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kurigaLu saar kurigaLu

“Books” — I don’t remember when they walked into my life. As far as I remember, I developed this hobby of reading when I was in my high school (or even before that ?). Till last month I was more in to reading of just prose – novels, short stories, dramas, essays.

Just for a change I thought of reading poetry and my dad suggested me to read K. S. Nissar Ahmed. And to my luck I started with the very famous poem by him “KurigaLu saar kurigaLu” — marvelous literature. Beginning is like this — “kurigaLu saar kurigaLu saagiddE gurugaLu” – he gives the reader a feeling of ‘teasing’ oneself about one’s existence and the way one earns his piece of bread. I can’t explain beyond this (not an expert to comment on literature :o…) – If you can understand Kannada, don’t miss it read it.

tsunami

As usual I was standing in the beach on Sunday morning. Sun was trying to glaze the water surface from his surface. As far as I remember I just stand in the beach everyday in the same place without fail and leave the waves to come and splash me. I will be in beach irrespective of weather condition. I love to (sort of) stand there and have a look at the endless waves for endless hours. Even though it is a routine for me, I never felt boredom for this my hobby, to be honest it’s difficult to call this as my hobby. It’s as routine as the waves in the sea hit the shore everyday and night. Sometimes waves may come to a standstill but then also I will be there.

[adsense] I really don’t know whether I like sea or waves or water, but still I stand in the beach. But plenty of people love to come to beach — for morning walk, for evening stride, for jogging, to play, or to just watch the waves like me. The number goes high during the weekend as they won’t be having work like me. That sunny Sunday as usual I was there in my place. As the Sun started his journey upwards from horizon, people started flowing in. People were everywhere – all around me. Some of them standing next to me playing in water, few teenagers were playing Cricket, Kabbaddi, Volleyball, Football and all sorts of undocumented or unknown games in the beach. Plenty of health conscious friends were jogging along the beach, just avoiding the waves. Lots of grandpas and grandmas were strolling around with their beloved ones, old friends recollecting there good old life as youngsters, cracking jokes, teasing one another. There I stood as if I didn’t belong to their world. I was just enjoying their life – enjoying every bit of joy, laughter, listening to each and every joke cracked, all sorts of gossips, watching children making sand castles. But no one gave second look at me, which was common to me and I was used to that kind of importance given to me over there.

Suddenly I felt something strange — waves stopped coming to the shore as if they are on a strike. Roaring sound of the sea was not there and the sea started retracting itself. People were astonished to see the sea go back like that. After few minutes, people were back to their business as if nothing happened. But to tell you the truth — till that time nothing had happened. With in no time, waves started coming towards me in a lightening speed. I was totally clueless, people around me started screaming and running towards the higher altitude places. But who can match waves coming at almost 700 to 750 KM per hour speed. Even if you can run at a speed of 35 KM per hour, which will be a new world record, you must have luck to survive. Somehow I felt that, those waves do nothing for me and I didn’t (I couldn’t) move an inch from my place. My mind was completely blank, as it is always. Few people who were running tried to get a support from me, but I was helpless. Tsunami had done its job cleanly and cruelly.

Within few seconds, everything was changed – baffling silence except for roaring waves. There were floating dead bodies, broken huts and boats, cars, TV sets. All of my good old friends – grandpas & grandmas, joggers, young players — everyone were one among the sea. But I was unhurt. I just stood there in my usual place unmoved. And I stood there as a ‘mooka-prekshaka (silent-spectator) – for the unforgettable event of my life and lost my unforgettable good old friends.

A Rock in Marina beach, Chennai.

Mission Munnar

Munnar Snaps

There was this continuous hum of the engine along with murmurs and frequent laughs. I don’t know why these engines, their sound come in dreams. After some time, the engine sound died and the murmurs also – I guess the dream weaver listened to my request. Suddenly the chill wind started blowing, and I was about to ask my roommate to switch off the fan. As I opened my eyes to call him, I saw blurred images walking outside the window and saw the Sun God rising behind the clouds and a group of coconut trees. By the time I came out of my drowsiness, I realized that I was sleeping in a vehicle on that sunny Saturday morning. Sripathi, Shyama, Shreyas, Raghu, Rajesh, Abhi and Vijay were chatting outside the vehicle. There we were en route to Munnar, much awaited dream-come-true trip.

It all started when Sripathi sent a mail on 19th Nov calling for trip. I thought this call as a routine one. Routine in the sense like I had sent a mail lot of times in the past 2 years calling for a trip; Shyama also had sent. We had loads of discussions whenever we met in Bangalore. But this call was not a routine – responses started coming from all different directions – finally we decided on ‘Munnar’ for a two days’ trip on 4th and 5th Dec, 04.

