Sunday, November 28, 2010

if(Being Employed.equals("

Can't believe its been 11 months since i landed at Madurai!

Never ending deadlines, reports , documents, meetings , customer calls , coding - works been hectic past 6 months- never have faced such pressure in my life,yet.

Mistakes, learnings, people , perspectives - all been a great experience , though stressful.

Bad food, hot weather , worst cafeteria food , absence of physical activity, cups over cups of sweetened coffee - did not help in any way.

Been a long time since i blogged, or orkut-ed , or fb-ed. Or read any book,or any blog.

Its become an obsession to get back to Cbe every weekend to meet friends and family, and for good old home food.

Hoping to get back to doing what i like rather than what others want me to do!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


On the eve of tuesday, i was thrilled and excited - the final game of the World Title match between Vishwanathan Anand and Vaselin Topalov was about to start. Scores were levelled at 5.5 - 5.5 . Wanted to follow the game live, but could nt because i was stuck up at office :(. Couldnt follow it up either till the next day.
Then i saw the newspapers the next day morning :) and felt a jolt of pleasure lifting my spirits - "Anand retains world title" flashed on the front page of 'The Hindu'.And ,he won it with black,with the Lasker variation! Hail Anand!
Worst possible start
Before the series began, i felt it would be really difficult for Anand, given his poor show of form , his age , and more importantly the form Topalov was in, and the sort of performances Topalov was showing the matches leading up to title challenge. To make matters worse, he had a 40-hour bus journey through 5 countries to the venue, Sofia - i play a bit of chess myself, so i know how it can exhaust you physically as well as mentally and that you need ample amount of rest to perform at your best level. And if your playing a world title match, i can imagine the amount of pressure and stress it will have on you!

The first match started, with Anand playing black. He adopted the Grunfeld Defence (my favorite , part of my repertoire) , that too the exchange variation (again my fav, popularised by Kasparov in his marathon battle againt Karpov,1984). And Anand,unfortunately mixed up his moves,and lost badly, in under two hours . I know how demoralising it can get!!

If you're a champion, you have to have it in your heart.

Like the true champion that Anand is, he bounced back in the following games , winning the second and fourth matches,with deadly attacks on the opponent's king. [ And personally, i didnt like the behaviour adopted by Topalov - not speaking a word to Anand, or offering a handshake before the game, as is the norm. Topalov resorting to mindgames outside the chess board - either he was over-confident and dismissed Anand, or he was actually scared. Anand,the true gentleman , maintainted courtesy and respect towards his opponent throughtout the series.]

The long hours of battle, extending over 5 hours , again, a style of play adopted by Topalov to drain out his older opponent , seemed to bear fruit - Anand slipping into inferior positions progessively with the games, and i guess he had to stretch his world renowned defensive skills to the limits to stay in the hunt. Games 5,6,7 were drawn. Topalov was not good enough to convert his slight advantages to wins against Anand's defences. In game 8, finally, after these intense battles, Topalov breached Anand's defenses. The world champ seemed drained, and missed some winning continuations in the games that followed. But clearly, Topalov had the edge and the momentum going into the final stages of the match. (oh no, we all know how dangerous Topalov can get!). But with the kind of dynamic defence which Anand displayed in these matches, the probability of Topalov breaching it was low.

World Champion 2010

Game 12. The showdown . Experts predicted a hung score,and that it ll be down to the tie-breakers (oh yes, we all know how Anand's the best! ). But no, we didnt have to wait that long- Anand won it , fair and square, with a solid display :) (Although the tie-breakers would have been a thrill to follow,and would have taken the imagination of chess fans across the globe to a new level!)

............................................The final handshake...after 56....Qg7

Anand , what a person he is! apart from his skills in chess, his unassuming manners, down- to-earth behavior, his honest and simple personality - who has inspired millions of kids in India to take up chess (I was one of them) - we now have had champs in all categories and age groups - U-10,12,14, 16, junior , senior - Asian as well as World level.Majority do not know this , thanks to media neglect. And I ve had the good fortune to have trained along with some of them. My own friend was an Asian title holder, who is now a grandmaster (S.Arun Prasad, from Salem). I dont think this quantum of achievement at the global level is rivalled by in any other sport in India.

What next

So,now Anand can hold the title for two more years. His meticulous preparation has paid off again (Kramnik was the previous casualty,2008). The next challenger? Might be the Norwegian prodigy, Magnus Carlsen . Till now, Anand has better scores against him,but ,for all you know, Anand's brain cells may wither with age,and Carlsen can be the new King. If Anand holds the title next time also,in his 40s, if not already ,will truely , truely, truely be one of the game's greatest-s.

Congratulations to Anand, Aruna , his seconds and the entire team. Lets all bask in glory!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaya

BottomLine : Great music, neat performances , good dialogues , nice cinematography and a mature love story makes VTV a must watch!

On my first viewing, i thought it was a good movie, which could have been a lot better - certain scenes could have been handled better,that more time should have been spent on building up certain scenes to release the dopamine from the audiences. But after my second viewing , i feel its an awesome movie.

