Saturday, May 31, 2008


It's that time of an engineer's life when everything that he has worked for can turn into reality. The dream company, the dream package; comes at least within sight [read as the aptitude test paper]!

Aptitude test's have been a weird anomaly for most people, dumb people clearing some apti's which scholars don't. But it's all part and parcel of life.

Placements also result in doubts, confusion, anxiety, pressure at times or excitement, joy, happiness once you are successful. But one things for sure, no matter what an engineers life surely does change after placement week is over.

I'm hoping that COEP lives upto its top billing as the college with the best placements! Recession, go away man.. I ain't screwed myself in Engg for 3 years for nothin ;)

Taxi Driver

Well, I wasn't much of a Scorsese fan; but after watching this movie all I can say is 'genius'!
The whole movie is intriguing but the last ten minutes are the best ten minutes of any movie I have ever seen [the best 10 minutes of Shawshank Redemption come a little before the last 10 minutes of the movie]!

It starts of describing a lonely, insomniac man (Travis Bickle) who takes up a job as a Taxi Driver. The entire 1st thirty minutes are dedicated to describing the setting of the man's life, his growing frustration with the 'scum of the city'. Since he does most of his work as a night time cabbie; he sees pretty much the worst of the city.
All along the movie an interesting plot is developed, about a Presidential Election.

Travis (De Niro) then gets attracted to a woman named Betsy working for the Election Campaign for a man named Palantine. Travis' inexperience with women leads him to inviting her for a movie, which actually was a Swedish Sex Ed film; Betsy obviously gets disgusted and leaves him.

One night a stoned girl (Iris) gets into his cab only to be dragged out by a pimp. Travis then chances upon seeing the same girl a couple of times more. he finally decides he wants to save her from the lowly life she has been leading at the tender age of 12.

Meanwhile Travis repeatedly tries to contact Betsy, going as far as forcibly entering her office; only to be removed from there.
Travis' frustration then increases day by day until finally he buys a gun. He decides to kill the Presidential hopeful for whom Betsy works. The following scene with Travis and a Secret Agent are pretty well shown, at all times one expects Travis to take out his gun and go after Palantine; but he doesn't.

Travis also gets obsessed with saving Iris (Jodie Foster) and asks her repeatedly to go back to her home and lead a better life. The naive Iris doen't follow his advice.

The next day we suddenly see Travis in a Mohawk hair cut as he enters a rally of Palantine. After the speech Travis gets close to Palantine and is about to draw his gun to shoot, when Secret Agents see him and Travis starts running. He escapes and reaches his home.

The last 10 minutes -

Travis drives his taxi to Iris's brothel area, where he stops and walks over to the pimp. After talking with him for a brief period, he pulls out his gun and shoots him once. He then walks over to Iris' building and climbs the steps. Near Iris' room he is stopped by another goon, he shoots him, but misses his head. The goon gets injured and tries to stop Travis who starts making his way to Iris' room. Suddenly the injured pimp who Travis had short earlier is seen wielding a gun and his shot hits Travis in the neck. Travis then kills the pimp and the goon. As he reaches the door of Iris's room; a man walks out from Iris' room and shoots Travis in the shoulder. Travis kills that man and finally collapses on a sofa next to a scared and weeping Iris. Travis then puts the gun to his own neck and pulls the trigger, many times. But there are no bullets left.

Travis is seen breathing heavily, blood soaked and dying. The police then enter the room, after some time Travis closes his eyes.

We are then shown news paper clippings which say - Taxi Driver Hero Saves Girl From Prostitution!
A voice over reads out a letter by Iris' parents which thank him for saving their daughter; according to the letter Travis was in a coma when they came to visit him and thank him.

They show Travis a while later talking to his fellow cabbies when a woman enters his cab. She talks to him about his heroics and he says that the newspapers made a big deal out of it. The woman in the cab is Betsy. Her actions suggest that due to the events that happened, she wants to resume seeing him. Travis drops her to her house and doesn't charge her.

