2013, AD.

With another blink of an eye, the year comes to a close. And just like every other year you can’t help but wonder, “Man, this year just went faster than the last!”

As is tradition, just like 2011 and 2012, I was asked to write up the year-end post for 2013. And I sat and wondered, “What only did I do this year?!”
— — –

Well, the year started off, just like all others, with my Birthday, which after a very long time was not during school/college days.  So instead of the usual b’day bumps, the day was spent at Mahabs. What better way to spend your birthday than to be at the beach? :D

Then came Saarang, the second highlight of January. Unlike last year, I didn’t go to too many fests this year. Not too sure why. Saarang was as it always was, fun with people you know and love. Highlights would be winning 2nd (again!) in the Treasure Hunt, the Sunburn EDM Night which was introduced last year and beginning of various conversation topics that would continue all through the year.

That gave way to a week of the sniffles. Why is that relevant? Because I passed out due to an epic allergic reaction to an antibiotic given. No, not a pretty way to end the most racy month of the year, but hey, it’s an experience! :D

Summer was spent at the ever-awesome, super cool Dubai. Back to the homeland, back home. 2 months there was filled with fun, food and well, work. The 6 week internship at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank was quite an eye-opener, quite a lot loved and learnt. And many friends as well. Which opened the way for me writing as a tech columnist for MindThis, an e-magazine.
And along the way, the gang stumbled into a love for psychology and the MBTI and ever since, we have not had any discussion without people’s personality types coming into the discussion. Which also brings into focus the very active WhatsApp groups that keep talking various topics, sometimes even plotting and scheming. Perfect summer! :D
2 weeks of winter was spent at Bahrain, which in comparison was very tame. Still, another new place added to the list, which is always a plus.

On the writing front, mainly one short story was written and the response was generally in the positive. Read a lot more than last year and in all probability, 2014 will see the completion of the umpteen unfinished works in the Google Drive.

The two semesters went in contrasting fashions so I’d say a neutral end to an academic year, which is not as bad as it seems. The year was filled with a few treats to places more ‘exotic’ than the usual Ascendas and the now closed down Basera.
The 4th year was the beginning of the end of a long saga.  The odd semester was majorly filled with all the final years’ tensed about the all important placements. Everywhere, the discussion was how to tackle interviews, which company is better, what they want to do, what they don’t want to do, whether to wear the lucky yellow tie or that coat for a profession feel.
And I’m glad everyone finally did get a good job after all those sleepless nights. 2014 will see quite a few of my friends moving on towards their future. Bleddy they are going to WORK ! Seems too funny to be true. These guys, with all the eccentricities are going to be working men. Time, off it flies! And I’ll be doing all this next year.
— — –

2014 will be a huge year. Just like 2009, a year to prepare for a transition. Many decisions to make, many more things to learn, many more people to get to know and perhaps a few to bid adieu to.
“So what only did I do this year?” Well, if not in quantity, it was a quality year. And that is quite enough for me.
2013 ends with the beat in the up and here’s to a kickass 2014.

Happy New Year, folks! :)


Black and Blue. – Short Story No.8

“Hey AJ, AJ! Look at that couple who just entered!”, Sam whispered gesturing towards the door of Westland Café. I turned back and my gaze fixated, just for a second, on the girl.

“What are you staring at?!”, Sam asked and looked over my shoulder. She knew. “Umm. So you really don’t want me to answer that right?”, I asked, wearing the most innocent smile I could conjure up. Sam looked at that girl, looked down and then straight at me and said “AJ, mine are so small no? Guys don’t like them small, right?”

You see, these are the times when a guy really has no idea what to respond. The obvious reply will, obviously not be liked.

“You are perfect the way you are Sam..”, I said in the most softest of voices possible. “Look at the bright side, you can come out of very tight spots much easily than her!”. Sam grinned. And that’s why she was awesome.

A waiter came with her chocolate milkshake and my strawberry cheesecake. We were seated at the corner table, one of the few spots at Westland that faced the blue sea; our favourite one as well.
Westland Café was almost like our second home. To an outsider, it may seem like another one of those humdrum shacks on the beach. But for us locals, it was nothing short of a veritable goldmine of the yummiest delicacies we could find in the city. And undoubtedly, the best filter coffee.

“So, what happened with Rani at the Gym? Staring and cursing whole day!”, I asked, slicing the cake. “Hey such a pain she is, AJ! You know what she did? She….”
I really don’t know what she said, I had already been lost, her voice forming the perfect music for the song in my head.“….. and then she told….erm… Hey HII, here!!”

