Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Software Engineer

The software engineer sat down, he was tired of checking his email only to find that free space was available on free servers and he could earn money by clicking, but the one dream that had dominated his dreams even before he had started dreaming was still a dream. He still had no email announcing that his dream had come true, that he could now dream in the land of dreams.

Just then a dreamy girl came with a dreamy look in her eyes and looked at him. This must be a dream, he told himself, but she looked at him, and told him that she was no dream, she was merely a dream come true. She was very reluctant to tell him her name, but on much insistence she told him that her name was Visa. it had so happened that her father was a software engineer and his visa had arrived the day she was born , so her father was destined to remember that day as the day the visa arrived. Her mother, a psychologist, being a woman or acute intelligence and enormous foresight named her "Visa" so that she may never feel that her father valued the visa more than her.

The software engineer looked at her with a look of total hope and dependence. Visa looked at him directly in the eyes and said “I have your visa." he all but died, closed his eyes and heard the rustle of paper as she took out something from her pocket. She placed in his beggarly hands. When he opened his eyes, she was gone and he found, kept in his hands, the standard chartered visa card that he had lost the day before. He never cried; just promptly died.

The Prince and the Caterpillar Killer

The prince was handsome and brave,
Though he badly needed a shave;
He had to win the castle
And slay many dragons
To rescue his beloved princess.

"Oh! she is such a soft creature", he sighed,
"How can they hold her captive ?"
Had he not been a man he would have cried.
"And she has captivated my heart
So in holding her they hold my heart captive."

The dragons were fierce and the security was tight,
But the prince knew how to fight;
So he battled the fire of the dragons
And fought the explosions of the canons.

Slaying one monster after another,
He went further and further;
And finally reached the room wherein
The princess was held; the room was bolted:
He opened the door to see; the princess, too had bolted.

She was sitting on a tree outside;
And in her fragile hands was a sling.
"For I am a caterpillar killer", she seemed to sing.
The prince reached there and promptly
Fainted at the sight that he beheld.

A slingshot meant for a caterpillar caught him on the head,
And the ground beneath her feet became his final bed.
The princess was not unkind and a becoming grimace
Was seen to grace her fair face;
Tears would have come to the beautiful eyes of the killer,
Had they not sighted another caterpillar.

Getting Away

By a photon the molecule was hit
"Whats that! , i mean, shit!"
"I am a photon, you moron."
"Thats kewl", said the molecule.

"Do you want to get away?"
"Dear photon thats not enough,
I want to be free, I have to say;
And I am not falling for your bluff"

"What do you want to be free of?"
This agitated the molecule:
"Of these useless collisions,
Of long distance attractions,
And of short distance repulsions."

"If thats what you want , okay"
"Hurry up I don't like this delay"
So the photon hit the molecule hard
And released it into the atmosphere
"Now are you satisfied here?"

"No way" , said the molecule,
"Do you take me for a fool?,
There are others here too"
The photon said ,"but they are far."
"That doesn't matter as long as they are,
I'm tired of this attracting and repelling,"
The molecule was now yelling.

With a superphotonic effort
The photon gave the molecule another spurt.
The molecule left earth with a blast
"Aha I'm free at last !
Thank you photon,for this freedom
Space now is my kingdom."

For ages the molecule roamed in space;
Then suddenly he was sad...
"I can't get away from this,thats too bad."
"Stick to me ",said a pasing spaceship,
"And to the earth take a free trip."

"But thats going back , not getting away,"
The molecule pronounced morosely
As the spaceship passed him closely.
So the molecule waited for the photon once again:
But the sun had died long ago
So he knew he waited in vain...

Ridiculous Romancing

SHE TURNED HER HEAD AWAY

Getting down on the bus stop a beautiful girl i found
She just made my day
I saw her looking at me when I turned around
And then she turned her head away.

COW DUNG

Outside the cinema hall
She was sitting pretty and tall
Loveliest in the crowd by far
Her face sported a fresh scar
She was sitting on a scooter
I went near to have a closer look at her
Then I felt that someting had to my feet , clung
I looked down to see it was cow dung.

