Friday, April 23, 2010

Prince: After-thoughts

[Acknowledgment: Some of the ideas in this post is by Viswanath who bore this movie in an almost empty theater with me]

Software engineers are a different species altogether. The first noteworthy thing about them is the kind of language they use. They learn to use this "version" of the language to be impressive (as opposed to being expressive) and later on it becomes part of their lexicon. So, every 'problem' becomes an 'issue ' and the lessons learned become 'learnings'. They try to 'leverage ' their 'cross-functional' network to 'access' (instead of get access) the latest updates in their industry. Another characteristic of theirs is that they are 'liquid' - they would change companies more frequently than Shivraj Patil would change his clothes. It becomes very difficult for companies to give the client what they exactly want. Not that the clients are clear on this, but changing hands on the project has impacts on the final outcome. The project becomes similar to the broth spoiled by too many cooks.

Such mundane software engineers decided to make a film. Imagine - how could it be! First, the fascination for on-site made them base the film abroad. Having watched pirated movies like Matrix, Batman, Spiderman, Iron Man, Bourn Identity, etc with subtitles in their desktop when doing their engineering and then in their laptops when working - they added dollops such fight sequences regardless of their connection to the story. Not only these movies, but the action was inspired heavily by Max Pyne - their introduction to computer games (after Road Rash). So, the fight sequences and the location where the movie would be based were decided.

Like most software engineers, the story-writer post had new engineers quitting and joining almost every day. The resultant story was not much different from the software they make. Each engineer gave it the turn he wanted to give. Same was the case with other roles like screenplay. To give you an example - The climax of the movie is a pirated Da Vinci Code treasure hunt sequence. The hero and heroine crack the code and gets to the Holy Grail. Just then the story writer and the screenplay artist quits. To reduce costs, cheap resources were hired without much verification - not only because they wanted to meet the phantom deadline but also because there was no one capable enough to interview them. And the new hires called a LoveSong() function. So, the moment the Holy Grail came to their hand a love song where hero expresses his love to the heroine and vice versa comes!

But that's not it. Software engineers, after all, will be software engineers. So, the plot revolved around the innovation where a person's memory can be read and written into a chip. His brain can be formatted. And at a later point in time, his memory whose dump was taken in a chip can be re-written to the brain. In fact, you can delete certain files from the chip - in which case, when restored from the chip, the person's brain will not have those 'events' in the memory. Imagine if you could delete the memory of KKR's no-semi-finals-qualify hat-trick!

The software engineers try to be as real as possible. Just as you need to reboot your computer for any OS update to take effect, the person after installing an update from the chip to his brain or restoring to a previous restore-point need to sleep. Until he sleeps, he runs on the older brain version. And once he wakes up, he comes up on the newer version. However, the dreams that he may see when he's asleep are undefined - it could correspond to any or none of the software versions.

Attrition happens and an electronics engineer is hired. He thinks that rebooting a machine time and again would degrade the hardware and finally yield the machine dead. So, he adds to the story that the hero would die after six upgrades of his brain!

But one thing remains common across engineers - the dialogue of the movie. Throughout the movie a hook dialogue - "It's show time" - is used. This, perhaps, is like a recurring meeting notice pop up. This keeps reminding you that you are in a movie in case you are wondering 'main kahan hoon'.

3 Idiots is a favorite movie of most engineers as they can connect to its plot.They all want to be anything but engineers. These software engineers working on the movie also liked 3 Idiots. And being innovative that they are, they tried to improve upon it. So, if 3 Idiots showed the use of vacuum cleaner to do child delivery, this movie showed the use to vacuum cleaner to do diamond robbery. Isn't that a useful innovation! Now, while the hero is on-site - picking up diamonds like small pieces of stones with the vacuum cleaner, his offshore partner senses that the security is coming to catch him. He asks him if he should stop the operation - but then the on-site hero says one of the best dialogues in the history of world cinema - "No way. It's show time for plan B". Brilliant. Isn't it? Not only it's a great dialogue but it also has a moral - that one should always have a plan B.

After the robbery, the journalists throng at the site. A CBI officer is going in for investigations where he over-hears a reported rhetorically asking whether there were any locks. Hearing this, the CBI officer, Khan, replies, "Taale sharifon ke liye hote hai, Choro ke liye salakhein hoti hai." Now, isn't that mind-boggling!

The same CBI officer, Khan, tries to trick certain Mr Roy. Mr Roy says, "Khan, Don't act smart." To which, Khan replies, "Roy, But i am smart".

The whole film is filled with such uber cool dialogues.

