Sunday, December 25, 2011


If Nature is not Supersymmetric, then it is not as elegant as it is made out to be. –(paraphrasing) PvN

Having found my Superpartner (glossary of this paper might help), wish my name started with ‘N’… Eh… I’ll have you know, on second thought, it sort of does: it’s the name that my father uses to call me. I also remember (one of) his elder brother(s) (he, my uncle, also has a son with the same name as mine!) once telling him to stop calling me that because I was (apparently) no longer a kid. So my father, for a while, started using my ‘official’ name, which sounded weird to both of us and so he’s back to using the N-word! Anyway, enough with such trivial personal stories, I do like my current name is the moral of the story.

So, what else can I rant about in this post? Let me remind myself of one of her Superpowers: She can solve Sudokus without needing a program. In other words, She is in very friendly terms with the numbers 1-9. You may ask: How is that a superpower? I may reply: (ignoring my first reaction – I can call it whatever I like!) I gave her a Sudoku from Beelzebub Chapter 135 to solve:

Original Sudoku

Between us, this Sudoku is invalid, i.e. it doesn’t have a solution as told me by my program Smile:

Invalid Sudoku

After having a go at it, she claimed to have solved it and I (obviously) did NOT believe her. She elaborated then that the Sudoku as I gave her couldn’t be solved but if one changes just the number ‘9’ in Squ.[1,3] to ‘2’, it can be solved and she showed me her solution:

Modified Sudoku

I checked her solution to the modified Sudoku in my program, which told me that this new Sudoku doesn’t have a unique solution due to 3 occurrences of a (1,9) doublet (which made me think it had 3 solutions):

Multiple Solutions

So I told her that her solution is one of many (just to annoy her a bit; She was already annoyed when I ‘doubted’ her ability to solve a Sudoku!) and She replied: “Yes, there are two solutions, flip 1 ⇔ 9…”.

My jaws dropped:

2 Solutions

Merry NEWTONmas

Saturday, December 17, 2011


…has a lie in it!

This statement is inspired by the title of chapter 474 of Bleach. This chapter raises a lots of questions: When does a situation become too ridiculous even to witness? When does a question become irrelevant to answer? When does a person become immaterial to one’s existence? When does a cliché become too cliché to consider seriously?

To be or not to be… That is the cliché.” -David Tenant

I’m not going to answer any of these questions but will urge you to read the above chapter of Bleach to get a glimpse of how people get excited over irrelevant, immaterial gobbledygook! If reading a manga is not your cup of tea, read this Soul Mate story for similar sentiments. This story leads to an additional question: When / Why does ‘love’ turn to ‘hate’ or more importantly, Did the author loose track of her thoughts as this story progressed? Anyway, not all of her stories are this ‘bad’! After all, she’s a publishing writer and I’m just an incoherent blogger. Here is one of her better stories: Outsourced.


I went to shopping today with a friend (let’s call him SM) believing in the weather forecast that Sunday will have sub-zero temperatures during the day. After I’d paid for my grocery, I stood near the gate waiting for SM to pay his grocery bill. While there, I noticed a sort of blue iridescence from the hairs of the ‘cashier’ at his check-out counter. Not having specs can fool the eyes (and brain) into believing anything but I realized after a moment that only the ends (~1-2") of her hairs were dyed blue (or dark blue) that blended ‘seamlessly’ into the blackness of the rest of her hairs. An interesting sight like this


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Mass Photography


This is not a Physics post because if it were, it wouldn’t be here, it would be on WordPress. This is actually a photography post since I’ve not written any in quite a while. But first let me rant about the fact that I don’t like writing ‘E=mc²’; I prefer ‘E=γmc²’, where γ=1/√1-β² and β=v/c. Why so? You might ask… Read this expository article here.

Now, let me get back to photography. This post contains a few tricks that I’d like to learn myself! That statement doesn’t sound OK so let me rephrase it: What I want to learn is how to capture snapshots of things behind glass-panes or plastic-panes or any transparent material for that matter when there are a lot of bulbs / tube-lights being reflected in them (including me) such that these reflections are highly minimized. See for example the photo above! And here are some more (do learn about alt texts… that’ll make my posts more enjoyable!):

Balance Up-Close

Balance w/o Flash

Balance w/Flash

From what I can tell, choosing proper angle to take the photos and carefully placed flashes can do the trick. But I neither have extra flashes nor a 3D orientation sensor with ray-tracing capabilities so I’ve got to do with just one tiny flash on my E-PL1. Standing right next to the transparent material (Why the hell would I do that? You may ask after seeing that huge bright overexposed spot at the bottom center of the photo above… How the hell am I supposed to know about that beforehand? That’s how it happened… I even adjusted the flash strength to 1/4 or lower) and positioning the camera on the ledge to stabilize it, I took the 3 shots above and as you can see, the flash screwed up the white balance in the last one (could be corrected if I’d paid a bit more attention to whatever I needed to pay more attention). Though, it did decrease the brightness of the tube-lights a bit and the shadows / reflections are also less sharp, which is a nice thing. But still the ‘navel’ bit is irritating, isn’t it? So that’s a nice trick: to combat light with light! Who could’ve thought? Well, whatever… this post is getting too full of clichés! Let’s move on… before someone gets a split.

