Friday, May 28, 2010

வானவில் பெண்

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வானவில்லின் துண்டொன்று மண்ணில் வந்து 
யாருக்கும்
சொல்லாமல்
பெண்ணானதோ?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Middle path

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Undecided she was
Under an Alpine tree
Dreams or Trust?
Doth the question

She stood a long time
Deep in thought
She wanted both
Dreams and Trust

Yes! She was selfish
In wanting both
Yet she was ready
In giving up other stuff
To get the path she wanted
To realize the dream
To rejuvenate herself
To reclaim the prize!

She started walking in the middle
With the Voice looking on
She forged a way through the middle
With the Voice cheering on

She was treading the road not created
She was creating that read
She was making something live
Sheer will power, I should say!

She came across a chasm on her path,
In dire need of a bridge
A bridge of sweat, honor and phoenix feathers,
Cemented by solitude
This bridge was needed for all
To cross the chasm and claim the prize
This bridge was her dedication to Voice
To gain the elixir for her Voice!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Is middle class going into a crisis?

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I strongly believe that to improve something, the first step is to analyze it. And what is the easier than analyzing numbers, through finance and economics? It might have come from my mom, a Commerce prof herself. But I think numbers tell a magic story, for those that are ready to hear it. I don't claim to hear all of what numbers say, but sometimes try to listen to swatches of it every now and then. The following video does a comparison of middle class in US, then and now. And the facts are quite scary! Not that we can do much about it but we can try to do our best - for if not for that, what else is life?

P.S.: I'd love to see some similar studies on classes in India. Do we have any?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Movie-phobic?

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Note: this is a series of posts through my movie-normal to movie-philic to movie-phobic journey. This journey hasn't ended but I've been meaning to write them on my blog and finally found some time to give you guys a heads up on what's happening!

Movie-normal?
Movie-philic?
Continued...
I was watching about 2 or 3 movies/week and was happy with it. However, in recent times, the number of good movies has reduced a lot. Or maybe I feel so, with my limited experience with the movie world. As a result, as said in last post, I started skipping songs and fights and parts of movie where nothing really happened. I was reaching the magic number (8 or 9/month) pretty fast but I wasn't getting any fun out of it. It started turning into a chore to go look up movies, get them/go to the theatre to watch them and finally spend time to watch them. Most of the movies were not worth this effort. So, in order to get more fun out of this, I started watching even more movies (Yep! Just like throwing good money after bad!) with the hope that among all the movies that I watch, atleast some of them would be to my liking.


Sadly, that was not to be so. I realized that increasing the number of movies actually didn't increase the fun I got out of this activity. Rather, it got the bad-movie counter soaring! (Was I picking bad movies all the time? Nope! I was just choosing the movies from lists and new movie category).And at one point, I just didn't want to watch a movie anymore. I was discussing this turn of events with M (an avid movie watcher himself) and he commented that I was trying too hard to enjoy movie-watching. That set me thinking: I'd rather do nightouts reading books (yup! I'm guilty of doing that!) than do nightouts watching classics like The Godfather. I once slept through The Godfather trilogy showing that some of my friends had planned. We got the popcorn and someone started the first one. And I was nodding away to dreamdom within minutes of the first scene. I still get teased for it because I slept through all three trilogies and the breaks that my friends took that day. Frankly, I remember waking up at 6 am to see the rolling credits of the last movie and thanking God that I didn't have to watch it again.

I also know some of my friends who'd be horrified at the idea of sleeping through The Godfather. They love movies and derive a lot of pleasure out of movie-watching. With my experience so far, I have this conclusion in mind: people's tastes are different; as I can stomach a wide variety of books, so can some people stomach a wide variety of movies. I'm way too picky about movies and have a lot of ifs and ands to watch a movie (the movie Kites was a good example. As soon as a friend asked if I wanted to watch it, I made sure to read the reviews and learnt the story and only then, decided whether to go or not. I didn't like the story, but liked the hero. Nevertheless, story is king in a movie; this one had a story I didn't like and I just didn't go.). Not everyone is like me since they don't have so many conditional clauses for, duh, movie-watching. And I'm totally fine with it - atleast I know I tried something and found my comfort level in it. Trying to add more variety to the mix I have is a good experiment, but surely something that might backfire badly.

