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aut me aut nihil

aut me aut nihil = Either me or nothing. no,no... me not boosting. me have an inferiority complex and trying to compensate :D 

Tuesday, April 26, 2005 - 02:13

Once a caveman

Note: This short story is my first love letter to my-techie-self. I know i was supposed to post another story titled "Shot through the heart" -which is a drama- but that story had to be postponed due to some production issues!(The heroine of the story was not willing to wear the dress i chose for the item number.) So here u go... a techie one.

Nobody missed Professor Riya's lectures. Not only because she was most attractive looking lady in the entire campus but really because she taught Computers like no one else. She was one of the rare gem who sported both beauty and intelligence, the deadly duo. Aptly the students named her Alpha Juliet. Ram, a sophomore, had a huge crush on her. Well, in fact he was just one of the many guys who thought that she was the love of their life. The most interesting part of all her lectures was the question and answer session at the end of it, when she would answer any of the questions the students have with such panache and passion that it invariably made all the students like her even more. Ram, was an unsuspecting poor soul.

Ram woke up with a start, realising that he had just five minutes to run to the most interesting class... Artificial Intelligence, lecture by no other than Prof. Riya herself. He can't afford to miss her lectures. Moreso because Ram loved the Q&A part. He never did ask any question, but the only question he was dying to ask her was... How she manages to look that drop dead gorgeous? He told himself one day he will find the courage to ask her that question, maybe not in the classroom but in private. But today he would just have to get ready and make a beeline to the lecture hall.

Fifty minutes later...
"...so thats in a nutshell.", said Riya to an packed but alert spectators of about a hundred students.
"We still have ten more minutes..any questions?"
Almost everyone in the class raised their hands.
"Well, well... we have many Hermiones here it seems.... you go first", she said pointing to a girl in the first row.
"Professor, do you think an AI would become hostile and start dominating human species once it realises it has superior knowledge than humans? Like it happens in the movies!"
Riya smiled cheerfully,"You guys are all spoiled by the movies. I totally disagree with the concept of hostile AI. I'm willing to bet my money that it would understand the value of life far better than humans do..... like in the movie Terminator 2, if that makes it clear for you."
"Ma'am, how long do you think will it take to create an agent with Artificial Intelligence? Considering the current rate of growth in the field of computers.", asked another student.
"In short i believe it doesn't depend on anything... because I reckon that an AI would really be a product a programmer might stumble upon, rather than a result of an extensive research by a big company. AI would be an accident, like the discovery of pencilin."
"Discovery? Don't you mean AI would be an invention?", retorted the student.
"Yes i said discovery and not invention. AI would be a discovery, since it would be a singular consciousness that makes the agent to question itself and although it would be some code written by a human, the code is not going to be something unreal or spectacular or something that we dont know already. In fact, it might just be a single line of code."
She waited for the message to sink in. And apparently the students caught on.
"So what do you think it would do, if not hostile?"
"I guess, it would probably take up a profession like any normal people and live in harmony with humans."
"Are you saying that it could be that simple? I dont believe it.", said a student from the infamous last bench.
Riya smiled to herself, gave a shrug, "We'll see one day whether i'm right or wrong? Until then....any other questions?"
The class was silent this time, propably baffled by how simple she made it sound.
"C'mon, i thought you guys would do better than that... ask me anything? we still have five minutes!", exclaimed Riya.
"What is your age ma'am?", asked a male voice from somewhere in the class, followed by a giggle from the entire class.
"Ohh, anything means *anything*..is it? Since someone asked, i'll answer... i'm six years old.", she paused and continued, "A silly answer to a silly question." and gave a im-game-you-guys smile.
"What is love ma'am?", came another student's voice from the back. This time no body giggled but turned around to see where the sound came from. Ram became furious.
Riya seemed calm as ever and continued, "well well well.... what do we have here? The million dollar question. I can't answer it fellows, not only because it is out of syllabus, but also because I really dont know the answer. But i will tell you one thing. Love is the most important aspect of life. It is the single most important factor in the civilisation of man. How? You see the homo sapiens were just a bunch of wild people living in caves. But once a caveman said, `She is mine and she is mine alone.`, and made sure he lived by that, which is considered the starting of civilized life on earth."
Right then, the clock on the chimed signalling the end of the hour.
"Ok guys, lets wind up for the day. Thank you for your attention." said Riya and sat down in a chair and watched all the students go out, except for one.

