Monday, 31 March 2014

"Election Fever Turns Nation Sick"

My attention gets amassed at this Pizza By The Bay billboard every time I board a taxi for my daily 5 minute ride to the college. They've come up with a lot of flair and insight in their messages that resonate with the times but this one's stayed long enough to become obtrusive. I wondered how long they'll keep it and suddenly, I feel it's not a bad idea to let it stay there till we're making a fool of ourselves. We probably deserve that for all that we long for. What might have appeared as a lugubrious innuendo, now appears to me as the ultimate reality. Voila! Pizza By The Bay, you guessed it right. We indeed are in a febrile state.

Don't blame me for it but the demographic dividend brought by my age has started paying off. People are hell bent on voicing opinions which is exactly what was demanded of them. People are desperate to cast votes, maybe for the first time, which is a complete departure from what they were blamed not to do. People have finally realized the "we, the people" clause in our democracy and have started to take genuine interest in their future. But the question is, are we feeling a little too sanguine.

My post will be centered around these numerous #NaMo v/s #RaGa v/s AK 49 posts and comments that have been doing the rounds of the Internet. Having been on social media for a while and even being there around the 09' elections, it was pleasing to see people vehemently supporting an ideology in clear opposition to others. People started paying heed to politics much more than any other trend of the town. My news feed started seeing political discourses making inroads. It was nice to see all that. And suddenly, as we had our usual pre-election ambushes and sabotages, the discourses turned into vendettas and usurped the authenticity.

People took up opinions, that's all right. People consolidated their ideals, which was what we precisely needed. People took a genuine stand on a matter incumbent upon them, and suddenly, it went defunct. All that we did to arrive at the utopia, we gave it away. It was all right till we kept our opinions to ourselves and it went mad when we found out that we have opponents. Yes, that's where we went wrong. It's in our blood to see opposition as being vile and not worthy of existing, specially when it comes to hard core nationalist propaganda, and then there lied the impudence of the moment.

A news channel posts an encomium on a politician, haters term it paid, myrmidons term the haters cynic and we get into a fray. A politician posts a link to a rally video, haters begin to question his semblance, likers seem to obliterate haters' arguments by bringing more seemingly unrelated evidence, and we have a fray. A friend posts something in support of a political party or a person, haters inundate it with altercations and likers go any and every extent to keep hitting at the haters and showing vehement support for the poster. All in all, my news feeds have become rather apocryphal and turgid.

I analyzed this from different ways, the reactions and behaviors from quite a lot of my on friends, and I realized that this squiggly behavior may be rather attributed to our inability to see a person voting in favor of what is supposedly against our cause. One, we ourselves may not be sure about the vote we'll cast but we are in no mood to spare the thought process of our opponent from not getting influenced. Influence, yes, that's what we think we can exercise upon our "opponents" to make them go our way. In our attempts, we fail to realize that our opponents do the same. The result, a scathing slaying series of comments and justifications which ends in no more than exasperation in our inability to canvass some support.

I wouldn't be surprised if this exponential rise in election related activity is able to take shots at the content server's capability to keep content. We, in our attempts to vanquish the opposing argument, go so far beyond the obvious, that we ourselves become incapable of coming with any more relevant addendum. And then starts the phase two of every battle. More repugnant tripe to startle no one but yourself. And suddenly, some chosen heroes, who survive beyond a point in time, start getting support in the form of likes and supporting comments. From there own, a public debate is prorogated and a community debate takes shape. Food for thought for our psychologists on how public opinion is carved, but Alas! we once again witness vituperation, chastising, haranguing, litanies, and gruelingly garrulous set of people, making sure they are not the first ones to stop.

I guess the moment we lost hold of our admiration and appeasement that came out of our own inherent opinion, we lost it. Too concerned about those of others, we will go every extent to influence or better force our opinion about the masses, despite knowing somewhere in the bottom of our heart that the guy on the other side has his reasons. Commendably, our online searching and crawling abilities quadruple in such times. We come up with clauses after clauses, videos after videos, exhumed back from time, to predicate our case on. Ironically, we ourselves are unsure about the genuineness of all of it.

