Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Start --> Shut Down

I stared blankly at the email, having worked for almost eight years, I had never seen anything like it. At least not as an official mail.

Hi Everyone,

We have observed that users are not switching off their UPS while leaving for the day. In night when there is no power and also no generator backup is available the UPS goes to battery backup which exhausts the UPS and in morning creates problems for users. In the past we have given several reminders about the use of UPS and also explained the same in every Induction but nobody is in the habit of switching off the UPS.

Same is the case with Computers and Lab Machines as many users leave them ON while leaving for the day as well as for the weekend.

From Tuesday i.e. 3rd Oct. 2006 onwards those users who are not switching off there UPS and Machines/Lab Machines there complaints will be attended at least priority.

Kindly cooperate with us in keeping the UPS and other hardware in proper working condition. Do Switch Off your Respective Machines and UPS while leaving for the day.

Thanks & Regards,

IT Support

In the eight years that I have been working I have never come across a situation as sad as this. Actually, I have never had a machine as sad this one, and that is precisely what is so sad about this mail. It requires me to shut down and start the machine everyday. I repeat, EVERYDAY.

What could be so bad about it? You had to ask. Let's see. I shall take you through the entire procedure of switching on the machine at my workstation.
  1. Come to work, and gaze at this obscure piece of equipment that takes out a "dharna" every second day to demand equal opportunities at par with the Pentium 4s of the world. They have ample political backing as well, because people from the IT support department come to meet them every day, sometimes twice a day, and believe it or not they sometimes spend the entire day with these machines.
  2. So once you are done gazing at the CPU, you turn your gaze to the monitor. At 14 inches diagonally across, it behaves like a supermodel with a flat chest. It makes you think about the LCD, you had in the job some time before.
  3. Then you push the chair away, because the UPS is kept under the table and right next to the wall. You get down on your knees to beg the UPS to not to give you a shock as you reach to switch it on.
  4. You switch on the UPS and and it blows a loud ear shattering whistle telling you it doesn't have sufficient battery. So you let it scream and writhe in pain. No I'm not sadistic, but given what these machines put me through, it no big deal.
  5. After screaming for 30-45 seconds, it settles down. It realizes that I am too heartless to hear it's screams. and then it decides to pass the baton to the CPU and the Monitor. I'm sure if the UPS had a face, it would give me the same smirk that Gollum gives to Sam at the end of The Two Towers.
  6. Now the CPU and the monitor take over. It feels like a handicap match. They are a Tag Team while I have to go Solo. The CPU starts sputtering, thinks about all the things I did to the UPS, and then stops making any sound whatsoever. I await with a baited breath for the monitor to turn on and show me what the fish is wrong? Windows did not start correctly the last time: would you like to start it in the safe mode?
  7. That is a warning shot. But I try and ignore it. I select boot normally and hit Enter.
  8. I think I hit the key too hard. Because suddenly the monitor changed its colour to a dirty purple hue. I try adjusting the wire, slapping the monitor, and then finally as I am about to call IT Support, it turns normal.
  9. I sigh and the long agonizing wait for the machine to start up begins. It sputters and coughs and then goes into whirring sound. The CD drive makes a sound, the Floppy drive makes a sound. What does it think it is doing? Launching a space shuttle?
  10. Finally the login screen appears, you give the three finger salute. Only to realize that the System Administrator had logged in during the night. That is usually never good news.
  11. So you key in the User ID and Password and wait, then you realize the speakers didn't make any noise about starting up.
  12. You decide to let the machine go through it's startup regimen while you grab yourself a cup of coffee. So you step out to the coffee machine and make some small talk with someone you meet there. 10 minutes later when you return to your seat you realize you're again facing the Login screen.
  13. You scroll back up in your mind thinking did you just login or not? You remember you did, so what gives? A small bubble pops up and says "Windows Update recently restarted your machine". Hello, shouldn't you ask me before you restart the machine? Apparently, Billu thinks otherwise.
  14. It Logs you in, you keep eleven bucks aside in your wallet to donate in the temple. Just as your wallet gets into that snug position behind your butt. The whole screen turns blue. Now you can spend those eleven bucks on an Ice Cream instead.
Shutting down this machine is another post altogether.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Delhi... The city I live in

Sometimes I feel like I don't have a partner,
Sometimes I feel like my only friend,
Is the city I live in, the city of angels,
Lonely as I am, together we cry,

From the song "Under the Bridge" by Red Hot Chili Peppers

I simply love this song, because of the way it personifies a city. Whenever I hear this song it gives me a strange sense of belonging to New Delhi. A few months ago... my hard disk crashed :( and along with other things all my music was lost. I really miss this song.

One of my favorite pastimes is to drive around the city late at night with RHCP playing at high volume. It is such a pleasure to drive the wide open roads uninterrupted over the flyovers through the underpasses, grabbing a quick bite at the Nizamuddin or the Old Delhi Railway station. Sometimes I drive on the road to the airport... an airplane on descent just makes me slow down the car to a crawl and watch it fly across the road... barely a hundred feet above the ground. Sometimes, if I have company... we'll pick up a beer or wine from the border thekas... and let the city sink in. The roads in Delhi are amazing... you really have to visit Mumbai or Bangalore to realize how better off Delhiites really are... You need to check out the flyovers along the ring road, the Greater NOIDA expressway... these things really take your breath away...

Also, I am quite a foodie... and the food in Delhi is amazing... be it fine dining at Azurro, or the Dhaba food at FORE ... or Kareem's in Old Delhi... the choices are immense... and man the nightlife is also truly amazing... one could head out to Capitol, Elevate, Ministry of Sound, Nasha.. the choices are endless...

I love this city... and yet I want to leave it... maybe it's because I want to tell people in other cities how cool my home town is...