Some more Flash Photography:

Auto-Flash with Dragon in Focus

Auto-Flash with Ball in Focus

Fill-in Flash: Less harsh lighting compared to above

Flash Off: At night-time, need to pay more attention to White Balance and high ISO noise can also be witnessed

What else can I share? Oh ya… the Moon-Shots: Check this tutorial and forget what it told you to do as that advice didn’t work for me. The shutter speed of 1/200 for ISO 200 at f/16 aperture gave an underexposed spot over a black background. What worked for me was:

F:200mm; S:1/20s; ISO:200; A:F/11; WB:6000K

F:200mm; S:1/200s; ISO:200; A:F/9; WB:5300K

Just Kidding!!! (3 images overlaid in-camera)

Finally a photo not shot by me but it features my hand so I guess I can put it up here. It was shot by him (let’s call him SjD) with his iPhone 4S:


Care for some colourful photos of


Sunday, November 27, 2011


It’s for keeping scores obviously. But right now, I’m talking about Sketchbook’s author’s one volume endeavour: Scorebook. A new scanlator has appeared and its 6th chapter has been uploaded here.

There is nothing much to say about this chapter. A new ‘rude’ guy appears, who also wants to be a baseball team manager but there’s no actual game of baseball to be seen anywhere. That’s because it has been already established that the author doesn’t know any rules of baseball! HaHa... hahaha… *cough*

Anyway, I just wanted to post my (5th) new sketch of one of the Sketchbook characters. This time it’s Nagisa Kurihara with her cute cat-mouth-smile:


This sketch has been the most easiest to draw. It still took more than an hour, though! But somewhy I didn’t use the usual ‘Natural Pencil’ drawing tool in MS Paint as it didn’t feel right; instead I used the ‘Brush’ tool. That’s why the lines are much darker than earlier sketches  (search for them if you like by clicking on the ‘Sketchbook’ label below) and so overall this sketch has a different feel to it. A warm & fluffy feeling! Basically, the word / phrase Minamo uses to describe Sora’s sketches in 8th episode of the Anime. I’m definitely not claiming to be as good as Sora… When you start feeling inferior to fictional characters, you know you’ve hit rock-bottom! Smile Anyway, find the original photo

here to compare.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Physics & Lyrics

How many times have you read a poem (or listened to a song) about Scientific terms and concepts? Maybe 2 or 3 or for some, it may even be a negative number. So, this post is dedicated to making that number increase by 1.

You must know about Initial Value Problems (IVP) & Boundary Value Problems (BVP), right? You don’t? Ohh… then the following sher will define these for you:

वो अंजाम की इब्तिदा चाहता है
मैं आग़ाज़ का इर्तिक़ा चाहता हूँ

Wo anjaam ki ibtida chaahata hai
Main aagaaz ka irtika chaahata hun

(S)He wants the beginning of the end
I want an evolution of the beginning

-शीन काफ़ 'निज़ाम' (Sheen Kaaf ‘Nizaam’)

For Urdu-illiterate people like me, the main four words appearing in the above sher need to be translated to simpler terms, which I do now:

अंजाम = अन्त (End)
इब्तिदा = प्रारम्भ (Beginning)
आग़ाज़ = प्रारम्भ (Beginning)
इर्तिक़ा = विकास, प्रगति (Development, Progress)

Everything above in Hindi is reproduced from the following book, which has inspired a few posts (actually, this cover image should have already appeared in earlier ones!):

Book Cover

Now it should be obvious that those two lines define IVP & BVP. IVP is defined by the second line, which basically means give me the initial conditions of the system and I’ll predict what happens next or in passive voice: how does a system evolve given its starting configuration? That means BVP is defined by the first line, which tells you to give me the initial and final conditions and I’ll find a ‘path’ which connects those two or in passive voice: how does a system go from a given starting configuration to a given final configuration?

Isn’t the sher beautiful & profoundly deep? Wait… What? You want real, physical examples of such problems now? Oh come on, don’t ask a theoretical physicist for physical examples, I’m not a phenomenologist! Anyway, that was just a joke I’ve been trying to get out of my system for a long time. Smile Then, let me give a very simple example… IVP: You earn X amount of money, so what will you do with it? BVP: You earn X amount of money per unit time and you want to buy something that costs Y(~3X), so how’ll you go about the purchase? Hope that helps!

The eternal question a human faces over the duration of his lifetime (or even after-lifetime) is “What does one want?”. And in my view, the following (un-translate-able) sher captures that emotion very well:

दुआ को उठा तो दिये हाथ लेकिन
ख़ुदा जाने क्या मांगना चाहता हूँ
-शीन काफ़ 'निज़ाम'

The answer simply is “Nobody knows!”. If someone wants to give the above Sher’s translation a try, be my guest and comment. I leave you with another beautiful Ghazal regarding

Love, Pain & the Likes

Saturday, November 12, 2011

End of a Lifetime…

…or so it seems. Yes, the last chapter of volume 7 of Sketchbook has been finally scanlated and it is a collection of usual themes with Asakura-Sensei in focus.

We start with a thumbs-up by Asakura-Sensei and a panel with Sora about Imitation. Then we move on to Frugality of Hazuki (a typo on that page: ‘on’ → ‘one’), Strength of Asaka (Hilarious reaction of Kokage’s), Magic of Asakura-Sensei (& Kasugano-Sensei just being herself over 2½ pages), ‘Analytic abilities’ of Kate (with help from Juju, Nagisa, Negishi, Kokage & Natsumi over 1½ pages), Revelation of Negishi (that Asaka dislikes peas Spoiler Alert) and Ryou & Fuu being the ever-wonderful SuzuKaze Combo!


