Saturday, September 23, 2006

An Old Friend

I have just started reading 'The Hobbit' for the second time. The last time I had read this book, I was 17. I guess I could go about by saying how naive I was then and how much I have learnt in the last 11 years. Unfortunately, that is not true :-).

The name 'Tolkien' meant nothing to me. I was volunteering for the hostel library. As I was shelving some of the books, a book fell down from the top shelf. It was dusty. Half of the front cover was missing. It looked as if someone had eaten it for breakfast. I am sure it would have tasted better than the hostel food. There was no back cover. It was falling apart at the seams. Why would anyone in the right mind even read this book ? Oh, for the dragon, maybe. On what was left of the front cover, half a dragon was breating fire. It was standing atop a green crystal thingy.

However, it takes a lot to capture the imagination of an indifferent 17 year old. I put the tattered remains of the book back on the shelf. For the next few months, it continued to gather dust. None of the patrons seemed remotely interested in this book. After all, what is a hobbit!!! and Tolkien didn't even sound like a name. Ah, the arrogance and ignorance. Traces of both remain to this very day. A few months later, I was ready to lock the library but had nothing to read for the night. A fire breathing dragon suddenly appeared on the horizon. I wondered. Is this the night to finally read this book and discover that it was the piece of trash that I 'knew' it was ? The boy inside answered. Yes. Thus it happened that I strode back to Room #149 with a fire breathing dragon under my arm. It was 11 PM. No, it really wasn't. I just have a sense of the dramatic.

It started with a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins who was into sensible things like good food, good drink and parties. I wondered where the dragon fit in. Maybe it was just a cheap publisher's trick to lure otherwise reluctant readers. Very soon Gandalf made an appearance. The dwarves were next. By this time, a slow grin was spreading along the corners of my face. The characters were funny and interesting. Some of them even reminded me of old chandamama stories. The anticipation of the upcoming adventure started creeping in. Before I knew it, Bilbo was at the green mountain, trying to trick Smaug the dragon. It was great stuff. It was funny, adventurous and something else too. It was a great story. Pretty soon, it came to an end and I was left crestfallen. Tolkien indeed had a great imagination. More than that, he knew how to spin a good yarn. I couldn't sleep that night. My imagination was on fire.

In the next few years, I read Lord of the Rings. This story was far more darker. It seemed to me that the time for fun and games was over. I forgot all about the Hobbit and his story of how the road goes on and on from the door where it began. I had gone to the library yesterday to return Wizard and Glass. I was a little disappointed to find out that the next edition in the series was checked out. Forlorn, I was scanning through the shelves and my eyes fell upon the recorded version of 'The Hobbit'. Memories flooded in. I immediately grabbed it. A few minutes later, I started going down memory lane. Thorin Oakenshield and his band of dwarves, Dwalin, Balin, Ori, Nori, Bifur, Bombur, Oin, Gloin ....... Pure unadulterated pleasure. I haven't finished the book yet. Time to do that :-).

What are you gonna do ?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Thursday, September 14, 2006


I am Zune.
I want to beat the iPOD
Can you help me ?

I can play your music and videos. If any of my buddies are nearby, I can even share information with them. I swear I didn't take a leaf or two out of the Sony PSP playbook.

Neologism of the day

An abundance of thoughts

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

You are Spider-Man

The Flash
Green Lantern
Iron Man
Wonder Woman
You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Odds and Ends

Random Facts :

  • Getting married in December.
  • Actually organized a charity fundraiser night
  • Managed 150 guests and raised over 3500$
  • MC ed the whole event
  • Bill Clinton was the guest of honor. (Just testing to see if you are awake)
  • Changed my mobile phone carrier
  • It has been 1 month since I swore in Telugu
  • It has been 1 hour since I swore in English
  • It has been 1 day since I swore in Hindi
  • I would love to swear in swahili. Can someone teach me ?
  • Fell in love with Stephen King's Dark Tower Series. Now reading Book IV (Wizard and Glass)
  • My little brother is old enough to blog.
  • I remembered that I used to blog
  • I also used to be funny

Monday, August 14, 2006

A True Hero

Meet Vidyakar, the founder of Udavum Karangal (Helping Hands). Vidyakar bears testament to what true grit and determination can achieve. Affectionately known as 'Pappa' , he is my hero.

Also, read

Born in a village in Kollegal - Mysore - Karnataka in a poor family Mr.Vidyaakar was provided with shelter and a prolonged education culminating in Master degree in social work by Mr. Ramakrishnan of Chennai. His Mentor's words " Help others" became the guiding force for Vidyaakar in starting Udavum Karangal (Helping Hands) as a guidance centre way back in 1983, in the slums of NSK Nagar, Chennai.

"It all began when I carried an eleven month old baby which was found abandoned in a theatre counter in Chennai. It has nowhere else to go. It needed care and I felt a sudden urge in me to take care of the baby".

From that day onwards I came across many such unfortunate victims, including AIDS patients. With the dedicated help of about 75 volunteers, Udavum Karangal today has become a haven for 2000 socially under-privileged persons.

Saturday, August 12, 2006


For the last few months, I have been actively working with Umang, a non-profit organization geared to improve the lives of the underprivileged people in India. There are myriads of similar organizations around. However, the thing that makes the Umang experience special is the fact that it was started by a few friends. At this moment, we have about 15 active volunteers and 10 part-timers. Working with friends affords a sense of camaraderie that's very hard to duplicate elsewhere. For the last few years, Umang has been organizing a food camp for the elderly and homeless in Goverdhan, Mathura. We have partnered with Harvard University based India School House fund to fund schools in rural India.