Maybe someday I'll miss this city... :)

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Smart People come and go, Morons Accumulate

Okay, what do you do when you come across a person so dumb that he is pressing the down arrow key with his arm and at the same time is trying to use the mouse to scroll up on a web page... And then turns around to you and says... "I think someone else has taken over my machine... See... I'm trying to scroll up but the page automatically keeps on scrolling down!!! This so spooky!!! Maybe this is a virus"

Now for the icing on the sake... Replace the man in question above with a woman... And the arm with her breast... And the best part is ... This is happening with her for the second time!!!
GAWD!!! How irritatingly dumb can anyone get...???

You know there are two kinds of dumb people... The first kind is like this...

The Boss: Can you tell me how many units did we sell last month...???

The Employee: No, but I can tell you how many times did Michael Jordan
score off a fade away in each of the NBA Finals he's ever played in...

Now such people will obviously be considered to be dumb... But... If you look closely he is not dumb, he just has command over thoroughly useless information. (Hey, at least he told him that he doesn't have the answer)

Such people I can live with... If nothing else they make great partners in a sozzled conversation.

Then there are the other types of dumb people... Here is what they are like...

They'll wear extremely tight clothes to remind themselves that they need to slim down... Or mark stuff on papers with a highlighter, which according to them is not worth reading... Or ask, "then what happened?" long after the joke ends... Ok so you know the kind I'm talking about... These are the ones who I can't live with...

So I have started documenting ways to pick out such people from a crowd...

• They are the only ones laughing at their own jokes in a group… While everyone else is forcing a smile on their faces

• They are the most conscious of themselves when they are all alone

• They fall for the easiest tricks in the book... (i.e. they have never heard of - "Fool me once shame on you, Fool me twice shame on me"

• They'll laugh at your most pathetic jokes

• They are usually not very bright about computers and would never accept this fact

• They are very territorial

• Their proximics are totally screwed up

There are so many ways to pick them out... but these are the ones which generally some to mind... if you know more, then your additions are welcome.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Let us go to war

Comrades, today we are going to war,
Do not ask what we are fighting for,
Or even if the enemy is at our door,
Or who is it that lies dead on the floor,

For someone once wrote on the fly,
that yours is not to reason why,
Nor can you make reply,
You will but do and die,

So pick up your arms and give your beloved a kiss,
Maybe, marry her, if she's still a miss,
Being a martyr's widow; a better fate it is,
Than to marry someone else for eternal bliss,

And when you fight, make them taste the metal of your gun,
Hunt them down, if they turn around and run,
Their women we shall rape, when their villages are won,
And don't you dare think, that they might be some mother's son,

Their country, is what shall be downed,
Their culture, we shall raze to the ground,
They do not believe in the democracy we found,
They are the infidel savages, we wear the civilized crown,

So come comrades, let us make war,
For our leaders know, what we are fighting for,
Our enemy is with us, behind our door,
And soon he'll have us crawling on the floor.

- Harkirat

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

House of the Rising Sun

Just went looking for the lyrics to this song over the net. To my surprise I had thought that this was an original number by the Animals. It turns out that it is a "Folk Song" in the U.S., weird country I say. Anyways, here are the original lyrics to the song.

There is a house in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun.
It's been the ruin of many a poor boy,
And me, O God, for one.

If I had listened what Mamma said,
I'd 'a' been at home today.
Being so young and foolish, poor boy,
Let a rambler lead me astray.

Go tell my baby sister
Never do like I have done
To shun that house in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun.

My mother she's a tailor;
She sold those new blue jeans.
My sweetheart, he's a drunkard, Lord, Lord,
Drinks down in New Orleans.

The only thing a drunkard needs
Is a suitcase and a trunk.
The only time he's satisfied
Is when he's on a drunk.

Fills his glasses to the brim,
Passes them around
Only pleasure he gets out of life
Is hoboin' from town to town.

One foot is on the platform
And the other one on the train.
I'm going back to New Orleans
To wear that ball and chain.

Going back to New Orleans,
My race is almost run.
Going back to spend the rest of my days
Beneath that Rising Sun.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Chapter: NavParikrama

In an ancient world with different constellations, the discovery of a rare metal that changes the behavior of sand, rock, water, and air by simply touching them. The slaves sent to mine the metal, become physically stronger, and start living extended lifespans. The laborers revolt and take control of the supply of the metal. They eventually become immortal, and the oppressed become the oppressors, a struggle for survival begins. The story begins many centuries later:

"Have you forgotten that this is a gift?", thundered Arikt Shanghi, "We are the favoured ones, the undying ones might have come first, but they too envy us for the gift we have. How can you even think, let alone try to reverse the will of the creator?" The rage in his eyes was genuine, but foolish, as he lay in the pool of his own blood, and each gash on his body was still reeking with blood. He could no longer feel the pain in him, he just went numb. His defiance, his loyalty, his courage, everything made Marukus Chiral wish that Arikt would be on her side. She always had had a soft corner for him. He was human to the core, he had his misgivings, but he accepted those without remorse. His self-righteous behaviour and his abilities with words and weapons would have made him a worthy ally. "But, alas, the path I have chosen for myself calls for sacrifices, but this is not the sacrifice I wanted to make." She thought.

