Sunday, January 9, 2011

Return to Writing

Having put the ghost of college applications, monster projects and programming behind me (hopefully) for at least the next 2-3 months, I hope to write a wee bit more than I have managed recently. Times were fairly trying and testing in general, but this quarter seems to offer me more time for sleep as well leisure and I hope to make the best of it. Watch this section for random updates and bursts of nostalgia as 4 wonderful years at Stanford draw to a close... starting with some about the fantastic Packard Electrical Engineering building and the many adventures I have had here with Valtrex, Vanya, ET and the rest.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Yesterday, I had the good fortune of “running into” Shirish Subramanian (Chiru to us Loyolites). I didn’t actually meet him but I added him on G-Chat and we caught up on life like good old times. Consequently, massive nostalgia followed and it still continued today. The last time I thought for so long about school was for my college essays. Mind you, I am fiercely proud of my school and I respect and adore it more than anything else. At the risk of sounding like a snob I will say the following – what with today’s packed schedules and crazy work routines, it is difficult to find time for yourself and recount on the paths which have brought you where you are. But I am very glad for this extremely lazy evening post a delicious lunch of Misal which let my thoughts wander away. On the day of my college applications, thinking about Loyola was the necessity of the hour. Today, it is the desire of the heart.
Fr. Anil Soares interviewed the five-year old brat that was me. “What do you like to do when you are not doing homework or not in school?” he asked. I nonchalantly and promptly replied, “I play hide-and-seek.” (it seemed a trivial question coming from the headmaster of the school). “So”, he breathed, “describe it.” My parents probably felt like this was game over since I had been known to flounder at such instances previously. I still remember Fr. Soares’ smiling face when I did the explaining reasonably well and he asked me jokingly if he could join in to play – my very first memory of Loyola. I also have a few others ones, prominent amongst them Shreyas crying as he went from one room to another for short interviews with different teachers and continuing his drama on his way home.
Primary school will be remembered for Aai-Baba taking time off from work to bring me my PT shorts so that I could avoid remarks in the Calendar. As a result, Mrs. Rosy once told Aai off for pampering me and then gave me a talking to as well. After that, the shorts – smelly and dirty as they were – never came out of the bag before the end of the year. Loyola was leaving its mark on me. Then there was the whole Ronu & Ved vs Hardik war complete with flying overgrown nails and steel rulers that always led to me getting beaten up. Standing outside Ms. Tellis’ office and blaming each other for it – such brats. Of course, none of this compared with the adventures of being in Ms. Nazareth’s class in 2nd standard. She was the renowned Nazi of the school who would not spare a single kid in her class. Not to mention the insane amounts of powder on her face which gave her a freakish appearance and strong perfumes you could smell while kneeling down next to her chair (Dear Ms. Nazareth, if you are reading this, there is absolutely no offense meant – we all love you). I was, still, one of the least naughty kids. Playing cricket on the side of the main ground with a handkerchief ball, (where Ronu and I amassed a partnership of 500+ runs that went on for a month because we managed to convince everyone that we were not out whenever a controversy arose) being happy on the first Friday since school started late after mass, 3-legged races, Radiant Reader and Balbharthi, my first remark from Mrs. Pacheco for forgetting a Grammar book in 4th, the ‘whoa-ness’ of swimming and random, unexplained flutter of hearts as we turned a tad sideways from our school. Ronu left for the states after 4th but Jinx, JDP, Roku, Aditya etc continued to remain the “Kothrud gang” with the addition of Chhiggis (Ronu’s dear friend with whom he played chess under the table) and coy Bhanda.