I turned around and saw Nikhil approaching. A wide grin lit up Sam’s face, decorated on the sides with glowing red. A loud wave came crashing down at the beach nearby.

There may be very few things more frustrating than being there.
Imagine you’re hurtling towards this heavenly being, like an asteroid through space, but you’ve got the landing all wrong. And instead of touching down in a blaze of fiery glory, you’ve been caught in its orbit, encircling the heavenly body, gazing from afar, hoping for that final touchdown.

Such has been my life since the first time I met Samiksha, 2 years ago at this very café when the ever perky, very effervescent Sam had forgotten her purse and I offered to pay for her. I became her closest friend; revolving around her, protecting her from the vagaries of life. Westland was our second home; the sea, our own special hideout. And then came Nikhil.

“Sam!”, he said with his hearty smile while receiving one of Sam’s bear hugs. I get a hi-5 soon after. He seated himself between Sam and me, taking a bite of the cheesecake from my plate.

I won’t hesitate to admit that I was jealous. Of course I was. Jealous of the way Sam looked at him, jealous of how she giggled at his jokes or stammered and acted like a complete nutjob when he complimented her. Oh, and the cherry on top of my cake of misery? It is hard to the hate the guy. The glitter in Sam’s eyes sparkles as she talked to Nik, perhaps similar to mine as I talked to her. She gave me a warm hug as I left for home.

Like a lone animal in Noah’s ark, I sometimes felt like a misfit, lost and alone. All I wanted to do was to take her in my arms and pour my heart out; I wanted to tell her that she is the most beautiful part of my world. She was enraptured by him; I by her.

This is the story of a day that will be etched in my memory for a long, long time.

Very early the next morning, my phone’s ringtone woke me up. ‘Sam xD’ – the screen read. Sam!“Do you know the time, Sam?”, I said groggily. “AJ..”, her voice, a half sob.I sat up. Venting session at this time?

“AJ.. I like Nik”, she said. “Hmm. Tell me something I don’t know. Why’re you crying?” “Why isn’t he proposing to me?”
For a fact, I knew he liked her a lot. He had told me himself. “Maybe he fears rejection.” I said, voicing my own thoughts.

“Why-why would I reject him?” “I don’t know, you can be intimidating sometimes.” I heard a faint chuckle. “Ass. We were standing near the shore for a long time after you left. It was… heavenly.” Sure it was.
“You love him a lot, yes?” “Yes.” “Isn’t the solution obvious then?”

There was silence for many seconds. Just her soft sweet breaths.

“I’m going to propose.”, she said. “I’m going to-propose! It will be heavenly. AJ! You are awesome!”

A thousand unsaid words volleyed by my mind. I could say them even now.
“Obviously! Go get him!”, I said instead. I shall never learn.

– — –
The shadows on my wall faded as the mobile screen dimmed out. What would I do without AJ? Pushing away the quilt, I got up and walked towards the mirror. A weary face stared back at me, straight hair streaking the sides of my pale, tear-stained cheeks with a background of light orange from the rising sun.

But what if he says no? Am I worth it? … Is he worth it? He likes me. Everyone likes him.

Go get him! AJ’s words echoed. Maybe I should… I will!

I had to make a plan. This had to be spectacular. It took me the better part of the morning to finalize what I needed to do.

I typed out a text message to Nik:

‘Heyy! Come to the Mariner’s Memorial at 4 tomo. Wear that red shirt I gave you. xoxo’

My thumb paused before touching the send icon. I looked up and saw bright daylight streaming through the curtains..

Go get him!
The message was delivered.

I reached Westland at around 3:30pm that afternoon. Inside, I saw AJ with his head low, staring at a mug of black coffee. I went up to him. “AJ! You look bad, what’s up?”

He looked up, dazed; as though I had rudely interrupted a dream. “Eh, just a hurting head. You think the music here is a bit too loud today?”

Apart from the fact that he abhors EDM, there wasn’t anything different about the music here. “No, music is just the same! What’s bothering you?” He got up. “Just a bad day I guess. A walk along the shore should cure it. I’ll be right back!” he said, paying for the coffee.

“AJ, I’ll come with you.”

He looked away and hesitated. “Umm no Sam, just me this time. And I’m guessing Nik will be here soon? Have fun, I’ll join y’all.” he said, turning away, through the door, and towards the shore. Wonder what happened to him!

