Friday, December 17, 2004

Ever heard of Kenneth Anderson?

For all his invaluable contributions to literature, to local heritage and to wildlife conservation in this part of India, there's no more than a cursory mention of Kenneth Anderson in the literary circles.After several painstaking search-criterion-filtering and googling, I managed to retrieve some articles that write atleast a paragraph about him:

1)History Today: Jungle Book memories - wildlife preservation in India "Curiously, when wild animals existed in large numbers in India, some British hunters established reputations as conservationists. They included Kenneth Anderson, born near Hyderabad in 1910, the descendant of Scots who had lived in India for six generations. The jungle and its creatures were his lifelong obsession. As a big game hunter he became famous in south India as the saviour of villagers preyed upon by man-eating tigers and other beasts. Before his death from cancer in 1974, Anderson wrote books about his exploits which revealed his concern for the environment. In Man-eaters and Jungle Killers he wrote: 'I know localities where until 1930 the moaning sough of a tiger or the guttural sawing of the panther were normal sounds in the night - now the night passes without a sound'. And in The Tiger Roars, he noted that in the Mysore and Salem districts tigers and panthers have been almost wiped out by villagers who used a poison supplied to them almost free by the local government as an insecticide to protect their crops'."

2)"Jungle Tales"(The Hindu, Sunday, September 17, 2000)
"KENNETH ANDERSON (1910-1974) has often been described as South India's answer to Jim Corbett, though I would imagine that he himself - and his fans - would rather call Corbett the North- Indian equivalent of Kenneth Anderson ... Well, not quite perhaps, but near enough.

When I collected these two chunky volumes for review, I blanched. There was close to 1,500 pages of reading material here, and largely my own fault as I had never read any of Anderson's books before. Here, in volume 1, were Tales From the Indian Jungle; Man Eaters And Jungle Killers and The Call Of The Man Eater. Volume 2 contained The Black Panther of Sivanipalli; The Tiger Roars and Jungles Long Ago.

So, like a city slicker stepping into the forests for the first time, I started reading with some trepidation. And was hooked within minutes, and just three weeks later, was breathlessly done. One thing was apparent right from the start. There was a sense of technicolour 70mm. Hollywood melodrama in most of the hunting stories and encounters that Anderson described. And occasionally you found yourself stepping from incredulous belief to sceptical disbelief .... Could man-eating tigers and leopards, and rogue elephants, really be such evil geniuses as to plot and counter-plot their strategy and attacks in such a superhuman cunning manner, as Anderson has described? Well, maybe that privilege is not a prerogative of our species after all, but it does chill the marrow a bit, to realise that a man-eating tiger seems to know exactly what is going on in your head and is counter-plotting on that basis .... Also, some of the encounters and hunts seemed so implausible that, conversely, they must have been absolutely true - that old thing about truth being stranger than fiction. To pep them up further, Anderson probably just added piquancy to the way he unravelled his yarns.

And, by God, the man knows how to tell a story all right. He has an inherent sense of plot, the skill to clearly describe a locale (though maps would have been nice), and the knack of gradually building up the tension to give you a heart-thumping audio-visual feel of the situation, before exploding with a suitably blood- curdling roar. Occasionally, he does digress, and while this does slow down the pace a bit, some of the digressions are interesting in their own right. And then there are the hare-brained, dare- devil counter schemes that he comes up with in order to outwit his devilish, crafty quarry. Like waiting for a man-eater's return in its own den. Or setting up himself as bait. But, inspite of these seemingly gung-ho actions, there is always fear, and a great deal of it. Anderson knew full well the danger he was putting himself in and makes no effort to hide the fact that, often, he was petrified.

Not all the stories or anecdotes in these books are about hunting down man-eating tigers and panthers, or rogue elephants. There are accounts of ghooming (roaming) in the beautiful forests of South India, character sketches of various jungle denizens (wild boar beat all the big boys for courage), accounts of the wild animals he and his wife kept as pets (and a hyena was a sweetie), encounters with ghosts, and dabblings with the occult, and of course, his relationship with his "aborigine" friends and trackers.

Anderson, who was a Bangalore based planter, obviously loved the forests and their denizens and lamented the wholesale destruction of both. The accounts and anecdotes are infused with his own feelings and fears. What comes through clearly is his great love for the simple outdoor life and the spiritual upliftment it provided, the wonderful timelessness of India which again, he loved, his affection and respect for the "aborigines" of the forests, and his loathing of the bureaucracy, who often drove him up the wall. He comes across himself, as a colourful, rough-hewn personality, always ready to give as good as he got. "

Thursday, December 16, 2004

A fundu quote (from RD)quoted by Vij on his page...