DAWN

From thine dreams I arise at dawn,
And as I open my eyes,
I behold thy smiling face,
And look into thy sparkling eyes
And hear thy twinkling voice
My soul does rejoice
A better heaven it wished not.

The Changed Man

He was sitting like an idiot before the idiot box. He was overwhelmed by ennui. He thought "am I spending my time in the best possible manner." The answer that his inner self gave him was an unequivocal NO. He felt ashamed of himself. Life was passing him by and he remained a silent spectator. Something was to be done and it was to be done immediately. Then a thought occurred to him. On his face a look of determination and resolve was visible. Anyone could see that he was a changed man. He was no longer the spineless comatose bystander he was five minutes ago. He was a man who knew what he wanted from life and how to get it. He was in charge of his life. With a victorious smile he reached for the remote control and switched to another channel.

To Add/Delete A course

When I came to know that the semester for the freshers would begin late I was convinced that it would affect me adversely knowing IIT as well as I do. My summer nights were filled with nightmares of how exactly the IIT system will contrive to accomplish the task. IIT did not fail to live down to my expectations and on the day of my registration I learned that one of the courses for which I had registered would start when the freshers came.

This was not so bad, all I had to do was to add /delete a course; it was as easy as falling off a log (not that I have tried falling off a log but it seems easy). The knowledgeable reader might smile at my foolish optimism. To break the problem into simple steps was the first thing that I was taught in computer science. The first step was to search for a suitable course .My good friend Ranjit Jhala told me about an easy course and swore me to secrecy, he did not want any studs registering for the course and coming in the way of his A. Why he told me was only too clear, he knew my academic abilities only too well.

I promptly went and got the signature of the course co-coordinator. Only two more signatures to go, it is really very easy I found myself musing. Again I imagine the knowledgeable reader smiling at my folly. Now the course which I had to delete was of Ap-Mech department, I did not know the prof's room so I went to the concerned department and noted the room no. of the Prof as MS207 and went to the room at once. I knew that things were going too smoothly and something was bound to go wrong, so I was not totally unprepared for the shock but the magnitude of the shock left me totally flabbergasted. I was standing in front of MS-207 and reading the legend MS-207 LADIES TOILET. I am a very gullible sort of guy and apt to believe anything that you tell me. But there is limit to the gullibility of every gullible man and this was mine ,if you told me that the Prof lived inside the ladies toilet, even I would smile and say ," you are putting me on."

When I went back to the AM department I saw that I, had missed the fine print, it was actually MS207-C8. I returned to MS and continued my search with increased consternation. I searched the entire 200 level thereby increasing my knowledge of the geography of the institute but MS-207 C8 was nowhere to be found. Then my good friend Mehrotra arrived, who on being told about my problem gave me a knowing smile. "Ah!” he said, “how could you have found it. It is beyond your abilities". I didn't take that too kindly but followed him. He reached the first floor and then took the stairs for the 300 level.” Listen", I said,"the room is MS207-c8 which means it will be on the first floor. He gave me a smile which seemed to say "how naive you are "and continued his upward movement.
He led me to the room in a strategic position in 300 level. I was duly impressed. The Prof was not there but now I knew where to find him, or so I thought. My many unsuccessful visits to the prof's room were fast gaining the status of the joke of the week. My friend Puneet found it especially funny but was good enough to offer me some kind advice. He told me that the Prof was slightly built and bearded , maybe he's roaming around near his room ;I should now be able to recognize him and approach him. So it was a wiser Misam Abbas who went with his friend Gaurav Suri in search of the Prof. I described the Prof to Suri as he spotted a slightly built bearded Prof. " There can't be two of them ",said Suri and inspired me to approach him. The Prof inspected the form with much interest and queried me for some time. Then he dropped the bombshell. “You’ll have to go to the course coordinator for this”, he said dismissively. It had been a tragic case of mistaken identity.

