Monday, December 17, 2007

Identification, please.

I clicked this photograph some 3 odd years ago, somewhere in the back-roads of Hassan district. (Handycam with poor still-shot capabilities, beg pardon.) Rather majestic bird, great wingspan and everything.

I've spent the last hour trying to ID this bird, to no avail. Alas, wiki has finally failed me.

Many thanks will be given to the one who can identify this bird.

Psst. Those who get back to me with 'looks like an eagle' will be skewered.

Addendum: (6.55 pm, the same day)
I found it! Looks like wiki didn't fail me after all! (Even though I needed a google image search before that.)

The bird is Neophron percnopterus, the Egyptian Vulture.

Magnificient bird, this. Symbolic of one of the most ancient of the Egyptian gods, Nekhbet.

There were decent-sized populations in southern India at some point in time, apparently. Most of them have died through Diclofenac poisoning. The bird entered the IUCN red list for endangered species in 2007.

I might have caught a glimpse of one of the last thousand or so of these birds surviving in the country.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Death by cancer



56% cancer
24% car accident
13% loneliness
5% drowning of the lungs
2% wounds

You have 21221.0 days left on this earth.
You've already lived 27% of your life.

Hopefully, there would be better cures for cancer by then. That would mean that I would die of a car accident, of course. What fun. Not as good as death by firing squad, but still.

In other news, I'm home! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
That's one 'e' for every day I'm staying here. wOOt!

Bite me if that's one too many exclamation marks for your liking.


I really liked this Lovecraft quote.

" That is not dead
Which can eternal lie,
Yet with strange aeons
Even Death may die. "

Note to self: Pick up one of his books soon.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Decision Tree.

Pardon the splitting of the flowchart. Blogger's real rigid and stuck-up.
It took some hours on MS Paint, this.

In related news, my exams and thus my 7th semester, got over today.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Finally, I managed to find some use for a couple of my textbooks.
At last I have a reason to be glad for buying them.

Yes, my lappie is very very nice and very very cool and I'm totally showing it off.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Finally, panic mode!


Friday, November 23.

The panic lasted for about 15 minutes. And made me study for an hour and a half.
Satisfaction. Who said that I can't get any?

Monday, November 19, 2007

O Bliss, where art thou?

Ignorance is bliss. Yet knowledge seems to have this seductive quality to it that beckons you to seek it, however much you might end up miring yourself in misery. We are drawn like moths to the flame, dying a thousand deaths, happily kissing the blinding white every single time.

Running over the same old ground.
What have you found?
The same old fears.

The scientist in us kills all the negative reinforcement. As if there is some subconscious force pushing us all to transcend beyond the results of Pavlov's experiments. Each time we hope that we remember, and learn by the next time. Yet each time we fool ourselves into thinking that knowing is better than not. But is it better than never having asked the question in the first place? Nay, it cannot even compare.

Ignorance isn't not knowing the answer to some question. Ignorance is not knowing the question itself.

Friday, November 16, 2007

What are we, if not our pride?

Sometimes I despair of existential conversations and those that are held in quest of answers to universal questions.

What is god? Should a benevolent god demand worship? Is the concept of a personal god self-deception? Why do we live? What happens after we die? Existential angst cannot withstand such relentless persecution. We think, therefore we are. We are, so we know not what to do but think. What is the purpose of our meagre existence? Isn't it good to live in a hedonistic fashion rather than look for some ultimate purpose in everything? Isn't happiness all? Quests eternal.

Not that I despair of futile quests. Just of the futile quests that aren't my own. :)

What I said initially isn't true. I don't really despair of existential conversations. The despair is directed solely towards the notion that the conversation needs to culminate in some divine consensus, or an unarguable truth. The ultimate truth is that there is no ultimate truth. The quests are pointless per se. It is what you draw from them, that makes all the difference.

You could staunchly follow Nietzsche's ideology. Or perhaps subscribe to Kierkegaard's less-nihilistic views. Or dogmatically to a self-concocted mixture of ideas. Or keep yourself flexible and modify your theories about the world at large with time and the number of wiki pages read.

Doesn't matter. Not to me, at least. I like getting involved in existential conversations not because I think I will get some new insight into life, the universe and everything (which I may, on rare occasions. Besides the point,) but because they tell me about how minds other than my own work. It is an opinion, an idea, that is far more beautiful than the truth. It just so happens that the idea appears even more so when it coincides with the truth.

I am essentially an introverted person. Not introvert in the sense that I keep to myself and bad in starting conversations and am very shy (albeit not necessarily in the coquettish way). That's only in part. :) But in the sense that I draw most of my conclusions and arrive at most answers by thought directed inward, rather than by listening to someone or something. And yes, I am more concerned about my own mental life than anything else. Which, again, is not the point I am trying to make.

What I am trying to say is that I delight in discovering ways or patterns of thought wholly alien to my own. And express even more delight when an apparently alien pattern turns out to be similar to my own. The same information, the same object, but a refreshingly different point of view. It's like the thought about colours - Does everyone see the same colours in the same way? Will you see the world in exotic new hues if you happened to see through another's eyes? After all, colour lies only in the eyes of the beholder. If mere colours could be different, imagine the thoughts!

A hundred billion neurons. More than a quadrillion synapses. Three odd pounds of greyish goo. The human mind.

What are we, if not our pride?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Chapter III

Actually, this is incomplete. I wanted to write more for this chapter, but things weren't working out as nicely as I'd hoped. What the hell, I like the way this ends. :)

About the story
Chapter I
Chapter II

Though Celeborn greatly desired to speak to Gandalf soon after the Council was adjourned, he never got the opportunity to. Great were the preparations in the realm of the golden wood, and their pace greater still. He found his attention and presence needed in several places in his realm. With the marchwardens of Lothlorien and their first captains, he held long discussions that went on much after the Anor set and Ithil rose over the boughs of the mellyrn. More than half the sentries were being pulled from their posts for the assault on Dol Guldur, but Celeborn had no intention of compromising even a little on the defenses of the realm.

Elvish presence south of the Celebrant was cut down to well dispersed and well hidden scouts. The river was the main line of defense against any force that came out of Moria. Even the calm and slow-moving Nimrodel now possessed a raging force. The lady Galadriel put forth her powers into the waters, and now the Celebrant hurtled down as if in a rage. To any army coming out of the west or the south, the river became all but impassible. Only Elves with their nimble feet could do so, impeccably balanced on slender ropes between trees on either side of the river. An intricate array of connections were also made between trees, so that an elf could travel from the northern fringes of the realm to the southern, feet never touching the ground.

Antannel of Eastmarch and Emeldil of the North were to lead companies, and their first captains were given charge of the marches. The first captain of Westmarch was also promoted in the same manner, as Haldir was named commander of the armed forces to be left in Lorien.

After a long week of touring Lothlorien's borders and assessing the defenses, Celeborn returned to Caras Galadhon, but not for rest. Elven smiths from Rivendell had rekindled forges in caves outside the city, which had stood silent for many winters then. It was no small effort to sharpen enough swords and repair enough armour so as to fit an army thousands strong, not even if they were made of Elven steel. It was not all that Celeborn had in mind for them though.

