Monday, April 24, 2006

Paritranaya Sadhunam

Paritranaya sadhunam vinashaya cha dushkritam.
Dharma sansthapanarthaya sambhavami yuge yuge.

(Gita 4:8)
For the up-liftment of the good and virtuous,
For the destruction of evil,
For the re-establishment of the natural law,
I will come, in every age

These golden words were spoken by lord Krishna to Partha, at the dawn of the first day of the Great Mahabharata War at Kuruksetra, when he is all disillusioned and has to make a choice between doing the right and fighting his brothers.

Fast-forward to present day and you can easily draw a metaphor to the above mentioned Partha and to the millions that make up this great country. India is Rising, no doubt and is on-road to become one of the greatest economic and technological superpowers of the world. But I often feel that India is like a chained Phoenix.

Though has risen from the ashes of the British Raj, it is unable to take flight, bound by the shackles of nothing but corruption, bigoted conservativeness, and the fight over trivial matters (Check out this post from Bhatta to see what i mean), when a diamond mine lies straight ahead.

Politics can be defined as “The methods or tactics involved in managing a state or government”. But here, politics is the “art” of clinging on to the seats of power (often shamelessly), and making so called necessary reforms, so that it ensures your return to highest echelons of power.We are like Arjuna-Partha, stunned and silent, watching all this unfold in front of us, time and again, not having the courage to do what is right and take the easy way out and go along with it all, or worse still, not be bothered about it at all.

A glimpse of hope now has dawned on the horizon. “Lok Paritran” (or Emancipator of the Masses) is a new party that has been floated by ex-IITians, trying to make a difference. A set of educated (That would be an understatement) Indians, who could all have had a luxurious life at mansions in Hawaii or Silicon valley, have plunged into politics, with a vow for the betterment of society. Check out these guys

Santhanagopalan Vasudev (Chief Advisor)
B.S. (Physics) University of Missouri,Kansas, USA
MA(Economics) New York Univ, New York, USA

Tanmay Rajpurohit (National President)
B. Tech.(Aerospace Engg) IIT Bombay
MS(Aerospace Engg) Georgia Tech, Atlanta, USA
MA(Economics) New York Univ, New York, USA

Chandrashekhar (National General Secretary)
B. Tech. (Computer Science & Engg)IIT Kanpur

They are contesting elections in 7 constituencies in TamilNadu, against political heavyweights. I truly hope this guys can make the difference and it spreads like wild fire, all over the nation, much like how our freedom struggle started.

Check out the party homepage –
Their manifesto – Lok Paritran Manifesto

An interview of the Party leaders that came in Headlines today (thanks to Sudhish Kamath for the video)

Lok Paritran was interviewed by Headlines Today around mid of April. But for the fact that the host couldn't even pronounce the name right and wrongly assumed it was inspired by Rang De Basanti, it turned out to be an interesting capsule, when the party actually predates the movie.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Mi primer intento en karaoke

Thanks Google Translation for the wonderful title.

Music has always been a passion for me, though i dont think i sing very well. A kick-ass bathroom-singer, i can sing decently as long as the melody doesnt span many octaves.

I was always facinated by the concept of Karaoke. Karaoke is a Japanese abbreviated compound word: "kara" comes from "karappo" meaning empty, and "oke" is the abbreviation of "okesutura," or orchestra. Usually, a recorded popular song consists of vocals and accompaniment. Music tapes in which only the accompaniment is recorded were named "karaoke." It is now widely recognized that the use of karaoke started at a snack bar in Kobe City. It is said that when a strolling guitarist could not come to perform at the bar due to illness or other reasons, the owner of the bar prepared tapes of accompaniment recordings, and vocalists enjoyed singing to the tapes. Even though it is only legend, this might have been the beginning of karaoke, and since then, karaoke has been commercialized and has become popular all over Japan.

Last week, I came across this software called KaraFun, a Free MIDI and MP3 karaoke player. Downloaded some .kar files and was trying to sync myself to it... when an idea struck me. I decided to try a hand at singing and then blogging it, so that the whole world can share the misery that my roommates have been enduringfor the past 2 days...

