Sunday, 31 October 2010

Karmic Philosophy

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"Karma is the greatest philosophy in the world - The only thing that will follow you even after your death"

Karma - One of the fundamental principles in Hinduism. Karma, in the simplest sense, is your account. When you do good things or bad things, it is constantly updated. When you do a bad thing, you are in debt, and when you do a good thing, you get a benefit. In Hinduism, after you die, Chitragupta, Yama's accountant will analyse this account sheet and Yama will pass a judgement as to where you are to belong.

However, when I look around, I feel that because of the population burst, Yama and Chitragupta are running out of space to store all the data of so many people. So, instead of doing server side processing, they have managed to create a system of client side processing - Yes, I mean that most of your deeds, unless extremely critical, are stored in a local cache, and an automatic system will monitor, and when possible take appropriate action to clear out the stored data by taking action.

And if you don't understand the above paragraph, fret not... I am just saying that instead of waiting till death, Yama has devised a technique of giving you rewards, bonuses or punishments right here in this very birth. You see, when you do something bad, whatever it is, you might get coal from Santa Claus, but Yama will ensure that poetic justice is delivered. And thus, as you sow, so you reap.

I have seen many incidents occurring around me to come to this conclusion - A man was too busy to come to his mother's funeral because he had "important" meetings... *Bamm* He lost his job, and had to fight for it for a really long time (and he is still fighting it). A man had loving children who were constantly insulted and humiliated by him. They felt really hurt. *Bamm* Now he is all alone, and he doesn't have a face to go anywhere. A girl loved a guy a lot. He took her for granted. *Bamm* She is not with him, and he repents it every day. And so on...

You see, these might be small incidents, but I don't want to narrate the actual stories because they get too long. The point is that, For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Cause and Effect. As you sow, so you reap. Call it what you want, the result is the same, and that you will get back what you are giving, and many times, with interest. The beauty is that you will definitely get it back - You may not remember it, but it will always come back because of it. If you do good things, people might remember you some day and say "Oh he/she had helped me that day... so let me help him/her today" and if bad, they will definitely not want to miss an opportunity to get back at you.

Thus, always be careful about what you do in life. Be a good person as far as possible, and when you do a bad thing, normally the equity gained from the good will cancel it out. So, be good as much as possible - For Yama Dharma is watching you.

Always Remember:
You can NEVER escape Yama's judgement - The Karma will follow you even to your next birth.

Related Post

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Symbolism in stories in Hinduism

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"In Hinduism, while the stories are interesting by themselves, the hidden concepts behind them are phenomenal"

You might have heard the famous story of Vishnu's Kurma avatar. If you have not, here it is. If you have, you can skip it (or read it again, just to refresh your memory)

Vishnu's Kurma Avatar
The Devas lost their strength and prowess due to a curse by the sage Durvasa because Indra, the king of the Devas, had insulted the sage’s gift (a garland) by giving it to his elephant which trampled upon it. Thus, after losing their immortality and kingdom, they approached Lord Vishnu for help.

Vishnu suggested that they needed to drink the nectar of immortality to regain their lost glory. However, they needed to strive hard to acquire the nectar since it was hidden in the ocean of milk. After declaring a truce with their foes (Asuras), Indra and his Devas together with the Asuras, use the serpent Vasuki as a churning rope and the mount Mandara as the churning staff.

When they began churning, the mount began sinking into the ocean. Taking the form of a turtle (Kurma), Vishnu bears the entire weight of the mountain and the churning continues and various objects are thrown out including the deadly poison Halahala, whose fumes threaten to destroy the Devas and the Asuras. Lord Shiva then comes to their rescue and gathers the entire poison in his palm and drinks it. His consort, Parvathi, clasps his throat and the poison remains there. Hence he became known as “Neelakanta” (literally: “the blue-throated one).

“Fourteen precious things” come out of the ocean, culminating with Dhanvantari, the physician of the gods, appearing with the nectar of immortality. The Asuras immediately rush and grab the nectar while quarreling among themselves.

Vishnu again comes to the rescue in the form of a beautiful damsel, Mohini and tricks the Asuras and retrieves the potion which is distributed to the Devas. Though the Asuras realize Vishnu’s tricks, it is too late, as the Devas regain their renowned prowess and defeat them.

Symbolism:
Although you might think that this is a myth, there is a great deal of philosophy hidden behind it. In Hinduism, most of the stories are symbolic. For example, a snake represents time in Hinduism. That's why the most important snake is Ananthashesha (eternal time?) in whose coils relaxes Vishnu. The mountain, represents space. In Hindusim, there is always a balance, a symmetry. The Devas and Asuras are always equal and opposite, and never is one fully destroyed. The Devas have Amrit, the nectar of immortality, while the Asuras have Sanjivani Vidya, the knowledge of bring the dead back to life. The interactions of Space and Time brings out different treasures, but this requires some kind of action, that is brought about by the counteracting forces of Devas and Asuras - With no action, nothing will be yielded.

With every good, there is a bad associated (again, equal and opposite). With all the good that came out, so did the bad (Halahala). The fact that Vishnu balanced the mountain, indicates that the supreme Lord is the one who can stabilise ALL actions. Why turtle? There is another explanation for that which I will put up later.

Did you know?
Vishnu's Avatars are in the order of evolution - from fish, to amphibian, and so on....

Note:
This is just a very small post illustrating how Hinduism can be symbolic. Of course, this post was written by a small person like me. But I can assure you that you will be awestruck when you read the actual explanations (from knowledgeable people) behind each and every story, including the forms of God - why Vishnu has four arms, what does each of what he holds in each arm represent, why Shiva has three eyes, why Shukra has only one eye, why Ganesh has an elephant head and so on. Simply brilliant I'll say.

Do you want to read some more stories?
I have made a very small, but slowly growing collection of stories in this website [Visit Swami Gulagulaananda's website] If you have stories to share, please read further.

Do you have short Hindu mythological stories to contribute?
If you have any stories to contribute, short or long, please send me a mail (you can comment also). You don't have to type them out. If you can send me a link to a web site that allows sharing of material (No copyright violation encouraged) then, do let me know.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Quirk gets published

Swami Nikhilaananda said:
"Yay!"

My story, titled Quirk got published in Woman's Era, the fortnightly magazine - October first issue. This entry is just to share the good news. If you have not already read it, you can read it here

Quirk - [Read story Quirk]

Other stories that you might want to read
  • Just let go - Story of a man stuck in a theatre with his wife, but he has a nagging feeling to leave, and knows that things will be horribly wrong.... unless he lets go
  • The Medallion - Starts off with a typical Bollywood story, the medallion has a Hollywood ending. A story about a boy with a copper medallion who loses his younger brother in a crowded railway station, and culminates with the twists of fate.
  • Tarka - The story of the escaped convict - With a police jeep chasing me, I entered a house with a low balcony, only to find my classmate inside with skeletons in her closet... with flesh and blood around it.
  • The Haunted House - A group of four discuss their experiences of a haunted house, and one of them decides to prove that there are no such things as ghost... And then -
  • The Bleeding Heart - Not knowing how he arrived at the bizarre location, he holds his beloved for one last time as he feels a surge of emotions, until he realises....
  • My race against time - A man describes the race against time... the constant running
  • The girl who was a ghost before she died - A freaky real life story (Other parts are linked at the bottom, so be sure to catch them all)



Thursday, 21 October 2010

My Social Experiment

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"Human psychology continues to impress me"

After a certain prank that was played on me recently (If you have not read it, read it here), and so, I decided to pay him back in his own coin. I also wanted to show others who laughed at me (calling me a fool, of course :P) saying that I was dumb to get tricked.

So, before I proceed to how I decided to play back, let me put a short analysis here.

So, why did HIS plot work?
I had told Mr. X about the different mails I used to get from various people, how they would send screenshots and how people appreciated the fact that the product was given for free. He wrote his first mail incorporating all of these - Now, since I was already getting various mails in the same syntax (if I can call it that, or format, if you must) I did not suspect anything.

Some people asked me why I didn't suspect when the person lacked a "social circle" - that is, no online profiles. Several of my friends don't come online at all! That doesn't mean they don't exist. And come on, who will go looking into their university websites if they exist...

The difficulty lies only in the first phase. As you can see, once the conversation with the fake person is established, continuing it is a cinch.

Just to prove these points, here is what I did.

My comeback - modus operandi
I created a fake profile on facebook - a girl called Pallavi Ramamurthy. I filled in all the details (fictitious, of course) and put up a photo (some photo I picked up somewhere) and put up photos of her trip with her friends to Hogenakal Falls. I also shared varopis videos, links, etc.

I created another fake profile called Harish Krishan, and did the same. I created another one called Ravi Krishnan (who is Harish's younger brother) I made Harish and Pallavi to be committed. Harish and Ravi started a blog as well, and so did Pallavi. They also started commenting on each other, having a conversation.

But, just by doing that, nobody will fall for it. So, how to proceed? I asked some friends of mine (juniors) to add this fake profiles as friends. Then, once I had around 8 friends, I started sending friend requests to all the suggested friends by facebook - Facebook helped me a lot by showing me all the relevant people based on mutual friends. All the juniors simply added me without any verification

Pallavi got 100+ friends in a mere three days!