The movie ends.

The ending of the movie is filled with irony, but a fitting end to an awesome movie. Robert De Niro acts brilliantly in a very challenging role. I saw this movie from 3 am to 5 am in the morning; and even then it seemed awesome. Totally worth it's high rating. Watch it somehow!

Thursday, May 29, 2008


I saw a beggar who had a 500 rupee note with him. I ain't lying he can be seen everyday near Jehangir Hospital. That day, he had more money than me!!!

I met the hottest girl during an aptitude test recently! One of the most unexpected places to meet a chic.

This girl I know suddenly became superhot the day she stopped tying a pony-tail and removed her braces! {People jokingly call her 'hot Jassi'}

A guy slapped a waiter at a restaurant [he was either drunk or stupid], the waiter then punched the guy, who fell down. I haven't gone to that restaurant ever since.

I know only 1 person in this world who has a poster of Scarlett Johansson, Madonna, Fergie, Angelina Jolie and The Great Khali in the same room.

I was traveling with a friend on his bike, we had to get to PICT for some event and we didn't know the exact way... he was driving the bike damn rashly and almost hit a rickshaw. The rickshaw driver called my friend - "Ch***ya". My friend looked at him and said "Bhaisaab, PICT ke liye left lena hai ya right?" The rickshaw driver looked bewildered and said, "Right"

A friend of mine in a philosophical note once said - "Dude, after 3 years of engg, i have realized ... any chic is better than no chic and any job is better than no job"

The most "adult" story any friend has ever narrated to me, has been narrated by a girl!

Hasan and I have a record of winning 1st prize at each Paper Presentation Contest for which our PPT was not even finished until 10 minutes before the event!

The Paper Presentaion Conquest

This has been a long awaited post. It narrates the story of how two people Hasan Poonawala and Harshvardhan Pande, participated and won 3 paper presentation contests, on a relatively unknown topic called Swarm Intelligence. What will be told here are bare facts, no exaggeration whatsoever!

A bit of a background on this one. Hasan Poonawala and Harshvardhan Pande are ex-Vincentians. And currently COEPians. Once in 2nd year, Harsh just randomly asked Hasan to write a paper with him. They dropped the idea due to lack of time and a topic.

Then suddenly in 3rd year somewhere in January, a senior told them about a Paper Contest being held at PVG. Suddenly these two guys got a 'keeda' to do a paper.
They had not much with them, just an old collection of notes on Ant Systems, they expanded the idea to include Swarm intelligence the 'baap' of Ant Systems.

Now, 3 days before the deadline for submitting the paper, Hasan and Harsh suddenly realized that they had to write the paper in IEEE format. Something that they hadn't ever done or seen in their lives. Then a very nice gesture by a senior helped. She gave them, her own paper, to see the format. [The 2 HP's thank her for that]

Now came the turning point, both of them were Vincentians, brainy but very lazy. For the next 2 and a half days they did nothing. Then Hasan came over to Harsh's place to start and finish the paper. At about 4pm Hasan reached Harsh's house. Instead of work on the paper, they were busy watching funny videos like this one Sarah Silverman - I'm f***ing Matt Damon

It was about 8pm when they finally started to do some work. By 10 pm they had finished just the 1 page Abstract. Then Hasan went home.
While on the Internet they searched for more info, more videos, more pictures. Eventually changing the paper content by at least 25%.
By about 1 am, the paper was done. But the PPT, wasn't yet born. It took them about an hour and still only 4 slides were done. Then Hasan fell asleep.
The event timing was actually 11 am, but apparently the two HP's were under the impression that their timing was 2 pm.

When Hasan woke up, miraculously the PPT had 32 slides ;)

Then at about 1 pm Harsh went to Hasan's house, they spoke to the organizers and somehow got the time "shifted" to 2pm. Apparently they had a class test :D

It was 1:30 when they realized that 32 slides would never fit inside 10 minutes of stipulated time. So they canceled some slides and reduced it to 27. They then left at about 1:45 and reached PVG at 2:10.

