Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Recursively fix my life

I wish I could fix my life by recursively calling a simple function. That I could go back to those days before Feb 12 recursively, do something simple that by the time the recursive function finishes, everything is as good at it was before.

Feb 12th is "pivot"al to my life as it "partitioned" my life and that day i will always think of life as pre-"partition" days and post-"partition" days. Life is never the same. Each day after that day, i would think, if I could go back by 1 day, life wouldn't have been like this, if i go back by 2 days life won't be as bad as this.

Many years ago, when i was still a small kid, i woke up one morning and things that happened that day, it seemed I had already seen in my dreams. Or was i still dreaming, I wondered. I was actually still dreaming and I realized it when i woke up next morning. I never knew there was so much recursion in my life till now while studying Algorithms and data structures!!

These 21 days has had O(n2) time complexity, chugging on slowly as it possibly can. Near future is doesn't look any better. Getting sleep no longer take O(1) time, it take O(log n) with n being the number of thoughts going in my mind.

You know things like these teach you lessons that you don't forget in life ever. The lesson being that we need to read signs and take decisions wisely. Remember the "who moved my cheese"? Never wait till cheese is finally gone. There were signs much earlier that I should leave IBM, just didn't read it. 

PS: If you are wondering what pivot, partition and O(blah blah ) are, I could give u a crash course on DS and algorithms :)

I woke up to my daughter's cries and realized how my mind was involuntarily solving merge sort. Time to go to sleep.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Freak Incident 2

Driving in traffic, i end up cursing a handful of people. Monday it was no different as i drove from Bangalore to Mysore. But what was different was that a car scared the hell out of me.

I was overtaking a slow moving vehicle probably an auto. A callous driver started honking continuously from behind and wanted to overtake me. It was a Getz. Since i had moved to my right, i dint want let go of my position. But this Getz guy was persistent and was honking continuously and irritated me. I signalled to him with my right hand to shut up and overtook the auto. He stopped honking momentarily. But as soon as he got space, he swiftly over took the auto and then he moved in front of me and stopped his car just a few meters ahead of me with a screech. My heart was in my mouth as i tried hard not to hit the car in front of me. My car stopped just a few inches behind the Getz. My legs were shaking. I thought the Getz guy was going to come and probably hit me. I could have not defended myself as i was really scared. So i prepared to reverse my car. Luckily the Getz guy moved on.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The story teller

It was around 6 pm and I was returning from a photography expedition. The season being mansoon, its very pleasant and green where. I thought of relaxing after an arduous day of trekking, photography and driving. i reached this village called ಕೊಟಯ್ಯನ ಪಾಳ್ಯ. It was village fair that day the village was buzzing with activity. vegetables, fruits, grams, cattle, poutry etc. makeshift hotels sold dosas, idlis, bhajji etc. draw carts carried boiled groundnuts, shaollow fried groundnuts, corn etc.

The sun had just sunk and left some yellow streaks in the sky. A groundnut vendor finished his sale for the day. He threw the left out groundnuts on the slush formed bullock carts' wheel treading over loose soil. As i watched, an old man with a flowing grey beard, aged around 60, dressed in soiled clothes and wearing a woolen blanket sat down near the slush and selected the best of the left out groundnuts, washed it in the nearby water pool formed by the recent rains, went to the big banyan tree which i later came to know as his abode.

The banyan tree being at the heart of the village, the only street lamp in the village was present right opposite to the banyan tree. The street lamp was turned on. The vendor right below the street lamp would toss up the groundnut seeds from the fan shaped wooden apparatus. The flakes would slowly settle down on the apparatus in its next trip upwards. Glittering in the yellow light, wobbling, rotating as they settle. Children would watch it amused.

The old man turned out to be a good story teller and was popular among children. children flocked him for stories. They would sit on his lap, he would tell them stories, some of them from panchatantra and some of which i hadn't heard of. He would hold the blanket as if it were his wings and close it by capturing the children inside, children would scream and be scared away, yet the same children would come back after a few minutes. I looked on curiously. he narrated this small story which held my attention for a short while.

"Six blind men were asked to determine what an elephant looked like by feeling different parts of the elephant's body.The blind man who feels a leg says the elephant is like a pillar; the one who feels the tail says the elephant is like a rope; the one who feels the trunk says the elephant is like a tree branch; the one who feels the ear says the elephant is like a hand fan; the one who feels the belly says the elephant is like a wall; and the one who feels the tusk says the elephant is like a solid pipe. All of them are right. The reason every one of them is telling it differently is because each one of them touched the different part of the elephant. So, actually the elephant has all the features you mentioned."

I thought all of us are blind in one way or other and have touched only one part of elephant and believe thats what is true. That we believe the perceptions generated by our sense organs in coordination with our bloated egos is the truth. As i mulled our the limitations of our reasoning and sensory perceptions, the old man turned to me and said to me an English accent familiar in government circles "You are absolutely right!!"

