On Relationships

Statutory Disclaimer: I don’t know anything I’m
talking about, and even if some of these make
sense, it’s definitely local wisdom. Don’t go
applying this all over the world. People differ,
their attitudes differ.

Begin:

I suppose a side-effect of knowing many people
is that you experience lots of different things.
That leads to some of your ideas crystallizing
into definite thoughts, and losing a lot of
misconceptions. These past two months of my life
have been very eventful. Unforgettable. A Learning
Experience. I was asked out (to which I said a
very polite no), two of my closest friends are
going through relationship-hell, I’ve been
talking about this to DP a lot, and one close
friend asked me very seriously in class, “How do
you go about talking to girls?” It is then,
perhaps natural that I’d like to write down
something about relationships.

Of the romantic variety. Or those flavors which
are somewhere in between, in confused, muddled
waters. I can’t state this authoritatively, but
I’m sure a fifth of my college-mates are in a
relationship. Of those, around 95% don’t
survive the real world. The question, of course,
is whether to
take the plunge. While tales of bitter breakups
and broken hearts, and scary stories of first-love
-gone-bad-life-wrecked-people abound, I’ll
definitely say that you should. How do you know
you’ve met the right girl if you haven’t met the
wrong one? ๐Ÿ™‚

If you like a
girl, do let her know. Rejections are a part of
life. Some girls learn to do it well (as a
corollary, some guys learn to take it well), and
you can remain friends for life. Unless you’re a
full-blown jerk (and sometimes even then) every
girl is flattered when you make her understand
you’re interested in her. Don’t let her convince
you otherwise. And I’ve known guys who have gone
to the ends of the earth to make a ‘No’ ‘Yes’.
Some of them have succeeded. Is doing something
like that worth the effort? Maybe. If you are sure
you can make the ‘No’, something along the lines
of ‘Yes, oh god, Yes!’ ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’ll advise you to give
it a shot. But no does mean a no. Don’t
assume.

Follow through on your proposal. The worst things
to do is lose interest after a while, so be really
sure this is somebody you like. Think of her first,
put yourself second. Do you honestly think she’d be
better off with you? Are you going away somewhere
else after a while leaving her hanging, you jerk?
Unless you’re sure, be her friend, that works out
best in the long-run.

How do you test the waters? How do you find
girls who are interested in you? It is not hard.
There are lots of girls around. Be interesting
yourself. Cultivate humility, good manners, some
measure of talent, and conversational skills. Try
to make her laugh. Be attentive. Be assertive, not
a bully. Don’t listen to everything she says. Have
your principles. And, don’t be desperate for her
to fall for you, that’s probably the biggest turn-
off.

What if you just want to have fun? What if you
don’t want anything serious, just a casual fling?
Nothing lasting, just some ephemeral joy. The
first rule perhaps is that there is a cost to
everything. Nothing comes cheap. When people get
to know each other first, that’s perhaps the best
time of the relationship. Both are on their best
behavior, because both want to impress. After a
while, familiarity leads to those self-imposed
rules relaxing. When you get into a relationship
with the intent of having ‘just fun’, those rules
relax much earlier. This, more often than not,
leads to an explosive breakup. But that’s okay
with you, isn’t it? ๐Ÿ™‚ Nothing comes without
emotional baggage. I know friends of both genders
who thought they could handle a casual fling, and
who couldn’t. It’s tough to accept another man
having a go at ‘your’ girl, but wise men do learn
to move on. Oh, but at the same time, I know
people who have three girlfriends at a time
and are insanely happy about it. (Lesson:
people are different, figure out which category
you fall into).

Another oft-quoted dilemma is the Women-are-
from-Venus conundrum. “Who can understand them,
man?” Well, you don’t necessarily need to
understand them to love them. It’s very true that
girls think differently. They have different
priorities (looks, attitude, appearances, ego, are
some which I and many men don’t understand) and
different interests, but find a girl whose core
values (not “We both hate Will & Grace”, but “We
both think money is not so important”) are the
same. That helps, but is not a surefire method for
longevity.

One other thing perhaps, is to always be
yourself. Don’t make her think you are somebody
else. (White)Lies like that never
survive. Do believe that you are special and you
deserve someone special. Also have the ability to
make her feel special ๐Ÿ™‚

(And that is probably enough of Vishnu playing
a censored Dr. Ruth. Hope this’ll help somebody) ๐Ÿ˜‰

I need a Recharger phenomenon

The I need a Recharger Phenomenon

The I need a Recharger phenomenon is not new. As part of a build up to this post, I even wrote a poem on it, but it deserves a topic of its own, and it’s something I’ve been meaning to write for a while now.