To raise awareness, we are organizing our first event in the washington DC area - an entertainment program to coincide with the Independence day festivities. It's been a fun and challenging experience so far in working out the logistics for the event. The event will take place at the Reston Community Center, Reston, Virginia on August 26th 2006. We have performances by talented singers and dancers, a fun anthakshari session and a raffle as well.

If you are interested in supporting this wonderful cause, please visit Umang at http:/

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Happy Fool's day

No more other dating/matrimonial website wannabees.

Google Romance is here.
1. Upload your profile
2. Enter search criteria
3. Click the "I'm feeling LUCKY" button
4. Send him/her messages via Gmail
5. Buy her/him a teddybear/Xbox via Froogle
6. Get driving directions from Google Maps
7. First date followed by Dream song in Switzerland. Hire Yash Chopra and AR Rahman.
8. Fire Yash Chopra and AR Rahman (You cannot afford them for more than one dream song)
9........ Write your own story here and blog on
10. Profit (For Google, that is...)

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Happy Ugaadi

Pathakulara, Mee andarikee Vyaya Naama Samvastsara Subhaakaankshalu

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


For many days, I have been meaning to write about EA's next blockbuster, SPORE. Here are a few reasons why you should be excited about it.

1. Will Wright
2. Procedural Animation
3. RPG evolving into RTS into MMORTS/MMORPG

For the gaming neophytes, Will Wright is the creator of Simcity, The Sims and 'sim'ilar games. Procedural Animation is basically on-the-fly animation. In other words, built-in code within the game generates graphics and renders them on the fly. Pretty cool. The game starts as a Role Playing Game where you have control over one creature and slowly progressed into a Real Time Strategy game pitting you against other players.

The game starts with you controlling a spore or a single celled organism. You have to help your spore survive under hostile conditions and oversee its evolution. As the spore evolves, you get to play god by deciding what it evolves into. This is where procedural animation comes into play. Very soon, you would be controlling a whole city of your creatures and then a planet and then a solar system and so on.

Check out this super cool gameplay video on Google.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Google Mars

Not content with their plans of terrestrial domination, Google has launched a new front to their offensive. Just Kidding. If you are a space aficionado, Google has just the right thing for you. High resolution satellite imagery and AJAX wizardy have brought the Martian Planet right to your desktop. I couldn't see any tiny green men though.

Check out Google Mars

Sunday, March 12, 2006

The greatest One-Day Ever

For avid cricket-fans around the globe, last night was a watershed moment. The South Africans successfully chased a target of 435 to beat Australia at the Wanderers Stadium. For the first time in cricketing history, a total of 892 runs were scored in a One-Day International. Here are a few adjectives to describe the match: Nail biting, Thrilling, Heart Stopping. In the morning session, Ricky Ponting scored a spectaular 164 off 105 deliveries to construct a seemingly unsurpassable target of 434. To make matters worse, the Springboks lost their first wicket at 3. Did the South Africans give up ? Hell No!!!. Graeme Smith and Herschelle Gibbs set up the stage with some Spectacular hitting. Smith made 90 while Gibbs scored a match winning 175 off 111 deliveries.

Cut to the finish. The South Africans had to face 6 deliveries from Brett Lee to score 7 runs while having 2 wickets in hand. A 4 from Andrew Hall seemed to have done the trick but he gave an easy catch to Michael Clarke in the very next delivery. But Ntini and Boucher did not lose the plot and steered SA to a SENSATIONAL victory.

Bottomline : South Africans , Chokers no more. !!!!

Read more reviews of this game here:

Friday, March 10, 2006

Google vs Microsoft

Informed sources report that Google is developing a Calendar Program to be integrated with Gmail at some unspecified date in the not so distant future. As of now, the Calendar is still in BETA and not open for outside testing. There goes MS Outlook. This site is supposed to have screenshots of this new calendar thingy but it's been down for a while. Google's plan seems to be to take over the world, one Microsoft Program at a time.

In other news, Google acquired a company that developed a collaborative Web Processor called WRITELY. New Registrations are temporarily closed.

There have also been rumours circulating on the WWW about the Gdrive service that would allow users to store all their data on Google's servers.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Quo Vadis

I am back from my self-imposed exile. I couldn't stay away from my blog for too long. After some careful deliberations, I have decided to rechristen my blog. Instead of a generic "Musings, Ravings, ...Dozings..", it will be simply known as "Quo Vadis". Latin for "Whither goest thou", it is a true reflection of my current mental state. A la Robert Frost, I am at a cross-roads and will soon have to choose a path that could change everything. So while I sit here thinking, I just have one question running through my mind.

"Quo Vadis"

Friday, February 10, 2006

The Winter Olympics

Said Caesar, "Let the games begin!!!"

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The new Kids on the Search Block

Meet Kosmix, the new kid on the Search block. Founders Venky and Anand have raised 7.4 mil$ in VC to work on their dream of taking search to a new place. For a long time, I have dreamt about Google adding a meta search feature to their engine. Dogpile and other meta search engines offered some relief but I felt that there was something missing. Apparently, the Kosmix team have been working on this problem for the last 1 year. As of now, you can perform searches that fall under 3 categories : health, travel and politics. After a few trial searches I felt that Google seemed to capture more content but Kosmix seemed to be doing a better job in organizing their results.

Interestingly, Venky and Anand are also the founders of Junglee which was later acquired by Amazon. Oh BTW, they also went to school with Larry and Segei at Stanford. Here is an interesting story about that.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy new Year

To all my friends and readers of this blog, may you be blessed with a happy, peaceful, prosperous and fun-filled 2006.
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