Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bar Camp for Dummies (read: me!! :P)

Bar Camp Edition 2 is here in Chennai on the 18th and 19th of October guys. This post if for all you people who are going “bar camp”?? does that mean like u know, ahem, errr.. a camp which gives you free booze ??(errr which is kind of how I went when I first heard about it!! :P)

So here is a bar camp FAQ which i compiled for people like me.

1.Ok. So what is this bar camp thingy and why such a name?
Ans: well, do u know this guy called O reilly who write books on Java and bugged the crap out of us in college? And remember how he used the words “foo” and “bar” to give examples of objects in Java? Well the “foo camp” was something which was started by open source publishing guy O reilly and was an invitation-only participant driven conference. And to counter the foo camp and have an unconference which was open to all and not an invitation only event the bar camp was started and is a very famous un conference with sessions being conducted all over the world. Just google for bar camp and you will know what I mean.

2.Eeeeeeeks!! You mean like a geek fest?? Where people will talk about technology and open source and the likes? I would rather be caught dating Rakhi sawant or Vijaykanth than be caught in such camp.
Ans: Jeeeez. no. That would have been the foo camp. In the bar camp everyone who attends it is encouraged to present or facilitate a session which need NOT necessarily be technical. You can talk about blogging, photo sharing, social bookmarking, pod casting, wiki-ing. Everyone who attends the session would be encouraged to pick a label which reads “I am blogging”, ‘I am tweeting’, “I am wiki-ing” , “I am podcasting” and the likes. It is basically a place for u to meet a lot of likeminded people and talk about your interests with people who share them. The bar camp was born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. Some of the best conversations happen in the corridors and in between sessions where u can get to meet a lot of interesting people is what I have heard.

3.Hmmmm. Tell me more. I am not really convinced
Ans: first thing. You do NOT have to be a geek to enjoy/participate/organize a bar camp. Organizing, getting sponsors, getting a venue, setting up a wiki for this event are fun. Apart from that bar camps mostly contain an all night session where they have fun events (an all night hackathon where you are given a very secure site and asked to hack it is an example) and is basically and arena where you can learn a LOT not just about technology but about a many other things. This bar camp in Chennai is basically trying to shatter the “techie image” of the bar camp. So rest assured it will be fun.

4.Is this the first time it is happening here in Chennai?
Ans: Nope this is the second time. Bar camp is very popular in Bangalore and it just completed its 7th edition

5.So why are you talking about it on your blog??
Ans: Oh well!! Apart from being on the organizing committee (albeit a very very dormant organizer :P ) Cognizant is sponsoring this Edition of bar camp in Chennai and we are hoping to make it big and plus if you choose to be a part of the bar camp you have to help by spreading the word and doing your bit.

6.Naaaah. I am still not very convinced. Jeeez!! you are asking me to believe a half baked bean like you and come and attend the bar camp?
Ans: errrr. Ok. Fair enough. Do read about the bar camp in the following sites. I am sure you will be convinced. Though I take offence to the fact that you don’t take my word but choose to take Wiki’s word!! :P
Read THIS and THIS

7.Hmmm. Ok. So how do we register?
Ans: all right!!! Now we are talking!! :). Hurry up and register for the bar camp because there is place only for about 200 people and places are getting filled fast. Pass this around and tell a lot of people about it. Go Bar Camp Chennai!! :)

Click HERE to Register

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ganguly - Part II - Ganguly doesnt like Hide and Seek biscuits!! :P


Slowly but surely ganguly became an integral part of our lives. We sought ganguly as soon as we came back from college and played with him till he got absolutely tired of us. He was adorable and the friendliest dog we had ever come across. His mother soon forgot about him and it was just us and him. He would mourn woefully when ever (if ever) we left for college and would wait eagerly for us to come back from college leaping on us with his forepaws on our body and his hind legs on the ground. In spite of the plethora of dogs on the campus it was ganguly who attracted us the most and was our favorite mainly because he was the cleanest dog on campus. All the other dogs were flea infested and growled fiercely and menacingly when we tried to shower our affections on them.

Ganguly apart from being clean also had class. He completely REFUSED to eat the mess food and turned up his nose at it just like us. We would coax him and cajole him and try to make him eat the inedible unpalatable muck dished out by the mess workers but he would stubbornly refuse. On the other hand give him anything which we bought from home or the college stores and he would eat it with relish. Milk bikis, ribbon from grand sweets, chicken biriyani from home, pulikachal from home would be gone in a jiffy. Keep a chapatti from the mess in front of him and he would stare disinterestedly at it and give us a look as if to say “you don’t really expect me to eat this do you? I have my standards” and refuse to touch it.

