Thursday, February 19, 2009

OMG! It's boring...

People who have been working for quite some time will know that being without much work to do for a prolonged period of time can be really boring; unless you have a host of personal activities to do (as in my case :D). Today, I got the opportunity to see my manager getting bored. No offense meant to managers, but though their job profile means much lesser job and much greater pay; today it was the peak of joblessness for my manager. Usually he has something or the other to bug me with and if he runs out of ideas, opens the stupid effing site and comes up with some brilliant 'proactive' thoughts like "Can we place this drop down on the left end because I often tend to miss this one..." and leaves me thinking "Vittaa oru kanna moodittu innoru pakka screen teriyala nu solluvaan pola irukku" (I wouldn't be surprised if he closes one of his eyes and says he is not able to see the other side of the screen). But now that the application has become decently stable, he is literally running out of tasks to give me and hence work!

Today, I could sense that obvious restlessness in him and we had about 5 or 6 meetings today, discussing nothing. He would first go into a meeting room, draw some crap on the board (some time can be spent there) and then he'd come back to us (me and the tester) and start the meeting. There will be virtually nothing to discuss but the tester and my manager would be so seriously discuss about it; while I'd be happily sight seeing through the broad window (how much I wish I had my cam and the 70-300mm VR lens with me :D). Inbetween meetings, he will come to my cubicle and ask me "what's up boss?" and though I'd be dying to say "Server is up, North is up, roof is up, your time is up; I'd control my instincts and the evil grin, and tell him something about what I'm doing with the complete assurance that he won't understand it.

The whole day went in repeated iterations of these activities with an hour and half long 'power-lunch' inbetween. Needless to say I'm enjoying work these days! :D :D

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

First B'day!!! :)

366 days back...

A casual conversation that I was having with my friend on a sunday evening about my interest in writing/maintaining diaries/journals ended up in an interesting question - "why not start blogging?"; and on the Monday that followed, I gave an answer to the question - At that point, I wasn't even sure if I'd continue blogging because I've attempted to write diaries innumerous times; and every time I quit writing for one reason or the other. But this one, on the other hand had been a quite different, pretty continuous and highly cherishable journey for me. After all, 130+ posts on my opinions and experiences is not a bad milestone for a year's time :) I wish I go on blogging with an improving interest and pool together as much thoughts as possible; in the years to come...

Happy B'day 'Agni'... And btw, I thought I wouldn't get a better time to start my Tamizh blog than this. So ladies and gentlemen: presenting - :)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Picchai paatthiram yaendhi vandhen...

A dialog that you often get to listen from ARR fans is "ARR songs will sound very different in the beginning and as you keep listening to it, you'll start liking them". Though I personally feel that this concept is BS (no offense meant Rams;)), I could sense this kind of a growing attachment to the "Picchai paatthiram yaendhi vandhaen" song from the movie "Naan Kadavul". But this time, it's not too much about the tune, but about the meaning, the combination and the feeling as such. The most interesting part is that this is song was penned by IR himself (thanks to Vinu for this info), as opposed to Vali whom I thought was the author of this magical piece.

The music of the other song, Om Sivoham is much more impulsive and IR has literally performed a Rudhra thaandavam (eternal dance) with his music in that song. Further many excrepts are from sanskrit hymns in praise of Lord Shiva, especially Shri Rudram which is known for its vibrations and it is believed that Lord Shiva Himself is excited by chanting Rudhram. In particular, IR/Vali/Bala have been careful enough to choose the most important stanza of Shri Rudhram that ends with - "Namah Shivaaya cha Shivadharaaya cha" which is considered to be an extremely sacred, extremely protected manthra that forms the heart of Vedas. Even in the audio release function, this stanza was used when releasing the CD! :) So that song creating vibrations in us is no big surprise.

But this specific song - Picchai paatthiram, is pretty slow paced and the music pretty much is conventional, except for the strong chords in the background, especially at the start of the song. What is more impacting is the theme of the song, the words used and the suitability of the song to the movie. After "Kurai ondrum illai", I've not seen a song with so much of philosophy and aptness; expressed from the viewpoint of a weak/disabled person. Though the song broadly applies to any human being, applying this to the tormenting handicaps in the movie; and to their conversations about God, this song has so much of a significance in the movie and reality. To call this anything less than a masterpiece from the maestro would be an understatement.

