Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Should I wear glasses?

I've been wearing spectacles since I was in seventh regularly and for a short stint in fifth. Ever since I can remember, I used to tell my parents, “One of the first things I'm going to do when I turn eighteen is get contact lenses”.

Long story short, inspite of my mom's ritual force feeding of carrots, my eyes are regularly strained and both my eyes require different powered lenses. Plus, it doesn't help that whenever I fell ill when I was young (which was quite often), I'd curl up with a book and read at a stretch.

Well, I'm a year older than that VERY sought after age and yet I'm still wearing Bayonetta style spectacles. My mom keeps mentioning how we should to get it but I seem to just shy away from the discussion.

Have I actually started liking wearing glasses?

Glasses are cumbersome. Not only do I have an abnormally large number of accidents with my glasses on, I seem to lose them so often and the worst part is I wouldn't even remember removing them in the first place. The amount of time spent on my searching in house for my elusive spectacles have become family lore. They fog up when you drink something hot. They annoy me every morning when the AC clouds them and I clamber blindly onto my bus. Also, they're hopeless in torrential rains. Wish I could say Impervious like Hermione did to Harry's glasses in the third book during the Quidditch match.

On the other hand, they now seem to define my personality. A sort of no-nonsense approach and it seems to enhance my dignity. A proper set of glasses like the one I own now and not the despicably crooked ones I had to wear sometimes. Besides, it portrays a sense of intelligence and wisdom that I enjoy.

Everyone doesn't want to look like a nerd and you WANT to look like one???”

My friend is not known for tact.

Sowmya, please think of such unthinkable logic and save the family money”

My very down-to-earth dad of course.

The verdict: These glasses are here to stay my amigo!

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Story of my Science Project

It was a chemistry project that I was working on in eleventh grade. The topic was really interesting, the chemistry of colours.

Our team worked on fireworks, dyes both natural and man-made, cosmetics and preservation of ancient colours and so much more. I was in charge of the presentation, so I had to know everyone's topics. I took notes and researched so much. The highlights of the presentation was a clever superposition of slides with three torches – Red, Blue and Green. Depending on the sequence of how you click them, using links, gradients and other things, the colours will change ultimately culminating in white (I couldn't resist dedicating a few slides to the physics of colours). The fireworks section was very vibrant and their chemistry was startlingly simple.

Before I get engrossed in my highly enlightening research, I'd better get to the highly wonderful incidents I had to put up with in my all-girls school.

1. Girls, make that model better. You know girls can't win science projects.
My non-verbal reaction – It's not a competition, it's an expo.

2. Preservation of artefacts – Girls Style

While the more sincere of us were studying this area, my juniors had fabricated a very innovative and realistic model.

Preservation of mummies
Preservation of Pompeii in volcanic ash (two models before and after eruption)

Did I mention the project title was Chemistry of Colours?

I ran to the staff room.

Me: Ma'am, the juniors are completely ruining everything.
Ma'am: What happened now, Sowmya?
Me: They're making models we didn't ask them to do.
Ma'am: Yes yes. I only asked them to make those models.
Me(controlling my anger and hoping she didn't notice my red ears): Mam, but why?
Ma'am: Your orbital model was excellent. But we need something else to fill the stall.
Me: Ma'am, but pyramids???
Ma'am: Don't worry ma, I have a class now. The co-ordinator was very impressed with the excitation model. It really doesn't matter what the other models are as long as they look good. I am actually thinking of flyers like red for danger hanging from the ceiling, it'll be colourful. You are too sincere(walks out).

I look at her retreating silhouette in utter disbelief.

3) Ultimate Insult

On the very first day of the expo, I was invited to the inauguration graciously by my teacher for putting so much effort. Personally, it was really good for my low blood pressure.


Well apart from the fact I fell down a flight of five steps on my way down and got my finger stuck in a hinge while arranging the stall and screamed until everyone came to our stall and I nearly passed out until some girl practically wrenched my finger from it and people sniggered about sissiness, it was not eventful enough to irritate me.


For the presentation, I needed a computer. It was not to be found. Finally the co-ordinator got this huge vehicle filled with monitors, keyboards and CPUs. My friend carried everything and got it for me to fix.

I got down to business. I had a Wearnes PC around a decade old at home with a 12.5 GB (2.5 + 10 addition) with old-style serial ports. They were very confusing and my very scientific method of selecting them was to plug them into every socket and see which fits. So prepared, for the worst, I took the serial interfaces.