5th standard. Middle school. Enter douchebag phase in life. I recall being ridiculously unreasonable and requesting Baba to get me a Math notebook when class was scheduled for the 7th period. Like primary school, this time Mrs. Samant did the honors and told Baba to stop renewed pampering. It is safe to say we were pretty arrogant idiots who did not care even if “Father Palli was hiding in the next class (thank you, Mrs. Sarfare)”. Punishments and being shouted at in class was cool (how can it not be cool?). Mrs. Apte, Mrs. Dini and Mrs. Monteiro were probably the only two teachers who were not exasperated with us kids and this showed in the feedback cheering they got on Teachers’ Day. Fights over marks, class monitor positions, row monitors et al. Bifurcation of science, math and the social sciences into 2 parts was both a headache (to have 3 extra tests) and a joy (ability and freedom to enjoy a particular subject fully and hate another fully). Then there was finishing as much homework in the class as possible followed by a realization of its incompleteness only near the University circle on our way back to school and scurrying to finish it. Annoying but consolidated bouts of Shuddhalekhan every 5 months before the notebook was checked in the sprawliest of hand-writings was the order of the day (or the order of every 5 months). Momin Sir asked me, “Kay, zala ka shuddhalekhan?” Clearly the answer was nahi. However, I confidently proclaimed “Zalay!” with hopes of it not being checked. Rohan (Kulkarni) did the same. We discussed after class and both knew neither had done it. 70 pages with 10 lines/day of shuddhalekhan followed. In a day. FTW. And yes, the 10th line mysteriously had only 1 word. Trips to Splash Mountain and Go Karting at Manas resorts were times of extreme mirth. “Vanda Vanda” by Fr. Thorat, “You boy with the specs. Yes you! Please! Please come here!”, thanks to Father Ovid. Exams and their annoying existence shall conveniently be omitted since it wasn’t the most interesting part of school.
With time came maturity, but only slightly so. The hormones raged, and the necks turned sideways even more. The ball ran down the slope suspiciously more times. Stupid acronyms and mysterious inclusion of a girl’s name in a particular word was followed up with lots of giggles and snickers and one young man extremely red in the face. This happened to every young man in class. Concerts, dances and plays were times for much furor and excitement as we could skip class and watch rehearsals. Quizzes, debates, elocution – it was all there. And of course, the division of the school in 4 parts based on color. Of course, not racial discrimination but the proud Green, Gold, Blue and Red houses. Cross country, athletics and other such activities – we have the sweetest memories of these. An ex-Loyolite had recently written the following lunch break “schedule”:
12:50 pm – Run down the main stairs tearing at each other’s t-shirts.
12:52 pm – Grab your tiffin and start masticating food irrespective of what it is.
12:55 pm – The urge to play football would be too much to resist. Proceed on to the field with the lunch in one hand.
1:40 pm – The bell rang but at least half the school kept playing on and returned to class with soiled clothes, bloody elbows and legs at 1:50.
Few Loyolites would argue against this one.
9th and 10th standard were probably the most enjoyable years with teachers, parents, peons and a whole bunch of other unrelated people concerned about us. Centrafest for our batch in particular was an absolute rage where every kid had time of his life booing Vikhe and obviously uniting with the Josephites. Aditya’s memorable Marathi play that won the first prize is fresh in memory. Skipping classes, not paying attention in class because “you had done it before” and the monotonous practice for the Passing-out Parade. The passing out parade was an emotional high. As was said, “You are no longer fledgings. Birds ready to fly in to the world and look at what is in store for you. But never forgetting and never failing the motto of the school – Men for Others”.
School ended a while ago. To be precise, five years ago. The memories and emotions still crawl back and tug lovingly though. The most beautiful experience that we all shared. My memories cover only a small part of the vast Pensieve of events that occurred in those glorious ten years. They are probably not even complete and well documented since they have been written in a pretty large burst of nostalgia. But they are what I have. I refuse to say they are all that I have since I know a million more are buried somewhere deeper in my heart and will come back at a time in the future. Loyola, I love you.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Junior Year

