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part eccentric ... part fun .... stubborn .. but not stuck up ... very open to different views, ideas and possibilities ... varied interests ... engineer ... mba ... trying-to-be-a-good-entrepreneur ... ex-software ... ex-quality ... ex-tobacco ... ex-alcohol ... trying-to-be-ex-cancer
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Friday, September 29, 2006

Abbu and "Progress Report"

Let me take you to the times of my schooling days -

In those days, I hated the idea of school, hated home-work (never did it properly after class 2) and hated the projects. What I hated most was the day when i had to get my "Progress Report" signed by my parents. The rules at Kendriya Vidyalaya dictated that such days came not once or twice...but thrice in a year.

Three times a year was too frequent for me to tolerate "school sponsored terrorism" ( phrase borrowed from Calvin and Hobbes strip). I countered by developing my own escape routine - hide the report-card till the very last day and then pop it in front of my mom seconds before the school bus was to leave. Mom usually had very little time to react, just enough time to skim through the numbers before signing off my "progress report".

After each such stunt, my mom used to warn me "agli baar Abbu sey sign karwana padega" (next time you would have to get it signed by your dad) . "Abbu" was used as a larger than life scare.

I usually managed to appeal to Amma's maternal instincts and avoid getting signature from Abbu. Eventually, i did once show my "Progress Report" to Abbu.... and, contrary to all my fears, he was supportive to the extent of being happy with my science and maths "Progress".

Thus, I realized that Abbu followed the policy of giving me space, allowing me to take my own decisions. He had his words of advice - "try to do everything with perfection" (Even if you want to be a thief, be the perfect thief - one who sneaks in unnoticed, does his job with minimal fuss, leaves no trace and then never gets caught), "try to stay within the top few students in your calss". He also had a big heart- when i was not that perfect in most things , when i did not finish in the top five(class 1 to class 10), he never held it against me.

This way, I was never under the maddening parental pressure that was making most of my friends crack (especially in class 10 and 12 days)

I love Abbu for that.

Years have passed since but dad has not changed much....occasionally he asks for my report ("..where are reports of those blood sugar and Lipid profile tests ...") and still has advice ("... see.. we have a genetic disposition to Diabetes, you got to exercise daily...")

Today, I myself am "Abbu" to my little boy- Shums. It is a big responsibility and it make me wonder..wonder whether i will be able to strike the right balance ....to give Shums enough space and yet ensure that he is out of harms way.

I don't have much experience on this job ..maybe its not not that difficult... maybe nature shows you the way.......maybe you can ask your Abbu for tips......

Will i do a good job? .....who knows......only time and Shums (when he is a Abbu himself) can tell.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Pissin Honey (It's such a great thing)

It is Gods gift to mankind......the one shot solution to all problems.....it is natures bounty that only the lucky few enjoy...........it is the blissful sate of "Pissin Honey".

Yes .... I mean it ..... look at "honey"- it is made out of nectar and hard-work of tireless bees. In-fact it takes 5 litres of nectar to make one litre of honey and each litre of nectar requires from 20,000 to 10,000 bees' sorties.

Honey is special....... and so must be the guy who has "Diabetes Mellitus" (which is Greek and Latin for........."pissin honey")

My doctor just told me that I might have type II Diabetes Mellitus, and that I definitely have some degree of insulin resistance.

In non-doctor talk, this means that
1) I get to eat lots of healthy food and that too every 2-3 hours.
2) Afshan (my lovely wife) will get worried and will not let me do too any household chores. Hopefully, she might eventually get into the "mera_pati_mera_devata" mode, just like the wives in the 1960-1970s movies.
3) I get to exercise every day.

If all the three things happen, and they have to happen(else i die painfully), then i am gonna metamorphose into a six-pack hunk with a "pati vrata" wife....

Not too bad.........huh ?.......this...... pissin honey.........

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Frank and Tony - Cricketing Gods

Here's one .....................When the "Rain Gods" shower their displeasure on cricket matches..............who saves the game ???

hint..... its not the players , neither the umpires, referees or the spectators

I must tell you......

The job is for two mathematician, statistician types.....whose abode is in the land of the English

Their names : "Frank Duckworth" and "Tony Lewis"

Their claim to fame: They have stated the cricketing "obvious" and then went on to give it a quantitative basis.

The obvious fact stated by Duckworth and Lewis :- The major resources needed by any team to score runs are 1) Overs, in which to score 2) The batsmen who can bat in these overs (wickets remaining)

Seems simple.. right???

