Yahoo! Big Thinkers Event

Drafted on: 28th Jan 2011

Yahoo! Big Thinkers Event is organised every quarter and this time on Jan 28th.

The Abstract:
More and more social interactions are migrating online. In this talk we study patterns of such interactions in social applications including email, newsgroups, instant messaging, and microblogging. We address the data mining, modeling, and algorithmic challenges that arise as part of the study.

The speaker explained Interaction and Structural networks.

  1. Interaction Networks are more interesting to study.
  2. Edge exists if two users interact in some manner.

  • Twitter, facebook describes Structural network which is based on the followers.
  • Structural network is based on the objects of interest.

The algorithms were necessary for user conversations such as mailing list, forums, comments, twitter, facebook. Each conversation snippet has an Author, timestamp, content which would attract more users to re-tweet.
The event focussed more on the algorithms used in the social networking sites such as Reply Time Based Model etc..

Like Sneo said here, people were more interested in grabbing the snacks than algorithms which is worth a study.
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The Kite Runner

Drafted on: June 21st '09

Title: The Kite Runner

Author: Khaled Hosseini

ISBN: 1-57322-245-3

Pages: 324

I read this book by Khaled Hosseini after watching the movie, The Kite Runner and also impressed reading his other book, A Thousand Splendid Suns. The story is of two friends, Amir and Hassan, in Kabul, Afghanistan. Amir is the son of rich, whose father has built schools, hospitals in the city while his mother died during his childbirth. She was a professor at a college and a poet too. Hassan, a Hazara boy, is the son of his servant, Ali, who is very close to Amir and would sacrifice himself to protect his master, Amir. Inspired, by his mother's poetry which Amir would read from his own library, would write down short stories and poems. He would read them to his father's close friend, Rahim Khan, who would appreciate but was never appreciated by his father. Yet, "Children aren't coloring books. You don't get to fill them with your favorite colors", Rahim Khan would would comment.
It was a dark little tale about a man who found a magic cup and learned tat if he wept into the cup, his tears turned into pearls. But even though he had always been poor, he had always been poor, he was a happy man and rarely shed a tear. So he found ways to make himself sad so that his tears could make him rich. As the pearls piled up, so did his greed grow. 
The story ended with the man sitting on a mountain of pearls, knife in a hand, weeping helplessly into the cup with his beloved wife's slain body in his arms.
The beautiful story written by Amir to which Hassan replies: "Couldn't he have just smelled an onion?"

Amir's father being an atheist, would always advise him that the biggest sin is to steal, one doesn't become great by following religion. Amir had never done Namaz(prayer).

Hassan had always protected Amir and has been loved equally by his father. His father would buy him same clothes or toys as he would buy for Amir without any discrimination. Hassan could read Amir's mind and know his needs and limitations than himself. Though, he never went to school, could hardly read, his suggestions and advises were remarkable. They would play together. Words were carved on the tree trunk of pomegranate tree with a kitchen knife, " Amit and Hassan: The Sultans of Kabul".

Kite running festival celebrated in Kabul for which Hassan is a kite runner and Amir would always win. Amir is the winner and the kite is cut. Hassan who is also a sling shot expert, brings the kite facing odds from another notorious boy who always hated them. Amir realizes that he is a coward who has always been guarded by Hassan and begins to keep him at a distant!

The war begins with Soviets in Afghanistan, Amir and his father fly to America handing over their ancestral house to Hassan's father to take care. As years pass by, Amir excels in his poetry, marries Soraya. They learn that they can never have children, yet lead a happy marriage.

Soraya's encouragement makes Amir a successful novelist.

One fine day, Amir receives a letter from Rahim Khan who is almost his father's age dying from illness. He wants to meet Amir before he dies. Rahim Khan reveals enduring truth that Hassan was killed along with his wife and he was his father's son; his half-brother. Rahim Khan requests reluctant Amir to rescue Hassan's only son, Sohrab, who was in an orphanage in Kabul where he is made to dance dressed in a women's clothes.

"Thank you very match (much)" says Sohrab when he was rescued by Amir from the orphanage.