I decided to play the .kar file in KaraFun, add my voice and record using CoolEditPro and convert from .wav to .mp3 in Adobe Audition (had to use our software somewhere). So here it is

1. Imagine by John Lennon
Chose this song for 2 reasons. Numero Uno, it suits my voice, no much pitch variations and aural tantrums. Secondly, Imagine is as lush and melodic as anything John Lennon (R.I.P) has created since the break-up of the Beatles. The benign, low-key aura that suffuses Imagine fills us with hope and promise of "a tensionless, defence-free life"

If you havent heard the original, check it out here...

Song: Imagine
Originally sung by: John Lennon
Album: Imagine
Sung by: Raghu

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2. Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton
I heard this for the first time, in a Manipal Video where a guy named Shanky was playing the chords for the song. I loved it. Here's the video from my repository...

I found it so amazing that i started searching for the original and found that it was sung by Eric Clapton, who has given us songs like "Cocaine" and "Layla". On investigation on why he decided to sing such a song, i found that the song is as touching as it is amazing.

"Tears in Heaven" was written by Clapton as a tribute to his son Conor, who tragically died by falling from the 53rd stage of a building in New York, he was only four and half, on March 20, 1991.

Quoting Clapton on the song
"In writing Tears in heaven, my mind was : Will I see him again one day ? It wasn't : I can't anymore, I feel ravaged; there are no these words in my song, there is not a word which involves the sadness. I ask the question : Will I see you again one day ? I think it is the question that everybody has when they lost loved people. It translates the anguish I had to never see my son again. But there is no sadness because I am sure one day I will see it again."

If you havent heard the original, check it out here...

Song: Tears in Heaven
Originally sung by: Eric Clapton
Album: Eric Clapton Unplugged
Sung by: Raghu

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3. Winds of Change by The Scorpions
This song did not come out well, but neverthless, I'm uploading it. Might put up a better version later. One of my Scorpion favourites...

"Wind of Change" is a 1990 Power ballad song by the German band Scorpions. Its lyrics celebrate the political changes in Eastern Europe at that time - such as the fall of the Berlin Wall, the increasing freedom in the communist bloc (which would soon lead to the fall of the USSR), and the clearly imminent end of the Cold War.

Many listeners of the song who are not acquainted with Moscow are often confused by the meaning of the opening line of the song, which is:

I follow the Moskva
Down to Gorky Park
Listening to the wind of change...

The Moskva is the name of the river that runs through Moscow, and Gorky Park is the name of an amusement park in Moscow. Although the Scorpions are German, they were inspired to write this song on a visit to Moscow in 1989, and therefore included references to the aforementioned landmarks.

If you havent heard the original, check it out here...

Song: Wind of Change
Originally sung by: Scorpions
Album: Crazy World
Sung by: Raghu
FYI... I didnt whistle in the song, it was too hard. What you hear was a part of the Karaoke :)

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If any of you are not acquainted with the originals, I have put them up on my media blog. You can see them here... Hope you like them... Please leave your comments. Appreciation and "creative" critcism greatfully accepted...

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Branching Me...

Working in the IT industry, you often hear about branches... The whole code is duplicated to be worked upon so that if any error perchance occurs in one, it does not creep into the mainline. So here I'm branching into 3. You can find my ravings at the following places...

1. The Actual Me - Walk of Life

2. The Alternate Me - Ravings of an Illogical Mind

3. My Media Monologues - My Media Monologues

What ever is good in the other two will creep into the mainline... But hope you enjoy all the three

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

My very own iRiver U10

Adobe Rocks... I got my iRiver U10 1GB from the company as a gift (who doesnt like gifts)... Its a pretty cool Gadget.

The U10 arrived with its paraphernalia, neatly packed in 2 boxes, complete with starter kits, ear phones, pouch, USB connectors and the a cool egg cradle (it looks like a 2.7 inch TV on my desk).Playing with it for about half hour, i vouchsafe that its the coolest gadget i have owned.

