Rock On!!

‘Rock On!!’ is all gloss but no substance. It is about a four men rock band which having a strong passion for rock music and aspiring to make it big stray away and try reuniting after a decade or so to realize its dream again. The problem is that neither the passion for music nor the struggle is said in a telling manner. Instead what we see is a very loosely connected sequences from the past to present that leaves one guessing whether the guys were really willing to make it big in music. (The lead vocalist quite literally becomes deaf to the sound of music for ten long years and when reunion happens brings up the same level of sophistication that he had in the past!). The soundtrack of the movie is the only saving grace in an otherwise nondescript movie, which could have been better if the screenplay had packed more punch by making music central to the narration than the individuals. In the end what I felt was that the film pretends to be an honest and realistic movie but actually is far from it.

The Kite Runner

Poignant. Brilliant. I cannot praise enough the first novel of Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner. The story is about love, loyalty, betrayal and redemption set in the backdrop of the cruelty of civil war that wrecks havoc in the life of Afghans.

As I read through, I felt that I was in the grip of a master story teller. I recommend it highly and I am eager to read his second novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns.

தபு ஷங்கர் கவிதைகள்

காற்றோடு விளையாடிக் கொண்டிருந்த
உன் சேலைத் தலைப்பை இழுத்து
நீ இடுப்பில் செருக்கிகொண்டாய்.
நின்றுவிட்டது காற்று.

கண்ணாடித் தொட்டியில்
நான் வளர்க்கும் மீன்கள்,
உன் மீது புகார் வாசிக்கின்றன...
'அந்த ரெண்டு மீன்களுக்கு மட்டும்
ஏன் அவ்வளவு அழகான தொட்டி?' என்று.

Love exudes out of the writings of Tabu Shankar. I can't help but feel jealous about those who have fallen in love and experience love as imagined in Tabu Shankar's writings.


After the serial blasts in Bangalore, it was said as usual that all cities would be put on high alert. With in 24 hours we see bomb blasts happening in prominent places of Ahmedabad. Not one, not two but 16 blasts killing nearly 50 citizens. It makes me wonder what it means by having cities on high alert. The political rhetoric is as much sorrowful as the tragic deaths of innocents in the face of terror. It is high time that the intelligence agents have more teeth and become efficient in subverting the terror activities.



Thanks to Kamal's adept screenplay Dasavatharam is saved from becoming a complete failure. If only he had restrained a bit in his indulgence the final outcome could have been much better.

Song Appreciation


The song 'Hosa baalina hosilali..' from the movie Shravana Banthu is a perfect song to suit a wedding occasion. Rajkumar's rendering of the song is flawless. Subtle variations in his diction not just in this song but in many others as well is something which sets him apart from others.

The Last Mughal


“At 4 p.m. on a hazy, humid winter’s afternoon in Rangoon in November 1862, soon after the end of the monsoon, a shrouded corpse was escorted by a small group of British soldiers to an anonymous grave at the back of a walled prison enclosure”

Thus starts the introduction paragraph of the book Last Mughal. The author later reveals that the corpse was that of state prisoner named Bahadur shah II, widely known as Zafar who is a direct descendant of Genghis Khan and Timur, of Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan.

With such a riveting introduction to a book I was sure that the book was not a mere historical account about the Mughals and the 1857 revolution. And I was right.

The Last Mughal by William Dalrymple is an impressive body of literary work which brings history to life. The 1857 Uprising and the fall of the Mughals; Reading through the book, I was astounded by the sheer magnificence of the author’s dedicated research that had enabled him to write with such élan that would enable the reader to understand and interpret history. The book is not a catalogue of dates and events of the last days of the Mughal Empire and the Sepoy mutiny but is an evocative narrative of the fall of a dynasty which ruled for 300 or so years.

William has done a rigorous research by reading through archives which was untouched until he came and thus has written a whole new perspective in to the mutiny. And succeeds in explaining in a manner which is thoroughly enjoyable;
Inserted into the passages at various times are the actual letters that were written and exchanged by the characters. This makes reading an emotional act.

William brings out his uninhibited love for Delhi with great passion that it has made me wish for visiting the old historical city and picture the history for myself.

This book can easily be a reference to how to write history text books should be for schools. If history is told in manner how it ought to be it can be exciting and students can learn quiet a lot and mainly interpret it which I think is not done.

Made To Stick

Made To Stick by Chip and Dan Heath is delightful book about how to have our ideas and thoughts find its way in to the minds of our audience effectively. The key aspects of information that make them click are explained with loads of interesting anecdotes. The authors by dissecting ideas that have stuck strongly with the people bring out the essential ingredients of sticky ideas. There are six principles at work in making ideas last for long.

Simplicity: Ideas must be compact and at the same time have the ability to have a strong impact. The audience should be able to easily find the core message. The core should be profound as well. We shouldn’t bury the core by making our message complex.