At PVG they realized that they hadn't decided who would speak for how long. It was decided that Harsh would talk for 4 minutes and Hasan would use the rest including the change-over time.

The following events then took place:

Harsh started off, explaining each slide with a lot of 'impromptu' talk added. Things were going well when Hasan suddenly checked the clock, 7 minutes were already over of the 10 minutes they had. A panick stricken Hasan changed slides at the rate of knots. He had just about 2 and a half minutes to finish 14 slides. Eventually he did it in just under 4 minutes. When the PPT finished Harsh thought they were doomed. But then started the questionnaire round. Hasan and Harshvardhan then "kicked ass". Answering each and every question.

Important incident -
Some other competitor was sitting in the audience and was purposely asking questions that he thought the two HP's wouldn't know. One of them was "You have explained the theoretical parts of Swarm Intelligence... but it s not been applied anywhere..." he said it with a tone that said - " this technology is not useful"

A furious Harsh then cut short the question and said "In Belgium a network called Ant Net uses Swarm Intelligence. You may not have heard of it since we only hear of most thing in US, and not much about technological breakthroughs in Europe. If you go to Belgium you can actually use Ant Net. OK!" with a tone that said "fuck off loser"

Now obviously the guy had never heard of Ant Net, neither was he going to Belgium in the near future, but what it did was give the judges a confirmation of the fact that the 2 HP's knew their stuff well. Lesson learnt, dont try to fuck with the 2 HP's!

A judge then asked us about algo's based on swarms other than ants and bees [the 2 they had focussed on] Hasan then came up with algos based on Bats, actually used in the movie Batman. Lesson learnt watching Hollywood flicks helps in various unexpected places like a Paper Contest.
I remember Hasan saying "Dude, thank god we were from Vincent's." Because good communication skills were an asset at that contest, the first ever of our lives. We had never ever seen a Paper Presentation... never ever!
After that round was over Hasan and Harsh were confident that they'd get something good from this. Turned out that they had won 1st prize.

A prize distribution followed where the Chief Guest was Chandu Borde, the guy cracked some funny jokes in his speech. Hasan and Harsh made a cool Rs. 4,000 from that event. They split the money. Harsh gave a treat to his friends with that money.

Then they had a Paper contest later at SIT where they came 3rd. The previous day during the elimination round the 2 HP's reached SIT 1 hour late and registered for the elims minutes before the last PPT was done! They gave their most hurried and under prepared performance and yet qualified for the finals.
The next day they gave the PPT, with Harsh sitting on top of the table meant to keep the laptop on. The questionaire session was also good. The judges took a really long time to give the results. Apparently the 2 HP's were tied for 2nd place with two females from Cummins. But they were declared 3rd in place, because a tie was not allowed. The only reason they came 3rd was because they didn't make any working application on Swarm. The one's who stood 1st and 2nd were final year students who had made PPT's on their B.E. Projects! Harsh that day swore he'd win another 1st prize and not rest until then and Hasan agreed.

Then after a really long time just before the End Sem exams, they decided to give it one more shot. Now Harsh that week had been very ill. Miraculously the day of the contest, his fever dipped below 102 and came to 100 degrees. the lure of a 1st prize was too much. He forced some medicines down his throat and left for MIT.
The previous night, the 2 HP's decided to make a Java application to add to their PPT. Bhushan Jain was told the entire logic at 11:30 pm and in an hour using NetBeans he made the application for DTSP and mailed it to Harsh. [Harsh is yet to give a treat for the MIT Paper Contest]

The next day again at around 1:00 pm they met at Hasan's place and revamped the slides. Hasan added stuff on Web Graphs and also slides from his Text Classifier. Harsh said, "If we don't win after this, I'll kill someone" Luckily Harsh didn't kill anyone that day!