In the second age, on the run from Sauron's forces that had invaded Eregion and killed Celebrimbor, Celeborn and the lords-to-be of Rivendell had chalked out various plans to counter the enemy. Outnumbered more than four times over, and crushed during the invasion, the survivors of Eregion and those under the banners of Elrond Halfelven were hurrying north, trying to evade Sauron's minions. The son of Earendil had been a warrior then, the herald of Gil-galad, High King of the Noldor. He together with Celeborn, Glorfindel and other lords had long discussions during the sleepless nights between endless sorties. Killing the enemy was not so important then, not as much as surviving was. Not only did they have to take on armies of orcs and corrupted men many times their size and hold them, but they also had to stop their retreats from becoming routs, they had to live to fight another day.

Elaborate tactics had been drawn up: using cavalry to disguise the retreat of infantry. The clouds of dust trotting cavalry raised up would hide any movement beyond it. The enemy would give chase thinking that they were near, and the cavalry would retreat in haste, but only till they reached the infantry. The enemy, tired from the unexpected length of the chase would meet fresh infantry, who could then take them on with ease.

They had thought of digging trenches around battlefronts to remove the enemy's advantage of numbers. These trenches became doubly effective when filled with broken swords, mail and helms - anything otherwise unusable that was left on the battlefield.

They had thought of tower shields and lengthening their spears; of using formations for shield-bearing infantry that completely shielded them from arrows; of using crossbows with cranks that would make them as quick-firing as bows.

Then, thought Celeborn, wryly now even though his relief had been incalculable back then, they had stumbled on to the valley of Rivendell while retreating to the north. Discovery of this valley had changed everything. An impossibly safe valley, as it had seemed at the time. Hidden among the cloud-brushing Hithaelgir, Sauron's minions were never able to find it. The few who came even slightly close never went back. Their plans and ideas had remained so for more than an age.

Now Celeborn sought out Glorfindel, who was outside the city, conducting war games between companies of Elves from Lorien and Rivendell.

Weapons of attack the Elves had in plenty, but their defensive weapons were weapons of a different kind. Defend they did marvelously, but they did so by concealment, using hidden bows and javelins thrown from the darkness. The Sindarin Elves of Lorien had become woodcrafty beyond compare, Silvan tactics uniting with remnants of Doriath and Nargothrond and scores of realms that had not survived to see the Third Age. This when combined with the art of the Galadhrim in making their cloaks, the Elves became all but invisible.

All this was of greatest import whilst going upon Dol Guldur unannounced. But on engagement, Celeborn thought, all would change. Outnumbered as the Elven forces would certainly be, if the tides turned, if the element of surprise was spent entirely, they would have to somehow hold up against maybe twice their number in orcs, wargs and all manner of creatures of the dark. Only if the enemy's numbers could be managed, only if the Elves remained in complete control of the battle could the superior Elven prowess keep the battle in their favour.

Celeborn and Glorfindel started chalking out their plans. What started early one morning, went on through the night till noon the next day. In that time, they abducted three of the finest Noldorin smiths from their other work and supplied them with numerous designs to forge and fabricate. Many finished designs were discarded, a select few considered and built upon. At long last, the two Elven lords were satisfied.

The outcome was a spear. Perfectly balanced, a cunningly crafted iron brace on the blunt end weighed against the spearhead. The spearhead was a sinuous and leaf-shaped and for good measure, a guard was placed two feet behind it so that the spear could be removed with ease from anything it might get lodged in. On closer inspection, one could make out that the spear was not a single piece but two, that were fitted together with a metal collar.

The outcome was a spear, sixteen feet long.

As much as I would love to claim the weapon as one of my own creation, I'm afraid it isn't so. Philip II of Macedon is credited with its invention. He crushed the Greeks with this lovely weapon. And his son Alexander went on to do the same with the Persians. All hail the mighty Sarissa!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Seer

When I am not busy whiling away my time with more fruitful things (Take that, Oxymoron!), I take on any online test I can get my hands on. This one I found quite flattering. Maybe because of it's distance from the truth. Or not.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Chapter II

Read the needful - the prologue and the first chapter before turning to this. If you want to, that is.

The White Council had adjourned by the evening of the first day. After a light meal all had retired, weary and exhausted after all the debate. Now all had gathered again for the second day of discussions. There was still much to be done, for the council had not yet even agreed to go ahead with anything. Saruman did not seem as hostile as he did on the first day. But neither did he seem weak of thought and mind, Gandalf mused.

It was he who began the day’s proceedings, starting off from exactly where he left off, “The threat of Dol Guldur is two fold – if we have to think of launching an offensive on it, we have to consider not one but two things. First, we must be capable of gaining an entry into Dol Guldur and be able to fight or drive out those of his minions he chooses to send against us.” Saruman made to say something but Gandalf quickly continued. “Secondly, we should be able to challenge the Dark lord himself, and overpower him. At the least we should be able to drive him out.”

“The leaf of the Halflings has dulled your wit, Gandalf. Did you wholly forget what all was said yesterday, or did you not even bother to hear any but yourself?” said Saruman dangerously. “It is fine for you to say ‘we need an army’. Whom will you go beg, the dwarves?”

“I suggest you ask the others here.” Gandalf said, with a rather patient expression on his face, pointing to the Eldar seated all around them. Saruman rounded on Elrond first, and then on Galadriel, but both seemed to be hesitant to say anything. However, a light in their eyes told him that they were quite serious. He quite unexpectedly caught the lady’s eyes, could not endure it for too long, and quickly did he shift his gaze.

“So does lord Mithrandir here speak the truth?” He had recovered quite well from the initial shock, diplomacy quickly replacing the incredulity and the surprise in his voice. “Are you my good lord and lady, changing your wise policy of blocking out all evil from this closeted realm of the elves?” He had never expected the elves to actually agree to come forth from their realms, especially not the ones of Lothlorien, who seemed so hesitant to go even to Rivendell. “I am certain that you all have not forgotten the sorrow of the previous ages, my lords. Death, suffering, loss – there was not an elf who did not despair from all this. Then my lords, you established fine havens – Lindon, Lorien, and Rivendell, worthy of more than just residence.” Saruman was not called an awe-inspiring speaker for nothing, even the great could he inspire, the powerful he could make humble and the wise he could convince. “It is within these realms that safety has reigned, even whilst the outer world is in sorrow. Yet, I see that the elves despair, seeking yonder shores while losing all love for the lands they are staying in. In spite of these havens of safety, their hearts sicken, and the call of the west overpowers their life.” He said, now looking straight at Elrond, who all of a sudden did not feel comfortable. “Yea, verily they find that healing in the west, but they leave those of us still bound to the east. But tell me, lords and lady, who are those who seek the west? Are they not those who left these havens? Are they not those who wandered in the treacherous ways of Middle Earth? There are none who sickened in the safety of these realms , and became lost to us.”

