When someone holds your tummy in their hands, and says your name in a tone that combines both disgust and awe, it’s time to hit the gym.
The gym is apartheid at its finest, with puny mortals like me scraping up Mount Olympus, while toned Gods, idly flick rocks and beads of sweat at the scrambling masses. The air here reeks of jealousy and testosterone, as the have-nots flick looks at those benching their own body weight. Though the divisions between the 2 sides are firmly entrenched, you get the occasional sycophant. A Gollum like creature, scampering between the benches, collecting the sweat of the Muscular into a Nalgene bottle, revering it as he would an amphora of Ambrosia.
I’m working on my physique, and often time I catch myself daydreaming of the day when I shall bandy about medicines balls as though they were merely the testicles of Zeus. I imagine walking among the ranks of the buff, comparing the visibility of our veins and pinching each others flanks as though we were sizing up cattle.
For now, however, three more sets to go…
I don’t remember too much of my time in kindergarten, it’s all a big haze to me now. There are brief bits here and there that I can recall; making little papers ships and fighting over the Lego blocks, that sort of thing. Whenever class got over, the teacher used to make us sit outside, on on straw mat on the floor while we waited for the bus to arrive to take us home. I always used to sit next to this one curly haired kid with green eyes. We used to fashion little pieces of paper into tiny little guns, and play thief and policeman. We weren’t allowed to move off the mat, so we just usually kept shooting each other as quick as we could and squabble over who would have died first. Finally, after a week or so, I finally decided to ask him for his name, and he replied “Salhi”. Sahli means phlegm in Tamil. I burst out laughing and he asked me why. I didn’t tell him, mainly because I didn’t know the word phlegm at the time, and I had no clue how to explain it to him. He asked me everyday, and everyday I didn’t reply. One day, I had a cold, and also a brainwave. I blew my nose into my hands, and held them out before him. “This is you”, I said, as I gently wiped my hands on his shorts.
I lost a friend that day.
I did a Sethu Snanam yesterday. It’s a ritual that involves saying some prayers and then immersing oneself in the sea 12 times to be cleansed of any sins. The wind is going at 50 mph, and the sea is cold and gray. Wearing only a veshti and my punal, I enter the water . I go under 11 times, and before I go for the 12th, I figure, God owes me one for putting myself through this. So, saying a prayer, I dive in for the last time. Well, the prayer must have been a frivolous one, because when I rise up, God punches me in the face with a wave. Mortified, I pray for peace in the Middle East and leave. When I reach the shore, I notice God has also taken away my veshti. And my dignity.
Damn God, you cold.
Seeing as it has been a while since I’ve been in India, I’ve come to expect certain things. Relatives talk slowly to me in Tamil and slowly bob their heads up and down, because they assume I can’t understand. No one allows me to go alone anywhere in an auto, because “Chennai is different than the US” (also I might be molested by burly Ashok Leyland truck drivers*). I don’t mind putting up with all this, its amusing. But when I go to a restaurant and order a South India Thali, and my aunt points at a dish and says, “This is a dahl.”, I go slightly more insane.
*I do not wish to denigrate Ashok Leyland truck drivers. Therefore, I would like to point out that drivers from other truck companies are equally likely to molest me, assuming burliness remains constant throughout.
“Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds”
-Verse 32, Chapter 11 Bhagavad Gita
There stood today, a giant ant, in the center of my bedroom. Mandibles swaying gently in the breeze, it fixed upon me a dark and beady stare. It was almost human in its intensity. This made my decision to kill it even more difficult. I stood, resolute, in my decision. Almost weeping from the emotional strain, I knelt in front of it. I quietly ordered it out. It did not move. I did not want to do this, I said. It was mute in its defiance. I explained that I had a deathly fear of ants crawling into my ear as I slept, and that his death would serve as a cautionary tale for the rest of his ilk. He crawled towards me, insolent in the face of his would-be killer.
Slowly I stood, and chanted a prayer for his soul. I felt a murderous Lord Krishna, reciting an unholy Bhagavad Gita, to a poor Antjuna. Fearing to look at my victim, I placed a soft floor mat upon his body. I jumped upon it, and, torn between fear, rage and piety, I jumped repeatedly on the mat. Catching my reflection in the mirror, it looked as though I was doing a pagan dance of death upon the grave of mine enemy. Weeping openly now, I flung the floor mat away to pay my respects to the remnants of his brave body. Alas! What was this?! Before my thunderstruck eyes, the ant was alive, and crawled to safetly before my murderous hands could overcome their paralysis. I shrieked and cried as I praised God and his infinite mercy, for he had saved 2 souls this day!
Such as it is, thoughts and ineffectual actions do have their price. Later that day, I stood in the garden, unbeknownst, next to a red ant nest. As I pirouetted and hopped and danced in the throes of pain (much as I had danced upon the floor mat that very morn), I observed Karma laughing gleefuly at me in the corner.