And then there are these massive online opinion influences. A few years back, a few groups of ingenious men took upon themselves the cause of extricating Indian youth from their ordeals by creating some genuine humor around the perfunctory aspects of our lives. Having witnessed these pages and their patrons at the apogee, it pains to know that even they've succumbed to this public fracas. They're no longer in a position to show their charlatan virtual personalities. I looked upon them for a while, as my trustworthy sources for creating genuine debates like they did in the past, but alas, all of them failed. But my respect for what you once were, keeps me from putting your names here.

So, as I end this post, for it being a critique as much upon me as anyone else from my clique, why is it that we find it so hard to form an opinion and not to look in search for one. And more importantly, why is it that we crave others to follow our orders once we've self imposed them upon our own order. Instead of being pensive and contemplative to come up with a more well informed decision, we end up being futile opinion shapers. We just find it too hard to resist the temptation of moving beyond just sharing our opinion and going to extent of garroting throats to put it in voice of others. We fail to see the faulty lines of our own opinion and try to correct the contours of our collective thought. Just waiting for this phase to give way to the post election convalescence. Maybe we'll be courteous enough to welcome each other in those non-political discussions which we are still good at. The good times shall surely be back.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Project Krypton : The Hero in You!

So even though I was dawdling around and doing nothing substantial, it was hard to convince myself to blog in between the exams. However, this incident, this enigmatic turn of events, was just worthy enough of being shared. One, it makes me realize that my wish to lead a life that would be anything but dreary and morose has perhaps come true and two, life surely is the best playwright. Here's to the vagabonds who cherish it every single day.

So I caught this best bus from the Electric House depot at Colaba in the evening, an empty one as usual as you gotten into it at the depot itself, and grabbed the last seat whose incessant craving I had come to appreciate. For some reason, whether you travel alone or with compatriots, the last one gives you that not so perfunctory travelling sense. So, I proceeded with putting earpieces into my phone and was just about to put them on when the conductor came approaching for the ticket. I kept the phone on the seat and just as I was about to pull it back, an undulatory motion struck the bus as we hit a breaker and off went the phone, disconnecting the ties from the headphone and went into an endless limbo that extended between the seat and the backrest. I was almost certain that I just had to get up, slide my hands across the surface beneath the seat and there I'd get my phone. All in one shot. But wait a minute. What !!!

For a reason not so easily ostensible, the entire access to the space beneath the last seat was sealed with burly metals and studded with mighty screws. I was simply not prepared to witness that. No other seat in the bus had that and this one, of all the seats I had come to price, had this bulwark beneath the seat. But I knew there has to be a way out. Maybe there's an access panel that one could get to by removing the backrest or tilting it up, The upper panel mainly comprised of seats loosely fit into a strong metal framework but that was it. No other openings but for a short passage through which it was rather impossible tog et your hands through. I had to abate my own thinking process now. People kept boarding and alighting the bus and my ordeal at the end had come to become a faux pas. It was about time I asked for help. 

So this gentleman sitting in front of me, from his inquisitiveness and copious eyes he agglutinated on me while I was fiddling with the seats, seemed to be the right person to call in. He jumped in with a smile. He also roped in a conductor who was full of berserk cravenness about the prospects of some of his camerederie having to spent a day for me to get my phone. But despite the lack of reassurance which I desperately needed in there, his presence and concern helped me. Meanwhile, this man tried getting to the phone. We rung it to track down the light but damn, maybe it fell upside down. And then came a bit of a surprise. A man suddenly sprung into the battlefield after he took his time to spot the anomaly at the back. The conductor took no time to recognize him. A best guy who works on bodies as an engineer. Yes, he was the one we were looking for in that bus.

Serendipity had it, I had to take up the last seat in an empty bus for which the conductor continuously harangued and vituperated me despite his ardent support, I had to keep the phone on the seat just moments before we hit the breaker, and now we had a bus engineer who probably climbed on just because we all boarded right from the depot. As luck had it, we were all on a mission now. The man who made ten attempts while scathing his hands against the cranky metal just like me, the conductor who again and again importuned me to do a to and fro journey back to the depot to consult someone there to open the seats, and this engineer who looked estranged but had an ingress full of flair. He had leaner hands so he too was ready to get the hands dirty. Meanwhile the first guy and I had a convalescence of our forelimbs. The increasingly skeptic audiences were either sensing a contravention or a bunch of nincompoops vying for a hidden treasure. But people genuinely wanted to help, that was right there in their eyes. It's just that hope was dwindling now. The driver remained untrammeled of course. Lucky for us he didn't get his hands of the wheel to look at the back. 