Lyrics for those who can read and understand Tamizh (Best conveys the meaning and the impact):

பிச்சைப்பாத்திரம் ஏந்தி வந்தேன்... அய்யனே என் அய்யனே...
பிண்டம் என்னும், எலும்போடு சதை நரம்புதிரமும் அடங்கிய உடம்பு என்னும் பிச்சைப்பாத்திரம் ஏந்தி வந்தேன்... அய்யனே என் அய்யனே... (Excellent comparison)

அம்மையும் அப்பனும் தந்ததா... இல்லை ஆதியின் வல்வினை சூழ்ந்ததா?இம்மையை நான் அறியாததால் சிறு பொம்மையின் நிலையினில் உண்மையை உணர்ந்திடப்பிச்சைப்பாத்திரம் ஏந்தி வந்தேன் அய்யனே என் அய்யனே... (Helplessness revealed with the best choice of words)

அத்தனை செல்வமும் உன்னிடத்தில் நான் பிச்சைக்கு செல்வது எவ்விடத்தில்?
வெறும் பாத்திரம் உள்ளது என்னிடத்தில் அதன் சூத்திரமோ அது உன்னிடத்தில்... (How true)

ஒரு முறையா... இரு முறையா... பல முறை பல பிறப்பெடுக்க வைத்தாய்...
புது வினையா பழ வினையா கணம் கணம் தினம் என்னை துடிக்க வைத்தாய்...

பொருளுக்கு அலைந்திடும் பொருளற்ற வாழ்க்கையும் துரத்துதே... (My fav line)
உன் அருள் அருள் அருள் என்று அலைகின்ற மனம் இன்று பிதற்றுதே...
அருள் விழியால் நோக்குவாய்... மலர் பதத்தால் தாங்குவாய்...
உன் திருக்கரம் எனை அரவணைத்துனதருள் பெற பிச்சைப்பாத்திரம் ஏந்தி வந்தேன் அய்யனே... என் அய்யனே... (Amazing!)

Lyrics for those who can understand but not read Tamizh:

The meaning:

I came holding the beggar's bowl...
A bowl made of flesh, bones, blood and nerves called the body.
I came holding the beggar's bowl...

Did my mom and dad gift me with this bowl?
Or is it the product of my past misdeeds?
Clueless on the current birth, in I came like a puppet...
Holding the beggar's bowl...

You own all the riches and I know not where to beg...
I just have the bowl and only you know all its secrets.

Not just once, not just twice...
Many a times, in many forms,
You made me take innumerous births

A consequence of my present misdeeds
Or the past...
You made me suffer every moment I lived...

The meaningless life in search of riches is haunting me...
The mind that begs for your grace is now being senseless...

Look at me with the gracious eyes,
Carry me with those velvet feet
To get your care and then your grace...
I came holding the beggar's bowl!

The post has already grown a bit lengthy... So I don't want to expand on the philosophies of it; and the ways it applies to the dialogs in the movie. Just pay close attentions to the perspective of God among the different characters in the movie, especially the beggars... You will get to know how this song conveys the movie's message in a crux!

Naan Kadavul - Aham Brahmasmi

One line comment would be - A must watch.

But as far as this movie goes, this wasn't anything unexpected. The unexpected part was the comment that I got about the movie - "It is an excellent movie; but it is too raw that one can't watch it the second time". Something that you don't often get to hear about a movie.

The movie does leave a deep impact in you; but I wouldn't agree with the statement above. Put in a nutshell, the movie dwells about the concept of God, and the way He manifests Himself in the life of the poor. Bala has handled the concept so technically that you find it really hard to diagnose whether he is a theist or an atheist. The underlying message is that humans sometimes take up the role of (some aspects of) God which makes a difference in the lives of others who cross lines with those humans. It takes the Advaita concept one step further by assuming the responsibilities of God; in this specific movie, the case in point being Ahoris. A group of poor beggars exploited by a goon live in a South Indian town and an Ahori happens to come to their town. What happens beyond that is the realistic portrayal in Nan Kadavul. The scenes where physically handicapped people are tortured just move your heart; and the impact is left in you for one good hour. It takes a Bala to really combine the philosophies of life and death; with the social issues yet leaving the storyline intact.

