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Aaditya and Me by Aditya Joshi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Attendants at an Amusement Park

As the park guests on the ride scream their lungs out, the attendant operating the ride sits with a calm expression on their face. When it is time to start, the attendant presses the green button. When it is time to stop, the attendant presses the red button. There are other guests in the park who are watching from one side and who are screaming and excited as well. Except the attendant.

It is surprising to see that joy and excitement are essentially associated with 'novelty' and 'leisure'. Once something becomes a habit (for the attendant, the ride and the way it operates is a habit), the joy gets sucked out of it the way a black hole sucks everything in one go. A habit is so regular that it fails to amuse you.

Joy is, hence, in the irregularities of our lives. And what we call 'hobbies' are these irregularities that we like to introduce in our routines so that it brings us joy...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Understanding AI - Sentiment Analysis

Dedicated to my AI teacher, Kavita Kelkar ma'am who introduced me to the field that I love so much now.

'Sentiment Analysis' is a branch of AI, linguistics particularly, which deals with understanding the 'opinion' behind words. It is for this that it seems to have immense potential in business applications.

Sentiment analysis deals with processing text so as to understand what the text says about a particular subject in terms of positive or negative content. So, sentiment analysis would read the sentence 'India beat Pakistan in the cricket match' and present an output that infers that the sentence says something positive for India and something negative for Pakistan.

A first thought is identifying words that say 'good' and 'bad' things. For example, the words 'fabulous', 'marvellous', 'excellent', 'amazing' denote positive opinion while 'dull', 'disappointing' denote negative opinion.

Sentiment analysis, however, goes deeper than words - it enters the world of cognition, the way we think what we think. Sentiments are not conveyed by the presence of mere words .

Consider this very sarcastic statement : "It is amazing to see how the camera makes sure all the photos you take with it are overexposed to light." Now this statement has no word that denotes a heavy negative sentiment. But still the overall opinion is negative.

With so many blogs and review websites coming up, the textual data available is already in abundance and with techniques like these, one would only be able to retrieve 'maximum information' from the data. Sentiment Analysis, thus, turns out to be a very amazing task that will help business houses, product vendors, filmmakers know what people are thinking and saying about their product.

Like, you know, Sentiment Analysis will be able to predict that this blogpost is saying all good things about it! :-)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Abusive Relationships

Note: Yesterday, I realized that there were a lot of 'growing-up' issues that I could talk about. This one's the first to take the form of a blogpost.
Disclaimer: Not imaginary. Every dialogue, incident here is real.


In a train compartment :

"Show me your hand.. what is this?", he, hardly 18 years of age, asked.

I saw red marks on her hand - they were clearly wounds from being assaulted with a blade.

"You told me you were going to smoke and drink on the 31st night...", she replied impishly.

"So? I told you it was the last time I was doing it right?"

"I still cannot take it."

"Then go to hell. You can't be with me. If you have to, you have to put up with all this..."

The girl gets a slap straight on her face. Everyone in the train compartment is pretending not to notice.


Another couple, over the phone:

"Why did you go with Nisha to Raghav's birthday that day?!", she asked nearly shouting at him.

"You weren't there! And I had to go anyways...."

"But why that b$tch? Couldnt you go with Sujay?"

"Listen, I am not taking this $hit ok?!!"

"Why? Nisha pleases you these days, doesn't she..."

And there begins a volley of abuses that I could put to words but don't want to.


Lucky are those who haven't had to be a part of relationships like these. Irrespective of the origin of these relationships - college romance or through common friends, they can turn abusive in any manner.

The abuse in these relationships is not just physical but also verbal and psychological at times. I know a person who made his girlfriend stop talking to all her male friends - just because he thought she would be disloyal to him. I know another girl who made her boyfriend walk barefoot for seven days - just to prove his love to her.

Abusive relationships like these are no less than torture if not worse than it. But what is painful is that most of the 'abusees' take all of it because they think it's all a part of love, because they think they are dependent on their partner emotionally.

I wanted to end this post with questions but I know that there are enough of them in the minds of people who are battling such relationships.

Love that brings pain and humiliation through intentional behaviour of your partner is not love but mere gratification of your partner's ego and there is no valid reason why you should allow him/her to do that to you.

Please decide the line till which you want to stay mum but once it all goes beyond that line, please drive these relationships away from your life and your heart...

Let's spread the love that pleases everyone and not the love that abuses....

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Eating a chocolate brownie

Note: Just something! :)

The sizzling plate is placed before you. The chocolate melts down the ice-cream that looks as tempting as the sweat down your lover's neck. The plate is full of chocolate - chocolate cake and chocolate ice-cream with hot chocolate sauce.

You thrust your spoon into the glob of sinful ecstasy the way an astronaut plants the flag on the surface of the moon. The feeling in both the cases is quite similar - limitless joy.

You take a spoonful of the brownie and the spoon enters your lips. The mixture of the cold ice-cream and the hot vapours from the sauce fill the interiors of the mouth slightly tickling it from inside.

And with that, the chocolate begins to melt rapidly - like an ice sheet in glacier that comes down the hill. The sweet taste fills your mouth, your throat and your soul....