This proves that playing pranks on people is not at all difficult over the internet.

This talks about human psychology
Most people seem to accept people on facebook, just because others know them, although they personally don't know them. Believe it or not, just around 6 people asked me if they knew me. Apart from them, and apart from those who were told it was me, every single guy simply added the fake profile simply because 20+ friends of theirs knew Pallavi/Harish and they had no reason to suspect it - and EVERYONE of them thought in the same way.

Not only this, I got friend requests TO this fake profile!

What next?
I started asking certain legitimate questions, posing as a junior to some seniors (my batch) and I got positive responses. You see, they didn't suspect me and started answering my questions.

There is nothing left to do after this... I can continue talking, asking questions, say that it is easier to chat rather than exchange messages, promise to remove myself from their list once I am done asking questions, send them friend requests, and I am in. After that, it is a mere question of building a relationship over a period of time, posting comments, liking statuses, liking and commenting photos, calling them handsome :P (Guys fall for it, you know) and bamm! Then Pallavi and Harish can break up because she starts falling for the victim, or it could move in any other direction...

My point is singular - Once trust has been established, just like once a parasite is done entering the body, movement in any direction is a matter of personal choice.

That being said, I am shutting down the profile in two days - My point has been proved, and I can say that I am not an idiot :-)

Conclusion
Now, for the rest of you people who are reading this and have accepted the request (or who accept requests based on the principle that some other people you know know them and you don't, think again. Another thing is that, if you believe that this trick would not have worked without the juniors who were definitely very instrumental in this, don't think like that - You see, there are many people who simply accept every request they get. If I get a few people of this type to add also it will work - It is not very easy, but with persistence, everything can be achieved. We need to start relooking at the way in which we interact over the internet. The internet is an anonymous medium, and you don't know who is at the other end of the wall. Therefore, even when interacting with friends, be careful - A scamster could be lurking around.

Why did this trick work?
The trick worked because the response time was very low (within a day), familiarity existed, both in situation as well as in people.

Why am I revealing this so soon?
Frankly I have neither the time nor the patience to pull it for a really long time. I just wanted to prove a point :-)

No way this trick would have worked!
My friend Karthik Rangarajan has provided a link [Robin Sage experiment] after reading this post where something similar was done. See how many people got fooled after one month, and they were not ordinary people, mind you.

Some screenshots (Click on images to enlarge)


***
Comments from Facebook

Prashanth Harshangi: I still think you are a jackass..

Pavan Gururaj: ‎@nikk:i dont need to read your post to know that you are not a jackass.I have always consider you to be jackass.

Ashrith Rao: Hehe,..This should've been the script for "The social Network" :)

Nikhil Baliga: ‎@Pacchu - muchchu maga, you are all jealous :P
Rest of the guys - Come on, Kiran, Ashvin, AK, Padaki all of you fell for it :P I might be a jackass, and that means all of us are...

She's here by the way
http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001657966732

Akshata: ‎@nik: just a correction.. if so many ppl fell for ur prank, it means, there r more jackasses like u around!.. that doesn't prove that u r not idiot (as claimed by you on ur blog).. :P.. btw, I didnt even bother lookin at those profiles u sent requests from.. :D.. hehe.. u know, there r very few smart ppl left in this world.. :)

Nikhil Baliga: ‎@Aks - read my post above :P I am saying that everyone will fall for it. Plus, I didn't bother to send you a request :P You don't come under the list of people I wanted to target :P oooh of course you would not accept it - the target was PESIT.

Akshata: Ehhh.. i got a request from that Pallavi Ramamurthy...(i mean you!),, n u also sent a msg sayin.. i m lookin cool in some pic.. loll..

Nikhil Baliga: Okkk :P I was just kidding around with you. Must have sent just to goof around. The idea was to, of course, target people based on relevance :)

Aditya Kiran: I think i will talk to your manager... i think you don't have enough work to fill out your day....dumass.

Chiranth Ashok: Ya you did prove a point.. That there are lots of idiots around... But you forgot to prove you are not one of them...............

Nikhil Baliga: I am not trying to prove I'm not. If everyone is an idiot then there are no idiots. You can differentiate only there are two types. The idea is simple. Anyone can fall for a properly played trick

FYI Chiranth your brother accepted my request and invited me to some community as well :-)

‎@AK - Oh come on dumbass :-) Show some dignity and accept the fact. Hehe you were going on and on about how I was stupid to have been tricked. Who's stupid now huh huh? :-D Don't be a sore loser... nan makkla, nanage aadaga ella egraadthaa idru :P

Chiranth Ashok: Damn the world is full of idiots :D I would fall for it too..
But I like your logic about idiots though.. :P

Prashanth Harshangi: Dumbass AK vs Jackass Nik.. I am loving it..papadappapaaaaa

Aditya Kiran: From now on i shall no longer refer to B. Nikhil baliga as Baliga or nik... he is pavitra or pallavi or whatever the hell her name is :P...

Aditya Padaki: I had almost guessed it was a fake profile!!! Was waiting for a couple more conversations... :) :) ... You got to trust me on this though I have no way of proving it :P :D ... I can tell you what I based it on though :P :D

But yeah, I have to admit, it would have taken a LOT more effort to decipher that this was actually fake, considering the profile on FB! :-)

Nikhil Baliga: Perhaps... See, you guys would suspect because you would obviously be expecting a 'retort' as Ashvin puts it :P

I could have pulled it longer by eliminating every single loophole (After seeing a plot, I can obviously see how you would try to prove it false) but if I did it and pulled it for a year, it would have lost its charm, and if I told after a year that I also fooled, then it would make no sense to anyone. You know what they say about "Striking while the iron is hot"

If I started messing with you guys after establishing the profile for 15 days, you would all be sure it is a fake profile, since a fake profile can be constructed in that time. If it is done in a day, the chances of you thinking it's fake is very minimal. Moreover, I was bored :P

***
Comments from Buzz

Nikhil Narayan: Well said! :)

Karthik Rangarajan: "Getting into bed with Robin Sage", presented by Thomas Ryan at Black Hat 2010. http://crabbyolbastard.wordpress.com/2010/07/08/getting-into-bed-with-robin-sage-the-fallout-the-proof-of-concept/, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robin_Sage

Aditya Padaki: I had almost guessed it was a fake profile!!! Was waiting for a couple more conversations... :) :) ... You got to trust me on this though I have no way of proving it :P :D ... I can tell you what I based it on though :P :D

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Friend aah Figure aah?

Swami Nikhilaananda pondered:
"Friend aah Figure aah?"

I have another story to share with you guys today, but this one is not my original. In fact, it's an email that I got. First of all, it's a little long, but I am sure you will smile throughout the post. Secondly, you will definitely agree with the first part of the story which classifies a typical engineering class into four categories... see if it makes you nostalgic about your class. And the rest is a nice story with a profound question that many of you would have faced in your life at one point or the other... So, let's begin

-----------------
The author of this story is Karthik Lakshmanan, and you can read the original post here
The original title of this story is "The Eternal Dilemma"
------------------
A typical class in any engineering college can be divided into various gangs. While the girls in the class are divided into 2 categories – the good looking ones and the not so good looking ones, the boys are broadly classified into the following gangs:


1. The Gethu gang – this gang easily forms the majority. Anyone and everyone (male) with good sense of humor or ‘kalaaichufying skills’ is welcome to join this gang. Usually found occupying the last rows (if they attend class i.e.). They usually don’t talk to girls or when they do, it’s always with a purpose like notes or textbooks and stuff. Even if some member wants to befriend a girl, fear of being chucked out of the gethu gang makes him control his temptation. Extracurricular activities include drinking, smoking and roaming with fellow gang mates. Language spoken – Tamil. Movies include Tamil masala films and English movies at times (with sub titles). Members of Gethu gang don’t get along well with other gangs.

2. The Dude Gang – forms the minority among boys. Language spoken and movies seen are always English. Possess the knack of impressing girls. Members of dude gang are always seen in groups of 5 or 6 which include 1 or 2 girls. Activities include Pubs, Discos etc. Also known as Peter gang.

3. The Kadala Gang – these are guys who somehow don’t fit into the above said gangs. They possess the ability to easily befriend girls. Always found occupying the middle rows in class and messaging girls two seats away. Possess enough sense of humor to make girls laugh (pretty low i.e.). Act as protectors of girls and show deep care and affection for girls and fellow gang mates.

4. The Padips Gang – as the name says it, these are the nerds who occupy the first row. Possess inhuman ability to stay awake even in post lunch sessions of the mokkayest (most boring) subjects. Usually taken advantage of by other gang members during exam time for notes, books etc. Do not indulge in smoking or drinking and watch movies only if there is no test or exam in the next 2 months, probability of which nears zero.
With the above definitions in mind, let’s get into the story. The story will largely concentrate on the cold war between the Gethu gang and the Kadala gang, as I have no knowledge about the remaining two gangs.