Ilayaraja's BGM (simply amazing...),
Cast and their dedication. Arya and Pooja have done a great job; and more importantly there are just a part of the movie. Not a typical Tamizh movie hero or heroine who occupies every frame of the movie.
The natural conversation among the beggars is just amazing... They have their share of fun too; but the topics they discuss would be of their levels and understanding. That was so naturally portrayed. (I specifically loved "Aamaa ivaru periya Ambani... Yaarraa adhu? Adhellaam unakku teriyaadhunne... Cell phone vikkiravainga" :))
Vaali's lines in Picchai paatthiram and the way it has been brought into the movie... Simply mindblowing.

Arya's Sanskrit/Tamizh. Sometimes he talks Tamizh like a Northie and some other times he talks it like a native rural speaker.
Very poor graphics.
Some level of commercialization of the subject (come on... it's a Tamizh movie and without this the movie won't even get to B or C centers),
villain is portrayed like a dumbo. A man with that level of network comes all alone to fight Arya as if he has fixed his appointment for death.
I'm not sure if Pooja's voice was dubbed; but irrespective of who did it, I felt it could've been done better. The same holds good to her acting in the scenes she cries... But for a person who can get Laila to act, getting work done from Pooja should be a cakewalk.

Overall, if you love philosophy and the way philosophy, religion mingles with the routine activities specifically on the darker side, Naan kadavul is just the movie your are looking for.

Floating point numbers and mysterious roundups...

I'm sure not many Java programmers would've ended up in this situation... Ever tried inserting a floating point number into a database ending up in arbitrary roundups? If so, you know what I'm talking about...

Let's say we need to get the price of some commodity from an input source and insert it into a table. Assuming that the variable is f and it's value is 44.55 (just an example), wouldn't you be surprised to see 44.6 in the database when the code snippet looks something like this?

PreparedStatement pstmt = con.prepareStatement(query);

The out.println would print exactly what you expect it to: 44.55; but chances are that this number is rounded off to 44.6 in the database... Simple problem but might sound mysterious too.

Java's float and double classes take the mathematical constant e as their base and hence not every decimal (base 10) floating point number can be represented with the same accuracy in float or double. The spec says floating point numbers are for those values that are fundamentally inaccurate to begin with, like readings of an experiment which can't be precise to 2 decimals and even if it is not precise to 2 decimals chances are that the results aren't altered drastically.

Coming back to our original problem, what is the solution?
The solution is NOT to use floating point or double datatypes.

So what datatype should I use?

What on world is that?
That is the decimal that you and I understand - to the base 10.

How to use it?
Pretty straightforward like any other wrapper classes.

PreparedStatement pstmt = con.prepareStatement(query);

This would solve your problem. Remember, BigDecimal has a lot of overloaded constructors and the simplest I could think of is to use new BigDecimal("12.34"); -- don't forget the quotes. :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Kutthunga ejamaan kutthunga... :)

Haircutting in US has always been a hilarious experience (except that I end up getting my top damaged :D); and today I saw the heights of it. The principle behind a haircut has always been the same with me - spend minimal money, get maximum hair cut and look handsome (I know this is a fantasy; but that is what fantasies are about, isn't it :)). Unfortunately, it is always a choice between 1 and 2 (3 being an obvious impractical choice); and today was the best (or should I say the worst) of all my experiences.

Ok... let me narrate it. I went to a barber shop earlier today and it was moderately sized with three members working in it... I believe they all belong to a family. A couple of them were busy with other customers and there was this enormously fat lady who came to us (there was another guy waiting before me) and asked if she could help us. The other guy instantly declined and said that he is waiting for another barber to get done with his current customer. For the briefest of moments I thought "Aahaa... Thelivaa escape aayittaanae... Villangam edhaavadhu irukkumao? (Is this a trap)" and immediately dropped the pessimistic thought considering the fact that my haircut is pretty straightforward and anyone with the least bit of experience would consider it a cake walk. I settled down and told her 1 on the sides and the back; and 3 on the front (the heights of standardizing things... Out here the haricuts are numbered from 1 through 5; where 1 means a cut that reveals your scalp through the diffractions on the left over hair; and 5 means you pay the barber unnecessarily). In my place this style is quite common and people say "Munnaadi mattum vaarra alavukku mudi irukkattumne... Pinnadi side ellaam nallaa close a edutthu 'paa'naa adicchurunga" :D