They went to MIT, once again just on time. They gave a good performance, and then the questionnaire round started. What followed was a slew of question by a very intelligent and knowledgeable judge, he was literally screwing the 2 HP's, but they stuck through and gave a few great answers and 'fekofied' the rest! Once the round was over they were literally convinced that they had no chance. They waited an hour for the results nevertheless. Hasan walked to Harsh after seeing the results and said 'Dude, 1st'
Harsh said 'Don't joke man'
Hasan: 'No dude, seriously we won'
Harsh: 'Check again'
Hasan: 'I swear'
Harsh: 'What the fuck! Awesome'

They won another 2,000. But most importantly they won their 3rd paper contest, something that's not very common. Each time they had different slides, different concepts, different approaches. the last was by far the most professional. The contests helped them to such an extent that making a PPT later for class seminars and such stuff was seriously easy. Public speaking was never a problem for them but the victories made it all the more easier. Harsh and Hasan have ever since, never practiced before a PPT.

The Paper Presentation contests and their conquests were a brilliant experience, something they will never forget. The amount of time pass they did and yet managed to win, proved that they had some skill in them. Let's see if the 2 HP's sweep the Paper Contests next year, it'll certainly be a new topic, it'll certainly be last minute, and it'll certainly be prize winning!

Epilogue ... Harsh - Harsh had his Computer Networks Viva in May. All day the students ahead of him in roll number order were getting screwed. There were horror stories after each batch of 3 students came out of the viva. Harsh was waiting in the adjacent lab since 12 pm for his viva. He finally walked into the viva lab at 7:30 pm. The external taking the viva was the same man who took the case of the 2 HP's at MIT. Harsh felt a shiver run through his spine.

Harsh sat down on the chair, hoping the man wouldn't recognize him. The external said - "If I am not mistaken, you were at MIT for a Paper Contest?"
Harsh: Yes, sir.
External: Did you win?
Harsh: Yes sir, first prize.
External: You should thank me.
Harsh: Thank You sir!

The external the gave hell to Harsh and the other 2 batch mates. After a barrage of question, all of which he attempted, the following occurred...

External: Last question for you [looking straight at Harsh]
[Harsh made a silent prayer to God]
External: If I have to connect 802.1 and 802.3, what should I use.
Harsh: Bridge
External: Sure? [With an evil grin]
Harsh: Yes.
External: Ok, I will tell you, I am giving you a router or a bridge which will you use?
Harsh: Bridge
External: You can go! [No expression on his face]

Harsh left, showing no signs of tension, but internally he was thinking "I'm fucked!"
Turns out Harsh got the highest marks in the class for CN viva. So the Paper Contests, turned out to be the best thing that happened to him in 3rd Year!

Epilogue... Hasan -
Hasan gave an interview for an IBM Internship after clearing the aptitude test in which he spent 20 minutes explaining 'Swarm Intelligence', he got the Internship easily! ;)

Megan Fox

There are few women in this world for whom one can use the phrase - 'I was blown away'. Megan Fox is one of those. Saw her in Transformers and I swear by the "holy, sweet, divine goddess of Venus", I was blown away. The movie too was pretty good. But she raised the bar! [Apparently Megan Fox used to work at a bar, those lucky boozers]

I hope to see a lot more of her in the future [pun intended] ;)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

It's Diablo II time again!

I had bought the game CD's in 9th std, that's about 5 years ago. The game totally consumed me, but I never got time to finish it. Years later, I've got the game back with me, and this time I'm determined to complete the game with all 5 role-players. Also got the expansion set with new levels, so let's see.
But one thing's for sure, it's gonna be awesome!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Goodbye RC and DC

The semis of the IPL are going to start soon. And sadly my friends the Bangalore Royal Challengers and Deccan Chargers are going to lose out. Nope, they wont make it to the next round.

No longer will we be able to see the absolute brilliance of these two teams.