So, here I am now, taking a break from all the hectic movie watching and not making any special efforts to watch new movies - I'd rather go with friends and have fun because I love spending time with friends and join them for dinner, games or an occasional movie rather than trying to make sure I watch all the movies that get released.I'm still going to continue this experiment till this year's end and then decide which I am (movie-normal, movie-philic or movie-phobic). I have a strong suspicion I might end up somewhere between movie-phobic and movie-normal compared to the rest of the world. Unless, of course, the filmdom decides to wow me with really good movies from now to December. Ah! How I wish for it to be true! :)


P.S: Serials are fun but I'd rather watch them on TV randomly when I get a chance rather than watch them on purpose(Oh! Its just me, honey!). So, watching serials when I get bored of movies is not really an option for me - yup! I'm the legendary character who has completing Friends on her miles-long to-do list after starting it years back. (And I am getting closer to striking it off - just within a few years from now - isn't few such a safe number? :D)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Movie-philic?

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Note: this is a series of posts through my movie-normal to movie-philic to movie-phobic journey. This journey hasn't ended but I've been meaning to write them on my blog and finally found some time to give you guys a heads up on what's happening!


Movie-normal?
Continued...
Now that I had all the information I needed, I set about googling for movie lists with the genres I liked. After a lot of mix and match, I found that I liked movies that had a good dose of romance and comedy and sensible characters. A strong female lead was a definite plus. One of the first movies that I watched was The Devil Wears Prada. I totally loved Meryl Streep (though I didn't know who she was then) for her acting. There was one scene right at the end of the movie where she sees Andrea (Anne Hathaway), gives her a kind look and then turns haughtily to the driver to say "Go!". In that one word and gesture, she communicates so much to the audience. That scene made me consider that there was something to the movie world where an actor can emote so many emotions and implications with just a nod and a well placed word. That made movies more powerful than books and I was sad that I had missed it for so long. I was ready for the next movie on the list.

I remember watching Confessions of a Shopaholic, Mr & Mrs Smith, Just Like Heaven and my childhood favorite, Kramer vs. Kramer. I was delighted to find that Meryl Streep had acted in Kramer vs. Kramer. Then I watched a lot of movies, english, tamil and hindi, but not much stood out. There were some good ones, like It's Complicated, The Proposal, Alice in Wonderland, Alvin and the Chipmunks, 3 Idiots, Avatar,Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, etc. But there were also movies like (500) Days of Summer (I couldn't sit through the movie - even though most of my friends said it was great! Guess its the slow-movie thing again!), Public Enemies (I expected the movie to have a good ending - but it was not to be so! And it seemed to drag at first and then the movie was over in the last 15 minutes), When In Rome, Leap Year, etc. This made me wary of watching movies. I spend around 2 hours to watch a movie and in the end, if I don't enjoy it, then its time that could've been better used.

I found that IMDB reviews and ratings were a big help. I glanced through the movie and the synopsis and if I liked that movie and felt the story was right to me, I watched it. This made me finish the top 250 list faster than I expected. And my movie counter was increasing! But I was still in the 2 or 3 movies/month and needed more movies. This was around the time I started watching movies on my friends' lists. M's list was a great one - I needn't even read through most of them since the 8s and 9s were usually good ones. I also started watching movies that I heard my friends talk about (one of them being The Butterfly Effect which was highly recommended but I didn't enjoy watching it). As I finished the 9s and 8s on M's list, I realized there were some movies that I was just not comfortable with.

As I plowed through his list and any and every other list I could get my hands on, I found that there were more bad movies than good ones. Especially with tamil and hindi movies, I started fast forwarding songs and fights and sometimes, even parts of movie where nothing just happened. This one act greatly increased my movie watching speed :P I went from 3 movies/month to 7-8 movies/month. Which was about the best balance, I should think so.

But life is life and things don't go as you plan. As the rate of movies I watch and the movie counter increased, the rate of bad movies/movies I didn't like also increased. Rather increased exponentially! From what I understand, out of 100 odd movies that come out in Tamil/Hindi, there are about 3-5 that would pass my filter. That is less than 5% of movies. With English, it was harder to judge; there were more movies with different stories and I had no way to know if a movie was good or not unless I tried it (Iron Man 2 was one such movie - I thought I might not like it, but the technology used was cool :) and it was worth the effort). Any idea how I can reduce the rate of bad movies watched? What tactics do you use to weed out bad movies from the good ones?
...Continued
Movie-phobic?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Movie-normal?

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Note: this is a series of posts through my movie-normal to movie-philic to movie-phobic journey. This journey hasn't ended but I've been meaning to write them on my blog and finally found some time to give you guys a heads up on what's happening!