I just woke up at 6 am having slept at 5 am. Not a thing you do normally, but at the end of the most wild and insane quarter and equally so year, it is no surprise. A near impossible quarter was conquered last night before I danced away at an EBF party till 3 am and later watched a movie with my beloved Varvex and Vanya.

All of this came after a quarter that had :

Battle of the Bands at Phi Psi and calling the Swiss Consulate at 1 am.

A lab assignment that just refused to work for 15 days and got done epically in 5 hours once a reset signal was fixed.

Special Dinner 5-2.

An impossible RF project that Prof. Tom Lee conceded was impossible and one which took up 150+ hours.

Two 300 level classes. My first foray into the 300s.

A considerable shoot in partying.

Quarter-Finals of IM Footy -best ever in spring.

More than 20 all nighters. A record for the quarter.

The end of Lost =(

Soaking in the life on Montogomery St. in San Fransisco.

Lots of logistical nightmare.

3 monster final projects.

Much less time in my room, much more time in Packard.

Being the 2nd official castaway in the original draw group of 1933.

BOB (#314) for 2010-2011. \m/

Back to being the playa!

United dethroned after 3 years. Sigh.

The historic treble by the Special One.

Nadal rightfully reclaimed his throne at Roland Garros.

Home, Family, Friends and the World Cup! (soon =P)

Its been an epic quarter and I have loved every bit of it! Junior year of spring will definitely go down as the most intense, fast-paced yet fun quarter at Stanford. And I know, I have claimed every quarter has been this way, but this one is second to none.

Quoting Pablo Neruda - "You can cut all the flowers, but you can't stop spring from coming."

And Oh boy! didn't spring come like never before =)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

GenX Di-own

The name's not revealed for many reasons but should be obvious from the title of this post. As a stunning academic who joined Stanford only ~ 6 months after finishing her PhD, we were all in awe of her in the first class. We still are today but that's more for her equation-hunger and power-paced writing skills more than anything. This woman writes. and writes. and just keeps writing. *Deep breath* "Okay, we are done for the day. See you'll on Wednesday :)" Arrive Wednesday, the Di-own Express begins again! I wanted to cut some slack for the fact that she's a newbie in the teaching arena, but she just keeps owning us over and over again and again.
This post, in all honesty, describes how 1 lecture of MatSci 152 goes by -

10:00 am - Arrive GenX wonder woman. Trashes all her books and belongings onto the table. Find that mofo piece of chalk and get down to writing! She probably has a breakfast of 8 raw eggs and a tub of carbohydrates and proteins before coming to class to able to keep up an incredible writing speed. Quantum Mechanics? no problem! wonder woman pwns the 5 classical problems in less than 30 minutes. Even the TA for the class is left reeling in the aftermath of this horrendous attack, let alone any of the kids in the class.
Hair flailing in the air, eyes twitching all around the room, GenX wonderwoman slides one sliding board after another to the side and continues her conquest for equational glory. A rather confused student asks a question "So what's the notation for these operators?" Uh-oh. GenX probably just got burrrrnt. GenX derailed, baby! However, she smiles it away and says "Oh! our next postulate will explain it better". By the time the next postulate was on the board, which by the way had nothing to do with explaining notations, the poor kid had sunk in her own shell. Gen Express is up and running and people are left staring at blankness.

Another kid points out - "should that be 0 to a for the limits?". GenX looks at the board, then looks at the kid as if he is a nub(which he obviously is because he is sitting in her class) and waves it away nonchalantly saying - "oh, doesn't matter, it'll give you the same result." Strangely enough, she does change the limits to what the kid suggested. Interesting.

People are dazed. 2 kids sitting in front of me look at each other with shocked expressions. But the di-own express runs on as it must. 40 minutes in, it was exhausting for me to even watch her - writing, screeching all over the room to find more board space to write on, sliding boards, erasing them 3 times over (No Kidding :|) and just being in her own equation-powered world - even when I wasn't trying to make note of her glorious equations. Chuck Norris would probably have sunken to his knees and begged her for forgiveness if he were forced to write as fast as she was.

10:50 and class is over. who cares? not Genx, baby! Keep going. "(Doesn't matter what the eff what I was saying for the last 50 mins... she doesn't say this, you just assume)...So you will need these 2 equations to solve number 5 on this assignment." Hurry! Time's almost up. People outside the room are body slamming into the door to remind her of the time. In less than a matter of atto-seconds...2 ugly equations sit prettily on the board.

GenX has truly owned. Not once, but many times over.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Stuffz xyzz lackz.

I was infused yesterday by this new idea to think of everything around me as Stuffz. What is stuffz? It be things that 'do'. This has manifested from a stupid status message on gtalk to a crazy frenzy that ran riot in my tiny neurons. So here goes...