She suddenly became aware of another soldier attacking her from the left. Instinctively, her sword changed hands from the right to the left, as she was about to thrust the blade into the soldier she checked herself. The soldier did not wear any body armour, and was unarmed. the soldier darted across to Arikt and held him in her arms. Arikt's eyes were closing, the soldier quickly checked the pulse, and started drawing the Parikrama of revival in the pool of Arikt's blood. Then she took out her Khadagush, balanced it on her elbows, clasped her hands together, and prayed hard to revive him. But it did not seem to work. Marukus' blows were many and deep, Arikt had not even put on a defense. Marukus remembered his words, "The ones for whom you'll fight against the whole universe, is the only one in the universe you can't fight against." She felt a lump come up her throat. She tried hard to swallow it. Thankfully, the bugle sounded, heralding the end of fighting for that day. She turned around and saw the soldier drawing a new Parikrama, this time of her own blood. Marukus tried hard to recognise this new Parikrama, but she had never seen anything like it before. It looked like the Parikrama of revival superimposed on the Parikramas of healing and exchange, and another unknown Parikrama. This NavParikrama was too intricate and complex for the common eye to understand the layers on it, had Marukus not been so deeply associated with the art of Parikramas, even she wouldn't have recognised the various Parikramas that had been layered together. The soldier quickly dragged Arikt's almost lifeless body into the NavParikrama, then she opened up Arikt's Khadagush into it's eighth form. In the eighth form, a Khadagush looks like two curved swords held together by the bowstring at the hilts. She quickly placed the Khadagush across the chest of Arikt, passed the bowstring under Arikt's body and folded the Khadagush back into its first form, once again it looked like a bow. The soldier then stood over the chest of Arikt and opened her Khadagush into the second form, where in it still looked like a bow, but with the exception of two sword blades hanging out from the ends of the bow.

Marukus kept looking on, wondering what this was about. She had half a mind to intervene and stop this soldier from what she was doing, but curiosity made her wait and watch. Soon many of the soldiers returning from battle started gathering around in a circle, Arikt's army realised that their commander had fallen into the trap that he had been warned of. With teary eyes they saw the soldier, as she prepared the Parikrama around Arikt. Finally, she stopped and said, "You shall not weep for Arikt, for he dies not in vain. In the midst of the battle, across his love he came. She loves her cause more than she ever loved him, He loved her so, and knew his fate was grim. He has fallen on the field of battle, beside his brave soldiers, but remember his love, and do not harm her, even though the days grow colder." It sounded like one of the many songs Arikt would occasionally recite as he made them up. But this song came from this unknown soldier. Before someone could muster the courage to ask her who she was, she lifted her Khadagush over her head drew on the bowstring, she looked down at Arikt and two teardrops came out of her eyes as she recited a prayer. The tears fell on the drawn bowstring, trickled down to her hand that was drawing the string.

Suddenly, there was commotion in the crowd, as General Fukilorn ran towards the soldier, he screamed, "Hanruk, don't!!!". The tears touched the thumb on Hanruk's hand and she let go off the string. Lightning left the Khadagush and ascended towards the heavens, then it curved high up and turned towards North. The ground inside the NavParikrama started rumbling, and then it started breaking, and then it launched straight up into the air and followed the lightning. in a blink of an eye, the two of them had disappeared. Marukus stared at the crater in the ground, she couldn't hold back the tears anymore. General Fukilorn came and stood in front of her, and she looked up at him.

"I killed my own husband, and Hanruk, was she...?" her voice trailed off.

"Yes, she was yours and Arikt's second child." the general replied.

"I don't want to fight anymore. I have lost my husband, my daughter, and my son lies wounded in the healing house. All my family is almost lost, and I don't want to fight my father now. Please father, end this now, Arikt has made his point, I concede defeat. I will halt the construction, but I do not have the courage to fight you." With that she fell to the ground on her knees. General Fukilorn took her hands and made her stand up. He caressed her face, and kissed her on her forehead.

"Let's go and see Chiran, Arikt has taught me about the Parikrama of healing. He was somehow very sure of the fact that I will be able to use it to save his son." he said to Marukus. "You shouldn't have let them face each other in battle. But then I suppose you were blinded by your quest."

Marukus just looked up at the heavens and said, "Father, you will never understand, after all you are an immortal too."

Monday, October 9, 2006

A cold coffee and a rooster

Last night, I had stepped out with some friends to watch a movie. Well, the movie was good but what was really amusing were the events that happened before, during, and after it. First things first... If you had Five Hundred Million rupees to invest, what would you do? Remember it's supposed to be an investment.

My answer: buy a vacant plot on the Gurgaon mall road and build a multilevel air-conditioned parking with a food court. Basically, parking in Gurgaon, from Thursday to Sunday every week is a bitch. You don't want even your worst enemy to get stuck in there. So now you know where did i spend an hour on Sunday; looking for a parking spot... well that is actually another story altogether... so let's get back to the cold coffee and the rooster.

Well, so we saw the movie, contemplated having dinner afterwards, and then went looking for coffee around midnight. We found one in Vasant Vihar. So at five minutes to midnight, we order ourselves some drinks and then sat down to enjoy our drinks.

This is when this dude entered. He enters and looks at me, and then looks at the pretty lady with us, and suddenly he took a deep breath and puffed up his chest. Looked back at me as if he was trying to say that i don't deserve to be around her because I was a fat lowly mortal. Then he went to the counter and ordered something for himself, and turned around and started staring at us. I was getting amused and a little irritated. So as I slurped my coffee, I started staring back.

He looked back across the counter and said, "How long is it going to take?", and then started eying the lady with us. She didn't notice as she was engrossed in a conversation with my friend, but I was so amused that I was about to burst into splits. When I couldn't control it anymore, I finally interrupted the conversation and said, "Do you know that during the mating season, a rooster walks around with a puffed chest to attract the hen?" I made sure he heard me.