With time, a total of 28 attempts were made by the three of us combined to reach to the phone whose whereabouts beneath were not known. The conductor came up with a poignantly cantankerous idea of maybe the lower panel being open through which the phone fell down the moment I dropped it. I almost swallowed my heart and went back to the hunt. The best engineer was more determined than I thought. He now started leveraging on his contacts at the depot, the foreman who can put together buses to see if he can get something. He unfortunately couldn't. There was no way the panel could be accessed without unscrewing the tardy screws at the depot. I had just begin to imagine the improbability of the situation. I mean how often does a guy drop a phone in a seat that was not designed keeping dropping phones in mind. I mean you got the very basics wrong. And then I seriously laughed at my self created delirium to bring this upon myself. I was genuinely surprised that these men were not chiding me anymore. They could commiserate with me. The best guy was still determined but it was not going to happen right then anymore. 

He called up his contacts at the depot to seal a deal. I was to report there the next morning, I was to convince the foreman that I did drop the phone and the foreman would open it up in front of me.I was to stay away from the cell for a day and with a place like India, you never knew if the phone would be there. But the man's voice gave me an aplomb. However this heaving T&C of me proving my phone was there was tough. The battery would die out by the next day so even a GSM tracker with the intelligence couldn't testify the phone's presence without ripping it off. I had started conjuring backup plans by now. I had recovered the data so it was just a matter of a call to block the sim and off goes my phone forever, perhaps in the hands of a human of was intelligible enough not to drop it in the last seat. People began to reoccupy their seats, apparently as dejected at my abject state as me. I was surprisingly going to pull of my other phone to listen to some music like I would have done with my erstwhile one. But alas, the fear of social ignominy that would have come for me not being worried enough of my phone prevented that. So that there, was nearly the end of the story. 

10 minutes had gone by and I was still lost in the reverie. The conductor in the meanwhile came up with a new alternative. He asked me that in the transit time between the this trip and the next one, we could use some torch or something to get to the phone. He grotesquely suggested the quixotic possibility of breaking in from beneath. Yeah, now the man was jumping the bandwagon it seemed. I was prepared to relinquish the phone in a rather vile goodbye. I just sensed the opportunity of maybe touching it for the one last time because pulling it from that abyssymal black hole was obviously beyond human capacity. So I pulled off that one seat panel and once again plunged my hand in. This suddenly piqued the curiosity of a new gentleman sitting in front of me. He was rather laconic. "Lost your phone?". "Yeah" I said. He immediately took out his cellphone, touched the cryptic code like a CIA exterminator and switched on the torch app. He thought maybe we didn't try a torch before. Surprisingly, one man who was with us minutes ago was actually carrying that conventional torch that proved to be of no avail. However, this man brought a crochet sense of determination. 

This man used a proper approach, angling the torch at different positions, peeping diagonally and asked me to remove all seats along the panel. I was certain I dropped my phone on the left side and this guy asks me to remove all the panel seats. At least we were trying something new so I did that. His prowess in lighting hid areas through the brandishing torch was awesome. And suddenly, it struck as an epiphany. There was this elevated section I noticed in the middle just a notch or two above the main deep pit we couldn't reach till now. I knew the phone couldn't be there because it slipped right through and didn't go left or right. This one was towards the center. But what if the phone was at that section and that's why torch couldn't detect its presence at the bottom. The odds were obviously stacked against us but there was no harm in trying. 