CSE – B of the National College of Engineering was a class with the above mentioned groups. At the beginning of the first semester, when there was no division in class, all the boys lived peacefully and the teachers who attended CSE – B were a happy lot. But with time, each guy found his own group according to his character and slowly the formation of gangs within the class started. The class somehow managed to stay united for the entire first year. But the beginning of 2nd year marked a complete change in things with the gangs becoming more and more prominent as the students got closer to each other and got to know each other better. The dudes went aloof and lived a peaceful life of their own, never bothering about the other factions in the class. The first benchers were treated like different species altogether and they formed a group (mainly to exchange notes and other materials).The guys who knew how to talk to girls or at least thought so formed the Kadala Gang. The remaining majority who created nuisance to teachers and other sincere students in class formed the Gethu gang. Each group barring the Padips gang had a ‘leader’ (you don’t expect a leader for nerds do you?).

While the guys were divided based on character, the girls were divided based on looks. But one similarity brought them together – studies. Almost all girls in the class somehow managed to do well in academics. They possessed 5 pens of different colors, each used for a different purpose (Blue for writing, black for underlining, red for circling, yellow for highlighting etc). All girls and the Padips gang of guys had the habit of submitting assignments one day earlier than scheduled. They somehow found time and motivation to draw margins and decorate their notes as well.

Raghav Sarathy, famously known as the don from Chennai headed the Gethu gang. He can be best described in one word – Porikki (rogue). The gargantuan lad from puduppetai was a terror for everyone in the class. But for his friends, he was the guy to look up to for any problem or help. He was bighearted and generous guy who was always willing to help the needy by sponsoring for sarakku(booze) and dinner. Raghav never interacted with girls and vice versa. Even if he wanted to for some reason, he would order one of his subordinate gang members to do it for him. His friendly nature with his close friends and gang mates belied his mammoth size.

The Kadala gang too had a leader – Raghu. He was a smart guy much smaller in size compared to Raghav. He was very similar in nature to Raghav, with the only difference that he helped girls while Raghav helped the guys. Raghu was the point of contact for anything and everything related to girls. Some girls looked up to him as a godfather, some as a big brother, some as a savior and some as a true friend.Raghu enjoyed all the adulation and respect he got from girls and other gang members.

For some reason, members of the Gethu gang and Kadala gang never got along well. Some experts say it was because the Gethu gang didn’t know how to talk to girls even though they wanted to, while some say it was because the Kadala gang could never have the fun the Gethu gang had. The Gethu members loved to kalaaichufy(mock) the Kadala members in public, while the Kadala gang never missed out on giving it back to the Gethu gang(which would often be followed by the Kadala gang members laughing along with the girls which infuriated the gethu members further).

The cold war between members of both the gangs was a well known fact and it was a mundane task for each member to try and come up with innovative ideas to mock each other. The Kadala members would come up with ideas to irritate the gethu members and impress the girls, while the gethu members continued to deride the kadala members and the girls to impress their leader Raghav. The usual happenings at the class happened without much participation by the don Raghav, who preferred staying silent and only involved himself if matters went out of hand. Raghu, on the other hand would participate in each and every petty issue and impressed the girls to the maximum limit possible by a human being. Thanks to Raghu, Gandhiji’s idea of freedom was possible, as girls felt safe to roam around even at 12 midnight. Why fear when Raghu is there? One call, Raghu will appear, the girls thought.

The war between the gangs became public in the third year, when the class went for an industrial visit to Bangalore. The trip started peacefully with the usual routine of music and dance in the bus. But in no time, the Gethu members got drunk completely and decided to play pranks. Sensing this, Raghu and the other guards took positions to safeguard each girl. But this time, Raghu was in for a surprise. The leader himself was in action now. Raghav, drunk but steady, came to Ranjini, a good looking, sensitive and a very well mannered girl under Raghu’s guardianship. Ranjini was the heartthrob of every member of the Kadala gang. Though friendly with everyone, she was aware of her limits and knew how to keep people at a distance. Without knowing this, many members of the kadala gang including Raghu had made futile attempts to win her heart. Raghav came next to her and asked her if he could sit near her. A confused Ranjini agreed. He took her hands and placed his huge fingers inside hers. “What the hell is he up to?” thought all the Kadala members and other girls. The kadala leader Raghu was sweating profusely inside the AC bus, but he knew he could do nothing about a drunk and huge Raghav.

“Ranjini.. people here see me as a don.. they see me as a leader..they seem to think I hate girls.. they seem to think I am a rowdy..they seem to think I am a porikki with no heart..I don’t know why I am saying this..but people usually speak the truth when they’re drunk.. I somehow want to be your friend.. don’t mistake me.. I am not hitting on you.. I just want to be your friend.. I don’t know why I chose you.. but somehow.. I feel you are a nice girl who will understand me..i feel we can be really good friends.. it wont be an artificial friendship like how you girls have with Raghu and his friends.. please think about it..” , as these words came out of Raghav’s mouth, the earth stopped rotating, the driver stopped driving, the kadala gang stopped putting kadalai and every other impossible event happened. How could Raghav of all people say this?? Raghu and other members were scared and puzzled.

“I never thought you were such a sweet guy Raghav. I would be more than glad to be your friend. I never had any grudges against you personally and I never looked up on you as a don or a porikki. I am sure we can be good friends like anyone else”, said Ranjini, smiling(blushing). At this moment, Raghu felt his heart burst. He felt numb. He couldn’t move. He couldn’t breathe, he couldn’t speak. He couldn’t do anything. What the hell had just happened??

Even as Ranjini continued to blush and others around her gave reactions varying from shock to disappointment, Raghav got up from his seat and went to the last row where the members of Gethu gang were seated and shouted

“Machi…. She trusted me!!!!!!!! Didn’t I tell you? It’s easy to correct girls da! All you need to do is act like a good guy..just like how I did now and how Raghu has been doing for years..hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaahahahha”. The gethu gang members jumped up in joy and hugged their leader. The don had struck a major blow! The don had arrived.Raghu didn’t know what to do. He hung his head in shame. The kadala members were infuriated and vowed to fight back. ‘Thalaivar vaazhga…gethu thalaivan Raghav Vaazhga’ echoed across the bus, even as Ranjini sat at her place, sobbing.

Raghu, whose ego was hurt more than Ranjini’s, soon got his opportunity. Raghav and Raghu were group mates in lab, as they were adjacent roll numbers. Raghav, being the dumb guy that he is, had no clue about what was going on and left all the work to the ever sincere Raghu, who had no choice but to complete it as his grades would suffer if he didn’t. Even though the coding was taken care of by Raghu, the viva was a oral one and Raghav had to face the music. When it was their turn, the teacher shot Raghu a question. Raghu, who was very well prepared, stood up, answered and sat down, as Raghav looked in awe. Now was Raghav’s turn. Oh those vivas gave him a scare. Yes, vivas had potential to even scare huge creatures like Raghav. As he stood up, his legs were trembling, causing a minor quake underneath. “What is a Friend Function?” asked the teacher. ‘wtf?’ thought Raghav and looked down to Raghu for some help. Raghu sensed opportunity here and whispered “if a normal function doesn’t perform its function, the friend function takes over and helps out the function.. just like how friends help other friends”. For some reason, Raghav trusted his partner and reproduced the same words in a loud and confident manner. As soon as he completed the answer, everyone in class except 2 people was ROTFL. One of them was Raghav, who stood confused, and the other was the teacher who spoke some unsavory words which are best left censored before saying “GET OUT OF THE CLASS”. The Kadala members gave a thumbs up sign to their leader and exchanged smiles with girls, as the Gethu members saw their leader walk out slowly like Rajnikanth in the film Muthu.

The incident sparked off yet another round of never ending arguments and fights between the two gangs, with the gethu gang emerging winners most of the time. The gethu gang members stopped talking to girls completely, and the only time they did was when they made prank calls before exams (somehow, everything else seems interesting before an exam!). The kadala members participated in various extracurricular activities and continued to impress the girls.

In the meantime, time flew and before they knew, it was final semester. It was time for the final year project. As luck would have it, Raghav was put in a group with Raghu, Ranjini, 3 other girls and 2 other Kadala members. Worse, he had to go out of campus and finish his project in a company with his group members. It was like Sachin Tendulkar forced to play cricket for Pakistan! It was just not possible. How would he live away from his friends for 4 months? How would he live with Raghu and other members? He felt so out of place that he even considered quitting Engineering, but sense prevailed and he found himself parting with his Gethu members for a 4 month stint with Kadala members. The kadala members, understanding his situation, had a hearty laugh and used every opportunity to bring down the mountain. He was cornered, he was helpless. He tried putting up a brave face but deep within, he knew he was like the character in the movie Chennai 28 where Jai cried inside the bathroom. How will he adjust? How will he get along with the girls? How will he laugh for lame jokes to impress girls? How will he act artificial to make girls laugh? All these questions haunted him. It was too embarrassing for him to handle but he didn’t have a choice.

