Sunday Night

It’s 1:26 AM.  Listening to Jamaica Farewell by Harry Belafonte.

It’s time I breathe some life back into this blog and get a bit more serious about writing.

I’m now in Bangalore, India’s silicon valley.  I now have a job as a software developer working with a bunch of really brilliant hackers at a startup.  Life’s been good mostly.  I did take a break from non academic pursuits for a bit.  But now that things are slowly settling down, I would like to write the last few chapters of the novel.

1:35 AM -Dust in the wind.

I’ve been trying to find a balance with work and my other interestsand so far it has been hard.  The ADHD isn’t helping.  It was out of control for a while, but things seem to be improving now.  Coding with ADHD isn’t easy either, especially without rigid definitions of success.  I will probably talk about this some other time once I’ve put some thought into it.  ADHD and coding requires a separate article altogether.

1:42 AM – 100 in a 55

I probably should get some sleep.  I’ll write again soon.

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Love and keep loving till you love!

Ok, this post might seem mundane or out rightly ridiculous to some, but these are wise words, pay heed.  When do you actually fall in love?  Is it the moment, you think in your head, that a girl is cute and you feel butterflies in your stomach, or is it when you cannot live without the countless hours over the phone with him/her?  Is it when she accepts your proposal or perhaps, she rejects it?  Up until a few days back, I had no idea, I just knew I was madly in love with her, but didn’t quite understand what love was.  But the last couple of days with her, I think I am beginning to understand.

Love, for me is when the distinction between, me and her disappears, the line between girlfriend and boyfriend, disappears, it is when you feel as one, like team, you feel everything the other feels, her pains are yours, her sorrows yours, her happiness yours…  It’s love when you would sacrifice anything in the world for her, without the need to think.  It is when you realize that you will love her till the end of time, no matter what happens, even if she hurts you.  You know in your heart, no matter what happens, you would always be a good person, because she would want you to be.

Okay, what started out as an idea to express love, seems to be a failure.  I cannot explain love.  I feel it, but to express it is beyond the scope of language or literature.  It is the most wonderful feeling.  It’s precious.

ACM ICPC, Bangalore!

I just touched down in Trivandrum after my ACM ICPC, Regionals in Bangalore.  It’s been quite an experience.  To all those non-CS guys out there, ACM ICPC or the Association For Computing Machinery’s International Collegiate Programming Competition is the Olympics for programmers.  One of the toughest programming competitions in the world, we managed to qualify for the regionals for this year at Bangalore and Kanpur.  On the 18th morning, I reached the Amrita University campus in Bangalore early in the morning.  Chilled to the bone in the Bangalore weather, we checked into the rooms provided.  Soon, the other competitors filled in, from all over the country, I saw the largest collection of serious coders from India.  Some of these teams have been participating in the event for the last 2 or 3 years and we were certain that we would never crack the challenges.

ACM ICPC Regionals - Bangalore

Food was free and after quite a heavy breakfast, we proceeded to the practice sessions.  The practice sessions turned out to be a disaster with server issues delaying it almost 3 hours.  But we could feel the excitement in the room as impatient coders waited for the portal to open.  The portal was up at almost 12 in the afternoon and we managed to crack one of the two questions during the practice challenge.  All systems were go, for the event.  After the practice session we had yet another heavy meal and retired to our rooms.  I spent the afternoon watching a movie, while other teams were busy battling it out on CodeForces and revising algorithms.

Early in the morning of the contest day, we got dressed in the contest t-shirts and proceeded to the contest arena.  The atmosphere was quite different now, with some teams mumbling algorithms and tricks in their mind as they filed into their respective nodes.  We could see a couple of teams were quite nervous.  We were relaxed as this was our first attempt and we hadn’t done much of practice.  Anyways at 9:05 am, we received our question sets and we got lost trying to crack at least one question.  We are quite proud to say that we managed to crack one of the 11 questions with relative ease, and started working on another question, which we almost solved after considerable effort.  Our question worked well for the given test cases but went wrong with large test cases.  The solution wasn’t accepted by the system, we believe we cracked the problem.  A couple of teams were cracking away with easy, like a team from Dhaka, managing to crack almost 8 or 9 questions.  These guys had done their homework for at least an year before they turned up.

The contest ended at 2  and as I had prior commitments, I left the contest site.  Let me tell you this though, a serious coder needs to get into ACM ICPC.  Programming is not just learning to write code, it is about learning to write good code, solving tough questions that needs solving.  Anyone can learn to write code, but being a coder, is an altogether different thing.  Live to code.

Adios

New found passion!

Namaskaaramundu machaane!

Been quite a while since I whipped something up to write on here.  So, here I am!  An interesting observation I made as I sat down to write this, is that I write most of my posts during my one month long sem-break.  Yup, I am taking my much awaited vacation in Trivandrum, Kerala, my current hometown.  My ‘current’ home-town I say because most of my family is here and I have been staying in this town since 2004.  It’s almost Christmas in God’s Own Country and I can feel it in the air.  Christmas in Chennai is a rather grey affair.  Here in Trivandrum, the countless bakeries have already started filling up with cakes and wine, the markets are flooded with christmas decorations and the TV channels have already showing teasers of Christmas movies and shows.  We Malayali’s are notorious for celebrating every festival you can throw at them and there is no religion that can stop us from doing it.  I’ve been eating Christmas cake and decorating Christmas trees, since I was a little boy!

Two days back I had done the unthinkable, go back to my old school to attend the alumni meet, and met quite a few of my old schoolmates.  I didn’t feel all that nostalgic though.  Anyways, it was a fun evening out.

Tomorrow I am all set to leave to Bangalore, to attend the ACM ICPC Regionals and to meet my beautiful girlfriend, who is probably the only reason why I am alive right now.  Though it sounds a little cheesy or lame or perhaps even out-rightly alien to some of you guys, I love my girlfriend.  Call me old school, I still believe in love.

Anyways, that aside, the last year was probably a turning point in my life.  Life turned into a big puddle of shit last year, and I was confused by it.  So confused that I made a lot of wrong decisions, put my trust in the wrong people one too many times, and ended up getting hurt.  I believe, Chennai will make me ready to tackle anything that is thrown at me in the future.  And a word of caution to all the so called ‘nice guys’ out there – Stop being a nice guy.  Do not trust so easily, evaluate every relationship routinely and clean them up just like how you clean up your Facebook friends list.

The last couple of months, I have been evaluating my life quite thoroughly, setting my priorities right.  Dissolving bonds, that were emotionally expensive to keep.  True, friendship it happens just like that when you least expect it but be warned, these so called true friendships usually end, the moment there is a conflict of interest arises, that is the way the world works now.  Get used to it.

Anyways, I am looking ahead into a wonderful new year.  An year where I will fight the vermin, that festered my mind for so long.  Things are definitely looking up.

Merry Christmas!