Having no courage to bump into failure after another blatant renewed hope, I asked this man if he could check in that elevated pocket. I kind of closed my eyes due to my cravenness. The conductor controlled his heavy breathing. He always made a good spectator. And then this man came up with thos chimerical words. "Mil Gaya" (Got It) and pulled out the phone as if he elicited the magical portion from a treasure trove. Everyone including me, the conductor and that best guy were scintillated to see the phone. A lot of guys had never witnessed an operation as astute as that one. The best engineer who grew increasingly apprehensive about me having dropped the phone somewhere else and digging at this possibility for the sake of self assurance, finally smiled at his plaintiff. In the meanwhile, this insouciant guy reoccupied his seat. He simply walked through all the praise he got. Instead of my thanks and a histrionic out of moment salute, he gave me a bleak smile. He considered it a duty, everyone else considered it a heroic. The man was indifferent to any praise and felt chagrined and vexed by the jovial looks people gave him. In a matter of minutes, the bus came to his stop, he left and started walking away to a slovenly looking Chaul. As we all saw him become a silhouette, I thought what about the heroes who don't manifest on screens. What about the heroes who buttress your case every day? What about the ignoramus in me, what about the hero in you?

Monday, 17 March 2014

How Déjà Vu works : Project Krypton 1.1

After having commented on the various cabalistic theories that the world is ripe with, of late I've been finding this fascination that to some extent explains the intriguing secrets of the human memory. Ultimately, all our experiences, all the supposed coincidences, all the serendipity and all instances when we experience a manifestation of a rather strange phenomenon, could actually be ascribed to this phenomenon. Not just that, this element might very well explain the existence of non corporeal or spiritual realms specifically the ones pertaining to souls, poltergeists and even even wraiths. All in all, this theory might end up explaining all those nebulous entities and concepts whose existence cannot be predicated to anything substantial. While most of the realms have an ambit of existence which itself is questionable, the more obvious and veracious ones could be explained. So, here we are, in this second Project Krypton post, making an attempt of explaining Déjà vus.

A brief overture of Zero Point fields is in place though not very crisp or entertaining. It essentially is a collection of a zero point energy that is exhibited by all the entities in the universe. The existence of a zero point state, which to some extent is a misnomer because even at this state the particles do possess energy which keeps them capricious, is predicated by various theories including one by Einstein himself. It is believed that this state represents the lowest possible energy at which a particle exists but even that energy is good enough for the particle to exhibit undulatory wave like motions or whatever they call them. So, simply put up, if the supposed zero pint energies of all the particles in the entire universe somehow intertwine with each other, what ensues is a zero pint field. There are various connotations associated with vacuum as well, but we'll concentrate on what's germane to our discussion.

A radical school of thought vests a lot of faith in the zero point field being the source of all universal energy. As it seems, all those platitudes of your's not uttering anything pejorative as it becomes an eternal part of the universe, were not crap after all. Instead, zero pint field indeed houses each and every word, written or spoken, each and every memory, vivid or sombre and makes sure it leaves pathways to visit that. As per the various zero point field theories, all our experiences and memories could very well be organized in a two tiered model. Memories that are absolutely pertinent to our case, are maintained locally as well as remotely in the zero pint field, whereas the tripe ones skip our internal retention mechanisms and become eternally imbibed in the zero point field.

Taking the notion forward, it's difficult to how zero point field stores such a gargantuan amount of information given that it does not have the intricate mechanism present in a human brain but there are theories. Some believe that memories are stored in the form of organized energy modules where certain configurations may mean different things and this energy continuously keeps a quasi matter state which very well follows the physics postulates. As a result, it can be safely assumed that zero pint field may have its own inherent mechanism of saving memories in form of energy and matter and then we have gateways of accessing them. How and when the brain gets plugged into the field is a different issue that we might tale later on.

So till now we know that all the universal knowledge is actually getting stored in a field. Knowledge here is not merely restrained to what we perceive as knowledge courtesy of our own internal filters of relevance and preference. Universe as a whole may not have any sense of what's to be stored and what's to be left out. As a result, the universe chooses to store each and everything each and everyone of us senses every single day. Every street you visit, every sign you ignore, every thing you hear, every person you see, the universe acts as an ardent believer of the importance of having all of that and hence it saves all of that in the zero point field.

Hence, a Déjà Vu, is palpably a situation wherein you've actually visited a place before or done something similar. What made me inquisitive is that Déjà Vus are not merely about revisiting something from the past, they are a near replay, if not an absolute imitation of the past. You may suddenly witness something as if it's a replica of something that happened in the past and subsequently, you would witness a few more things going the same way. I simpler terms, Déjà Vus are structured as a repetition of an exact series of events. You visited a place, were sitting in some way and your friends chatted out something, and a few days or months or years later, you find yourself in the same or a different place, sitting in the same or the different way and with the same or different pals who may say something similar and you immediately recall that you've hit a Déjà Vu. You may rebut your's having been associated with a similar series of events earlier and may rejoice the astonishment that comes out of this supposed telepathy you may have had with someone who experienced it before, but it was you and no one else.