All the eyes just turned towards him, and everyone was trying hard to hold back the splits. He suddenly realized that he was the joke, the puffed chest deflated, and he just scampered to the door without collecting his order.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

A Toast

A Toast

Come my friends, let’s raise a toast,
To all the things we once feared the most,
Raise one toast for the boss, who wouldn’t understand,
And one toast for the girl, who could’ve made your world grand,
Another one for the father, who raised a hand to hit you,
And one more for the brother, who you knew would ditch you,
One for the friend, who backstabbed and betrayed,
One for the enemy, whose aim never strayed,
Let’s have another one, for the child in us,
The one who made us propose to our first crush,
Save one more for our own parental mode,
With which we judged other people’s moral code,

Gulp it down, and make sure you savor the taste,
Drink every drop of it; don’t let it go waste,
And now think of all the things we could’ve learnt,
While we feared and cried, and our dreams burnt,
The incompetent boss, would stay there while you grew,
And the girl could still be your wife; maybe she too loved you,
Don’t forget that your father too, was once a son,
Or your brother brought you home, when you had run,
The friend who betrayed, was a choice gone wrong,
The enemies picked on you because you weren’t strong,
And now raise another toast, in humble gratitude,
And thank them all, for our unflinching attitude.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Last Question


What follows is a short story by Isaac Asimov. While many people might have read his Foundation series, or seen the I-robot movie, this short story gives us an insight into the genius, the imagination,and the sheer brilliance of one of the most prolific minds of our time.

The Last Question

The last question was asked for the first time, half in jest, on May 21, 2061, at a time when humanity first stepped into the light. The question came about as a result of a five-dollar bet over highballs, and it happened this way:

Alexander Adell and Bertram Lupov were two of the faithful attendants of
Multivac. As well as any human beings could, they knew what lay behind
the cold, clicking, flashing face -- miles and miles of face -- of that
giant computer. They had at least a vague notion of the general plan of
relays and circuits that had long since grown past the point where any
single human could possibly have a firm grasp of the whole.

Multivac was self-adjusting and self-correcting. It had to be, for
nothing human could adjust and correct it quickly enough or even
adequately enough. So Adell and Lupov attended the monstrous giant only
lightly and superficially, yet as well as any men could. They fed it
data, adjusted questions to its needs and translated the answers that
were issued. Certainly they, and all others like them, were fully
entitled to share in the glory that was Multivac's.

For decades, Multivac had helped design the ships and plot the
trajectories that enabled man to reach the Moon, Mars, and Venus, but
past that, Earth's poor resources could not support the ships. Too much
energy was needed for the long trips. Earth exploited its coal and
uranium with increasing efficiency, but there was only so much of both.

But slowly Multivac learned enough to answer deeper questions more
fundamentally, and on May 14, 2061, what had been theory, became fact.

The energy of the sun was stored, converted, and utilized directly on a
planet-wide scale. All Earth turned off its burning coal, its fissioning
uranium, and flipped the switch that connected all of it to a small
station, one mile in diameter, circling the Earth at half the distance
of the Moon. All Earth ran by invisible beams of sunpower.

Seven days had not sufficed to dim the glory of it and Adell and Lupov
finally managed to escape from the public functions, and to meet in
quiet where no one would think of looking for them, in the deserted
underground chambers, where portions of the mighty buried body of
Multivac showed. Unattended, idling, sorting data with contented lazy
clickings, Multivac, too, had earned its vacation and the boys
appreciated that. They had no intention, originally, of disturbing it.

They had brought a bottle with them, and their only concern at the
moment was to relax in the company of each other and the bottle.

"It's amazing when you think of it," said Adell. His broad face had
lines of weariness in it, and he stirred his drink slowly with a glass
rod, watching the cubes of ice slur clumsily about. "All the energy we
can possibly ever use for free. Enough energy, if we wanted to draw on
it, to melt all Earth into a big drop of impure liquid iron, and still
never miss the energy so used. All the energy we could ever use, forever
and forever and forever."

Lupov cocked his head sideways. He had a trick of doing that when he
wanted to be contrary, and he wanted to be contrary now, partly because
he had had to carry the ice and glassware. "Not forever," he said.

"Oh, hell, just about forever. Till the sun runs down, Bert."

"That's not forever."

"All right, then. Billions and billions of years. Ten billion, maybe.
Are you satisfied?"

Lupov put his fingers through his thinning hair as though to reassure
himself that some was still left and sipped gently at his own drink.
"Ten billion years isn't forever."

"Well, it will last our time, won't it?"

"So would the coal and uranium."

"All right, but now we can hook up each individual spaceship to the
Solar Station, and it can go to Pluto and back a million times without
ever worrying about fuel. You can't do that on coal and uranium. Ask
Multivac, if you don't believe me.

"I don't have to ask Multivac. I know that."

"Then stop running down what Multivac's done for us," said Adell,
blazing up, "It did all right."

"Who says it didn't? What I say is that a sun won't last forever. That's
all I'm saying. We're safe for ten billion years, but then what?" Lupow
pointed a slightly shaky finger at the other. "And don't say we'll
switch to another sun."

There was silence for a while. Adell put his glass to his lips only
occasionally, and Lupov's eyes slowly closed. They rested.

Then Lupov's eyes snapped open. "You're thinking we'll switch to another
sun when ours is done, aren't you?"

"I'm not thinking."

"Sure you are. You're weak on logic, that's the trouble with you. You're
like the guy in the story who was caught in a sudden shower and who ran
to a grove of trees and got under one. He wasn't worried, you see,
because he figured when one tree got wet through, he would just get
under another one."

"I get it," said Adell. "Don't shout. When the sun is done, the other
stars will be gone, too."

"Darn right they will," muttered Lupov. "It all had a beginning in the
original cosmic explosion, whatever that was, and it'll all have an end
when all the stars run down. Some run down faster than others. Hell, the
giants won't last a hundred million years. The sun will last ten billion
years and maybe the dwarfs will last two hundred billion for all the
good they are. But just give us a trillion years and everything will be
dark. Entropy has to increase to maximum, that's all."