A.R.Rahman - what can i say! The 10-15 mins of the movie were extremely enjoyable for me,with the maestro's score in the background. The songs - sheer brilliance! Gautam Menon has been meticulous in capturing the songs,it works wonders. The timing of Aoromale - one of my favorite scenes in the movie. Speaking of favorite scenes ,there are several - the NewYork park scene, the scene outside Jessi's house when he returns from Goa(the conviction in the voice and the face of Trisha), the calls n text messages to him when he is in Goa, Trisha after going back to her room saying ,"oh what have i done" , Karthik's emotions on hearing 'its over' , karthik locking horns with jessy's brother on the rooftop :) - and how can i not mention the songs,hosanna,anbil avan, mannipaya, kannukul kannai -makes me want to watch the movie again!

For once, Simbhu and Trisha have acted,yes actually acted (thanks to Gautam Menon). Hope Simbhu dons roles with some substance in them in the future. Ganesh has done a nice job :) ('jessy jessy solludha?' is also one of my favorite scenes!). Their characters, Karthik and Jessy, are real life,and the part that i liked most is that Jessi has her flaws,who goes back on her words,who doesnt know what she has to do,who is caught in the middle between her love for Karthik,and the respect for her dad's wishes.

Vinnai Thaani Varuvaya - in a long time, i've come out of a theatre feeling satisfied. Waiting to go for it a third time!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Need of the hour!

"Dai. Antha ithuu appo irunthuchula..."

"??" .

Going through exceptions in a new field can be so bugging and distasteful, sentences like these ('cause-the exception that cause this exception to be thrown' ) introduce some dry humour.

And,when you crack up to a bad mokkai,you know you are doing some terribly dull work. (I do agree,sometimes it does get on your nerves!)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Through the eyes of the Beholder!

A:"Yes,its is a better city.
Yes, the Volvo buses are nice.

Yes, the apartments and the climate too.

Discounts? Too good.
Cuisine? Yes,probably.

But NO,you dont have beautiful girls over there!

B:"Dude,look over there. That's one sure Hottie!"

A:"Exactly! I'm not complaining,but,Just a hottie,not beautiful!"

B:"You alright up there?"

A:"Girls here are well dressed,yes. Look decent too,appear educated. But none of them,as far as i've seen,are actually 'beautiful'! sad,man.Back home,they dont dress so well,but some are really beautiful!"

Thursday, February 18, 2010

That Two Worded Phrasal Verb :)

Same phrase. Same Tone. Same Profession.

"Get Out!!"

In school,that was a dreaded sentence to hear.Issued by the teacher for annoying her,it was a source of great shame - standing outside the classroom,and watching other students gape at you like your an animal in the zoo - embarrassing to say the least. Girls would start crying, boys would hang their heads so low in deep shame.

During college :) (brings a smile as i recollect that feeling), as most would agree,it underwent a semantic transformation in the average student's psyche, so much so that sometimes we wished that we'd be sent out,( after giving our attendance ofcourse!) to escape the hour long excruciating lecture (some might argue that you can simply sleep,but my friends,some profs. just dont let you sleep,they crudely wake you up.Bless 'em!)

Sigh. Miss those days.

(Ofcourse,i pray i never get to hear it in the corporate world!!! )

"Copy what is on the board onto your notes!"

Certain individuals readily express themselves in a crowd given an opportunity,while certain others hold themselves back for lack of confidence,or for lack of adequate communication skills. Some individuals do not have the will to communicate,or simply, they are just feeling lazy to do so.( Typical Classroom setting?)

Where does this difference in individuals arise,in the degree of willingness to speak out in a crowd, in the manner in which they carry themselves on stage - i could reach only one logical conclusion(not a critical analysis by any standards,just expanding on the instinct)-the focal point -where attitudes are formed,perceptions are shaped,opinions take hold- our Schools.

Which reminds me of some of the phrases, repeated countless number of times by the teachers in the classroom,especially in the primary and secondary classes :

"Shhhh! Finger on your lips" - early primary :)

"Fold your hands and sit quietly! " - primary :|

"Stand up on the bench! " - upon not folding hands and sitting quietly :x - Primary,Secondary

"Repeat after me" - learning 'memory' poems :( - Primary,Secondary

"Copy what is on the board onto your notes!" - Primary,Secondary,High School, Engineering! :'( :'(

The Killer Line.

Teachers here try to control the class,and the emphasis is on inculcating obedience,and no encouragement for expressing yourself,thus turning down the natural enthusiasm for curiosity and inquisitiveness. Repeated over time, it kills the energy and the will for most students to participate actively in classroom discussions, effectively ending self expression and hence stopping the fuel for individual creativity.

No wonder college classrooms are the way they are,and no wonder placement training is all about getting us to talk and to express,and more importantly, to communicate to an audience- trying to take off the blanket of inhibition,trying to give spark to that instinct which had rusted due to the 10 years of very limited use. Western ideals appreciate individuality,being different from the crowd, and schools over there give space for participation,encourage your touch in what ever you do.

Sadly,even in my engineering studies, the emphasis was never on individual touches,nor was there any scope for thinking out of the textbook,leave alone implementation,save some programming assignments.

"Do the assignments on your own!" , the professors would tell us. Which actually means "Dont copy from others".

The Others would do the assignments on their own , which actually stands for the effort they took for plagiarizing. Assignments were almost always plagiarized, having been lifted directly from books or from the internet. The teachers would not mind it,and it would be awarded an A for their original work.

Some avenue for breakthrough innovation huh?

As one of my prof (prof. emeritus,one of the best btw,who taught us quantum physics) lamented,most breakthrough innovations have come from students from America,Europe or Japan.

Schools are the place to start ? I'd say yes. Needs a fundamental paradigm shift.