As you all know, I love books! But I also made a resolution this January that I would watch as many movies as possible. I've never been an avid movie goer simply due to the choices my family took when I was a kid. My parents would happily spend thousands on books for us to read but would frown on movies. It was my mom's strong belief that kids' imaginations would develop better if they had to imagine the characters and bring the words of a book to life. In a movie, everything is already laid out to you and all you have to do is enjoy it. I'm not saying movie watching is incredibly easy (as I found out recently) as I've seen friends watch movies with as much pleasure I get from reading a good book.

As a result, the number of movies I've seen in the past twenty odd years (not counting the one in Neverland) has barely crossed 300 (and yeah! I counted - thanks to IMDB). Since I have a number of friends in Neverland who are avid movie watchers, most of the conversation revolved around movies, old and new. But it remained a mystery to me as to how people can watch and watch and watch some more. So, this January, I decided to watch all the movies whose review I liked/recommended by friends. It would be in English, Tamil, Hindi (thanks to my roommates) and Telugu.

As a first step, I made sure I was watching atleast two movies a week (that's eight movies a month - which is A LOT for me - I can happily live without watching movies for months). This was an easy one since we (friends and I) would go for a movie atleast once in three weeks or a month. And my roommates watched atleast a movie over the weekend (usually Hindi). All I had to do was to be a part of both groups and I had crossed off two movies from the required list. Then I attacked the Top 250 list in IMDB. I started with the goal to watch all the movies from top to the end in that list. How hard can it turn out? All I had to do was watch the movie! But it turned out to be harder than I expected.

The first one, The Shawshank Redemption, was such a slow movie that I eventually fell asleep on that one! And it was the number one movie ranked by people all over the world. Imagine my surprise! If the majority of the world liked something, how bad can my chances of liking the same one be? But I found out that I can't stand slow movies (from my experience of watching No Country for Old Men with J) and decided that movie-by-movie strategy is not going to work out at all! Now what was I to do?

I didn't have any favorite actor/director to start the movie list with. And, I definitely didn't want to just watch any movie. Even if I was ready to do so, how would I ever search for the movies? I don't know the names nor the actors nor the directors nor the genres.... wait a minute! I could decide the genre and watch movies from it. But there was a problem with this too. I wanted to watch a variety of movies and was open to movies of different genres. After all, I was into this for different experiences and sticking to a known genre ALL THE TIME would take the fun out of it. But the genre idea was a better one than anything else. So, I made a list: comedy, romance, action-but-with-a-meaningful-story and non-philosophical movies were to be the first. I'll sample all movies that I come across: the ones that my friends recommend, talk about, new movies that come up (any genre) to keep the variety in picture. Now I was all set to take up the movie-resolution-challenge.

When would I stop? When I hit 10-12 movies/month (averaging 3 movies/week - something that most of my friends have been doing) or when I figure out if I liked this one or not (I've not really tried movie watching as something to do consciously (Before this, I've always watched a movie if I heard really rave reviews about it AND liked the cast AND had the time to go for the movie AND didn't have anything better to do AND wanted a break from whatever I was doing! Phew! that is a long list of conditions to satisfy)  - so I don't know if I like it or not - I want to give it a fair shot before I decide eitherways) or when I find out what interests people in movies.
...Continued
Movie-philic?
Movie-phobic?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

One year@Neverland!

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Among all other things happening, a year has quietly slipped by since I moved lock, stock and barrel to Neverland. Its been an interesting journey so far, with some good, some bad and certainly a lot in between. One of my friends opines that I wouldn't feel the same when I finish my second, third and subsequent years. Its the first that is very exciting. I don't have an answer for it yet. But, as my alpine path winds, I hope to see flowers and ferns at that point compared to thorns and thistles. Lets see what life brings...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Resolution lookback - 2

