To do that ... I happen to write!

Friday, 30 April 2010

The Story of Delhi Autowallah(s)

After having been verbally lynched about his lack of knowledge about cars; desperately hoping to prove that he was not a pseudo car-fanatic; and that all his talks about being fascinated by cars were not farce, S sees a car from the auto we were traveling in and said,

"This is quite a costly car"

The Autowallah
(autodriver) who was silently driving the auto until then decided to join in the verbal-lynching of S, and asked innocently,

"How much does it cost, bhaiya?"

S: "f-o-u-r-t-e-e-n Lakh!"
AW: "Only 14 Lakh. My auto is worth 4.5 Lakh"

However, as we implored deeper we found some rather sad truths about the story, as according to the Autowallah...

Government commissioned autos are worth 1.4 Lakh. But you never get them.
Government commissioned loan for buying auto is given at 8-9% pa. But you never get it. So our AW had taken a loan from private firm at 17% pa.

Given the fact that our Autowallah, Pradeep wasn't a dumba** (he is doing his BA from IGNOU) I guess there is some truth to the whole story.

Soon, we switched back to lighter conversation. He tells us that he is just 25 years old, and the oldest member in his village of 1000 families yet to be married. And he is no hurry.

"The problem is that I will have to get married with someone from my village itself. Add to that the fact that I will have no choice in deciding my bride. My mother and father will decide this. And they will look only at the money..."

We all sighed at this. However, oblivious of this he continued

"Now the problem with that is: A girl who brings in a lot of money also brings a lot of pride with her, she will not be willing to learn anything easily. Like if she is uneducated and I want to teach her, she wouldn't listen to me..."

Pradeep continued to tell us several other things about his life and village while I drifed back to my conversations with several other autowallahs over a past few weeks

One was from Bihar. His family was in Bihar. He was a school dropout. Currently he earns about Rs. 500-600 each day of which he has to pay 300 to the auto owner, commonly referred to as Malik.

I forget the origin of the other guy, but he works as a shoe salesman in a lady's shoe shop during the day time; and as an autowallah during the morning and evening. He sincerely hopes that his break-back hard work will lead him somewhere in life.

The third autowallah told me a lot about how he was thinking about getting married so that he had someone who can cook for him. Currently he plies an auto the whole day; and eats in one of the countless roadside dhabas. However, he was worried about the fact that where would he keep his wife. He has no money to rent home!

While I was racking my brain remembering the names of all these 3 people, and getting into the guilt-mire on not remembering them; I suddenly remembered what one AW said to me, while he took me from HZM to IIT Delhi; after I asked him (particularly born out of his non-haggling behavior):

"I see you are different from others bhaiya, how are you so smiling and happy?"
"What's there in life but to be happy"

We are at our destination, DPS RKP School, and I hear the autowallah say,

"If this government could have done something for a man like me, I would have been happy"

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

The Philosophy Behind Matrix - 3

Last in the series: A few memorable quotes, which you can read again and again; and again and again they make you think!

You do not truly know someone until you fight them

Choice, the problem is choice.
- Neo
It is remarkable how similar the pattern of love is to the pattern of insanity

Seraph: Did you always know?
The Oracle: Oh, no. No, I didn't. But I believed... I believed.
Choice is an illusion created between those with power and those without

Humph. Hope, it is the quintessential human delusion, simultaneously the source of your greatest strength, and your greatest weakness.
The Architect

One way or the other the war is going to end

Other parts:

Sunday, 25 April 2010

The India Gate

Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia

Well there is nothing more monumental than the 'ol India Gate. But going to India gate at 3:30 in the night has a completely different aura to it.

To start with, there are no ice cream wallas, no bhel puri wallas, no families, no honkering cars, no toy sellers and so on: there is no one. For a moment after you first step outside your car and reach India Gate, you don't feel like it's India Gate anymore. But soon after you start loving the feeling of ownership of the place...

Next, there are barricades guarded by armymen. However, they do not stop you from crossing them. I guess asking for their permission is always a better option.

Lastly, the India Gate is unlit, unlike in the evening when it is bathed in blazing lights. And, believe me, the serenity is engulfing...

Tuesday, 20 April 2010


It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll.

I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul.

- William Ernest Henley

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Kumaon Times

Published the following article in Kumaon Times on the occasion of my farewell!


Saying Goodbye and Everything Else

As far as I recall, Arya was the first person I met after reaching Kumaon Hostel on 27th July 2006. He had taken up the responsibility of showing us our rooms. My father thought he, my seniors, was going to be a beacon light in my life; I thought he, my senior, was going to be a ragging nightmare in my life. No awards for guessing who was right!