Since volume 8 will be released in Jan’12, it will most probably reach the scanlators in Feb’12 and they will probably start in March’12 to do their ‘job’ and if I’m lucky, we may be able to see the new chapter(s) in April’12… Wow, ≥5 months wait! Not that bad, considering there are authors who go on hiatus for months / years like Hayao Miyazaki did with his manga ‘Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind’! A personal translator would also be not that bad! Anyway, here’s the full chapter:

Sketchbook V7Ch101

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It’s That Time Again!

Happy Diwali / Tihar to whoever’s reading this. To those who want a native expression, here it is:

तिहारको उपलक्ष्यमा तपाईंलाई हार्दिक मंगलमय शुभकामना!

दीवाली के अवसर पर आपको हार्दिक शुभकामनाएँ!

or in short:

शुभ दीपावली

Unlike last year, I’m not at Home. So, I neither have access to Sweets not fire-crackers. Which is when Sketchbook comes handy; not so much for Sweets but definitely for fire-crackers. “Why?”, I hear you ask. To figure out the reason, you’ll have to watch Sketchbook ~Full Color’s~ Episode 3 and Episode 6 till the end! Do that and come back to read the rest of this post. Go on, I’ll wait…


Now that you understand the reason, let us move on to some heart-warming poetry in these cold times. As always, first check out the “Shayari” tab located above. This sher is dedicated to those who’ve partners to worry about:

ये सोचना गलत है की तुम पर नज़र नहीं
मशरूफ़ हम बहुत हैं मगर बेखबर नहीं

Ye sochna galat hai ki tum par nazar nahin
Mashroof ham bahut hai magar bekhabar nahin

It is wrong to think I don’t notice you
I am definitely busy but not unaware

-आलोक श्रीवास्तव (Aalok Shrivastav)

“Unaware” as in unaware of your existence! Okay, now let’s move on to some commentary on politics:

अड़े थे ज़िद पे की सूरज बना के छोड़ेंगे
पसीने छुट गए एक दिया बनाने में

Ade the zid pe ki sooraj bana ke chhodenge
Paseene chhut gaye ek diya banane mein

They iterated stubbornly that a Sun will be created
They’re bathed in sweat while creating a mere lamp

ये चंद लोग जो बस्ती में सबसे अच्छे हैं
इन्ही का हाथ है मुझको बुरा बनाने में

Ye chand log jo basti mein sabse achhe hain
Inhi ka haath hai mujhko bura banane mein

These few good people in village
Are the reason I turned out bad

-राहत इंदौरी (Rahat Indori)

Lastly, remembering some lost love(s):

मुझे वो छोड़ गया, ये कमाल है उसका
इरादा मैंने किया था की छोड़ दूंगा उसे

Mujhe wo chhod gaya, ye kamaal hai uska
Iraada maine kiya tha ki chhod dunga use

(S)He left me, which is a miracle
I had decided to do the same

पसीने बांटता फिरता है हर तरफ सूरज
कभी जो हाथ लगा तो निचोड़ दूंगा उसे

Paseene baant.ta phirta hai har taraf sooraj
Kabhi jo haath laga to nichod dunga use

The Sun keeps dispensing sweat all over the world
If I ever get my hands on it, I’ll surely wring it dry

-राहत इंदौरी (Rahat Indori)

Let me end this post with more Fireworks:

Sketchbook V1 Ch09

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Leave Us Be

Bill Bailey dedicates a song to Rats

Rats! Rats! Will you forgive us for treating your brethren so cruelly

Rats! Rats! Please will you give us a sign to say you’ll leave us be

You scurry through cellar and Lofoten Green Gables

You gnaw at my conscience and you gnaw through my … cables

You brought us typhus and bubonic plague

But you’re still more welcome than William Hague

Rats! Rats! Our closest companions

Scurrying beneath us with hate in your eyes

Rats! Rats! In these urban canyons

Our fates are entwined like Chaka Demus and Pliers


-Bill Bailey

Since the most visited post of my blog of all time is a poem by Bill Bailey, I thought I’d put up more of his work! As of this post, that poem has 233 hits and the second most popular post has 120 hits! Anyway, here’s one more song by him:

The Devil’s Chord

Sunday, October 9, 2011


[Warning: This post contains Shayari. Read on only after you’ve read the page contained in the tab titled “Shayari” above.]

How do you interpret things? Obviously, that’s a very vague & dumb question but here’s a global example of varied interpretations of the ‘same thing’:

सामने है जो उसे लोग बुरा कहते हैं
जिसको देखा ही नहीं उसको खुदा कहते हैं

Saamne hai jo use log bura kahte hain
Jisko dekha hi nahin usko khuda kahte hain

Physical presence is dubbed Bad by them
Notion of invisibility is dubbed God by them

-सुदर्शन 'फ़ाकीर' (Sudarshan 'Faaqir')

Such global things are not that interesting so let’s analyze things at a local level. People tend to go on about friendship, relationship, ship-in-trouble, etc. So here’s a Sher depicting such stuff:

दोस्तों से न गिला है न शिकायत है ‘सिया’
क्यों के मैं अपनों से उम्मीद ही कम रखती हूँ

Doston se na gila hai na shikaayat hai ‘Siya’
Kyon ke main apnon se ummeed hi kam rakhti hun

No regrets or complaints to register with friends, ‘Siya’
Because I do not have high expectations from them

-सिया सचदेव (Siya Sachdev)

Now, many of you may disagree with the interpretation of ‘friendship’ depicted in this Sher. Maybe because you’ve been disappointed and thinking of beating the crap out of one of your ‘friends’ as (s)he forgot to congratulate you on an important day in your life – the day when you successfully added the integer ‘1’ with units ‘year’ to your existence!