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Its two months already and here I am with the list of books in the past two months. But two things affected my reading this time: first, I was away for about a month (yup! I was in glorious India!) and second, I started watching a lot of movies (M would probably laugh at this statement but they were a lot compared to where I started... but more on that in a later post!). So I might not have as many books as last time. Lets dig in to find out:
  1. Uglies - suggested by Aths. It was good but since I read Pretties already, I wasn't surprised as to how it ended. Guess that's the price one pays for reading the sequel first.
  2. Little Bee - a poignant tale between an African girl and a British mom. Good amount of twists and turns.
  3. I, Alex Cross - as expected from the author and genre. But I liked it.
  4. Olive Kitteridge - fascinating since it brought out the subtleties in human personality very well. A slow read though.
  5. The Help - been on the bestsellers' list for about months now. And rightly so!! Very powerful tale. One of the few books which I want to read again later in life for I feel I haven't gotten all that the author tried to say. I'd probably get it better when I have more experiences in life.
  6. The Piano Teacher: - okish but I couldn't connect to it much. So, I didn't enjoy it much!
  7. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo -Very intricate puzzle. It was nice to put it together but I didn't think the means justified the ends.
  8. Dead and Gone - Ok! The market seems to be flooded with this genre (Guessed it? vampires! ugh!). When Twilight came, it was novel. But now, it seems to have been based to death. Okish read but there were a lot of questions which I guess would have been answered if I had read the prequels.
  9. Let the Great World Spin - good story base but too watery a narration for my preference.
  10. Just Take My Heart - I've already read too many stories with the same theme and frankly this one wasn't written compellingly enough.
  11. The Host - good one. If you like vampires and other-worldly stuff, you should give this one a try. Its lighter than vampire stuff but still an interesting take!
  12. The Swan Thieves - deep with a curious mix of art, philosophy and mystery. But they could've reduced the number of pages....
  13. At Last Comes Love - trash
  14. Executive Intent - nice but I'm getting jaded with this genre (political thrillers). So, even if books are good enough for a regular reader, I guess I'm looking for something more (may be a better twist, different handling, etc)
  15. Summer on Blossom Street - sweet story with a good mix of characters.
  16. The Burning Land - Reminded me of the "The Other Boleyn Girl". It might be that it had a similar base but I couldn't shake the feeling that it was handled similarly.
  17. Queen of Your Own Life: The Grown-Up Woman's Guide to Claiming Happiness and Getting the Life You Deserve - read at recommendation of my friend. I wasn't impressed with it but I guess I'm not the right audience for it. 
  18. Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia -  one of the most candid books I've read in years! I guess this book warrants a post for itself. But, a definite read!
Add to this some trash books and some tamil books. The count comes up to 25. Not bad considering that I was away half the time. But I guess I'll be reading lesser in the coming two months since its glorious summer in Neverland and I want to make use of it as much as possible. Also, I'm trying to find a sweet balance between watching movies (I'm interested to know what fascinates so many people in it) and reading books (my hobby). Any suggestions on how you manage them?

P.S: My friends and I, we had gone on a bus ride (a rarity since we usually take the car) on a workday morning (another rarity). And the passenger next to me was reading "Dear John". It was such a good feeling to recognize the book and remember the story. :) I'm glad I'm doing this exercise.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Adobe and Apple: its getting hotter!

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For the past month, ever since Apple decided not to support Adobe in iPhone 4.0, things have been stewing around. It was not a bed of roses even before this news came, but this one exacerbated the situation. Its funny to see how Apple and Adobe, two companies with great technological contributions to the world, are reacting to the situation. Steve Jobs, in his thoughts on flash, condemns Adobe's "proprietariness" and trounces Flash (which I think he has to have a lot of gall to do so). And, Apple responds in kind. Here are some more articles (CNN Money, CNet News, Info week) on the situation.

As a consumer, all that I care about is, I want the two technologies to work. Period.I just want what I pay for.I don't care for childish whims and patriarchal gestures from Steve Jobs or anyone else for that matter. If flash was that bad a technology, the market would tire of it and would look for other technologies to replace it. That is how markets have been! And trying to remove one of the most important players of website design is like trying to shoot your own left foot while trying to dance a salsa.

Steve Jobs is within his right to say he wouldn't use Adobe's products since he feels Flash is not the way of the future and doesn't want his customers to use it too. And Adobe is right to stop further development of products that would complement Apple's. However, Steve overstepped in that he prevented usage of ALL THIRD PARTY APPS for development and usage. And, that is like trying to shoot your left foot when you are being chased by a hundred dogs!

Apple happily converted the situation to a Goliath Apple and David Adobe (that was trying to protect all third party apps) which was clever of them. And who wouldn't? When the situation is so clearly given on a platter? So for now, I'm on the side of Adobe, oops no, on the side of the third party apps being used on Apple products. I loved what someone from Adobe replied to all this hulla-bulla: Go screw yourself, Apple!

