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

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What I Have Been Up To

"... On a long trans-pacific flight, I found myself pondering the same problem... and a couple of days later while sitting near a cage in the Singapore Zoo, I proved a theorem..." - Donald Knuth.

Have not added to this blog in a while (although 'Tech Musings' has seen some very welcome action of late).

Am going thru a period of living alone in my Pune apartment; it is something I used to be used to but not anymore. And health has not been great; there was a spell of deep and violent cough which lasted a full fortnight and it was followed by a severe cold.

And poor health is not something to be enjoyed in solitude.


One particular night last week was especially bad; a screwed up nose, alternately blocked and running, ruined sleep and with nothing to do and nothing to look forward to on the next day (even the home comp had conked off), the scene was ripe for a real depressive trip. Somehow, I forced myself to start thinking about the 'Fair Partitioning' problem (it is all there in the 'blue blog'). And time moved so smoothly thereafter that I did not sense it when day broke...

Unlike Knuth, I did not find out anything that night. I did not crack the problem; and I did not crack!


Yesterday evening, I had to meet old pal Anil and was halfway across the city when I realized I had forgotten to take my apartment keys. The door would have locked automatically on slamming - basically, I had got 'trapped outside'. The first reaction was severe irrational panic, then a tearing rage fuelled by a feeling of inadequacy...

I reached Anil's place in a daze, and things slowly settled down. In the worst case, one needs to call a locksmith... maybe a thousand bucks. Then again the blame game started. If only I had been careful, I could have saved that much of precious dough...

Anil generously offered me a place to sleep out the night.

Calm returned. I figured I could actually climb down from our one-floor-above neighbor's balcony onto our own balcony - lowering myself from their railings on to ours (maybe a 3-4 foot jump down might be involved at the end, tricky given my age but still probably doable) and open our balcony door from outside and get in. From what I remembered, the balconies were rather friendly-ly oriented, the upper neighbor's balcony was (obviously one level up and) laterally displaced ours ...

Doubts followed soon thereafter. What if there the neighbor's balcony is *too laterally shifted* from ours? Then, there would be a deep chasm in between which I would have to cross; and that would be impossible! ... Although I decided to postpone further analysis until I actually got back the next morning, no real sleep happened.


Got up first thing in the morning and rushed back home. Anticlimax of sorts: the balconies had no gaping abyss between; and in long gone days, we had dumped some old plastic chairs, neatly stacked, in a corner of our balcony, in such a perfect position that even the final jump-down was not required!

And the operation cost all of 30 bucks. 10 bucks on a knife with which I cut thru the mosquito net on our window and opened the balcony door latch from outside, and 20 bucks as a tip to our society watchman who had come up and introduced me to our upper neighbor - they have been living right above us for 3 years, maybe more, but we needed intro.


Long ago, I had planned a post on the balcony - as an architectural element. Some of our old Buddhist caves (especially the one at Bhaja, a favorite haunt of mine a few years back) incorporate covered and ornate balconies - supporting struts and all - in their design, with human figures shown peeping out....

Somehow that post never happened...

And yes, in early September, I saw the Kurinji in full bloom again, this time on the slopes beyond Khandala. What was most remarkable was the altitude (as low as 300 odd meters above sea level). Sadly I could not investigate further.

Finally, I have been browsing Wikipedia whenever possible. Here is a juxtaposition from today's Main Page:
On this day:
"September 23: Celebrate Bisexuality Day; National Holiday in Saudi Arabia"


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