However, I don’t interpret this Sher in such a pessimistic view. I rather take on an optimistic (or realistic) view which is: Those that can be labelled as ‘friends’ don’t leave much in the realm of unexpected and hence no need for regret and / or complaints to bog you down for the rest of your life. Projecting the earlier example on this view tells you that most probably one of your ‘friends’ did not want to remind you of your helpless mortality. Think about that… It’s deep!

Now that I’ve alienated most of my readers and those of you who at least will finish this post before never coming back, let me dedicate the following beautiful Ghazal by Nawaaz Deobandi (even the translation follows most of the rhyming rules of a Ghazal and hence is almost a Ghazal) to you:

तुम नज़र से नज़र मिलाते तो
बात करते न मुस्कुराते तो

Tum nazar se nazar milaate to
Baat karte na muskuraate to

Had you looked into my eyes then
Spent not a word, just a smile then

इख्तलाफ़ात होते रहते हैं
आना जाना था आते जाते तो

Ikhtalaafaat hote rahte hain
Aana jaana tha aate jaate to

Differences do pop up once in a while
As in the past, visit once in a while then

दोस्ती में अना नहीं चलती
खुद न आते कभी बुलाते तो

Dosti mein ana nahin chalti
Khud na aate kabhi bulaate to

Arrogance doesn’t go far in friendship
If you refuse to visit, maybe I’ll then

चाँदनी रात सिसकियाँ भरतीं
तुम ज़रा अपनी छत पे आते तो

Chaandni raat siskiyaan bharteen
Tum zara apni chhat pe aate to

The moonlit night would have sighed
At your arrival on roof for a while then

भूलते शौक से हमें लेकिन
भूलने का हुनर बताते तो

Bhoolte shauk se hamein lekin
Bhoolne ka hunar bataate to

Feel free forgetting me but
Teach me this life style then

आ भी जाओ की हम बुलाते हैं
तुम बुलाते जो हम न आते तो

Aa bhi jaao ki hum bulaate hain
Tum bulaate jo ham na aate to

Do come as I am at least calling you
If you called ’n I didn’t compile then

-नवाज़ देवबन्दी (Nawaaz Deobandi)

As always, I thank DQ for spending about an hour on phone to help me get the translations correct and be meaningful. I am also grateful to him in indulging my whim to get the translation qualify as a Ghazal too but in the process stopping me using the word ‘(be)guile’ in the very first line of the Ghazal! After I told him that there’s a site where one can find rhyming words, he remarked that now ‘Internet’ allows any ‘dum-bass’ to become a poet! He also made me realize that I shouldn’t be using the words ‘daughters’ & ‘dogs’ with the same level of priority in the same sentence.

This post was inspired by (& is full of) Sketchbook-inspired anecdote(s) from my life but don’t let that bother you. Instead, I’ll let you hear the

Full Ghazal

Saturday, October 1, 2011


The title of this post is a portmanteau word made up of Century + Millennium because it feels like a millennium has passed before the appearance of the 100th chapter of Sketchbook.

This chapter of Sketchbook did not feature the usual Art Club members at all! It featured the unusual (last but not the least kind) Art Club member Ooba Tsukiyo & Outsiders. Ooba starts the chapter with a cool & proud pose, which reminds me of Dante from Sket Dance:


Then, over a handful of pages, outsiders gather and some are rather proud of it:


On the last page of the chapter, we’re given a summary of the whole chapter by “our beloved” Kasugano-Sensei:


The last panel includes another strikingly cool pose by

Ooba Tsukiyo

Monday, September 26, 2011

Lucu Lucu

is Lucifer. I finally figured that out at the very end of the manga. When only 2 or 3 chapters were left to read, ‘that’ page (I’ve forgotten which one now!) reminded me of Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman” and the name “Lucifer” popped up in my mind. Anyway, the manga got a little fast-paced towards the end (after 6th volume) and a lot of (or few) questions were deliberately left unanswered while the author (or Lucu Lucu) ‘kept winking’ at the reader to figure it out by themselves! Not a bad ending for a series that had a ‘Slice of Life’ feel.

Speaking of endings, Nichijou (the anime) also ended yesterday after 26 hilarious episodes. It’s ending was a pure ‘Slice of Life’ ending and the fourth wall was never broken in an attempt to convey the end of series, which was done in Sketchbook with too many blatant cues that I felt like crying (metaphorically, not literally). This means I’ve to update my Anime/Manga list once again…

Speaking of reminiscences, here are four lines (most probably they qualify as Shers) cooked up by my (cousin?) sister (identified as R in this post):

हर लम्हा हर पल एक याद बन जाता है
खुली किताब में एक किस्सा बन जाता है

Har lamha har pal ek yaad ban jaata hai
Khuli kitaab mein ek kissa ban jaata hai

Every moment gets memorized
As an anecdote in an open book

जीने को तो हरदम जीते हैं इस एक पल में
ये पल यकीनन उसका हिस्सा बन जाता है

Jeene ko to hardam jeete hain is ek pal mein
Ye pal yakinan uska hissa ban jaata hai

Lives are spent in this one moment
Each moment is trapped in its nook

-विषालिका (Vishalika)

The last line in her original version of the second ‘sher’ was too long along with an explicit mention of the ‘book’. I replaced it with the pronoun ‘its (उसका)’ and removed other ‘clutter’ to shorten the line. Since she ‘liked’ the ‘mutilated sher’, the meaning must have not been lost in transition. (At least in the Hindi version; I didn’t show her my English translations!)