“Yet now I am told that the elves are again ready to go forth and battle – is it not folly? An elf, who might still sing fairly and dance merrily for many a thousand summers, is it right for us to send him to be needlessly butchered by orcs?”

A fire was smouldering in Gandalf's eyes, but he did not speak, for this was something for the Eldar to decide. Saruman continued, “Is it not enough that the elves have shed their blood for two ages of the sun? My lords and lady, if you had a duty to this world, you have done thrice as much. Should not this matter be left to the mortals, who are no short in number, and seem to be ever the happier in the taking of lives?”

Celeborn stirred. He usually did not have the patience to either give or receive long sermons, yet this once he endured it. He saw through all of Saruman’s intentions and was angered by the way he had singled out Elrond, by the way he had used Elrond's sorrow to sway his will. Celebrian’s passing was not something that Celeborn had accepted lightly. When he spoke, he was surprised that his voice was not at all harsh. When he spoke, he spoke as much to his wife and his son-in-law, as to the wizard. “Why do we live here, O Curunir, when the Valar have permitted all elves to go seek refuge in the west? Why do we linger, in darkness and in despair, when we are offered a place among the great ones? It is because we love middle earth, we love the stars and the sky and the land. This is home, Curunir, our home. We would do all in our power to protect that which we love.”

“But No! We elves have formed these self-same havens and started living in what we think is bliss. We think that we have walled out all evil, but Nay! All we have done is walled ourselves in.”
“No more! No more can I rest when the shadow spreads. No more can I stay calm when the night under stars is no longer safe, when the dark is no longer clean.”

Saruman was running out of persuasions by which he could stop what was happening. To begin with, he was unhappy that Celeborn had come for the Council meet. Elrond he found pliable, the once-herald of Gil-Galad was now a lore master and mainly desired peace. Though he had no power whatsoever over the lady, oh how he hated her, still he could have control as even she was usually reluctant to do anything outside her own realm. But Celeborn! He was too stubborn, too straight forward in thought to thwart. What frustrated him the most, was that what Celeborn had just said made sense even to him. He might have readily agreed with the idea of an offensive had it but come a few decades, or even a few year later, for he would then be in a much more powerful position by then. Now was too soon for him. He stayed silent, head bowed and pondering over some thought.

It was Gandalf who broke the uncertain quiet that followed Celeborn’s words. Galadriel and Elrond did have some misgivings that Saruman had kindled. He spoke not with ease but with pain. “There are some tidings that I bear, that none here know about.” Now that he had started speaking, he found it a trifle easier to continue. “In my journey from the edge of Mirkwood, I had to cross the Gladden River. It was when I descended to the water from the northern bank that I noticed it. There was an evil there, amidst the marshes – a presence I could not fully recognize, yet hauntingly familiar. Never had I felt this power since I last ventured into Dol Guldur. Here my passage was not going to go unnoticed, for here I was the one who had stumbled in. All I could do was to feign ignorance and move forward for naught else could I even attempt to do.”

“One can but see what this means. Sauron is looking for the One Ring. Yes, yes, every year you comfort us Saruman, by saying that the ring has passed down to the sea from the Anduin, and I will agree, if only for now. What should be of immediate concern to all of us is that Sauron’s might has certainly grown, if it has to reach the eastern edge of the Misty Mountains. He can no longer be taken for granted. We have to act now.”

All in the room were taken aback, disturbed by these tidings, not even Saruman could remain aloof. Nay, he still did not yield, nor did he speak. Finally Galadriel spoke, softly yet firm of mind. She had finally chosen. “Prudence is no longer a choice for us. Even now Sauron has the power to reach across the Anduin. We should look to our own borders. Is there not wisdom in the offensive?”

Elrond was the only one who had not spoken. At that moment he seemed too fidgety for so noble an elf. He kept fingering something in his hands, but stopped when the others started looking in his direction. With no small delay he made up his mind. “Yes, we shall come out. Rivendell will not stand aside, we will aid this endeavor as best as we may. We will do our duty.”

Saruman knew that he had lost. He sighed, weary of speech, aware that the offensive would serve him too. “Very well. I will yield to the Council’s wishes. We may yet be right in our actions. I will not hinder anything.”

“No, Saruman – indeed your refusal to hinder is not enough,” said Gandalf. “It is with your help that we can hope to achieve anything.”

“I am no warrior Gandalf, though you may fancy yourself to be one. I cannot fight!” said Saruman in alarm.

Gandalf laughed merrily. “No! We do not need you to fight. Hopefully, there are enough for that. We need your craft Saruman. We need your power to enter Dol Guldur. Let me elaborate.”

Elaborate he did, for the greater part of the day. Gandalf had not prevailed over him in the council for many score years now. As significant as Saruman's agreement for action was, Gandalf did not have a very easy time explaining his strategies to the other Istar. He faced sharp questions from Elrond and Galadriel, the elves had pledged support and were making sure that every risk being taken was a worthwhile one. Celeborn had a glint in his eye, yet he posed no question. He thanked the lord of Lothlorien in his thoughts.

As the council made to depart the chamber, Celeborn gave Gandalf a meaningful glance, and Gandalf tarried as the others moved past him. His words were softly spoken. "Dangerous is the path you tread, my lord, tread softly. A glimpse of the truth here, a flash of it there, you seem to have perfected the art of saying nothing but the truth yet pointing somewhere else."

Gandalf allowed himself a small chuckle. "Not so perfect then, if you saw through it. We shall speak in length, Lord Celeborn, and not just because you ask."

Celeborn nodded, and the twain followed the rest to climb down from the talan.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Dragon is no more.

"Let the arm of the Lord of the Dawn shelter us from the Dark, and the great sword of justice defend us. Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time."
Robert Jordan
October 17, 1948 – September 16, 2007

We will miss you.
May you shelter in the palm of the Creator's hand, and may the last embrace of the mother welcome you home.

Taishar Manetheren!

Friday, September 21, 2007


Hypocrisy is probably the most butchered word in the English language.
Pretentious the adjective most readily bandied,
and per se the most misused.

Hippocracy, hypocracy, hippocrisy, hipocrasy. And it has nothing to do with Hippocrates or the practice of medicine! A "hippocrate" is probably a follower of Hippocrates, no more.


Monday, September 17, 2007

Chapter I

Please read the Prologue and the other post before coming to this.

The White Council was assembling in a talan atop the Cerin Amroth. It was not Amroth’s talan of old – the highest in the realm, for that was never used, this was a larger and lower one. It seemed an apt place, for all assembled in the flet could see the foul stronghold of Dol Guldur, unless they turned their backs to it. The morning was a nice one even for Lothlorien; sunny with a cool breeze blowing from the south. It was a sight which was a feast for even immortal eyes, if only they never looked east. For in the east the dark tower rose above the forest, with plumes of ever-present foul smoke above it.

Cirdan had not come to attend the council. He had, however, sent word, pledging support should an offensive be mounted, assuring that he would send out as many elves as he could out into Eriador, to help Rivendell and the rangers keep safe the borders. The leagues were long in Eriador, and the offer of help was no meager gesture on the part of the Lord of the Grey Havens.