According to our plan, we were supposed to start from Bangalore at 5 in the evening on Friday Dec 3rd. This was the team for the trip – Sripathi, Shreyas, Shyama, Raghu, Abhi, Vijay, I and the last entry Rajesh. To everyone’s astonishment, late latheef — Sripathi was on time and everyone except Raghu and Vijay were waiting in Shreyas’ house. Vehicle, Tempo traveler was late by an hour and thirty minutes. After the ‘puja’ rituals we started at 6.45 PM, picked up Raghu and Vijay on the way. Hours went like minutes with our non-stop nonsense and soon all of us were hungry. We stopped some where near Hosur – don’t know the exact place – and opened the dinner packets from Shreyas’ house. Lemon rice and curd rice – they were damn tasty. After the delicious dinner, we were back on road. Again, we started of with loads of PJ’s and also plenty of incidents of college days remembered – good old internals, classes, lecturers, and funny incidents in the classes. Soon afterwards, one by one dropped to sleep.

As we had planned, we were supposed to reach Guruvayur by 7 AM on Saturday, but were still near Salem at that time due to headlights problem. But our still our spirit was high, had loads of fun and plenty of photo sessions, especially Sripathi’s Highway dance. Finally we reached Guruvayur by 11 AM, went to the temple and were back to our vehicle by 2 PM after waiting in the long queue for the ‘darshana’. Everyone was hungry, so we attacked our food packets, thanks to our moms for those plenty of chapathis and side dishes. Due to insufficient time, we dropped our plan of going to Alleppey and started our journey towards Munnar – the place of misty mountains at 3 PM.

We reached Munnar town at 9 PM, after a journey full of PJs, going back to our good old college days, Sripathi’s practical jokes and not to forget few cold wars & exchange of words within the group. On the way, we stopped at ‘Cheeyappara water falls’, but the timing was bad. Water fall was faintly visible to our eyes in the dark at 7-7.30 in the evening and was invisible to our cameras. There we got a pineapple seller who was selling them for very cheap. We bought 50 fruits in total and apart from those we ate some 5 or 6 there itself – don’t ask the result of this next day. We got a place to sleep in Munnar – a small dormitory having 10 beds in one big hall with 2 baths attached. We went out for dinner in the cold which was touching our bones and back to cozy bed by 11PM. Everyone were sleepy but the enthusiasm or the ‘josh’ within kept everyone awake and again we had a great time pass. As the time rolled by, one by one surrendered to the sleep.

Trip plan was ready for Sunday – Shreyas, Rajesh and Raghu had collected required information from localites. After a long time I got up so early on a Sunday morning, by 7.30 everyone were up and ready for the outing. We checked out from the dorm, and started towards Munnar top-station. On the way we stopped at one lake – don’t remember the name – have to ask Shreyas for the name. Had a quick photo session over there and we missed the route to top-station and went in a different way – roamed around in between plenty of tea estates, but fortunately got back to the correct road. On the way again, we stopped at echo point – not to forget – had lot of screaming, whistling in the echo point. And the next destination was ‘shooting point’ – I had confused it for firing point used by military people, but that was a film shooting point?. Next was the Munnar top-station.

We were in the clouds, nothing was visible just clouds – we were just floating. Just for the patch of land where we were standing nothing was visible. The visibility was reduced to few meters due to the heavy fog. From the parking place to the view point was almost 300 to 400 meters – we need to climb down to the point. After the quick descend, needless to say we had photo session, took rest and had another round of informal discussion and recalled good old days – Gone are the days but not memories. But, one thing which man has never able to conquer – Time – was running out. We started back from the top station to Munnar town. On the way, we stopped at Matupatti dam – very beautiful place for boating, but there was a long queue for boating. So we dropped the plan of boating, but there were plenty of colorful butterflies flying around the boat house, had a good time over there with the butterflies. And journey started towards Munnar.

After a quick lunch in Saravana bhavan, vehicle started moving towards Rajamalai – which is a natural habitat of wild mountain goats. Such kind of species is living only in two places in the world – one in Kerala, the other in Australia. We hired a jeep for eight of us, since HMV were not allowed to the top of the hill due to small road. There, hundreds of people were searching for the wild goats. We entered the sanctuary premises with the hope of having a look of the goat. We wandered inside for more than one and half hours with no luck. But when shyama complained about this to the jeep driver while going down the hill, he just stopped the vehicle and showed us 4-5 goats and finally we managed to take photos of those rare goats.

From the foot of Rajamalai started our journey back to Bangalore at around 6 PM, to the same old routine after a 2 days’ break. According to the plan we were supposed to reach B’lore by 6 AM on Monday. But we had to a problem with the vehicle half, so we had to travel to B’lore from Thiruppur by bus. Finally we managed to reach B’lore by 1 PM. That was a well deserved trip to all of us.

MOV A, B

Examination time, as usual all of us were busy in collecting notes from others and getting it photo copied. Somehow we had reached the end of 5th semester. We had a very wide variety of subjects in that semester – to name few – from interesting subject “Digital Signal Processing” to wacky “Control systems” to tricky “Microprocessor” to boring “Telecommunication and Switching”. Soon classes were over and we got the time table – as usual rumors were coming like ‘exams will be postponed by one week’ or ‘students of that college are going to start strike tomorrow’ etc.