"I know all about entropy," said Adell, standing on his dignity.

"The hell you do."

"I know as much as you do."

"Then you know everything's got to run down someday."

"All right. Who says they won't?"

"You did, you poor sap. You said we had all the energy we needed,
forever. You said 'forever.'

It was Adell's turn to be contrary. "Maybe we can build things up again
someday," he said.


"Why not? Someday."


"Ask Multivac."

"You ask Multivac. I dare you. Five dollars says it can't be done."

Adell was just drunk enough to try, just sober enough to be able to
phrase the necessary symbols and operations into a question which, in
words, might have corresponded to this: Will mankind one day without the
net expenditure of energy be able to restore the sun to its full
youthfulness even after it had died of old age?

Or maybe it could be put more simply like this: How can the net amount
of entropy of the universe be massively decreased?

Multivac fell dead and silent. The slow flashing of lights ceased, the
distant sounds of clicking relays ended.

Then, just as the frightened technicians felt they could hold their
breath no longer, there was a sudden springing to life of the teletype
attached to that portion of Multivac. Five words were printed:

"No bet," whispered Lupov. They left hurriedly.

By next morning, the two, plagued with throbbing head and cottony mouth,
had forgotten the incident.

Jerrodd, Jerrodine, and Jerrodette I and II watched the starry picture
in the visiplate change as the passage through hyperspace was completed
in its non-time lapse. At once, the even powdering of stars gave way to
the predominance of a single bright shining disk, the size of a marble,
centered on the viewing-screen.

"That's X-23," said Jerrodd confidently. His thin hands clamped tightly
behind his back and the knuckles whitened.

The little Jerrodettes, both girls, had experienced the hyperspace
passage for the first time in their lives and were self-conscious over
the momentary sensation of insideoutness. They buried their giggles and
chased one another wildly about their mother, screaming, "We've reached
X-23 -- we've reached X-23 -- we've --"

"Quiet, children." said Jerrodine sharply. "Are you sure, Jerrodd?"

"What is there to be but sure?" asked Jerrodd, glancing up at the bulge
of featureless metal just under the ceiling. It ran the length of the
room, disappearing through the wall at either end. It was as long as the

Jerrodd scarcely knew a thing about the thick rod of metal except that
it was called a Microvac, that one asked it questions if one wished;
that if one did not it still had its task of guiding the ship to a
preordered destination; of feeding on energies from the various
Sub-galactic Power Stations; of computing the equations for the
hyperspatial jumps.

Jerrodd and his family had only to wait and live in the comfortable
residence quarters of the ship. Someone had once told Jerrodd that the
"ac" at the end of "Microvac" stood for ''automatic computer" in ancient
English, but he was on the edge of forgetting even that.

Jerrodine's eyes were moist as she watched the visiplate. "I can't help
it. I feel funny about leaving Earth."

"Why, for Pete's sake?" demanded Jerrodd. "We had nothing there. We'll
have everything on X-23. You won't be alone. You won't be a pioneer.
There are over a million people on the planet already. Good Lord, our
great-grandchildren will be looking for new worlds because X-23 will be
overcrowded." Then, after a reflective pause, "I tell you, it's a lucky
thing the computers worked out interstellar travel the way the race is

"I know, I know," said Jerrodine miserably.

Jerrodette I said promptly, "Our Microvac is the best Microvac in the

"I think so, too," said Jerrodd, tousling her hair.

It was a nice feeling to have a Microvac of your own and Jerrodd was
glad he was part of his generation and no other. In his father's youth,
the only computers had been tremendous machines taking up a hundred
square miles of land. There was only one to a planet. Planetary ACs they
were called. They had been growing in size steadily for a thousand years
and then, all at once, came refinement. In place of transistors, had
come molecular valves so that even the largest Planetary AC could be put
into a space only half the volume of a spaceship.

Jerrodd felt uplifted, as he always did when he thought that his own
personal Microvac was many times more complicated than the ancient and
primitive Multivac that had first tamed the Sun, and almost as
complicated as Earth's Planetarv AC (the largest) that had first solved
the problem of hyperspatial travel and had made trips to the stars

"So many stars, so many planets," sighed Jerrodine, busy with her own
thoughts. "I suppose families will be going out to new planets forever,
the way we are now."

"Not forever," said Jerrodd, with a smile. "It will all stop someday,
but not for billions of years. Many billions. Even the stars run down,
you know. Entropy must increase.

"What's entropy, daddy?" shrilled Jerrodette II.

"Entropy, little sweet, is just a word which means the amount of
running-down of the universe. Everything runs down, you know, like your
little walkie-talkie robot, remember?"

"Can't you just put in a new power-unit, like with my robot?"

"The stars are the power-units. dear. Once they're gone, there are no
more power-units."

Jerrodette I at once set up a howl. "Don't let them, daddy. Don't let
the stars run down."

"Now look what you've done," whispered Jerrodine, exasperated.

"How was I to know it would frighten them?" Jerrodd whispered back,

"Ask the Microvac," wailed Jerrodette I. "Ask him how to turn the stars
on again."

"Go ahead," said Jerrodine. "It will quiet them down." (Jerrodette II
was beginning to cry, also.)

Jerrodd shrugged. "Now, now, honeys. I'll ask Microvac. Don't worry,
he'll tell us."

He asked the Microvac, adding quickly, "Print the answer."

Jerrodd cupped the strip or thin cellufilm and said cheerfully, "See
now, the Microvac says it will take care of everything when the time
comes so don't worry."

Jerrodine said, "And now, children, it's time for bed. We'll be in our
new home soon."