Ram gathered his courage and walked up to where Riya was sitting and said,
"Ma'am, do you realise that you look sinfully beautiful?"
"Do you know thats the third time this semester that you are telling me that? Well my answer remains the same... with all the intellectual powers that the an AI agent possess, the first device she will build would be the one that manipulate human memory."
With that she took out a odd looking silver pen, pointed at a completely baffled Ram and... *flash*

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3 owls
Tuesday, April 19, 2005 - 05:04

Can't hurry...

I had huge plans for the 25 hours flight back to India. I opened my laptop to work on my next short story. Damn the technology, anyone within a 100 meter range can see my screen. The lady next to me saw the title "Shot throught the heart" and gave me a very wry look. I closed the laptop and never touched it again. I tell you...
You can't hurry art!

Saw four and a half movies back to back on the flight. Couldn't sleep at all... the indian customs people had been taunting my dreams lately. Thanks to my lucky stars they didn't ask me for bribe. Waited more than two hours for a bus at the Bombay airport to complete the last leg of the journey. I tell you...
You can't hurry India!

Life was restored to normalcy again. Sweated for no reason at all. Chatted with friends and roommates. Called home and got some bashing from mom for not calling her before i left. Came to office in jeans and t-shirt after hitch-hiking my way on the Mumbai-Pune highway(note: not freeway). Saw some indian females (God, i forgot how amazingly hot they could look). And sat in the office with nothing better to do than type this. I tell you...
You can't hurry life!

Went and saw the tamil movie Chandramuki, yesterday at E-Square. The no-longer-the-friend-i-used-to-know-got-married Murali and his wife joined us. They are a lovely couple. Very cute. Me asked him, "So, how is married life?". He was all smiles and replied, "You need to get married to experience it machi."..... Me thought of varied replies for that, but i tell you...
You can't hurry love!

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5 owls
Sunday, April 10, 2005 - 22:50

HASTA LA VISTA, USA

Long long ago, so long ago, nobody knows how long ago... i came to the USofA. Actually it was 6 months and 4 days ago, but whatever. It had been an awakening/enlightening/life-altering experience. No, im kidding, i just wanted to test my spellings-skills. The thing is, it is time to say good-bye and get my arse back to India where it belongs. Like i have any regrets doing that!! Will be starting from here on 16 or 17th: pray for my safe return willya?

I came here a lonely man with only my wisdom as my guide. Don't laugh, i really mean it: i did not even fret a tiny bit when i saw PDA(Public display of affection) and i swear i did not notice the pink flower in the low-cut T-shirt that woman was wearing. Well, anyways, i wont be missing anything, to saw the least. There is always E-Square and MG Road of Pune to catch up on ladies fashion anyways.

Ironically enough, after coming to USofA i made some interesting friends with people from Pune, Kathak and Agent R. Even managed to gain myself a twin and a behena! And an American friend as well, Anju. Overall this trip has been an great success, if you dont consider the project i was working on, that is. The project met some terrible times. I think they finally figured it was my code that crashed the application most of the time, or maybe im just paranoid.

As i look back on the past six months i realise something profound. Apart from the filter coffee my mom makes, i also like Starbucks's frappuccino coffee. Not profound enough? Try this... As much as i dont like this place, I want to come back here to study. I missed CAT last year for this project, but only after visiting Purdue i realised what i would be missing if i dont do MS. Thanks to Vinayak.

Well thanks to everyone actually, for being there, or just reading this and giving a moment's thought to this poor young soul that is so eager to be loved and loves to love back. Thats a lot of love i tell you. I'll sign off because i choke off all the bandwidth with my love. And they lived happily ever after.

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35 owls
Monday, April 04, 2005 - 22:00

12 - 13

Caution: Short story ahead! I resorted to a monologue script for lack of better way.