If you want to read ‘pure & high-quality’ Shers, check out the

<<Previous Post

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sheen Kaaf Nizaam’s Shayari–II

As foretold in the previous installment, here’s a second one. Also as mentioned there, do go through the tab titled “Shayari” before reading any further and this translation too requires mentioning Thanks to DQ.

I’ve removed two Shers from the following translated Ghazal because I don’t know a word’s meaning in one sher and the other one being “Urdu-heavy” was not very “translator-friendly”! So let’s enjoy the rest of the Ghazal:

मकानों के थे या ज़मानों के थे
अजब फ़ासले दर्मियानों के थे

Makaanon ke the ya jamaanon ke the
Ajab faasle darmiyaanon ke the

Were they space-like or were they time-like
Weird separations of the intervals, they were

This particular translation will be appreciated by physicists more than other mere mortals. Smile

थे वहमों के कुछ, कुछ गुमानों के थे
सभी अपने अपने ठिकानों के थे

The wahamon ke kuch, kuch gumaanon ke the
Sabhi apne apne thikaanon ke the

Some due to doubts, some due to pride
All of their very own abodes, they were

खुली आँख तो सामने कुछ न था
वो मंज़र तो सारे उड़ानों के थे

Khuli aankh to saamne kuch na tha
Wo manzar to saare udaanon ke the

Nothing before the now open eyes
The scenery of all flights, they were

मुसाफ़िर की नज़रें बुलन्दी प' थीं
मगर रास्ते सब ढलानों के थे

Musaafir ki nazaren bulandi pa’ theen
Magar raaste sab dhalaanon ke the

The traveller had eyes on his ascent
The roads but of descent, they were

पकड़ना उन्हें कुछ ज़रूरी न था
परिंदे सभी आशियानों के थे

Pakadna unhen kuch zaroori na tha
Parinde sabhi aashiyaanon ke the

It was not necessary to bind them
All birds were residents, they were

उन्हें ढूंढ़ने तुम कहां चल दिये
वो किरदार तो दास्तानों के थे

Unhen dhoondhne tum kahan chal diye
Wo kirdaar to daastaanon ke the

Where will you go search for them
The characters of fiction, they were

-शीन काफ़ ‘निज़ाम’ (Sheen Kaaf ‘Nizaam’)

One sher on has sentiments ‘similar’ to the fourth sher above! So I present a translation of that sher also:

हैं निगाहें बुलन्दियों पे मेरी,
क्या हुआ पाँव गर ढलान पे है

Hain nigaahen bulandiyon pe meri,
kya hua paanv gar dhalaan pe hai

My eyes are focussed on ascent,
Who cares if my feet are on descent

-नीरज गोस्वामी (Neeraj Goswaami)

Bold words there… Very Bold!


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Beginning of the End

How can it be correct if it isn’t even consistent.
–Warren Siegel

That title may feel a bit odd at first but by the end of this post, it will still feel so. Anyway, I’ll be talking about beginnings of a few shows/series in this post:

First of all, I started to read a new ‘Slice of Life’ manga (like Sketchbook) titled “Lucu Lucu”. It has a weird theme but if you ignore that, it is quite enjoyable. Well, even if you don’t ignore the theme (where demons are the ‘good guys’ & angels are the ‘bad’ ones), it is still relaxing & calming very much like another SoL manga titled “Yotsuba&!”.

Second of all, new episodes of two British panel shows have started airing again: “QI” Series I (‘I’ as in 9) featuring Stephen Fry & Alan Davies and “Would I Lie to You?” Series 5 featuring David Mitchell, Lee Mack & Rob Brydon. These series basically point to the beginning of the end of this year (if you are too picky in wanting to connect the body of this post to the title!).

Third of all and the most important one that gave me the idea for this post is the beginning of the scanlation of a ‘Samurai-based action comedy’ manga (the genre which includes gems like Rurouni Kenshin, Samurai Deeper Kyo, Samurai Champloo) titled “Samurai Usagi”. The scanlation stopped in 2008 and a new group picked it up nearly a month ago after more or less 3 years as seen on this page, which makes me happy that there are some ‘kind’ souls existing even today. [But, where are they when it concerns “Embalming”? Though, I think the absence of new chapters may be due to some other factors too!]

So, there you have it: a list of things that can keep you occupied till the end of (and beyond) this year. You may as well start with

Lucu Lucu

Sunday, August 28, 2011


So you are sitting there peacefully waiting for the sweets to arrive but when they arrive they aren’t put in the plate, instead a hand supports the back of your head and the other hand shoves the sweet(s) in your face. When you refuse to let the sweet(s) be delivered in your mouth like that, the person asks, “What’s Your Problem?”. [This scenario is pretty much common in Indian weddings or at least those few that I’ve had the misfortune to attend.] Thus, proving the said person (‘it’ will be substituted from now on) has no concept of irony.

Similar situations arise when it asks you to sing or dance or play or participate in any such activity you loathe or are, in the very least, disinterested in exerting yourself. Obviously, such irrelevant trivialities are not really worth anyone’s time apart from a few eloquent professionals, who sometimes choose to speak on other people’s behalf. For example, Surendra Sharma does so on behalf of all the husbands! That’s why, I fill the following space with a David Mitchell Rant:

DM’s Refusal Rant

More of his Rants

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sheen Kaaf Nizaam’s Shayari–I

I recently got hold of two Ghazal collections by Sheen Kaaf ‘Nizaam’: “रास्ता ये कहीं नहीं जाता (Raasta ye Kahin Nahin Jaata) [This Road Leads Nowhere]” and “सायों के साए में (Saayon ke Saaé mein) [In Shadows’ Shadow]”. Both of them have more or less the same set of Ghazals apart from the 25 or so that appear only in the former. Also, the extra materials in them are different; former has दोहे (Dohe) and the latter has नज़्में (Nazmein). So, it doesn’t feel like a total rip-off!

