03 December, 2011

Nothing works

Nothing works.

No, that's a lie. Let's rephrase - everything (apparently) works other than what I'm interested in.

Which is ... wait for it ... finding the medial-axis of an image at a single pass from the inverted Canny edgemap by computing the local maxima of its distance transform.

Head. Meet wall.

I usually never refer to work - except as an euphemism for disaster - on this blog. This diversion may be mostly fueled by some random hope that ranting about it here might help. Somehow.


15 November, 2011

A greyish November morning

Reliving this blog on such a (barely) winter morning - an ancient tradition that has gone on for ages. From the time of scribbled notes (the non-Facebook back-of-school-book sort) and hasty rhetoric. The familiarity with its sense of continuum is comforting, especially in these times of change (a mark that years truly have passed - the previous line would invariably have been "the times they are a' changin" ... about 4 years ago).

The fact that I'm counting days in years instead of hours is another mark that mildly irritates me.
There is a clink of cup on saucer - a nod to my morning cuppa.
The sparrows and crows are continuing their morning symphony. The pariah kites put in a shrill rejoinder, swooping barely within sight at the garbage dump near the far-off rail tracks.
There is no music playing. Anywhere. Other than the eternal choir of a city soundscape. The rattle of the morning garbage-man with the whistle - the same notes since a forgotten childhood. Eternal rumble of vehicles laboring up the No. 4 bridge and thence along the oft-mentioned EM Bypass. Which now boasts leviathan hulks of yet another semi-constructed flyover. Passing them on the way to college always puts me in the mind of Darth Maulish saberfights.

This is a morning for aimless rambles, a jog in the park or a jaunt down park street with a drop by at Flurys (the old one, with rounded armchairs and a shadowy gravy brown interior). However end-sems and guilt-ridden dreams of a postgrad have almost driven such bats out of the belfry.

Realworld's catching up without any pills (red or blue) to provide a shortcut out. What put me into blogpost mode was an sms last morning - "happy children's day to the child within you" or words to the selfsame effect thereof [YES i like this language]. Here's to more such unexpected and unintended triggers.

05 November, 2011

Many whys to while away the time

Pre-exams low and boredom high. This the winter of our discontent. Haven't read Steinbeck in ages. Or the Bard for that matter. Why?
In this place east of my eden, carefully squelching every little ripened grape of wrath, living the lives of both mice and men - why this sudden retrograde musing on a high-school literary fascination?

On a whim (and because one can do only so much of Java threads in the morning) I try to trace back the reasons.
A few days ago the long-neglected VCD-player caught my notice. Put On the Waterfront with all that "could've had class." That started off the Brando bandwagon - no stopping Streetcar after that. Purposely didn't go into the later movies.
Guessing that these two b/w films put the whole vintage era somewhere at the back of the mind. Dylan for company on the long travels with charlie (always on the dark side of the road) might just have played some role in that.
When the Steinbeck bug bit I'd be carrying around this paperback of The Grapes of Wrath everywhere. A friend once looked at the cover and remarked: "That's the tambourine man." How did this instinctive identification with the book and Dylan (the first song of his that I heard) come about?

Still caught up in a time warp.

29 October, 2011


Woken up by two feline duelists facing off mano-e-mano (erm... cato-e-cato) in the shrubbery below my window.
Context-free grammars and virtual memory schemes still buzzing around my head from last night's desperate attempts to salvage a retarded GPA.
Then a gamcha-pora parar lok came and chased them away, cursing about a broken slumber or something.

A slight nip early in the morning. Its autumn here, never Fall.

24 October, 2011

  There is a familiar coolness in the air in my city, a gentle nudge that this year too is drawing to its end.
  I had often mulled over shutting this blog down altogether, what with the sporadic posts, the endless repetition of things already said and realworld pressures in general. Haven't really written properly for ages.
  Still this place won't be shut down anytime in the near future: it is the only place that contains a large chunk of me. From the early days of 2004 (!),  of teenage, angst, existential drivel and ideals. Of epic-fantasy, sci-fi, my many (failed) muses and Bergman. The only place that records the heartfelt outbursts of those heady days.
 'Twas another lifetime...  as Dylan would've said, which he often did on this pile of html. Of no smartphones, or facebook or twitter. Where the people we met were fellow wayfarers in the New World of the blogosphere. Those days.

   A sense of closure somehow permeates this time. There were a lot of things that this blogger had beat his head against over time. And some of them actually worked out. I hoped (but, self-treacherously never believed) to contribute something to computer science that was meaningful, to have that idea aided by mentors and finally published. That was a seriously hoo-yah moment. :)
   The continuing work takes a toll on the random haphazard creative urges, but with passing childhood comes the realization that some compromises are in order. About a year back we managed to stage a play with friends - it was fun and crazy in a perfect mix; and it made for musing meetups every now and then on the JU campus. There are loads more to do but a semblance of focus is finally there.

  The imminent winter made me think of a lot of people around me that would be moving off too in no great time. Maybe there could've been a few more chitchats over coffee and ribbing about old time craziness. Then again, one had best subscribe to the Bard on exits and entrances to the stage.

 So here's a heartfelt "THANK YOU" to this blog and all those that stumbled 'pon it. It holds a lot of me that is now lost, like everyone's passing yesterdays.


18 October, 2011

let it all add up

Let this all add up. Somewhere. Somehow. 

A simple shaky prayer. With no pretense at subtlety.
 Like a tinned sardine in public buses, hanging half outside ferraric autos (yet eyeing the passing Audis) - the sweat slicked jam-packed mass that is no more human than the jumbled tumble of ants in their colony. Then.

 Like a tramp in Frosty mudtime, passing sedans laying their splashy tribute at scuffled feet, whizzing over potholed roads. Like trenches in the War. Vowing. Then.

