Monday, December 22, 2008

A tiresome, disturbing weekend

Kicked around, Beaten, Battered and Bruised! That's exactly how I felt on Sunday evening after two seemingly gruelling days (phew .. all this on a weekend!).

Visit from a friend and a causal roam-around plan turned tiresome due to the heavy (more like crazy) traffic. Add to that handling my kid when my wife is down with cold & illness was not an easy task at all. Since it has been almost 6 months since my wrist accident & I had stopped doing hatha yoga, I resumed the 'Surya Namaskar' from Thursday. My body did not take it easy though I have kept the count low to 3 only! Hmm .. that is some perspective on how physically 'fit' I have 'not' been :))

BTW I almost completed seeing 'The dark knight' movie yesterday and found it quite ... disturbing. Yes, the special effects are awesome, the human element has been very clear, the action is superb. But what with all the negativity? I could not take it beyond a level! Mind you, I am not an eternal optimist myself - am still subject to all human emotions. When threatened and pushed to a corner, not everyone can be expected to behave rationally and not always!!

Some might say 'that is exactly the point being proven by the film'. But my retort is 'why make it so explicit'. When people do not think about these things in their day-to-day life, why 'inject' it unnecessarily? If you are thinking 'well...the movie does prove at the end that people could behave rationally after an initial outburst' and 'people might not think about it in their normal lives but should they not be?', my answer is a plain 'no'! No, they should not be thinking about how to deal with some freaks like these and rather focus on how to take positive steps forward in life. That is the only way we as a humanity can progress rather than keep licking the wounds. Hate has never won anything else but hate. But love has won over hate many a time.

Ask any of the family members who have lost their lives in the Mumbai terror attacks and you will see the outrage in their eyes & speech as to the political and to a certain extent the civilian ineptness that led to it. If someone thinks 'it has been injected to them' now, they are damn right! There are even so many articles and blogs on the internet dealing with this subject. But what is the point of it all? What good has come out of it?

One sentence that keeps recurring to my mind from the movie 'the bulletproof monk' is 'tell me dear, would you like to be in the position of one who shoots the bullet or the one who is kneeling down to take the bullet?' I have been wondering for a very long time now - why even create a situation where one has to shoot and one take the bullet? Why not make an environment, a situation where one shoots out love and the other receives it? Shouldn't that be the goal of humanity? I don't know, but would love to think so :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The White Tiger

I finished reading the book "The White Tiger" by Arvind Adiga a couple of days back. I picked the book up from a road side shop while walking home from office one day (that is an altogether different story by itself).

The author is an Indian, born in Chennai and now in Mumbai. I have been contemplating since then as to what my real opinion about the book is and have not reached a conclusion yet! I am ...

1) Impressed with the frankness of the author
2) Aghast with the way people are treated (especially servants) in some places, referred to as 'the darkness' in the book
3) Surprised by the opening and the style of the book - addressing the Chinese premier
4) Finding the language in some places funny and in some places downright disgusting (mind you - am not a purist myself when it comes to language and still found it so)
5) Unable to digest the brutality of exploitation and murderous acts depicted

So what do I really feel about the book? I can't really put it out in a couple of words or even sentences :) One thing is sure, it kind of left a bad taste in mouth and I will hesitate to read his books henceforth unless it comes very highly recommended. Oh BTW literary prizes have been checked off from my list of recommended items now :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

SSL Mindmap

A simple mindmap primer for SSL:


Why am I stuck?

I read something in Andrew Martin's chess column on my favorite chess website (www.chess.com) today and boom ... it struck me why I am still probably the 1400+ player and not the 1600+ or 1700+ player I wish to be.

"Not every move in a game has the same weight. We play 95% of our games like Anand, but it's what happens the other 5% of the time that matters. I look for CRITICAL MOMENTS in a game and try to anlayse at those points. Critical moments might incude:
1) Before the game, how do you feel?
2) The end of your theoretical knowledge.
3) Exchanges
4) Turning points, obvious mistakes, blunders
5) The very end of the game;
a summary of why the game was won, lost or drawn. You build your chess instinct with this work; it's the quickest way."

Of course, all of this and the fact that I started playing chess seriously only about 5 to 6 months back :)

Hehehe .. the truth is, I am not even a 1400s player, because I have never even played a FIDE tournament to get that rating!! :) But I have played against some chess engines on my computer and have beat the system rated at 1400+ and so just assumed myself at that level.

BTW if you are still lost as to what the numbers 1400 and 1600 mean, they are the ELO ratings of a chess player. And if anybody reading this is wondering what ELO and FIDE mean, one piece of advice - 'grow up and learn chess seriously' ;)

Friday, December 12, 2008

A prisoner of birth!

I finished reading the novel 'A prisoner of birth' by Jeffrey Archer just today. It has been a really long time for me since I read my last Archer novel .. and sadly I don't even remember what it was! But this one will not suffer the same fate.

To say the least, it was a cool & gripping story right to the end. Let me outright reject any notion that I am a big fan of murder / trial stories. I read a couple of John Grisham novels and never read him fully after that because 'even I' could predict what was going to come later in the other novels :)

This story is about a young man wrongly punished for a crime someone else commits and how he comes back to normal life with the help of his friends & a lot of luck. Although I wondered sometimes why certain things were not considered in the first trial, was happy to find that precisely those things (stab scar) coming to the rescue of our hero in the second episode. And yes, some parts of it are too good to be believed - but heck, what good are we if we can't indulge ourselves in a nice 'tailor-made-movie-story' :)

Am most certainly impressed with the flow and my regards for the author's skill have only increased.