Jerrodd read the words on the cellufilm again before destroying it:

He shrugged and looked at the visiplate. X-23 was just ahead.

VJ-23X of Lameth stared into the black depths of the three-dimensional,
small-scale map of the Galaxy and said, "Are we ridiculous, I wonder in
being so concerned about the matter?"

MQ-17J of Nicron shook his head. "I think not. You know the Galaxy will
be filled in five years at the present rate of expansion."

Both seemed in their early twenties, both were tall and perfectly

"Still," said VJ-23X, "I hesitate to submit a pessimistic report to the
Galactic Council."

"I wouldn't consider any other kind of report. Stir them up a bit. We've
got to stir them up."

VJ-23X sighed. "Space is infinite. A hundred billion Galaxies are there
for the taking. More."

"A hundred billion is not infinite and it's getting less infinite all
the time. Consider! Twenty thousand years ago, mankind first solved the
problem of utilizing stellar energy, and a few centuries later,
interstellar travel became possible. It took mankind a million years to
fill one small world and then only fifteen thousand years to fill the
rest of the Galaxy. Now the population doubles every ten years --

VJ-23X interrupted. "We can thank immortality for that."

"Very well. Immortality exists and we have to take it into account. I
admit it has its seamy side, this immortality. The Galactic AC has
solved many problems for us, but in solving the problem of preventing
old age and death, it has undone all its other solutions."

"Yet you wouldn't want to abandon life, I suppose."

"Not at all," snapped MQ-17J, softening it at once to, "Not yet. I'm by
no means old enough. How old are you?"

"Two hundred twenty-three. And you?"

"I'm still under two hundred. --But to get back to my point. Population
doubles every ten years. Once this GaIaxy is filled, we'll have filled
another in ten years. Another ten years and we'll have filled two more.
Another decade, four more. In a hundred years, we'll have filled a
thousand Galaxies. In a thousand years, a million Galaxies. In ten
thousand years, the entire known universe. Then what?"

VJ-23X said, "As a side issue, there's a problem of transportation. I
wonder how many sunpower units it will take to move Galaxies of
individuals from one Galaxy to the next."

"A very good point. Already, mankind consumes two sunpower units per

"Most of it's wasted. After all, our own Galaxy alone pours out a
thousand sunpower units a year and we only use two of those."

"Granted, but even with a hundred per cent efficiency, we only stave off
the end. Our energy requirements are going up in a geometric progression
even faster than our population. We'll run out of energy even sooner
than we run out of Galaxies. A good point. A very good point."

"We'll just have to build new stars out of interstellar gas."

"Or out of dissipated heat?" asked MQ-17J, sarcastically.

"There may be some way to reverse entropy. We ought to ask the Galactic

VJ-23X was not really serious, but MQ-17J pulled out his AC-contact from
his pocket and placed it on the table before him.

"I've half a mind to," he said. "It's something the human race will have
to face someday."

He stared somberly at his small AC-contact. It was only two inches cubed
and nothing in itself, but it was connected through hyperspace with the
great Galactic AC that served all mankind. Hyperspace considered, it was
an integral part of the Galactic AC.

MQ-17J paused to wonder if someday in his immortal life he would get to
see the Galactic AC. It was on a little world of its own, a spider
webbing of force-beams holding the matter within which surges of
submesons took the place of the old clumsy molecular valves. Yet despite
its sub-etheric workings, the Galactic AC was known to be a full
thousand feet across.

MQ-17J asked suddenly of his AC-contact, "Can entropy ever be reversed?"

VJ-23X looked startled and said at once, "Oh, say, I didn't really mean
to have you ask that."

"Why not?"

"We both know entropy can't be reversed. You can't turn smoke and ash
back into a tree."

"Do you have trees on your world?" asked MQ-17J.

The sound of the Galactic AC startled them into silence. Its voice came
thin and beautiful out of the small AC-contact on the desk. It said:

VJ-23X said, "See!"

The two men thereupon returned to the question of the report they were
to make to the Galactic Council.

Zee Prime's mind spanned the new Galaxy with a faint interest in the
countless twists of stars that powdered it. He had never seen this one
before. Would he ever see them all? So many of them, each with its load
of humanity. --But a load that was almost a dead weight. More and more,
the real essence of men was to be found out here, in space.

Minds, not bodies! The immortal bodies remained back on the planets, in
suspension over the eons. Sometimes they roused for material activity
but that was growing rarer. Few new individuals were coming into
existence to join the incredibly mighty throng, but what matter? There
was little room in the Universe for new individuals.

Zee Prime was roused out of his reverie upon coming across the wispy
tendrils of another mind.

"I am Zee Prime," said Zee Prime. "And you?"

"I am Dee Sub Wun. Your Galaxy?"

"We call it only the Galaxy. And you?"

"We call ours the same. All men call their Galaxy their Galaxy and
nothing more. Why not?"

"True. Since all Galaxies are the same."

"Not all Galaxies. On one particular Galaxy the race of man must have
originated. That makes it different."

Zee Prime said, "On which one?"

"I cannot say. The Universal AC would know."

"Shall we ask him? I am suddenly curious."

Zee Prime's perceptions broadened until the Galaxies themselves shrank
and became a new, more diffuse powdering on a much larger background. So
many hundreds of billions of them, all with their immortal beings, all
carrying their load of intelligences with minds that drifted freely
through space. And yet one of them was unique among them all in being
the original Galaxy. One of them had, in its vague and distant past, a
period when it was the only Galaxy populated by man.

Zee Prime was consumed with curiosity to see this Galaxy and he called
out: "Universal AC! On which Galaxy did mankind originate?"

The Universal AC heard, for on every world and throughout space, it had
its receptors ready, and each receptor led through hyperspace to some
unknown point where the Universal AC kept itself aloof.