Interestingly, This simple statement(and the attached tables and methods) have made Duckworth and Lewis an inalienable part of cricketing world. They decide the destiny of every team involved in an interrupted match.

This makes them "great men".. gods of the religion called cricket

History tells us this interesting fact about "great men". Most "great men" have not only stated the "obvious", but have also given some numbers and formula regarding the "obvious". Numerous people have become immortal by stating simple observations and then attaching confusing numbers to their observations. Take the case of Newton:- He first stated the obvious ("apples tend to fall on the earth") , he then went on to attach numbers/formulas with this "obvious" {9.8 m/sec,G, g, F=ma, v = ut+ 0.5 (at*at)..etc etc}

What Newton did for Physics, Duckworth/Lewis (D/L) have done for cricket. They have managed to confuse the common man.

D/L have given us formulas and tables that quantitatively link the two main batting resources- overs and wickets. They have reduced the two parameters into one - "Available run-scoring resources". Further, D/L have gone on to give the exact percentage of "available run-scoring resources" left with any team, at any stage of an innings ("stage" being defined by the remaining overs and the wickets in hand)

But how does D/L decide matches???

When rain interrupts matches, only parts of the initially available "run scoring resources" get used in the two innings (other parts get washed off).

While one team might get to use one fraction (say, only 75% of the resources) in their innings, the other team might get to use another fraction (say 50%).

It is unfair to compare the score of a team which used 50% of its resources to that of a team which used 75%.

This is where D/L come in, their method
1) Calculates the difference in available run scoring resources of the two teams
2) Adjusts for this difference, and
3) Gives a fair way of judging the winner.

Let me elaborate,

Take the example of "Team1" playing "Team2" in a one day match. Let there be two interruptions in Team1's batting and one Interruption in Team2 batting.

For Team1 -
Interruption 1 (9 overs washed when the team has played for 10 overs)
Status Interruption beginning - 1 wicket lost, 40 overs remaining - Resource avail - 84.2%
Status Interruption end - 1 wicket lost, 31 overs remaining - Resource avail - 73.2%
Resource loss = (84.2 -73.2) = 11%

Interruption 2 (i'll spare you the details) resource lost 9%

Total Resource loss (Team1) = 20%

Team1 Scores 160 Runs. As a result of rains, Team2 innings reduced to 39 overs

For Team 2

Resource loss due to shorter innings - 12%
Interruption 1 (I am sparing you the details) resources lost 18%

Total Resource loss (Team2) = 30%

Over all, Team1 had 80% resources at its disposal, while Team2 had 70% resources at its disposal.

D/L sets the new target for Team2 by reducing Team1's score in the proportion of the resources available

New Target = 160* (70/80) + 1 (plus one cause you need one more than the other team to win) = 141

If Team2 makes 141 by the end of the "reduced overs", then they win, else they lose.

This was a case when the team batting second had less resources at their disposal.

The other case is when the second batters have more resources than first batters. There is different calculation for this case - Team2 would need to score more than what Team1 scored

Lets take that case: Team1 has 70% available resources (and scores 160) while Team2 has 80% available resources

Warning: this formula has not resemblance to earlier formula
Now, Revised Target = 160 + (235(80-70)/100) + 1 = 184

Please note, in the first case, a proportionate reduction in target was done. But in the second case the "magic number" 235 was used.

D/L has funny ways.

Whatever you think of the confusing formulas, D/L have become a part of the cricketing history. A refined version of their method (which runs on computers) has been used for all interrupted international one day matches since 2002.

Congratulations Frank and Tony..

As for me.........I am looking for an "obvious" to state... I also want to find some confusing numbers behind it.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Cautiously Confident (Caution : Funda overdose)

How confident is too confident?

Case for Confidence
As people look at qualities - a self aware, balanced, consistent and "confident" demeanour is generally considered a good thing to have.

In competing for jobs, confident candidates have a definite edge over iffy-whiffy ones. Even my old b-school looks for the essential dose of confidence in incoming candidates (experience shows that quite a few cocksure smart-asses are masquerading as confident leaders of tomorrow)

It might seem that more the confidence the better it is...............................:-) well obviously there is a counter-argument

Case for Caution
A dash of doubt helps us keep our feet on ground. Small doubts lead to the ever useful sanity checks. If people were too sure of things....there would never be the second..third...and final draft....refining would be non existent - people will never take a good look from two steps back, and make the obvious correction.

Our insecurities save us from taking risks that we cannot afford to take. They make us evaluate and re-evaluate our options, till will settle on the right one (remember when you were choosing colleges, jobs, wives and swimming trunks...you were ever so cautious)

So, where are the boundaries where the confident become foolhardy and the cautious become indecisive?