Radagast the Brown had failed to come to the Council for the second time in succession. Rhosgobel was in Southern Mirkwood and close enough to feel the glooms of Dol Guldur, and Gandalf had been hopeful of his coming. This was far from the first time he had failed.

As Gandalf climbed up the numerous small steps to the flet, he mused about how much preparation had begun, hidden from Saruman. There had been preparations even the last time the council had met; when he had not been able to move Saruman, but not on this scale. This time, he felt, he had to succeed.

When he reached the top, he saw that the lord and lady of the Golden Wood were present before him, seated next to each other in the circle of chairs. Gandalf bowed and allowed himself a smile before taking a seat near them.

He was very glad that Celeborn had agreed to attend the council this year, for the elf had refused a seat on the council when it was formed, many centuries earlier. He had merely said that his lady wife was on the council to speak for the two of them, and that he was not overly fond of week-long discussions and debates.

Gandalf himself had not thought much of the silver-haired lord when they had met for the first time, but soon he had altered his opinion. He remembered the first time he had come to Lothlorien, Laurelindorenan as it was called then. He had come with an escort from Rivendell, and had found only the lady Galadriel in Caras Galadhon. There he had spoken long with her, and had told her as much as he had to Cirdan and Elrond, his true nature and purpose, and what he hoped to do in Middle Earth. He had given her the Elessar that day, the stone that Idril had borne to the Undying lands, as a final token of proof.

Celeborn had been visiting the northern marches then, and had returned late. He had greeted Gandalf warmly then, thinking him some lord of men. The next day however, he had been confronted by the elf. “So,” the silver-haired lord had remarked, icy in his tone and his look. “The mighty Valar wish to look beyond their mountains once more. First they burn Beleriand, and then they drown the land. After that they raise up Numenor, only to push it back down, breaking the world in the course of it. What doom do you bring for us now, my lord?”

Celeborn’s opinion of the Valar was a rather bleak one, and spending three ages of the sun (and much of the age of stars) in Middle Earth had but helped strengthen it. While the Noldo begrudged the Valar in the first age, most had realized their follies and had fallen back to their reverence for the lords of the west. The Sindar never had much love for the Valar, save for Varda Star-kindler and Orome, lord of the forests.

Gandalf had learnt much about the Noldor and the Sindar in Middle Earth, but Galadriel had not seen fit to warn him then of the intensity of Celeborn’s disposition, and Gandalf had found that he could scarce defend himself.

Many summers had passed, in which time Gandalf had picked up the name Mithrandir from the elves. During a brief visit of his to the woodland realm, Celeborn had sought him out and surprised him. He had said, “I might have been hasty in saying some words to you, Lord Mithrandir. I think that the Valar could have done much worse than sending you to Middle Earth. You have certainly done more yourself these past few years than what entire elvish races have been able to do in this age. You have my respect, and my gratitude.”

“Do I have your friendship, my lord?”

“If I could have yours.”

Gandalf woke from his reverie as others in the council started arriving. Seven chairs there were in the flet, the seventh had been added for Celeborn. They were all positioned around a great table of oak, which was piled with maps and scrolls. The chairs of those who had not come were left empty, as always. Elrond Halfelven was the one who entered, and Saruman soon followed.

The first day was spent in discussing minor matters, and tidings from scouts. They talked of uprisings in Harad and raids by the Corsairs; of wild Easterlings and gatherings in Rhun; of Dunlendings in Rohan and woodmen in Anorien. It was late in the afternoon that the council ventured into matters more immediate.

“So yet again you start your private attack on prudence, Gandalf,” Saruman commented, scorn thinly veiled in his voice. He expected Gandalf to take offense; in fact he wanted him to. Gandalf however, did not take anything of the sort. He just wanly smiled. “It is not prudence that I am prejudiced against, Saruman, but inaction. Year after year, this noble council has done but nothing, justifying inaction with prudence. After a while, nothing is justified, old friend.”

Gandalf made to reach for his pipe, but stopped, knowing that it would not help his cause. Saruman had only disdain for the Leaf, and testing Lord Curunir’s temper was the last thing Gandalf wished to do.

Elrond said, “Sauron is amassing his forces - he is filling the Hithaelgir with orcs. Yea, the dwarves had nearly halved their numbers, but now there are at least four times the number there once were.”

Gandalf continued, “He plans to attack either Lorien or Rivendell. How can we be sure that either can with stand such an attack? You may feel secure in Orthanc, Saruman, but the rest of us sleep less soundly, knowing that Sauron is back. The south has many friendly realms but the north is too open, orcs can easily pass north of the Misty Mountains and can enter Eriador through Angmar. Rivendell and what is left of the Dunedain cannot hold back this black tide. His power nearly reaches the Old Ford. All who tread east of the Anduin are besieged by an unnamed fear. Soon the shadow of the dark wood will stretch even west of the Anduin.”

A short silence followed. Celeborn sighed, “There is no place in Ennor which is perfectly safe. When Doriath could fall, when Gondolin could fall, what sureties can we claim, what strength can we rest on, to say that we can weather all evil?”

Saruman was not someone who gave up so easily, “All that you speak of may be true. But whom are we fighting? We know but naught of the enemy. It is folly to rashly attack someone about whom we know nothing of.”

“We know enough,” said Gandalf gruffly, his patience wearing thin. “I have seen him, though I believe that he did not realize who I was when he caught a glimpse of me. It is but Sauron returned, albeit a weaker and a ring less one. Had we acted ten years back, the matter might have been a trifle. He must have never been allowed to return to the lesser of his dwellings.”

Saruman made as if to stand up, but thought better of it. He was the head of the White Council and he had to maintain some decorum himself. When he spoke he spoke with a false restraint, “It is all fine for the White Council to assemble, to give thought to great and important matters, to move judgments against the greatest of evils and in spite of my being the head of this most fine council, I have to accept that ere long, words without action fade into oblivion.”
“So we want to destroy, or at least drive out the enemy – Very well, who will do it?”

Gandalf had a hint of a smile on his face, hearing Saruman speaking of action and inaction. He gently replied, “It would take all our strength Saruman, for our mission is still very difficult.”

Scorn crept into Saruman’s voice, “Typical of your Gandalf, to call on our unity in action, and hoping that the concerned matter is settled. My question remains unanswered – Who?”

“The Istari? Only two of us are left in an order originally consisting of just five, a suspicious three if you are so willing as to consider even Radagast the Brown.”

“The Eldar? Only Rivendell was bold enough to send help to Earnur against Angmar. Lorien and the people of the good Lady and the Lord have only the power to contain, to resist, but not to attack. The might of the likes of Glorfindel are of no help here, if not for a valiant and wasted death.”

“The Heirs of Isildur? Their pride and dignity forgotten, roaming the wild like dark men of twilight bereft of property or lordship.”

“The Houses of Men? Men are weak; their strength is all but imaginary. If the enemy attacks on both the western and the eastern flanks of men, Rohan and Gondor will get cornered and ere it is long they will fall. Whom else can you name who can fight a battle none of us here can even conceive?”