What a huge loss for the IPL and its standards which had been really "pushed up" [pun intended] by these two teams. ;)

Oh, we'll also miss Jacques Kallis, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, Adam Gilchrist etc.
Next year i hope DC and RC go on till the finals. Imagine a bowl-out b/w the 2 teams. I wonder if cheerleaders are also allowed to bowl the wickets over. I think Mr. Lalit Modi should alter the rules of the IPL [yet again] to allow one cheerleader from each team carrying a red badge :D to get one attempt at a bowl out.
What say?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thank You VH1 and may all hail Led Zeppelin

VH1, is quite frankly everything an engineer can ask for in his holidays. They care so much about us. I finish my exams and then get a decent result. They reward me by starting "Gods Of Guitar"; featuring all my favorites; Pink Floyd, Mark Knopfler, Jimi Hendrix and above all Led Zeppelin.

When one gets to see all these Legends every night, it's heaven for a rock fan and especially a guitar lover. Today they were playing Led Zeppelin. I've seen the videos of Stairway to Heaven at least a zillion times and yet its not enough, ditto for Kashmir [the song that introduced me to Led Zeppelin]. Hendrix is yet to start, i missed the Jimi Hendrix special last year; but will definitely catch up with it this time.

VH1, thank you so much! In the days of Aaj Tak and Balaji Telefilms, VH1 is the TV God!

P.S. In case you haven't seen any video of Led Zeppelin, these links will help:

Stairway to Heaven

Mark Knopfler's following performance is one of the best live guitar solos ever:
Sultans Of Swing

Radio Stations in Pune

Any city that claims to be a true Metro has a few things in common with other Metros. One of these are 24 hour Radio Stations. Thus far Pune had just one, Radio Mirchi [93.9 which then became 98.3], the Mirchi monopoly on Pune in the last year became a torture and soon enough i stopped hearing it.
The low point was hearing a promo ad of Mirch which went like this
Kase kay Mirchi in the tune of The Real Slim Shady!!! Fuck, that was the most shitty thing I've heard. The intellectual emptiness that Mirchi fell into was something I couldn't stand.
In its first year it had some great RJ's like Sangram and Karma. Once they had gone, we had crappy people replacing them. The later changes just worsened the degree to which RJ-ing could crap down to!

Then a couple of months back we had Radio City coming to town. The very first day i heard it i realised it's just as good [bad] as Mirchi.

Today, i finally got to hear Radio One. The latest Radio Station on the block, and it's started off well. RJ's who know how much to talk, and who realise that we aren't wasting our stereo batteries to hear them; it's the music that interests us. It was good to hear some Avril Lavigne on the station. English music somehow seems to have been forgotten by the other stations. I hope someday we get higher quality music on Radio.

The day a station plays Led Zeppelin will be the day Radio in India would have finally arrived for me. I pray that day comes soon. Meanwhile I pray to other Radio Stations not to demean path-breaking international artists by fucking up their best songs.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Dark Knight

Come 18th July and movie lovers are in for a treat. The Dark Knight - the much awaited sequel of Barman Begins will finally release. Many reasons exist as to why people are so excited about the movie.
One, it is being directed by Christopher Nolan, the man who revived and resurrected the Batman franchise with his brilliant interpretation of Batman in Batman Begins.

Secondly, Christian Bale is at the helm of affairs as The Batman. His restrained effort has been applauded by one and all. The Batman movies prior to Batman Begins were really shoddy and stupid. Even Spiderman seemed better than Batman ;)
But Christian Bale gave the role the kind of stature that Toby Maguire's Spiderman can never reach. [I like Spiderman too but Spidey 3 was a pathetic sequel]

Thirdly, Aaron Eckhart enters the Batman franchise as Harvey Dent. Who later on becomes the supervillain Two Face. This one is a superb casting move. Those of you who aren't aware of Aaron Eckhart should watch Thank You For Smoking.

Lastly, the late Heath Ledger, in his last complete role; as The Joker. One look at the trailer and you know he's done a better job than what all the hype says. Heath Ledger's look is completely insane, just what the role required. The Joker will in all probability go down in history as one of the best villains ever.