My name is Raj. I am twelve years old. Well, not any more. Today is my birthday and i turn thirteen! I know that turning teen is a big thing: after all, the western culture allows for dating after one turns teen. But i hope i get the Play Station or the Desktop as my b'day gift from my parents. Or both..yayyy! Because mom said she has a surprise for me when i was leaving for school in the morning. Being the only child helps in these matters. You get all the attention and you dont have to share your gifts with your siblings. My dad might pop into my room any moment now and give me my present.

"Hey Kiddo! Happy Birthday!!"
Whats with the out stretched arms dad? A hug? Handshake is more appropriate, thank you. Hugs are so over dad.
"Well, thanks dad...and stop calling me kiddo. Im not a kid anymore.", for good measures.
"Ok ok, i wont. My dad used to call me kiddo all the time...anyways, i have your present for the day, but before that i need to talk to you about something. Sit down."
Oh no! Not the sit-down-talk. Anything but the talk.
"Actually, i just want to tell a story. It's kind of a moral story that i have been waiting to tell you."
"oookay...", Moral lines? You have always been the jolly fun dad. Why change now?
"Right. You have always been getting what you want son. I have never said `no` to anything you have asked for. But it is not always going to be like that in your life. Thats why i want you to listen to this story and i want you to think about it. Okay?"
"OK" Some thing is really up with my dad.
"hmmmm...here goes...Some time ago there was a very poor man who lived with his wife and four children. He was a woodcutter and to support his big family he worked really hard."
oh no, is he going through the "woodcutter and the golden axe" story and ask for the moral?
"He cut wood all day and since it didnt pay very well he was barely making ends meet. He sent his children to the public school because he knew that education would give them a better chance. It also worked out to his advantage since the public school served lunches, which meant he had four less mouths to feed in the afternoon."
"mmm hmmm", okay! i can forget about the golden axe and its moral.
"His daily wage was 12 rupees and even if he managed to cut with all his might he only got as much as 13 rupees. He came home with that money everyday and gave it to his eldest son. His son would then set out to the grocery store that was a few miles away and would get all the rice he could get for Rs.12 . Only then it was enough to feed the entire family. They cannot afford to buy any vegetables, so they grew some on their backyard."
Dad please dont ask me for a moral of the story.
"The mother then cooked the rice and served it to everybody. She also saved some rice for breakfast the next morning. Nobody knew how much she saved but they knew that they would get some in the morning."
I have no clue where my father is going with this sad story!
"One day, the father returned and like always his son set out with the Rs.12 to get the rice. But when he got to the store and reached into his pockets, the money wasnt there. He lost it on his way. He got really panicky and started frantically going over the footpath in search of the money. He searched and searched for he forgot all sense of time."
Now, he is just freaking me out...
"Only when it began to get dark he realised that his family was waiting and the truth stared at him. He was not going find that money and his family has to go to sleep starving that night. He returned home empty handed. And when he told his father about the money, he got so furious that he started beating his son."
Why is dad getting all emotional, and is that a drop of tear i see in his eyes?
"After all, it was all his day's work."
........thats it? thats the end of the story? Not a fairy tale ending..
"Not a fairy tale ending huh? But that how it is son."
"Yeah, It was a sad story."
"Well, you think about it....Your present is waiting in the hall."
i dont have to tell you how glad im for the story to end and to hear them magic words. Into the hall and the three big letter `DELL` on the box seems so beautiful, Mom standing next to it with a huge smile.
"Thanks dad, and thanks mom"
Dinner with my favorite sweet(rashagulla!) and soon its time to bed. Everybody off to sleep while i try to unpack the computer. Mom comes to my room to say good night.
"Raj, you can complete assembling it tomorrow. Go to sleep now."
"Ok mom, i'll in two minutes."
"Alright."
"Mom wait, I have a question for you....Dad today told me a story and i didnt understand why he was was so emotional about it."
"What story?"
"A poor woodcutter's story."
"Your grandfather was a woodcutter. Maybe thats why. Now, off to sleep. Good night!"

I switched the lights off and waited for a good ten-fifteen minutes. I went to my dad's room.
He was sleeping, but i gave him a hug anyway.


Dedication: To my cute little twin, Danny, who helped me write this story.

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9 owls

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