A Dutt

On one hand he was acquitted from the Tada court, but was held guilty under the arms act section 3 and 7 for possession of an AK-56 rifle, a prohibited weapon and a pistol. Under section seven, he is liable for a maximum of ten years in jail or a minimum of five years, while under section three, the term is going to be maximum three years or a minimum of one year.

SL Talk: Great Video

This is the best video I could find, showing glimpses of SL complete with an informative narration. Enjoy watching it.

SL Talk - about etching hearts

I can't resist talking about SL ever since I've come across it. Now read this:

In Second Life, you can put your castle on an island and listen to the wind whip through trees you created, on which you can even etch initials and hearts. I have no idea how to go about doing that yet, but I came across a carved trunk in a bucolic field, so I know it's possible. [source]

My love, where art thou? Come to me and we shall begin our (second) life afresh :)

Who is Anshe Chung?

Remember my post on Second Life (SL) ? She is the richest person out there! A woman! Great!

While Anshe won't talk about how much money she's making ("I'm careful not to stir animosity," she says), Philip Rosedale, the founder and CEO of Linden Lab, which runs Second Life, estimates that she's bringing in around $150,000 a year--in real, hard cash.

Did I say SL is the next big thing to happen to web after Google perhaps? Can't wait to enter this new world!


Since it will be quite some time, before I start sharing my own experiences in SL, I tried searching for blogs/sites from those who are already in-world. You might find some of the links given below interesting:

1. A lady gets the first hint of the big wave that's arriving and is surprised when she tries to share it with her husband over the morning cup of coffee. Read here. In a later post, she describes her experience of wandering around in SL.

2. A Senior Dell Executive gives a presentation in SL, and offers to sell laptop. Real Laptop. Watch the screenshots here.

3. Read here about Rik's experience of giving a small talk to about a dozen listeners in SL. His post is a neat one with a lot of screenshots and conversation details.


Eveyone can be happy in a great company. But if you cannot be happy when alone, doing your work, you never really are happy. You never really are.

Whenever you are in doubt...

I will give you a talisman. Whenever you are in doubt, or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test. Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man [woman] whom you may have seen, and ask yourself, if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him [her]. Will he [she] gain anything by it? Will it restore him [her] to a control over his [her] own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to swaraj [freedom] for the hungry and spiritually starving millions?

Then you will find your doubts and your self melt away.

Mahatma Gandhi [Last Phase, Vol. II (1958), P. 65]

CCD shopping and how I made a fool of myself

Encouraged by Lakshmi's comment on this post, I was tempted to try tea for a change. Hot lemon tea with honey.

I somehow knew that a shop which has 'cafe' and 'coffee' as its first two words cannot possibly serve as great a cup of tea as a mug of coffee. Once the hot lemon tea with honey had arrived, and I had taken the first sip, I petty much knew that I was indeed correct. It was very ordinary, nothing that can't be made yourself with a mug-heater, a lemon, some honey and fresh water. Or may be, I am such a coffee freak that anything that doesn't have coffee in it, doesn't really excite me. Anything but Granita! Granita is the best cool drink I have had and the credit goes to the crushed ice pebbles than anything else.

And well, about that shopping stuff: A CCD coffee powder named Black Forest, kept on display had been catching my attention since a couple of days. The only powder that I have used to prepare coffee myself has been Nescafe Classic. So I was happy to find some new stuff. I took the black, attractive coffee box in my hands, adored it for some time but then gently placed it back on the shelf. Somehow, I was still not sure if I really wanted to own it.

As I was about to finish my HLT with honey, one of the cafe-boys came up to me and inquired.

Boy: Sir, you were looking at that coffee powder. Would you like to buy that?
Me : May be.
Boy (Bringing the coffee box to me): Here it is sir.
Me (looking at the box, not sure): Hmm..
Boy: Try it sir, it is available only in Tamil Nadu.
Me: It's 125 bucks right?
Boy (brought some chart and confirmed): Yeah, here it is, 125 for 100 gm. Yes.
Me: Ok, I'll take it.