Brushing away the thought, I took out a sticky note and scribbled on it. It’s a big day today!

– — — –
It’s not unusual to get a message from Sam at 6 in the morning. But a message like this is something that I wasn’t used to. Sure she can be spontaneous but this was out of the blue. And she didn’t even explain why either!

It was half past 3 and I started towards the Memorial, wearing the red shirt just as she had asked. The Memorial – a grand old tribute to the sailors who had given their lives for the Great Battle of 1809; it’s lawns were the envy of the country; it’s fountain shows the envy of the world.

It was a wonderful day; strong breeze with the salt high in the air. It was 4 and I looked around for Sam. She was late.

Teens playing soccer, elders playing tennis, our Mr. Guitar strumming away for his buck. 4:20 and I get a message, ‘I am not coming. Let’s play a game. Find me ;)

Sam! What did she expect me to do? I walked around, looking for a note or a sign. Nothing.
20 mins passed by, I kept pacing up and down the lawn. It took me a while to realise something was amiss.
Each time I passed by Mr. Guitar, he would change his tune and after I pass by him, he’d change back to the old. So I went close to him, and listened. He winked and sang his new tune. It went like this:

“Ooh! Won’t you come?
Come, look beside, the crashing brine?
And see the neptune clutching,
our towering treble of shale?
Ooh won’t you, come…find me?”

A riddle? This, I had not expected. She knew I relished a brain teaser.
Crashing brine… Ok the sea. The neptune holding a treble of shale? Treble of shale. So there are 3 rocks?
Neptune? Not the planet, obviously. What else? Roman god? No, Greece! Sea… Poseidon! 3 rocks. Poseidon’s trident.

She wants me to go to Trident Rocks!

I got up, satisfied, gave Mr. Guitar a hug and some cash and bolted towards the Trident.

I reached the Trident, magnificent cliffs watching from behind as waves crashed onto this natural rock formation. I looked around. It took me a while but behind a giant sandcastle, written using pebbles and seaweed was “WESTLAND BB ^_^”.

And off I scooted to the place where I first met Sam, the Bulletin Board at Westland.

– — –
Back at Westland, I ordered a sandwich to go. Sam had gone home, she wasn’t around here anywhere. Wonder what she did about the proposal issue. The call early that morning had shaken me up considerably.

I walked towards the Bulletin Board; I had heard rumours that Metallica was visiting the city and if they were, Westland would surely have posted it up. I scanned the board, in vain. But I did stumble upon a post-it note which seemed interesting.

‘Tired? It’s almost over!
I’m at the house of the sailors’ guardian. Find me ;)

What seemed interesting was that, the handwriting was very, very familiar. I looked again. Sam!

The house of sailors’ guardian? The Lighthouse? She needs to work on her riddles, dear Sam! I made my way towards the Lighthouse.

A lone tomato-less club sandwich awaited in vain on a clean granite counter.

The Lighthouse was tall, red, iconic, and non-functional. Non-functional because after building it, the brilliant engineers realised that no ship could ever see its light.

It was deserted on the outside but the door was left ajar. Sturdy stone steps spiralled upwards, leading to the glass dome. I paced up and almost reached the huge stone doorway to the dome; I heard whispers. I crept up behind the door and strained to listen. A sudden, short shriek pierced the heavy air.

“It took me a year, I couldn’t wait. I-I, how was the game?”

“Sam! I never-Wow, you’re amazing!”

“Nik, this is not easy for me to say-I… Nik, would you…?”

“Oh gosh, a ring. Samiksha… Yes, damn get up you!”

I climbed down the stairs as they did what couples do after a proposal. All the way down.

– — –
A blustery breeze swept over the shore as I sat at the cliff-edge, gazing at the Trident being mauled by the savage waves of the sea. Mauled.

This can’t be happening. Not to me. She definitely would have seen how much I care for her.
Two seagulls, one with blue stripes, other black, stood at the edge, pecking and flapping wings at each other.

How could she not? I have been with her through thick and thin! How dare she do this to me?The Black manages to out-peck his adversary. Blue backs away as Black flies over and flaunts his scars to his mate. The Blue looks over at Black, squawking weakly.

I’d give anything … anything to be with her. Is there any point in all that time spent with her?Black nestles close to his mate, their heads resting on each other.

My thoughts were interrupted by the buzzing of my phone. ‘Sam xD’. A couple of seconds passed by before I picked up that call.