This first came to my attention when Sanjay, Sony and Vivek came down one day to “talk”. It’d been a while since we had hung out and we all found cosy places on my chair & bed, leaning over each other, legs all over the place and what not. Then, Sanjay’s phone beeped, he picked it up and his hands twittered over the keys as he started messaging. Soon, part of his attention was occupied by the shiny metallic buttons but our conversation continued unchanged. Sony’s phone started insistently vibrating, and he picked up a call, and then somehow it was my turn to make a call. Vivek soon followed suit. Yeah, for the better part of an hour or two, we did “talk”, but with different people ๐Ÿ™‚

Then of course there is the consistent hogging of a mobile recharger. Ambrosia, the joint that we hang out at is prefered by many because it keeps a stock of mobile rechargers. The unhealthily feature-full mobiles that we carry drain a lot of power – especially if you talk around 2-3 hours a day – so that when we chill out, our mobiles need to juice up too. When friends come over, I have a Nokia & Sony Ericsson recharger handy; borrowing and lending of rechargers is common and everybody is advised to bring a recharger along when you go along for a trip (or you’ll miss the daily dose of your favorite wireless device). Of course, this problem may be solved when the near-mythical fuel cell finally comes along, but the underlying phenomenon remains unchanged. DP [my mentor, teacher and friend who’s been featured far too long in this blog without an introduction – something that I’ll correct soon perhaps with a proper Cast of Characters] will call this harmful and impersonal communication and whatnot, but I’ll think of it as something interesting to observe.

The photo shows Pranav talking on his ancient cell, with Sony in the background doing… much the same thing. ๐Ÿ™‚

GPL and Commercial Services: Questions

This post is more in the tone of thinking-out-loud and asking for opinions and comments than my usual discourse. As for why this post is here and now, I’ll leave that for later, when some ideas are more mature.

The GPL – for people who need that background – is a copyleft license that essentially invokes four conditions as a premise for freedom (quoting the wikipedia GPL article):

  • the freedom to run the program, for any purpose.
  • the freedom to study how the program works, and modify it. (Access to the source code is a precondition for this)
  • the freedom to redistribute copies.
  • the freedom to improve the program, and release the improvements to the public. (Access to the source code is a precondition for this)

In a commercial environment, such freedoms more often than not do not allow making money out of a GPL-ed venture. The traditional sell, hold Intellectual Property (IP), and ensure market dominance strategy does not work out because any client can excercise eir freedom and release your work to the public. While customers can hold you to an NDA, the reverse is never true. Your intellectual property can be squandered with disdain, and this is in a sense, understandable, because GPL and its ideology precludes “ownership” of information, and hence does not understand that term.

I am not a GPL guy (and never will be) – the BSD/MIT license is more my personal taste – but I respect the safety-net provisions in the GPL and understand why those provisions are in place. In any coding community – Drupal for instance being a small microcosm – there are developers who work long and hard at their code. They do have a right to expect somebody else using their code to contribute something back. [Digression: the point I contend is that such a contribution should be enforced – I strongly believe that people when left alone, are essentially good-at-heart and will contribute back anything that they can, and any perceived shortcomings of the BSD/MIT license for not including this clause does not stand up to even evil corporates: the most elegantly designed OS ever (perhaps) is built on a free license, and it contributes something back too]. But since I understand the reason behind the clauses, when I do business with GPL-ed software, I would like to respect its provisions, and still find a way to make money.

Questions

  1. Supposing my company is asked to make an accounting solution for a client, and I use an opensource software as the base, but add in my own customizations. My customizations do not stand alone, and therefore, can’t be licensed under a separate, more constricting license. Taking into consideration the IP issues mentioned above, what is the best business model for me to pursue in this instance? How do I make money off GPL? Read [1], [2], [3], and [4], analyze, ponder, brainstorm and decide.

  2. How does a totally hosted-solution figure into the picture? Supposing my product is a totally internally hosted solution, like say, Basecamp (but of course, based on opensource technologies), am I violating the GPL by making my customizations “available” to my clients without providing the source? Specifically, I’d like a clear distinction between “using” a program and distributing it – the GPL (at least, version 2) does not seem to give a clear picture regarding hosted web services.