Photography... my new obsession

At different stages of life i have been obsessed with different things. During college days i was so obsessed with studies that i wouldn't take some time out movies even once in 6 months.

After college i was obsessed with a girl, i called it love. I am happy it happened, even more happy it lasted only as long it lasted. It taught some important lessons, but thats about it.

My present obsession is photography. I enjoy photography; however because it grabs people's attention, i think i feel more encouraged to pursue it.

My previous obsessions died down as quickly as they became obsessions. I want to make sure that this new found obsession stays on and on. Lets see :)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hand of ghost

Continued from "Hunters get hunted"...

I reached raghavendra's house. Raghavendra's mom had taken him somewhere so waited for them to come back. When they came back, Raghavendra had some yellow paste smeared on his face, red powder on his spandrel. A kind of look that could scare away children. His mom said she had taken him to an exorcist. She gave you-are-responsible-for-all-this kind of look. I was taken aback him, i looked at raghavendra. He looked straight at me without embarrassment. After sometime i took him out to know what had happened.

He said, since the incident, without his conscious thinking, he was trying to strangle himself with his left hand. He would somehow ward off the left hand by using his right hand. He said he dint consciously try to strangle himself. His mother believed that the ghost had come upon him which was doing this. It was scary. The ghost hunter got hunted? He was talking plainly, there was no sense of pain, regret or remorse. He also had lost the sense of smell.

I asked if he never went to doctor these days. He said "I had been to a physician who thought that i was depressed and i was attempting it myself and referred me to a psychologist. Then i went to see a psychologist, he said he found no signs of hysteria or other mental disorders - he gave some anti-depressants."

I suggested that we see a neurologist. I took him to a neurologist. As we explained to the doc, he hardly gave any thought to whatever we said, the issue being so eerie. He suggested us to get the MRI scan of skull done. "Did you have any head surgery or injury". Doctor said "Its hardly surprising the way he is bahaving. His pareital lobe in right hemisphere is partly damaged. parietal lobes process information from senses, especially touch. Thats probably the reason he is not able to smell anything.

The corpus callosum which is a bundle of nerve fibres is the bridge between left and right hemisphere is damaged, almost severed. Through corpus collosum the two hemisphere exchange information. Each hemisphere has some specialized functions. In most people, language abilities is controlled entirely by the left hemisphere.

Our neuron circuitry is such that anything that happens in the left part of the body, that information is processed by the right hemisphere and vice-versa. With his condition, sensory information received by the right hemisphere cannot be transferred to the language systems of the left as the corpus collosum is severed.

A person with his right hemisphere damaged will experience inappropriate emotional response. Like being extremely depressed. In his case he is feeling extremely depressed, which is in-explicable but happens due to right hemisphere being damaged. Right hemisphere cannot transmit the associated sensory data to the left hemisphere and its language centers. The left hemisphere perceives a change in the body's state, but does not know why.

Their verbal left hemispheres do not know some things that their right hemispheres do know. In short, these people's callosal disconnections have produced two separate consciousnesses - two distinct spheres of awareness - within their minds. "

Kind of startling revelation. "Is there no cure for it". "There is no known formal treatment for Alien Hand Syndrome at this time, the symptoms can be reduced and managed to some degree by keeping the alien hand occupied and involved in a task. There is generally a gradual reduction in the frequency of alien behaviors observed over time and a gradual restoration of voluntary control over the affected area. Neurons change and the organization of their networks do change and so their function by experience, resulting re-formation of corpus callosum. I can even teach him some exercises to keep the alien hand occupied and override the behaviour of alien hand"

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Hunters get Haunted

Continued from An attack of a different kind...

After talking to madha, i met raghavendra's mother and told her what i saw. She had a different story to tell. "Before they converted the forest here for agriculture, huge trees were there here. Some of them could be as old as thousand years. My mother-in-law used to say, after felling the trees she saw an old woman in green saree sitting beside the stumps and weeping. Mother-in-law would say she used to see it quite frequently. But it has not harmed anyone."

I narrated my experience plus madha and raghavendra's mother versions to the rest of our gang. Contrary to my expectation, they were not shocked, but were thrilled. Probably because they had realized that this ghost was harmless, everyone with the exception of Nagraj now wanted to be ghost hunters. Raghavendra was reluctant to spend time and energy on this but agreed to come with us. Nagraj we decided would remain in the house and make a call to one of us if he heard the voice. Now we needed to search for an appropriate place to wait and watch for the ghost. Place should be near yet it should hide us from all other sides. We found a small tree with its branches drooping at the start of the forest. It was around 100 meters from the house and at around 45 degress to the left of the house. One could lift the branches with little difficulty and hide under it. We got hold of a few torches, a mosquito coil. We were set, we eagerly waiting for the night.