Another characteristic thing about ganguly was that he hated bourbon and hide and seek biscuits. It was fermie who discovered this I think. On the nights of exams when we would stay up till 3 or 4 in the morning studying (errr. We would have figured out what paper it was only at 12 in the night and hence it was mandatory to study till 5 at least to get the much coveted 36 marks) we would be ravenous with hunger and one of us would have a stock of some biscuits to keep the pangs off. Fermie, who loved ganguly more than any of us would keep at least 4 biscuits for him. This would be conversation between us

Me: (coming into her room) hey Ferm. Mi and I are hungry. There are still 4 biscuits left. I am taking this.

Fermie (usually a very soft and kind person would flare up saying): Adhu na ganguly ku vechirukken. (I have kept that for ganguly)

Me: Duh-huh?? I could die of hunger, I could faint at 7 in the morning and not be able to write the exam and you Fermie dear would be the only one responsible for this. Whats more important, my life or Ganguly’s?

Fermie: (making shrek pussy cat eyes at me): please Revs. He hasn’t eaten anything since dinner (neither had I but that didn’t seem enough to invoke fermie’s pity. I have often joked that Fermie would probably have liked me better and given me more to eat in college if I had had four legs, a pink color tongue hanging out and if the noises I made sounded like “Woof woof” or “bow bow”. Aaaaargh. Stop imagining me like that guys!!! :-\)

Me: Fermie please. Mi and I didn’t even have proper dinner. And u r wasting hide and seek biscuits on that mutt?? (don’t get me wrong. I loved ganguly but this was the heights. Given a choice between saving a malnourished kid in Somalia and his dog humanitarian that I am I would choose the kid. Fermie unfortunately didn’t think the same)

Fermie (with a determined look on her face): I am going now and giving it to Ganguly.

So I followed her and watched as she threw one hide and seek biscuit at him. He sniffed at it and looked away in disdain.

“Maybe we should feed him. It was kind rude of me to have thrown it at him” said Fermie

“Aaaaaaaarghhhhhhhh!!!” – that was me

So she called him close to her, opened his mouth and pushed yet another biscuit into his mouth. And would you believe it? Ganguly spat it out. 2 perfectly delicious, edible hide and seeks had been wasted all because Ganguly didn’t like chocolate biscuits. Eeeeeeeee!!!
Fermie tried the same thing with bourbon biscuits and discovered that Ganguly didn’t like even bourbon biscuits. KKK

In spite of our love for Ganguly, It was during exams that Ganguly irritated us the most. During exam times when we would spend sleepless nights and restless days worrying about how we were going to fare in our exams he would sleep peacefully, eat good food and play the whole day. oh for a life like ganguly’s is what we all wished for. Because he stayed with us we thought it was only fair that he should be made to study what we studied and know how difficult (?!?!?!) it was to be an engineer. And so we forced him to study thermodynamics, electronics, operating systems, DBMS etc with us. Following is a picture of muhizh and Tanya trying to teach him the basics of thermodynamics. Ganguly just wasn’t interested and only slobbered over the books and hence didn’t learn anything. I guess he didn’t want to become an engineer. I wonder why? Given the fact that most of us with an engineering degree work like dogs I wish he too had graduated with a degree

Then in second year when Ganguly was 14 years (ideally 2 but 1 human year is equal to 7 dog years) old he became an adolescent and before we knew it he went into heat and started fathering children left right and center all over the campus.
(To be continued)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Ganguly - Part I -Birth and entry into our lives

DISCLAIMER : Those of you who are reading this post expecting to read something about Dada and his unfavorable position with the selectors let me warn you that this post has nothing to do with him.

Twenty 17 years olds with no common bond between them, out of their homes for the first time in their lives, terribly homesick, hopelessly failing in all the class tests, ragged by seniors, awed by our “day scholar” peers who were “city girls”, apprehensive about everything and completely hating hostel life in an engineering college.

And then Ganguly happened. I still distinctly remember the day he came into our lives. It was 5 in the evening and the day of an India Pakistan match. Our seniors had bunked college and were sitting in the TV room watching the match. All of us (first years) had just come back from college, back to the wretched hostel and were sitting outside hostel, drinking a brown colored mildly warm, sickeningly sweet liquid which the mess workers liked to call tea and making polite conversations with each other about the day’s happenings when we heard whines and yelps from behind a bush where we were sitting. Having heard horror stories from seniors about how our hostel was infested with snakes (stories which we later passed on to our juniors!! :P) a few of us retreated from the bush while a few brave ones ventured into the bush to discover the source of the noise.

