Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Silver Beauty - with gapless playback.

It's just past 7 am and I've been a proud owner of an iPod nano for over 2 hours now. There's an indefinite number of things that I'd like to gush out in excitement about this lovely little thing. But, I'm just too excited to collect my thoughts and write them out right now. I'll dedicate a full post touching upon each one of those things; but not until tomorrow. Meanwhile, why don't you take a look at these pictures I took?

-| AG.

Sunday, January 28, 2007


I'm not talking about the cartoon character Charlie Brown. Nor am I referring to roasted peanuts, which are usually sold in small packets. I'm partial to ones that are sold on roadsides and perhaps the ones which are (these days) nicely packed in plastic and made available in shops. A muffaliwala Stand is in itself an interesting thing to observe, either from distance or close up. This rickety stand displays an assortment of edibles, all of which are stashed together in a manner to give the Stand a full look. The towering lantern standing amidst adds to that look, while serving the purpose of illuminating everything with its characteristic yellow light. A set of rusted old balances forms a critical part of this all; a little show of balancing the weights and the packet is done, although - in most cases, anyway - nobody cares whether the two balanced each other or even if the right weights were used. All that matters is that the packet should look nice and fat and that the peanuts inside should be worth the money spent. The four ugly wheels that act as the Stand's foundation often go unnoticed as the person hurriedly moves away with the packet stashed in one hand, just itching to crack open the peanuts and gorge on the little things (commonly known as muffalis to us Indians) that lie inside - like a polar bear may lie in its snowy den during hibernation. While on foot, unavailability of a pocket big enough to hold the packet or of a detachable third hand, can make it rather pestering to crack open the peanuts and toss what's inside into one's mouth. Therefore, I only get to enjoy my peanuts while sitting (or lying on the bed, as might be the case) with a bowl - preferably a plate - full of muffalis yet to be eaten. Within 10 minutes, not a single un-cracked one is to be found in the forest of peanut covers; thus making me refill the plate with handfuls from the big fat paper bag, which, after a while, doesn't remain as big and fat any more.

-| AG.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Nano cravings.

If all goes as planned and nothing - neither something very big (like a meteorite) nor something very small (like a photon of light) - intervenes, I'd be in possession of an iPod nano by this Tuesday (not Monday, as stated earlier). But, as of now, nothing's confirmed and therefore I should make it clear that I bear no responsibility for the crestfallen looks on the faces of those who might have had a chance of having a go at it, and didn't because I somehow failed to possess one. Actually, my father's going to Dubai on a business trip tomorrow and he has somewhat assured me that he'll bring back a Nano. Uh, now that I think of it, I haven't really specified which "screenwala iPod" he should buy from there; anyway, I'll make that clear tonight - a 2 GB Silver iPod nano. So, keeping faith in the hope that he's able to conveniently find a Nano in the backwaters of Dubai and bring it back to India without being hounded by the custom officials for a duty, I can sleep tight and dream of the 2nd generation iPod nano. Well, my iPod Shuffle has been good to me since July of last year and I'm really passionate about it for its sleek looks, great sound quality and battery life; but, I feel the craving to lay my hands on a Nano - because it's just so effingly sexy! Perhaps over half a billion people worldwide share that craving with me. What with a $149 price-tag for a 2 Gig iPod with an efficient battery and the options for playing music, storing and viewing pictures and listening to audiobooks, who can blame me for transforming into a hopeless romantic at the first sight of this beauty?

-| AG.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Aditya, a dear friend of mine, invited me over to his house to celebrate his 19th birthday; I gladly reciprocated. So, around 1 pm today, I left my house on foot with nothing but my mobile phone and a couple hundred bucks in my wallet. Since the cars were conveniently unavailable, I only had the option of commuting in an "auto". After a 15 minute ride - which turned out to be more bumpy than usual - I paid the driver off and strode towards Aditya's place. Music and laughter greeted my ears as I climbed the stairs and entered the terrace (where the "party" was in-progress). Handshakes and hugs were exchanged as I met Aditya and others. After a while, someone proposed that we give bumps to Aditya (this had already been done the night before and once again that morning); we boys enthusiastically took this opportunity and grabbed him from his hands and feet, swaying him up and down; with some giving him a few innocent kicks in the butt.

This was followed by dancing and we shook our legs to the songs played on Adi's computer; the girls kept sitting, to which I shouted out, "There won't a party without the girls dancing!" Some heeded me and came on the "dance floor", although a few more had to be dragged off the walls and brought forward. Shortly, the cake was cut and Adi's face nicely smeared with the cake's cream. Meanwhile, my driver showed up with the car and I decided to show some of my friends a "burnout" - in which the car remains stationary for a moment and the tires rotate, giving the car a skid and a lot of varooming. That went pretty nicely. Anyway, then we ate food, talked and danced a bit more. As darkness fell and most of the people left, we played a variant of antakshani - we never reached a conclusion, though; all I heard was a dozen people singing incoherently and laughing raucously.