I have often heard the term “girl”, being bandied about, as though it were a term I understand. As far as I have come to gather, it is an oft used reference to people of the opposite sex. However being the generic geek that I am, I am quite unsure of what the word “sex” actually means, and always thought it was a myth or a fallacy. For instance, it has come to my attention that Bill Gates has children. How this fellow geek managed to attain such acts of reproduction is beyond my feeble biological knowledge, but i think it has something to do with recursion. So, as I sure you will understand, my knowledge of this other breed, these beings of the feminine species is rather limited.
Spending most of my time down in the Taylor Basement, where the Linux machines, I have often caught a fleeting glimpse of these rare (and often exquisite creatures). They often flee as they catch a glimpse the reflection of the computer screen on my eyes, under the ringwraith hood that I wear on occasion.
Such as it is, my interest was piqued, and I decided to my fellow engineers and scientists with them as to how to go about gathering information about them. After my conversations with my more tan peers(seeing as they actually saw this sun thing once in a while) , I gathered that getting to know women (as they were alternately called), was made up of 2 steps,
2. Hitting on them
Apparently, there are more steps to this process, but none had proceeded beyond phase 2. And so came time for practical aspect of this experiment.
The watching aspect of this activity is none too difficult in theory, but in practice, things can get a little hairy. Being unexperienced in this field I had never experienced the overwhelming effect on the senses that these females can have on a human body, the mind is stunned, the senses reel and you are often left speechless. When something is especially beautiful, a condition not unlike infinite recurion takes hold and you are left speechless and calling out your own name over and over again, or as it is in my case, I kept chanting “Oh my Gawd” under my breath repeatedly. If you’re lucky, you may get away with a stack overflow error ;)
The second aspect of getting to know these females involves actually talking to them, an activity which requires the accelerated growth of something know as cajones, and no, people, Bawls cannot help us here. But as the master Yoda once said, Do or Do Not, there is no try. I am losing faith in him as well. I did talk some girls once, and in the typical mating syndrome of a male geek, I asked them about Star Wars. One refferred to Chewbacca as a “monkey”, the second thought that the script in Star Wars Episode II was “awesome”, and the last ( the worst one of all) found Jar Jar Binks…funny.
Needless to say, I have tried to avoid them since then. However, within the last couple of days it has come to my attention that other types of girls do indeed exist. In fact, one apparently posted a comment on my blog a few days back.
To quote her,
”I LOVE geeky guys, totally my type…and i do understand and am fascinated by star wars…and thats not just because I find anakin skywalker hot or R2D2 cute.
i also play a lot of computer games, (FF, CS, quake, ut to name a few) i’ve studied C++ for a year and i can completely relate to what you’re going through. So yeah, stop generalising about girls. I may be one in a million, but hey, i DO exist.”
This post did give me hope, and the sudden feeling that I could give my social security number to her. But the truth about the internet hit home, and I realised that “she” was probably a guy, and about as real as Tinkerbell. Perhaps she would only exist if I clapped my hands and prayed real hard.
They call it the CS life Crisis, the point where you actually look up from Coding, and start realising that there are many things, such as the Sun, or Girls, that have manged to evolve without you realising their existence.
You do start to feel insecure, because you do not realise where you will be a year or two from now, but you feel more afraid, when you don’t even where you are now. You start realising that Java is a bitch, or whether that variable that you are changing right there, is actually a non-static variable that is being referenced from a static context, or why your friend beside you is actually smiling as he codes, wile you slump to the ground. What you do not realise, is that as you close your eyes to prevent the tears from flowing, he too realises that his code does not compile, that he comes to realise that he has no clue what he is doing, and he is just as brain-dead as you feel.
You look at your algorithm, Perhaps is not even close to out-putting what you thought it would output, or maybe you are looking for that missing identifier, and you realise that you will have to start at the top of your 5000 lines of code, and work your way down.
You miss the comforts of life, until you gradually come to realise that you do not have a life. But as the computer once again hypnotises you, you begin to realise that you do not need a Life, or food, your body is evolving, photosynthesising by the light of the computer screen. You begin to realise that you realise nothing, and that God is nothing but a Public static final variable x.
You see what that variable x is doing, and find yourself contamplating it a wee bit more, beacause you realise that it has certain boundaries, and that it might be out of scope, and thus you add it to your “to-be-debugged” list.
You hold it insecurely, and then your grip is more secure, more firm. You maniacally laugh, and cry as you attempt to destroy that uncompiling screen with that hammer in your hands. You realise that changing your code could be the wors thing you could possibly do, and that infinite recursion in your current code isn’t as bad as they make it out to be. But change is inevtable, and one must move past the Beta stage.
You realise that your life has no more meaning, that your heart is broken, wondering why nobody gets your cheap geek jokes, or understands why thinkgeek.com is where you get most of your enjoyment, or why no girl you like even tries to understand star wars or star trek as well as you do. You like Penny-Arcade, and PvPonline, and wonder why everyone seems to hate you for that, or why it means you are a bad person if you keep making slash-slash(//) sounds before every sentence, or ( /*) at the beggining of every paragraph, */ One night stands and random hook ups start to lookcheap( b4 you realise that you’ve never had any) in comparison to the maniacal pleasure of Halo 2, or Hal-Life 2 Deathmatch.
