse and went away.

The crystallographer persisted. In his traditional crystallographic worries he stated, " i am still not convinced. have you accounted for wind currents and humidity and rain?"

"Hmmm. thats a good point too." said the computational biologist. He modified his codes and parameters and rechecked his results. The position of the horse barely changed and he still seemed to win the race by many lengths.

The crystallographer was still reluctant. however he placed a 100 buck bed on gonio stat and hoped that it worked.

All the calculations were now done and the bets were in place and the race began. Needless to say, gonio stat had an impressive start but as the race went on he lagged and slowed and fell far behind every one of the other horses. He was behind all of them by many lengths. The race ended with gonio stat on an obvious last place.

The the crystallographer and the NMR spectroscopist were furious. "we believed in you! you said you had taken everything into account including the track and weather conditions! how did this happen?!!!" They demanded to see his logic.

The computational biologist began with a smug smile, "first assume a spherical horse...."

-posted on my lab entrance