“Saruman, Saruman.” Said Gandalf with a laugh, “No one has ever accused you of being hasty, but I think that this time you did get quite carried away. Even if we are going to make war on Dol Guldur, we would hardly go with banners flying and armour gleaming! I have some ideas as to how we can attack the enemy.”

“What do you propose, a foolish prank, perhaps?” Saruman was really caught off guard by the good humour of Gandalf, so he asked a rather unwise question, when he should have just kept quiet and waited.

“Well, No one has ever accused you of having patience either. Listen to what I have to say.”
PS. Every single time I read this, I find some new error to correct. When will it end? When?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The fan fic.

For those who care.

The prologue is from a Tolkien fan fiction story that I started writing... *thinks* more than three years ago. It's not yet complete, I'm afraid. I finally decided to release it in public. (Har Har, as public as my blog can be.) It is tentatively titled 'Flight of the Shadow'.

The story is a companion piece to The Hobbit, in fact the first paragraph in the prologue is from it. It is an attempt to explain the whereabouts and the activities of Gandalf, between when he separates himself from the Fourteen, and when he meets up with Bilbo again among the Silvan folk.

From what I was able to piece together from the Unfinished Tales, the appendices to the Lord of the Rings and whatever else I could lay my hands on, Gandalf took leave of the dwarves and their treasure-hunter and went to a meeting of the White Council. Once there, he was finally able to move the rest, including Saruman, into action and drove out the elusive figure of the Necromancer from Dol Guldur. The knowledge of how this was done has gone undocumented.

Until now. :)

My portrayal of the characters of this story, the Elven lords and the Istari, is heavily influenced by fan fics. For those who might feel that the way the Elven lords speak to each other is unreal - note that there are no true sources for it. The Silmarillion is more of a history book rather than a story, the others even more so, and in the LoTR apart from the formal setting of the Council of Elrond (which my vision of the White Council is heavily influenced by,) few are the insights that can be gained into elven conversations. The LoTR is filled with samples of elvish interactions with hobbits and men, who look on the immortals with a great deal of reverence or at least wariness, which can really change the manner of conversations.

This is still a work in progress, and I don't really know how everything is going to end. I haven't figured it all out yet. Patience, my good reader, is a virtue when someone else needs to possess it. In this case, that someone else is you.

To all who think that I'm definitely off my rocker, obsessed with Tolkien and everything - I have no comeback. You may all be right.

Recommended prerequisites - The LoTR, The Hobbit.


“Good-bye then, and really good-bye!” he said, and turned his horse and rode down into the west. But he could not resist the temptation of having the last word. Before he had passed quite out of hearing he turned and put his hands to his mouth and called to them: “Good-bye! Be good; take care of yourselves – and DON’T LEAVE THE PATH!”

He could almost hear them grunting miserably, getting angry because he was leaving them when their journey was getting really dangerous. Little did they know that it was he who would be in peril now. But not right away, for it was a safe three-day journey to his destination, and he was glad that it was still morning. His horse – well, not really his horse but the one he had borrowed, was young and strong, and being well trained was able to bear him across till the river at half-gallop. There both the rider and the horse rested, to help the horse regain her strength and for the rider to think of what lay ahead of him.

He knew that his objective now was different, and by far the deadlier compared to the one he was previously assisting, and he knew that it was up to him to give thought to everything. He would have to convince others, and quickly too – for in his heart he knew that it was already too late.

An hour later, he got up, mounted his horse and continued riding like the wind. He passed the Carrock early in the evening and continued till dusk.

The first half of the next day was quite uneventful; he crossed the Old Ford with ease. As the evening drew closer, he turned west. South, far ahead of him lay the gladden river. There was a small ford, the only passage across the river in these troubled days, just ere the river came out of the Misty Mountains, and that was what he was making for.

Before long he realized that he should have turned from the banks of the Anduin quite some time before, for all paths that lay before him were serpentine, and he was able to just manage to find a way through the marsh and briar. He knew that he wouldn’t make it to the ford before nightfall. He took shelter in a small grove for the night.

The sun dawned for the third time since he had left the company of those who were going eastward, and he knew that the journey would end today. Such was the life of our rider, very precise was he in his time-keeping, and so he was all the more furious for being late. For late he was, at least by five days, his only hope was that the others would have been delayed too.
With an hour's ride, he approached the ford. The descent was quite tricky, but our rider being who he was, coaxed the beast down with ease. Only after he had reached the water did he realize that something there was not altogether right.

For the past quarter of an hour, he had been fully and justly occupied with the matter at hand – guiding the horse down. Now that his thoughts were not so burdened with something so laborious, he felt that peculiar prickly feeling at the back of his head. He was being watched. Where from? The very air seemed to be spying on him, oh why hadn’t he noticed this before, but he could not see a single face, not a single eye gleaming in the shadows. Orcs? He did not think so, for it was after dawn now, the sun was in the sky, even if still quite low. He felt something else, something more powerful, and something more…evil.

To assume that fear clouded his judgment would be a very foolish thing to do, for he did not fear easily. Yes, caution and prudence did creep into his action, for he knew that he had to move on quickly, flee rather than fight. He knew that he would be strong enough to defeat whatever evil that lurked here, if it did show itself, but in doing so he would first give himself away. More importantly, he would be delayed – and our wanderer had wandered enough.

He crossed the river, looking straight ahead and with the air of someone who did not know that anything was amiss. He did not risk a look back till he reached the southern bank. He felt contempt for doing things this way, for no coward was he, but he accepted the situation the way it was. The ascent here was by far the easier. His spurred the beast on and the horse sprang out of the gully and started racing past the Gladden Fields. The evil he lost behind him.

The day grew older, and finally he could see the first trees of the realm he was seeking. A low mist loomed in front of him – the enchanted veil over the realm of Dwimordene drew closer to him by the minute. He did not fear it, for fear of this he thought, was absurd.

The horse was apprehensive of it, there was some sorcery there that it did not comprehend, and hence could not like. The rider patted its neck and spoke a few soft words in a strange, sonorous tongue and the beast relaxed. The rider changed the pace to a quick trot, and the distance to the woods was covered in no time. As they reached the wood, they could see a pale figure climbing down one of the boughs, cloaked in white and grey.

“Mithrandir! Welcome. You are long expected. Her ladyship was not worried but the lord was quite so,” said the figure, who could now be discerned as an elf, with a bow slung on his shoulder.

“Greetings, Emeldil! And well met. A wizard is never late, though I confess that I had the care of many other matters in my hand. I have come as fast as I possibly could in haste, and will tarry no more. Come! Let us be off to the city.”

And so the wizard and the elf set out on foot, the horse led by the elf on the path heading for Caras Galadhon, the City of Trees.
Disclaimer: Tolkien is Eru, Iluvatar, owner-of-all. I am not doing this to make any money. Like anyone will pay me for this. All characters belong to him except for the ones I have taken the liberty of creating.

Friday, September 7, 2007

A month, a year, a moment in time.

A new post is in order, I think. At least so as to push down that ghastly poem of mine.