The night of August 30 arrived .The next day was the last day. By a stroke of fortune my friend Kant knew the prof's house (having visited the Prof , unsuccessfully , to save an F. I went to the prof's house and knocked, a splashing sound answered the door. Apparently he was in the shower, I decided to come back after some time. At this stage my friend Chandilya was going to the temple, now I was willing to try anything. I went with him; prayed vehemently and promised to become a believer if I should meet the prof next time I visited him.

When I went to his house again it was locked from inside and all the lights were off. I got no response as I knocked. I must confess that my first thought was, God forbid, if something were to happen to the Prof Then how will I delete my course. It was a totally dejected Misam Abbas who met his friend Jaiswal, a friend who likes to refer too himself as the man with the golden touch, and not without reason, as the reader will soon see. So the man with the golden touch said “my ring never fails me”. We went to the prof's house. This time the lights were on. In response to my knocking the door opened. It was a slightly built, bearded, and freshly bathed and towel clad Prof who opened the door. Heaven knows that if the door had been opened by Aishwarya Rai in a similar state (except for the bearded part) I would not have been happier. The Prof signed.

Now only the course advisor was left. As I entered the institute building the next day a miracle awaited me. Lo and behold there stood before me the very course advisor that I was looking for in flesh. "Good morning sir”,I said , " I need your signature on this form”. He said “it is not filled up” and walked away .I caught up and ejaculated desperately “but sir it is ". “Where’s the date?” he commented sadistically leaving me behind once again. I looked at my form and discovered that the accuracy of his statement was exactly 100%. There was indeed no date .I had fantasized once in a very wild daydream how it will be like to write something while running. Benevolent fate conspiring with my magnanimous course advisor had provided me with that very opportunity. So I wrote while I ran or if you prefer ran while I wrote. The course advisor signed. I submitted the form in UG section in time. As I walked back from the institute some words of immortal wisdom occurred to me which I would like to share with the reader. “The world is a much nicer place if you have successfully submitted your add/delete form."

The Fish

At the age of 24 Rajesh had secured a government job and so his life was set. It was a state government job, and some said it was not as good as a central government job but he was satisfied. With the kind of education he had had he felt this was quite an achievement. The next step he needed to take was to get himself a wife. He had it all worked out, he would marry only a science graduate; not that he wanted her to work but an arts graduate hardly had any brains, and he didn’t want his children to be brought up by a fool. He had seen a lot of foolish women and really wanted to marry someone who would embrace the kind of modernism he advocated.
It wasn’t difficult to arrange a match for him; it wasn’t everyone who had a government job these days. Within a year of starting his job he was happily married. Smriti came from a rich family, at least a family that was rich by Rajesh’s standards. Smriti wasn’t an expert in cooking but she was a science graduate and as far as cooking was concerned he was convinced there was nothing he couldn’t teach her.
So they began their life of domesticity and small dreams. She would give him breakfast, he would leave for office; he would come back, have tea and set about little household chores. They had their tasks cut out. It was a smooth life.
He liked fish, but none of these hotel-wallahs could really make it properly and he could never be sure whether it was cleaned properly. Throughout his bachelor days he had toyed with the idea of cooking fish at home but somehow never got around to doing it. And now, he was told, in the Wednesday market they sold good fish and at very reasonable prices. While returning from office he went to the fish market.
“How much for that one?”
“20 rupees babuji.”
“That’s a lot, tell me the fair price”
“Oh I have the best fish in the market, and just for you I’ll make it 15, final price”
“Ok, if you are saying, clean it up for me”
“Don’t worry Babuji, it would be the best fish you’ve had even if I say so myself”
“It seems sort of smelly”
“Oh, Babuji, fish has that smell, just be sure to add enough haldi”

So the deal was settled. There was a bounce in Rajesh’s gait as he walked in to his house.
“Smriti, look what I got for you! Fish! You would be bored of cooking the same stuff everyday, and I got a good deal on this one too”
“I’ve never really cooked fish before”
“Don’t you worry, it’s pretty simple, and I’ll tell you”
“Aaah! A fat lot you know, don’t worry I’ll figure it out, I’ve seen it made”
“Okay, but if you need any help, don’t hesitate to ask”
“Sure,” Smriti said with a smile.