I didn't know what a blunder that 'yes' was going to be. I also decided to pick a 70 bucks mug from CCD. I had broken the last mug that I possessed in the beginning of this sem. Almost at the same time, my stock of Nescafe had finished. For reasons not too clear, I didn't replace either of them. Or in other words, black coffee took a back seat. I used to have the normal, milk based 5 bucks Nescafe at the Nescafe outlet (which I still have at least twice daily) or tea at Tiffanys.

But things had changed over some time now. I was back with myself. And I was missing my coffee. Coffee to me is my companion with which I can be in peace. I have to. It gives me energy. With a mug of coffee in my hands, I somehow feel closer to myself; don't have to feel lonely. Books might be your best friends. For me, it's my coffee.

Coming back to what happened yesterday: after going for the big ceramic mug, I spotted yet another object of affection. It was a 110 bucks small good looking blue plastic jug with a black cap. I inquired if it could be used for shaking coffee. I should tell you that if you shake coffee, and do that well, before adding hot water to it, it tastes better than directly mixing the powder. But then, good shaking should ideally be done in hot water. So you need a mixer which can withstand hot water. When I used glass bottles to shake the stuff, it would crack in two or three uses. The plastic bottles that I had were never strong enough to resist from deforming if you poured hot water in them. So this jug, looked interesting and I took it.

Shopping was done. I was in my room; anxious to taste this new flavour: Dark Forest!

I opened the box. A black plastic packet was lying inside. I took it out, and broke the seal. The water in the mug with a mug-heater placed in it had started boiling in the meantime. I transfered some water from the mug to the blue jug with the black cap. I then, transferred two spoonfuls coffee powder from the packet to the jug. The coffee powder looked creepy. It was too fine and too sticky. Was this really coffee? I wondered.

No sugar. No milk. That's the mantra. Once the coffee powder had met the hot water, the cap of the jug was closed and the shaking process initiated. Hey bhagwan! As I shook the jug to mix the coffee, I realized that water would come out from the cap, leaking beneath the plastic slider provided in the cap. This was just-another-jug and not a coffee-mixer. 110 bucks!

The better discovery was yet to be revealed. Once, I 'some-how' manged to get the mixing done (basically by reducing the frequency of my vibration, to avoid spilling), it was time to open the cap and taste eternity. I opened the cap. Hey Bhagwan! The coffee powder, was floating inside the jug! It had refused to mix!

This was not an instant coffee and jusssht would not mix with water! Filter Coffee! Oh my God! 125 bucks! Why didn't it strike to me earlier?

I could not throw it away. That would be sin. My love for coffee gave me enough power to consume filter coffee made without using any filter. Gravity helped me by forcing the non-dissolved particles to settle down at the bottom of the mug. It tasted so dilute and so un-cofee-like. And I finished it to the last sip. I am a freak.

Well the only thing that didn't shock me was the coffe mug. I am left now with roughly 90 grams of filter coffee powder (or may be more), without any equipment to make filter coffee; a jug which spills the liquid if you try to shake it; and a mug which I cannot use for driking water of course. Poor me :(

Blog Branches

Two earlier posts need to be talked about once again, because of the recent developments.

Branch one: (stems from here)

Remember that PN=405 ranting? The courses have been alloted. What did you think I got finally? Any guesses?

No, not all those philosophy things! Come on, I had to be luckier.

No, not even those which I had presumed were the best that I could get with a PN as bad as 405. I mean, this is kind of strange! I still don't know how could I be that lucky!

Okay, here I go. I got the course which was on top of my priority list! Don't believe it? I don't believe it either! But then, yes, that's the truth. Did someone read my post by any chance (and by some I mean some HS Prof) and decided to do magic? Okay, fine, that's a crap imagination. But oh my, something is fishy here. Something sure is!

Branch two: (stems from here)

My love and myself aren't together yet. What went wrong?

Well, I should put it this way. What I was looking forward was kind of an arranged marriage, wasn't I? That's why I got Dad into it, and he did his best to get her for me. But when he had done that, he called me and asked if I would like to go find her myself and bring her home. I liked this idea. Love marriage over arranged, any time.

So I got a draft yesterday, and after adding some more cash from my own pocket (my PTJ salary), I have ordered a Dell myself. The config is awesome. Centrino (Duo) 1.66, 1 GB RAM, 80 GB HDD, 14.1" wide screen. And it's costing me only 52K. Go find a better deal and I am ready to gift you my (yet to be delivered) laptop for free.