I enter my empty, dusty room. Of all things they had brought along – my parents forgot to bring broom. Rohit, gave away his broom after much ado (and a scary – give it back warning). After having cleaned up the room, and having jumped with joy on seeing Sankalp (finally – I had found someone from my Bansal days) I welcome my roommate – Nikhil. O the first sight of him never warned me that he would be the dirtiest creature on earth. His socks used to stink the whole day; he slept over his books and clothes and the cough syrup bottle he spilled on his study table wasn’t cleaned until it got dried and was scrapped off, gram by gram, by the blowing winds.

We used to get up at morning 5, were made to run till 7 by our seniors, eat breakfast – run for PHP lab and other crappy stuff only to return late in the evening, get ragged till midnight and then gossip away till wee hours. And soon after that we were swept away by Kumaon fervor. Some people were cleaning fans, some were hiding in the rooms of their seniors, some got influenced by Puneet’s speech and started playing hockey, some were busy sneaking out of the hostel by throwing their bags from balcony, some people asked other to lock them up, while some people mistakenly locked their rommies, some got influenced by the to-be IIMA guy and tried shouting Jai Kumaon just like him – In all this, I was busy acting. Time passed – grades came. There was a lull after the storm. And then things started all over again.

Suddenly one fine morning we walked out and some skinny guy called Dhanda was pole dancing. I realized-we had become 2nd yearites! I don’t remember anything from the year except AOE, Swimming, Apping and R2, oh and o’course the mess-became-good for a change fiasco!

Come 3rd year and we were made the mentors. Some mentors had to paint their faces black; some were already black.

Oh and then the wretched final year which was mostly hazy: Drugs, Booze and Nights Out: either devoted to Dota or to Series or to BTP – there was hardly anything else which people did!

As the days of solitude draw near I have started looking at thing from a different viewpoint. Some things haven’t changed even a tardy bit: Nanda’s “Tu…Kat” and a long distance high handed “Hiiii” is still as charming as it used to be in the first year; Chachha‘s philosophies are as intact and his room as clean as they used to be in his first year; Ghoda is as beauty conscious as he used to be in his first year and so on. But some things have: for a change some guys names after a school have become exceedingly foul-mouthed people and have got a bandi. A Chennai born, Maharashtra-living Gujrati, studying in Delhi is going to Calcutta. A high-school stud re-found his studness by taming an animal. Some Gaziabadians deflated, some Delhites inflated, some people from East-India started giving hugs to random firangs sitting in parks, some bihari proved to be worth a dime as he entered some gate and so on…

Ah, it feels so :( when you think you will not be living with such people anymore. Sometimes it feels like I will never experience a change as monumental as this or, will I?

Dosvidania and everything else (hugs, kisses, shoves, nudges…)

Nishant Ranka

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Discovering Delhi Food - Lajpat Nagar

Our funda of eating is fairly simple: The food should be good, the prices should be low and if possible, the place should be not one of those famous places (like Haldirams etc) :D

Jatin and Meenakshi found just the perfect place for us. You can call it something like a dhaba. It is in the O block of Lajpat Nagar Main Market.

View LN in a larger map

The Cottage Cheese dishes are just awesome. 60 Rs/- for half plate Kadhai Paneer; which is nearly equivalent to full plate of any other restaurant. Paneer (Cottage Cheese) is like the staple food of Delhi people, but still I must say the thing I found there was way better than anyplace else in Delhi.

Then o'course you can go to the main market of Lajpat Nagar and drink Slush at Golden Fiesta. A glass for Rs 20/-; the flavored ice just melts in your mouth :) I liked the Mango flavor - In my opinion a must try thing :)

Other things:

Chandani Chowk Trips (Simply the most awesome place for any gourmet to explore in Delhi)

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

The New Look Blogger

Just go to

And then Click on Layout

And then on Template Designer

This thing is really cool. You can play around with background images, sizes ed infinitum

Also explore editing the blog in this new look blogger. Uploading images is like really awesome :)

Blogger has become like Wordpress...

Sunday, 11 April 2010

The Philosophy Behind Matrix - 2

Before we begin - a classic example of rhetoric:
Roland: I thought we just saved the dock.

Lock: EMP knocked out every piece of hardware, and every APU. If I were the machines, I'd send every sentinel I had over here right now. "Saved the dock" Captain?, you just handed it to them on a silver platter!

- Matrix Revolutions

Who are Agents - Who is Agent Smith?

Though we never get a feel of this, Agents are actually there to protect Matrix. I guess this is because we naturally watch the movie from the perspective of humans!

In actuality, Agents are like antivirus programs, protecting the Matrix from Zionites and people who understand that the Matrix is a fake (ref: post 1). Apart from killing the Zionites they also have an important task to find and destroy the programs in Matrix which are no longer useful...

