23 February 2014

Sunday morning Chalupa run

It is starting to warm up. Had a good run with the Bengali group. Our youngest member Eleena showed up again today!! Manas showed up with some delicious “kalo jaam” (an outstanding Bengali sweet). We think he is starting to worry we are dropping too many calories during our run 🙂 The sweets were very popular during our coffee break.
Speaking of coffee, when I went to order my coffee and Niki and Tasha’s drink, as you can see, they remembered my name 🙂


22 February 2014

10K run

Switched up to my barefoot shoes that has no support at all and went for a 10K (6.2M) run to see if I can shake off my left leg issues. It was a beautiful morning – somewhat cool under a cloud cover and virtually no one on the roads…

Category: Running | LEAVE A COMMENT
22 February 2014

Celebrating Feb 21

Sharmila and the kids are at the Demi Lovato show. I got the whole house and evening to myself! So I decided to kick up my own cacophony at home 🙂

This being the World Mother Language day [the origin goes back to a very unfortunate incident. When the British, in their infinite wisdom, divided India along religious lines before they left in 1947, Pakistan was born as two large noncontiguous landmasses – one is what is today known as Pakistan and the other one is what is today known as Bangladesh. It was originally called East Bengal – because the dividing line broke apart a state that had Bengali speaking guys like me into East Bengal (as part of Pakistan) and West Bengal (as part of contiguous India – where I was born)].

Later East Bengal was renamed East Pakistan and then after its war of independence (Pakistan has a different view on this), it became Bangladesh. In between, there was a move by Pakistan to have a common language – Urdu as the national language. East Pakistan revolted against this – as they wished to keep their language Bengali as their official language – and the protest turned deadly with four students being shot dead.

Much later, UN recognized this day as the World Mother Language day to celebrate diversity in this world.

To celebrate that, spent a couple of hours listening to Bengali songs by singers from Bangladesh – some really young and upcoming talent like Dina, Saju, Liza, Shadhona… My absolute favorites are Chanchal Chowdhury and Momotaj!

Speaking of cacophony, I experimented with a combination of tabla and cajon to those tunes. I had a very faithful and appreciative listener as you can see in the picture 🙂

Also, I do not think UN sanctioned wine as part of the World Mother Language day, but I threw that in for free 🙂


20 February 2014

It is never too late at night….

Morning (long) meetings with customer in Maryland, followed by an energizing lunch with a colleague and then a three hour drive to New Jersey for a customer dinner. I was exhausted last night after this. And my hotel was still over an hour drive away (I stayed next to the airport so as to catch an early flight today).

However, on the way, I knew was a very very old friend of mine and his wife – who I also knew independently. So, sure enough – never a person to miss an intersection point, I showed up at their house pretty late at 8:30.

And I am glad I did. It was two hours of non stop laughter and talking about common friends we knew. I have not laughed that much in a long time…. or had such great a time. Even their daughter got caught up in the action and stayed with us the whole time (which Jayeeta explained later has never happened before). In fact, the only reason the party broke up was that she still had some homework to finish for the next day!!!

You see the picture of the idol? That is an wooden idol carved by Partha. He has got this whole set up in the basement where he does wood work to relax. You see the table we are all sitting at? That is a production from his relaxation.

Still cannot believe how much fun I had in those two hours. And then on my drive back, I realized something. The three of us have had a lot of common friends … we have talked so many times over the phone… we almost lived in the same city some time back…. Found out that my close fiend and Chalupa member Sid’s grandpa’s sister’s granddaughter is Jayeeta!

And yet… till last night… Partha and I had ever met each other only ONCE – for about five minutes … in Durgapur station waiting for Bidhan Express in October 1983 … we were introduced by either Subrata Kolay or Debotosh Paul, I cannot remember!

And Jayeeta? This is the second time I met her in my life – first time when she and her parents came to visit my roommate Pratik Pal in my residential school days in 1984 and then a couple of years later at the same roommates’ house in Durgapur where I had gone to visit his dad Dr. Dilip Pal who had recently broken his leg…

Over 31 years later… meeting somebody only the second or third time in your life…. there was no way you could have guessed it from the amount of fun we had together!!!


20 February 2014

Prisoner puzzle.