Another month, gone. September seems to have crept in, catching most of us napping. Big plans I had. For August. And for life in general. I almost never make resolutions, but I had so many aims that were nearly those.

To start the laborious process of applying to graduate schools. To start off with my thesis project. To do some justice to the ones I have left incomplete. To try and do some of the extra work I had the gall to take on. To go cycling to Mahabs. To go out into the city, and not just to the railway station when I'm heading home. To blog at least once a week. To read more, to write more and to sleep a little less. To be happy. To be content. (Hah!) To dream more. Literally, at that. (I don't get dreams everyday, and I feel well rested and content with sleep only when I do.) To write poetry again. Preferably in class. To at least finish a novel when I am there. To learn to draw again. To eat healthy food. Even when I'm not at Subway. And eat a little less. To exercise everyday. To be more aware of what goes on around me. To go home more often. To do more when I am there. To live life in every breath. To complain a little less. To not worry as much. To be nicer to people. To sing, to dance, to run amok. To be carefree, even if only for a while.

Grand plans I seem to have. And ambitious dreams. But I end up doing not all that much.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A kiss of death.

Ok, so it was more like a peck. So shoot me. A peck more than you've had, I'm betting.

It was such a long time ago that now I am almost nostalgic about it. You know what, go ahead and remove the 'almost' from there. Yes dammit, I want to reminisce about the time when I nearly croaked. There.

It reminds that there was this one time when I was really out there, living life on the edge. Quite literally, as it so happened.

Now, my good Constant Readers (All hail Stephen King!), a few of you were there... and you know what happened. You will be able to tell that I'm not indulging in poetic excesses or exaggerations of any kind. Mild distortion thanks to one heavily adrenaline-influenced memory is quite acceptable though.

This was... 2 summers ago. June some time. We were all itching to go on our near-ritualistic annual trek and waiting for them juniors to finish their numerous exams so that we could get the numbers to go trapessing some new patch of wilderness. So much so that there were only three from my batch and more than double from theirs. Anyhou.

Pramod was our guide then, and Srinidhi his erm... assistant, though he was one of them juniors. He's one of the reasons I'm typing this today, so I'll shut up.

And we wanted to scale Kumara Parvat. The peak which had the top few hundred feet of sheer rock, sloping, wet and slippery. The peak that was always veiled by the mists, that we never got a close look at. The peak that we paid in sweat and blood to climb (for there were leeches, yes preciousss). The peak that looked so ridiculously miniscule when viewed in a pic taken from the village below.

I was bringing up the rear then. (Stop sniggering, you pervs.) So there was this one stretch. We were already some 10 feet up a rock face. Another 15 something before one could really stop. Lots of tiny footholds and handholds, and little else. Wet. The kind of stretch where if you got your first couple of steps right, the sheer momentum could propel you to the top. All the others had gone up, and it was my turn. I began.

My second step slips.

To counter that, I tried stepping onto another spot.

Slips again.

I was wearing the crappiest shoes ever. Reebok, yes, but over three years old then and smooth as a surfboard. And probably affording me just as much grip. Three years of playing football on mud and stones can do that to a shoe. And being a many time veteran of treks may be a good thing for someone, but not for their shoe. My school leather shoes would have done a better job. Heck, those Safari shoes they forced us to wear in school would have served better. To think that Arnie and I used to bicker every time one of us wore a pair of those shoes. Over who bought his pair first and the other copied. 'Nuff said about the shoes. I'm still stuck on that rock face, in case you'd forgotten.

I grabbed hold of some grass sticking up above me. They came loose.


There I am, stuck in a Spidey-like pose (think more on the lines of an insect on a wall, to remove any illusions of grandeur from that previous statement,) with a hideously large backpack on me as well, holding on with the tips of my fingers and toes. Below me was a drop that vanished into the fog, so I have no idea how far I could have fallen that day. I'm stuck there, with no real purchase for my hands or my legs, unable to move up and unwilling to move down.

Hyelp. Please.

I'm so freakin' petrified that I don't curse even once. (And that was something I was quite proficient in back then.) My squiggling had not gone unnoticed though. Srinidhi got someone to lower him, and he stuck his leg out from above for me to catch. A foot too far. He extended himself lower, and I managed to grab on to the edge of his boot.

He almost comes free.

Meanwhile, Pramod who was much further ahead, scuttled back. Came up to the ledge above, and lowered Srinidhi even further down. I grabbed on, and nearly clawed my way to the ledge above.

All this must've lasted some thirty seconds. It felt like eternity.

So that was that trek.

Almost slipping and falling into the infinite abyss. Leeches. Nilgiris' sugar coated jellybeans. Getting a sugar rush thanks to just a couple of eclairs, and running reckless through Rohan country as if we were going orc hunting. Wingfoots we were. Hiding from rogue bulls. Sweating like horses. More leeches. One which found it's way into our tent and on to Jay's cheek. Swapping crazy school stories on the way back, all inhibition lost. Throwing away blood stained socks and shoes in the 4th block bus stand. Feeling giddy that I was alive. Stinking up the house like crazy on return and being ordered into the bathroom. Telling others (including parents, mind) this story and watching some jaws drop. And have some eyebrows disappear into hairlines. Bliss.

Friday, August 3, 2007

The Flower Duet

I have this tune stuck in my head. It's the British Airways theme song. The one they play when they show their silly-looking air safety video.

It's the refrain from the song Viens, Mallika... (or The Flower Duet) from the opera Lakmé by Léo Delibes.

As songs stuck in heads go, this one is not bad at all. I still remember when The Call of the Ktulu used to get stuck in there for weeks. *shudder*

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Time it was, and what a time it was.

Another summer, gone. And what's waiting is the wretched semester we have ahead of us. One which isn't just looming large now, but has come out on to the porch and is about to knock on the door.

How I wish I had a bigger padlock. Or a moat.

In my room for this one last night, staring at the rain-flecked window, hearing the soft sounds of drops falling on it, I feel quite melancholic. The others, they have all left. My own flight back being on Sunday, I am still here... finding myself in a rather pensive and contemplative mood. Why I am writing this of all things when I am so, ask me not.

It's been one terrific summer, one of the best I've ever had. Alas, all that is good comes to an end. And the better get done a-quicker. This summer got over almost with an unseemly haste. Few are the things that I value before they are gone.
But this was certainly one.
And now it's gone.

As you might have surmised, I really like starting sentences with conjunctions. Terrible grammatically, I know. Even then. Maybe because it is grammatically incorrect. Perhaps to subconsciously compensate for my otherwise pigheaded nature about spelling and grammar and so forth.

But I digress. You know, earlier I'd wanted to test something out. Testing to me quite obviously meant disproving, vain as I am. I wanted to drink water from the Old Well and then stay away from Chapel Hill and be living proof that the well was just a well. No myths attached. Not the most glorious of aims, I agree.

Now... now I am not so sure. There is a good chance that I might come back here next fall. Dunno if any place 'higher up' would be really better for me. And people seem to like me here, and want me to come back. That just makes me grin a grin that's proud, triumphant and elated.