Quoted from RD: "'Everything you do, everything you experience, everything you think affects who you are.You have an incredible amount of input into the creation of yourself.'"

Monday, December 13, 2004

A grand finale to the Bengaluru Habba

Had a fantastic evening at Palace Grounds with the curtains coming down on the habba in glorious fashion. Only a week ago, mbk, his sister deepa, his mother and I had visited the stalls on the boulevard on M.G.Road on the inaugural day on the habba. And we had to bid a heavy-hearted adieu to this magnificent festival. Last evening at Palace grounds, the concerts that truly deserved a mention were the folk percussion ensemble (led by a flautist) arranged by Anoor Anantahkrishna Sharma and the breath taking performance (though below par) by Ganesh-Kumaresh. The latter duo have SOME talent. Probably the most talented musicians i've ever watched/ listened to. Beyond words. It was as if the violin was an extension of their very beings. Brilliant.What coordination they had ! It was worth weathering the bone chilling icy winds (on an empty stomach) at palace grounds. I almost had a frost bite. mbk & his sister found my plight very funny, though X-( Sadists!!!
Yes, mbk, his sister and I had been there.A fantastic time, all in all. Of course, it took some effort to ignore the mischief mongers and the philistines at the venue and concentrate on the music. Worth all the troubles in the end. You know why. ;-)

Deccan herald's article follows...

Spirited performances draw Habba to close - Deccan Herald


If Prince Edward, standing on his lonely vigil in Cubbon Park, was seen looking wistfully in the direction of the Palace Grounds on Sunday night, he really couldn’t be blamed. The rock shows that had been held at his feet till a few days ago weren’t too bad (he had even headbanged a bit on the last of the shows), but they hardly came close in spirit to what was seen on the last day of the Bangalore Habba.

And spirit, Kathak danseuse Nirupama explained to Deccan Herald, is one of the four pillars of classical Indian dance. (Body movements, sound and costumes are the other three). Nirupama, her partner Rajendra and their team put up an enthralling show that aimed to bridge the gap between the classical an d the modern, the Indian, European, Caribbean and African. Spirit, however, wasn’t confined to dance alone. It was evident in the show put up by Anoor Anantha Krishna Sharma and his team.

Percussion instruments of almost every kind were on stage, as were artists who knew what exactly they were for. They just jammed up on stage, with the dozen instruments or so that came alive singly and together, to the near constant accompaniment of a flute. There was a breathtaking array of instruments of all shapes and sizes, of which the tablas and mrudangams were only a part.
These musicians, sadly, were somewhat disappointed at the lack of spirit in the response from the audience. Violin duo Kumaresh and Ganesh also performed, as did Shankar Mahadevan, who played with ‘Silk’. (Their show, it might be mentioned, recieved a more spirited applause.)

Then there were the other, rather more alarming, sort of spirits all over the venue. The only obvious traces they left were sweaters, handkerchiefs and jackets left on apparently empty seats.

These apparitions were real enough for those in adjacent seats too, with the latter presenting convincing arguments as to why those chairs should not be occupied by the passing onlooker, desperately looking for a place to park himself.