Grande Mug

OK. Yet another post on yet another CCD-offered-coffee. I am surely a coffee nuts.

Grande Mug costs you 26 bucks but it tastes much better than the 20 bucks Caffeine Kick. It is strong enough and yet easy on the taste buds. It surely is good stuff for its cost especially if you are in need for some good black coffee but don't want to go high up for the international drinks which cost close to half a hundred rupees.

Caffeine kick

Had it yesterday in CCD. It's toooo much of coffee mixed in hot water. It's crude. It tastes almost like the black coffee that I make for myself in room sometimes by directly adding two heaped spoons of Nescafe Classic to hot water. The only difference is that Caffeince kick appears to have almost double the coffee quantity that I use, in the same volume of water.

Have it only if you are in the mood to have some real HARD coffee, and don't really care how HARD it is. Whatever that means!


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream -- and not make dreams your master;
If you can think -- and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings -- nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run --
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And -- which is more -- you'll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling


Since the day I first read about it, I have been hearing about it again and again and again. It started with an article in Businessworld a week ago. Days later I found a detailed reference to it in the spiritual talk section of the Economic Times. And today, it was in ET again because IBM plans to spend ten million dollars in it [news link]. It's my pleasure to introduce you to secondlife.com if you haven't already come across this new happening-all-new-dimension to the web.

Without reading any further, you can directly hop on to www.secondlife.com and find what it is for yourself. But if you still don't see why you should be so tempted to do that, I should let you know what I am talking about.

Second Life (SL) is a privately owned, partly subscription-based 3-D virtual world, made publicly available in 2003 by San Francisco-based Linden Lab,[2] and founded by former RealNetworks CTO Philip Rosedale. The Second Life "world" resides in a large array of servers that are owned and maintained by Linden Lab, known collectively as "the grid".[3] The Second Life client program provides its users (referred to as Residents)[4] with tools to view and modify the SL world and participate in its virtual economy, which concurrently has begun to operate as a "real" market. At precisely 8:05:45 AM PDT, October 18th 2006, the population of Second Life hit 1 million Residents.

The above description was lifted from wikipedia and I guess it sums it all. Started feeling close to matrix, have you?

I do not yet have my own computer or else I would have surely talked about my experience in the virtual world. But then, I will be having one soon, and hope to catch you there! And mark my words, this thing is going to go BIG! No one will ever need orkut for sure. This is much more real thing happening, slowly, steadily. And know what? Real money worth millions are changing hands as well, as an outcome of what's happening inside the virtual sphere. The future is so geeky!

Colombian Juan Valdez

I guess this is what the coffee that I had minutes ago was called. It cost me 46 bucks, or in other words it was costly. But it was a tasty black coffee. Earlier I had this another 46 bucks hot drink called Ethiopian Kahwa and both of them taste exactly same, or so I believe.

What is a tasty black coffee? It's thick, and strong and yet it is not too hard on tongue (like espresso shorts). The final verdict is: if anyone offers me to treat in CCD, without putting a cost constraint, my best choice for a drink would be one of these two coffee servings.

How to draw a Caricature in 7 easy steps

This blog-post is the result of a persistence demand from my bro of giving him fundays on drawing a caricature. I will try to be as systematic as I can be. Before going ahead with the fundays, let me first define what a caricature is, for those who are not too sure.

A caricature is a representation, especially pictorial or literary, in which the subject's distinctive features or peculiarities are deliberately exaggerated to produce a comic or grotesque effect.

I am of course going to talk about the 'pictorial' representation in this post because that is where I am good at. By the way, I guess you have figured out already that 'exaggeration' is the key here. But how does it happen that even when you do not draw someone the way that person actually looks like, people end up recongnizing him/her? This is the art! And this is what I would 'try' to teach in the rest of the post.

I have used Fabre Castle Water Soluble Colored Pencils to make the sample caricature here. You can use any other thing you are comfortable with, like sketch pens, water colors, poster colors or just graphite pencils. The basic rules remain the same. So let's now go straight away to the steps.