I love music. MP3 players have been a blessing, doing away with heavy and bulky stuff like CD Players (I cant even think of the Dark Ages of the Walkman or worse still the stone age of Tape Recorders. Gramaphones seems like a pre-genesis concept). I have owned and used many MP3 players now... (click on the pic below)

It all started with the Samsung YP-T6X (512 MB) player. I got it from USA when my uncle came down. It was a really good one (still used by my sis...). It has a circular joystick and a good blue backlit display. The ear phones were of very good quality (so good, that i used these with my Zen Neeon later). It was compact and required a AA battery to run, which suited me, as i didnt have a Laptop for USB Charging.

Then I got inducted into the Macromedia family and was given my next favourite gadget... my IBM Thinkpad T41. So now i had an option of USB charging, i wanted more... Then the anniversary of Macromedia India came and we were all given a Zen Neeon, the 5GB variety. It was not that cute or intutive, but was very handy, as it had 5GB disk space (so could hold my music collection ... almost). Also, the Zen has an amazing battery life (think around 20 hrs). So I ditched Samsung and started using Zen for its sheer capacity and USB charging convinience, though i liked the former for its user-friendliness.

Then came my brief acquaintance with the rage called "The iPods". Started with the Shuffle (512MB) that I bought on my visit to Stanford, in their college store (for a dear friend). I used it all the way back to India. Nothing can beat the sound quality of the Apple earphones (just those costs about $30 in India). The shuffle looks pretty impressive, but the sad part is that it does not have a display.

Then came the giant in the MP3, Video Player industry, the mighty emperor, The Video iPod (now i guess the prince Nano has taken over the proceedings in the Player kingdom). My roommate has one, so i often playaround with it. We got a video out to the TV, so we can watch movies. The giant has a cool touch-rotate dial, amazing dispaly and an uber-cool look. But i dislike it for 4 reasons

1. Its too big to fit in the pocket
2. Battery gets drained too fast while playing movies
3. Requires iTunes & Apple standard for every damn thing
4. Finally, I dont own one (grrrr.....)

Now Along comes U10. Its like a confluence of the Neeon and the iPod. Has a cool look but is small and cute and fits right into my jeans. Has a good display, plays mP3s, videos, has an FM Radio, Flash games (our very own Flash).

But on the downside it has only 1GB (there is an old Indian saying, "Do not count the teeth of a cow that was given to you as charity"). I'm loving my acquaintance with the U10, lets see how it turns out.

Monday, April 17, 2006


I heard Dave Matthews for the first time, when i heard his single at the WTC Telethon "A Tribute to the Heroes". I thought, "Damn, this guy is good..."

I found later that he has a band, called Dave Matthew's Band (a.k.a DMB). Their music is kinda fusion of Country, Rock, Blues and had a very nice feeling to it.. They have a violin accompanyist and something very stange for a band, the violinist and drummer were blacks and others white...

They have some amazing numbers like Satellite, Crash into Me and Digging my Ditch and the wonderful perfomance of All Along the Watchtower in Woodstock..

I wanted the telethon video so badly, and found it finally (you guessed it, on youtube... I'm beginning to love this site). So here it is. DMB with Everyday.

Won’t you help Save the Rock !

I was one who used to believe that “Rock and Roll is all Noise pollution”. It sounded like pure cacophony that used to bewilder my senses. Then came the most incredible change of my life. Manipal….

The place I learned that Pink Floyd was closer to Nirvana than the Pope, that original music is what really matters. I started hating those boy bands, Britney, Christina (I’m on a first name basis with all)…etc. You could put any church coir on with the same chords and get the same or perhaps (no, definitely) better aural effect (I stress the word ‘aural’, the visual effect that Britney and likes give is titillating).

This actually takes me back to Shakespearian times. I remember reading a part in Hamlet those talk of young boys with squeaky voices who put respectable actors out of business. Now I know why they say history repeats itself.

Anyway, the trend in the last decade has been towards kinky pop, blasting hip hop and gangster rap. Where is the good old rock gone? You ask people for the best rock they have heard, names range from Bryan Adams (my friend Joy refuses to consider him rock) to U2, from Floyd to Eagles… I can’t think of many classic or for that matter hard rock bands in the 21st century. God save rock…

I thought about this when I saw this video on youtube….

Friday, April 14, 2006

V for Vendetta

A vivid display of vibrant acting, complete with vicarious dialogs and vicious fight scenes was but a vestige of this movie. The movie filled with vastitudes of vigor, vitality and vivacity, V was a visual treat with voluminous thrills, vivid characterization and vehement out-bust of emotions.

