Saturday, December 2, 2023


It’s that time of the year again. When a Nature Futures story seems a bit unique. When it strikes a chord harder than the rest. When it makes you wish it were a longer story. When it reminds you how you’ve not yet written one for Nature yourself.


This story is about loneliness and end of sorts. Saying any more would be a mistake here so I’ll let you read the story itself.

Endlings (

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Happy (Belated) Diwali…

…to all my readers/visitors.

Diwali Puja

Today is the last day of Diwali festival, better known as ‘Bhai Tika’ or ‘Bhai Dooj’. We do not usually celebrate this day since ‘Raksha Bandhan’ had just been around the corner (it was on 31 Aug this year). And, oh boy, was one kid surprised by how many rakhis I had on my hand on that day! And when her mother chided her for ‘shouting’ at someone in the street, she justified her exclamation by remarking ‘but that bro has such a long arm!’.

Long Arm!

Anyway, back to Diwali. I enjoyed the usual routines of putting stickers, garlands, diyas, etc. around the house. The special lunch on the day of Diwali is something I look forward to every year. Then the puja, whose setup appears above. Finally, bursting some sample firecrackers ended this yearly celebration. Oh, also photographing other people bursting some real firecrackers and feeling smug about not contributing to any major air, land & noise pollution put a really big cherry on top of the metaphorically huge cake made of two days worth of sweets.

Though, this year I could not take any good shots of fireworks. One was pathetically out of focus and looks something like what would happen if lightning could not decide where to go after it started!

Failed Fireworks' Shot

Another one looks all right I guess, something like a Willow tree.

Willowing Fireworks

So that is all for this post. One more post to go this month. We will see what will be the topic of that one. It will be as big a surprise to me as it will be to you. Till then

Happy Diwali once again

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Happy Dashain

Dusshera vacation is ending today. And to keep it interesting, we went on a two days trip to Mangalore last week (even before posting the previous post!). This trip turned out to be the worst I have ever been on. Now, I could go on about all the things that went wrong, the horribly humid weather, the reasons behind them, the sordidly sweltering atmosphere, and the “wrong” reactions to things, and so on. But what is the point of that? The whole point of this blog for the last few years has been just to satisfy the post quota, regardless of the quality of the posts. So I will just follow that line of minimal thought and leave you with some photos and the end of the post.

Panambur Beach

At Beach Beach view

In & Out Hotel Room

View from Room Closet in Room


Sad times Tiramisu time

Eagle & Cat

Eagle Cat

Mangaluru Trip

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Safari and Zoo

Dusshera vacation is in full swing. And to keep it so, we went to Bannerghatta Biological park earlier this week. It was part ‘safari’ and part ‘zoo’ trip. We did not go to the butterfly park. After the two-part trip, we ate some red pasta and fried rice and ice-creams at the park itself. No point in belaboring the point, so here are some photos and the end of the post.


Spotted Deer Deer Deer


Lioness Sleeping Lionesses Lion


Tiger White Tiger White Tiger


Zoo Animals

Zebras Langur Bear  Wild Dogs Hippopotamus Elephant Monkeys Aligators Python

Zoo Birds

Emu Hornbill Silver Pheasant Golden Pheasant Ambherst Pheasant Macaw

The Whole Album

Monday, October 9, 2023

One Piece

It came. We saw. She waits.

1. By ‘It’, I mean the live-action adaptation of the One Piece manga / anime by Netflix. It is a show consisting of 8 (roughly) hour long episodes. I believe 100 or so manga chapters were used for this adaptation.

One Piece Poster

2. By ‘We’, I mean my Superpartner and I. We enjoyed this adaptation very much. She had no prior exposure to One Piece, apart from me telling her that I read its weekly manga chapters regularly. I don’t think I had even told her it was a manga about pirates. Anyway, this Netflix adaptation was more or less faithful to the original source material. She was impressed by the ‘unique’ premise, various characters, their back stories and their development through the episodes. I felt that the casting of Zoro and Nami was perfect, but Luffy’s not so much. Usopp lost his long nose in this adaptation (given that Arlong’s nose was not, it feels more weird that Usopp lost his) and Sanji feels way more older than the rest of the crew. Also, why is Sanji’s left eye not more prominently hidden by his hairstyle, as God Oda intended?

3. By ‘She’, I mean my Superpartner, obviously. She is waiting for the season 2 of this series on Netflix. I have suggested her to just read (more than) 1000 or so manga chapters available on Viz, which she has declined, for now. Well, that’s the life for non-manga-readers: waiting for something that already exists.