Monday, November 22, 2004

An evening with Ruskin Bond

5.22 pm.November 22nd 2004.
Just returning from gangaram's after meeting ruskin bond. I'm just smiling within (yes, my mind is suddenly in peace, feeling good,almost in a sweet sleep, in some beautiful,dreamy land - the kind of place that bond describes in his beautiful compositions.He's such a nice, gentle human being, just as i had imagined after reading his books. It was almost like meeting my grandpa. His demeanour is so completely steeped in Indian mannerisms. I was also struck by the resemblance that his manner of greeting people and wishing them bears with that of my grandma ; a polite "hello" to everyone who wished him while receiving his signature, and a parting "Thank you", all with a genuine, benign smile. in a chequed half sleeve shirt, he seemed every bit the author he his.
His scheduled arrival was at 4.30 pm. I was there at 4.20. And, he arrived there absolutely perfectly on time and assumed his place behind the desk. I was seated at one of the middle rows of the chairs arranged in front. A few people had already gathered by then.He first smiled pleasantly at the people and very patiently waited for the organizers to lend direction to the proceedings, chatting to his aides in between. But the autograph campaign had a sudden beginning when a lady walked up to him & requested his signature. The rest of us quietly queued up & waited. In no time, the queue swelled to a huge one. I counted myself fortunate to have arrived there early.What made the queue slow moving was that several old ladies had bought 5-6 books of bond & were getting each of them autographed in the names of their friends/kin. Poor Mr.Bond patiently signed every one of them without a fuss. I bought 2 books:Ghost tales from the raj & a collection of Ruskin Bond's himalayan tales.When my turn came, i said, "you showed me the india i never knew existed.Thank you." and he gave his well known happy laugh, a touch embarassed, and said, "oh, thank you".The first book, he signed for me in my name and for the second one, he asked "whose name shall i put?". I said, "siddarth". (In the first page of another book of his, he writes "To siddarth.Good luck, little one".So, there's a siddarth who matters to him too). As i expected, he asked, "who's siddarth?". I said, "My nephew". I could spot the added warmth that his eyes assumed for that split second. I collected my books with a "Thank you so much", leaving behind bond and his followers (if i could say that). I was also tempted to ask him whether he actually did, with his servant Dukhi, push his step father into the well, as he describes in "A job well done". I know i'll continue to smile within for the rest of the day & cherish those moments all my life. He's taught me the importance of simplicity,of dreaming and has given me the assurance that not all's wrong with this world.That there is place for a dreamer.And you can dream big & achieve big. He might not come around to bangalore again, but i'll hopefully travel in time to meet him early at his residence some day.When i look back at my stay at HP and wonder what i got out of my stay there, this is one of the things that'll appear as the answer. The proximity of this office to M.G.Road really did help.So did the flexibility of working at HP. I must say thanks for that.
I'm posting a conversation that i had with mbk on this..
(He was of the opinion that the world is in greater need of forward looking writers, not those that will talk of the good ol times. One of the few occasions when i disagreed with him)
--Conversation begins--

reachbach: real nice chap.amazingly simple person. the stereotypical author.and for a 70 year old, he's in pretty good health & spirits. the hills are taking good care of him.
mbk: thats nice - where does he live?
reachbach: mussorie
mbk: Yes - there's no way a good writer can thrive amidst these traffic jams
reachbach: right.
reachbach: and he has made sure modernization doesn't disturbed his state of mind.some female asked, "could i have your e-mail id?" and he said, "i don't have one. i can give you my address though. you can drop me a card". and his mannerisms are so indian!just like my grandpa.nothing british about him.
mbk: A young author cannot afford to be so though
reachbach: why?
mbk: You need to be abreast with the way social life is changing
mbk: to be able to write about society
mbk: Ruskin Bond may not know how a big section of people live their lives
mbk: on IM for instance
mbk: using emotes
mbk: social life is changing so fast, people dont enjoy evening walks anymore
mbk: nor do they listen to light music or have light conversations after dinner - they watch soaps on tv
mbk: they just dont drop into a friends house - they call up first and get an appointment
mbk: "I'll call you back" is perhaps one of the most popular phrases used on phone these days
reachbach: he doesn't write about society.that's not the intent ofhis books.his books tell about a time gone by, when jonathan schwartz didn't use his blog to clarify his stand and market sun.his books also make you realise that, even today, if your friend is close enough, you can just barge in.that there's still a place for a dreamer like him.and we need such a person who can help us sit back and breathe for a while & reflect before running on our career paths at break neck speed.
mbk: yes, thats true. he lives his age in his books
mbk: not all writers can be so - we will need contemporary, futuristic writers too?
reachbach: right.we need all kinds.his books serve a different old people today say, "in the good ol times...". feels nice to read about such times and see those places through his's not necessarily an escape from the present.when it comes down to day to day living, you need the contemporary, futuristic writers.

--Conversation ends--

Friday, November 19, 2004

The Solaris community's response to a wise guy from HP

cuddletech: unix hardcore: "A community response to Martin Fink, HP's Linux Vice-President" Ben Rockwoods helps out martin fink with some Computer Science basics & some common sense. Hope fink'll do his homework better in future (wonder what he did at school).

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Setting HTTP Proxy settings in a Java application

If you've been struggling with getting your network-based java application to work through a proxy,here're the property settings to use:





Friday, October 15, 2004

Hex floating point operations in Tiger

Apparently, tiger allows literals to be directly mapped to corresponding bit positions of a float or a double.It can get rather ugly.Read david flanagan's article on this...