V for Vendetta is a comic book series written by Alan Moore and illustrated mostly by David Lloyd, set in a dystopian future United Kingdom. A mysterious anarchist named V works to destroy the fascist government and profoundly affects the people he encounters.

The movie “V for Vendetta” is a beautiful illustration of the same. Though I have not read the book or the comics, the movie sticks to the original and does not take what is hailed as “Artistic-Liberty” to plagiarize the script to the viewer’s tastes.

The first few minutes of the movie reminded me vaguely of the Shakespearian plays that I learned in high-school. The dialog format, delivery and content, filled me with nostalgia of those days with Hamlet and Merchant of Venice. It’s like an amalgam of Shakespearian tragedies and George Orwell’s “1984”. Quite amazingly entertaining…

V has a reference to Guy Fawkes (April 13, 1570–31st January, 1606), an English soldier and a member of a group of Roman Catholic conspirators who attempted to carry out the so-called Gunpowder Plot in 1605. The plot was an attempt to assassinate King James I of England (James VI of Scotland) and the members of both houses of the Parliament of England. To do this, Westminster Palace was to be blown up during the formal opening session of the 1605 Parliament, in which the king would address a joint assembly of both the House of Lords and the House of Commons. But he was caught. Guy Fawkes is remembered with Guy Fawkes Night on November 5 (the Roman letter equivalent of which is V). It was said that Fawkes was "the only man to ever enter parliament with honorable intentions."

Similarly V seeks vengeance to bring the tyrannical government to its knees. He says that he is, “vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin vanguarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition. The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous”

It took me a long search to find the actor beneath the mask. I was quite surprised that it was Hugo Weaving, too well known for his amazing protrayal of "Agent Smith" in the Matrix Trilogy and the wisest of all Eldars, "Elrond" in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, chosen to be the man behind the mask... The V

A Multifaceted Personality - Hugo Weaving

The Vox populi has given their verdict… “An amazing watch, if you do not vest to the vanity variety”

The V dialog...
(I had to search a lot for this... thanks again to youtube for the video)

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Awsome C&H - New Year Resolution

This C&H Strip, reminded me of Joy and Pai and our times together as the "Ray of Dope"... It also brought to mind, the exchanges between them, Dey and Pani.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Fork of Life

This has always been in the back of my mind, always picking at my brains. But I decided to blog about it when I saw this entry in my friend DDey blog.

Robert Frost is a great poet, who has given us such wonderful poems (I loved his works right from high school, my personal favorites being Birches, Mending Wall and Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening).

But reading Dey's blog entry, the poem that came to my mind was Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken". Its the story of a traveler who reached a fork in his journey and decided to take the less traveled road then reflects on it later with a pleased demeanor.

As DDey says,
"I believe every moment is a forked road. You choose one path, and that determines what happens next, and at the next fork, you choose yet another path, and so on. The point is, you decide what path you take, and hence, you decide what happens to you next. Therefore whatever happens in your life is a consequence of a decision that you made at some previous instant in time."

I have faced the "Fork of Life" a lot of times. To reflect back on it makes me neither happy nor sad, just contented that I have chosen what I have (the less traveled road or not).

May be I'm too nerdish, but the fork is a place to analyze life as a tree (binary or otherwise). Trace the graph of the consequences of your selection and predict the approaching "forks" in life. It can help you make a decision in the most optimized way.

But then again, its all crap... I had a fork in life where I had to decide, where I had to do my graduation. One was a college, well known for there academic excellence (BITS Pilani) and known to groom the best engineers in the country, one was a safe option of staying on the home-turf in a college near by and then there was Manipal (the unknown, the unexplored, the lesser trodden road) about which people told me all kinds of stories.

I was "Forked" and the logical solution cried out to me saying "go to Pilani for God sake, even if it was to study something that I didn't enjoy", my mother wanted me to be at home and was keen not to spend unnecessary money on my education... But I dared to take the less traveled road and packed my bags to Manipal.