OP on Viz

Friday, May 19, 2023

Fujitsu & Shayari


After ages (~5 years), I have finally bought a new laptop. Why is that a big deal one might ask? Here’s the back-story then: I already own 2 laptops.

  1. Surface Pro 7 (SP7): A refurbished device directly got from Microsoft in exchange for a problematic SP4 in Jul 2021 (which was itself a refurbished device got as a replacement for the screen-flickering original SP4 (of Dec 2016) in Nov 2018). It runs (Win11) well and I have no complaints whatsoever with its hardware yet.
  2. Surface Book 2 (SB2): An original device from 2018 which has started to fall apart since the last year and a half or so. First, its charger got worn down, then its charging port so now it has to be charged via 3rd party USB-C adapter & cable. No complaints there since this setup works well. Second, the mechanical attach-detach mechanism goes hay-wire once in a while where the screen is believed to be detached even when it is attached and working well with the keyboard! It is annoying at times but I can just do a real detach and attach exercise in no time and it is set to work at least for the next 24 hours. So no big deal… Third, the Mg body is starting to show ‘erosion’. Yes, ‘erosion’, not wear & tear but full-fledged loss of metal. Still, the body feels sturdy and doesn’t hamper any real workings of the laptop. Fourth, its Intel processor is 7th Gen and since Win11 needs at least an 8th Gen Intel processor, this SB2 is unable to upgrade to Win11, which is a bummer because there will be no new feature updates to Win10 anymore, though it will be supported till Oct 2025. But then there are people you don’t view Win11 so favourably either. Lastly & Fifthly, the IR camera has started to not recognize me since the last few weeks. And That’s Just Not Done. One of the ‘coolest’ features of Windows is the Hello Face recognition system (i.e., login with your face! No password, no PIN, no touching anything, no nothing; just glance at your screen even in pitch black darkness and you’re in for some good times!) and if that system doesn’t work and that too on a Surface device, what’s the point?

So I wanted a proper shiny new device with Hello Face built-in. Well, my daughter Sakura also wished to have a device someday that can login with her face. That gave me another excuse to buy a shiny new device which was that Sakura also needs a laptop now (her Amazon Fire tablet no longer cutting it for an obvious reason).

Of course, there are opposing forces (like my superpartner, or rather, especially her) with heretic views like a 5-year-old-kid doesn’t need a shiny new computer whether or not it has Hello Face. That resulted in a month-long standoff in our household, not because she (my superpartner) was going to pay for our (me & my daughter’s) new laptop but because there was no goo-d-dam-n touchscreen device available within my budget that had an IR camera, essential for Hello Face! Finally, as May rolled in, Fujitsu UH-X 2-in-1 with 12th Gen Intel i7 processor and all sorts of high-end bells & whistles but weighing less than 1 Kg showed up on The rest as they say is her story because now Sakura thinks it is totally her laptop.


Of course, that’s not true. I will be converting it to my secondary device as I phase out working on SB2 starting from next month. And setting up family safety for her account. If you, the reader, can suggest how best to retire / reuse / recycle the SB2, do chime in below in the comments or contact me on any other mediums accessible / available to you. (In addition, if you yourself are not so fussy about the 5 ‘issues’ with SB2 outlined above, do let me know and you can own an excellent SB2 at fifth the original price! Hurry while the stock / deal lasts.) For now, here’s our unboxing experience of the Fujitsu 2-in-1 laptop for you to enjoy:


Before I forget to write another post this month or a post next month, let me share some more Shers by one of the greatest Shayars of all time.

जब्र का ज़हर कुछ भी हो पीता नहीं
मैं ज़माने की शर्तों पे जीता नहीं

Jabr ka zahar kuch bhi ho peeta nahin
Main zamaane ki sharton pe jeeta nahin

Never consumed any poison of crimes
I do not live by set terms of the times

देखे जाते नहीं मुझसे हारे हुए
इसलिए मैं कोई जंग जीता नहीं

Dekhe jaate nahin mujhse haare huye
Isliye main koi jang jeeta nahin

I can not bear watching any losers
That’s why I never win any battles

अपनी सुबहों के सूरज उगाता हूँ खुद
मैं चरागों की साँसों से जीता नहीं

Apni subahon ke sooraj ugaata hun khud
Main charaagon ki saanson se jeeta nahin

I grow the morning suns on my own
I do not live by the breaths of lamps

–डॉ वसीम बरेलवी (Dr. Waseem Barelvi)

So divine. So grounded. So ecstatically inspiring. So emotionally draining. So I will leave you with the

Recital Video

Sunday, April 30, 2023

Futures Once Again…

This is the end of April 2023. One more birthmonth came and went. Not to dismiss the idea of a birthday but when you’re nearing 40 years of pure life, caring about a single day seems counterproductive at best and irrelevant at worst. So I have started celebrating a whole birthmonth with cakes, sweets, long naps and occasional research into why nobody has yet done something which I have been thinking about for the last two years! Whether I will do that thing this year is again another research problem to think about altogether. More on that at the end of this year.