During the initial week, all the members were given modules and 2 of them had to share 1 system. To his dismay, Raghav had to share his system with the worst possible person in the group – not Raghu, it was Ranjini. He was a big zero when it came to programming, but there was no way he was going to ask her help after what he did to her a year back. He silently sat next to her as she did their work. It was too humiliating as she didn’t even treat him like a stranger, she completely ignored his presence. During lunch time, everyone in their gang would eat together. Raghav had no option but to eat alone. He would quickly eat and get back to his system.A week passed and they had to report their progress to their team lead. For the entire week, though he had sat next to her throughout the day, they didn’t speak even a single word. Now, the need had come for him to talk to her. With a lot of hesitation, he spoke.
”Ranjini”, he said as she turned. “I really don’t know how to talk to you after what I did the other day. No amount of apologies would suffice. But as you know, I know absolutely nothing about what’s going on in the project and what you are doing. I wont even understand it if I tried reading it myself. I would flunk the project big time if you don’t help. Frankly, it’s very embarrassing to sit idle all day. Please explain to me if you feel you should so that I can talk something during the viva...” he said, and walked away for lunch, without even waiting for a reply.

As he was eating alone in the food court, a familiar face came with a plate in hand to sit next to him. It was Ranjini. He was surprised but happy. He didn’t know how to react. He struggled to keep himself normal.

“Relax”, said Ranjini. “I know what you did to me was wrong. I felt really hurt when you did it. But I got over it soon. I have no grudges against you. But I didn’t talk to you the entire week because I too felt embarrassed, just like you. Nothing else. I realized how harsh I had been only when you came and spoke to me today. Do you remember what you said to me during the IV in the bus? I still think we can be good friends. I trust you will not hurt me again. I know you are a nice guy.”

“I would’ve cried in happiness had I been a girl. Thanks so much Ranjini. And sorry once again”, said Raghav.

“No sorrys and Thank Yous between good friends. From tomorrow, join the gang for lunch. Don’t say no. it’s an order... and oh... I will teach you the module today after lunch”, she said and walked away.

After the day, Raghav went back to his room with a multitude of thoughts. How could he have hurt such a nice girl? It felt nice to talk to a girl. He finally sympathized with Raghu. He had been a barren land for years. Now, he sensed a little bit of rain. But amongst these thoughts, he was suddenly reminded of a more important problem – how on earth was he going to have lunch with a group of guys and girls from the Kadala gang?????????

The next day, he went to his system in a happier mood. “Ranjini.. please understand.. I cant come for lunch with everyone.. you know it.. I wont get along well with them..they don’t like me either..it’ll be embarrassing for everyone.. I feel comfortable eating alone.. or at max with you.. but its just not possible to eat with everyone..and I know it wont be nice if we ate together leaving the rest.. so please let me alone..”

“Shut up and come with us. Did you think you could ever be my friend? No right? So don’t pass judgments before knowing people. I will talk to them and they will make you feel comfortable within the group. Don’t worry. Shut up and sit now while I code.” barked Ranjini.

Raghav’s reactions can be divided into 3 parts:

Raghav’s mind : ‘wtf!! Mariyaadha rumba korayudhu?(no respect at all?). not even my best friends had spoken to me like this..not even when they were drunk!!’

Raghav’s heart : ‘ *blushes*. Feels so nice when a girl takes so much rights in you to talk in this manner’

Raghav’s mouth : “err.. okay…if you say so..”.

Soon, it was time for lunch. Raghav went along with Ranjini to join the Kadala gang. He wondered what his gang’s reaction would be if they saw this. He felt scared. He felt nervous. He dare not inform his friends about these developments. He had to put up with Raghu. He had to put up with the other Kadala members. He had to put up with girls. His only savior was Ranjini.As they started to eat, they started talking about the usual mokka(boring) stuff.

‘hey .. ivan un aalu..’ …*giggles*.
’ hey..ava un aalu..’ * giggles giggles*
‘ hey Swetha, nee modhalla saaapdu’, said one guy.
‘inga modhala elaam kidaikkumaa saapda?’, said Swetha as the whole group burst into laughter, leaving Raghav with a shocked expression which conveyed various meanings :

1. FTW?
2. how could people laugh for this?
3. how could this be classified as a joke?
4. how could a guy laugh for this?
5. why don’t girls have good sense of humor?


Ranjini, on her part tried her best to keep him involved in the conversation. After lunch, as they went back to their desks, she asked him “how was your experience with the ‘kadala gang’?”

“err.. it was ok.. except that I found the jokes to be pretty lame..frankly, I can’t get myself to be this artificial..”

“haha.. I can understand..thats exactly what I like in you... but don’t worry..you will get used to this..:P ;)”

There is something about a girl’s wink which makes you forget who you are. Raghav certainly forgot that he was head of the Gethu gang back in college. As days passed, he found himself completely attracted to Ranjini. He spent the entire day time with her at the desk and even went out with her a couple of times. He knew for sure that she didn’t have any intentions but he was pulled towards her by a strong force – you can call it love or attraction or infatuation or whatever, but he just wanted to be with her. He even got along well with the Kadala members. All this, without his friends knowing of course!

Weeks flew and the project got over. It happened so that their module was chosen as the best one in the group. All credit to Ranjini, of course. She was elated and gave him a big hug! It took him by surprise and this is exactly when he knew it. He knew that he was in love! He wished he could tell her, but there was no way she was going to accept and he didn’t want to lose a wonderful friend. More than that, he didn’t want his gang members to ever know about all this! All these thoughts made him keep it to himself. But to his surprise, that night, he received a message on his mobile:

“Next Friday, on our farewell, I want to tell you something very important. It happens to be my birthday too!! And I am sure you will be happy. Now go back to your friends and keep guessing for a week!! :D. gnite. Sweet dreams! And oh..btw.. you were a wonderful partner to work with.. though you never worked ;) lol ”

This is all he needed! He knew it! She felt the same too. With a million thoughts, he went to his house. One week felt like one year! He missed her badly. He wanted to hear from her. He messaged her a thousand times asking what it was about, but there was no way she was going to tell him! ‘Damn it. These girls make even the hardest of persons go crazy!’, he thought.

Friday came. Farewell day. The end of an era. The end of college life. So many fights, so many arguments, so many friends, so many ups, so many downs. In a way, college life was the biggest experience in life. It had everything. Friendship, love, enmity - he experienced it all! It was also the day he got back to his kadala gang after 4 months. He missed them, but he was more than happy with what he had got. There was no way his friends were going to understand if he told them about the developments. After all, he was the don of the class. He was their leader. He himself had insulted so many couples. He used to mock at the idea of falling in love. But now, he was facing it himself. How would the gang feel if he told them he loves Ranjini? He couldn’t even imagine. They would feel the way Indians would feel if Sachin was accused of Match fixing. They would probably not even give it a thought. “Mokka podaadha da” , might be their reply!

Which one was a wrong choice? Falling in love? Or being in the gethu gang? So many questions came to his mind. Then he saw his angel walking into the hall in a saree. It was her birthday as well. There was no way he was going to talk to her directly in front of his friends. So he went to the restroom for some privacy and sent her a text message:

“You look gorgeous in saree. Happy birthday. What were you going to tell me?? Cant wait. Tell me now”
5 minutes after he sent the message, he got 2 messages in his inbox.

He opened the one from Ranjini :

“ Thanks. Thanks :D. no way. Come to the coffee shop at Besant Nagar after the farewell. I would like to see your reaction when I tell you. Till then, keep guessing :P”


Blushing, he saw the next Message. It was from his friend Pandirajan :

“Dey naaye.. we are going to get sarakku for party tonight.. farewell sarakku.. last time! Come to Arvind’s terrace at the end of the mokka farewell party..varalenaa konnuduven.. some 35 guys are coming..vandhu seru..bye..”.

(dog.. we are gonna get drinks for party tonight.. farewell booze..last time! Will kill you if you don’t come..be there.. bye.”)


………..and he was faced with the everlasting question to which no guy has found a proper answer –

“ Friend ah?? Figure ah??”

***
Comments from Facebook

Praveen Damodhar: Idhuku thaan ivlo buildup-aa?

Prashanth Harshangi: Wondering where i belong!!!! I was in all the gangs except the 'NERD' 'Dude' and 'Kadalai' gang..Understood the joke??.. The only NERD gang in our class was AdityaKIRAN and ADITYAPadaki (Just to burn their asses)

Ashvin Srinivasan: ‎"somewhere I belong ?" ...:P

Aditya Kiran: Haha... give or take a few things, i guess this accurately describes our class ... huh raghu? :P

Ashvin Srinivasan: AK you always lead the way boy magane :P:P:P

Prashanth Harshangi: wondering who is ranjini and raghav sastry.. but baliga fits raghu..poor fellow..jackass..always pity him..paapa

Saturday, 16 October 2010

The Dead Girl Is Demystified

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"Seriously? You?!?"

The pre-requisite for this post is that you should have read this post earlier...

Ok... Now, who could this person be? And why did this person do this? Ok, the person who did this was my friend - Let's call him: Mr. X.

So, this is how the analysis started - The weakest link was link the friend Sneha Kumar... I had told one of my friends about her, and he found out more information about her, and told me some details about her. Now that I knew that Sneha Kumar didn't exist, the culprit had to be the friend who fed me that information. But this guy is not the type who would play this on me.