Controls and Feedback. Stuffz I lackz.
Psychology. Stuffz I also lackz.
Ballz. Stuffz Gunner's lackz.
Brainz. Stuffz I definitely lackz.

Well this was the status message. But a bunch more kept popping up...

Cutters and Pliers. Stuffz EE133-labz lackz.
Sleep. Stuffz Stanfordz lackz.
Sorrow. Stuffz Red Devilz lackz.
Fear. Stuffz Nemanj Vidic lackz.
Ballz. Stuffz Wayne Bridge lackz.
Work. Stuffz no one lackz.
Holes. Stuffz Tiger Woodz lackz.
Guts. Stuffz I lackz.
Holes. Also stuffz John Terry lackz.
Good food. Stuffz Stanford diningz lackz.
Football these days. Stuffz my life lackz. (Tear rolls down)
Stuffz. Stuffz Lady Gaga lackz.
Linearity. Stuffz convex optimization lackz.
Messi. Stuffz Real Madrid lackz.
Sense. Stuff Ronaldo lackz.
Patience. Stuffz Stanford regsitrarz lackz.
Medals. Stuff Steven Gerrard lackz.
Dinner conversations. Stuffz Ervin and Ved lackz.
Life. Stuff EEz lackz.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

To a Friend

Dear Atharva,

Hope you are doing fine, kiddo. We really miss you a lot, man. We all do; and we really love you a lot. I wish to dear life that there was some way we could bring you back. Sadly, there is none.

You have been a great friend, a fantastic son and a very good person. I have enjoyed all those times we have spent together. Those Thursday afternoon when you walked in with half of your shirt out and muddy, dirty pants. The driver used to drop you off and tell you to call Deepa kaku which you very conveniently chose not to. Then kaku used to call up, all worried, wondering where you were. Our lunches were delightlful with shewayichi kheer at the end that managed to make you drowsy just as it would be time to study. And then Baba used to scold you lovingly and make you stand and recite tables - especially 29s backwards. And you got really good at it as time went by. I remember this one time. Baba told me to poke you as you were about to doze off on your math textbook. You "woke up" all startled and them smiled and got back to doing what you were. We miss your cute smile that was always...and I mean, *always* naughty.

We had a great time watching you progress rapidly as you showed your immense potential in each and everything you did - academics, singing, badminton - everything. I remember us, celebrating Ganpati for the last 5-6 years followed by your sweet and delightful songs. Well acad-related stressful talks followed as Deepa Kaku and Aai talked. During this, the two of us secretly joked about how much parents fret and worry about life; both totally chill about everything. Those were great times, man. So much fun.

I didn't get to see you a lot over the past two years but whenever I was home, I did meet you and Deepa Kaku a fair number of times. Gym vagare karun jordar body zali. You seemed a lot different in those short trips back home over the past two years - progressively mature, hard-working and quiet; and taller than me :)

You didn't have to go to make us miss you or make us realized how much we love you. We love you just the same today and we always will. Its hard to think that you are not there anymore when there are so many things planned and ready to be done, waiting for you. You missed avartana this year and it really will hit us all very hard, every time we wont hear your recitals during Ganpati. But we are all proud of you, my friend. We always have been. Even very close to the end, you kept reminding us of your potential with your astounding values. It will hurt us all to know what you mean to us but to accept that you are a tad distant from us now.

For now, rest well and take it easy. See you in another life, brother.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Top 5 Tranfers

With the transfer market drawing to an end, it seems like only a few more switches will be crunched out. The action has switched to the field and not many are concerned about transfer sagas. Undoubtedly, this summer has been one for those media intensive, anticipated and long-proctored transfers.

