Archive for November, 2007

a potato bun.

Nov 29, 2007

While passing by the tea-board, bhOndOO saw a fat guy with a big mouth eating two potato buns together like a sandwich. bhOndOO was amazed to see that, mainly because, there was still enough gap for a third bun.

bhOndOO was hungry and the sight of the bun-train entering the tunnel made him feel the hunger more. There was almost an hour and a half for snacks to get served in the mess. For a moment, he tried to alter his direction of thinking by looking at trees. But the mocking laugh of a monkey sitting on the tree and enjoying a bun-piece did not allow bhOndOO to get distracted. He looked at the fat guy again and saw the immense satisfaction on his face holding the remaining piece of the sandwich. bhOndOO thought: Hasn’t he eaten since ages? He looked down and thought: A better question would be, whether he is eating since ages.

bhOndOO checked his pocket: two one-rupee coins. A potato bun costs four rupees. He was not surprised. He took out the wallet to check emergency money. Another rupee came out. bhOndOO remembered that he used five rupees from emergency money to get his bicycle-tyre-puncture cured while returning from a bicycle trek.

The rupee from the emergency money increased his urge to eat a potato bun. He looked around but did not see anyone familiar. He heard a large burp from the fat guy. I must eat a potato bun NOW!.

bhOndOO marched straight to the department and entered the computing lab. He went directly to BenJi. Before bhOndOO could speak, BenJi declared, “Lets go.”. “Where?”. BenJi looked at bhOndOO in such a manner as if bhOndOO was asking the stupidest question of the twenty-first century. “Algo lecture!”. Oh! How did I forget? I was coming to the department to attend that itself! bhOndOO then asked himself three questions: Shall I? Shall I? Shall I? His mind finally said: Okay, eat the bun fast and rush to the lecture. bhOndOO declared to BenJi, “I will come later.”. bhOndOO felt very bad that he was going late to the lecture because of a potato bun and in this feeling-bad business, he forgot to ask BenJi for money.

He looked around and saw Shami. No, no! I should not take money from her. He came out of the lab and started walking towards stairs to go to Litec Lab. On the way, he met Prof Krishnamurthy. Ignoring bhOndOO’s greeting, he said, “bhOndOO, can we meet now in my office for five minutes?”. “Sir, actually I have a class right now.”. “Oh! Okay. Can you meet me after the lecture?”. “Yes, Sir.”.

bhOndOO reduced his speed to let his advisor go ahead and then changed his direction to enter Litec Lab. He looked around and saw Gullu. Asking Gullu for one-rupee did not sound like a great idea, but the remembrance of the bun-train entering the tunnel made bhOndOO approach Gullu.

“Gullu, do you have one rupee?”.

Gullu looked at bhOndOO from top to bottom as if bhOndOO was begging. He took out a coin from his pocket and dropped it in bhOndOO’s hands. “I will return it to you in the evening.”.

Glad, bhOndOO ran towards the tea-board. Algo lecture had already begun and the queue at tea-board contained five customers. bhOndOO went restless. He saw two of the ladies in front carrying hundred-rupee notes, and realized that they would be taking time. He heard the boy at the head of the queue asking for “potato bun.”, followed by the shopkeeper shouting at his boys, “one potato bun!”, followed by the tone of one of his boys serving a plate containing a potato bun to the boy customer, “Potato buns are getting over, only one is remaining now.”.

bhOndOO dreaded at the statement. There are still four persons in front of me. What is the probability that at least one of them would ask for a potato bun? bhOndOO’s studious mind started calculations: It is one minus the probability that none of them would ask for a potato bun. He realized that he had pretty less chance of eating a potato bun. bhOndOO thought something, to which his mind reacted: No, no. You should not do this. bhOndOO listened to his stomach instead, left the queue, went the other way directly to the counter and put forth his hand containing four coins to the shopkeeper, with a hasty tone: Potato bun!. He heard a whisper of uneasiness among the other people in the queue, ignored, took the last bun and went to the table where formerly the giant was enjoying the sandwich of potato buns.

A smile appeared on bhOndOO’s face. By showing a bit of illegitimate behavior, he had managed to get what he wanted. Moreover, he had used probability theory to solve a real world problem. Till now, he used to think that probabilistic methods are useless when it is a do-or-die situation. At the current moment, bhOndOO was the happiest person in the world. He was not minding going to the Algo lecture ten minutes late. He looked at the potato bun and felt a soothing sense of satisfaction.
Just before bhOndOO’s nervous system ordered his hand-muscles to lift the potato bun from the plate, the monkey on the tree jumped, took the bun and flew away.

As if whatever happened was not enough, Prof Krishnamurthy passed by and saw bhOndOO seated at the tea-board.

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coffee with shami.

Nov 24, 2007

A fine Saturday morning. Long time since bhOndOO met his advisor, and long time for the next meeting. bhOndOO is relaxed. No nightouts, peaceful sleeps, early wake-ups, and early comings to the lab; and so is today.

bhOndOO is alone in the lab. He is merry, whistling Dil tadap tadap ke kah raha hai aa bhi ja, reading Shami’s scrapbook on Orkut. His Orkut fortune today is Be tactful: Overlook not your own opportunity. He is expecting something nice to happen to him today.

