Thursday, June 11, 2009

Keep-alive Post

In networking, when A and B are talking a protocol, typically, besides exchanging a bunch of information mandated by the protocol, they exchange frequent meaningless small sized hellos. This is a keep-alive mechanism. When A doesn't hear from B for a threshold time, it decides to forget all about B, and cleans up anything that it picked up from B. If and when B comes back up, it has to start from scratch and re-establish everything with A, which is expensive. This is a keep-alive post.

When i was leaving chennai, I imagined myself two months hence, standing in the balcony of a studio apartment, drinking coffee, and missing the flurry of activities that the view from my Mandaveli balcony had offered me, and the goodness of the coffee i would have been drinking back home. I was wrong on two counts. In my head, the view from my studio's balcony was a lot prettier. In reality i get a panaromic view of a grim black floored parking lot. And you do get decent coffee powder to make good filter coffee with ('Barefoot coffee', thank you).

A shoulder injury from a nasty fall i had, playing ultimate back in Jan, is keeping me out of any kind of action, which is a big time bummer. Met a chinese physio, who referred me to a chinese doctor who would refer me back to the chinese physio, so that the non-chinese insurers would pay for my treatment. Why are these things so complicated?! And the doctor's name is Ooyang. I never thought i'd have to see a doctor who called himself Ooyang. For me Ooyang would be a ping-pong player or a martial arts expert. A Dr. Ram Prasad or Dr. Sundar is more like it. I hope it all ends happily ever after with me throwing a disc or playing in the Milpitas table tennis circuit or both. For lack of anything else to do, and the relative scarcity of cubicle conferences about inane things, i actually managed to do more work in the past 2 months, than the preceding 4-5 months in Chennai. My boss in chennai is probably reading this, but i guess he knows this without my having to tell him!

Life has been as boring as this post, if not more. But i did attempt to 'do' a few things. Like watching a baseball game live in Oakland stadium (and getting terribly bored). And seeing a bunch of folks dressed in weird outfits, or none at all, and running or walking an 8 mile stretch, in what is called 'Bay to breakers'. There was so much weirdness that by the end of it normal looked very interesting. And i was wondering what drove people to do all this. Then i paid sizeable money to watch herbivores from africa like goats and cows (there was the occasional sleeping tiger or docile rhino thrown in), with a white lady working extra hard to make it all seem interesting. Since the animals weren't interesting enough, she spoke about the Jeep we were riding in, and about it's association with WWII. I could only think of the Bisons and Bears and Banded Kraits and the Elephants spotted in the wild during treks in Perambikulam and Himalayas.

In an attempt to make life better, i bought a shiny new old car in 2 hours' time(inclusive of search, 'analysis' and the actual purchase, i am pretty quick and stupid with such things actually). Thanks G for the ride and all the knowledgable questions and the negotiation.

I guess coming here as a curious excited impressionable 21 year old is a lot different from coming here as a more grounded 30 year old. When you see everything in order, working like clock work, you don't go "Wow! It's all so organized. When will India be like this?". Instead you go "Can these guys survive even a minor entropy?", and actually take pride in the presence of some coherence in all that clamour back home. And when you see the ever friendly smiles and the waving hands, you wonder if the smiles will become grimaces and the waving hands would become clenched fists when excesses turn into scarcity. I give it to them for building this kind of order and discipline, but i can't help wondering what would happen if that order is shaken up by an external event. An average driver is not equipped to handle an unexpected car that strays from it's lane. Extrapolating it to other aspects of life is scary.

I am hoping to make this a worthwhile stay, and try and live out some interesting experiences for the time i am here. Let's see how it goes...