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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Life in Aug 15 - Sept 18

Welcome to the latest session of Life in Series - The latest and greatest happening in the life of yours truly.


Not many posts were written between last session and this one. Strange, but thats how life is sometimes.  But that does not mean it was not an interesting time. A mix, a true mix of work and some really good things (See drama streak post before). Here are some highlights -

Modi stayed with me for a month until he found and apartment and now Gurshi is here until he finds one. Home was always buzzing this whole time.

Apartment hunting at Half moon bay. Yes, it got to my head that i have to move to half moon bay. Two-three trips to half moon bay to see which place suits better but none have been finalized. But we went one holiday and stayed at the beach, it was always good to sleep on the sand, under the sun.

Drama streak, hackathon, see previous posts.


Movies -
Bol - A new movie by Shohaib Mansoor (man behing Khuda kay liye and Ankahi). Yes, i had to see this movie. Liked it a lot. A very heavy movie focusing on social issues like Women rights, transgender rights ,  female infanticide and many things woven in between ofcourse including religious fundamentalism.  The movie is quite good, but i think one of the best things that i like out of Shohaib Mansoor is the dialogue delivery style. Remember Ankahi and how the dialogues were delivered in that rich pakistani style, especially from women. This movie brings all those memories back. It is not as well made as Khuda kay liye but in substance it is as powerful. It raises a very important question - If it is a crime to kill a child, why it is not a crime to give birth to a child while knowing that you can not take care of him. A deep question, need to think about it sometime.

Contagion - a good movie with a big cast and an impressive presentation - i mean the juxtaposition of screen and the sound track, makes the soundtrack makes the movie seem like its moving at a good pace while it isnt. An average movie, but not great.

 Missed the camera cinema club movie but it was The Debt. Have purchased membership for next year as well.

Movies at home - Thanks to my tv, watching movies at home has been a lot fun. Serendipity has gone up.
Saw The people vs Larry Flynt - A movie based on a true story and responsible for the current free speech right enjoyed by Americans. A break through judgment. A very interesting story, would have been a big fiction, had it not been true.
Watched Motorcycle diairies again and loved it again. Again sent me to think about life.  Note to myself - Motorcycle diairies have hints to answers for life's existential questions.

US open on my TV was simply awesome!

Bought a dvd player for 10$ from craigslist.

Went to a concert by a new local band called Eastern Brew. The concert was called Hazarron Khwaishein aisi and anything with that in name, i have to be there. It was a mix of concert and poetry. The band was a little disappointing because basically they were taking best songs from Indian/Pakistani fusion bands and singing them, so it was like an orchestra but to give them credit, they were doing a good job in performing those songs. The whole concert was divided into four segments, each segment began by one person narrating a story. These people were from Naatak theater and the stories were quite good and they delivered in some style.  Overall, the concert set the mood and with Coke studio songs like Jugni, it was a good experience. 
 




Drama streak

Last month i blogged about going to Stanford summer theater here. Combined with Oedipus from SST, i went for three plays in three weeks.  This post is a review.

Stuffed and Unstrung -
Website - http://www.stuffedandunstrung.com/home.html
This i got to know through SHN Broadway stream and was quite curious by reading about it. A combination of improv and puppetry, very interesting. Again, i have seen only one or two improve before and so far, i have found it interesting but have realized that i do not have the context (the american slang) to get a more complete experience. But this idea of combining improv with puppetry sounded very interesting and indeed it was. Modi and me went to see it, there are about 100 puppet heads sitting on  a stand and there are 6 artists who take different roles for different scenarios. Suggestions for each act come from audience and even though the audience is trying real hard to give cheesy or double entendre like scenarios, the artists handled them very well.  Puppets are also very well done  and the artists change their voice to match the puppet's character. Highly recommended! May again go again.

Cymbeline
Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cymbeline
Modi and i were sitting at Philz on this saturday evening. Having worked all day, i was feeling a little bit tired, philz break was always welcome. There we saw this poster of Shakespeare in the park and today it was the Tragedy of Cymbeline. Modi asked - chalna hai? and a play in the park is always interesting, so we went.
It was performed at the park at Cupertino.  The setting of the stage was just too good, they built a stage on the water pond and people were sitting on a small grass hill giving it like a amphitheater like get-up. The play was done very well, it was a free play yet the performers were quite professional. It took me some time to understand the accent but after reading the wikipedia page, it all made sense. Since it was all done in open, it became quite cold once it got dark and wearing shorts, sitting on a grass soon got a little uncomfortable, but the play was good enough, we didnt move. Donated some money after the show was over.
A good experience with no planning. Thats the best kind, if you know what i mean :)

The Cofeehouse Investor

I am playing with stocks now. I have accounts with etrade and optionshouse and am beginning to follow the stock market.  I, who had never understood how stocks work; I, who had no intention of buying stocks; I, who was tired of listening from others about stock market discussions. I have now decided to invest 5000$ into stock market. Nothing more, nothing less.

