Friday, August 29, 2008


I take great comfort in the knowledge that the 2.5 people that read this blog don't know much about me, including and not limited my name. Comforting thought, for some reason I consider knowledge of my name very personal. Go figure. This allows me to indulge in thoughtless talk, trash amounting to slander, and stupidity - troves of it. I love cryptography, and there's a concept of private and public key pairs. A public key is for everyone to know - say your email ID. Private key is uh, private - your password for that email ID. People can send you emails to your public key, but no one can read them since you won't distribute your password. Okay? Of course that's a bad explanation, but take it for now. Now, for many people, their names are their public keys, and thoughts are private (how I envy them). But I like using my name as the private key. Few people actually know me. Many people have heard of me, mainly because word goes around about my foul temper and forever politically incorrect, abusive, abrasive comments. And all this in real life, of course. Joy. The practice is somewhat reversed in blog life though, many people write a lot and use the nice screen of anonymity as a shield. I'm no different. Moral of the story - I'm not telling my name.

Anyway time for a little trip down the memory lane. My(our?) old house was built in this badly planned compound in the days of super big joint families (how long ago was 1913?), It had 2 big houses with a reasonably sized open space in between. On the east side of the property, there were 3 really small single bedroom "outhouses", which for some weird reason, were built a good 5 feet blow the rest of the property. They got flooded like hell, had weak walls, whatever. I loved my compound. It helped I was the only male kid in the block and got crap loads of attention from a predominantly sexist grandparent generation. Before teenage angst and all that, I used to cycle in my compound - a LOT. In the open space, in the driveway (a modern addition), on this 5 feet wide passage which ended in steps down to the outhouses. The passage was at right angles to the yard, and I'd always try to see how fast I could take the turn. One day, on the eve of Diwali, I pushed the speed a bit too far. I'd like to add Ludlum-esque action description to this, but, the facts are boringly simple. I was going too fast, didn't turn well, was heading straight for a thorny plant, so took another miserable deviation. Soon, I was over the edge of the passage and I still remember the feeling, knowing that rear wheel was on terra-firma and my front wheel was dangling mid-air 2 feet above the ground, 5 seconds away from impact. Impact - I was hurled out my seat and fell face first. Stuck my hands out and had all my weight on the palms. My elbows hurt like hell. I was wailing when they took me to the hospital, and it looked like both arms were broken. But that wasn't the reason I was wailing. Imagine this. You're 10 years old, and what's going to be the highlight of the year starting tomorrow, is potentially cancelled owing to a bad right angled turn. 10 year olds have feelings too. Well, they weren't broken. Right hand was going to be okay (just use Iodex!) - so firecrackers - check. Left arm was worse off, needed sling for 3 weeks. No writing, doing homework for 3 weeks - check. What a great Diwali gift! Pays to have strength in both hands.

Also, sexist grandparent generation bestowed more attention (and tons of food) to their poor hurt male grandchild. It wasn't a bad vacation at all.

PS : Old habits/bad judgement calls die hard. Some 2 weeks ago, took a fast 90 degree left (the same as the bike) with my shiny new 4 month old car at about 50 miles an hour, and hit the curb. Damage - all 4 alloy wheels to be replaced, new front bumper, new front suspension. Go me!


purely-narcotic said...

Ask the women at the coffee shop to donate you a penny every time they snub you. New alloy wheels?New bumper? Nay! new car, honey!

Many people have heard of me, mainly because word goes around about my foul temper and forever politically incorrect, abusive, abrasive comments. And all this in real life, of course.
How big is this town of yours? :P

a million different people said...

I know your name, fool!

And a few other still-anonymous things =)

But we'll let them be. :P

Thanatos said...

@ Narcotic

I have one word for ya - insurance. The town is just of the right size.

@ amdp

Damn, that's right. You're the exception that proves the rule!

Cynic in Wonderland said...

make that 3.5 now.

I like using names as private key too. Actually i even use emails as such. There is the junta email and then there is the select people email.

the sad part is no one cares.sigh.

Thanatos said...

@ cynic


the sad part is no one cares

Ouch. Even when you give them the special ID? I think it's almost safe to assume that everyone has a, making private keys very important indeed.