Surprise! They were USBs. Plus, the CPU had cute graphics illustrating which was for the keyboard and which was for the mouse. Only, the power port was old-style and easy enough. Brilliant!

I should have known it was too good to be true.

There were separate power sources for monitor and CPU whereas each stall had only one power line. Our extension block was that round rotating type that can support only one three-pin. Soon, I was grovelling to the electrician to give another line. He wrinkled his nose and grudgingly stole the nearby(thankfully empty) stall's line.

He had a tester and checked the two power sources with a speed Rajnikanth would have been proud of and clambered away with his heavy wires. I finally plugged both of them in.

It did not work.

I disconnected and reconnected everything. I switched power-plugs. Sometimes the monitor would work, sometimes the CPU. It seemed as if there wasn't any power in one of the sockets but my ma'am pulled that thought right out of my head with a “He checked dear”. I was sure something else was wrong. Beads of sweat sparkled on my eyebrow and my hurt finger (which was depressed so much for so long) started to swell up to a disgusting blob.

To my complete horror, two extremely tall (I have a complex about being short) guys from the opposite stall entered. I had been so engrossed that I didn't notice my teacher actually go and ask them for help. They were extremely polite and checked my handiwork. Speech wouldn't rise to my lips. My teacher had grossly under-estimated me. And it really hurt because it was a computer.

Well, they didn't find anything wrong.

Not immediately anyway. One of them casually said that it probably was a power problem.

My teacher thanked them profusely for “figuring it out”.

The grumpy electrician was called again.

It finally worked.

There was no PowerPoint.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Story behind Ode to First 4 Silver

The poem “An Ode to first 4 Silver” has a long story behind it. My father's college was celebrating their silver jubilee. It was truly a memorable and highly planned tour which I enjoyed.

Or at least most of it.

My sister had fallen ill on the last day and I went alone with my new friends to Veega Land (which was a complete waste of time, I took photos and held everyone's handbags and went on ONE roller coaster). I come back and this was the conversation that ensued.

Dad: We've finished packing
Me: OK
(clambered onto the bed, all tired)
Dad: Mom and I had an idea
Dad: You know everyone knows your sister, I mean she was a singing sensation yesterday
Me (eyes lighting up) : Yeah, her “Made in India” brought the house down
Dad: So, we thought you should also showcase your talents.
Me (grinning): Daddy, my talents aren't exactly performing type. I can't very well solve problems or something. It's OK, she can be famous here.
Dad: You do write good poems.
Me: That's the point, I write.
Dad: Well, we want you to recite one.
Me (grin gone): WHAT? Me? Speak? On stage? Not happening.
Dad:Sowmya, don't be ridiculous. You gave such amazing speeches in school.
Me: That was school and they were not always spectacular. I've re-developed stage fear. And besides I take a month to write poetry. I'm no Shakespeare.
Dad: Well, give it a shot.
Me: Hmmm... what do you want it to be about?

At this point, my father transformed into the school-boy (or college-man) and his eyes sparkled as he spoke lovingly about his college and about the re-union. I was intrigued. The right emotions always pave the way for poetry. But I didn't have any paper, much less my laptop.

I was reduced to scribbling with a fluorescent orange pen on the back of my sister's brown paper medicine wrapper.

My work of art was completed in fifteen minutes. I purred in fulfillment. My dad was ecstatic. He said I could read it with the “paper” on stage.

The shadow of fear was back. I begged him to read it and that I really don't care if a bunch of people didn't know who I was who,in all probability, I wasn't going to see again.

It's not the first time I lost against my dad in a rational argument. He has the art of convincing me that what I don't what to do is what I want to do and vice-versa.

It was karaoke night. My sister was going to rock of course. Me? Hmmm, my stomach suddenly disappeared.

The co-ordinator said he couldn't fit me into the itinerary.

I would have whooped with joy if I hadn't felt so queasy.

I threw up the minute I reached our room.

I claimed it was because of my trip to Veega Land.

P.S. Stage fear is not that much of an issue now. I've taken four seminars since then. I've grown from an artist to a performing artist.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Story behind my entry to Blogging

My idea of blogging a year ago was a vague and hazy remembrance of some boring newspaper article which went like

A weblog or blog, as it is popularly known, is an online diary, blah blah blah”

Obviously, I wasn't very interested.

As much as I like technology, the idea of blogging didn't appeal to me at all. I have no idea why. I just preferred taking a piece of paper and actually tracing my thoughts onto it, I guess. Somehow, its more personal, more satisfying. So I chucked this nugget of information to one of my vast recesses of unused memory units and forgot all about it.