What is the point where the "fearless march into the uncharted territories" should convert into the "race to save your shit-scared ass"?

I have thought about it ...a lot......... and my temporary conclusion is .....confidence and caution are not mutually exclusive....In fact, to claim further ,
"confidence" and "caution" are not ever desirable things.

What are desirable are
1) Peace..a calm head, which knows the consequences of actions
2) Patience ...so that we don't panic at short term loss or get carried away by short term gains
3) Wisdom to know the right from wrong

If we have these three things....the apparent conviction of "confidence" and safety of "caution" would not be missed...

In the end I can confidently say that "confidence" is a non-issue....or maybe it is..

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Big Bang Theory

If you have ever smoked more than two cigarettes a day ...you would know that smoking has a tendency to take over its victim in an all-pervasive grasp. Very much in the manner in which the Hyacinth weed takes over many of India's water-bodies.

Like the Hyacinth, which makes its first appearance as a single leaf or two, smoking also starts with a single puff from a borrowed ciggi.....like it happened to me about 10 years back in the
Cafty next to third mess...in RECW.

Like Hyacinth, smoking rapidly expands. Before you know, you get hooked on to the "post-meal" sutta.....then the "pre-meal" sutta..."pre class"...."post class"...."pre-dump".....the list goes on...

The Hyacinth weed is extremely difficult to remove....if, while removing, a few leaves or plants are left behind ...the remains slowly grow back to cover the lake again. All the Hyacinth has to be removed completely to save the lake.

Same with smoking. I have never seen anyone who voluntarily quit smoking by slowly reducing the number of daily ciggis......It is not humanly possible..........one's resolve breaks before the habit is broken. I myself have tried many a times....reducing is impossible....

What is possible... is sudden break (shock treatment)...

Usually such breaks are inspired by

1. Emotional moms: "....beta merey sar par haanth rakh kar kasam kha ki tu aaj sey is gandi cheez ko haant nahi lagayega..."

2. Concerned Girlfriends / Cute Female Colleagues (most probable: while most GFs know, mothers are rarely privy to the fact that their "pyara beta" smokes) ..

(Something like this happened to me)
Cute colleague: You are such a great guy, i am sure you can leave smoking if you try
you : Well Hmm.. I am sure my will power is strong..so if i don't smoke for a month will you take me out on a treat?
Cute Colleague : Deal
you (sucker): Deal

(This didn't happen to me...but i am sure this method will work)
Girlfriend : You are not getting any further unless you quit smoking
you : Come on!!... i would become a sex starved maniac otherwise
Girlfriend : your choice.....the ciggi or me
you (sucker): Of course you my love....i wouldn't touch a ciggi again...now come on UMMM

Such shock treatment works for a while.... but the chemicals and the urge to smoke eventually wins
in about two days time and makes you into a liar
You: "..Kasam sey maa.. jub sey tuney bola hai mainey haanth bhi nahi lagaya... "
OR else
You: See girl i told you....not even a single ciggi in the past one month. How about that treat now
OR Still
You: Never darling...how can I? I love you so much

To escape becoming a liar …I recommend you try the The Big Bang Theory......

The Big Bang Theory
Next time you have that serious lung infection/Viral/dengue/Malaria ....you would be forced to quit smoking for a week......this is the time when your body will be so seriously screwed by the high_temperature / near_death_experience that it would forget to crave for the ciggi.....

This is the BIG moment to seize.....gather all your will power and resist smoking for a few extra days........BANG ..the quitting will stick.......

Believe me....This works ....your body will be so relieved of escaping the miseries of the illness that it will forget to miss the ciggi... and if your resolve can block the mind from missing the ciggi....you will be free from the crutches of smoking.....

It’s worked on me (14 days since I last smoked) ...no reason why it will not work on you....

This "Big Bang Theory" is the recipe of freedom.....it should be taught in all schools.... and that too
as early as class 8 (which is when a few "brave" boys first venture into the forbidden realm of smoking)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

And so ....i start again

There's an ideal i hold very dear to my heart.

It's not very big ...In fact it is just one word long.... it is............"simplicity"

I think the greatest writings are in the simplest words. Greatest complexities can be explained by simple examples. Even the mathematicians like simple solutions to deeply knotted problems

Simply put...........simple is elegant........

Sadly, my writing skills are not very evolved....so i can't put my ideas in a few simple words.....

So i have decided to keep practicing my writing till the ideas start coming out in simple words

Hello You and Me

I am back