Wednesday, October 31, 2007


I generally don't do any travelogues but since I haven't been up to much off-late (read, absolutely nothing) and had a chance to visit Varanasi, I felt I should scribble my thoughts on the travel and the city in general. I always had the wish to visit Varanasi as I had never been there before; it's one of the oldest continually populated cities of the world & as Mark Twain put it:

Varanasi is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together.

I guess the biggest charm of Varanasi are the river Ganges , the ghats (steps to the river), the temples and the yogis (some real; some fake)! The first thing that I noticed after (while) arriving at Varanasi was the chaos of the city: the amount of traffic in the narrow lanes is simply killing! I don't know how local people have gotten used to so much of traffic; there's no dirth of locals and add to that the huge hoards of tourist who visit the city every day! I was also a bit surprised by the number of tourists from foreign country who flock this city; perhaps; Varanasi and its glimpse of (very) old indian history intrigue people from far off land. Ghats are again full of people but have some kind of calmness about them, maybe it's due to the calm Ganges that flows alongside the entire city. A morning walk along the ghats and exploring the ganges on a boat during the evening (along with the aarti on the dashashvedh ghat at 6:30) are something that I would recommend any would-be-visitor. All in all, a nice trip with some good experiences and memories of the holiest city in Hinduism. Would I recommend a visit to this city? sure, yes; you need to visit Varanasi once no matter where you are from but just keep in mind it might be a little shocking to begin with.

There are a lot more places that I need to go next in India, hopefully am gonna cover them all one by one. After my visit, I don't think I could have agreed with Mark Twain more!

By the way, the photo pile was not done using Picasa; more on that in some other post

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

School days

Many moons ago, when I was still flirting with GW Basic et al in school, we had a computer teacher; who would always come up with what we used to call "crazy" problems. I don't think most of her students had enough brain powers then; to write those programs (and I doubt, most of them; including myself; have the requisite brain powers even now)! One problem which always has bugged me is this:
Given a positive integer, find the series of lower integers which add up to it. Here's an example:
assume the given positive integer is 5, so the series of lower integers will be:
  • 1+1+1+1+1
  • 1+1+1+2
  • 1+1+3
  • 4+1
  • 2+2+1
  • 3+2
  • 1+4
IIRC, none of her students were able to solve this problem, and I don't think it was even possible in GW Basic, cause most of the series problems generally require recursion (maybe, you can implement recursion in Basic using labels and Go To). Now, that I do know quite a few languages which allow recursions and have more brain powers, I still haven't been able to solve this problem (granted; I never really spent too much time on it). Anyway, I'll take the lazy way out and see if anyone reading this is interested enough in taking this as his/her weekend project.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Of butterflies and flowers...

Off-late, I have started taking interest in a bit of gardening and the butterflies that frequent the nectar-flowers; maybe I have just too much of spare time at hands! The baby butterflies seem to have a liking to the purple Zinnia flower, I can almost always see 3-4 butterflies munching on it. The bigger yellow butterflies love a red flower (I don't know the name of the flower plant) that blooms daily and the marsh marigolds. The more colored ones seem to like the Crepe Jasmine, though they don't stay/sit on it for too long. I also read somewhere that butterflies like the Hibiscus family's flowers, but even though I have 3 Hibiscus family plants; I don't see any butterfly sit on its flower for too long.
Maybe, I should plant a lilac (butterfly bush) to attract more and more but then it's gonna be winters soon, so all of 'em gonna disappear anyway.