So, Steveji, please reverse your decision to prevent all third party apps for the iPhone (or probably the iPad in future) would not have succeeded so much without the help of millions of developers not affliated to Apple. Sure, Apple provided the base but we can't live with a stripped out base. We need the accoutrements to make our life easier, better and more interesting! And, you owe that to your customers, us!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Priorities! Priorities!

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Note: This is a quick update on the take-back-my-life challenge that I'm doing right now.

It all started last Friday evening. I turned down some invites to get the blissful sleep. And boy, was I proud that I'm sticking to the plan!! Saturday and Sunday didn't throw much surprises but I was supposed to visit a cousin of mine which I dropped because of my weird priority-based decision-making. And, I'm thunking myself on the head for it since she delivered a baby this week (I so wanted to be there with them and planned it for months but other priorities took up life... guess such is life!). I also did everything that I had originally planned to do during the weekend and kept most of my calls below ten minutes. Pat on the shoulder, Alpine!

Then came Monday, with a vengeance. I had a class all morning and returned back to work to be swamped with enough for an army to do. I started chipping away on them (hence no posts on Monday and Tuesday) and finally got a handle on work today. But, as a result, all the planning that I had done for work on these two days have taken a back seat and I've to play catch up again. Add to this, a shopping trip with a friend and meeting my niece (aw!! she is so soft... like the insides of the softest flower). That led to further screw ups and now I'm back at square one with work and personal stuff. Any ideas as to how I could've handled things differently?

One thing though, living a priority-filled life sure does take off the guilt that we face, for it becomes a conscious decision that shows how we would have done the same thing, given another chance. Yesterday was a long day starting at 8 am in the morning till 11 pm when I got back from the hospital. I was ready to hit bed around 11.30. THEN, a vfriend of mine called and I was filled with the dilemma if I had to follow the max 10 minutes rule or not. I decided that talking to my friend was more important than even precious sleep (remember, priorities? And this friend was ranked higher than a hard-day-so-need-sleep one... there are very few above it in the list) and we happily spent hours chatting. I do feel groggy today but its such a nice feeling to wake up with a grin! And it IS totally worth that effort! I'd do it even if I had a thousand more chances :) So, priorities do have their usefulness...

Ok! Now I'm back to work while I try to save my plan for the week and get some semblance of control over it. Will keep you updated on the weekend to come.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Time for sleep?

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Since childhood, most of my days have been jam packed with one practice or the other and one event or the other. Not that I did a lot (read, becoming a national champion at shuttle, the sport I dearly loved or becoming a renowned dancer or singer... you get the drift) but I had uber-fun all through. And my parents were the typical Indian parents and made sure I studied and studied hard. So, I'm used to nights with less than 6 hours of sleep and can never sleep more than 10 hours at a stretch.

At present, though, I seem to be yearning for 8 hours of blissful sleep and am even ready to cut back on other things. But the problem is there are so many interesting things to do when awake that dream land is finding it hard to wow me with its dreams even though I know I need precious sleep. So, I'm pulled between these realms, both of which are equally enticing. I can imagine some people's reply to this question: "Just go to sleep when you feel like it!" No!!! Then you are missing the whole point. If you choose sleep every time, then clearly you are giving more priority to it. And I, I can't decide the priority now. 

With the weekend in front of me and a lot of invites to interesting things that I want to attend (a hike, a movie, a dinner, a lunch, a shopping trip and counting...), the choice becomes harder. I'm sure I'll enjoy each of these events since I'm going to spend time with friends and roommates. But, at the same time, I yearn for some sleep, a sleep where I can fly away to the magic dream land that produces the most astonishing of tales with just me as the audience. With 'take back my life' being the present slogan, I'm clearly undecided as to what to do. However, its time to ponder the question: time to sleep?

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Inbox@zero

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Yay! I did it!! I did it!! Inbox@zero!

I have a total of 10 email ids (including work and personal stuff). Though I use only three of them regularly, I still maintain the others for specific reasons. I also manage a few DLs. So the amount of email communication that I do is high (compared to what I was doing earlier). As part of my take-back-my-life process, I decided to handle the email monster first. The first step was to get my inbox to zero. It  was hard with a large number of emails needing me to read them and take some action or doing some more reading/working, etc. So, a bunch of tasks got added to my to-do list but I was able to clear them from my inbox.