Well, years after I read this article and entered college, my English teacher asked us to submit our group assignments on a blog. She guided us through the steps of setting up a basic blog on Blogger and she was trying very, VERY, hard to get us interested in English. After all, we were computer science students, we'd hopefully take interest in front of a computer.

Here are a few facts about my group:

Half of them were lazy.
Those who weren't were forgetful.
Nobody cared about English class that much anyway.
The time we were supposed to use to update our blog was put to good use on Facebook.
I am very sincere, love English and computers.

Predictably, I ended up doing pretty much the entire blog that semester. Only one post is not mine, nevertheless was typed by yours truly.

Did I like the blogging experience?

It wasn't a blogging experience to be frank. However, I learnt a few rudiments about posting. I was surprised that I was pretty comfortable typing my thoughts as much I was writing them down.

And then, of course, the next natural step was to set up my own blog. All very well said and done except I had no idea WHAT to blog. Naturally, Google and Wikipedia came to my rescue . All of them indicated that blogs are simply a reflection of your interests. So I chose poetry. My very first poem was An Ode to First 4 Silver with the exact same template as my English assignment's. I was very happy to see it published. You see, I had had a website way back in fourth grade on free hosting tripod with Trellix Web. Launching a website is definitely more draining and my dad helped me with FTP and all that. Or maybe he was doing that for his site. Anyway, before I digress further, I just want to say it was satisfying.

My first real shock came when I had my first follower. It was my classmate and she did it right in front of me but still the concept was fascinating. Soon, I started badgering my friends to follow. The only obstacle was my blog address which was ritaskeeterscoop before. Unless you are a fellow Harry Potter fan, this address is absolutely not congenial for followership. After sometime, I stopped. I blogged a few poems and got a few comments for My Dear poem. After that it was super-stagnation. People would comment on my Facebook profile but nobody would actually comment on or follow my blog.

It was time I revamped my blog. Also, I didn't want to display just one interest. At the dawn of template designing, I used a cute picture window template with a leafy background. It was not very personalised, not very me. So I got down to the brass tacks, browsed quite a few blogs and got a flavour of the entire thing. One of my favourites is Coconut Chutney. I could really connect with her blog on most counts and found the posts hilarious and absorbing. The height was her translation of Padichi Paathen song. I nearly fell off the bed even as I read that she stopped with two lines in fear of the sport of chappal throwing.

And this is the result.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The History behind the History

The first time I got interested in history was...

You are not going to believe it.

By playing Age of Empires II demo when I was really young, I don't remember exactly, maybe third I think.

The demo had only Learn to Play. I followed the story with real zeal. In fact, knowing the next part of the story was a welcome bonus and I often wonder, which gave me more pleasure, the “You are victorious', or the next part of the story. Even as I write, the Scottish accent fills my head with phrases like “Edward Longshanks, the avaricious king of Scotland” or “We are without a leader, the dead king of Scotland has no heir”.

The story of William Wallace. The game gives you the taste of unorganised Scotland before the entry of our hero. What I really liked was the inclusiveness you felt. William Wallace is their messiah bearing the torch of hope against oppression and subjugation. His battle techniques were quite unusual with wooden pikes to cover for their lack of cavalry. The Battle of Sterling and the Battle of Falkirk are covered. Of course, history tells us that William lost the Battle of Falkirk due to treachery whereas the campaign leaves with the victory over the English castle. The brutal quartering follows for our hero. The cause is taken up, twenty years later by Robert Bruce and Scotland wins.

The interest embedded was quite mild at that time. It really took off after this incident. My parents were seeing one of those English-dubbed-in-Tamil movies (Some of them are quite hilarious, Jackie Chan says “Naa singam, Nee asingam”). I sat down, with a familiar feeling. As I followed the story, I told them, “This is sort of like the game I play...” and I rambled on in my usual manner quite oblivious to their downright ignoring when

and his name is William Wallace”.

William Wallace” screamed the TV.

My parents were pleasantly surprised. “How on Earth did you know?”. “Its in my game...” And soon I had recited the whole story again. I got everyone excited and our entire family was a treasure trove of information on medieval Scotland. After that, it was no turning back. History was one of my favourite subjects.

My very first presentation was on William Wallace.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


I was just thinking if I had to describe myself in computer terms, how I would do it. Here goes:

I'm a single-tasking, hyper-threading, multi-core microprocessor with teraflops speed and terabytes of memory.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Sorting Hat

It all started when I saw the first HP trailer and loved it so much. I later got Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and from then on, its no turning back.