Zee Prime knew of only one man whose thoughts had penetrated within
sensing distance of Universal AC, and he reported only a shining globe,
two feet across, difficult to see.

"But how can that be all of Universal AC?" Zee Prime had asked.

"Most of it," had been the answer, "is in hyperspace. In what form it is
there I cannot imagine."

Nor could anyone, for the day had long since passed, Zee Prime knew,
when any man had any part of the making of a Universal AC. Each
Universal AC designed and constructed its successor. Each, during its
existence of a million years or more accumulated the necessary data to
build a better and more intricate, more capable successor in which its
own store of data and individuality would be submerged.

The Universal AC interrupted Zee Prime's wandering thoughts, not with
words, but with guidance. Zee Prime's mentality was guided into the dim
sea of Galaxies and one in particular enlarged into stars.

A thought came, infinitely distant, but infinitely clear. "THIS IS THE

But it was the same after all, the same as any other, and Lee Prime
stifled his disappointment.

Dee Sub Wun, whose mind had accompanied the other, said suddenly, "And
is one of these stars the original star of Man?"


"Did the men upon it die?" asked Lee Prime, startled and without


"Yes, of course," said Zee Prime, but a sense of loss overwhelmed him
even so. His mind released its hold on the original Galaxy of Man, let
it spring back and lose itself among the blurred pin points. He never
wanted to see it again.

Dee Sub Wun said, "What is wrong?"

"The stars are dying. The original star is dead."

"They must all die. Why not?"

"But when all energy is gone, our bodies will finally die, and you and I
with them."

"It will take billions of years."

"I do not wish it to happen even after billions of years. Universal AC!
How may stars be kept from dying?"

Dee Sub Wun said in amusement, "You're asking how entropy might be
reversed in direction."


Zee Prime's thoughts fled back to his own Galaxy. He gave no further
thought to Dee Sub Wun, whose body might be waiting on a Galaxy a
trillion light-years away, or on the star next to Zee Prime's own. It
didn't matter.

Unhappily, Zee Prime began collecting interstellar hydrogen out of which
to build a small star of his own. If the stars must someday die, at
least some could yet be built.

Man considered with himself, for in a way, Man, mentally, was one. He
consisted of a trillion, trillion, trillion ageless bodies, each in its
place, each resting quiet and incorruptible, each cared for by perfect
automatons, equally incorruptible, while the minds of all the bodies
freely melted one into the other, indistinguishable.

Man said, "The Universe is dying."

Man looked about at the dimming Galaxies. The giant stars, spendthrifts,
were gone long ago, back in the dimmest of the dim far past. Almost all
stars were white dwarfs, fading to the end.

New stars had been built of the dust between the stars, some by natural
processes, some by Man himself, and those were going, too. White dwarfs
might yet be crashed together and of the mighty forces so released, new
stars built, but only one star for every thousand white dwarfs
destroyed, and those would come to an end, too.

Man said, "Carefully husbanded, as directed by the Cosmic AC, the energy
that is even yet left in all the Universe will last for billions of

"But even so," said Man, "eventually it will all come to an end. However
it may be husbanded, however stretched out, the energy once expended is
gone and cannot be restored. Entropy must increase forever to the

Man said, "Can entropy not be reversed? Let us ask the Cosmic AC."

The Cosmic AC surrounded them but not in space. Not a fragment of it was
in space. It was in hyperspace and made of something that was neither
matter nor energy. The question of its size and nature no longer had
meaning in any terms that Man could comprehend.

"Cosmic AC," said Man, "how may entropy be reversed?"


Man said, "Collect additional data."


"Will there come a time," said Man, 'when data will be sufficient or is
the problem insoluble in all conceivable circumstances?"


Man said, "When will you have enough data to answer the question?"


"Will you keep working on it?" asked Man.

The Cosmic AC said, "I WILL."

Man said, "We shall wait."

The stars and Galaxies died and snuffed out, and space grew black after
ten trillion years of running down.

One by one Man fused with AC, each physical body losing its mental
identity in a manner that was somehow not a loss but a gain.

Man's last mind paused before fusion, looking over a space that included
nothing but the dregs of one last dark star and nothing besides but
incredibly thin matter, agitated randomly by the tag ends of heat
wearing out, asymptotically, to the absolute zero.

Man said, "AC, is this the end? Can this chaos not be reversed into the
Universe once more? Can that not be done?"


Man's last mind fused and only AC existed -- and that in hyperspace.

Matter and energy had ended and with it space and time. Even AC existed
only for the sake of the one last question that it had never answered
from the time a half-drunken computer [technician] ten trillion years
before had asked the question of a computer that was to AC far less than
was a man to Man.

All other questions had been answered, and until this last question was
answered also, AC might not release his consciousness.

All collected data had come to a final end. Nothing was left to be

But all collected data had yet to be completely correlated and put
together in all possible relationships.

A timeless interval was spent in doing that.

And it came to pass that AC learned how to reverse the direction of

But there was now no man to whom AC might give the answer of the last
question. No matter. The answer -- by demonstration -- would take care
of that, too.

For another timeless interval, AC thought how best to do this.
Carefully, AC organized the program.

The consciousness of AC encompassed all of what had once been a Universe
and brooded over what was now Chaos. Step by step, it must be done.


And there was light --

Still Alive...

Hello People...,

It's been a long time since I seriously sat down and wrote a poem. I think the last one that I seriously wrote was titled "Would" and i guess i wrote it last year on the 29th of July. Well anyways, this one's a sequel of sorts on of my previous poems titled "Alive". So just to refresh your memory, or in case you haven't read "Alive", I am attaching "Alive" before you get to read "Still Alive".