    It’s interesting to note what the GPL FAQ says about the issue: (Is making and using multiple copies within one organization or company “distribution”?)

    No, in that case the organization is just making the copies for itself. As a consequence, a company or other organization can develop a modified version and install that version through its own facilities, without giving the staff permission to release that modified version to outsiders.

    However, when the organization transfers copies to other organizations or individuals, that is distribution. In particular, providing copies to contractors for use off-site is distribution.

    Note that, for a hosted solution, there is no transfer of copies of the program, it remains under internal control. So, in this case, is it both legal and ethical to customize a GPL-ed program without releasing the source?

    If it doesn’t violate the letter of the GPL, it certainly seems to violate the spirit. There is no way to know the “inner workings” of the program, neither is there a way to tweak it.

  3. As an addition to 1 above, find out how companies on Opensource models survive. From Redhat, to the near and dear Linuxense.

Conclusion: I definitely do want to use GPL (and even BSD) to do business, but I’m still deciding how exactly to go about it, and what constitutes a sustainable revenue model.

Love; again

I had a pretty interesting discussion with DP yesterday, and I should say a few words about it. I hereby proclaim myself an inexperienced expert on love, and warn that all my words should be taken with a grain of salt.

When you do fall in love with a person, as happens to around a guesstimate ten thousand people every day, it is interesting to analyze what happens to you. I’m not talking about testosterone weds oestrogen – they are important just superficially – what happens inside your crazy little head? What are you thinking, putting another person’s happiness before yourself? Why are you so infatuated, so bloody well in love with hir?

Since love is by definition crazy and inexplicable, I seek not to answer that question. Perhaps though, all of us are intrinsically very lonely people and we just need to love to get some sanity into our world. The issue on the table though is that if love happens once, and then is lost (death, indifference, or plain cruelty) can it happen again? Should it happen again?

DP remarks on the callous youth, and how every now and then, one or the other of her students seem to just so easily move on after being scorned or just breaking up and moving on to other people. Is that then what they had love? Can true love ever happen twice? Interestingly enough, she says yes to both those questions, so I find her position contradictory and yet infinitely understandable.

My uninteresting prose will now give way to Byron’s poetry:

In her first passion, a woman loves her lover,
in all the others all she loves is love.

I intepret those words (still remaining gender neutral) thusly: When you love the very first time, when you hear and see a person who you know deep down in your bones is just so right for you, when you think with your heart and soul and find happiness in being with that person, you find love. If you lose that love – that lover – you’re crushed and broken and despondent. But every time you see a candidate you seek in hir those qualities that you adored and worshipped and wished you had again.

That is, so to say, you love being loved… Again, and again.

Special Friends

This is a very sensitive topic, sensitive mostly cause it’s personal, and so I’m reluctant to write this here. I have a policy (since time immemorial) to keep this blog as less personal as I can. While I’ve deviated along the way, mostly this blog has been about philosophical connivings that have little to do with the outer me. The inner me is well… weird enough that it needs rants (like this) to vent off some ill-used steam.

Anyways, this topic has been preoccupying me for some time now. So I’ll start, as usual, with a definition.

No first, the etymology. This phrase wasn’t coined by me… I first heard it out of DP (aah, another character who’s had but a brief mention in the blogs here, and yeah well… for reasons mentioned above, it’ll stay that way), so I’ll attribute it’s origin to her. However, I’m sure, the concept existed way before she first so elegantly put it into words.

A special friend, is of requirement one of the opposite gender (oh, unless you’re homosexual, in which case, it’s necessarily one of the same gender) who walks the fine line between a friend, a beloved, and a sibling. She’ll stray between those lines a lot, often enough and far enough that these distinct relationships will blur and blur more until you’ll never be able to figure out any fitting defintion. You’ll love such a person… obviously: you’ll be genuinely fond of her, you’ll be proud of her, you’ll adore her, you’ll take care of her, you’ll want to hug her sometimes; you’ll laugh and cry with her, and you’ll try your best never to not lose contact with her. Like Dil Chahta Hai says about a particular relationship: it’s something that cannot be put into words, but which becomes so so important to you.

On the surface, the phenomenon may look like a fabulous (fleeting) infatuation rolled into fondness and some grounds for friendship, and for doubters, it can never be proved otherwise, but you should be able to realize love when you see it ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m not a person with many close friends, but I’m pretty sure I’ve never had a ‘special friend’ until a few months ago. And just for feeling what I feel now, I’m insanely grateful that I have her.