Acham illai

31 07 2005

“My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer,” the boy confides to the alchemist one night as they look up at a moonless night.

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself,” the alchemist replies.

“And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.”

– The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo


think. wait. fast.

31 07 2005

“I can think. I can wait. I can fast.”

“That’s everything?”

“I believe, that’s everything!”

– Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

Interesting philosophy. When I first read Siddhartha, I had no idea where this conversation was going. This is a snippet of the first conversation between an ascetic (Siddhartha) goes to meet Kamaswami, the merchant, to see if he can work for him. This is like a job interview, where Kamaswami tries to find out what skills Siddhartha would bring to the job. The above is Siddhartha’s anwer to the question, “What is it that you’ve learned, what you’re able to do?”

Now as I go through life, I keep coming back to this concept. Would thinking, waiting or fasting help me deal with something better. Well, guess what? Yes; 98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed, these skills would have helped me deal with things better.

To think – to be able to just stop and think through things, without getting emotional and stressed.

To wait – there is not one skill I would want more than to be able to wait, when the heavens seem to be falling down. To be patient, take some time, breathe and then move.

To fast – I have personally not experinced this much. So will add a quote from the book again.

“And what’s the use of that? For example, the fasting– what is it
good for?”

“It is very good, sir. When a person has nothing to eat, fasting is the
smartest thing he could do. When, for example, Siddhartha hadn’t
learned to fast, he would have to accept any kind of service before this
day is up, whether it may be with you or wherever, because hunger would
force him to do so. But like this, Siddhartha can wait calmly, he knows
no impatience, he knows no emergency, for a long time he can allow
hunger to besiege him and can laugh about it. This, sir, is what
fasting is good for.”

“You’re right, Samana. Wait for a moment.”

For those of you who have not read the book. But I am sure, this has piqued your interest. You now wonder –

Did he get the job?
(no worries, , this is not a spoiler)
Well, yes, he did.

But I would not suggest you try this at your next job interview. What follows in this conversation, is very mundane. Kamaswami returns with a scroll and asks Siddhartha to read it. It is his ability to read and write, that lands him the job. So, yes, you will have to work on your other skills too =)

Accidental Revolutionary

26 07 2005

“I was an ugly child.

What can I say? I hope some day Hollywood makes a film about Linux, and they’ll be sure to cast somebody who looks like Tom Cruise in the lead role – but in the non-Hollywood version, things don’t work out that way.”

How can one resist a book that starts that candidly (and that hopefully)! =)

One of my favourite heros – amazing guy, with a great vision. Though, I don’t think, he thought about it that way, when he started working on Linux.

A wonderful read for both geeks and nongeeks. David Diamond has made the life of a young nerd seem interesting to the second kind of people. (I am sure all the first kind know, that, there are only 10 kinds of people in the world…) This book is, so, not filled with geek jokes like this.

Describes how he created Linux, very lovingly and yet very interestingly. I would leave the reviewing to people who are good at it. You can go to a nice review, by clicking on the title of this blog entry.

(4/4 in ‘people who inspire me’)

I, me and we

26 07 2005

“The Talmud says, If I am not for myself, who will be? If I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?”

Wedding vows – EULA or GPL?

20 07 2005

Was trying to convince the bride to have an Arya Samaj Wedding ceremony (A similar ceremony can be seen in Gandhi (script snippet)). Having failed to make any headway with the bride, who has this general love for the grand and chaotic scene – that is an indian wedding. Check out what she had to say after reading about the ceremony here.

I brought up the same topic with the groom (aka Bill). Bill is generally more receptive to random ideas like this :) (I think). Anyway, after a couple of minutes we realized, that most indians go through their wedding, with most of the ceremony being held in Sanskrit or Classical Tamizh etc. And, they have no clue what they are signing up for.

It is almost as meaningless to them, as the EULA you always click ‘I Agree’ to, before installing another piece of buggy software to your overloaded machine.