There is a story, my friends would tell,
Of how high I was, and how hard I fell,
A story about success despite disaster,
Of a slave destined to be his own master.
There was a fight which had once come my way,
Arrogance by my side, I made the choice to stay,
Outnumbered, I lost the battle, but not my pride,
My friends reassured that I fought the good fight.

... And then they whispered to me...
Look... Here... You're alive,
You've got to take this fall in your stride,
Today you can't crawl,
But tomorrow you will walk, run and Fly.

There I lay, Battered and bruised,
No words of courage, or abuse,
Then I felt it, Like a Midas touch,
A few people waiting for me to get up,
The rest had seen me take the tumble,
Walked away, thinking, I've been humbled.
Just because I lost, doesn't mean I'll yield,
They were still there, when I stepped off the field.

... And then I heard the unsaid words...
Look... Here... You're alive,
The way you fought, fills us with pride,
Today you can't walk,
But tomorrow you will run and Fly.

Invincible are the enemies you can no longer hurt,
And it's better to let go, like a worn out shirt.
Then I stepped onto another battleground,
My defeat was famous, and challengers abound,
And I fought them all, didn't hold back,
Like me everyone was bruised, blue and black
As I stepped off, some faces were missing,
There were new ones there, like a blessing,

... And to the departed ones I said...
Look... Here... I am alive,
What you gave me, can't be priced,
Today I can't run,
But tomorrow I am going to Fly.

From all my battles, a lot I had learnt,
No longer did revenge, hopelessly burn,
I came across many, so called the best,
They failed time and again, at my test,
The lesson they learnt, was for all to see,
They were the best, till they came across me,
And now I shall, spread my wings to fly,
To join the flock, up there in the sky,

... And together we all will sing...
Look... Here... We're alive,
We stood by each other, and through time,
Today if we fall,
Tomorrow we shall crawl, walk, run and Fly.

Still Alive

There are some stories that never get old,
Lying deep in our memories, waiting to be told,
Stories about the hour, before the dawn,
About the near death, of a dream reborn,
I once fought a battle, till the last one was down,
Victorious against odds, I let my guard down,
Lost all my trophies while I was basking in glory,
A surprise attack, was the end of that story,

They left me for dead, under the open sky,
In the pool of blood, and waterfall of tears,
With all hope lost, and facing my fears,
A voice within still refused to cry,
Said, "Not yet, not while you're still alive".

In a new country, and a new town,
Wishing no one would pick on a man who was down,
Broken and battered in every sense,
I picked up the pieces, and my friends,
I tried to rebuild, all that was lost,
Trying hard to regain, no matter the cost,
Fending of the people that came to scavenge,
And the enemies, hell bent on revenge,

And again I fell, and again I strived,
Strived to sit up, where I once stood tall,
Though every inch of me was ready to fall,
I told every sinew in me that was ready to die,
"Come on, not yet, I am still alive"

The relentless attacks came one after the other,
And the yellow sun, turned ruby in colour,
I told my friends to stay behind and wait,
To wait for me, while I opened the floodgates,
In came the flood of my sweat, blood, and tears,
And also a trickle of hope, and drop of full of fears,
This was a time of survival, redemption, and resurrection,
An eon of errors made and their correction,

The flood swept away my feathers, but I survived,
The flood subsided and I came ashore,
A new kingdom stood, grander than the one before,
In the midst of the kingdom, a castle touched the sky,
My friends looked at the king, who was still alive,

Now, it matters not, how many times I fall,
Or if the soaring phoenix, is forced to crawl,
For I have and I will, refuse to bow down to fate,
And if I can't walk, I'll crawl out that gate,
And once again teach myself, to how to walk,
And to learn to run, while fate still gawks,
It shall gawk to see me rise from ashes my own,
And fly higher, than I had ever flown,

To all the dream stealers; who'd left me to die,
Those who left me for the vultures; stand up and see,
I am more than what you thought I could ever be,
My kingdom is my answer to your prejudice and lies,
Oh, and guess what, I am still alive.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Die a little

Today, I want to slip away like grains of sand,
Today, I want the world in the palm of my hand,
Today, I want to run across the sky,
Today, I want to climb the mountains high,
Today, I want to dive into the oceans deep,
Today, I want to awaken my dreams from their sleep,
Today, I shall awaken the gods within,
Today, I shall defeat the demons within,
Today, I will blaze a trail for all to follow,
Today, I will live for yesterday's tomorrow,
Today, I am going to fly a little,
Today, I am going to walk the water so brittle,
Today, I might die a little.
But from today, I'll never cry a little,

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

When we are kings

Come my friends; let us not be bound,
To all the tempting vanities going around,
The temptation of easy success is growing strong,
And most around will give into it before long,
But you my friends have to stand by me,
For our will is strong, and we dare to dream,

And here we are, dreaming of immortality.
And destiny is now just a minor technicality.
In time they'll see, amongst other things.
And they shall kneel, when we are kings.

We are standing together, but are falling alone,
Don't cushion our fall, for we'll get up on our own,
The failures of life are not what we dread,
These failures have brought us back from the dead,
To stand up again, and go down with a fight,
Defeated, we've still proven ourselves to be right,

And here we are, victorious despite defeat,
Our kingdoms are on the way to be complete,
And though we don't wear any royal rings,
The time is near, when we'll be kings.

We believe in miracles, we believe in charms,
We open our hearts and hold open our arms,
We don't despair as the world passes us by,
We'll first learn to crawl, then walk, run and fly,
We believe in ourselves; with no place for fears,
We have our own treasures, of blood, sweat and tears,

And here we are, ready to face all odds,
And a resolve, that could defy the will of gods,
No matter what challenges, life might bring,
For even gods shall envy, when we are kings.