24 February 2020

Followup puzzle

This is a followup puzzle to the previous one to understand why the one-black-dot case is not possible. Some find the answer to be controversial. To me the logic is bulletproof though.

So, it is the same problem as before except that the lady skips the portion where she asks the three men to raise their hands if they see at least one white dot. Instead, after removing the blindfolds, she straightaway asks “What color dot do you have on your forehead”.

After quite some thinking, the smartest person came up with the correct answer.

What was the answer and how did he figure it out?

For completeness sake, I am restating the whole problem here…


Three smart men were trying to find out who is the smartest of them all. Or was at least most logical and quickest thinker. To resolve that, they went to a woman who had the reputation of being the smartest of them all. She devised a quick problem for them. She blindfolded them and painted a dot on each of their foreheads.
She then told them “I have painted a dot on each of your foreheads. The dots are either white or black in color. I am going to soon open your blindfolds. You will be able to see other’s dots but not your own. Then I am going to ask you to guess the color of your own dot”.
Saying so, she opened their blindfolds.
“Okay, now guess what color is on your forehead”.
The three men started pondering and soon one of them – who was indeed a little smarter than the others – spoke up.
“Correct”, said the lady.
Question: What was the answer and how did he figure it out?

23 February 2020

Sunday morning logic puzzle (a trifle easier than before)

Three smart men were trying to find out who is the smartest of them all. Or was at least most logical and quickest thinker. To resolve that, they went to a woman who had the reputation of being the smartest of them all. She devised a quick problem for them. She blindfolded them and painted a dot on each of their foreheads.

She then told them “I have painted a dot on each of your foreheads. The dots are either white or black in color. I am going to soon open your blindfolds. You will be able to see other’s dots but not your own. I am then going to ask you to raise your hand if you see a white dot (on either of the two friend’s foreheads). Then I am going to ask you to guess the color of your own dot”.

Saying so, she opened their blindfolds.

“You may raise your hand now if you see a white dot”

All three men raised their hands.

“Okay, now guess what color is on your forehead”.

The three men started pondering and soon one of them – who was indeed a little smarter than the others – said “I have a white dot on my forehead”.

“Correct”, said the lady.

Question: How did the man figure out what color he had?

22 February 2020

From the bartender’s corner: Devil’s Margarita

Picked the recipe up from Liquor magazine. First, it is a riff of your traditional margarita. Instead of tequila, you put mezcal. You put the orange liqueur, simple syrup and lime juice as you would normally do. Now, for a twist, float some red wine on the drink.

I was not sure what to expect – but it actually turned out fairly palatable. No salt on the rim though – the acidic red wine and salt are going to mess it up.

22 February 2020

Almost bounced back

It was a little depressing after my last run post to realize that age is going to eventually take running away from me. This morning I was trying to see if I could fight back a little. Just as I reached the trailhead, I got a call from Amitesh for an unrelated topic. He asked me how much was I going to run? 10K?

I had no goal. I just wanted to run the way I used to enjoy running. No measuring distance, speed or time. Run on the roads with lot of water stops and traffic stops etc. (Sometimes I would run for 5-6 hours). That is what I told him.

But that 10K he asked stuck in my mind. I thought I could prove to myself that I can beat age by putting a 10K in one hour. (which for me is very fast now).

Missed it by a minute. 1 hour 1 min. 6.2 miles (10K). Age got me again!! At least I finished out 10K. The challenge though is now I am increasingly wary of the pains in the joints and muscles. Let’s see how long this run versus old age lasts for me…

Category: Running | LEAVE A COMMENT
21 February 2020

In the words of Allama Muhammad Iqbal

“Faraib-e-Nazar Hai Sakoon-o-Sabaat
Tarapta Hai Har Zarra-e-Kainat
Theherta Nahin Karwaan-e-Wujood
Ke Har Lehza Hai Taza Shaan-e-Wujood
Samajhta Hai Tu Raaz Hai Zindagi
Faqat Zauq-e-Parwaaz Hai Zindagi”

Roughly translated…

Perpetual stability is a deception of our eyes
For every particle in this world restlessly vibrates with change
The caravan of life does not stop to catch a breath
For in every moment, the journey of existence rejuvenates itself
You may think of this life as a mystery
Whereas life is merely your desires taking flight

Category: Musings | LEAVE A COMMENT
21 February 2020

29 long years

The first time I saw him was in 1990. He had joined the same MBA school as I (one year junior to me) and moved into the dorm I lived in then. That too literally next door to me! The last time I saw him was March 1991 when I left the campus. I was 24 then.

Then, a full 29 years later – after more than doubling my age – I had the chance to meet Vivek again – at a small bar outside the hotel I was staying in, in Baltimore.