Agents are like super-stud programs: they can move really fast, and can copy themselves on any normal human/program in the Matrix; but are under controls of machines (remember the ear-plugs they wore!). It's literally impossible to destroy them because they can always copy themselves.

However, at the end of 1st movie when Neo realizes that he's The One and dismantles Agent Smith; Agent Smith somehow (I still haven't understood - how? Help needed!) is freed from the control of machines. Smith also gets the ability to copy himself onto literally anyone (including Zionites), through direct physical contact. He thus becomes a virus. By the end of 3rd movie, he copies himself on everyone in the Matrix world - humans and non-humans (including Oracle!)

After he's unplugged his power keeps growing in direct proportion to Neo. Simply put, if Neo's matter then Smith is the antimatter. Together, they balance the equation; and eventually they annihilate each other!

Who is Merovingian?

Merovingian is a program who keeps a track of all the programs running in the Matrix. You can loosely treat him as the windows task manager but o'course with a lot more powers.

"What do all men with power want? More power."

- Oracle, Matrix Reloaded (about Merovingian)

How programs work?

It must be understood that programs are programmed to do things in order to make Matrix as real as possible. For e.g. Merovingian's wife is programmed to crave love which she never gets. However, programs know the word, not the associated emotion: emotions are for humans to know. For e.g. Rama asks Neo that since he loves Trinity - what would he do to save her? Neo says, "anything". Rama says that I too would do just anything to save my daughter Sati from deletion (but because he's programmed to love which tells him that a father should do anything possible to save her daughter from being killed - not because he can feel love!)

Now then, how it all ends?
After The One reaches the Architect, he is given a choice to either return back to the source code; after which he can choose 23 people from the current Zion and rebuild it - or return back to the Matrix which will ultimately lead to the destruction of the entire humanity (as machines will destroy Zion!).

Architect tells Neo that Trinity is going to die irrespective of what Neo does.
Neo says that the machines can't destroy humans because they need them to generate power.

There are levels of survival we are prepared to accept. However, the relevant issue is whether or not you are ready to accept the responsibility for the death of every human being in this world."

- The Architect, Matrix Reloaded
All previous 5 versions of The One return back to the source code, but this time Neo makes an exception. Love! Neo, using his superhuman powers, saves Trinity.

The events now reach a cataclysmic point as the Machines penetrate Zion intending to completely destroy it. In the Matrix world, agent Smith frees himself from the control of machines and learns the ability to not only copy himself on anyone present in Matrix, but also to source himself in the humans.

With things reaching their ultimate end, Neo goes to the Machine world to negotiate.
In my view, this negotiating process has to be one of the inconceivable yet one of the most humane thing shown in the movie.
"The program Smith has grown beyond your control. Soon he will spread through this city, as he spread through the matrix. You cannot stop him. But I can."

- Neo,
Matrix Revolutions Machines agree, and in the ultimate fight -

Neo destroys Smith; and is himself killed. Then there is peace.

The trick was that Oracle allowed Smith to copy himself on her. Then she tricks Smith, giving him false vision that Neo will die on that rock (ref: pic); but when Neo gets up Smith becomes all worked up because he thought Neo was meant to die. Add to this the fact that Smith calls Neo, Neo (he has always called Neo, Mr. Anderson!)
"Wait. I've seen this. I stand here, right here, and I'm supposed to say something. I say, 'Everything that has a beginning has an end, Neo.' " [pause] "What? What did I just say?"

- Agent Smith, Matrix Revolutions

Now I am a little confused how it eventually ends. Smith copies himself on to the Neo, but machines give Neo some kind of super charge which kills him. As a result of which Smith dies. My guess is that once Smith copied himself onto Neo - machines again had the access to the source code of Smith, and thus they deleted it. At the very end the Architect agrees that he will give allow those who want to get out of Matrix - to get out of it.

I would end by quoting my favorite lines from the entire movie:

"...the temporary constructs of a feeble human intellect trying desperately to justify an existence that is without meaning or purpose. And all of them as artificial as the Matrix itself, although only a human mind could invent something as insipid as love. You must be able to see it, Mr. Anderson. You must know it by now. You can't win. It's pointless to keep fighting. Why, Mr. Anderson? Why? Why do you persist?"

- Smith, Matrix Revolutions

Because I choose to"

- Neo, Matrix Revolutions

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Childhood Confusion

While I am compiling my thoughts on the 2nd Matrix post, a little unresolved confusion from my childhood days:

My sister always used to sing to me:

"सोजा बबुआ मानो बिल्ली आई है"

And it always used to confuse me: Is Mano - like the Hindi mano - which means 'assume' or is it a proper name referring to a cat called 'Mano'?