It's all for the right reason that this ecstasy of a thing is called a sinful delight...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Writers of the Present

Something seemed to have got to him as he began to write. Words were flowing out, he thought. There was not once that he cut out something he had written. He was so charged up that the essay seemed to have written itself effortlessly.

The essay was never written in the writer's mind. The thoughts were slowly taking shape in his mind.

The essay took its form at the right time when the writer put in the right amount of efforts.


Destiny is unwritten. It is taking shape.

All of us together, with our efforts, are writing the destiny for all of us together.

We are all writers of the present...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

In the Big City

Note: Some random idea

Rajani's eyes were half-shut as the setting sun at the Mumbai beach pierced through her eyes. She raised her palm to block the rays.

She heard the swooshing of the bhel as the bhelwallah mixed the ingredients together in the typical Bambaiya manner. He had two pieces of cardboard and would thrust them into the mound of puffed rice and push them out. The rice would jump and fall back like droplets of water in a fountain. He had added chutney to the plate and was making the mixture this way. All this was making a swooshing sound.

She remembered an evening back home in her village in Maharashtra. It was the same sun hitting her on the face as she sat at the seven-foot by seven-foot window in her house. She could hear the stone flour mill that her mother was working on. It sounded like a volcano rumbling to erupt. The volcano had already erupted for her.

She was the only student in her college who had been selected by a company that visited the campus. All her professors were so proud of her. It was the first time someone got selected in that company.

Her father had set his foot down - she was not going. She was crying over her broken dreams at the window listening to the flour mill churning the wheat.

"Madamji Bhel". The Bhelwallah handed her a plateful of bhel topped with sev and some pomegranate seeds.

Rajani had a drop of tear in her eye again... She was happy that her father had finally let her go.

The Sun, the rumbling sound and the tear in her eye. They were with her always...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Day I became Aamir of 'Ghajini'

Note: The post is in Hinglish. Very much the language I use. The post is among the very few posts on this blog that are in 'First person Singular'.

No yaar, I have not got the eight pack of Aamir Khan yet. I am so happy with my family-pack abs. There are advantages you see, they will act as a natural buoy if I am about to drown. But lemme not talk about that here. Uske liye some other post, some other day.

Then why do I say I became Aamir of 'Ghajini' (and not Aamir of 'Mangal Pandey'...lol. Aamir himself doesn't want to be Mangal Pandey again) Let me tell you how...

So, hua yunh ki one fine day, the display of my cellphone went haywire. All I see is white light - light as pure as my mind. (Half of you have either dropped your jaws or closed the window in disbelief. For the rest, thanks for reading. Please continue...)

And that means, I can only receive calls and dial number and make calls. All my reminders, phone numbers, alarms, SMS' are ...gone. Nahiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii...

So, today when I went out to Mulund to get my thing.. my cell repaired, I was to meet a friend. I wrote his number on a chit of paper, rolled it and kept it in my pocket. I had a meeting at 2 o' clock and I wrote that on my palm.

As I walked out of Mulund railway station, I had no clue what the time was, I wanted to call someone for help but did not know the person's number and so couldn't dial . I had to blindly dial the friend's number from the chit, press the dial button, ASSUME that the number was dialled and wait for the bell to ring on the other side.

And the worst fear.. I could have lost all the numbers! I wanted to go 'Nahii' on the road (and the camera zooms out, the filmy way!)

I roamed around the roads of Mulund to find someone who'd repair my phone (or alternatively get the contacts back.) but to no avail.

Finally, I let out a scream right on the street (the way Aamir Khan does with all the air in his lungs)...

For Aamir in the film, Ghajini's number is important.

For me, there are many such Ghajinis whose numbers I want to keep. Bachaaao...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Munnabhai or Munnibai

"Munnabhai will be our new mascot.", he said.

The decision led to an uproar from various sections of the society.

The otherwise grumpy man then said, "Ok ok.. if not Munnabhai, his wife Munnibai will be our new mascot."

He was the owner of a teddy bear company and were looking for a new mascot.

.. and you thought politics was anything better than a teddy bear company looking for its mascot?!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A phone call away

Disclaimer: Completely imaginary

4th December, 2006

A telephonic conversation :
"Whatever happens Sanjay, I am just a phone call away!"

"I know Ravi. Thanks."

"So, when are you and Nisha leaving?"

"We have a flight on Friday evening."

"I'll surely come to see you off at the airport.."

"Thanks Ravi..."

4th December, 2009

Having lost his job, Sanjay was undergoing depression. His teenager son looked at him with contempt now. Sanjay's wife worked for the family.

Sanjay thought of the friend who was a phone call away...
Sanjay: "Hi Ravi.."

Ravi: "Yes, who's this?"

Sanjay: "Sanjay... Sanjay Mehta....?"

Ravi: "Uh.oh... hi.. long time..."

Sanjay: "Yea.."

Sanjay: "Ravi..."

Ravi: "Tell me.. how's Neha?"

Sanjay: "Nisha.."

Ravi: "Oh ya.. so sorry man.."