The details of how I got reconnected to him is escaping me right now – but it was probably one of those days when I remember people from the past and start looking for them in Linkedin and Facebook. Fortunately for me, he had recognized me too and we had exchanged our phone numbers and most importantly – his birthday! That way I had a reminder every year to visit him if I were to be in Baltimore.

And that is where I was this week for a couple of days for a conference. Vivek was very kind to adjust his schedule at work and home and come meet me when I had some off time between all the meetings.

It was like the 29 years has never happened. We picked up from where we had left. Talking about all the old friends, the carom board outside our room, the campus, the courses and all that. I was fascinated to hear about his career and family journey that has taken him to three different countries. We also debated the pros and cons of doing MBA – specifically, which courses has really helped and which ones not so much.

The best part of our recollections was a common difficulty both of us had faced separately. Both of us had a lot of exposure to computer programming – unlike many other students – before we joined the MBA class. And both of us (in two separate years) had agreed to help our colleagues with the programming assignments in the introductory programming class in our MBA. In fact, we called them “rems” (remedial classes?). Basically, some of the fellow-students would gather in a dorm and I (or he) would use the blackboard on the wall (every floor in the dorm had a blackboard those days) to explain the basics of programming languages.

And sadly, neither of us quite figured out how to convince our non-programming friends that in computer science, it totally cool to write:

A=A+2

🙂

It did not help that some of them had math degrees before coming to do MBA!!!

19 February 2020

What was she looking at?

There was something familiar and yet strange about the lady. I was busy with my oatmeal in the Delta Skyclub, sitting all by myself, when I noticed thru the corner of my left eye that a lady – in what appeared to be dark formal clothes – walking past me. And then she stopped. That made me instinctively look up. That is when I was hit with the feeling of something familiar and yet, something strange.

She was standing at about 10:30 to me (left front). She kept peering out in the open thru the large glass walls, diagonally across from me. She would occasionally look in her phone, punch in something and then again look out in the open. I looked out a couple of times in the direction she was looking. There was nothing to see other than the airport watch tower half cloaked in fog and a lot of planes on the ground dodging each other as they rolled thru. The sky was one dreary grey sky.

But she kept looking that way – with a sense of purpose – that betrayed that she was looking for something in particular. I glanced at her a little more intently. Dark hair, brown skin, very prim in her dark office suit and red scarf. The roller and handbag screamed top of the class brands.

That is when something familiar struck me. Could she be….? No! What is the chance? And why would she be looking out into the fog? I tried to lean over to get a better look at the face. Most of what I could see matched a face I knew but still I had not crossed past what my friends in the legal land would say “beyond reasonable doubt”.

I just sat back. Eventually, she will move and turn around, I argued with myself. That is when I would find out if she is who I thought she might be. For a moment, I toyed with the idea of calling up the lady I knew and if the phone rang in front of me…. you know the rest. But what if she was not? What am I going to give as my excuse to my friend for calling her so early in the morning?

Well, I just kept eating my oatmeal and waited patiently for her to make the first move. I eventually finished my oatmeal and she had still not moved!! Finally, one of those cleaning persons came around and asked “Are you done with this, sir?”. I nodded in the affirmative “Yes, ma’m”. And that conversation next to her jolted the lady in the suit into the present reality. She shifted a little – thinking she might be in the way.

And our eyes met immediately. It was good old Malika alright!!!

After the usual pleasantries (I had not seen her in quite some time), I asked her “What the heck were you looking into the clouds for?”.
“I was looking for Russell.” (That be her husband).
That did not exactly clear up things. Much like the weather outside, I was still foggy. Why was she looking for Russell there? First, he would not be in a runway walking along. And if he was flying somewhere, there was no way she could see him in an airplane.

A little background about Russell. I got to know him thru Malika – who I go to know thru Sharmila. I am not sure how she got to know her (was it thru Rejina in Dallas?) but I know both of them are painters. Many years later, we had discovered that another friend of ours from Dallas – Debjani – went to school with Malika in Kolkata and we had even managed to have a reunion for them at our house in Atlanta.

Russell’s biggest claim to fame – at least to me – is that he makes absolutely the best “kathi rolls” on this side of the Suez. On a good day, on that side of the Suez too. How this Georgia gentleman learnt how to make a Kolkata street food so well, I will never know.

What I did not know is that Russell is also a pilot. And now he is flying charter planes. Once I got past the surprise that I never realized Russell is a pilot, everything fell in place. He had a flight that morning and was taking off. She was messaging him from the Skyclub and he was texting her roughly where his plane was. Which was why she was straining her neck to look out so intently to spot his plane on the ground.

And that is how I had my first intersection point of this morning!

Malika, it was great to see you. One of these days, when Russell is on the ground, let’s catch a different kind of “flight” at a nearby bar!!