When you bump into a similar situation again, your mind works faster than you blink your eye. Instead of relaying on your blinkered insights and your bungling struggle of making an attempt to recall on your own, your mind asserts its suzerainty and power over your thoughts and suspends them into subconscience. Your thoughts pave the way for your mind's attempts to fill in. Hence just the first or two events in the actual sequence might prove enough for the mind to trigger the action. Your brain then immediately switches to the global database available in the zero pint field as the last resort. Your brain is trained to know that if it could not regenerate the sequence beyond a point, your locally available memory is obviously bereft of all the pieces needed to complete the puzzle. Although, the local memory did help the brain detect a possible Déjà Vu situation, the brain has no option but to look for connections in the zero pint field. The brain surely works at the rate of petaflops per second during all this time.

So while your conscience has acceded to the process and your brains attempts to look out for a solution, you simply observe the events as they go around you without having the propensity to interpret or save them in your mind. You may see things, hear stuff, but you're in no state to remember them beyond a point of time. They persists for an ephemeral epoch and then they're partially or fully erased. While at the same time, the brain may very well get a possible match in the zero pint field knowledge base. If in case a possible match is found, the replay of that scenario takes over your current observational powers and your present and past play themselves in parallel. Hence while you simply take cognizance of what's going around at the moment, you are also seeing your past roll out and you link it with the present. Whether or not the actual sequence is completely followed in the present or not, the mind continues to play the past and hence you continue experiencing the connection. So while the past and present states interstice, you fail to take note of how things actually went and all you're left with at the end, is the sense of coming out of a Déjà Vu.

You scour for a reason why it happened and while you do that, you tend to loose the unsaved memories of what just happened now. Hence you are no longer capable of recreating the recent scenes and trying to look out for a reason behind the connection. You never even know if what you just witnessed actually went as you witnesses or if you were a little too lost in your ramblings while you did it. You simply forget it after a point of time, terming it as just another Déjà Vu moment. While some may afterwards appreciate the marvels of human life and all such astonishing or flummoxing things that come alongwith it, some may term it as just another irrelevant or impudent exercise by the 'uncontrollable' mind. But if this theory with a very diminutive number of perpetrators is to be believed, your mind does some serious work while you think it builds stories or while you think nature does its play. While nature may actually be involved in recreating the series of events, its this arcane brain and the even more recondite zero point field that set into motion as we go on. In our next attempt to understand this theory, we wish to survey a few interested people on matters pertaining to the aforementioned phenomenon. The next Project Krypton post may very well be based on what we found out further. 

Friday, 14 March 2014

14th March 2001 : D-Day

It about 9 in the morning when I was almost ready to catch my school bus, waiting at the bus stop, winnowing in my head what to revise and what not to as I had my social science examination just about moments away. While I should have left everything and should have silently prayed a lot for myself, I actually prayed for my team, which was reeling at 254/4, teeming under the possibility of yet another massive defeat. You knew your team was in doldrums and a defeat was inevitable. You also knew Dravid and Laxman might just put off some show but you simply couldn't believe that the two men could fare well against McGrath, Gillespie, Warne and Kaspowicz together. You knew their team was indomitable after what they did in the first test and in the larger part of this one as well. You knew they can vanquish you at will, you knew they had defeated every other team in their arena and you were the only one left, already down by one in a series of 3, you just had murkiness all around the place. The same was applicable for my examination as well. I, for all that I was, got overwhelmed by the very fact that you need to study 3 books for one single subject at the meager age of 10. I knew I was a lost cause but somehow, this hope, this heretic aspirations, always seemed to get the better of Indians.