Suddenly, he hears opening of the lab door. Wow! Its Shami! Shami smiles at bhOndOO while entering. bhOndOO does not notice it. He is busy finding and clicking on Home on the screen to get away from Shami’s scrapbook. Damn it! IISc proxy is so slow. While clicking on the button, he realizes that he should react to Shami’s greeting. He looks at Shami who is by now at a distance of five feet and greets (with fear), “Hello.”.

Shami walks past bhOndOO, casually looks at his screen, settles at a machine (not adjacent to that of bhOndOO’s), and starts typing her login. bhOndOO has managed his reputation using the most terrific key-combination of all times in the history of industrialization: Alt+Tab.

bhOndOO re-relaxes himself and notices his screen. Shit!, he exclaims. His Yahoo! mail is showing an advertisement of Bharat Matrimony with a lady smiling at bhOndOO. I hope, she does not misunderstand me.

bhOndOO is cautious now. He is hardly doing anything on his machine. His full concentration is on the girl seated three machines away from him. Shami is typing a reply. The lab bears sounds of her typing and the fan of AC. Will me not typing anything look suspicious? bhOndOO decides to reply to some mail. However, his Yahoo! inbox contains zero mails. No, no. Typing something is very important right now. bhOndOO opens one of the nine spams, clicks on Reply and starts typing.

bhOndOO’s concentration is at ultimatum. For typing thirty words, bhOndOO presses the Backspace button sixty-nine times. This is very bad. Why am I getting tensed? bhOndOO relaxes himself and starts typing slowly — now fully concentrating on his typing.

“bhOndOO, coming for coffee?”. bhOndOO is thunderstruck. Reasons:

  • someone uttered his name.
  • some lady uttered his name.
  • Shami uttered his name.
  • some lady is asking him for coffee.
  • Shami is asking him for coffee.

bhOndOO looks at Shami standing beside him. “Sure.”, bhOndOO mutters involuntarily. He locks his KDE session and gets up. While getting up, he realizes what he saw on screen while locking the terminal: he was replying to Julie and the subject was Re: Cannot forget last night.

bhOndOO looks at Shami and notices no signs of disgust. May be, she did not see it. But what if she did?

They meet a junior on the way and the junior greets them with a smile. From the mocking smile of the junior, bhOndOO realizes that he is going alone with Shami! Oh my God! I never got this chance before! He recollects his Orkut fortune. bhOndOO adjusts his spects, sweeps his hand across his hair, and clears his throat. He is suddenly looking confident — confident to break the ice.

“Going home in Dec?”, bhOndOO asks.

“Ya. I could not go in summer because of the summer course. I must go now. How about you?”.

“No, I am planning to do some paper reading for my research in Dec. I may go home in Feb.”.

Shami nods. This small conversation boosts up bhOndOO’s confidence. Shall I talk to her? Lets get seated first. He remembers the slogan of Cafe Coffee Day: A lot can happen over a cup of coffee. They enter the Tea Board. I must pay for her coffee today. He inserts his hand in the pocket and feels a single coin of five rupees. One coffee costs four rupees.

Are yaar! Why does this happen with me only? They are 10 feet away from the queue and bhOndOO is searching for alternatives:

  • I will not drink coffee.
  • I will ask the shopkeeper for credit. If he does not agree, how about keeping my watch with him?
  • Is there anyone familiar already in the queue?
  • How about me paying for Shami’s coffee and she paying for mine?

Before bhOndOO could decide, Shami says, “I have two coffee-coupons. Don’t get into the queue.”. Though bhOndOO is relieved that the calamity is avoided, he knows that he has also lost the chance of paying for Shami.

They settle at a corner. bhOndOO is all set. He makes up the first statement in the mind: Shami, I love you. The statement gets rejected — by himself. He retries: Shami, I want to talk to you something. This sounds better. Now, bhOndOO is looking for the right opportunity to start talking, without phrasing what he is going to say after the first statement.

bhOndOO’s heart-beats reach ninety per minute. He is trying to talk, but is not able to utter a single word. Is it so difficult to say such things? He quotes to himself: Be brave, man dies only once. He clears his throat, and manages, “Shami…”.

Shami looks up, in astonishment. bhOndOO does not, but Shami knows that bhOndOO never utters her name. She stops drinking her coffee and is looking straight into the eyes of bhOndOO.

The rate is now ninety-five per minute. bhOndOO feels himself lost in the eyes of Shami. He forgets what he is going to say. When he comes to senses, he says, “Um…, the coffee is very nice, isn’t it?”.

Shami smiles, looks down, and nods. bhOndOO curses himself: If this is what was going to be her response, I should have asked whether she loves me.

“Generally, the coffee here is not good compared to the Coffee Board. The Coffee Board has maintained its standard. I heard that they import it from Kerala. However, this coffee (in Tea Board) is what we get in shops.”.

It drops to eighty per minute. After a lot of praise for the coffee, bhOndOO experiences the last sip of coffee, and sees a nice little dead cockroach at the bottom of the cup. Not to contradict his statements, he gulps in the last sip and keeps the cup away from Shami’s eyes.

While going back to the department, bhOndOO decides to do a full rehearsal before proposing.

philip s. yu.

Nov 18, 2007

Does anyone know what is special about this person? A quick Google search would show you that he is from IBM Research etc. But then, why am I not talking about other people from IBM Research?

Imagine:

  • 37 papers published in 2007!
  • 127 papers published in last three years!
  • 467 (the highest according to DBLP database) papers published so far!

Look at the DBLP entry for this person.

And look at the most prolific DBLP authors.