Sanjay: "I wanted to tell you something yaar...I lost my .."

Ravi : "Sanjay, drop me an email na. A bit busy now.."

We all think we have friends who are a 'phone-call away'.

At times, time changes things so radically that one 'phone-call', and we realize they are 'away'...

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Angel plucking stars

The Angel has a thin frame - slender hands, narrow waist and thin nearly-transparent wings that look like flexible sheets of glass.

As the angel flies higher in the sky, it leaves behind a trail of white light. In fact, it is glowing so brightly that one cannot see its face in all the light.

The angel reaches out for a star and plucks it off the velvet black curtain that God had covered the earth with at night. The star sizzles for a second or two as it begins to go dimmer.

The angel gets scared and lets the star go. The star breaks into a thousand and hundred droplets of light that reach for the surface of the earth.

As they rest on the face of the earth, the earth shines. When the earth shines, the love on the earth only becomes more powerful.

I see many such angels in the sky now...

Earth is going to glitter in the sparkle of love now...

Sunday, January 04, 2009


I happened to read 'Mahashweta' by Sudha Murthy. The book tells the tale of Anupama whose beauty wins over her poor background and she marries a doctor from a rich background. Things are happy until one day she notices a white mark on her knee. She later gets diagnosed with leukoderma. The mother-in-law sends her back to her father's house while Anupama's husband is away. Anupama moves to Mumbai, combats the condition and becomes a lecturer at a college. She presents a play 'Mahashweta' before an audience that includes her doctor husband as well.

The story traces Anupama's life the way it takes turns when she is no longer how beautiful she used to be and how one fateful disease strips her of her dignity, joy and dreams.


Siddharth, who always has been a blabbermouth, asks me today on chat, "Agar mirrors nahi hote toh kya hota?" And I remember that I call my blog a mirror.

We would not know the changes we need in the way we look, we would not know how different we are comparatively to look at. Life would've been happier, wouldn't it?!


'Jassi jaisi koi nahin', one of my favourite TV serials ever had this as the central point - how one's physical appearance overshadows one's talent or how deeply it influences the image others have of us.


Every Anupama will undergo a Mahashweta phase - the phase when people will cease to love you for what you look like and when the time would come to get people who will love you for what you are. The period to find people who will not be mirrors who constantly remind you of the changes you need. The phase to find an identity beyond the exteriors.

An Anupama is what the rich doctor noticed, dated, married and denounced as the beauty seemed to get affected.

A Mahashweta with all the white marks over her body, was what the world noticed for the confidence of achievement that glowed on her face...Justify Full

Saturday, January 03, 2009

North-eastern Naani, Butter Paratha and New Year

(Not imaginary. An account of a first-person witness.)

Date: 31st December, 2008
Time: 9:30pm
Place: Kanjurmarg

This is a well-lit restaurant in Kanjurmarg, Mumbai. A family that has come for dinner is taken to a table. This is a family from North-east. They have been staying here in Mumbai for long and Daddy has decided to take them all out for dinner today on the New year eve. Daddy sits first followed by the two kids who are nearly fifteen years of age - the age when the kids start going to such places with their friends. In other words, they begin to 'like and dislike' and in short 'know' things that you get at places like these.

The elder of the two was telling the father, "Dad, you get good Mushroom sabzis here. Can we try it?"

"No beta, I don't like it", the mom tried to intervene , "It's non-veg isn't it?!"

"No mom!! It's not.. It's a plant. It is hygienically cultivated."

The four of them, the mom-dad and the kids discussed what they wanted to order for some more time.

"Naani...", the younger one pointed out, "...why aren't you speaking? What will you have?"

The Naani was sitting draped in a dark green sari and was carrying a shawl. The wrinkles on her face got denser like the ripples that form on the surface of water or like the clouds that cluster before it pours as she smiled and said, "Butter Paratha, beta!"

Fourty minutes later, this family was having their dinner. Daddy was telling stories about the New year celebrations at office. The kids were asking Mummy if she would take them to 'Jumbo' the next day.

Naani was looking at the four of them. With a smile on her face and a drop of tear in her eye, she was eating and looking at her daughter's family. She was happy they were so together and happy. She was happy they had brought her there. She was happy for her daughter.

Having undergone adversities of poverty and family problems, she had never been a witness to such a relaxed and happy New Year's eve. She did not remember having any such evening with her husband and family. Now her daughter's was her family. And she was happy beyond words to see all of them so happy. The Naani tore a piece of the Butter Paratha with a smile as she watched this family. She was not left out of the conversation. In fact, she was savouring every moment of it as much as the butter paratha.....

... it isn't too difficult to be happy, is it?!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

First Things First!

'Prioritization' is the key to time management and hence, success. There are many metaphorical examples in which prioritization is presented.

Some say prioritization of people is like drawing circles around oneself and placing these names at different levels on these circles.

Some say prioritization of tasks is the ability to differentiate between the more-required and the required.

First things need to go first. First things need to be at the top of your list. And on the first day of the year, wishing everyone a happy new year is.

Happy New Year to all! Let's all try to perfect ourselves in this art of prioritization. Let the first things really come first...