Then the great show started. The trimming machine started to take weird turns on my scalp and at one point, she was rolling the chair and holding the machine just so it avoids the heavy, time consuming movement of her pillars err legs. I was reminded of the vadivelu comedy in thalainagaram where he says "Rolling a po..." :D Half way through the battle, ceasefire was announced through a phone call; and our cannon ball took 10 full minutes to just note down the name of the person who called... Come on... she has to move, attend the call, come back, pick the register and then note the name on it. The sight of my hair at that moment almost gave me a heart attack. The machine had played kabbadi on my scalp and like an uninhabited, unmaintained valley it was full of crests and troughs of hair. At that point, the damage was already done and there was no way I could ask her to get back the lost hair. So I thought what the heck, let's see what she is upto.

After the 10 minutes ceasefire, the battle resumed and this time scissors formed alliance with the machine and the battle became fierce. I was thinking "Adaengappaa... Anga enna irukku nu ekuipment ellaam maatthi try pannra (what is left over to show your versatility)". The whole thing was crowned by the finishing touch. Remember I said 3 on the front... So she left out a small strand of hair in the front (when I say front, I mean exactly the front - just the narrow streak that falls on your face when you pull down your hair on your face) and I was literally having a 'kudumi' in the front. :D The best part was, she asked me "Is everything fine?" and she honestly thought this is what I wanted. I was reminded of many comedy scenes, the top one being the Koundamani comedy from Gentleman where he says "Pottlam otta sonnaa okkaandhu otta paottu kondu vandhurukkaan paaru... Idhu rejetted" :)) Controlling my laughter and a bit of disappointment, I said "please make it even" and she gave the final touch of cutting down the last few long hairs left. In 20 minutes, I was transformed from first half Sethu to second half Sethu; and I paid 7$ for the quick service and 1$ tip for her attitude to work despite the extreme difficulty in moving her Yokozuna body.

The worst damage came from a couple of my colleagues. One asked me "Did you pay someone for this? Come on I would've given you my clippers" and another stared at me for about 3 minutes with complete shock on his face and then said "Worstu haircut". Before I could even respond, he left the place. :)) The first time I cut my hair in the US, I asked for 'army cut' and it was my fault to have uttered those two words. But today, I was cautious enough to give the instruction that gave me decent haircuts in the past... But as luck would have it, I ended up in a haircut worser than my first haircut and isn't it the right time to say "Kutthunga ejamaan kutthunga... Indha Amerikka kaaraingalae ippidi dhaan..." :))

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Why are people so complex?

Many a times, human behaviors puzzle us big time and sometimes the puzzle can leave you hurt too. Today, I experienced one such puzzle and though I've learnt things like these in the hard way over the past several years, I never expected this one to blow up to this magnitude and come back to me.

When people complicate trivial things, blow things up out of proportions and cause problems out of it, the chain continues and in the end, the persons actually concerned would be happy and smiling again; while the hurt they started would've gone in cycles and hampered a relationship elsewhere. The last thing I want is to be a part of one such cycle; but today's incident came pretty close.

I'm sure that the concerned person reading this would understand what I'm talking about and maappi, though this happened to be out of my control and I hardly expected this to happen, my sincere apologies for embarrassing you!!!

Rafa - You won my heart!

I'm not a tennis expert in anyway and all I've to do with the game is the occasional games we played and the tennis matches I watch. Personally, I like Federer's game much better than any of the contemporary players because of his variety, composition of the shots and the way he makes everything look so easy. But in the presentation session of Aus open 2009, it was Rafa who won my heart all over and I really admired the sportsman in this guy.

Firstly, emotional or not; it's not a good thing to cry when someone else is being rewarded. Wimbledon at least had an excuse... Broken plays, dull ights, rain, etc etc... But this time the last set was pretty much one-sided and Rafa won him straight to get the cup... So I definitely wouldn't like to see a champion who has won 18 grandslams to cry like a kid when Rafa is being given the cup.

The part that surprised me though was Rafa's empathy for Federer. Man... he didn't even smile and there was absolutely no need for him to apologize to Federer. That in my terms is called sportsmanship and humanity. He also mentioned that he is no different from the person he was 5 hrs back and it's important for someone to know who he is. This level of humility from the Spanish youngster is mind-blowing. Though I feel his game is power-packed and not as classic as Federer's is, I'm sure I would cheer for him with a complete heart in the upcoming grandslams...