I’ve thought of compiling the most beautiful Shers (to me) in a few posts along with my English translations of them in the upcoming months. But today I present a full Ghazal. This Ghazal (in my opinion) is about small, almost insignificant things happening around you that when noticed (consciously or unconsciously) give you pleasure. This is very much the spirit & essence of Sketchbook and so I dedicate the following Ghazal to fellow Sketchbook readers specifically Louie W.

In the translation below, I’ve used “he” & its derivatives as implied in the original Shers. But if you’re ‘picky’ like PJ, you are free to substitute “she” & its derivatives as you read along. But before you read it, go through this disclaimer for your own good, which is also accessible by clicking on the tab marked “Shayari” on the top of this page.

Let’s Start Now (with thanks to DQ for proofreading the translations):

रास्ते में वो मिला अच्छा लगा
सूना-सूना रास्ता अच्छा लगा

Raaste mein wo mila achha laga
Soona-soona raasta achha laga

Met him on the road, Felt so good
The solitary lonely road Felt so good

उस ने जाने क्या कहा अच्छा लगा
रूकते रूकते बोलना अच्छा लगा

Us ne jaane kya kaha achha laga
Rukte rukte bolna achha laga

What did he really say? Felt so good
The slow stammering talk Felt so good

अपना चेहरा आज क्या अच्छा लगा
बादे-मुद्दत आईना अच्छा लगा

Apna chehra aaj kya achha laga
Baade-muddat aaeena achha laga

My face today, how it Felt so good
After ages the mirror Felt so good

कितने शिकवे थे मुझे तक़दीर से
आज किस्मत का लिखा अच्छा लगा

Kitne shikwe the mujhe taqdeer se
Aaj kismat ka likha achha laga

I had endless gripes with fate
Today destiny’s writ Felt so good

मुझ में क्या है मुझ को कब मालूम है
उस से पूछो उस को क्या अच्छा लगा

Mujh mein kya hai mujh ko kab maloom hai
Us se pucho us ko kya achha laga

When do I know what lies in me
Ask him about what he Felt so good

उस की सूरत से लगा मुझ को 'निज़ाम'
उस को मेरा देखना अच्छा लगा

Us ki soorat se laga mujh ko ‘Nizaam’
Us ko mera dekhna achha laga

His face hints me, ‘O! Nizaam’
To him, my glance Felt so good

-शीन काफ़ 'निज़ाम' (Sheen Kaaf ‘Nizaam’)

Here’s a video with SKN’s recital of first $3$ Shers, which are technically called मतला (Matla), of the above Ghazal (they are at the very end):

SKN’s Shayari

More of His Shayari

Saturday, August 13, 2011


As some of you might know, I went to Mathematica Summer School held at Perimeter Institute, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Here are the photos to prove that. Getting there was an adventure but not as much as getting back to Stony Brook, which was more of a misadventure.

Here’s how that fated day started: My room mate & fellow school attendee & fellow traveller & colleague & batch mate & etc. – Lets call him PILC – asked me (at 7AM) if we are taking the 8AM bus to the airport. I said I thought we agreed to take 11AM bus (which would reach the airport at noon) since our flight is at 2PM. He agreed and went back to sleep.

That’s that. Fast forward to 11AM. The bus is not here. 11:15AM, Bus Not Here. 11:30AM, Bus Still Not Here. There were about a dozen people waiting for the bus, none had any serious issues with bus being late apart from us (me & PL). We (I mean he) phoned the bus company – no answer, Perimeter (they’d organized the bus service) – no answer; Because it was a Sunday. Hunt for the emails/phone numbers of the organizers started. Hunt was successful, Connection established by 11:45AM.

PL is now in full-on chatting mode with the organizers and they are in full-on info-gathering mode from the secretary who arranged the buses. And we learn that the bus company claims, “The bus was there from 10:45-11:05AM. Nobody showed up. The bus left.” How the Hell is that possible when I (& others) had a full-view of the parking space since 10AM and a Yellow bus standing there for 20 minutes is not at all possible to miss. (The same parking space where the bus at 8AM parked!) This reminds me of this anecdote:

Confusion, Misunderstanding and so on…

Sorry for the interruption. So, PL ‘convinces’ them to send another bus for others who didn’t have much to worry about and to take care of our taxi fare. By this time, it’s more or less noon. Let me remind you of something. This (noon) was the time we were supposed to be at the airport or to put this in PL’s words: “We board the bus at 11. We reach the airport by 12. We check-in and I eat a hot dog there while waiting for the flight. This was the plan I made in my head in the morning!”

Anyway, I (by this, I really mean ‘I’) ask the guy (A) at the reception desk (of Ron Eydt Village; you’d recognize this name if you’d watched the photos linked above) to call a taxi and he does. A taxi arrives in 5 minutes (~12:05) and someone gets in. OK, Let’s wait for our taxi… We’ll get in another taxi… Hell, there’s no taxi coming; It’s 12:12 already. I ask A to call a taxi again; he does and one more taxi arrives by 12:20. We get in, PL swipes his card and by 12:24 we are moving towards the airport.  Let me repeat something: A taxi arrived within 5 minutes of our calling one and SOMEBODY ELSE got in! (In PL’s words: “What an ***####!”)