I know what you're thinking. The well worked it's stuff, huh?

Heh. Me reinforcing a myth. I would never have thunk it. Would've considered myself way too cynical and suspicious for something of that nature. But there you go.

For some reason I'm reminded of lines from the Simon and Garfunkel song, Old friends.

Can you imagine us
Years from today,
Sharing a park bench quietly?
How terribly strange
To be seventy.
Old friends,
Memory brushes the same years
Silently sharing the same fears

Goodbye, UNC. Or maybe, au revoir!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Smoked Chow Mein.

It's been a while since I last blogged. I guess I was too free to do so. I need some activity, I need to be busy, and I need to be running out of time to do something else for it to be perfect for me to do random, pointless things like blogging. As I have a poster to finish and present on Tuesday, it is just so.

This was... 2 weeks back, I think. Yes. July 11. And why do I remember that date? 'Cos the new Potter movie was out, and we were going to watch it that night. In little more than an hour. I'm feeling hungry... as I usually am, thanks to 6 o'clock dinners, and decide to cook a packet of those wondrous, delicious Chow Mein noodles, the ones I try to empty the nearby Walmart of.

Instructions to cook? Delightfully simple. Open box partially, empty the veggie pieces into carton, fill water till shown line, and heat in the microwave for 6 minutes. I open the box, empty the veggies, and shove it into the microwave. A minute and a half goes by.

All hell breaks loose.

There is a brief moment of enlightenment, amidst the incessant blaring of the fire alarm and smoke emanating from my microwave.

Crap. I forgot to add the water.

What should have been boiled, had instead combusted. Not explosively, thank heavens, they were after all noodles... but in a way which stank and produced immense amounts of smoke. Me, apart from experiencing that singular revelation, I was still clueless. The noise, that earsplittingly (Hmm... is that even a word?) loud alarm, was so loud that I felt that it was coming from everywhere. My first thought was that the microwave had gone bust, and it was producing the noise. I realised otherwise only after someone else told me that it was the smoke detector making all that noise.

Cursing softly, I tossed what was left of my precious noodles into the trash (which, as was pointed out later by the nice fireman, wasn't one of my brighter ideas... as garbage bags are made of plastic and burn quite easily).

And yes. You read right. The fireman. I go downstairs to tell the person in the lobby that my smoke detector went off, and what do I see? A splash of Fire Engine Red outside the glass doors. With lights blazing. And in come two of them with armour, axes, rope and hose... the whole shebang. And up I go, sheepish as I can possibly be, to show them that pesky smoke. Pointedly ignoring the blatant incredulity directed at how I could have possibly burnt noodles, I do so.

The smell, obnoxious. And the sound, 'twas quite something else. Incessant, trilled, something which 'loud' cannot even come close to describing. The sound which one could hear behind multiple closed doors, 60 feet away. The sound which was determined to continue till the next morning.

Real shoddy, that alarm design. No freakin' off-switch! Could it not have at least been designed to turn itself off once the smoke was cleared? Nope, not this one. The security company had to come in next morning and turn it off.

I did manage to see the movie though, average as it was. It was quite good for a Potter movie, that I'll have to admit. And I did have to sleep in someone else's room. And manage a bath in the morning amidst the hellish blare.

On the bright side, the microwave still works. Stinks a bit of roasted noodle and plastic, but not too bad. It let me make noodles the next day, so I'm all happy.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Los Galacticos

Olé, olé olé olé!


We've done it again! And at long last. 4 years since we last lifted the cup.

By we, I actually mean Real Madrid. Not too much of a stretch, you know. I'm a part of the success... one of the millions of fans who made it happen.

Unbeaten 17 game stretch... with van Nistelrooy (of all the people!) helping them to win the La Liga.

The Galacticos are back. And mean to stay!

PS. Post too jingoistic and one-sided for your taste? Stuff yourselves for all I care. :P

Friday, June 8, 2007

Hey Jude!

Now, I know this is terrible of me, writing little and just plugging in videos... but this is just amazingly good stuff.

Hugh Laurie singing this anthem of a song in his inimitable style.

To think that he plays the misanthropic and curmudgeonly Gregory House.

Thursday, June 7, 2007


5.41pm. I am the only one left in the lab. Everyone else has gone home.

I love my lab!

More soon.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Battle of Kruger

You have to see this. Few battle scenes are so well choreographed.

All hail the charging bulls!

Ramble on

Mine's a tale that cant be told,
My freedom I hold dear;
How years ago in days of old
When magic filled the air,
'Twas in the darkest depths of Mordor
I met a girl so fair,
But Gollum, and the evil one crept up
And slipped away with her.
Her, her....yea.
Ain't nothing I can do, no.

Hail Tolkien!
Even Led Zep worshipped him.

Yeah yeah, I knew this before. Just putting it up now.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Old Well.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the oldest public university in the US. Full of old buildings and landmarks and nostalgia.

In the midst of all that, there's this old well. The town's original water source. Now it is but a simple water fountain that anyone can drink from. Or so you would think. It is said that all who drink from that fountain eventually return to Chapel Hill. I decided to test it out.

Actually, I was coming back from soccer football and was just too thirsty. Same thing.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Right way.

Yes, this is a new post. Not the last one rewritten.

And yes, this is about traffic as well. So shoot me. People here drive on the right side of the road. You already knew that. Which can make crossing the road a tad difficult. The safest thing for one of us to do would be to look both ways a couple of times before crossing. Simple enough to remember.

What you probably did not realise, is that everything is done on the right here. Just like everything is done on the left back home. People walk on the right side of the footpath pavement sidewalk. The doors marked for entry are on the right.

Everything is polarised. Which isn't anything special in itself, except that it's done the wrong way. Okay okay, the way we are not used to.

You would've thought that I should have gotten used to this by now, having been here once before and all that. Maybe some people just can't learn.

You need to bang into a few people on the sidewalk to find out how much fun it can be. Or nearly get run over by a bus pulling into a bus stop.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Right of way.

Once you get used to the fact that people drive on the right in the US, (they felt the need to stick it to the Brits every step of the way, didn't they?) the thing that surprises you the most is who gets the right of way.

Pedestrians. Yes, that's right.

OK, so you shouldn't jaywalk and cross the road wherever you freakin' want to. As long as you don't do that, you're king of the road!

I think this has happened so many times so far - I come to an intersection, and stare into the distance waiting for the vehicles on the road to go past. Suddenly I realise that the car's stopped and the person driving is waving at me to go ahead and cross. And every time, I find myself thanking them all surprised and hurriedly, feeling bad about not having crossed sooner.

Had I expected the same back home and acted on it, I would've been roadkill long, long ago.

Friday, May 25, 2007

'Tis a strange world.

I didn't have much work today and so I decided to leave early from the lab. At a road crossing, I meet this grizzly old man, Glenn I think his name was. Animated, and very polite, amongst other things he asks me where I am from. When I tell him that I am from India, he pulls out a 2-rupee coin, and asks if I have seen anything like that before. Surprised that he has an Indian coin, I say that yes, I have certainly seen those, and tell him the paltry value of it when asked.