5 Cristiano Ronaldo - Manchester United to Real Madrid

Very. Very. Very Imminent. Madrid have a tendency for courtship. Just like douchebags. They will shower the player with promises, off-the-charts salaries. There is something about the name Real Madrid that makes players "Jizz in Their Pants". Even the best player in the world. Amassing 67 astonishing goals at United in 2 seasons, Ronaldo is already an Old Trafford legend. There is a difference between pursuing your dream and hogging glory. Ronaldo perhaps felt staying at United last season was his chance of proving that he was dreams guy. Of course the douches won his heart over and Ronaldo went out of his "relationship" with Utd for a year-long phone and media based "affair" with Madrid. I, for one as a Utd fan, am glad the gaffer let him have his way and sent him packing. For 80 million.

4 Karim Benzema - Olympique Lyonnais to Real Madrid

Absolutely biased and judged. It comes as no surprise that the douches show up again. They have spent over 250 million pounds in a bottomless vault supported by Spain's royalty (and probably an allegiance with The World Bank). For 2 seasons, Benzema was linked with a move to the English Premier League with Man Utd, Liverpool and Chelsea being the frontrunners to secure the French hitman's signature.
Arrive the summer of 2009 and they struck again. Out of nowhere, Benzema fell for Ronaldo and Kaka. Oops, I mean Real Madrid. And then the usual emotions flew. " My mommy wanted me to play for Madrid since I was 3. 3 months old. It is a childhood dream to join Madrid. Hala Madrid!". Well Mr. Benzema, have fun dealing with a certain kid called Leo Messi and his third grade team called Barcelona who wallopped your legendary side 6-2. Oh, they also happen to be European and Spanish Champions and the first side (yes, your Madrid hasn't done it yet) to win the treble.

3 Carlos Tevez - Random dude called Kia to Manchester City

Super glad. Delighted and honestly happy for a player who deserves more respect that what, shockingly, Man Utd game him. Ferguson obtained him in the most awkward circumstances when the rules of FIFA were changing and lo behold! Tevez was a Utd player but on loan for 2 seasons. In spite of providing tremendous pace, great agility and and undying passion, Ferguson did not believe he was worth 25 million. Being a Utd fan I really cant go against my team. But the saga sadened me quite a bit. The money from the sale of C*ntiano could have been easily used for securing the services of a versatile player like Tevez. Other teams fear the so-called "Animal". Yet, United refused to tie him up and it was only a matter of time before he became rebellious. I wonder if this has anything to do with Ferguson's stuborness and ego issues more than anything else. Benching Tevez, taking him off for a substitution when he was on top of his game and mistreating in the transfer window. I respect our usually not-so-respectable neighbours for signing up Tevez and keeping good talent within the EPL. And I'm sure the Citizens have a good season in store for them following their fantasy league-like switches. I am very keen on Carlito and how he progresses this season in an atmosphere where he will be treated fairly.

2 Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Samuel Eto'o and some 60 million (Likened to Lock, Stock and 2 Smoking Barrels) - Barcelona to Inter Milan

Stupid. Retarded. Terrible. On the face of it. A really controversial switch.
(-)Not a very fair evaluation of Barcelona's former top striker who gave then 108 goals in 145 appearances. A hardworking player and a team player. Fast and agile unlike the 6ft something Swedish Ibra. Great spirit and a favourite with the fans. Terrible treatment by Barca I must say; worse the Carlito :( .
(+)What many forget is Ibra had 5 years left on his contract while Eto' had just 1. That made the 60 million difference. Ibra and Eto'o are about the same age but the latter relies more on pace than Ibra who relies on skill and technique. At 28 apiece, pace will not last too long. Ibra is peaking, Eto'o is fading.
As I said, a very ambiguous and indecisive transfer. Only the season will explain what worked and what didn't.

1 Xabi Alonso Liverpool to Real Madrid

The lightning struck worst here. Heartbreak and something's gone missing. The bestubbled Basque was one of my favourite players in the league and still remains a top notch player at Madrid. The unsung hero who Liverpool could call their Rahul Dravid (for cricket fans). Mr. Reliable was the subject of a much proctored and long-drawn saga. His desire to return to Spain and especially Madrid is understandable in spite of the fact that they are douches. After all, they have a set of individuals who are remarkably talented. Not a mega-money transfer. Not the best player in the world. But still a midfielder with exceptional talent. And as much as I detest Scousers...You'll Never Walk Alone, Xabi Alonso.