breaking up…

You are an investment banker. Company A comes to you saying that Company B is trying to take it over and asks you to assist in the process. After due valuations, you tell Company A that Company B is really lousy and not worth going to. And design a wonderful formula to prevent a hostile takeover.

She was my childhood friend. Knew her for ten years – from 1st to 10th standard. Haven’t met her for the last seven years though. However, we’ve come into contact recently through yahoo messenger. Yesterday she asks me about my opinon of a certain guy, an acquaintance of mine. He happens to be (IMHO) one of the most detestable guys and one of the few people i *can’t stand*. Tell her that.

She then tells me that she’s been in touch with him through phone and chat over the past couple of years and fallen in love with him. Asks for more info about him. After an hour of going round and round in circles, a GTalk conversation and 2 phone calls she decides to ditch him. Results of her ensuing phone conversation with him are awaited. Have just received a short message so far: “feeling horrid now”.

Feeling slightly pathetic about the whole thing. Why is it that I shoot off my mouth at every given opportunity? What right did I have to nip in the course of an hour a two-year long relationship? I know messing up people’s minds is right. But why did I have to mess her mind so much that she immediately decided to ditch him? Why did I have to be so blatant about my opinion about this guy?

I know what I have done is right, though. She definitely deserved someone better. But couldn’t I have conveyed it to her better and more gently so that “zor ka jhatka dheere se lage”?

more on simulated annealling

This time, I pick one of my favorite topics: Indian Politics.

Simulated annealing is a popular heuristic technique. I’ve written some preliminary intro about it here . Read it before you go ahead with this… for those who are too lazy to do that, here goes… as for those who already know what simulated annealing is, ignore the next two paragraphs.

Continue reading “more on simulated annealling”

Gopi Gupta, Vegetarian

It was my first day in IIT Madras. As I walked into class, Prof. Iyer was taking attendance. ?Satan!?, he called out. I could see all my new classmates shuddering at the thought of having the devil himself in our class. Fortunately no one answered (one could clearly hear the collective sigh of relief). I started talking to the fellow next to me. Found out his name was Chetan and that by some quirk of fate it wasn?t called out during the attendance.

Welcome to Tamil Nadu, the land of muffed up pronunciations and spellings. The inventors of the ancient Tamil language must have envisaged the difficulty kids have in learning an alphabet. Hence, they decided to keep the alphabet of Tamil as small as possible and assign a multitude of sounds for each character. They even designed the words in the wonderful language such that there would be absolutely no ambiguity in pronunciation.

But this unambiguity was limited to Tamil words. What these scholars did not envisage was the invasion of Tamil Nadu, Chennai in particular, by people hailing from north of the Kaveri. In most of the rest of India, there is a beautiful phonetic alphabet, with each character representing a distinct sound. Sounds that are not represented by this phonetic alphabet are altogether excluded from the language. This system may have its disadvantage that kids need to learn to write 50 different kinds of characters rather than the 20 of Tamil but in the long run, its use is very efficient.

Now, with non-Tams and non-Tam words being an essential part of Chennai, we have a few delightful misspellings and mispronunciations, mostly by the locals. Thus you can have Sappadhi (chapatti for the uninitiated) for lunch and can do your project in Network Lap (network lab). And your favourite spinner may be M. MuraliTharan (a name that sounds extremely alien to one who thought MuraliDharan was one of the names of Lord Krishna). Just stand at some arbitrary location in Chennai and look around you. There will be atleast a dozen words which seemed grossly misspelt but the local goes about as if nothing is wrong with it.

Now what does Gopi Gupta, Vegetarian have to do with all this? For starters, Gopi Gupta is not a ?he? but an ?it?. It was on our hostel menu last week. On one hand, people wanted to taste this exotic sounding dish but on the other, they didn?t want to be cannibals. Finally, a few reluctantly took a few spoons of it. It was neither exotic nor human flesh. It was just our good ole? Gobi Kofta! So much for spellings.