 In the starkness of a lab, or the nerve-sapping drudgery of routine. Then.

 In the fumbling for tips after leaving restaurants, or the laser traced nights to chase off routine with routine. At blazing shop-fronts, at a life that is a sum-total of all the meagre bills. Unpaid. Half-paid. Vowing. Then.

 In the sway of the Metro, the guileless strip-lights and walks down broad promenades where other lives make merry. Then.

 In the solitude of friends, the warm rush of chatter to submerge and dream. Of face-smile-form-eye-lashes-breath carven in like friezes I've never seen. In the lusty gusts of sudden storms that ruffle thoughts to soar unbound. Then!

 In those oh-so-frequent rambles down memory  lanes, where all personae blur and merge. In the incessant fight to stay more than afloat. Of hopes that quests may still be there for faltering knights in rusty armor. Then.

Let this all add up. Somewhere. Somehow. 

07 October, 2011

Goodbye and back to work

 This was an interesting time every year for a Bengali in Calcutta - the immersion of the Durga idol to much fanfare and "asche bochor abar hobe" - "so long til the next year".

   Also, a brief farewell to the man who inspired countless technology enthusiasts. Basu's blogpost put it succinctly  -

I was hoping to meet him in person one day. But now I’m going to get back to work. Life is short.
 That is definitely the best legacy a person could leave behind.
   Back to work for the rest of us too.

31 August, 2011

things have changed

And how. A year back, if the not-much-younger me was offered to play this imprisoned member of the French resistance (with hands manacled throughout, no less!) with an experienced crew and... heck its a Sartre script for crying out loud! Yes, yes that chap would've said an unequivocal yes, done (or at least attempted) a few cartwheels out of sheer joy and gone into that old routine of whole-night rehearsals, slipping dog-tired into another soul's skin and tongue and eyes. Being in a rag-tag group of earnest madmen, half-drunk on creative spasms and shoe-string budgets. That heady feeling of power when there's just you, the stage .... the hush, the spotlight and the holy shadows beyond!
 A year back.

 It feels slightly nauseous, like kicking aside the carcass of some animal killed on a highway. Like a back-stabber, mouthing that litany of "sorry old chap, the part was awesome, but got this crypto project, can't give the time, better I let you guys know now than pulling out later...."

 Maybe its a mark that I'm not as much a kid as I always wished to be, honestly. That pause. That considering of where priorities lay. The realisation that doing several things that requires all my mind and soul and energy is not possible. This recognition that man after all is not born with wings was necessary, but brought with it the bitter aftertaste of another realization.
 That those cherished flights of fantasy: of quests and knights-errant and long evenings of walks, talks and mumbled philosophies and jumbled mumbo-jumbo were a thing of the past. That there are limits to what one may do, or even strive to achieve.
 The choice was made a long time back, shunning the creative for the analytic.

 Looking back at this year so far, I've done some things I had only half-hoped to do. Getting published, writing some meaningful code and in a small, humble way take the first baby-step (more a shuffle) to leave behind the computer as something more than when I was first led up to it. It never came easy, probably because it was never meant to.

 It meant an unfinished canvas (was beginning to look rather crappy anyways, if truth be told), that play and a myriad other things that would've made college-life more happy, but less the way I want the rest of it to be.

15 May, 2011

And yet

And yet wanderlusting still the twisted turns
That weave the magic of this city and life
Beseeching the dank walls of dingy lanes
And greasy plates after dinner parties
In the grey half-light of a friendly dawn -
Still seeking the remains of half-smiles
And silent screams never laughed out loud
Or piled like logs on dreary evenings. alone.
With that sparkling yet faraway look about dark eyes
that makes you think of oceans and swift-falling dusks
and poems by TS Eliot or Dylan at his most melancholy.
"Coffee chhara shunyo laage."

28 April, 2011

now more than ever

Now more than ever I have stopped hoping, but started walking towards dreams.
 There was a time not too long ago when I tried a dozen things and hoped they would work out. Rather, nowadays I do half -a-dozen and kno that they are working out. The metamorphosis from a lot of hot air and high-brow rhetoric to the present state of buckling down and getting things done did not happen in a day, nor was it painless.
 Every person I believe needs one Ayn Randish "yes." What I mean by that is at least one achievement that is fruitful and recognized. That one indication that you are treading the right path, even if that is the less trodden, that one vindication of your efforts when you are at the fag end of your fortitude.
 And after that one confirmation the road doesn't become less difficult, nor the study-hours less, nor the desire to hang out with dear friends any more nerve-sapping in the stark solitude of a lab, nor banging your head against a seemingly-thankless project any less frustrating.
 But you get to know that there was a light in the tunnel. That there is a Promised Land, an Uttermost West (yes yes Tolkien to the end) or whatever: feel free to choose your favorite metaphor for the sum total of all aspirations.
 It makes all the difference.
 So here's a big YES to each and every person trying to forge a path out of the mire of mediocrity, chasing dreams and persevering alone for the sake of a life less ordinary. 

16 February, 2011

Comings and goings

  A lot of things during the last two months.
 The long awaited meet with my friends studying overseas. It was a pleasure as always. How much things have changed, yet the ones that matter have not. Reassuring old madness and all that jazz.
 An almost-completed project in image processing at the Statistical Institute. That was an eye opener for sure and my first research-based project into one of my core subjects.

 Now the willy-nilly rushing about of college, fests and the like. The Dinner Party is having another show at the NUJS - a guest performance. I'll be a delighted part of the audience (for a change).

 I'm working now with a shot in the arm - the dream isn't that distant anymore. Armed with Kaplan sword and Barron armour. :P

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