The movie also conforms to the current Bollywood trend. Apart from the hero and heroine, only one person is shown 'good' in the film. His name is Khan and he is not a terrorist.

Like most engineers, these software engineers are also fan of cool Apple gadgets. So, they name one of the secret agencies as iGRIP!

But then - by jaisi-karni-waisi-bharni rule - a software engineer who copy-pastes others' code shall get his work being copy-pasted by others. After the movie was completed in the true software development method - the software engineers were partying and browsing a banned site. A virus in the form of a cookie (Kookie) Gulati'd (somersaulted) into the machine and uploaded the movie to its server and corrupted the original copy. The engineers got out of the grief of losing their work pretty soon. They, anyway, are used to shelf'ing their project.

This Kookie-uploaded-movie is released as Prince.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Travel: Madhugiri Trek

Warning: This post doesn’t have any analysis, views or opinion.

Last Saturday I went for a trek to Madhugiri. Madhugiri makes a good one-day weekend trip. I couldn’t find all the information in one place on the Net. So, I thought of compiling it. In the rest of the post, I’ll answer the FAQs.

What is Madhugiri?

Madhugiri is a small town in the Tumkur district of Karnataka. It has Asia’s largest monolith and the second largest in the world. On this rock is the Madhugiri Fort. This is the fort we climbed. The fort is initially easy to climb but eventually becomes very steep. After a point it is so steep that there are small ‘poles’ mounted to help in climbing. Just before the top, it is so steep that I couldn’t climb till the top. There is a ‘patch’ where we need to walk horizontally in the incline, i.e., perpendicular to the slant height of the slope. That is what I found the most difficult part and that is from where I retreated. Being a ‘holiday-trekker’ as opposed to professional trekker, I had enough adventure/fun to take that risk.

How to go to Madhugiri?

There are frequent buses from Bangalore (Majestic) to Tumkur. We took a bus at 7:30 am and reached Tumkur at around 9:30 am. If you take an early bus (6:00 am) – then you can get to Tumkur in an hour. At Tumkur, we enquired for the timing of the bus to Madhugiri. They said it was at 10:00 am. We went out of the bust terminal for breakfast. Just on the opposite side of the bus terminal is a local ‘tiffins’ eatery. I liked the masala dosa there. If you, like me, don’t like the ‘red chattney’ in masala dosa, you need to tell them that explicitly. We also packed our lunch and boarded a bus to Madhugiri. We reached Madhugiri around 11:15. The Madhugiri fort is just a few minutes walk from the bus stop. The way to the fort is through Madhugiri court. Once there, you can start climbing. Unlike other forts that I had visited – like Golconda fort in Hyderabad, Daulatabad fort near Aurangabad – Madhugiri fort doesn’t have any entry fee.

What to carry?

Lunch: As I mentioned, we had packed our lunch in Tumkur. However, we found that there were quite a few eateries in Madhugiri. So, carrying lunch is optional.

Water bottle: Unlike in Vaisho Devi or in Shikharji, there are no food and beverage stalls on the fort. So, it’s better to carry a bottle of water per person. You can also carry easy-to-carry snacks (biscuits, chocolates, etc). We didn’t carry any snacks and we didn’t need any snacks :)

Shoes, for good grip: Chapals can carry you to a certain height but not till the top

Goggles/Caps: The fort is on a rock and is not shaded with trees. It’s very arid. Sun shines bright on the fort.

Camera: Apart from the names of unknown lovers inscribed on the fort, you can spot weird shapes in which the rocks have been eroded in, chameleons, etc.

People: Yes. Go in a group of three or more people. This place is safe but it is largely deserted. We couldn’t find any trekkers/tourists while climbing up. We, however, met one group while climbing down.


We climbed down by 2:30 pm. Then we binged on the sugarcane juice, coconut water and cold drink. Having filled ourselves with water, we were in no mood to eat. We slept/rested for about an hour beneath a tree. It was bliss. There are frequent buses from Madhugiri to both Bangalore and Tumkur. However, enquire about the bus timing if you plan to check out the town. We caught a direct-bus to Bangalore at 4:00 pm and reached Bangalore around 7:00 pm.

What was to total expenditure?

The total expenditure for the trip was around Rs. 250 per head.

Since we were very tired after the trek we didn't go to any other place around Madhugiri. If you are interested, there is a blackbuck sanctuary which you can check out. In case you have any other questions, do let me know. Also, do share your experience if you visited Madhugiri and more so, if you could climb to the top.

  © Blogger template 'A Click Apart' by 2008

Back to TOP