Now, by a straightforward calculation, we’ll reach the airport around 1:25PM (if the ‘traffic cooperates’), a mere half-an-hour before the flight’s STD – to put this in perspective, I once again use PL’s words: “Mission Impossible”!

The driver was ‘fearlessly’ driving the taxi at 120 Km/hr. As we were nearing the airport, We had to choose the terminal: 1 or 3. We missed the boards that displayed the terminals corresponding to the departing airlines. We (by that I mean me) chose 3 (that’s where we’d landed a week earlier) and that was the right choice. We did make it to the airport terminal in an hour. We got out of the taxi, ran inside the terminal and in a dazed search for the check-in counter, fell flat on the floor (just me not PL).

After a quick recovery, we break in a line and ask a lady ‘officer’ to let us in for a flight departing in 33 minutes. We are bluntly refused with a ‘fact’ about 1-hour cut-off and are asked to get in another queue for a later flight. This is the sort of time & place where an Indian can complain to no end and I’ll just put in PL’s sentiments (which may sound very much Indian to those who’ve never met PL): “We could’ve definitely made it to the flight in half an hour. If I’d talked to the lady in Spanish, we’d definitely have boarded that plane. But, what can we do now? Just complain!”

So, we stood in another queue to get on another plane. This queue had all sorts of people trying to get to all sorts of places, like Dallas & Miami. The line was shrinking faster with everyone in front of us & behind us taking a flight. Just Not Us. After an eternity or so, we landed on the check-in counter (wo)manned by the same ‘officer’ and she put us on another flight at 5:40PM (by giving us seat-less boarding passes) without asking any ‘dumb’ questions. We filled the forms, security checked and immigration checked and sat down to wait for our second flight. It was ~3PM now.

Fast Forward again to 4:30PM, we rose from our seats and went towards the Gate B6. PL got some food for himself and after finishing his sandwich (I guess he didn’t like the hot dogs there), he went and asked what should we do with our seat-less boarding passes. The lady officer there asked us to wait for a moment while she checked for empty seats. After ~15 minutes, she came back and called us to say that the 5:40 flight to JFK, NY seems full but the flight going to LaGuardia Airport, NY at 5:29 has at least two seats available. PL without losing a moment said we’ll take that offer. His reasoning: Once we get to NY, we can figure out how to get to Stony Brook.

But (there’s always a but) he had a checked-in baggage so he asked her about it and she said she knows about it. She asked someone from her walkie-talkie to locate a green bag (How did she know the colour of the bag? I can not get my head around that!) with a tag number, which she recited on the phone. Then we moved nearer to the gate for the 5:29 flight and they gave us new boarding passes.NXM023Over the walkie-talkie, they confirmed that PL’s bag was located and transferred from one flight to another. We were asked to hurry and get on the (third) flight (of the day). This transition went smoothly and we were headed to LGA. As PL pointed out, we were impressed with the coordination of American Airlines’ Ground Personnel: “Do you have the bag? Yes. Get it to another Plane. Done. Hurry & Board the plane.” YOOO…

The LGA is bordered by water (on some sides, see the map below) so it felt like the plane was going to land on water until the last moment when it hit the runway on land. A great scene to remember. Since we had already went through Immigration in Canada, we were headed directly to the baggage claim and outside the airport after deplaning the plane. PL had been at this airport earlier and knew that we’d  to take a taxi to Jamaica train station – the same station connected by AirTrain to JFK, which would cost $ \$ 5 $ each but the taxi cost us $ \$ 10 $ each. So overall, we lost 3½ hours and $ \$ 5$. Not bad for jumping two flights! We took the taxi and it seemed like we were on another mission impossible in trying to catch the 7:46 train to Stony Brook. This taxi driver was also good and we were at the station by 7:42.

We ran around trying to figure out the platform, went a little too far, traced our steps back: It’s platform #7. We ran up the stairs and saw a train whizzing past us. It was 7:44. We sighed and saw another train slowly coming in the platform with words ‘Huntington’ lighting up on its side. PL exclaimed ‘YES!’ and that word resounded deeply in my brain too as we had made it… we’d made the Mission Impossible Possible. (Huntington is the station where we change to another train to SB) It was 7:45 when the train stopped, 7:46 when we settled on the seats and 7:47 when the train started moving. At that moment, PL said, “We could’ve been 1 minute late!”. Well, that (being late) is something I’d had enough for a day and am never repeating it in the near future.

LaGuardia Airport

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Stag Beetle

Stag Beetle

Ready to Wrestle!!!


I don’t know how small is the Stag Beetle in the first photo but you can start by searching Wikipedia for

Rhinoceros Beetle

Friday, July 29, 2011


I was reminded of this Sketchbook strip:

Ooba & P-chan

after having glanced at this video’s title:

Ooba’s Experiment in ‘Real Life’

Get Smarter…

Saturday, July 23, 2011


I just noticed that this manga has ended (it ended in Feb’11) with the most open-ended end of any story I’ve had ever read, watched or heard including some of the Pakistani shows broadcast on Nepal’s only TV channel in the early 90s and that is saying something about the open-ended-ness of this manga!