-| AG.

Monday, January 22, 2007


As January slowly seeps away into February, the application season will gradually reach completion. Most of the applications have either been submitted online, or mailed through speed-post (which, I hope, would stand up to its name and actually deliver those packages to their right destinations and well, deliver them fast). With only a week left till UMich's deadline, I'm still juggling with the idea of whether or not to apply there. Ignoring the fact that it does not offer need-based financial aid to international students, I'd have already applied there anyway if their servers hadn't been so crap. Over the past months, I've gone through many apply-online databases but none have been so crap and full of shit as that of UMich. Even if you manage to upload your essay documents and enter the basic information in the form, you are never (and believe me, that means never) able to open a particular page of the application as a whole - the Firefox's window just sits there with the words "Connecting ..." and the partially loaded form. Many a times it even shows HTTP server errors. Dunno, if this continues, I would be forced to mail (urgh!) the application forms through the so-called speed post (which, till now, had only been reserved for mailing teacher recommendations and financial aid forms). Or maybe I'll just fax it before the deadline and post a confirmation copy by mail. Maybe I'll call UMich and get their opinions on how to proceed. The admissions staff at these universities is usually very helpful. I particularly like the ones at Brandeis and Duke - accommodating and friendly all the same.

Even when the application season gets over, the wait for the application decisions will begin; which (as many have happily assured me and I've been kind enough to heed without resorting to sarcasm) will be nerve-racking and the one that'd be inducing insomnia. I've started experiencing the latter; no sign of the former, though. Now, I gotta go and get a hair-cut.

-| AG.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

With no offense to Mac lovers.

-| AG.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

French lessons.

Remember the French lessons I mentioned a couple of posts ago? Well, they're going well and I'm starting to have fun pronouncing French words and learning how to speak like a French native (a kilometer close to that way of speaking, anyway). Actually, I've had to change my batch since I missed a couple of classes in my earlier batch, due to a cousin's marriage and a trip to Jammu. So now I've gone over the content of the first 3 classes twice, meaning that my those basics have been particularly reinforced in my limbic cells. Also meaning that since I grasped them rather well in my earlier batch, I'm the only student in my second batch who has a rather good grasp on the content of those classes. So, I've picked up something of a reputation among my batch mates because of that. Which means that they often look at me whenever the instructor asks a particularly boggling question in French. I'm often able to answer back but sometimes when even I don't know the answer, all I can say is répétition svp (Repeat please) or je suis désolé (I am sorry). And since most of the people present there don't know the meaning of either of those sentences, they hopefully look back at the instructor (Marc, an African chap) as if I've been able to answer satisfactorily. To this, Marc often smiles and goes back to teaching whatever he asked about.

Tell you what, personally I think that Marc is a lot better than Archana in his approach to teaching. Marc is more of a practical teacher while Archana is more of a theoretical one. Marc often brings with him things that'd make the situation more of how it would be in the real world. For instance, in the last class he brought copies of tickets, boarding passes and passports because we were going to learn about how to speak about them and their exchange. In one class, he also filled 6-7 cups of coffee, tea or water from inlingua's coffee center and brought them with him; as we were going to learn about their French names and the sentences in which they're most commonly used.

Fun, indeed.

-| AG.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Words fail me.

That's how I feel when I think about Prison Break. It's better than Lost, and that's saying something. It's better than any procedural drama I've ever seen. Till now, I've shown Prison Break to a couple of my cousins; and it managed to leave each one of them speechless. It'll surely be a sensation in India, if it ever were to be aired here.

My advice: watch it; from season 1, episode 1.

-| AG.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Instantly Porsche.

I came across an excellent documentary video of Porsche's Cayman sport coupé. You may watch it on Porsche's web site [Films > Broadband]. The video (titled "Inspiration") is pretty long and it may take a while to load itself completely in your browser. And make sure that your speakers are on. I'd love to know how you feel about the video (and the car). My feelings? A car that's truly a Porsche (pronounced: Pour-sha).

-| AG.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Living life at the speed of light.

No illustration can capture its aura. You've to actually ride on a beam of light to experience its speed. It's been a long time since Christensen Roemer observed the moons of Jupiter and noticed that the time taken by the moons to rotate about Jupiter is not constant which would have been the case if light's speed had been infinite; therefore concluding that the speed of light must be finite. No wonder it would take a person on earth 8 minutes to be aware of the fact that all of Sun's fuel has exhausted, would it ever happen. No wonder when we view the universe we only see what had happened in the past. No wonder Stephen Hawking illustrated his book with the space-time diagrams of Light Cones.

-| AG.