Unexpectedness: When we are trying to get our point across to an audience we need to break their expectations. We should shatter their current understanding, surprise them and pull them in. Curiosity and interest needs to be created by filling out gaps in their understanding. This way we grab their attention.

Concreteness: Avoid abstractions. Concrete ideas tend to be in human understandable terms. While abstract thoughts leave the audience struggling to decode on what is being conveyed, concrete ideas let the crux of the matter quickly stick. The audience would understand the ideas better and remember them as well.

Credibility: People will be ready to hear you out only if your ideas have credibility. Give them an ample set of proofs that would enable them to asses for themselves the credibility of ideas.

Emotions: Our ideas need to touch audiences’ emotions. This way we can make them care for our ideas. The audience must feel, experience some kind of emotions when hearing our ideas.

Stories: If we wish that people act on our ideas, we need to present them with stories that let them picture themselves in the stories. This way people will try to act and try out things as was told in the stories. Stories enable us to imagine. They inspire us.

All these principles are explained in a lucid manner with lot of anecdotes that makes the intention of the book stick in the minds of readers! I enjoyed reading the book and I recommend it.

The Development Process

Steve Maguire's book Debugging the Development Process is an indispensable one to any engineer who is involved in software development task in any ways. Reading through the book, I was enlightened about the mistakes that I do and the wrong practices that software developers/leads and managers in general follow. I have resolved to put in practice his suggestions. And also its time that I dust Steve's other fine book Writing Solid Code from my book shelf and have it in my work desk for constant reference.



Thanks to my friend's wedding in Bijapur last week, I had the opportunity to visit the historic city.Gol Gumbaz and Ibrahim Rouza are the most prominent monuments in Bijapur.

More images can be found in my flickr page .



Aramane was disappointing. In the initial moments the crux of the story is revealed and I found it quite interesting and was expecting a good watch. Ganesh is a photographer who tries to get the separated family of Ananth Nag together again. But the screen play falters in presenting the story convincingly. Ganesh tries to shoulder the movie by his wit and timed dialogues. His quips most of the time are no doubt humorous, but that alone cannot engage the audience. Gurukiran’s score is average. Aramane can be watched only to get few genuine laughs, thanks to Ganesh’s witticism a la Tamil’s Parthiban. Otherwise it can safely be skipped.

Coding and Testing


Code is not ready for release until unit test cases are run and verified. It is always recommended that this rule is religiously followed no matter how little changes that the programmer might have done. Recently I had to relearn this rule the hard way. Confident that nothing would have got broken with the kind of changes that I did, I merged the changes to mainline with out complete testing. The code was released to the test team. And when I attend the office the next day and check my mail, there is a high severity bug reported. A bug so severe it had blocked a huge chunk of test cases of the test team. I had to resubmit the code with the fix sooner. The fix was trivial, thanks to Rational clearcase, I could diff the versions of code and find the cause for the issue. The lessons learnt are, always do complete analysis of the difference b/w the mainline code which has been thoroughly tested and the changed version before merging the codes. And do exhaustive testing before release of the code to avoid the test team report embarrassing issues. The time for testing might be greater than the time invested for writing code but still DO the testing. Lastly I would say that I have fallen in love with the Rational clearcase. I haven’t had experience on any other but I say any amount that might be quoted for the license of the tool is highly justifiable!


The IPL cricket has begun. But somehow I am not finding it a least bit interesting. The first thing that puts me off with IPL is the names of the teams in the tournament. A huge amount of money has been thrown in, still no creative thought given in naming the teams! I am not an avid fan of cricket. But if at all I watch it on TV is just when players like Sachin and Lara are in their flow. The T20 is just going to display mediocre cricketing skills and one would not get to see graceful cricket.

The Divide

Extract from Arundhati Roy 's article "Listening To Grasshoppers" in Outlook:

..the era of the free market has led to the most successful secessionist struggle ever waged in India the secession of the middle and upper classes to a country of their own, somewhere up in the stratosphere where they merge with the rest of the world's elite. This Kingdom in the Sky is a complete universe in itself, hermetically sealed from the rest of India. It has its own newspapers, films, television programmes, morality plays, transport systems, malls and intellectuals. its own class struggles. An organisation called Youth for Equality, for example, has taken up the issue of Reservations, because it feels Upper Castes are discriminated against by India's pulverised Lower Castes. It has its own People's Movements and candle-light vigils (Justice for Jessica, the model who was shot in a bar) and even its own People's Car (the Wagon for the Volks launched by the Tata Group recently). It even has its own dreams that take the form of TV advertisements in which Indian CEOs (smeared with Fair & Lovely Face Cream, Men's) buy over international corporations, including an imaginary East India Company. They are ushered into their plush new offices by fawning white women (who look as though they're longing to be laid, the final prize of conquest) and applauding white men, ready to make way for the new kings. Meanwhile, the crowd in the stadium roars to its feet (with credit cards in its pockets) chanting 'India! India!'

Many might dismiss her as just being mere rhetoric, but give it a thought, you would agree with the crux of her arguments. And I do.