The guilt that, Amir couldn't stand for Hassan while he was always protected by him. How he had blamed Hassan for stealing money and wrist watch which he had never stole. Only time his father had cried, pleading Hassan's father not to leave the house for the suspecting Hassan of stealing. He realizes that he had given terrible pain to Hassan. But he was sure that all this would get over soon and he wouldn't have to suffer like this throughout.

Depressed by the fact that he will have to stay in an orphanage run by missionary and betrayal of trust by Amir that he wouldn't fulfill his promise of growing up with them in America, Sohrab cuts his wrist. For the first time after fifteen years, Amir does Namaz hoping to see Sohrab alive. But the little boy remains numb in spite of learning that he would no longer be in an orphanage. Amir tries to convince Sohrab that he would take him to US and he could stay along with them.

Each time, Amir looked at the Hassan's photo and at Sohrab, it reminded him the way he had ill treated him, the truth being Hassan inherited good qualities of their father.

This book made me cry as I finished reading. Khaled Hosseini has written the emotions, grievances, bondage of friendship. True friends always protect at worse times.

© Manasa. All rights reserved.

The Decent Proposal!

A poet-friend of mine who goes by the screen name "SmileWithAni" (Smile with Ani) has written lovely poems and wished I would publish them on my blog on his behalf.

She sat at the table eating an oat,
Speaking words warm as coat,
About her, I can't stop thinking,
Eternity I can see, no blinking.

Thinking of her made me write,
Being with her is ought to be right,
I need to express to her my Love,
But I ask myself, How oh How?

I mayn't show what I write here,
I'm sure one day her heart will hear,
The day will come when I have no fear,
Hope she's not gone but near.

I know it doesn't end with poem,
I need her to build my sweet home,
Truly she is an inspiration,
She made me write in her adoration.

Every time she asks me wazzup?
My eyes go wide like a li'l pup,
I dint write this after a pile,
But hope this makes her for once smile.

Telling this runs the chill thru the spine,
But if she accepts all will be fine,
If she does, we'll wine and dine,
And then forever she'll be mine 'n' me thine.

© SmileWithAni. All rights reserved.

Sapta Sitar

Sapta Sitar

Ustad Bale Khan Memorial Trust and Antara Arts organised mesmerizing Sapta Sitar On Sunday, Feb 13th at JSS Auditorium. Musicians playing Sitar are from the Khan family. Sitar was introduced to South India by the Khan family.

The photo clicked above got published in Deccan Herald. Though, no photo credit was mentioned.

© Manasa. All rights reserved.


Singer M.D. Pallavi along with Layatharanga mesmerizing concert during Kannada Rajyotsava celebrated on November 22nd, at office.

Below: Singer M.D. Pallavi
Singer M.D. Pallavi

Singer M.D. Pallavi

Singer M.D. Pallavi

Singer M.D. Pallavi

Singer M.D. Pallavi
Below: Arun Kumar on Drums
Below: Pramath Kiran

Below: Udupa on Ghatam and Jayachandra Rao on Mridangam



© Manasa. All rights reserved.


ChitraSanthe - Art for All, an event organized on January 30th, Sunday, by Chitrakala Parishat, Kumara Krupa Road, Bengaluru.

Chitra means picture and Santhe means market.

Artists come from all over India, with their creativity captured on canvas, pencil sketches, Tanjore paintings, glass paintings, clay molds which are for sale. You name it, they had it. There are more than 300 stalls. The colorful paintings were indeed a bliss to watch. The event was from 9am to 7pm.

Below: Inside Chitrakala Parishat
Below: Paintings for sale
Below: Paintings for sale

Below: Radha Krishna on the swing made of chalk
Below: Maniature bike made of chalk

Below: The Artist explained that it took 2 glorious years to finish the 
Mantap made of chalk. Each piece of chalk has a carving.

Below: Kirigami, an art of folding paper
Below: Various forms of Indian Classical dance
Below: Pencil sketching

More photos on flickr:

© Manasa. All rights reserved.