I know, it's a trivial thing but what I was wondering at was that fact that amazingly how great such trivialities used to sound during our childhood, amazingly how is that we remember all such trivial details from our childhood, and amazingly how it was when during our childhood - our life was nothing but a mass of trivialities...

Sunday, 4 April 2010

The Philosophy Behind Matrix - 1

I am writing this post assuming that you must have seen, or atleast heard about the trilogy of the Matrix Movies. I have been thinking about these movies a lot lately; and have finally understood the central thought behind all these movies (thanks to Kinari, Fote and Wikipedia) I must say - some really cool thinking by Wachowski Brothers. Must See Trilogy. Must Read Post.

Man and Machines: Purpose of Life (Ref: Animatrix)
Man created machines. Machines used to work for man, until one day when a cleaning machine transcended the boundary between man and machine; when the thought, "what is the purpose of my life?" flashed across the machines mind.

"In the beginning, there was man. And for a time, it was good. But humanity's so-called civil societies soon fell victim to vanity and corruption. Then man made the machine in his own likeness. Thus did man become the architect of his own demise."

- Animatrix Narrator, Renaissance Part 1

This led to a revolution. Machines overpowered man and killed their entire species except for those few who crept in the Earth's crust and formed Zion! Now, machines used to derive their entire power from the Sun.

So the clever thing the dying man species did was to block the entire sky. The clever thing machine did was to identify that humans produce energy when their mind is stimulated. So the machines captured all the humans who were alive; and plugged them into a virtual reality - to derive power from the human thought.
What is Matrix?

rix is this virtual reality world. Everything in Matrix is either a program or a plugged-in human. Matrix was created by machines to derive power from the human thought. It is a mathematically perfect world, and was created by the program called the Architect.

There are several bugs in Matrix, especially in relation to the presence of humans. Some humans somehow gain the sudden understanding that Matrix cannot be real during moments when these humans would exceed their humane limits. For e.g. a fast runner breaks the world record by completing 100m race in 8.7 seconds; which is when he suddenly understands that this cannot be real (shown in Animatrix). Such individuals are released from Matrix and are rescued by Morpheus.
Who is The One?

All the collected anomalies of humans are accumulated in the form of The One who traces his way through the Matrix to finally meet the architect and return to the source code. Thus it is like a feedback loop, which helps architect improve the Matrix.

"Your life is the sum of a remainder of an unbalanced equation inherent to the programming of the matrix. You are the eventuality of an anomaly which, despite my sincerest efforts, I have been unable to eliminate from what is otherwise a harmony of mathematical precision. While it remains a burden assiduously avoided, it is not unexpected, and thus not beyond a measure of control, which has led you, inexorably, here."

The Architect to Neo, Matrix Reloaded

This function of The One comes to us as a rude shock, because we treat him as the hero all the along 1st and 2nd movie. It is only after this dialogue, that The One really becomes an hero: when he makes a choice which his predecessors had never save Trinity. Love!
Who is The Oracle?

The movie starts with the 6th version of Matrix. The Architect was quite frustrated by his 1st 2 attempts; but then he realized that to control humans in this virtual reality world, he needs something less mathematically perfect and more emotional...

"The first matrix I designed was quite naturally perfect, it was a work of art, flawless, sublime. A triumph equaled only by its monumental failure. The inevitability of its doom is as apparent to me now as a consequence of the imperfection inherent in every human being, thus I redesigned it based on your history to more accurately reflect the varying grotesqueries of your nature. However, I was again frustrated by failure. I have since come to understand that the answer eluded me because it required a lesser mind, or perhaps a mind less bound by the parameters of perfection. Thus, the answer was stumbled upon by another, an intuitive program, initially created to investigate certain aspects of the human psyche. If I am the father of the matrix, she would undoubtedly be its mother."

- The Architect, Matrix Reloaded

Morpheus always believed in Oracle. She thought that what she said was true. It brings great pain to him when he learns that Oracle was nothing but a way to lead The One to the Architect, and finally restart the Matrix, he says:

"I have dreamed a dream, but now that dream is gone from me."

The actual role of the Oracle is revealed only at the end of the movie; which is to unbalance the equation of Matrix, and that she is favored towards the side of humans. Both Architect and Oracle are super-intelligent program who can decide what to do - themselves!


Now, I'm yet to deal with the following things; but assuming you're already bored to death reading such a looooong post - I am giving it a rest. Will write more on these topics, if in case you want me to, in a separate post.

Who are Agents - Who is Agent Smith?

Who is Merovingian?

What is the entire funda about choice?

Now then, how it all ends?

Thursday, 1 April 2010

IIM Ahemdabad

Not me - it's Gujju who went all 'suited up' for his 'IIMA' interview :) Gujju is finally going to the Gujju land. Life has come a full circle :) Read the entire interview on his blog (quite interesting)