Step 1

Choose your subject. My subject here is the face of a known personality (once again on my bro's request). I could have chosen to draw a caricature of something other than a human face, like say a monument. But drawing facial caricatures is what really gives me a kick, mostly because it is the most difficult thing to do amongst all the options. And it is difficult because you never know if at the end, the caricature will even look like the real subject!

Step 2

Study your subject's features. Give some time to just looking at the subject, and try to work out the various features which have a scope for exaggeration. A long nose can always be made longer, and a round face can always be made rounder. Try to visualize the yet-to-be-made-caricature in your mind. High cheek-bones? Wide lips? Thick eye-brows? White teeth? Once you have some clue on what to 'attack', you are ready to move on to the next step.

Step 3

It's action time now. Pull out a pencil and draw the first strokes. Try to give an overall shape which is not the same as the real thing, but also not completely off the mark. I have made the face slightly thinner here and stretched the nose a little too much. But remember not to mess with each and every feature. You have to be careful in selecting the features which are easiest to distort without affecting the resemblance too much. Keep trying for some time, till you are sure that what you have drawn is a decent stuff to proceed with. One tip that might be a help here is that it's always too risky to mess with the distance between the eyes and eybrows. Sometime's you might be able to pull that off, but in general its safer to play with nose or jaw or lips. But then you can always experiment. :)
Step 4

Once the rough sketch has been rendered, show some confidence and draw bolder lines and kind of settle down on how the caricature is going to look. You can add some more details which were missing in the initial stroking stage.

Step 5

It's coloring time guys/girls. Pull out a couple of more shades and fill up the areas lightly. It's always fun to begin with hairs because even if you mess with them, it wont affect much! :)

I have seen some guys wondering how to shade the hairs. Here's the tip. Draw them the way they actually are, i.e. if the hairs are long, use long continuous strokes (like in this caricature) and if the hairs are short, use shorter strokes. That's the only trick, or so have I always believed!

Step 6

You pretty much know what follows next. You gotta complete the coloring thing. Shading the face is slightly tricky but with practice you will kind of get the funda. Some parts need to be darker and some portions need to be lighter. Look at the original picture to figure that out and shade accordingly. It's easier to begin with the lighter parts and then darkening the areas that need to be darkened. A lot of people hesitate to go for really dark strokes. But that's not great because at some places you have to use the darkest possible strokes. Once again carefully observe the original pic and you can work that out yourself. It's mostly about careful observation than anything else.

Step 7

The seventh and the last step is always about the finishing touches. This is important if you really want your work to look like a professional visual piece. Since I used water soluble pencil colors, I picked a wet brush to remove the pencil lines and add softness to the caricature. I also did some more pencil work here and there, and of course added my stupid name! :)

That's it. The caricature is done!

Go ahead, try out few caricatures and let me know if my fundays were helpful. By the way I agree that this caricature is kinda not so Hrithik-like! But then, remember this always. You never know how much the caricature will actually resemble the actual subject (till you have become a true professional of course). But its okay. Even after having drawn plenty of them, I still fail so often. That however, has never prevented me from trying with more and more subjects and that's what I would ask all you guys to do! Have a nice time.

Coffee Review

I had Irish Coffee in CCD today. I would say it was rather tasty given that it was a milk-less black coffee. I would recommend this drink to those who are not used to strong black coffee or espresso, but want to try a drink that doesn't have milk to spoil the fun.

Don't add the extra sugar that's provided to the Irish Coffee. It will taste sweet enough because of the delicious white cream that they add on top of the otherwise mild black coffee. In fact, the first few sips till all the cream is finally over, is the best part. It prepares you to taste the relatively plain black coffee that remains.

In IIT, it costs 32 bucks but given that you get some really great cream topping, its kinda not too much to ask for.

For the ones, who don't really like coffee weak, stick to the 16 bucks pure espresso! :) But in case you haven't yet tried the Irish, give it a shot at least once. You will like it for sure.

405: damn it

My priority number is 405. Why me? You have no clue what I am talking about? Read the next para. Others who got the drift, can skip it and move on to the para which follows the next.

Although IIT Madras is an engineering college, there's this Humanities Science (HS) department here which offers a lot of absolutely non-engineering courses. As with all IIT's all courses have some credits (its okay even if you don't get the funda of credits) and for us its compulsory to obtain some minimum number of credits to get our engineering degrees. The bottom-line is: every one has to do some HS courses. The only relief is that there are a lot of options to choose from. Till two years back, the students used to choose whatever HS course they wanted from the options available and generally got them.

