teacher

RIP, Asheem Chakravarty

Indian Ocean’s percussionist and singer, Asheem Chakravarty passed away yesterday after a heart attack. This is truly sad news; Indian Ocean is one of my favorite bands and I have been to many of their concerts. Losing a member of a band as tight-knit and flawless as Indian Ocean is quite a big blow. My heart goes out to Asheem’s family and friends, Sushmit, Rahul, and Amit.

Asheem’s percussion was the backbone of the band, and if you listen carefully you’ll notice that it only stops for one thing — his vocal solos (This is why having 2 percussionists in a band is awesome). My most distinctive memory of Asheem is his solo singing of a sloka that opens a song from the Kandisa album, Khajuraho:
Brahmanandam parama sukhadam kevalam jnanamurtim dvandvaateetam gagana sadrusam tatvamasyadi lakshyam ekam nityam vimala machalam sarvadheesaakshibuutam bhaavaateetam triguna rahitam sadgurum tam namaami.

(Rough translation from here — “I salute to that true teacher who is the source of eternal bliss, supreme happiness, who has true wisdom who is beyond the dualities, who is infinite, whose attention is always on the divine, who is unique, eternal, pure, steady, and who sees with the eyes of wisdom who is beyond thoughts and beyond three faculties.”)

I am thankful for the wonderful rendition of slokas that are thousands of years old into your songs and making this accessible to our “pop-rock” generation. You may not be with us any more, but your voice and your tabla will echo in the universe forever. Rest in peace.

write like you talk

Kathy Sierra writes :

Your sixth grade English teacher warned you against writing the way you talk, but she was wrong. Partly wrong, anyway. Then again, we aren’t talking about writing the way you talked when you were 12. Or even the way you talk when you’re rambling.

For me, I try hard to do the reverse; i.e. talk like I write. This is because my writing is quite informal and accessible, or so I choose to believe, based on what people have told me. My speech, on the other hand, suffers from the same problem most communication networks have these days: network congestion with bottlenecks. My brain comes up with a more than a million things that I would like to eventually communicate to the listener, something that is theoretically not possible given that there’s a physical limit to how fast I can speak. Also, all these thoughts are not neccesarily in order (for example this sentence was inserted after I wrote the next two sentences), hence a lot of reordering needs to be done. Adding to this set of problems is another part of my brain which decides to do a lookahead analysis of the responses my audience might come up with, and then precomputing retorts and rebuttals to them.

This overwhelming of thought packets on the mouth buffer drives me into an incoherent mumble which often makes people think I’m a socially inept, dumb retard of some sort, saying all the wrong, inappropriate things at the wrong times, for example:

Girl: People tell me I clean up quite nicely.
Me: Oh, do you? That’s quite surprising.

How I wish I could use backspace while talking.

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practical knowledge

The Compiler Design + Multimedia Applications practical exam went off without any major mishaps. Minor mishaps: The keyboard of the computer behind me got stuck with the chair, and flew off the desk when I turned. I had to do a clumsy dive-under-the-table action to save it. The external examiner gave me a weird look.

Then there was the multimedia program whose menus *just don't work*. Just one of those things that happen to perfect programs in crisis situations. I know my code, and I'm dead sure it was perfect, but it just didn't work! So I go out to drink water, and confirm the code with this friend, and the Compilers teacher sees me talking. Great, first of all, your code gives up on you, and then it also makes you look bad in front of everyone.

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