Snake in the house

February 22, 2006

Just now, that is, 10 minutes back we spotted a snake in our house. It was a tiny snake some 6-8 inches long with black and white horizontal stripes.

It was first spotted by our maid who was coming out of the bathroom. And it was right there sitting in front of the bathroom door. All coiled up. Naturally, she screamed for me! I ran to her and to make matters worse, lit all the lights. That probably scared the snake and it started slithering away. Though the snake was a tiny one, I couldn’t gather enough courage to throw it out. I stood on the road looking for help. Thankfully an elderly couple from the neighbourhood passed by and helped me by calling the security guards on duty. The guards didn’t look too sure of themselves before entering the house. However, on seeing the snake their confidence got a sudden boost up. By this time a good crowd had gathered near our house. I tried to reason with the security guards to just collect the snake and leave it at some far away place. But, nobody was ready to buy my arguments. The security guards killed it by crushing it’s head. The tail kept moving for a long time. Finally they collected it in a piece of cloth and carried it away. Somebody in the crowd remarked that it was a poisonous snake. Who knows?

I feel relieved and lucky for having spotted it.

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Books I want to read…

February 21, 2006

This is my current list of books. The books I’ve been meaning to read for a while. They have been listed randomly in order that I remembered them.

  1. The blue umbrella by Ruskin Bond Need to check if I should buy it for my niece.
  2. Le Ton Beau De Marot: In praise of the Music of Language by Douglas R. Hofstadter I need to read more reviews of this book to figure out what it is all about.
  3. In defense of Globalization by Dr. Jagdish Bhagwati Would definitely like to read this one soon.
  4. Doordarshan Days by Bhaskar Ghose
  5. Innumeracy by John Allen Paulos I’ve already read this book twice and now it’s on the “to-be-bought” list.
  6. Leaves of a Journal, Ruskin Bond’s autobiography Ideally would like it if I can borrow this from someone for reading.

The books listed below are “suggested readings” by President Kalam. I guess he was addressing some school children where he advised them to read these books.

  1. Empires of the Minds by Denis Waitly
  2. Journey into Light by G Venkataraman
  3. A Brief History of Time by S. Hawking
  4. Parallel Worlds by Michao Kaku
  5. The Best of Indian Physics by Dr. Siddarth

Other books suggested by friends and picked up after reading various reviews on blogs, newsgroups, forums etc.

  1. Beyond Fear by Bruce Schneier
  2. Watching the English by Kate Fox
  3. The English : A Portrait of a People by Jeremy Paxman

Sleepycat acquisition

February 15, 2006

Early morning at work, the mail at the top caused a jerk reaction. “Oracle acquires Sleepycat” read the subject from Mike Olson’s mail. I need not reiterate what a great piece of software we have from the great folks at Sleepycat. Interacting with them has always been pleasure. A mere developer cannot have much to comment on the functioning of giant companies, but can only hope that nothing changes at the interface level.

One can only speculate on whether the acquisition will be good or bad for the software community in general. Only time will tell, or the next ten years as Mike Olson puts it!

I’m reminded of a tiny incident involving Berkeley DB. We were evaluating data storage and data management requirements of a customer. BDB met all the functional and performance requirements. We suggested we use BDB. The manager on the other side seemed doubtful; he had never heard of BDB. We explained what BDB was and how it fitted well in our system. The manager looked convinced on the technical front, but he wanted to know more about the company- How big is the company? How many developers? How many support engineers? Where are their offices? Where is the development centre? Since he didn’t have much to do with core IT field, the answers unsettled him a bit. This may sound preposterous, but we actually had to produce a small document explaining “what Sleepycat represents as a company”! I’m sure, no one would ever have to do it again.

I know who is mamma and papa

February 11, 2006

Aru, our little princess is 10 months old. No! To be precise, it’s 10 months 3 weeks! Like all young parents, whenever we take her out, we keep pointing at things and calling out their names aloud.

“Aru, ‘CROWS’! CAW! CAW!” “Aru, F.L.O.W.E.R.” “Aru, go to PAPA!” “Aru wants to come to MAMMA?”

I’m sure if Aru understands anything, it must be driving her nuts. But, being the angel she is, she endures everything without fuss. Sweeto! But, that’s not all. We need to ensure she is learning, so anytime is “viva voce” time!

“Aru, where is F.L.O.W.E.R.” “Aru, where is the M.O.O.N?”

Aru diligently points at anything she thinks appropriate and goes on “da da da…”.

But, her best response has been to her dad’s favourite question- “Aru, where is Papa?”

Aru promptly looks up, points her finger to the ceiling and goes on “da da da…”. We’ve gone crazy trying to figure out whats on her mind!! So, every morning it was the same routine. But, one fine day Aru decided to quit playing games and have some mercy on her dear papa. Out of habit, sipping at my morning tea and trying to distract Aru from the newspaper she was trying to snatch, I asked the usual question. Aru turned towards her dad peering over a newspaper supplement, pointed towards him and went on “da da da…”. Dad was pleasantly suprised!! What a sweet surprise! Aru sat smiling. Mischievously. Or was it my imagination? I tried to test her and asked, “Aru, where is Mamma?” Aru pointed at me without batting her eyelid and went on “da da da…”.

It made me smile and a little sad. Our little game was over. Aru knew who is mamma and who is papa.

Jansi ki rani

February 11, 2006

हम बचपन में Jhansi ki Rani के दीवाने थे। छुट्टियों में यह कविता गाते नहीं थकते थे। आज अचानक ‘गूगल’ पर यह फिर मिल गयी। कहीं खो न जाए इसलिए इन कड़ियों (links) को संभाल कर रख लेते हैं।

ये रहीं-

http://www.4to40.com/poems/index.asp?article=poems_jhansikirani

http://oldpoetry.com/poetry/41054

http://manaskriti.com/kaavyaalaya/jhansi.stm