That is not the reason the title of this post starts with the word “Future”. Long time readers of this post will recognize that the plural form of that word is a series of short sci-fi stories in the scientific journal Nature. And once again, there has been a good and interesting story.

Change YourView

This story (did you click the above picture?) is about tackling climate destruction in an innovative way. Don’t want to go into any more details but it is an interesting read. What I want to talk about instead is what it made me think of. This story reminded me of the Foundation trilogy by Isaac Asimov, which I gave myself as a birthmonth present after reading it mentioned on 4Gravitons blog. I had finished the trilogy just last week so the memory was ‘fresh’ and recollection was ‘instant’. Anyway, getting to the point, the first book involves characters who deal with “crisis” in similar subtle and innovative ways. One of those characters named “Salvor Hardin” has been assigned ‘memorable’ quotes (I guess deliberately). Here are two of the most repeated ones:

Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.

Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right.

I feel both of these quotes are in some sense demonstrated in the Futures story; also the cliché phrase “an offer one can’t refuse”, and many other things. I guess I felt this story resonated with me because it led to many such resonances. And as is well-known, people do tend to like familiar things more than something entirely new. Even if the new idea or thing is revolutionary. Or maybe, especially, if it is revolutionary and life-changing, people tend to regard it with suspicion. For a recent example, think about the rise of Bing AI, ChatGPT, fear of job loss, dip in creativity, etc.

I don’t have much to say about those things or anything else for that matter in this post. So let me end it by instead pointing you to the

Foundation heptology

Friday, March 31, 2023


I am a modest person, modestly speaking. I go about living day-in and day-out modestly, without realizing even once that people around me are immodest, or not quite modest at the very least. In fact, I learnt recently that the virtue of modesty (yes, it’s still considered a virtue by some) is dying! If you don’t believe me, here’s the modest article about its demise.

David Mitchell's Column

As we all know, I am sort of an expert in MATLAB. People come from far and beyond to ask me how they can improve their MATLAB figures, codes and apps. In return, the only thing I ask from them is they start using at least one of my MATLAB programs regularly. And then they never speak to me again or they switch to a ‘Mac’. Anyway, since my daughter has not done either of those two yet, I thought of gifting her a MATLAB program on her 5th birthday.

SixDoKu Solver 1.0

Surprisingly, she was more receptive of my program (her present, that is) than I had imagined. That felt really good. A week or so well-spent! Perceptive among you may have realized that I made a 6×6 Sudoku Solver (or Sixdoku Solver) for her and it is not just a copy/paste of my well-known (9×9) Sudoku Solver. Well, the logic behind solving a Sudoku is mostly copy/paste. (I was quite surprised how easy it was to recast the logic code for my 9×9 solver to this 6×6 one, proving how good a theoretical physicist I am since generalizing a specific example is what I achieved here!) But the visual layout: the four buttons, the background, the upbeat colours / emojis / messages / texts and the functional aspect of the 6×6 grid  are totally new and – as Microsoft likes to put it every so often – built from the ground up! Literally so because the Sudoku Solver is built in GUIDE (will be removed in a future MATLAB release) while Sixdoku Solver in built in App Designer (the default app development environment now).

I won’t bore you with any more details about the program but why Sixdoku? I hear you ask! Because my daughter has been subscribed by her mother to “Young World”, a children supplement from “The Hindu” newspaper, and one of the ‘fun’ activities there is a Sixdoku. I saw them ‘struggling’ to solve it and I thought, “Well, well, well… What have we got here!” and the rest as they say is her present. Some of you familiar with my usual Sudoku Solver may complain that my program does not actually help her solve one on her own. As it is not made with that in mind, for example, if she wants to solve a Sudoku with just the notes it is not so user-friendly in that regard. And that’s why I’m Dharmesh and you are not. As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, the grid has been totally rebuilt from the ground up and it allows writing over the notes to enter a single number. It doesn’t update the notes after that though, but that helps her to learn to remember and see what changes lie ahead. So it not only allows her to solve a Sixdoku on her own, it also ‘teaches’ her to follow the changes in her own mind to solve it faster. (These are not just hypothetical statements. She has indeed explored the functioning of my program by trying to make up her own Sixdokus and trying to solve the proper ones from the Young World on her own after writing the notes.) And that is how one learns to live one’s life.

