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: