Archive for June, 2008|Monthly archive page

My Own Teddy

My dad gave me this one when I was 14 years old. It is a Casio PB 110 Data Bank.

I belong to the Seconds Club. Whatever my elder brother got was passed on to me later. Like clothes, ear-rings (yeah we dude brothers wore them as babies), school text books,…whatever. Brother assumed this algorithm for everything else. He was the first to try anything new. He would ration it to me for brief moments before reclaiming it. It would come down to me almost useless when he gets over it. But somehow he let this one come to me directly. Maybe he could not crack this techno stuff.  I was the gadget guy. It took me a week or so to find out what it really was.

I knew that it was more than a calculator. The word ‘computer’ was written on it. Data Bank Computer. It was the 1980’s . We knew what computers were. Those rare big TV like things that did things really fast and big. So imagine me having a computer in my palm. This little thing had all of 544 bytes of RAM. It was the first thing I had seen with a dot matrix LCD. The screen is a single line 64 character affair of which only 12 characters are visible with the rest scrolled across. The Qwerty keypad was the best one I had ever used. . It had a few scientific functions. For the rest, you just had to program them. The thing was BASIC enabled. CASIO had developed its own version of BASIC programming for this. You could program anything that a RAM of 544 bytes allows. I learned the art of coding on this little one thanks to the excellent manuals that taught BASIC as well. I developed little number, character and word games on it. generated number series and progressions on it to devise numeric puzzles. I had learnt trigonometry, logarithms and exponents on this than from my maths teacher. It had a two tone sounds which I manipulated to make some crazy programmed music and also audio Morse code.

I have a desktop and an ancient laptop now. I also had a Casio Pocket Organizer that was of no use except for its Poker game. But I still miss this guy. I have no idea what happened to it. Just vanished like most childhood stuff.  This was the closest thing to a palmtop, scientific calculator, Personal computer, PDA, random number generator or loan and EMI calculator all put into one. Just 544 bytes of memory!

A simple program to generate a random number between 0 and a dynamic input number (hope I got it right after all these years):

10 K=KEY$

20 B=INT(RAN#(K))

30 PRINT B

I never had many toys as a kid. I must have broken them all before I was 4. If there was anything that came closest to being my teddy bear, the CASIO PB 110 was it. Yes, I even slept with it beside me.

Rather than end this here, this is a tag I am passing on to a few gadget gurus…

Nomad, Shuunya, Vrij, Bloggerbloke feel free to pick this tag. Show me your teddy. Need not be a gadget. And pass this on.

KV-KV Bhai Bhai

Ever since I left school, I met many people who had also passed out of a Kendriya Vidyalaya. There are more than 900 KVs that collectively represent a cult. No self respecting KV bhai would consider himself well groomed, well educated or well mannered. We bear a semblance of mediocrity and an occasional crudeness but are actually well grounded, bold and adaptive to any situation. KV bhais have no airs. They know where they stand and what they want. Plus there is a strong bonding between KV almuni. It would be a chance acquaintance with a stranger and one day we discover the common KV gene which would become a great equalizer between us. A typical meeting would be like this:

Chimpu: Hey Ranga….meet Chokkalingam here. He is my roomie.

Me: Hey Choks…nice meeting you.

A few minutes later …

Me: Say Chokks….you speak good Hindi dude…

Chokka: That?…As a kid I lived all over India. Dad was in a PSU. He kept getting transferred.

Chimpu: Then what about you school…how did you manage?

Chokka: Well I was in a KV.

Me: Hey! I passed out from a KV too…which house did you belong to?

Chokka: Cool! I was the captain of Shivaji house.

Me: Cool! Dude! So was I.

Chokka: WoW! KV KV Bhai Bhai! (Shaking my hand or giving me a High Five).

And then Chimpu gets sidelined.

This one is for all the KV bhais out there for old times sake:

A classic Simpu Singh clipper from Channel V that takes out on KV. The kids (of some KV) are singing the cult KV school song…an utterly boring thing that we guys were made to sing from time to time. Note how they sing it. Not at all different from how we used to do it reluctantly under the watchful eyes of the teachers! The same open mouth impersonation of serious singing, the foot tapping, those guys with the ubiquitous mistuned harmonium and sad tabla – just like a real KV 🙂

Redux – The Time Lost

Date: June 11, 2008

Age : 33

Relationship Status: Single (Again)

The most common question friends ask is was how I felt.

How does one feel – Bitter? Relieved? Happy? Poorer? Sad?

I felt indifferernt when the news reached me. Just another day in my life as it was expected.  Then I felt most of these. I am relieved that I do not have to go to court anymore. I am happy to come out of it without any alimony . I feel poorer, my lawyer feels richer. I am sad as I am alone.

All the bonhomie I received tell me I am supposed to feel great. It is bachelor redux. I can flirt, date and who knows…fall in love. Now everyone likes redux, gender notwithstanding. But what about the four years I lost. Yes that is what makes me bitter. Four years of nothing. Four years of waiting for a court to tell me I can go and play around. Those four years cannot be returned to me.  Those make the time lost watching others get married, enjoy marriage, have kids and make their life . I can never be 29 and eligible again. I am 33 and probably eligible. Still…a time to rejoice. Time to slim down, clean up the house and start all over again. Wish me.

Track Music

Some things always remain a favourite since childhood. Like the thrashing of an Alco Diesel locomotive!

Day 1 – BIAL

The Jet Airways B737’s wheels barely touched the tarmac when it rose its nose and took off. My introduction with the new Bangalore airport on its first day after inauguration almost came to an end before it began. A bird hit with an earlier flight forced my plane to take off at the last moment of its landing to effect a wide round turn and land again.

Once on the ground, we were made wait for at least 20 minutes idling on the taxiway. Apparently neither the ATC nor the airport authorities were were clear on where to park our plane and were tossing the ball between themselves.  Finally sense prevailed amongst one of them and we were ushered to aerobridge No 1. I was wary of alighting into aerobridges. A forthnight ago, I had alighted the same plane at the old HAL airport. I was sitting at the end of the aircraft and hence proceeded to the rear exit. A step ladder was being attached and the steward at the rear urged my to exit by the ladder. As I stepped out, I heard the airhostess announcing that the exit would be through the aerobridge from the front. By the time I was down on the parking bay, they removed the ladder and I was suddenly alone, looking like an idiot, while the rest proceeded to make a dignified exit through the aero bridge. Thanfully, there was no such mix up here. In fact there was none on the ground to bring a stepladder. The aerobridge 1 was never used. Probably that is why we were stranded between it and the entry into the exit corridor of the airport. We were crowded into a small room after coming down an escalator. The door was locked and there was nobody to open it. Someone started to knock the door, shouting wildly as the room was getting crowded thanks to the down sliding escalator. 10 minutes later someone opened the rear door that led us back onto the parking bays. We were led along the shuttle bus lines to another door through which we entered the exit lobby.

At the luggage belt, we waited almost 30 minutes before we could collect our bags. Apparently, they were allowing only one luggage train at a time and with three other flights arriving just ahead of us, we had to contend with the wait till our little train arrived. A cursory visit to the wash room revealed chaos. The loos were clogged and stinking….on DAY ONE!!! The automatic taps at the sinks were already out of order. We stepped out into a chaotic exterior which revealed 4 lanes for vehicles. The first lane was meant for A/C Renault Logan Airport Taxis that seemed to be idling for the want of passengers. The second lane was for vehicles used by arriving passengers and the third and fourth for departures. It was pure chaos as passengers were confused where to stand.

The ubiquitous Bangalore cops with their hats were looking totally out of place idling here and there. The driver of the car that came to pick me up noticed me and asked me to stand where I was. Apparently he too had no idea where to take me. It took him half an hour to get the car. Apparently, he had parked the car a long way and could not drive directly into any of the lanes. He was made to go out, drive about 4 km to the end of the airport approach, turn around and enter the lanes. For such a modern and supposedly well designed airport, I had to walk across the lanes avoiding cars and other vehicles to reach my car even as the driver was waving frantically at me. The security personnel were urging him to move on.

Finally I made it out of the swanking new Bangalore International Airport. The next day, I read the news of the chaos called BIAL. Vijay Mallya is pissed off. There are no televisions, announcements are unclear, there were too many retail outlets and too less stock and the ATC was bungling with the arrivals and departures.

I returned to the airport six days later. It took me 60 minutes from Indiranagar to Hebbal and another 40 minutes from there. The parking was a mess. There was no order or method. Cars were stopping everywhere and people alighting anywhere, moving into the departure terminal dodging vehicles. There were quite a few cars parked on the side of the approach road 3KM away. Probably these people were going to pick up someone and were avoiding the chaos in the airport. The check in was smooth and so was the security check. The Taste Of India outlet provided a delicious Bisi Bele Bhaat at an outrageous price. They were collecting Airport Tax from International passengers and the toilets seemed to work this time. Only my flight was late as usual.

On the whole, it was a bad experience when compared to the new airport at Hyderabad. Now that was one good experience.