I am really looking forward to this movie, which releases on July 18th.

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Embarrassing Story Theorem a.k.a. The My Cousing/Neighbour/Friend Story Theorem

Embarrassing moments occur in everyone's life, later on in life we tend to laugh at them. But somehow, even years after the incident took place, we still are a little petrified of our weak moments coming out in the open. But the stories are funny; they make people laugh, increase our humour ratings. So how does one narrate a funny realistic story without jeapordizing our carefully constructed reputation....

Simple, start your story with following words, "You know, once this cousin of mine...". And then keep replacing the words, 'me,mine,my' with 'my cousin or my cousin's'. For example, 'I was once watching AXN in the middle of the night and my mom walked in and the show was Hot Babes of Brazil...' will now become, 'My cousin was once watching AXN in the middle of the night and my cousin's mom walked in and the show was Hot Babes of Brazil...'.

You must be careful that you don't repeat 'my cousin' for every story; use other substitutes like your 'friend', in which case you may have to give out a name, which complicates matters, since you do not want the following scenario -
You are narrating a story - "Once Michael was studying in his room and suddenly he saw this hot chic..." and then you suddenly realize that Jimmy is sitting around right now and Jimmy is Michael's best friend and he will obviously report this to Michael and then you're screwed.

In which case, the best option is your next door neighbour. When else will the irritating punk come of use to you?

So now we come to The Embarrassing Story Theorem:

Any embarrassing story can be narrated easily in public without the fear of future embarrassment provided each instance of the word 'me, my, mine, myself' and all other such self-referencing terms are replaced with a worthy and safe substitute like 'friend, cousin, neighbour' etc.


Interesting Story:

Once my cousin was surfing the net and he suddenly chanced upon some photos of a super hot model, he suddenly felt the need to download them, when suddenly.... the lights went off!

[I had you going there for a while didn't I] :D

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Birth Of PI

After going through at least a hundred possible names, Amit and I have finally christened our project group PI. For copyright concerns i cant divulge the full form of PI, until a few formalities are completed. But i am pleased as hell that at around 1:15 am we were able to come up with the names!

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Girl Next Door

It's weird how a guy like me who knows stuff about "stuff" hadn't yet seen The Girl Next Door -

A welcome start to this year's vacation movie festival [held on my comp]. I liked the movie, Elisha Cuthbert should get more movies, seriously. She looked great throughout the movie, acted well for her part and besides; it was just an easy watch [she made it a lot easier ;) ]

The story revolves around Matthew who is a nice guy who hasn't done anything 'crazy' in his life ever and wants to, but somehow he just can't. Enter Danielle [Elisha Cuthbert] who instantly arouses his interest. A series of interesting incidents occur and the catch in the movie enters when he realizes that Danielle is a former porn star.
The scenes thereafter in which Matthew begins imagining 'porn star' behavior from Danielle are pretty funny. One thing leads to another and the real plot of the movie begins in which Matthew tries to stop Danielle from re-entering the 'porn business'.

There is a lot of humor in this flick, supporting actors are good. And i must again mention Elisha Cuthbert; she really looks amazing. I remember this friend of mine at IIT-Kanpur who woke me up at 3 am to tell me that he had just seen The Girl Next Door, and how hot Elisha Cuthbert really was etc, etc. And i looked at the posters and a few Youtube videos and said, 'yeah good, another hot chic'. But no, my friends, this is one rare movie in which the best parts aren't over in the trailer itself. Do watch this movie, it's worth one watch for sure. The juice was totally worth the squeeze! [to get the meaning of the line, watch the flick]

Hopefully, i'll check out many more interesting movies during these vacations!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Fat to Fit and Vice Versa

I've noticed how so many people who were fat in their childhood end up becoming slim and fit by the time they become adults. Many times the reverse occurs, some thin kids grow up to be fat slobs.

Lesson learnt, hog while your a kid and slog when you grow up.