But still, this is my strongest starting point. So, now my point was to prove that this guy was the one who did it. So, I started looking for proof against him. Some of these points might appear to be random to you - but when you suspect a person, each and every bit of small points of proof wills strengthen the case against him

Points that were used to find out who Aparna Joshi was after the starting point
Aparna Joshi had told me that she knew Mr. X. And Mr. X knew Aparna Joshi - But very briefly...

Mr. X knows a lot about US universities and IITs - Good enough to keep up a conversation

Mr. X used Vista, so did she (screen shots were sent to me for the software)

Mr. X used Xilinx and that icon is on his desktop, also Aparna Joshi - Not many people use this software

Both Mr. X and Joshi liked Carpenters - a band that most people have not even heard of

When Mr. X was in India, Joshi's mails were from India. When Mr. X is abroad, so is Joshi

People from NPS about whom she mentioned are all from PESIT. When I asked about an NPS guy who was not from PESIT, she didn't know him... She knew two people from my college

Aparna Joshi used a wireless keyboard, and her keys were not coming properly... So did Mr. X

Technical things that were spoken by Joshi could have been known by Mr. X and very very few other people. This narrows down the number of people to a very small number.

They were both from the same time zone...

The last one that clinched it was this... I took photos that were sent to me long back and went to the properties to see the meta data. There, you can see camera model and details like that. That camera model was a very weird one, and only one person I know owned that model.

What happened after that?
That was it - I asked him... He asked me to come on Skype... He said he wanted to see my face. He laughed for a long time, and then said that he had me fooled for two years! It was one of my best friends.

It was an elaborate set up - Why did he do all this? Well, it was intended to just fool me, and he wanted to tell me that it was him all along. However, more people got sucked into it. And when she died, things snowballed... But in the end, it was Mr. X.

Why the name Mr. X?
I am using Mr. X and not his real name because he doesn't want to be named publicly. Certain emotions that were played was highly regretted. But yeah, overall, it was a prank that was played and executed very well - I was made an ass for two years :-)

So, what did you do Nik?
Yes, you might think I was taken for a ride, and hence am stupid. So, to prove a point that being taken for a ride over the internet is not so difficult, I played a prank of my own - response time of 1 day, fooled 120+ people. You can read about it here - My Social Experiment

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***
Comments from Facebook

Nikhil Prabhu: Amazing! :P

Pavithra Chowdappa: Aww :)
lol.
:)

Hemanth Pai: wow dude .. ppl have the F'in patience to keep up the pretense for 2 years !! Man .. that guy / gal must really be some namuna :) . Now u have to save the 'Amchi' pride man .. :P

Abhishek Kodankiry: Ur previous post sounded so scary, and this one equally funny.. Good that the mystery was solved.. Awesome all in all.. :)

Jayesh Sudhir Bhat: MAN! I am delighted to know that such a person did not exist...It was like what a worthless life I am living n all. but nonetheless, it was a great source of inspiration for most of us. some guys even structured their SOPs, resumes etc according to hers..I hope there wasn't any romance brewing in cyberspace. Would be very hard then :P

Ashvin Srinivasan: ‎@ jayesh, nice one dude I second your comment ... It was definitely an inspiration, nontheless there are real ppl with that kinda profile :)

Aks: Now I know why I didn't make it to MIT.. Taking a fake SOP as inspiration... Lesson well learnt: Don't even look at another person's SOP!.. :D :P

‎@nik: if i were u n u were me, I would have given YOU more screen-space and time in the blog..considering YOU'd hv been the most crucial twist.. :P.. and if not for YOU, the story would hv died unsolved!..:)

Lakshman Gs: Well dude please remember that there are potholes in every road. Every other person is a born actor or an actress. 2 years is quite a long long time. Instead of doing an analysis and feeling more worse take it as a learning experience and may be u could see some nice james bond movies like tomorrow never dies, golden eye, Die another day, A view to a kill and use ur intelligence and project the same in a battle plan.

Deepak Vedanthan: Nik ..what are you doing in Oracle. Join RAW and serve our country :) How much time did you take to figure this out ?

Nikhil Baliga: ‎@Aks - Hahahaha ok, fine... Guys, Aks is the person who first discovered that this person did not exist in the MIT obituary list. So, the credit for discovering that this person was fake goes to her.

@Jayesh - I know! Even I had taken this person as an inspiration. There was no romance for sure, but there was a great deal of closeness

@Lakshman - What can I say except every dog has its day :P

@Deepak - haha, took me just one day to get the details - took me two years to understand I was fooled... Yeah, that makes me a real Indian agent, who's late :P

***
Comments from Buzz

Prashanth Bhat: I remember you saying, "Who the hell uses vista??" Is he Mr. X?

Nikhil Baliga: Yeah :P

vinayraj govindarajan: ok...this s the kannada version of fake ipl player :P

Friday, 15 October 2010

The Girl Who Was A Ghost Before She Died...

Swami Nikhilaananda said:
"What The Fuck?"

I have a very interesting story to share with all of you. This is based on real life incidents... Read it till the end, I promise you, you will not regret it. I was freaked out completely - Believe me, this happened.

It starts with short email summaries, and random bits later. But, read till the end... I used to write freeware programs in my spare time during those days. One very popular program was Blaze Composer, a web designing software.

Date: 18/06/2008 (mail)
I got a mail from a girl called Aparna Joshi who had an email address with IIT-B in it. She said that she had used a web designing tool that I had written and found it useful. She thanked me for offering it for free. Next day, she sent a mail with possible enhancements. I replied to the mail, and she said that she would get back to me if she had anything else.
Conversation thread ends on 20/06/2008

Date: 21/06/2008 (mail)
Got a mail from her again, saying that she liked the tool a lot. She also told that she had the habit of sleeping with the music on in her computer, and often the computer remained on throughout the night. She asked if I could write a tool which would power down the system at a particular time. She also paid compliments to a certain photo of mine on my site, and said that she enjoyed reading my blog. We had our exams, and decided to continue talking later
Conversation thread ends on 02/07/2008

Date: 02/07/2008 (mail)
Got a mail from her, introducing herself. Said that she was from IIT-B, and that she was doing her electrical engineering. She asked what I was doing, and told me a bit about her. Her profile picture was a side pose. She was very friendly in her way of talking, and seemed to give very positive vibes. I asked her to change the picture since she looked like a prisoner, but she said that many of her friends had told her the same thing, but wanted that picture there - Said that the lab (electro magnetics) was like a prison itself.

Mind you, this is not a random statement I made. I am summarising the emails here, but the conversation tone of the mails in general were very friendly. There were many mails regarding software, etc. which I am skipping.
Conversation thread ends on 03/07/2008

Date: 04/07/2008 (mail)
She asked me what time I would be available for a chat. I said that I kept coming and going, and leaving an offliner would enable her to catch me.
Conversation thread ends on 04/07/2008

Date: 05/07/2008 (mail)
She left me an offliner. I was not online. I also received a mail saying that she had updated the photo. The face was still not visible, owing to the size of photos in Gmail profile pics.
Conversation thread ends on 05/07/2008

Date: 05/07/2008 (chat)
We spoke on chat for the first time - The conversation tone was rather general. The style of talking, though, was very friendly. At that time, placements were going on. She said that she was doing her internship in Apple, San Francisco. She knew the HOD of the Comp Sci dept of PESIT, and said that her sister was from PESIT as well, and was his favourite student. This conversation was when she was in the USA. She told me the time there... She spoke about IITs, and how different people do internships in different institutes.
...........

She had sent me a mail with her web pages, and her resume, and things that she would want to post there. This was just for me to see how it would look, since she was designing a web page for the first time. The pages were simple, but nice. I went through her resume, and saw a perfect profile - very high GPA, many projects under professors of IITs, and the typical name, address, register number, hobbies, etc.

After this, there were several conversations, and these conversations spread over two years. We had several intellectual discussions where this person was able to answer several technical questions based on vlsi that were not simple... The girl was very intelligent, but most importantly, the girl was a wonderful friend. She was very comforting to talk to, and spoke like a friend I have known since ages. She was very helpful as well, and helped out with the editing of Statements Of Purposes (SOPs) of some of my friends, and also gave tips on how to go about things. Overall, she was the perfect girl - intelligent, helpful, witty and charming... Don't jump to conclusions, this is not a romantic thing :-)

I had asked her if she was on Orkut, but she said that she was bugged by it because she had 37,000+ scraps, and had got addicted to it. So, she quit, and had developed an aversion to it. She maintained a blog, but didn't like writing much in it...

She told how she enjoyed life at IIT-B, her professors, her two best friends - Apeksha (IIT-B) and Sneha Kumar (RVCE, Bangalore). Sneha Kumar was mentioned several times, and I got the impression that she was her best friend. This girl also got placed in Oracle Server Technologies, but subsequently gave it up to do her MS in US.