Talking about living one’s life, I found an inspiring Japanese poem by Kenji Miyazawa about just that topic. What a coincidence, you might say! I will leave you with its Wiki page (with a translation) and a different translation. Pick what you like:

Wikipedia / Kenji-World

Friday, March 10, 2023

Yo! Yo! Yo!

The beginning of the end is again upon us. That is, the last volume of Sketchbook has begun scanlation. Four chapters are out and hoping the rest will be out before the end of this year. Enjoy this particular ‘gag’:

Cold Medicine-1&2

Cold Medicine-3&4

Click the photos to go to the MangaDex website where you can read the full chapter, if you so wish! Moving on to the other thing that’s been in the news for the last month or so: “Bing+ChatGPT” or the new Bing. To test out its “Compose” mode (available in Edge’s sidebar), I asked it to “write a blog post about start of scanlation of the last volume of Sketchbook”, and here is the result:

Hello fellow manga fans! I have some exciting news to share with you today. The scanlation group Sketchy Scans has announced that they have started working on the last volume of Sketchbook, the slice-of-life comedy manga by Totan Kobako.

Sketchbook is one of my favorite manga series ever. It follows the daily lives and quirky hobbies of a group of high school art club members, led by the shy and eccentric Sora Kajiwara. The manga is full of humor, charm, and creativity, as well as beautiful illustrations of nature and animals. It's a relaxing and heartwarming read that always makes me smile.

The manga has been running since 2002 and has 13 volumes so far. The last volume, volume 14, was released in Japan in December 2020. However, the scanlation process has been slow and inconsistent due to various reasons. The last chapter that was translated into English was chapter 131, which was released in July 2019.

That's why I was overjoyed when I saw the announcement from Sketchy Scans on their website yesterday. They said that they have acquired the raws for volume 14 and have started working on translating and editing them. They also said that they aim to finish the scanlation by June this year, which is only three months away!

I can't wait to read the final chapters of Sketchbook and see how the story ends for Sora and her friends. I'm sure it will be a satisfying and memorable conclusion to this wonderful manga series. I want to thank Sketchy Scans for their hard work and dedication to bringing us this amazing manga in English. You guys are awesome!

If you haven't read Sketchbook yet, I highly recommend you to check it out. You can find all the previous chapters on MangaDex or on Sketchy Scans' website. Trust me, you won't regret it.

That's all for today's blog post. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Let me know what you think about Sketchbook in the comments below. Until next time, happy reading!

Let’s analyze the result, shall we? The first para seems like a good start for a manga blogger, which I’m not. But it has a factual error: there’s no scanlation group named Sketchy Scans. In fact, the last 3 volumes or so have been scanlated anonymously, as far as I know. Anyway, let’s not let such a simple fact come in the way of our enjoying this AI generated post. The second para is good, something that I feel about this manga too. In fact, it feels like the AI understands what kind of people read this manga and what it evokes in them. The third para is again bordering on being semi-factual but the collection of all the elements that would give the history of this manga and its scanlation are there. One just has to do one’s own fact-checking which I’m not going to do here (read my Sketchbook tagged posts to learn related facts, like that number 131 should be 191, and so on).

The fourth para is full of fluff because the Sketchy Scans group doesn’t exist but the tone of this para is so upbeat, I want to believe it whole-heartedly and wait for June with bated breath! The fifth para is again pulling at the heart-strings of the readers of Sketchbook. How does this AI know what I want to write / read about Sketchbook? This is too good! The last two para are typical winding up paragraphs for a blog post but note that the info about MangaDex IS true. So it does know where to find the latest (and older) chapters to read. Man, this is really a cherry on top of the already amazing rainbow cake!

Overall, the AI has done a good job of composing a ‘Medium’ length ‘Blog post’ in a ‘Casual’ tone. The structuring of the post, laying out the ideas in various paragraphs, striking the exact tone that a Sketchbook reader can connect to, and to top it all off, including relevant facts (even if wishful) that unaware readers would like to know: these characteristics are really that of a grade A blogger like myself. I can see it replacing my superpartner as a collaborator on this blog in the very near future.

Ending this Sketchbook related post on a general manga note. I have updated the list of mangas I’m reading based on this post from last year. Have a look and if you fancy reading any of those, try your luck at