After dinner, at around 9:15 we left to our hiding place. We dint tell anyone about our adventure lest it attract attention and distract our ghost guest. We crouched under the tree, lit up the mosquito coil. We decided to to sit with our backs facing the tree so that we could keep vigil in different directions. it was around 10th day of the moon cycle when its size increases, so there was enough light to sight the ghost if at all it neared the house. We felt we had gone there too early. It was around 11:30, we were all tired and sleepy as we were awake the last night. At this point of time, we heard leaves being trampled upon. I kept a watch at the house. Raghavendra was watching forest side. sadashiva was looking at raghavendra's house side. Srikant S looked at the toilet. The trample continued and by now it was apparent it was coming from the forest side. Suddenly there was bustling movement as if someone was running towards us. Raghavendra's torch light ended dint go farther than a few feet as there was lot of plantation. We came to know how ill equipped we were. We were sitting on our toes ready to run any moment if needed.

We heard a gunshot. Raghavendra shot up and his head hit one of the branches. He collapsed in pain. There was more movement and this time it seemed the movement was away from us. There was no sound after a few seconds. We sighed with relief. Raghavendra was bleeding. We hurried him to his house. His mom called one of the two guys in the village who owns an auto. Raghavendra's family being the priests at the local temple is well respected in the village and people wont think twice to come for help even at this ghostly hour. We took him to a hospital in Hebri he was given some first aid. We were told "it looks like a superficial head injury so few stiches might suffice. However its better to get and MRI scan done. Its not available here. You have to go to Udupi for that". We returned from there.

Next day Raghavendra's mom was visibly pretty angry with us. We volunteered to take him to udupi for MRI scan. However both mother and son did not want it. They felt the previous night's dressing and medications were enough. we left for bangalore the same day. Raghavendra stayed back.

Raghavendra had not returned from home. I being indirectly responsible for his plight decided to go and see him. One mystery that i forgot to tell is what happened that night. Since they are living in such close proximity to forest, its common that at night wild animals do come near the house. So some one usually patrols the area during the night. Madha who was patrolling that night, on hearing some wild animal shot dummy bullet from his long barrel rifle to scare away the animal.

(Story will continue in my next blog)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Some random thoughts

* US accuses Taleban of violating rules of war by using white phosphorous as weapon against it in swat valley.heheheheh This is like an auto driver abusing another auto driver for violating traffic rules. There are extremists in every religion however self proclaimed protectors of religion like Taleban just mis-interpret their holy text and try to follow it to its last word. And a country like USA which has a mindset that every other country in the world is just to feed its greed, is at the opposite end of the spectrum to Taleban.
* The world is going to be better place nevertheless never global warming etc. More people are taking to organic farming. i read somewhere how use of fertilizers reduces microbes in soil, increases the water requirement, reduces the yield. Science is understanding its inherent limitations and trying to mimic the nature. For example, i read that some innovative idea to improve aeroplane is to make it resemble a bird in flight - use V formation to conserve energy during long flights. Luficer lamps are being researched which use the chemical reactions used by fire-flies to produce ultra-low energy consuming lamps.
* Although i have always snubbed Astrology, i have been curious to know how many of the predictions have come true. Given a situation, we have only the following choices - 1) Do nothing 2) React to situation and do a quick fix 3) Act pro-actively and take preventive measures. when you know someone closely, and if that person uses only choices 1 or 2, any intelligent person can predict his behavior. Astrology believes that planetary motions affect the people in positive or negative manner. For time being lets assume that this is true, if you know that the combined effect of the planets for a particular person is positive/negative and given that the person is not pro-active, its easy to determine the person's behavior. Its doesn't mean that a person doesn't have free-will, but we limit ourselves by not exercising many options and hence we are predictable. And coming to planetary motions affecting us, science finds it amusing, however it would be foolish to think anything that science cannot describe doesn't exist. It could be that with the knowledge we have we don't see any such relationship between the planetary motions and human behaviour.
* Royal Challengers are winning and thats a great news. shifting to south Africa seems to have helped their cause. Better pitches, new players this season have done the trick. Anil kumble has one of the best average of 5.83. However i am disappointed with Rahul Dravid who started off really well, but now looks out of sorts.
* Like fasting, recession is good. Fasting lets body use the reserve energy and cleanses the body. Recession has led me to use shirts and pants i had long forgotten and which languished at the bottom of my wardrobe.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


The other day i had gone to Capitol school grounds for a walk. A few poor children came there with nothing but their ragged clothes but wanted to play. After sitting and watching for sometime, they approached a group playing football and borrowed the extra foot ball they had and new game was born :). The "bowler" would roll the ball on the floor, the "batsman" would kick it as hard as he can and "run". The "fielder" meanwhile would fetch the ball, he would either kick it from there to the "bowler" or throw it.

Similarly there was this gang of some 6 children from a government school playing volleyball with tennis ball. This was not very new to me since we had played "round tennis" similarly in the school days.

Isn't it amazing the way we have altered the game fit our various constraints