I also found that a number of mails that I could've responded immediately were caught in the process and bunched up with other mail that needed more attention/work. The batch processing I do needs some tweaking, surely! It was funny to go and reply back to some of them - the messages were trivial but I had hung on to them since I wanted to tell/ask something. A good purge, in all!

I'm seriously considering routing the mails of all accounts to my three accounts and setting up some rules on those three to handle them. Another bother was that, I check these accounts so sparingly that I forgot the passwords of most of them. I finally had to use password recovery option. I'm wondering if I should have a common password (or two) for most of them and regularly recycle the three that I use. I know that once someone hacks into one of the accounts, they can easily hack others if the same password is used (one point of failure). But the chances of that and connecting the mail ids is pretty hard that unless someone breaks into my main ones, I can have peace of mind. But I'm still thinking.....

The next step is to move my mailboxes to zero. But that task doesn't have a high priority in life since that would require me to take a hard look at ALL the mails I've received/sent/kept so far. And knowing me, that can easily take weeks. With no immediate necessity or benefit, that goes into my someday list (the list I'll get to if I have nothing else to do in life... translates to never!).

Purging inboxes is strangely cathartic. I guess I'll keep at maintaining this zero inbox and purge every weekend. For, the look is so lovely and zen-like! :)

P.S: As an aftereffect, I cleared up my reader too. Now, I do have a large number of starred items and I do have to read through them. But clearing the starred list is on someday list as well. But I can't seem to enjoy the zero reader view. Simply because I subscribe to so many blogs and feeds that every few minutes I have some content or the other to read. I'm getting better at glancing through stuff though I worry that this may affect my ability to read and enjoy complex prose. I've already lost the habit of reading complex novels that are not too interesting (666 was a very good example). Any suggestions how to combat the reading list and get a more permanent zero-reader view? (short of unsubscribing from all blogs and feeds). And how do you manage the items on starred list???

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Take back your life

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Ever since I returned from India, I have this feeling of running around in circles, not getting anything done and not going anywhere. For one, I got sick the week I came back. For another, I was so interested in going to Canada that I pushed everything else to the back burner. And for another, I was missing India and my home so damn much that I didn't know where to start the combat. Add to this a few more things like trying to carpool, trying to settle the jetlag and trying to keep up with friends near and far and I'm BUSHED.

I've never been this late in responding to things like mails, comments, etc, reading books, posts, catching up with friends, clearing out stuff and more. And the stress shows! I've not been cooking regularly, been eating haphazardly (sweets and savories from India just didn't help!), spending a lot on unnecessary stuff, not spending enough on needed stuff, not watching/doing anything I like, not spending time with people as much as I want to, not taking time off to rest properly and so on and so forth.

Frankly, burning myself through hasn't seemed to make anyone happy! I'm not even sure if anyone noticed the effort. And I can't blame anyone for it. My life is so disconnected that no one (the person closest to knowing all facets of my life is my mom) even gets the full picture of it all. There are so many disconnected friends circles and relatives circles that even I've stopped counting. But I guess such is life for everyone. No one knows another's life so thoroughly to easily take up the reins of their lives. Ok! I'm digressing...

I've decided to take back my life and plunge through my to-do list with the sometimes bitter pills in between. However, most of the things on my to-do list are actually stuff I want to do and I'm glad that there are a lot of sweet treats awaiting me :)

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Reading, reading and more reading!

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Phew! I've read 100,000+ words and 600+ pages in the past 24 hours! And all of them related to technical stuff. This is a new high and here's opening the champagne to celebrate this one. Whoosh!

Readings include: RFCs, spec docs, two chapters of a PhD thesis, three papers for conference review, one masters thesis and two architecture docs. One consolation was that not all of it was for the same subject matter. It ranged from DNS to formal verification to power-aware hardware design synthesis.

One observation: reading technical stuff needs more concentration (yeah! I had to work till 9 pm yesterday and yeah! I read technical papers first thing this morning - just don't ask me how I managed to still think the day was worth living) and more active reading. Its not the same as reading a novel that's 600 pages long. A good novel easily takes you into the story whereas technical reading requires you to actively get into the subject matter and keep your attention there (the hardest part of this exercise). Frequent breaks do help (atleast in my case) but there was always the danger of the breaks becoming longer and longer. I used bash-up sessions when I got bored of reading technical stuff. Thanks to friends and facebook, I also managed more breaks and yet get back once I was done.

Now that the champagne is poured out, I'm getting back to reading more stuff. And yeah, you guessed it right! This post was a break too :D

Have a fun week, guys!