So the fish was thoroughly cleaned and then inspected by Rajesh. The smell was bothering Smriti but she didn’t want to say something and then have to listen to “there’s so much you have to learn” speech by Rajesh. The oil was poured, just a little bit extra, this meal was a special one and they could afford to be just a little extravagant.

“Make sure you put in enough haldi,” Rajesh called out.
“Oh yes, I know, but doesn’t smell too good”
“Ha ha ha, fish will smell, what did you expect?”
“Just come here and take a look”
Rajesh walked in to the kitchen, he wasn’t as sure as he wanted to be.
He smelled the fish from close, it didn’t quite seem right. But then with the spices it should be okay.
“Just put in the spices, and lets see, I feel that should take away the smell, after all that’s what spices are for”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, I think that should do the trick, don’t spare the spices”

So the cooking continued. Smriti added some extra spices, this would work. As she put the fish in the karahi with all the spices, the smell did seem to subside.
“Make sure you fry it properly”
“Of course”

The smell which reached Rajesh outside the kitchen was good, though it had a hint of that rotten smell he was so desperately trying to ignore. Anyway, it will all work out, he tried to convince himself.

He walked into the kitchen again.
“So how’s it coming along?”
“Good”
“What about the smell?”
“I think after the spices it’s not bad”
“See I told you”
He walked away more convinced that it would be a memorable dinner.

They can have it more often, he was thinking. Maybe he can strike a better deal with the fish wallah, he sounded a genuine sort. At least twice a month they should have fish, it’s good for health also.

“Rajesh, can you please come here”
Maybe she needs some of my expert advice, he thought as he walked in.
“Rajesh, I think the smell is still there”
“It must be in your brain!”
“Anyway, I’ll fry it a little more, add some garnishing, and then let’s see”
“Don’t worry, it will be excellent”

Finally the fish was ready; it was served with hot chapattis and some salad as well. They had their plates set out, both a bit reluctant to take the first bite. Rajesh put a bite in testily.
“It is good!” he blurted out.
Smriti took a bite as well. Not only was the smell there, it didn’t taste right. The fish was rotten.
“Rajesh, don’t eat it”
“Why?”
“You know, the fish is spoiled, it wasn’t fresh to start with”
“But …”
“Yes, I have made a lot of effort over it, you were also excited about this, but we can’t eat rotten fish”
“You are over-reacting; there is just a little smell”
“You know as well as I do there in not a little smell”
“Okay, okay so what do we do now?”
“First let’s throw this away, and then I’ll cook up something quickly”
“But you must be tired”
“Don’t worry I can handle it”

All the oil, all the spices, all the effort was wasted. It wasn’t just a wastage that bothered Rajesh; it was the fact that they could ill afford such wastage. But Smriti was a gem; she always knew what the right thing to do was.

The quickly cooked meal was served. It was good.
“Smriti, you always know what to do!”
“Don’t you feel sad; as long as you are happy I don’t worry about anything”
“But you spent so much time and effort on the fish”
“As long as you appreciate it, my effort has served it purpose”

That was true enough. What was the big deal about the fish?

Rajesh lay awake till late that night. He was thinking about the fish. Why couldn’t he just get another fish the next day? Of course, there would be a quarrel with the fish-wallah and he might not listen to reason. These guys are pretty insolent. Anyway that was not the issue. He wanted to have the money to not be bothered about rotten fish, not to be bothered about the oil, the spices. The moment a fish smelled bad, they would throw it away, Smriti won’t have to toil to cook a rotten fish just because they both knew it wasn’t an easy decision to just throw it away.
That night he decided he would make more money, just a government job would not suffice. There are plenty of opportunities- he just had to exert himself a bit – there were other people in the office that did a little something on the side, he would too…

Smriti, lying next to him, was sleeping blissfully knowing that her husband cared, and that was all she wanted, even if she had to cook rotten fish everyday.