The 4 years I spent there was perhaps the happiest of my life. It taught me a lot of lessons, evolved me into a true MITan and landed me into a job that even the best dream of. But looking back, I often think how it would have turned out, if I had taken any of the other two roads. Where I would have been and how different it would be. But now,

"I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
-Robert Frost

There is always an amalgam inside your soul, of destiny and determination, that makes the decisions for you, for the better or for the worse...

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

ScrapBlog... Yet another FLEX Sucess Story

Yet another Flex sucess story (after Yahoo Maps among others). Eariler today, I got a mail from Matt Chotin about this site called where one can have a photoblog with loads of interactivity, all for free.. Whats more, it was made in Flex1.5. If someone can do such a great job with Flex1.5, wonder what people will do with FLex2.0.

It has a nice UI (though a bit too flashy for my taste), some cool custom components and good amalgam of technologies like Java, Flex and Applets... Loved it. I created mine, just to get a feel of it. Feels good to see your product being used so productively

Here's my scrap blog

Try it out today... I'm sure you will love it.

Monday, April 03, 2006

The Amazing C&H

Calvin and Hobbes was first conceived when Bill Watterson, having worked in an advertising job he detested, began devoting his spare time to cartooning, his true love. He explored various strip ideas but all were rejected by the syndicates to which he sent them. However, he did receive a positive response on one strip, which featured a side character (the main character's little brother) who had a stuffed tiger. Told that these characters were the strongest, Watterson began a new strip centered around them. The syndicate (United Features Syndicate) which gave him this advice actually rejected the new strip, and Watterson endured a few more rejections before Universal Press Syndicate decided to take it...

The first strip was published on November 18, 1985 and it went on, captivating the minds of all till Bill decided to call it quits. In the first strip, Calvin meets Hobbes when he catches him with a rope noose baited with a tuna fish sandwich. Watterson later wrote that this initial explanation of Hobbes's origins becomes unnecessary and moot as the series progresses. At one point, Calvin describes him as, "On the quiet side. A bit peculiar. A good companion, in a weird sort of way"

The very first C&H, Nov 18, 1985
(I had a hard time finding it on the net)

Named after 16th-century theologian John Calvin (founder of Calvinism and a strong believer in predestination), Calvin is an impulsive, imaginative, energetic, curious, intelligent, and often selfish six-year-old. The strips do not disclose Calvin's last name. Watterson has described Calvin thus:

"Calvin is pretty easy to do because he is outgoing and rambunctious and there's not much of a filter between his brain and his mouth. I guess he's a little too intelligent for his age. The thing that I really enjoy about him is that he has no sense of restraint, he doesn't have the experience yet to know the things that you shouldn't do. The socialization that we all go through to become adults teaches you not to say certain things because you later suffer the consequences. Calvin doesn't know that rule of thumb yet."

Mr. Hobbes
Hobbes is Calvin's tiger who, from Calvin's perspective, is as alive and real as anyone else in the strip. He is named after 17th-century philosopher Thomas Hobbes, who had what Watterson described as "a dim view of human nature." He is famous for his claim that humans' natural state is a state of war, where "the life of man is, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short." Hobbes shares this mentality, and states many times throughout the strip his superiority to Calvin. While appearing real to Calvin, everyone else perceives him as a small, inanimate stuffed tiger. Hobbes is much more rational and aware of consequences than Calvin, but seldom interferes with Calvin's troublemaking beyond a few oblique warnings—after all, Calvin will be the one to get in trouble for it, not Hobbes.

The lovable Duo
Calvin and Hobbes strips are characterized by sparse but careful draftsmanship, intelligent humor, poignant observations, witty social and political commentary, and well-developed characters that are full of personality.

So finally, the 3150th and final strip ran on Sunday, December 31, 1995. The strip was accompained by an explanation with Bill about why he was quitting. It depicted Calvin and Hobbes outside in freshly-fallen snow, reveling in the wonder and excitement of the winter scene. "It's a magical world, Hobbes ol' buddy!" Calvin exclaims in the last panel. "Let's go exploring!"

The C&H Epitah

Its a Magical World... Lets go exploring
(Last C&H Stip December 31, 1995)

Thanks Wikipedia & for the info... Stefan Rundberg rare C&H stips... BTW, checkout this article that views C&H as a polictical commentry on America's governments.