She was also in CST during the 26/11 shoot-out. Things were in a state of complete panic there, and while everyone was running helter-skelter, so did she... And when she turned back and saw, a guy got shot just behind her. If not for that guy, it would have been her number. A friend of hers got shot in the arm, but didn't die. They were crying a lot...

What struck me most was her list of accomplishments - She had around 8 projects, an internship in Apple (she had told me that she was doing her internship at Apple in one of our conversations) and had four papers in IEEE journals. She got placed in Bell Labs, one of the best companies in the world. She later had 1570 as her status message. When I asked her what it was, she said that it was her GRE score, and she later had the chance to get into MIT or Stanford - And MIT was not funded. But later, Bell Labs decided to fund her, and there was no bond either. She could complete her PhD and come back and work for them. Incredible, isn't it?

She then flew to the US, but on the way, her laptop got lost in the baggage. She was still trying to trace it, and finally being unable to find it, the authorities compensated by giving her more than twice the cost of it as damages.

She finally got settled in the US. She was staying in an apartment, with three room mates, two were from MIT, and one more from another university. She enjoyed cooking the most... She told me the rent there, and about various professors - The great people who are the authors of text books here, were her guides!! I was very impressed, as were most of my friends. She used to address them by first name, like they were her buddies. She even got a lab, just adjacent to Pranav Mistry, the famous guy with the 6th sense. She told me how his girl friend used to bug him to come out, while he was busy in the lab all the time.

Meanwhile, her sister also got a baby, and she had become an aunt. We had spoken at personal levels very often too...

The twist - Tragedy!
She always used to reply to mails promptly. One day, I sent a mail to her on behalf of one of my friends regarding some universities. I didn't get a reply for two months. I dismissed this, thinking that she must have been really busy.

Two months later, I got a mail from her, and she had replied - She also apologised for being very late. She then cleared the doubts - but also told that she had met with a very serious car accident, and was hospitalised for two months. She was driving a car there, and a road train (those big trucks) had jumped a signal and rammed into her. The driver was a drunk guy with no license too... She had had multiple organ failure, and had slipped into coma a couple of times. Her parents had rushed to see her. Her sister, who was married to a man who was working in a jet propulsion lab in CalTech, had rushed to meet her earlier. The doctors were worried that she would lose her memory. Her condition was so bad that she had to be shifted to a different hospital and was taken by helicopter there... The distance between the two cities, she said, was an hour's journey.

But she didn't. She was recovering, although she was feeling very weak. We had a long conversation after that - She described the trauma, and told how she was now enjoying all the pampering. I was freaked out, imagining how bad a situation she was in... but she sounded very cheerful. After a long conversation, culminating with me giving credit to her for being such a sport about it all, and her describing the beauty of the USA and the departments' efficiency there, I went away because she had gone for her shots, and she hadn't returned for a long time, and I was running late (it was way past midnight here) and later got an off-liner from her - a parting good night message.

After this, we didn't talk for a couple of months, and I sent her a mail asking her how she was. I received a mail from her - which on opening, I realised was from her sister. The sister said that she had passed away!! I got goosebumps. She said that she had passed away on August 2nd, that was 8 days after my last conversation with her. Apparently, it was because the damage to her lungs was too bad! I offered my condolences. I relayed the information to some of my friends who were also her big fans. We were all crushed, and devastated... I, personally, having spoken so much to her, was really low.

The Twist (yeah, another one)
Barely had four days passed after that mail, a friend of mine pinged me saying she found it weird that her name was not mentioned on the MIT obituary list. And she also said that this person, who was so smart, didn't have a name mentioned anywhere... Now, this was weird, because I had tried looking her up, and had not found her before, but had dismissed it, because I was too impatient to do a detailed search.

So, then, the two of us started hunting her - She has no mention anywhere!! It's like she was a ghost, a non existent entity. Like, she never existed... There are no traces of her anywhere on the internet. I looked her up in the IIT-B list of students and alumni - No entry. The register number that was there in her resume, has two characters different from the pattern followed there (She had EE for electrical engineering, but they seem to follow 00) and moreover, the last five digits that are unique, pointed to some guy with the surname Chakraborthy.

There never was a person with her name in IIT-B for the last 15 years. Before that, there was one, but was an MPhil, not an electrical engineer.

Her name is not mentioned in the list of students in MIT, nor mentioned in the list of students in the research lab that she was supposed to have worked. I started taking her projects - She claims to have done a robot called "Agrobot". Agrobot is a robot created by students of IIT-B, but her name is not there in that list! The other project titles also when I tried to look up, were existing, but were done by someone else.

She had told that she had a friend called Sneha Kumar in RVCE Comp Sci dept. There was never such a girl in that college. Some projects that she had 'done', exist, but were done by someone else... Some professors under whom she has done projects don't exist.

But she did mention some people who did exist and could be verified, including some people from my college. This person is from my college you say? I did take it into account, but this person sounded very good (technically), that I didn't think anyone from our college had so much knowledge - This person seemed like an IIT material only

I then started taking her emails out and looking at the email headers - The time that she had met with an accident in the USA, and when she was feeling weak and was managing - the email headers show that the mail originated very much from India. When she was doing an internship in Apple, she was very much in India. However, the mail from her "sister" originated from the USA.

One might say - Why didn't you suspect it when the sister gained access to her mail? Simple - One of my friends had mailed a professor earlier, but received a mail from his wife, saying that he had passed away. A similar situation was here. Either she might have shared her password with her sister (since they were close, plus she was on her death-bed) or the company might have given, since email is a very important means of communication now, and is considered as official - So, she might not want it to be left high and dry, is what I thought.

Her blog had only three entries, and mine was the only blog that was linked to it. I was the only one to have commented on it as well... nobody else

The beauty of it all, is that, from day one, when she had said that she was from IIT-B, I could have looked up and said that it was false. Or when she had mentioned her friend Sneha Kumar, I could have told that it is not true... But I didn't suspect it. Why would I go looking around for something if I didn't see anything suspicious?

But the main question continues to be only one - WHY??? She went through an awful lot of trouble to come up with things that appeared rock solid and didn't have a single loophole that would make me want to suspect her and go looking for proof. And yet, it was loaded with lies from day one... It may not even be a 'she', there could never have been a sister nor a brother-in-law, nor a nephew/niece. She may or may not be from IIT (named changed? Possible) or from MIT.

Every bit of it was made up - She never went to the US at that point, when her laptop got lost in baggage, the compensation... her room mates, her courses, her professors, Pranav Mistry, his girl friend, her lab, the accident, the drunk driver... all figments of a wonderful imagination

But why? What was the motive behind it all??? She came into my life, spent two years with me, orchestrated her own death, replied as a sister. It was the longest prank played on me, if it was a prank... But if there was an ulterior motive, what was it... Why did she do this? Why? I still wonder

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Post Note Added on Oct 16th:

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Comments from Buzz

Prashanth Bhat: Look at the emails again dude.. 'She' might have showed signs of motive somewhere and given it up thinking you were not that gullible... Or some person got tired of playing the prank...

Or You have spun a wonderful story.

Swathi Sharma: Too Freaky Nik!!!

vinayraj govindarajan: this is lik the 3 idiots story....except tat v hav a female version of rancho :P but nik could it hav been a try to hack ur account? its a very weird story playing with emotions and trust...

***
Comments from Facebook

Shobhit Ns: Moral of the story : Do not reply to mails from Pfizer.

Abhishek Kodankiry: Weird man..!!! Shit..

Nikhil Baliga: ‎@Shobhit - See, when I spoke about a *soft*ware "tool", I was talking about computer programs... :P

@Kodankiry - I swear!!

Srivathsan Lakshmipuram: Haha of course this goes on FB! :P

Nikhil Baliga: Of course dude. This is by far the weirdest thing that's happened to me. This will serve as a warning to others to not get too cosy with strangers

Deepak Vedanthan: Yeah ..quite weird . Can't understand what the girl ..like you said .. if it was a she :) ..achieved by all this

Nikhil Baliga: I know - The more I read the conversations, the scarier it is :P There are lines like - I am feeling really lonely here, staying away from family. I do video chats regularly, but my parents are feeling low because both of us are here...!!

Chiranth Ashok: Maybe you were the subject of a novel she was writing....

Nikhil Baliga: Maybe... But it appears like she is going to end up being the subject of my novel

Madhura Basavaraju: it's as good as novel :)

Meghana Manjunath: weird man!

Nikhil Baliga: The case has been solved - I found who that person was... :P See the next post. (I feel like a complete jackass at this point of time) - The dead girl has now been demystified - Mystery solved

Nagaraj P Hegde: was about to post 'weird' :P
Now, details please :)

Mac Nirmal Lobo: Hehe...... of course u are the jackass.... So do u really know who it is or are ya waiting for that someone to post on ya wall that he/she was the real prankmaster?

Chiranth Ashok: Lol he or she is gotta be good...:D

Nagaraj P Hegde: maga C.I.D nodo abhyasa idya?? ;)

Thursday, 14 October 2010

A Dependency Is A Major Weakness

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"There is no greater weakness than dependency"

I'm sure most of you are aware of this by experience. A dependency is something that will always pull you down. It is something that makes outcomes of certain events uncertain, and makes certain otherwise strong individuals weak.