“AJ, AJ! I have so much to tell you!”, an exuberant voice relayed from the other side.

A huge sigh escapes me. “Sam! Tell me all about it!”

I guess in the end, it was all meant to be.
I got up to leave. Blue shrugged and flew away.

< — – — – — >
Sreedeep Sreekanth (@sreesquared)
Shweta Srinivasan (@GleeBee_)

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From a Window Seat.

Silver wings dazzling under the golden sun. Hundreds watch, enraptured by the flying machine’s allure. A hundred more wait inside, first timers chanting with prayer beads, the experienced fast asleep. It moves. Its lethargic start beguiles open-eyed onlookers. Black rubber pushes back ash tarmac at an ever-increasing pace. Buildings begin to blur into each other, each pebble sending considerable shock waves. You feel a sudden plunge in your stomach; the engine groans against the strain.

As the desert land slips away beneath you, you see your altitude on the screen; your heart rate syncs with the ascent. You see the horizon sloping down, dwarfing the dominating cityscape you know and love, giving way to untamed rocky terrain. Flying low, brown peaks are seen amidst the raging sandstorm, the land easing into miles upon miles of hot sand. In a blink of an eye, this rippling stretch of sand blends seamlessly into deep rippling water. The vast golden land meets the wide blue sea.

I'm a dreamer. I have to dream and reach for the stars, and if I miss a star then I grab a handful of clouds. - Mike Tyson

I’m a dreamer. I have to dream and reach for the stars, and if I miss a star then I grab a handful of clouds. – Mike Tyson

No longer flying low, you see white wisps just above you. A moment later, you are above them; towering over the clouds you once dreamed of reaching. Bright blue as far as the eye can see. Hills of bulbous cumulonimbus tower over plateaus of dark stratus clouds. As you ascend, you see vast plains of white and the islands of blue rising and falling in this albescent expanse.

The sun sets; the sky is filled with a profusion of dark hues. Another timezone, gradients of blue separated by a line of orange. Tenebrous clouds rumble as they merge into each other; the captain informs of mild turbulence. The Royce cuts through the clouds nonchalantly, humming a sustained tune to itself, ignorant of the swirling storm outside. You look down to see multitudes of green cutting into swaths of sea.

Over the next hour; the altitude steadily but slowly decreasing, all you see are the lights and lamps of India from inside. Soon you glimpse a lighthouse and the iconic long stretch of the Marina. You realise ecstatically that you’ve reached your destination. Seeking clearance to land, you circle the great waters of the Marina, spotting boats and ships floating placidly on the Bay of Bengal. Within minutes, you rapidly descend; your heart-rate rises once again when you recollect that most accidents happen while landing. You hold your breath when the tires screech on impact, massive brakes working to slow your rapid pace. The Royce groans one last time before it says goodbye. The captain confirms the successful landing. Seconds later, you’re parked and everyone gets up frenetically to get their luggage. Air hostesses smile and everyone departs single file.
Life goes on.

Arrival. Chennai.

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Rebirth – 55 word story

Intense white light crowds his vision as the last breath escapes. It floats above, sucked in by the radiance as it tries to stay within. Psychedelic hues overlay woeful visions of the past, voices yearning justice. Sins overload senses; lights, whispers fade to black silence. Crisp light blurs and focusses onto a new world. Rebirth.

Is iOS7 really taking us back to the future?


Author gets it spot on.
It is mostly why I dislike iOS.


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Originally posted on InsightsWise:

(Image Source: www.Gizmodo.com)

(Image Source: http://www.Gizmodo.com)

As is the case with most things Apple, last week’s iOS7 launch led to polarizing reactions from the tech world at large – and whether you loved the new operating system to bits or hated its guts, you will likely find it hard to ignore all the ado. Apart from the fact that it was launched by Apple in their widely-followed annual Worldwide Developer Conference week; the key reason behind all the negative / positive hullabaloo is that this is not just any visual revamp – this is an intentional, and paradigm shift in design philosophymade by a company that is synonymous with great design and one that can rightfully be referred to as a pioneer that introduced aesthetics to the world of technology.

I do believe that Apple introduced the concept of design to everybody from the top to the bottom of the value chain…

View original 1,126 more words

Men of Steel.

*Warning: Movie spoilers ahead.*
*Above warning not nearly as strong as when I wrote on The Dark Knight Rises*
*Not an impartial review. All views are personal.*
— — –

Ever since Rises, people were waiting for the next superhero to capture their attention.
Yes, Iron Man came for the 3rd time and knocked us off our socks with its Iron Legion demo. But there was something missing.