We're walking on, and he tells me that he's from Jersey, and he'd come here for an operation, and points at one of the huge hospital buildings. He has a scar running down the middle of his chest, some 6 inches long, I think. He had an aortic aneurysm, and people fixed it. Which means that his aorta was about to burst open. We parted ways, wishing each other the very best.

I've met few people who seemed more alive.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Pad Kee Mao

Pad Kee Mao. Thai "drunken" noodles.
Broad rice noodles, soy sauce, garlic, bell peppers, veggies, and tofu. Traditional Basil and Chilli seasoning. Mmmm. In spite of the tofu.

I ♥ Thai food.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Pain. If only it were so simple.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease. Acid reflux, in simpler words. Stuff that the old, senile and the weak suffer, and even they only after they take inordinate amounts of NSAIDs or downing gallons of coffee or wallowing in alcohol (and vitamin C supplements, curiously enough). The Disease of the Ancients. That was the diagnosis.

I am 20 years old. I am not old, I think I am not yet senile, and I don't believe that I am so weak. I don't have a pain problem or a pain-management problem (now those who recognized where that came from, give me an Amen!). I am not nuts about coffee or alcohol. And I don't get kicks out of downing vitamin pills either.

I would usually snicker if someone were to prattle on about something so cliched like how they were in the prime of their lives and how they would never be able to best their ahem, current brilliance. But really, could this be me at my very highest? I've been asked to take medicine for the next two months, doesn't one have to be at least 60 for such a thing to happen? And pray, how bad would it get when I turn 60? Do forgive my involuntary shudders. Unpleasant questions with unpleasant answers. Much better if we assume them to be rhetorical.

In related news, I had a tube stuck down my throat today. Yep, that's how they confirmed the diagnosis. Esophagogastroduodenoscopy. Apparently the word endoscopy can be used in the pretext of sticking a tube into any of your orifices, as he quite fondly let me know. (:P) So Esophagogastroduodenoscopy it is. The procedure was not really necessary (their words, not mine!), but it would be nice to get it done. Nice was the word used. Harrumpf. It isn't among the better ways to spend your day, take my word for it. Well, maybe if you are deviant. Maybe not even then. The fact that the tube was as thick as my index finger didn't help all that much. And here I thought that they could fit a camera on the head of a pin. Not the same 'they', clearly.

Oh, and there's more! Dietary restrictions. That has such a ring to it, doesn't it? Amongst other boring things, no CHOCOLATE!


I will not pretend to possess the same lust for chocolate truffles and milkshakes, black forest cakes and snickers bars; that some of my friends have... but life without chocolate!

Me, I'm speechless.

OK, I am off... to go sleep on the regulation two pillows. It's alright to herniate one of my vertebrae as long as it can stop a li'l stomach ache, eh? Ok, not so little. Even then.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

My experiments with MS Paint

Someone needs to take a gun and shoot me. As no one seems to be doing so, I guess I can get on with the erm... questionable things I do.

Today, I might have gone just a tad off my rocker. Yes, I accept that it's so before you take it upon yourself to kindly tell me so. (In fact, some of you have already expressed your ahem, opinions on the same, so never matter.)

My spending the whole day in lab, and my mucking around in noxious glacial acetic acid and hydrogen choride fumes just might have done the trick. Anyhou, I come back to the room after the ritualistic visit to Guru, our friendly neighbourhood 'Gurunath Patisserie', and do the routine search for the latest episodes of all those TV series I happen to follow. And it was good news! Lost, Boston Legal, Jericho, Scrubs, and HIMYM had all come out with new ones. *counts* Almost three hours worth of stuff. Bliss. My day is done.

Or so one would think. Suddenly, I find myself opening MS Paint. I can't quite recollect as to why I actually did that. Soon, I find myself doodling there, drawing a face, whilst things were downloading off the LAN. The face comes out OK, but the hair looks terrible. So the obvious choice? Cut off the poor bloke's head. And fill it with something weird. The result, quite ghastly, was my display pic for a brief while, when TheGreyPilgrim was kind enough to express his horror at the same. I think I'll do everyone a favour and not put up that pic here.

I am a very dedicated person. Of course, few realise that. You may see me idling most of my time, but that is only because most of the time, I'm just waiting for an inspiration noble enough to match this erm... spirit of endeavour of mine. Well, I found one today.

I see BigBet having one of his Anime/Manga pics on his Gtalk profile. It looks particularly elegant and simple. I'm intrigued. When asked, he gives me the image file, rather amused. Ever used the curved lines option on MS Paint? I draw all the outlines using that option. Not the most trivial thing one can do. And then I proceed to spend almost three hours on recreating that picture from scratch.

Three hours, when I could have watched a plethora of sitcoms and series, or when I should have worked on the A slot assignment.
The result, I'm proud to say, was quite good. All who called me a loon did agree with me on that much.

Monday, February 26, 2007


So I was thinking. Why don't I put up one of those Tolkien-poems I've written. Not the most original of ideas I've had, I'll admit.

And so I am putting it up. Written in the back of an Aerospace-101 class, the only piece of third-person poetry I have ever written. (Whoa. That makes it sound as if I've written a lot of poems. Surely people know better.)

Anyhou, here it goes. It's been more than two years, and I still haven't been able to come up with a title. Good, huh?


In ships they came,
From yonder silver shores;
Soon after the shadows fell,
On woods of green and so much more.

In Moria, in Khazad-dûm,
A shadow's formed in the once clean dark;
Where Durin once had met his doom,
He may not come back again.

In Rhôvanion, in the Greenwood Great,
Where elves linger since age unknown;
A darkness fell over the land,
And fell things came under Oak and Beech.

In the east that was wild, bereft of lords,
The old that was feared had now come back;
Dread was great in these men of night,
For long had they under evil dwelt.

The blessed ones came in numbers five,
Pale and cloaked, hooded and staffed;
Thus they came to the Gulf of Lune,
Where Círdan hailed them from afar.

In front of all was one in White,
A light there was seen in his eyes,
And a might there was seen in his voice;
Leader he was of all the five.

And in his trail came a figure in Brown,
Following who were the twain in Blue;
Lost now they are to the western cause,
Bereft of purpose, roaming the wild.

The last seemed like an old man in Grey,
Seemed less in might than the other four.
But a fire nevertheless was in his eyes,
And a staff much gnarled was in his hands.

They were sent by the lords of the west,
As messengers to the lands in the east;
To form an order, great in might,
To check the growth of this Shadow from the past.

In this they failed, all but one:
The twain in Blue were lost in the east,
The one in Brown took off with Bird and Beast.
The leader in White, the west he betrayed.

Yet one remained, faithful till last.
Webs he wove, subtle their strands.
Prime was he, in cleansing the land,
In destroying the Shadow, Sauron returned.

Mithrandir, O Pilgrim Grey!
He assumed the Mantle of White.
The White he pitted, against the dark:
The White burned the hotter, down fell the Black.

-Pavan Srinath