Thursday morning flight back home from Maryland and New Jersey. Puzzle time!!!

Since last week I was pilloried for lowering my standards of puzzle (once again, I am amazed that people think I have standards), I picked a slightly harder one this week. I heard a variation of this in Car Talk last week as I was taking Tasha somewhere.

If you know this, you will get it immediately. If you had heard this before, it is fun trying to remember the answer. If you have never heard it before, it would be interesting to solve it. Let me know thru FB message if you would like some hints.

As always, do not write on comments section if you have figured it out. This is to give others a chance to solve it. Send me a FB message.

There is a slightly easier version and a slightly tougher version of this puzzle. The puzzle goes roughly like this.

There is a prison with 15 prisoners for life in individual cells with no ability to communicate with each other whatsoever. One day, the warden took all of them out and gave them a chance to go out free. However, there was a catch.

He showed them an isolated room from outside in a separate part of the jail and told them that there were two switches inside. One on the left and the other on the right. The switches were connected to absolutely nothing. They could only be flipped to the on or off position.

The warden, starting the next day, was randomly going to pick a prisoner – at random times (could be few a day or could be none some day) – and take him inside the room. While inside, the prisoner would have to flip any one switch once. (If it is on, he flips it off and vice versa). However, he had to flip one (and only one) switch. He could choose which one to flip, of course.

Slightly easier version: The warden told them that both the switches were initially in off position.

Slightly more difficult version: The warden told them that nobody – including himself – knew what the starting positions of the switches were.

And then the warden said – “I need somebody among you – I don’t care who – some day – I don’t care when – to come and tell me that you are confident that all the prisoners have visited the room at least once. If that person is right, all of you go scott free. If not, all of you will be put to death.”

He gave them sometime to get together that day to devise a strategy to see if they could come up with a foolproof plan to get out.

Can you suggest a strategy (for both the easier and more difficult case)?

Remember, they don’t need to tell immediately after all of them have visited once. They just need to be absolutely sure that each one of them has visited the room at least once.

19 February 2014

Aluru Srinivas

Met Aluru in Atlanta after 25 years!! We lived in the same hostel (dorm) and both did Computer Science together. Last saw each other in early half of 1989!! It was absolutely fascinating catching up with him.

I always love catching up with my computer science friends. Partially because, I had a lot more interest in actual application development than research. Thus, unlike most of my classmates, I did not come to US to study further in Computer Science. But I am absolutely elated by the unbelievable achievements of my classmates – one of them is in charge of Google Search, one of them is in charge of Microsoft Bing, four of them are top notch professors in the best universities, few of them have their own very successful companies…

The life story of Aluru was no less fascinating. The thing that intrigued me was the fact that mid way in his career, he switched to a whole new stream – Computing Biology. Now, you will be totally excused for not knowing this – but I sucked at Biology. I was never good at remembering things. And history and biology needed me to remember things. But I was okay with Math. Dropped biology and took up statistics in my eleventh grade (junior year).

You can imagine my disbelief when he started talking about math and biology being the same at some level. For me, I topped out that level when I could say “A frog has four legs”. That is really how close I could put biology and math together 🙂

But I was even more awestruck when he started explaining to me about the genome mapping and splicing of the DNA. Now, I am really really worried that my behavior can be explained by a bunch of algorithms! Actually, what I am really afraid of is that Aluru is soon going to meet my wife. She is undoubtedly going to ask him to reprogram those algorithms for me. And I am intimately aware of the fact that he got a Computer Science degree – so he must be knowing a thing or two about programming!!!

Aluru, it was great catching up with you after a quarter century….


18 February 2014

I just do not know how to dress up

Yesterday, I put a 7K run in Georgia Tech area. It was easy to spot me . Among all those college folks in shorts and half shirt in 38 degrees, I was the one with three layers and an unseemly cap on my head.
So, today I dropped a layer or two for my 5K morning run in Milton. And paid for it. It was cold. Really cold.
Speak of the horns of dilemma. I could run faster to make it a quicker run but that would mean the wind would bite me even more. Or I could slow down and make the wind bearable but expose myself longer. Eventually just ran faster and got it over with. Starting to get back senses in my finger tips…