 We did that a hundred times for Tedulkar before, knowing he can't score hundreds in every match but we we still did that. Probably hope was all we had then and so did I. You simply knew in a corner of your mind that Aussies might as well wrap the match while your scuffle with the questions in the hall, but you still couldn't repudiate the possibility of a comeback. Laxman looked steady, Dravid came new. Laxman could score a 150 at max, and maybe Dravid could do the same. Mongia was obviously not someone to expect a lot from other than a score maybe. That made the possibility of escaping an innings defeat evince and maybe you could do well to draw the match. You, as a typical blinkered Indian, bungled with all the imaginary scenarios, knowing you were sure to fall. We were so crazy actually that you even expected someone like Prasad to pitch in and face some deadly blows while tarrying on. I still remember as I scoured for answers in my mind, I was more fascinated by the idea of imagining what would be happening. The paper nearly lasted for a session. In one instant, you thought of a presentation going on and on the other, what if Laxman and Dravid were still on crease. Na !! but it was too lucrative not to think of again. Somehow I barely managed to write enough to maybe pass the test, knowing that two men from my own nation might as well be writing the test of their lives. I knew very well how to wish for astoundingly chimerical things to happen but I also knew they're almost as fallible as they ever get. You knew by then, as a 10 year old, hope's good but only to the extent of it being real.

The moment I stepped out of the hall, there was an eerie sense about the school staff. People were desperate to get back at something, probably seeing the collection of papers and submitting in the office as a perfunctory thing. But, they actually wanted to do it as quickly as possible because they had something else on their minds. It was a little more than 12 and maybe the second session was about to start. I figured it out and ran towards the cabin of my school's guard, who housed a good old crown tv set in his cabin and with the match being broadcast on Doordarshan and with our school being a kitten's whisker away from the PitamPura TV tower, that's all you needed to see the match. I was perplexed to see Dravid and Laxman walking out, as if it was the beginning of the day. The score surely got up by around a hundred but for some reason, it was hard to believe we didn't lose a wicket in that session, in the first session, common, you gotta be kidding me. Well, it was just the beginning!

I rushed back to the school bus, waiting to leave for our homes, with the FM gold tuned in for all of us to relish the commentary. Nothing much happened for a few typical Laxman drives, which radio guys couldn't described all in the same manner and that too in archaic Hindi. I desperately craved to get back and see it on our TV. I knew I just had a one day break before the next paper, another horrendous one, and folks at the home weren't really going to allow me to watch the match for more than an hour maybe. But that hour was all I needed. I just wanted to see how you could bat against a scathing bowling attack, ball after ball, over after over and now even taking the attack on them. Maybe the inimical and inimitable Australian bowling attack could be sustained. It was hard to believe but maybe there was an answer. The bus left me at the stop, and I hurried my way across the shops that came in middle. The way people were ensnared by the glare of their TV sets or by the sounds emanating from the radios, it seemed as if we were having an ODI against Pakistan. But maybe the enigma of being back, something we seldom did, an that too against the mighty Aussies and that too when we had already lost Tendulkar. It was baffling. What's more baffling was to see all the folks at the home being glued at the screen, and allowing me to join them immediately. No one noticed I came back from an exam and hence no questions on how it went. My lucky day !

And then, over after over, the two men and their partnership, which was the only one I got to witness as a child after seeing those of Ganguly and Tendulkar, Jayasurya and Kaluwitarna and Gilchrist and Hayden in ODIs and Kirsten and Hurdson in tests, grew more formidable. With due fairness to the Australian attack, the men tried everything possible, but the Indian men, went building on. Cover drives, hook shots, classic defenses, straight drives, you witnessed all of them and finally, you got a moment to savor. Laxman made a double. Doubles weren't as commonplace as they are today, not for India by any margin. I remembered Siddhu scoring one in '97 but this one, right here against the Aussies, right in the middle of such a scorching situation. It was temerity to think it was real but it was. And Dravid too was as strong as he could get, slowly and slowly assuming the primordial role in the partnership as Laxman looked languished. You had to look at the Australians. They looked poignant. It was as hard to believe for them as it was for us. Commentators had already started talking of this becoming the best and the most historic partnership and Laxman's chances of getting past Gavaskar's sacrosanct 236. For a generation that rarely saw Indian's getting to 200, you prayed every ball to make sure the men don't make a baloney by hitting one wrong short. Our batsmen were a little too used to doing that. But these two, they looked different for a reason. 