Things were running fine till few Profs realized that hardly any students opted for some particular courses. And these were probably the Profs who were supposed to teach those courses. Now this fact (which kept on happening year after year) psyched them so much, that the otherwise not so creative species called Professors, out of nowhere came up with this annoying idea of a magic number. They called it priority number (PN) !

This is what the new idea is, in a nutshell. Every student now gets a sheet of paper which has names of all the HS courses written on it in a tabular fashion, with boxes along the course-names, where in one can fill the order of preference. Besides, that same sheet of paper also has this randomly generated PN, which can (if you are 'the' luckiest) be '1' or some large number (the maximum value being equal to the strength of students in the batch). The funda is that once all the filled sheets have been collected back by the department, the department will start allocating the choices based on the PN. The one who has PN=1 will be considered first and what that means is that (s)he'll obviously gets whatever course (s)he opted for. More so, an upper limit has been put to the number of students in a class. So, by the time the chance for those with a PN like 405 comes, almost all the options are closed save some stupid courses which no one wanted to take.

What a smart way of curbing the free will of students! Why me? I am not horrified for no reasons. Just read the names of some of the courses that I am sure will be the only ones left, by the time my option sheet will be processed.

Indian Classics & Cultural Values: Look, some one is already fainting.
Contemporary German Philosophy: I 'Kant' ask for anything worse :(
Literature & Values: Who values this course anyways??
German studies I: Why do they want to make a Hitler out of me?
European Union Studies: How will that benefit Europe? Or anyone for that matter?
American studies-I: I have already seen F.R.I.E.N.D.S !! What more?
Aspects of western philosophy: (The good the bad and the) ugly...

Unlucky me! Even with some exceptional luck, the maximum that I can hope is 'Indian Fiction in English', 'Drama', 'Basic Mathematics', 'Indian Economic Development' or 'Applied Economics'. These are at least doable but to get even these is such a nice try!!

And wanna know all the good ones that I just cannot even dream of? Oh boy there are many. And I can't get one of them. I am doomed. 'Environmental and Resource Eco', 'Industrial Trade & Finance', 'Financial Eco', 'Technology and Development' and 'Development Problems and Alternatives' (my no. 1 choice).

Why me? :(

And I fell in love with you

I had seen you before. Seen you with so many people before. And I always liked you. But yes, there wasn't any love. It was one of those usual liking we have for so many things. When I look back, I still wonder when did love happen. But it did happen, may be over a period of time. Oh boy, love did happen.

I knew I wanted to have you, with me, all the time. I wanted to play with you whenever I felt like, and I wanted to keep you happy. But you were not with me. Not that I could never reach you or be with you. But you were not all mine. I tried to think not of you, so much. But that could never happen. Your glow, your smoothness, everything about you, it just had to make me fall in love with you. Deep love!

After a while, it got too difficult for me to handle it on my own. I had to talk about it. But I couldn't talk to you. I liked listening to you, but telling things to you was just not possible. So I talked to my dad instead. He was supportive. I love him for that. He realized how much I had started loving you.

It's almost a year now, and the good new is here. At last, I am getting you. You are going to be mine. Within a week. Dad has already ordered you, and you will be delivered in no time. I promise you may laptop, we will have a nice time together.

Gun Shot

Ruthless, where art thou mercy
Oh, you never had some
Kill me, knock me out you holy soul
I, the dead man, am waiting for it
The gun shot

Peace Please

Ok, don't take it too hard. The caricature that you see above is that of Bangladeshi Muhammad Yunus, the combined winner of Nobel Peace Prize 2006 who shares the prize with his brain-child, the Gramin Bank.

It's not very clear why an economist (yes he is a Professor of Economics) who used micro-credit to deliver loans to poor, was selected for a 'peace' prize and not for 'economics'! Micro-credit after all, is all about economics! This one line put up on the Nobel Prize website, tries to explain the logic: Lasting peace can not be achieved unless large population groups find ways in which to break out of poverty.

Well, this logic still sounds kind of far-fetched to me.


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