'(The Blog) With No Name', perhaps best described as a stream of notes and thoughts - 'remembered, recovered and (sometimes) invented'.

Monday, April 24, 2006

A Fine Eye For Detail - Indian Railways Style

While traveling by train across this country, one gets to see occasional wayside boards supplying a minimum of geographical information. "---- River" or "---- State" The message is invariably terse and matter of fact - it usually is not even "Welcome To ---- State".

Here is an exception: Trains from Pune to Mumbai cross a few meter wide water body near Mumbra. There stands a board which declares: "You Are Crossing The Arabian Sea At Mumbra Creek"

The said creek is only a narrow inlet from an inlet of the Arabian sea. BUT, since it is also true that both ends of the bridge are on different points on the shores of that sea, the claim made by the board is quite a valid one (geometrically speaking - or is it topologically?). Indeed, on the other hand, when you cross the considerably wider Thane creek a few kilometers beyond Mumbra, you are NOT making a crossing of the Arabian sea; indeed, only one end of that bridge is on the shore of the sea and the other end is on an island in that sea (Mumbai is a proper island city after all). And the railways have NOT put up any grand board there.

Friday, April 21, 2006

When Geometry Is ****

I like Geometry and this (and karma) led to me to a career in CAD/CAM and then Computer Graphics.

I remember those early days, when one used to feel vaguely uncomfortable about a certain usage (very) current in the graphics community: "FLUSH out the Geometry!". A senior explained: "Look at the context! In graphics, the reality is that geometry often is indeed something to be cleaned up and gotten rid of - and then of course, to be recreated and put all over the place, all over again." We understood. And we bought into the phrase.

A few days back, I faced a weird problem with my machine. A certain program I was running kept crashing and taking everything else down with it ... even logging me out! I went and cribbed to someone more knowledgeable: "Bad scene! I just launch the damn thing and it bombs and just wipes out everything, ... treats everything like ... geometry you know, including self!"

The Sagely Colleague spoke thus: "Hey, you had run an automated test suite yesterday! Did you reboot the machine afterwards?"

Self: "No".

T S C: "Actually that could be the problem. These test suites, they launch some daemons and stuff and you know, leave a lot of ... geometry here and there in the system. Either you go and clean it everywhere or simply reboot. Else ..."

Self: "It will just lie around and keep raising a major stink, I guess"

T S C: Spot on!

And by the way, it is said Plato kept this warning message atop the gates of his Academy: "Those ignorant of Geometry may not enter!"

Friday, April 14, 2006

Another New Year


Last year on the same 'Vishu' day (the New Year for Mallus and to a good approximation, Tams), Anamika went online. Now, 60 odd posts (and many more comments!) later, I feel motivated enough to keep it running for some more time. A new smaller blog on purely tech matters is being separated out of this main stream. It has been titled 'Tech-Musings'.

Monday, April 10, 2006

More On The Second Person In Malayalam

I had a post here on what I thought were severe difficulties with the second person pronouns in Malayalam, my native language.

It appears eminent writer O.V.Vijayan had a somewhat different take on the matter:
"Malayalam language is full of terms of respect and affection for addressing elders. One often sees words like achchan (father), amma (mother), ettan (elder brother) echi (elder sister) and so on used purely as honorifics to address elders or to refer to them"

(from the author's note accompanying a collection of the English translations of some of his stories).

Friday, April 07, 2006

...And Some More, From Days Long Gone

"Is Bombay Dying?" - cover story on the Illustrated Weekly of India, c. 1980.

"Bangalore is fast becoming a city of slums from one of gardens."
- from an article in The Hindu, circa 1982.

"Calcutta IS a dying city" - statement attributed to Rajiv Gandhi, c. 1985.

"Bangalore is bursting at the seams... its public transport, badly lacking a railway backup, is in a shambles" - from Frontline c. 1988

A 'Snapshot'

Mid-afternoon. it must be very hot outside. The 'volvo' stops. One draws the curtains aside and peers out. A busy intersection; the sun blazing away; a traffic light glowers, red. A pair of dirty looking little birds are flitting around it. Yes, you call them 'market sparrows' in Malayalam. Their smallness make them look sort of cute but they generally are to be seen amidst garbage, aren't they? One of them has a black patch on the throat - the male of the pair; and he appears by far the more energized of the two. Presently his mate settles on top of the traffic light and he approaches and lands on top of her ... and takes off again in about two seconds; she follows. And they both resume their complex maneauvres around the light which has since turned green - the bus has begun to move; the curtains are drawn over; 'Sion Circle' must be about a quarter of an hour ahead.