This post discusses about dependencies in general, and also why auto rickshaws in Bangalore continue to be a problem.

So, what's a dependency?
I am sure that such incidents would have happened with you or you would have been around or heard about incidents such as the following. A group of children are playing cricket, and one of the children brings his brand new bat. This is the only bat for the group of children to play. When the kid who brought the bat gets stumped and becomes out, he refuses, and says he wants to still bat. The rest of the children disagree, and tell him that it's the next person's chance to play. At his, the kid says that he is going to go home, and take his bat along with him.

Now it's the turn of the other children to be stumped. If they ask him to get lost, they end up with no bat, and cannot play. If they allow him to play, he is obviously taking undue advantage by using the bat as a leverage.

Dependencies exist everywhere
Just look around. A man tells his wife to do something. The wife refuses. The man says that he is not going to give her any money, because he is the earning member of his family, and she is just a housewife. She has no other source of income, and finally has to yield to his whims, whether or not she likes it. He uses money as a leverage, while she succumbs to dependency.

Many software applications don't run properly, because certain dependencies (files) are missing. You then have to start hunting for ocx and dll files, register them, etc. If there were no dependencies, life would have been smoother.

Coalition Governments are perhaps a perfect example. For the government to sustain itself, a lot of people need to be kept happy. If they are not happy, they will walk away, and the government collapses. As you can see, as long as the government is dependent on them, there exists a weakness.

A group of people, A, B, C and D decide to work on a project. A, B and D might be very efficient, while C is not good. The work is divided among themselves, and the sequential stages of work is completed by them, in that order. Now, the project will never get completed, as long as they are waiting for C to complete the work.

Autorickshaws in Bangalore are rude, overcharge, don't come to places you ask them to, use rigged meters, etc. And yet, when it is raining, or when you are running late for a meeting, you pay more and hire an autorickshaw. This is because you don't have another option. And so on... There are countless examples for this.

How do you battle dependencies?
The only ways to fight dependencies, is either to be independent or to create alternate solutions - not as simple as it sounds.

You first need to develop a mindset against it. A strong will to not succumb to dependency. And I am saying this, only in places where it is not impossible. For example, when I have to cover a distance of four kilometres, and there are no buses in sight, I walk. And I am talking about times when I don't have meetings, or any time limit. You might ask "What's the big deal in doing that?" The answer is simple - A person such as an autodriver develops an attitude to refuse to go to a place where you ask him to, or develops an attitude of overconfidence or arrogance or complacency only when his stomach is filled. He has the idea that - "If not you, someone else". Every time you walk manageable distances, you are denying him of some money, while it is not a major hit to you. Imaging what will happen if this gets multiplied by a lot of people - Auto drivers will start feeling the pinch. They cannot afford to refuse getting hired.

Have a look at BMTC buses - There are two types, the normal ones and Volvos. The bus conductors and drivers of normal buses are inherently rude. They talk roughly all the time, and the reasons are that they see a lot of people and the buses are overcrowded all the time. They are able to meet the targets set by BMTC - this is because the fares are lower, and so, many people board the buses, and targets are met. So, they even have the audacity to skip bus stops leaving eagerly awaiting commuters high and dry. Volvo buses on the other hand can't afford to do that - Their fares are higher, and so, very few people board them. If they create a negative attitude, existing commuters may find alternate ways. If that happens, they cannot meet targets set. And this is the reason why they stop even when someone stops them.

Apparently auto drivers in Mumbai are very polite. This is obvious - People there go by local trains largely. They also have buses, autos and taxis as other means of transport. If they are not being competitive, they lose out. In Bangalore, if not for BMTC buses, there are no alternate means of transport for Bangaloreans that take them to the interiors. So, auto rickshaws continue to show attitude problems.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

The Kannada Sad Film Industry Rules or Industry's Sad Rule?

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"When you see a dog in the manger, throw a stone at it"

The Kannada film industry has put a limit on the number of theatres showing non-Kannada movies. The reason? People are watching more non-Kannada movies than Kannada movies. So, basically, if the plants in your garden look like they are dying, then go and wreck your neighbours' garden - Why? Hell, I don't know. Somehow, the KFCC is managing to make their idea not sadistic at all...

The idea of movies, people and popularity is simple - Make a good movie, give proper publicity and people will watch it. Why will they not want to watch a good movie? Instead, pathetic movies are made, that get pathetic reviews - Whichever star you pick (As you know, Sandalwood has every actor named like "[Put star Title Here] Star" which could be golden, silver, bronze, crazy, wacky, rebel, mutineer, or whatever... the movie never seemed to get more than one star in ratings, no matter how many super stars you put.

And don't even get me started on the songs - The only good thing about Kannada songs, is that the music is really good these days. But the lyrics makes me puke... every single day. And the radio stations in Bangalore don't know when enough is enough. With their crappy clich├ęd catch phrases (sakkath hot maga, whatte fun, aithalakadi morning, etc.) they play songs with hopeless lyrics day in and day out. When I started going in Volvo buses, I used to see many people listening to songs from their phones and iPods, and I used to find it strange - Hey, the radio is on, and it's playing refreshing songs with their refreshing RJs. After a really short time, I got it. Most RJs are really annoying, boring and overzealous, jumping to conclusions all the time, and the songs are worse.

The point I am making is this - Yeah, I do agree that you need to have a variety of songs. But the stuff that is being churned out by the industry doesn't qualify to be called as songs. And for all the ruckus that they raise about being true to Kannada, most of these songs have non-Kannada words in them very often. And the Kannada they speak is sub-standard, with no difference existing between alpapraanas and mahapraanas. If you disagree with me, here are some lyrics -
  • Swalpa soundu jaasthi maadu, thumba oLLe songidu, ondu roundu hodedu nodu, bhoomi thumba saNNadu
  • Yaakoooo, thumbaaaa, bore uuu, erade eradu steppu kuNidu bidoNa...
  • ardha litre petrol iththu gaadinali...
  • thale baachkolo powder haakolo...
  • haLe paathre haLe kabbiNa haLe paper...
  • Jinke mari naa, nee jinke mari naa?
  • Pancharangi pom pom...
  • Chitranna chitranna...
  • Bidde bidde bathroom alli, love alli bidde. Maiyella odde
This list will be made longer... (You can contribute) And they have the audacity to arrange for best song awards among these... Reminds me of the IgNobel prize.

The point is not that - The point is, instead of making better movies, they are blocking other movies from screening. This is highly unfair. It is very similar to Auto Drivers who drive away private vehicles and other means of public transport after some time at night, so that all the business comes only to them - So that they can charge one and a half, or double! Dogs in the manger you say? Don't succumb to them - Do what I do... I boycott autos completely. You should never allow mediocrity to prosper. So next time you see a rabid dog in the manger, throw stones...


***
Comments from Facebook

Srivathsan Lakshmipuram: So true dude! I've always found it disgusting!
Why are you punishing me with these lyrics since morning! :-@

Apoorva Chandra: pancharangi is good,there's newness in it... agree with u that all others r crap...

Hemanth Pai: It's dil-logical sirji :P . Hora rajyagala hendakkintha namma maneya thangalu lesu sarvagnya :)

But I admit the quality is very horrible . Either we should make more art / story based movies and also make movies of the shakela genre . That w...ay the uncle-aunty crowd and the teenage crowd both will have somethng to look fwd to

Prashanth N Bhat: It is protectionism that you see everywhere. One example would be closing of the economies till the indigenous products are competitive enough.
The result of this will be that the products will become competitive or complacent. We are seeing what is the result here..

Deepak Vedanthan: Wow .. thale baachkolo powder haakolo ..did this song even exist . Stopped paying attention to kannada songs long time back with one or two exceptions . No wonder ..the industry is in a rut.

Shobhit Ns: I think they are awesome. It takes a lot to get day-to-day words or conversations into your songs. It shows you're paying attention to the simple things in your life. For example, this wandraful Hamsalekha number : "Bidde bidde bathroom alli, love alli bidde. Maiyella odde".

Arvind S Murthy: please go to other states and see how many non-regional language films they play..Karnataka has been by far the most generous whether it comes to freedom of languages or freedom of entertainment...

Can u show me even 1 theatre in Tamil Nadu playing a Kannada movie??
Im not talking about crap Kannada movies even a good kannada movie will they play it?? nope..

Nikhil Baliga: So are you saying that we should also make mistakes just because someone else is? And that's not even the point - I am not aware of how many people there want to watch non-regional movies. But I know how many here want to... And blocking non-regional movies because nobody is watching them, calls for the need for self-assessment.

If people are not buying Reva although it's a cleaner car, people at Reva will not go around destroying other markets - They assessed themselves, realised that their car looks like a crappy toy, and now they have come up with gorgeous models. The way is improvement, not blocking others' development

Arvind S Murthy: Its not a mistake at all..Im saying its a wise move..i dont think tamil or telugu movies would have been as famous if they were played only in their states..besides i feel kannada movies are far better and sensible compared to other movies..