So, after sharing my crappy investment ideas with Nikesh and bitching about that how GOOG has screwed me over (it went to 490 after i bought it at 555), Nikesh recommended this book to me - The Coffeehouse Investor. With just the title alone, i was excited. Being an avid coffee lover, any book that combines coffee and investing, hooyaaah!!

Website - http://www.coffeehouseinvestor.com/
 Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/New-Coffeehouse-Investor-Wealth-Ignore/dp/159184245X/ref=sr_1_1

Here is my review on the book, it is a good book. It is a very practical book for newbie investors like me. This book goes to the core of stock markets (in a completely non technical manner) and tells us the fundamentals of stock market. It has a no BS approach and ridicules a lot of mutual funds and other stock market constructed tools which mostly work in the favor of wall street.

Basically, the advise can be summed in these steps (a) Invest in stock market as it is essential (b) Invest in index funds because index funds are aggregate and as stock markets rise, index funds will also rise and (c) Dont listen to the BS and wrong marketing messages of wall street jokers

There are many more tips but the last three were the main points that i derived.

The blog on the site looks very interesting, something to follow.

TC Disrupt hackathon 2011

Thanks to Nikesh for pulling me (almost literally) into this.

Nikesh and me participated in the tech crunch disrupt hackathon this last Saturday. Hackathon details can be found here - http://disrupt.techcrunch.com/SF2011/hackathon/ The idea is that each team has 20 hrs to build some hack and demo to a panel in 60 seconds. The hack should work even though it may work for only one query.

This was my first hackathon.


Our idea was to create a event tracking tool (named Evister by Nikesh short for Event-Register). Through this tool, you can enter events that you want to track and it will send notifications whenever those events are coming or whenever its registration dates are open. We were able to build a pretty sturdy backend, it was able to figure out the event date automatically but we had a pretty bad UI and it took a great deal of time to make that bad UI.


But, overall the experience was a lot fun. We were able to successfully give a demo and got two free tickets to the disrupt conference. After not sleeping for two days, i slept for 14 hrs straight on Sunday.

We went to the actual conference on Wed. As usual the atmosphere was very electrifying, so many startups, so many good ideas. Working in a startup is a very fulfilling experience, one should always go though it.  Lots of info and lots of excitement.



Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Aik Alif - Coke studio3

There would be thousands of post on web on Aik Alif. This will be another one.

This is my fav coke studio song. It was my first coke studio and no song can beat this one.

The best part of this song is its lyrics(copied below). Listening to this song on any morning just makes the day. 




Parh parh ilm te faazil hoya
Te kaday apnay aap nu parhya ee na


(You read to become
all knowledgeable
But you never read yourself)

You read so many books
to know it all,
yet fail to ever read your
heart at all.


Bhaj bhaj warna ay mandir maseeti
Te kaday mann apnay wich warya ee na


(You run to enter temples and mosques
But you never entered your own heart)

You rush to holy shrines to play a part,
Would you dare enter the shrine of your heart


Larna ay roz shaitaan de naal
Te kadi nafs apnay naal larya ee na


(Everyday you fight Satan
But you never fight your own Ego)

You are quick to attack the evil one,
yet pride is a battle you have not won.


Bulleh Shah asmaani ud-deya pharonda ay
Te jera ghar betha unoon pharya ee na


(Bulleh Shah you try grabbing that which is in the sky
But you never get hold of What sits inside you)

You grab for a star you can control,
yet fail to grasp the light in your soul.


Bas kareen o yaar
(Stop it all my friend)

Let the race end, my friend

Ilm-oun bas kareen o yaar
Ik Alif teray darkaar

(Stop seeking all this knowledge my friend
Only an Alif is what you need)

Stop trying to be the one who knows,
for ‘God is One’ you need to know.


Bas kareen o yaar
(Stop it all my friend)

End the race, my friend

Allah Sayyaan Allah Sayyaan
(God is the Master, God is All)

God is All we need! God is All!

Nee main jaanaa Jogi de naal

(I shall follow the Yogi {ascetic/sufi})

Follow the wandering dervish!

Jo naa jaane, Haqq ki taaqat
Rabb naa devey us ko Himmat


(Those who deny the Strength of Truth
Lord does not give them courage)

If you deny the power of all that’s true,
God will not grant strength to you.


Hum Mann ke darya mein doobey
Kaisi nayya? Kya manjhdhaar?

(We have drowned in the river of Self
the boat and the flowing waters do not matter)

We are lost in this river of self,
no boat or streams are of any help.


Bas kareen o yaar
(Stop it all my friend)

End the race, my friend

Ilm-oun bas kareen o yaar
(Stop seeking all this knowledge my friend)

Stop trying to know it all, my friend.

Allah Sayyaan Allah Sayyaan
(God is the Master, God is All)

God is All we need! God is All!

- English Translation and Lyrics originally in Punjabi | English in bracket is approximate literal translation. A more poetic rendering in bold by Naomi.



Lyrics taken from - http://www.koolmuzone.com/forum/music-infonews/bulleh-shah-aik-alif-%28lyrics-translation-history%29/