It became a rule of the day. Bowlers switching among themselves and our two men literally bashing them on. Lassitude and fatigue seemed to be missing for the day, for the batsmen ad bowlers alike. Aussies bowled their heart out. Perhaps Dravid and Laxman were carrying a benison of sorts. Your apprehensions and negativity suddenly changed to a sanguine attitude. Instead of silently accepting the fact that one session is all Australia needed to wrap up, you know started to silently believe that the men will not get wasted till the end of the day. What was to ensue later on, was not even something worth considering. You didn't have enough mental capacity left to consider any more possibilities after all your estimates went awry and probably for the first time, hope got the better of you. Laxman did break Gavaskar's record, Dravid did go on and the men did end the day, spending one entire day, being down and out till then, and then literally changing the game from thereon.

We started at 254/4 and ended at 589/4. After having seen yourself jump in joy whenever India touched the occasional 400 in a test, this score ad that too with 6 wickets still in hand, was bemusing. This was blitzkrieg in every sense. Two men who not only sustained but added 300 odd runs in a day. All our hitherto innings defeats and 10 wicket defeats we suffered at the hands of the leading 2-3 teams, were now history. We were sure to get a draw but what happened on the day, inundated with an intriguing sense of hope. Bhajji was doing well till then, so suddenly you thought, what if we topple the Australian fortress. For the first time actually, you started viewing the possibility of Indian performing as a team. You were not buttressing individuals, you saw belief in a group of players doing it for the country. Probably for the first time, the rutted dictum of nothing is impossible actually struck me. Two men, a part of a team that had the inveterate desire of falling like a house of cards, changed not just the match but the entire game forever. Bhajji did strike as you thought and India did go on to win the match and surprisingly even the series. We became the bulwark that stopped the Aussie global domination tour on their face. Waugh's supremacy and claim as a captain who could defeat every nation in their own Colosseum, was extirpated. We now had stars in the form of Dravid, Laxman and Bhajji. You now had more heroes to look on to after the others. But more importantly, you now had a team to entrust with your hope. You actually started believing in the concept of a team, concept of resilience, of partnership. The ideals of staying on, fighting even when the odds are stacked against you, became deeply ingrained and imbibed. You now genuinely believed in hope and the miraculous powers it possesses. You were too small to know it was the men themselves and not your hopes that saw India steer to victory, but maybe crores of people hoping together might have worked in their favor. 

I saw the entire match thereby curtailing the amount of time I could study. However, the impact that the supposedly startling victory has had on me, was good enough to make my spirits fly. I was so happy and so elated that I literally nailed the examinations. For the first time, your blatantly skewed imagination was manifested in reality. You always craved to see an Indian reaching near 300 and the Indian team defeating the narcissist Australians. That one day, gave all that I needed to genuinely believe in believing. Believing is the key. That one day, 13 years back, I thanked god for making the game of cricket. India took over cricket since then and we had a similar day at the celebrated finals of the Natwest series in '02 but if there was one day that literally transformed the way I looked at cricket, and specially test cricket, it was 14th of March 2001. I so very wish I could live it again.  


Bye Bye XP!

As a 90's kid who got exposed to technology a little before his counterparts, XP was possibly the best thing to have happened to me. A sulky Windows 98, sporting a murky look, running an archaic FAT file system and throwing up sporadic surprises every now and then, was all I got prior to XP. Operating system was a rather technical term then, spanning the entire range of Windows 9x and Linux variants that were at disposal of a PC user. You didn't have an OS that could tantamount to and represent the very race on its own. XP did that. XP became ubiquitous, XP became a cult, XP became a phenomenon and XP became the legend in the world of operating systems.

Prior to XP, the world used computing in a frugal sense. Not much attention was paid to the accessibility and aesthetics of a GUI and moreover, an OS was just considered a faithful means to instructing the PC. Not much was expected out of it. The Windows platform had already assumed leadership position, but everyone cursed Microsoft for their maladroit programming team in being shoddy in coming with security patches and updates and being unable to resolve the archetypal Windows issues. Moreover, 98 and 98 SE were both marred with incompatibility issues, memory fault issues and their interface was as sordid as it could get. One never really blamed Microsoft for all of that because with 64 MB SDR RAMs and a few GBs on the HDD to house the OS, you couldn't have done a lot. But XP taught the world how to dream, and how to aspire for more.