So should you read it (or watch it as anime adaptations are also available)? Definitely, it is a nice story (obviously, I’d say that otherwise I’ve to admit I ‘wasted’ years reading this manga!) even with the open-ended end. Actually, now that I think about it, Stephen Fry’s Kingdom comes very close to such open-ended-ness but you can get over, “Who is Peter Kingdom?”, after a minute of the end of the last episode. However, you cannot get over, “What is Watanuki going to do now?” or “When is the right time for Doumeki to use the egg?” or “What the hell is that egg in the first place?”, even after months of reading the last chapter!

Nothing is a coincidence. It’s Hitsuzen! –Yuuko Ichihara


Two of the Sunset photos I shot at West Meadow Beach were published.

Chapin Newsletter

There’s also a small poem about sunset on that page:

I wonder why when you say goodbye
beautiful colours paint the sky.
Shades of orange, yellow and pink too
all come out because of you.
And although I hate to see you go,
I really do enjoy the show.
I've seen you leave so many times
and still it's a favourite sight of mine.
There'll be no sadness, be no sorrow
because my sun, you'll come out tomorrow.
I won't feel hurt, I'll feel no pain
because on your way down, your colours will reign.
– Adoni Marcano

BTW, Who is Adoni Marcano?

Sunday, July 10, 2011


I thought I was the only one having weird dreams, like the one I had yesterday in which Prof. Siegel (finally?) bought an iPhone! Here’s a proof that others also have equally weird dreams:


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Call Me…

So Sketchbook Vol7 Ch98 is dedicated to Minamo’s visit to the Art Club! Conspicuously missing characters are Natsumi, Hazuki (these two appeared in the last chapter, though), Kate, Asaka & President (what’s his name again? just kidding!) Ujou; considering that Tsukiyo makes an appearance:


The usual theme of her forget-ability is being exploited here but the beginning of this chapter has that theme applied to Minamo too! That sheds some new light on Juju’s character, which apparently even Nagisa was unaware of. As in the anime, Daichi questions his sister’s presence here too. RyouFuu combo take hold of ‘easily-scared-by-ghosts’ Kokage’s favourite place and even succeed in sneaking their own signature strip.

As you might have noticed by now, I’ve written the names of all the Art Club members except one. Yes, you guessed it… it’s the most important name but instead of me writing her name down, I’ll let her speak for herself:

♥ I Will ♥

Monday, July 4, 2011

Timing is Everything…

…or so they say! And most probably, they are right. It is also fair to say that my timing is pathetic (my mother is too ‘happy’ to confirm that) as seen in some of the events last year. I bring this subject up today because of the release of Sketchbook Vol7 Ch97 in which there are two jokes so deep that it took me considerable amount of time to understand them completely.

One of them is about “Timing” itself on P98 involving Minamo Negishi. Yes, you read that right! She ‘finally’ appears in the Manga after two years (as the author points out in Notes at the end of this chapter!) of her appearance in the Anime (Wiki, as of this post’s posting time, says she is original to the anime):


Another one is a (very deep) pun on P104 involving Kokage Kuga. Oh boy! She can be quite abstract, while using the same theme, in full contrast to Kate! Read the left one (Glasses) first:

Kokage's Pun Kate's Pun

Speaking of timing, I was photographing Sunset, day before yesterday and yesterday I went to

West Meadow Beach

Saturday, July 2, 2011


It seems Sora is spending a lot of time with Kuga-Senpai!

Sora naming a Cat

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Flashing Flash

Before we start ‘learning’ about ‘flash photography’, let me say that my blog now supports $\LaTeX$, which is even better than that at wordpress! Here’s an example: “I‘ve bought the Panasonic $μ\frac{4}{3}$ Lens mentioned in my earlier post.” You may ask how is this better than WP? Well, apart from the obvious background issue, I just typed ‘μ\frac{4}{3}’ between two dollar signs here whereas at WP, I’d have to type ‘latex \mu\frac{4}{3}’ between the dollars!

Now, lets get back to flash photography. So when should you use it? …How the hell would I know that? It’s your flash and they’re your photos… you choose when to use it! But I’m in a good mood today so here are some general guidelines, if you like theoretical knowledge as much as I do.

So how does flash alter photographs? Obviously, it increases the light input to the sensor (in right conditions) and accentuates certain ‘reflective’ elements of the scene. (For those technologically-challenged souls who don’t know about ‘Alt Texts’: Hover the cursor on the photos to uncover hidden truths!)

Flash Off & White Balance: AutoFlash On (Slow 2nd Curtain) & WB: 6000KFlash On (Auto) & WB: Auto

OR, it can also hide ‘background’ elements of the scenery!

Flash OnFlash Off

More example shots taken with the new lens follow after a small Panasonic sponsored rant: This lens is virtually distortion free and the focusing is almost silent & too damn fast – It feels like the lens focuses even before the shutter button gets to the half-way point! During my first few shots, I kept ending up pressing the shutter button fully thinking that the lens was mal-functioning but was actually taking properly focused shots. Smile However, switching from the Olympus kit lens to the new Panasonic lens is literally a burden as (it feels like) it alone weighs (380g) almost as much as the combined weight (473g) of the camera body (340g) + the kit lens (133g)!

Flash OnZooming in...Zooming in...

As you can see, the images have negligible (if any) distortion. At this point, in-Camera IS not able to keep up so zoomed out a bit and turned off the flash to see the background:

Flash Off (Much Better)Flash Off (IS by windowsill)

This photo is again a proof of the lens being virtually distortion free as straight lines appear straight without any ‘post-straightening’. Finally, I end this post with what it means to zoom from 45mm to 200mm:

45mm (Where's the Rabbit?)

200mm (Here's the Rabbit!)

Latex on Blogger