As usual we had lab examinations before theory papers. So started reading from first page first letter of the lab record to last page last letter, until we were lost in the world of PCB, resistors, capacitors, micro processors. Meanwhile, I don’t know who got this idea, just three days before our first examination – we all decided to sit one day and have a group discussion on all the algorithms that we had for microprocessor lab exam. I guess there were around 18 or 20 in the syllabus.

All of us settled ourselves in Shreyas’ house. All – Raghu, Shreyas, Abhi, Shyama, Sripathi, ‘Tommy’ Harish and I – were set to start the discussion. That was around 9 PM I guess. So the discussion started and went in good pace for almost half an hour – but that was not related to our exams. Thankfully we stopped that ‘bakwas’ and started discussing on algorithms. We decided like, who has understood that algorithm should explain it to others and he should clarify the doubts. If even he fails to clarify the doubts, and then refer to available material – as usual photo copied notes, some text books. We were sitting in terrace — open space in second floor – the whole environment was a kind of co-operative to us. Air was filled with thick aroma of kerosene – thanks to 30ps Xerox shops.

That day is one of the most unforgettable days in my life. We came to know about each other. We came to know about Shyama, how talkative he is. Just ask him how he started his bike this morning – he can explain that to you for more than 2 hours. He will start with individual parts of the bike, the spark plug, the kicker, how his friend borrowed his bike for one day and broke the indicator, what’s the mileage, how many times he kicked to get his bike started, how many times it used to take when the bike was new etc the list goes on and on.

Then the “Chatter box” and our class rep – Sripathi. For Shyama, you have to ask something to start the conversation to make him talk, but not in case of Sripathi. You don’t need to start a conversation at all. It all starts automatically; you just have to listen to him. He is something like an FM radio, out comes the nonstop nonsense from him. According to my opinion, he is a very good companion when you feel all alone. He takes out of the loneliness from you.

And there is another guy, Abhi, the silent mountain who loves to be quiet. Only reason is he doesn’t know what to talk. Whenever he opens his mouth to talk, there he is gone for a toss. He will be teased like anything by others. And best part of him is he enjoys the jokes cracked after a time gap. But to be frank, one of the hardworking guy, and a great tutor. Thanks Abhi, because of you only I’m here. Thanks for all those tuitions on countless number of subjects.

And coming back to the discussion, within no time – or to be specific by around 3 or 3.30AM — all of us were done with the algorithms except for me. I was struck in one algorithm – ASCII converter. Everyone in the group tried to explain that to me more than 10 times, but that was like Greek and Latin at that moment. So as suggested by Shreyas, I decided to by-heart – for the first time in my life — all 32 lines of code in that program. So was the end of discussion and started our “thale harate”. At that point Shyama and Sripathi were prominent members in the chat. I don’t know when I slept, but got up around 6 AM and Shyama was still talking – don’t know who was listening.

Two days passed by with no time and I was there in the examination hall to face the exam. I was thorough with all the algorithms and also that ASCII one. At that time if you had asked me which is the 10th line in that program I was able to tell that. Surprisingly, I saw Raghu and Shreyas’ face out side the hall even Raghu had the exam 3 hours later and Shreyas had it next day, they were waiting for me to pick up the question sheet. And to my luck I go the same ASCII program along with another simple one. I just signaled to Raghu and Shreyas who were waiting for my reaction, that I have got that same ASCII one. Their reaction and expressions still comes to my mind. They were very sad than me for getting that program. I was so touched at that moment and I felt the value of friendship at that very moment.

So I started scribbling down the programs. First one was easy, it was over in just 2-3 minutes and I started writing down the ASCII one. Thanks to my good memory, I was done with that also within 5 minutes. I proceeded to the microprocessor board, finished off the first program and showed the output to the examiner. I started typing in the second one, but I felt something fishy. I replaced the 28th or 29th line of code with another line. I finished off typing and to my horror – no output!!. I tried all the commands in microprocessor 8085 in that place. I spent the complete 3 hours exam time in the lab trying to get the output. Finally I gave up at the end and walked out. As soon as I came out, I realized. The line I had removed first time before typing in – “MOV A, B” – was the correct statement. I had used all the commands in 8085 except that “MOV A, B”. And there they were still waiting for me – Raghu and Shreyas – and Abhi had also joined them.

Thanks folks – Abhi, Raghu, Shyama, Sripathi, Tommy and Shreyas — for your friendship and for your support. There were loads of ‘firsts’ and ‘lasts’ on that day. To mention few

– I realized the value of friendship for the first time.
– That was the first and last in my life, I had by-hearted the program without understanding it.
– I spent whole 3 hours in the lab exam for the first time, other lab exams I have finished them less than an hour.

Still that 8085 statement – “MOV A, B” — and this incident comes to my mind whenever I see a student in buses holding books related to micro processors and micro controllers.