Hex Floating Point: 0Xf.aP1 == 31.25

Friday, October 01, 2004

The tiger is roaming the jungle; the lord and master of all he surveys...

Have this inexplicable festive mood today, as if a child was born in the family. The reason? J2SE 5.0, the biggest, most significant modification/addition since Java 2, is out!! Tiger's Chief Architect, Graham Hamilton, speaks..
Tiger Roars: The Release of Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition (J2SE) 5.0

Friday, September 24, 2004

Another superb section from the jls: [ just thought these goodies should make it to the blog, now that i've started one :-) ]
Conversions and Promotions
Going back to the c-test days of campus interviews.
Expressions: "In an array creation expression , there may be one or more dimension expressions, each within brackets. Each dimension expression is fully evaluated before any part of a"
Generics seemed such a maze that i almost forgot this from the jls :D
Arrays: "If an array variable v has type A[], where A is a reference type, then v can hold a reference to an instance of any array type B[], provided B can be assigned to A."

The JGuru, huh? :p

Friday, September 17, 2004

Some craven anti-sun people seem to have successfully started a rumour about openoffice being "more vulnerable" to M$ after the settlement with Sun. Nothiing could be farther from the truth. As a matter of fact, the settlement changed nothing as far as the protection of OSS projects from M$ is concerned. Any company has the right to sue owners of an OSS project if it has a legitimate claim in terms of IP infringement. So, let's shut down the rumour mills once and for all as far as the settlement & open office are concerned. More on the settlement's implications on openoffice:
Danese Cooper of Sun on Openoffice: "I believe we would have loved to protect from future lawsuits by Microsoft in our settlement with them but F/OSS software is by definition a shared resource and we have no explicit control over all the elements of that community. The language of the settlement takes as an example and makes it clear that Microsoft reserves the right to bring suit against any F/OSS project against which it has a claim (whether or not the project is stewarded by Sun). This isn't really news, is it? Nothing has really changed, except that in our settlement with Microsoft we managed to get some protection for our brands."

Monday, September 13, 2004

Vintage Jonathan Schwartz!!!
In this blog titled "The difference between humans and white mice." , Jonathan is simply unstoppable. Probably his best entry to date.Brilliant. A must read. Screw ball IBM & HP are behind now, what with Solaris 10 completely overshadowing inferior technologies from others and the niagara waiting to take wings. Stand by, world, here comes the Sun, with Jonathan leading the way!!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Jonathan schwartz rocks!!!!If there's anyone who will get sun roaring back to the top, it this genius.And nothing gives me greater pleasure than to see Sun spanking technologically inferior,zero innovation companies like HP. So much for "HP Invent". They'll now have to invent new ways of explaining their declining revenues. Hail Sun!!
Here're some articles that're indeed heartening to read..
1)Sun's successful "HP away" program
2)Sparc sets the pace
And here's schwartz himself with his brilliant write up on HP's screwed up startegies and even more screwed up operating system.It's a must read.HP can continue with it's "Solaris to linux migration kit" and see where it takes it. It might also help them if they rewrite parts of that kit to help people migrate from HP-UX. They might make up some revenues that way atleast.
Meanwhile, Sun posts profits for the first time in several quarters and is well on it's way to regaining it's position as the market leader, rightly so.
And then there was light, with the sun shining bright...

Thursday, May 20, 2004

This article's real fun to read. For all you java/jini novices, here goes...

"How to Talk About Jini, J2EE, and Web Services at a Cocktail Party
by Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates -- Heard about distributed technologies for Java, but not sure what they are or why they're important? Kathy Sierra and Bert Bates, authors of Head First Java, present this cocktail-party overview. Hold your own in conversation with Java geeks now!"

Friday, February 13, 2004

Pollution in Bangalore?The day autos get eliminated from b'lore, we'll be able to live much more easily. The smoke & noise they give out is horrifying. I wonder what would happen a few years hence if we go on this way.
I'm also tired of seeing people use bangalore like toilet paper. Every outsider who comes here uses the facilities,lives here, eats here, drinks here, enjoys the beautiful climate, the sights and the sounds, makes money here, and still curses my city and praises the hell-hole from where he/she's originated. I wouldn't have felt bad if those parasites actually felt for my city and made a genuine contribution to the society. Talking about contributions, how many people born & brought up in bangalore feel for the city and do something for it?
Worth sparing a thought for...