Sure we make a lot of errors, Things may not compile ALL the time, but we help by giving each other the Google Keywords required to find that already-written code online. We may thrive on the light of the screen, and are pale and malnourished, but we are stuck in this seemingly
infinite loop together. We will piss each other off every time our frag count increases in
Counter-Strike, Quake or Unreal Tournament, whenever we forget to save the others code, but whenever I LET you kill me in the aforementioned games, you had BETTER feel warm and fuzzy inside.
We are the group that doesnt need words, not when we have IM, or MSN, or Trillian, but will laugh at the end of a g-mail conversation that started off with a bad smiley :( We will laways be a band of Brothers, and in 10 years, when I’m richer than you, rest assured, even though your code may be crappy, or your variable names might be retarded, and even If you do not have a single desire to use Linux, I will still pull a few strings to get your unemployed ass hired.
Based on Quarter Life Crisis.
When, my friend, you feel Acarpous
You must Accede
The cause is Mucous
but life must Proceed
Acerbity is the order of the day,
and all goes Awry
remember, for you I do Pray
all I can say is Sorry
“But I do not feel Blithe”
Yes yes, Quite,
“and try as I Might
I feel no Respite”
If all you feel is Captious
Prickly as a Cactus,
know that I was not the Catalyst,
The Mastermind, behind your bacterial Tryst,
Deletrious, your attitide is,
and everyone you try to Diss
and when everyone, you Hate,
Come now, Let me feel your Ebullience
Instead of hearing your Elegy
My spirit you must Elevate
That shall relieve Thine Allergy
Go on, be Facetious
‘stead you’re being Fastidious
For example, this soup ain’t Tasteless
‘Tis Quite Salubrious
I don’t mean to be Grandeloquent
But you really must be more Ebbulient
This is just a Hurdle
Don’t make my joy Curdle
“What is it you are trying to Insinuate,
That my Ceaseless complaining must Abate?
you’re holy, spiritual, done your penance
look past my Intransigence”
You Could be more Jocose
“Hell, I can’t even feel my Toes!”
Well, don’t be so Morose~
You’re quite Lachrymose
You used to be so Loquacious
“Guess I just feel vicious”
Yes, quite pernicious
“HAHA, sorry, don’t feel supercalifragilisticespialidocious”
Won’t you stop Berating
I’m trying hard to be Commiserating
You’re acting like a Misanthrope
“I’ve kinda lost all Hope”
Stop being a Dope
“I’m not as loving as the Pope”
You’re acting like a Pariah
“Like I said, I’m not a Messiah”
But ‘tis the season to be jolly
“To be jolly, that’s just folly”
With joy, you are Penurious
“Are you telling me I Parsimonious”
With that statement I must Acquiesce”
“Forgive me, won’t you please?”
A sudden change, pray, why So?
“Quid Pro Quo”
All the kindness you’ve shown,
for that I think I’ve grown”
“Now I feel full of Life, Full of Zest
at the Apogee of my Life
Riding the wave, At the Crest”
Good to hear, My Child,
That your temper is now more Mild
Long have I Suffered
And Now, evil Progeny, your Disease you have transferred
And so, you sick little pup,
Q. How many Engineers does it take to reach enlightenment?
A. None, Just one Computer Scientist to destroy their Egos’…
Tis 3 a.m., I lay in bed
Polar Co-ordinates run through my head
The life of the Multiple-Integral
making me dull
For some rest, I hit the sack,
silently, I lay on my Back
I hear the rain patter on my window,
Life is good, isn’t it so?
Then doth come, the harbringer of Doom,
for through the rain, Thunder looms,
My math-dulled mind is slow to comprehend
the message the devil is trying to send
“for a moment”, he says, “happiness you saw”,
“now thou shalt gape into misery’s maw”,
Soon his meaning I got,
Why, oh Why, must my window face the Parking Lot.
I gaze out the window in fear,
back at me, the BMW leers.
through thunder’s gentle rumble, he WAKES
and so my sleep, away he takes
and so it begins,
the awful din
the horrible noise of the car alarm,
it beeps, it whistles,
it crows, it sniffles
it shouts, it screams
punctures my dreams
At the car, I grin malevolently
with his flashing lights, he winks back at me
Cursing, and Cursing my horrible luck
I scream out in vain, “what the F***,
why oh why, must MY life suck.”
I run to the hall, and shut the door,
and lie, trembling on the floor
I try and try to turn the other cheek,
but all I feel, is much to weak.
Again, though I try to dream,
Again the car begins to scream
As the BMW again starts to beep,
I turn my head and silently weep,
As I hear it’s shrill mating call,
once more, I start to bawl,
I shout “Is that all you’ve GOT!!”
but inside I cringe,
Why, oh why, must My window face the parking lot.
Written in Extreme frustration,