By doing what they are doing now people who would watch a crappy non kannada movie would watch a kannada movie inturn creating more revenue for kannada movies inturn encouraging producers to invest more and try for better quality movies..

Its not fair to complain about quality of movies when there are so many constraints crippling creativity..and when returns are not guaranteed because kannada movies are released only in Karnataka its quite obvious that most movies are below par...

Bharath Srivatsa: In Karnataka some (actually HUGE) number of regional movies are released as compared to none in other states...Crappy non-Kannada regional movies are made too... they are not just released here in Karnataka, only the good ones come out... B...ut other cities dont release good kannada movies also... I am of the opinion that the quality of Kannada movies should definitely improve... At the same time there has to be some kind of restriction as to how many prints of non-Kannada regional movies has to be released... It shouldnt be like there are no screens left for Kannada movies.

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Comments from twitter

Abhishek Sood: Its like those songs are competing with the RJs voice and bakwaas to win the 'WHO SUCKS MORE' contest :)

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Comments from Buzz
Aditya Padaki: Its also evident that good movies in Kannada have run for very long time in theatres... Let them make good movies, movies will automatically attract people... Then, even with no rule, theatres will voluntarily screen Kannada movies to other language movies...

***
Comments from Rambling Coherently

Debugged: And they claim to be doing all this to "PROTECT" the Kannada film industry. The state of Kannada movies is pathetic these days. Why dont they realize that the Kannadigas themselves have migrated to other language films only because the state of movies is bad in Kannada. If they try to make good movies, it will be the first choice for any Bangalorean

Monday, 11 October 2010

Life is a short mystery...

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"I continue to wonder what exactly is life... It's the strangest thing that I don't quite seem to comprehend. And then there's death"

We all live lives - We have dreams, ambitions, wishes, desires, friends, work, parents, relatives, loved ones, enemies... We laugh, cry, shout, shove, fight, beat, run, fly, eat, sleep... And then we die.

Frankly, till date, I have never understood what life is all about - We all took birth, we live a life filled with some or all of the above, and then there is death, which will hit everyone.

Some people say life was an accident - that due to some random events, life just appeared. Possible. Some say that God created life. Possible. Whatever may be the reason for life, one thing continues to haunt me - What is the purpose of life? If you say that life was an accident, get over it, then I disagree because if it was, then there should not have been such an instinctive drive in all of us to survive and plough through. In the end, death will hit all of us, then why should the strong desire for survival exist in each of us?

Just imagine you're writing an exam, and the teacher says that all of you are going to fail the test, no matter what you write (Reminds you of VTU?). Will you have the motivation to study hard? When the end result is known, you will definitely lack the desire to work hard - The mindset would be that - "I'm going to fail anyway, why should I work?" And similarly, if you know that you are going to die, why do we all struggle so hard to live? Are we hardwired to do something, that we seem to be missing?

I'm not being a cynic who says - "Hell, we are all going to die anyway. So, let's not work hard to achieve something in life. What's the point?" No, I am not saying that. I am asking you to think and ponder over it. It is interesting, as an intellectual problem - Perhaps, the strangest mystery that keeps me thinking so often. What is death? The absence of life. So, what's life? What is missing between a person who's alive and who's dead? Why should a person die?

We often take certain things extremely seriously, and often forget to respect and enjoy the smaller things in life. Every minute of your life is precious - Believe me, you will not get to do this again. Live every moment, cherish every moment - You never know when it's your number next...

I continue to believe in - Study and work like you are going to live forever. Don't develop an attitude that you are going to die, and it's pointless. Just stick around. Some day, you never know, Swami Gulagulaananda might answer your questions :-)

And I pray to God to remind me of this fact - and not make another death remind me of the uncertainties and wonders of life

***
Comments from Facebook:

Anand Bhatia: one heartbreak and already getting nihilistic ideas? :P

Nikhil Baliga: heartbreak? Nope, just plain old death

Hemanth Pai: Nikhil , good that u asked this very Question. The thing is ... failure is just a state ... so if the teacher says that all of us are going to fail , you give up reading for 'marks' & instead go for the 'subject' :) . So if u like the subject , an external quantification is totally immaterial to anything of real consequence . Similarly it is with life .. once u like 'life' .. the Quantification is 'So many years u lived ' is totally immaterial :P

This is copy-paste from the book , Zen and the Art of Motorcycle maintenance :-D .. please read it .. its brilliant !!!

Kavya Sampath Kumar: Everyone in your class fails at the same time. Everyone in the world doesn't die at the same time. If we all knew we would die tomorrow, I am sure we'd give up everything. But, we don't know when.

Kiran S Sajjanshetty: coz there is a lot of success that we can achieve before we die and we dont want our lifetime to get wasted...If you think you are going to die and dont struggle hard, you wont be happy in the lifespan given to you..Well all this again depends on individual thinking..

Nikhil Baliga: ‎@Kiran - That depends on your definition of success. If you discover the cure for AIDS, it's a great breakthrough, and you will finally die of old age, even if you survive AIDS.

@Kavya - I disagree. Let's assume that each person is told individually that HE/SHE is going to fail the test for sure (And he/she doesn't know if the rest are failing or not). Then what?

I don't know if you guys read the post, or if you are commenting on the status update alone.

@Hemanth - Haha, good point. I am looking for authentic documentation on life :-) Otherwise, living life as it is, is merely reading VTU text books and passing till I fail. I want to read reference (foreign author for VTU :P) books... hehe, if you know what I mean. The Gita probably comes closest to this, but not many good books are apparently available. Lord Krishna, where art thou?

Kiran S Sajjanshetty: ‎@nik...that sense of achievement that you feel through that breakthrough gives you happiness..its better than doing nothing and just waiting to die coz we know we are going to die anyway...

By achieving success I mean the sense of happiness that follows back once we achieve it...

I just feel that living everyday happily and differently by striving hard to follow your dreams is better than waiting for death and doing nothing..

Hemanth Pai: ‎@ Nik - Thank u :) . Also , regarding what u said about the gita as the reference , its like giving a person 10 days worth of Antibiotics in a single dose :) . " WE " need to go out there , clear up our tunnel vision & actually experience stuff & then we can cross reference it against the Gita . Lot of people take the Gita as the starting road map conveniently forgetting the actual purpose and destination :P

Disclaimer : I have 'analysed' about all these stuff in detail , but followed maybe 20% of it . So i can be contradicted .. hence i own limited liability :) .. lol .

Dolly Singh: I feel purpose of life is to find the purpose of life and full fill it.. And definetly the purpose of life is different for every one... And if u ask why should we find and full fill it then you might get lots of reason if u ready to beleiv...
See more

Gayathri Gopal: Oh niks.. UR words of wisdom gave a new meaning to my life !! ;)

Nikhil Baliga: Ah G3, one more worthy devotee joins the fold of the great Swami :P

Prashanth Harshangi: ‎@dolly -kya baat kiye jo.. is dimag mein kuch bhi samajh mein nahi aaya.. purpose of life is to find purpose of life is an infinite rcursive loop :-)

Baliga - Even though i am going to die probably sooner than most of you I AM NOT STRUGGLING IN LIFE... When teacher says you will fail, the question of fail or pass comes into picture when you attempt the exam.. I wont even write the exam :-) So i didn pass/fail..I bunked.

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Comments from Buzz

Ashvin Srinivasan: @ baliga, I think most average number of ppl can perceive that they can fail in the exam but not many ppl perceive death( even if they perceive), the quite yet cant digest the fact about death. Hence, they just stop worrying about it( Probably human tendency) or else, who knows, we might have had many cynics on this planet!
But your ? " What is the purpose of life", well its still a mystery to be decoded.
There may be some purpose or may not be. I think this ? is very subjective. In my opinion, this ? is most definitely valid. There are some incidents in life which will be an eye opener.
Again in my opinion, the journey is way more important and crucial than the actual destination. The least we can do is our work(Not simply sitting around).
I seriously have no comments on Death and post life and such things.
The only thing I know is, its ridiculous to accept your fate and just keep quiet about it

vinayraj govindarajan: - here i would like to quote a conversation tat happens between the oracle and neo in the matrix reloaded movie......
oracle-everything is destined! u hav already made ur choice........
neo-if everything s destined then y have i been offered a choice?
oracle-to understand y u made tat choice!

ppl can interpret it anyway they want.....however wat i believe is tat the purpose of life is to actually know the purpose of life! u can only know the path when u walk thru it.....i am here coz i had to be the 2nd son of my parents,younger brother of my elder brother,i had to be the reg num 1pi06ec127 of ec dept in pesit, i had to be part of NBT team, in the future i will(perhaps) hav to be the husband of some girl, father of a child/children, and finally i will hav to die and make the ppl who hav been close to me to cry and remind everyone again tat death is certain! tat s the purpose of my existence.......both my success and my failure r destined! but i will hav to fail in order to understand y i failed and in the same way i will hav to succeed in order to know y i succeeded! thus failure or success being the outcomes r irrelevant! coz v only need to knw y those outcomes occured! which finally takes us to the philosophy stated by Lord Krishna-just do ur duty dont worry abt the outcome!