So why not a GPL or BSD style wedding vows? What would you include in such vows? Would you even like to say something like

Bride: I take your hand in mine in pursuit of righteousness for the benefit of both our families. I will stand by you. May we be provided with prosperity and offspring and may I keep you splendidly radiant as the rays of the sun. – part of the arya samaj wedding ceremony (

Wedding Recreated in Gandhi


Simple. Austere. Filtered light. Featuring Gandhi – close. He is looking straight ahead.
Reverse angle. Across the emptiness of the temple, Ba faces him.

BA (a step forward): “In every worthy wish of yours, I shall be your helpmate.”

Another angle featuring Walker and Collins, who are sitting alone, in the cool shadows of the temple, watching with fascination as Gandhi and Ba repeat their marriage ceremony for them, Walker jotting notes occasionally, but his eyes always glued to Gandhi and Ba, who are in part lost in memories and echoes of a significance only they can know.

GANDHI (a step): “Take a fourth step, that we may be ever full of joy.”

Wide shot. Showing the two of them before the altar of the temple, moving closer to each other.

BA (a step): “I will ever live devoted to you, speaking words of love and praying for your happiness.”

Close shot – Gandhi.

GANDHI: “Take a fifth step, that we may serve the people.”
BA: “I will follow close behind you and help to serve the people.”

Featuring Walker, now too entranced by the ceremony, by the depth of layered emotions in Gandhi and Ba’s voices and eyes to take any notes . . .

GANDHI: “Take a sixth step, that we may follow our vows in life.”
BA: “I will follow you in all our vows and duties.”

Ba and Gandhi. Near to meeting now.

GANDHI (a last step): “Take the seventh step, that we may ever live as friends.”

Ba takes the last step, so that they are face to face. A beat.

BA: “You are my best friend . . . my highest guru, and my sovereign lord.”

For a moment their eyes hold – the many dreams, and hopes and pain – the love of many years.
Walker watches, his own face taut with emotion.
Resume Gandhi and Ba. And Gandhi slowly lifts his hand.

GANDHI: Then I put a sweetened wheat cake in her mouth.

He touches Ba’s lips with his extended fingers and she kisses them gently.

BA: And I put a sweetened wheat cake in his mouth.

She has lifted her fingers to his mouth and he kisses them gently.
Featuring Walker and Collins both touched, the overtly cynical American obviously even more than the likeable Englishman.
Gandhi turns to them.

GANDHI: And with that we were pronounced man and wife. (Solemnly) We were both thirteen . . .

(acknowledgement :

Laptop mighter than razor?

18 07 2005

News bite from the inquirer, a laptop generates enough heat to burn the user’s pants and set off the smoke detector in a plane, which almost brought the plane down. you can find it here

This is about the same time everyone keeps talking about how low power design is as important as speed … The amount of heat a computer can generate is impressive (not very impressive from an engineering point of view, though…)

Does this mean a bunch of geeks armed with laptops (esp. with the right overclocking etc) can be as dangerous as any trained armed insurgent?

Does it mean people will have to check-in their laptops too? So, now you can neither shave nor play games or look busy with emails on a plane? Laptops go up in the list of evil things you cannot carry into an airplane? Razors and forks are not the only tools of the devil, enter a new cousin…. the laptop =)



13 07 2005

Interesting audio-visual piece by Fred Conrad of the NYT. He catalogs the different tribes in New York City. LDS missionaries, Goths, Sand Hogs, Messengers, and I hope there is more to come.

Wonder what the tribes of Silicon Valley would look like, geeks, hackers, artists, venture capitalists, …

Tribe (from the Merriam-Webster online )

Pronunciation: ‘trIb
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin tribus, a division of the Roman people, tribe
1 a : a social group comprising numerous families, clans, or generations together with slaves, dependents, or adopted strangers b : a political division of the Roman people orig. representing one of the three original tribes of ancient Rome c : PHYLE
2 : a group of persons having a common character, occupation, or interest
3 : a category of taxonomic classification ranking below a subfamily; also : a natural group irrespective of taxonomic rank