And there behind the bush lying next to his mother, looking at us shyly with black eyes which were limpid pools of innocence was Ganguly. The smallest, whitest, cutest and loveliest puppy we had ever seen. (Though I have many photos of Ganguly I don’t have a single one of his in that almost divine form of his.). we quickly called all the scaredy cats who had run away to show them the puppy (not christened as yet). We watched in unmasked delight as he shyly hid behind his mother probably embarrassed by the presence of 10 girls looking intently at him.

One of us (the only one who was in the senior’s good books – Fermie was it you?) called them to have a look. The match had just gotten over with Ganguly performing abysmally as the captain and losing out to archrivals Pakistan by a huge margin.

"Yevlo azhaga irruku" one girl squealed

"Eeeeeeeeeks. Rabies varum." Maintain your distance. That was me. I was a person who was very very scared of dogs (stress is on the word “was”. Ganguly completely changed my outlook and the day I make enough money and buy a house of my own, I will buy a German Shepherd or a cocker spaniel or german shepherd to give me company and name him Popeye!!)

It’s a boy squealed another one who had a dog at home

Yenna per vekailam? What shall we call it? this question was doing its rounds and suddenly a voice said “Lets name him Ganguly. The way he performed in this match only a dog deserves his name”. this sent peals of laughter and hoots of approval amongst all present and we turned around to see who had christened him. It was Sita akka. One of the nicest, seniors, then known to all of us as padips (a crude term used in engineering to refer to anyone who studied) and scholarship holder. So Ganguly he was and since his mother was friendly enough we gently lifted the little fellow and held him up high for everyone to look and admire while he yelped and whined for his mother.

Having restored him to the safety of his mothers lap (errr. What else would u call the part of a dog’s body where her children lie?? ), We spent the entire evening and a better part of the night looking at Ganguly, feeding him the mess food (which he refused politely, preferring his mothers milk to horse hide chapatis) and talking about him late into the night with the seniors.

At last we had found a common bond amongst us. At last were not scared of our seniors but were chattering happily with them about Ganguly. At last it looked like we were settling down.

(To be continued..)

For u guys to be able to relate better to ganguly here is a pic of him!! :)
Click to get a better image and to see Ganguly in all his glory!! (do check out his eyes!! :))

Monday, September 08, 2008

Of silly friends, the english language, office and marathons!! :)

1. So one of my closest friends Akila has gone to Sweden on an “on-site” trip. Being the first one to go from our group of “we-are-useless-and- we-hate-the-software-field-but-we-still-will-rot-here” group, all of us were enormously excited about her trip and asked her to mail us ASAP about Sweden, her hotel, her life, her work everything. Now Aki, nice though she is, for the life of her cannot write or type long mails. She uses all kinds of short forms whose meanings we are never able to decipher.
If I were to give an appropriate analogy I would say “Aki is to long letters as Osama Bin Laden is to world peace” or “aki is to words as maneka Gandhi is to non-vegetarianism”. You get the drift? She cant write.

So the other day we get a mail from her saying

(quoting her verbatim)

“hotel provides bf....thr r lots of stuff for bf...but then they don display the names”

And she sends this to our group of 6 friends all of whom are perverts in their own rights and whose thoughts are as straight as a Jalebi!!

One friend replies saying “they give u boy friends in the hotel?? Whoa?? Are they like tall dark and handsome. What do u care about the names of the ‘BF’??”

Another one replies saying “Aki, what the hell is wrong with u and what kind of a hotel are u staying in which provides blue films?? Eeeeeeyuck. And this is company accommodation??? And u want the names of the movies??? Eeeeeeee!!”

Another one thought it was buffet.

And not a single one of us actually understood that by ‘bf’ she meant breakfast.
It was only after she clarified, that we were enlightened!! :|

2.Sometimes wrong messages i.e messages of which you are not the intended recipient can be fun!! On Saturday I was to meet another very close friend of mine, Milinta, in bessy at 6 in the evening to share some high profile gossip about who’s going out with who and who’s marrying who. (Sighh!! Yeah. We are a group of sad individuals who meet at besant nagar ever other weekend, sit at Barista and discuss the lives of other people over a plate of dark temptation. Who was the dude who said “Great Minds Discuss Ideas; Average Minds Discuss Events; Small Minds Discuss People?” Yeah, so we are small minds!! :P). So on Friday after a friendly round of unparliamentarily words had been exchanged and after we had politely called each other a “stinking pig” and “rotting piece of garbage” for not calling/mailing, we fixed up a time to meet and “discuss people” we hung up and I suddenly get a message from Milinta saying (quoting her verbatim)“I am meeting Revs tomorrow. :) :) :). God. I dunno y but I am so so so happy”