October 2001, XP's first public release was made available and people were apprehensive about the applicability of an OS that seemingly appeared a little too ahead of its time. You didn't know where your CPU clocked at a paltry 500 Mhz could support the multitasking claimed by XP in their release. You didn't know if the OS would run well enough to allow all 9x and NT applications to be ported to the new platform. People didn't know for sue if the 4 year old NTFS file system was finally ready to be adopted. But the moment people installed XP on their systems, they embraced their future.

It was a sheer pleasure seeing your copy of XP effacing the clumsy 98 and the 32 minute installation in itself promised a myriad of things. You didn't need a lot of those but the possibility of being able to see clear lines and a subtle user interface finally, was beatific. XP, it seemed was the panacea to all your tantrums, When you ran XP, irrespective of whether you ran in dual mode, and that too on a configuration that sucked even on 98, it surprisingly worked like a charm. XP took only as much was absolutely necessary to page itself. Being apprehensive about built for 9x games like Recoil and Rash, even they ran very well. XP was infact the first platform to see all things working in tandem on your PC. Multimedia, programming and gaming, all could run simultaneously with no BSODs. And although the latter were still there, XP pared them to quite an extent. XP was here to stay.

People still stuck to 95 and 98 largely with some still sticking to 3.x and NT 4.1 but XP was going to see a lot of people upgrading or trying XP on the existing platforms. Once I shorted my 128 MB ram stick and was able to run XP even on a whopping 64 MB with no trouble at all. It all seemed so utopic. You also had a renewed safe mode and startup CUI that was actually capable of allowing people to take control of the console and take charge of the boot component when in trouble. Slowly but steadily, all application vendors, all offices, all personal users started adopting XP. XP became the most prevalent platform and this precisely happened when the second computing boom took off. XP also came up with IE 6, probably the best IE could come up with and the last version of IE worth browsing on. XP was a hit.

XP had its own problems of course. Microsoft had to release a slew of updates every now and then. XP, courtesy of becoming the most tried and tested platform, was also the one subject to the maximum amount of intrusions and security attacks. Windows became a breeding ground of malware, spyware and viruses of all sorts. On the other hand, Windows servers all across LANs became a routine target of DOSs and the nascent DDOS attacks. Microsoft had a tough time dealing with all these problems but the service packs launched at timely intervals took good care of it. In fact for the first time, Microsoft really bothered to provide such post deployment support for an OS. Probably this was the beginning of the era of dynamism. The OS could no longer be a static code running on a remote terminal. The OS had to remain connected to the FTP support patch servers across the globe. Moreover, Microsoft did well to take care of the 56K dial up guys like me by coming up with service packs and hotfix cabinet files you could run like just another application. Finally, you had an OS that fought for itself, It did not leave itself to the mercy of an Antivirus all the time. XP  took charge of its existence in fact.

XP saw millions of installations across the globe. News systems were now specifically designed for XP and not for Me or 2000 anymore. XP became the de facto in PCs. In fact post roll out of the fallacious and unedifying vista in 2006, people including Microsoft themselves, considered sticking to XP. As the PC phenomenon took over the way we worked, XP became a universal system running across the globe, connecting systems. I've seen XP instances running for years with a little bit of reparation of course with tune ups but XP largely remained infallible given its predecessors. We got better progeny in the form of Windows 7 and 8, but people like me remained a stickler for XP, running XP till as late as 2013. In fact I still run XP on my olden desktop, which ostensibly is not capable of running any other version that came afterwards.

XP, in short, became the largest thing that ever happened to the world of computers, barring the Internet of course. An OS, that broke the shackles of being a conventional OS, it became the most ardent way or running your system. Till date, no other OS seems to have seen the kind of application support that was available for XP. XP became the default mode for drivers across all processor platforms, XP ran as well on 32 bit as it did on 64, XP gave seamless component integration for all programming platforms, XP provided splendid graphical support. But alas, we bid adieu to all things one day and so would be the case with XP. 20th April 2014 would mark the last day when support would be made available for XP. Nearly 13 years post its release and a plethora of security patches and updates later, it's time we said bye to the most celebrated and the most venerated OS, ever. XP was an OS that came at the right place and the right time. It may very well be the best and the last stupendous thing Microsoft ever did.