“It’s not an ‘S.’ Where I’m from it’s a symbol of hope.”

On June 12th, I was at the premier show of Man of Steel. And yesterday I saw it again, in IMAX*.
Now I don’t usually watch movies twice at the theatre. That happens only if one of those times the ticket was free (Premier show folks!).

Was this worth the wait? .
Among all the heroes, the Man of Steel is perhaps the most unfortunate (Green Lantern and Daredevil is not counted. Sorry folks, I’m talking about the ones that matter :P )
Does anyone really remember 2006’s Superman Returns? No? Neither do I.
Unlike Batman, Ironman or even Spiderman, Clark Kent’s story had never really ignited the box office or our imagination.

Man of Steel is a beautiful homage to the origins of Superman. Breathtaking 3D visuals of Krypton, good set-pieces and an ever awesome Russell Crowe immerses you into the turmoil faced by the Kryptonians. Zack Snyder, the diro, shows very well how young Clark struggled to come to terms with his powers; how the witnesses to his exploits called it ‘divine intervention'; how his adoptive dad tells him, quite rightly that people fear what they do not understand.  His adoptive parents (Costner and Diane Lane) do justice to their roles. (Espcially Diane. The mother-son moments were really well done!)

Henry Cavill looks the role and although a bit rigid at times, has a dignified and calm air about him. Except when he’s screaming and wailing. Which he does twice I think.

All is well till the last 45 minutes of the movie. And then Snyder loses it.
Superman’s Super Punch Line is : “You’re a monster Zod. And I’m going to kill you.” Whoosh! Boom! (You’d expect something more Super after all that really.)

What ensues is total chaos where Superman goes about, ripping Downtown Metropolis into smithereens as he fights to ‘subdue’ the villain, Zod. Zod too has all the powers of Superman, just minus the conscience .
Buildings upon building crumble as these two duke it out. It just seemed totally pointless. Beautiful, but pointless.
And there’s a spoofy scene with 3 Daily Planet people do some funny survival stuff. I don’t know why that was there. Humanity unites during a crisis? I dunno.

And in the end he does kill Zod. In such a movie, you’d expect a grand exit. The villain should die spectacularly. But what happens is a simple Snap, Crackle, Pop, Drop. *Cue wailing by the Man of Steel + mandatory hug by the girl, Lois Lane* (Amy Adams btw I found to be quite pretty). And that ends it.

I overheard quite a number of people saying “Why didn’t he just kill the villain when he was struggling to breathe on Earth?” (Some 90 minutes into the movie)
He could have. And he would have prevented the carnage that followed. What people do not understand is the ethics by which Superman fights by. To not kill. It wasn’t highlighted too well, people were left clueless. It didn’t help that he destroyed half a city either.

So back to the question, was it worth it? Yes and No.
Although the Super part of it was not greatly handled, the Man part was taken quite sublimely (Kudos to Nolan. I guess he disappeared at the end of the script!).

I loved the music, it was peppy and fit the movie perfectly. When you’ve Hans Zimmer, it’s tough to go wrong I guess!
And there were nice touches like a truck having the name LexCorp on it, despite the fact that Lex Luthor had nothing to do with the storyline. Hint to the future? I hope so!
— — –

Now to make things clear, I am not a Superman fan. (The Dark Knight, ftw!) I have always found him a bit boring. I mean, punching a guy to win used to be called bullying :P
But this movie finally gave some cinematic weight to the iconic superhero.

I am waiting for the next one. And then hopefully a Justice League movie. With Batman. Directed by Nolan.

One can dream :D
— — –

*If the movie is running on IMAX screens and you have an IMAX screen nearby then see it in IMAX. The experience is pretty darn awesome. Trust me.
— — –



Relentless in its pace.
Ruthless in its execution.
Reckless in its being.
Oblivious; it moves on.

Boundless in its excesses.
Thoughtless in its retribution.
Ageless in its experiences.
Regal, it moves on.

Tireless in its patience.
Mindless in its hate.
Endless in its love.
Impartial, it moves on.

However merciless it may be,
We all must live through.
Many crumble; some live on,
Live on for name or shame.
Regardless, the wheels turn.
Match its flow, if you can,
For, unchained, life moves on.

~Sreedeep Sreekanth

– — –
A scribble while on a flight from Chennai to Dubai.