:D:D. I was flabbergasted when I saw that message coz among us friends we have a rule. No gooey sappy senti shit whatsoever!! Anyway not the one to let go a chance to throw some weight around all I can say is “Jeeez Mi!! I know I am smart and sexy and awesome and funny and intelligent and people are thronging and languishing outside my gates to catch a glimpse of me but do u really have to be so explicit??” :P

Awwwwwwwwwwwwww Mi!!wipe that embarrassed expression off your face. Now not only me but the whole world knows that u like me and die to spend time with me!! :D

3. I hate the English language. I think it is the most illogical and ridiculous language ever. This Saturday as I was volunteering at deepam and teaching the kids the spellings of a couple of words I was stumped by some of the questions posed by the kids. I mean sample this. I asked a kid the spelling of culture and he says “c-u-l-c-h-e-r” and I go “no, that’s wrong. Its c-u-l-t-u-r-e” and he says “but last week u asked me to spell teacher. Wouldn’t culture be spelt the same way?” and I am like “errrr. Ahem.. cough. That’s english” and the boy says to his friends “Yenna da indha akka ke onnum therila”!! :| :|. Pretty embarrassing u say and I completely agree. I dunno how to tell the kids that, that’s how the English language is where “feet smell and noses run” and “plural of goose is geese but moose remains moose” and so many other things. Next was teaching them how to use the “conditional formatting” feature in excel. Now I am pathetic at excel. I cant even add two numbers using excel and I have never heard of conditional formatting. Needless to say I made a complete fool of myself in front of 20 kids half my age with one of them telling me that I if I wanted to enter a formula in excel I must put an “=” sign in front!! :-\
Sigh!!! so much for having done “computer science and engineering”!!

4. my enthusiasm (for people who don’t know, I have been blessed with amazing levels of enthusiasm and energy and I very rarely get tired or lazy) reaches a nadir when I am organizing some activities in office. I hate office, I hate organizing games for people who are about as enthusiastic and interested as a wet sponge. I know I am being judgmental but I sit like a zombie in all the “Connect” (that’s what the “fun” group in my account is called) meetings keeping my mind shut and refusing to give any ideas and refusing to refute crappy ideas like “lets play housie or lets play antakshari (who plays antakshari except 14 year old school girls going on a bus to picnics)”.
This is soooo not me but I just cant bring myself to be enthusiastic about something being done in office. :-\

5. I ran the marathon. Yay yay!! I ran all 7 kms.
Ok. I walked 6.75 kms and ran the rest. Don’t blame me. There were about 50000 people running and there wasn’t even place to crawl let alone walk or run. The bottom line is that we finished running all 7 kms!! I ran mainly to get a “I love Chennai“ t-shirt but didn’t get it!! :(

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

So this Saturday fermie and I were in odyssey browsing through the books section to buy a gift for a friend.

Suddenly I notice this book called “World’s best short stories”. I open the book , see names like E.M.Forester, Saki, O henry and my BP goes up by several notches, my heart starts beating fast and with my fingers crossed I flip the book to look at the cost, give a huge sigh, realize that I have already bought this month’s quota of books and unwillingly place the book back on the shelf not willing to let go off it.

Fermie standing in front of another shelf is holding princess diaries part I (errr. yeah meg cabot is Fermie’s favorite writer. If u know Fermie you will NOT find this surprising). The book which she has wanted to buy for a long long time. She has all other parts except the first one. She slowly flips the book looks at the price tag, lets a huge sigh and replaces it again.

Suddenly she looks at me and says “Revs, u know what? I didn’t get u anything for ur birthday. I saw your reaction to that short stories book. I m gonna get u that”

And I go “U know Fermie, even I never got u a book for ur birthday. I am gonna get u princess diaries part I”

We look at each other for a minute and start laughing like crazy, get weird glances from an old man holding a book by Leo Tolstoy (weight of book = weight of old man) go to the billing counter and bill our books with a huge grin on our faces

I walk away with my short stories and she walks away with her princess diaries, with no guilty conscience of having spent too much on books. Buying gifts for friends aint such a bad thing, is it? ;)

Friendship - I just love that word!! :)

P.S: Ultimately we never got anything for the friend for whom we went to buy a gift!! :-\

P.P.S: Errr if any of u guys are having birthdays in the near future do come with me to odyssey. There is this book which I have wanted to buy for quite some time, and I am sure there is some book which you would like to have too!! :P

P.P.P.S: the book which I was referring to in the previous P.S is the entire calvin and hobbes collection worth 4000 bucks!! :rolling eyes:.