Review of the book “Eleven Minutes”

Having read Paulo Coelho’s other books like “The Alchemist” and “Manuscript found in Accra”, I knew that his work won’t disappoint me. “Eleven Minutes” was yet another interesting read from Coelho which was totally gripping till the end.

This book is about a young lady, Maria, who is like every other village girl, to start with, dreaming about future and hoping to have luxuries in life. Only after leaving home, she comes to the realization that life’s full adventures and one should know to how to face and embrace them. She thinks love does’t like her and isn’t for her in this life. She decides to become a prostitute under some circumstances. Like most of the prostitutes, sex is just a job for her, neither enjoying it nor wishing for it. But she meets a young man, with whom she falls in love, realizes that love has its true meaning when you give it the complete freedom. You must read this book to see how beautifully this part was presented.

Coelho certainly knows life and very well knows how to make the reader understand about it. He seems to have done quite some research on sex and he was successful, to some extent, in showing that making love is sacred. The excerpts presented from Maria’s diary are really good.

I really liked the fact that Paulo Coelho wrote this book from a real story. I would recommend to read this book, not to understand about sex, but to understand the adventures of life, what runs in the minds of sex workers, why love is not all about sex though it’s a vital part :)

Happy Independence day!!

My country was the mother of history;
The grandmother of legend, and tradition.

Life was glorious,
In the land of vedas.

But the enemies captured it;
And looted the fabulous wealth.

People have struggled,
To fight for my country.

People have laid down their lives,
To free my mother land.

My people woke up with life and freedom,
On one historical day.

Let every patriot be honored;
Without them, freedom would have died.

Enjoy the colorful life,
In this independent country.

But oh boy! Take the pledge,
That you work to rebuild our nation.

In an effort to repay them.
And fulfill their dreams.

Wisdom for your brain

Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.
—Lao-Tze

A day well spent at the children’s abode

“Hey, what’s your name?” I asked the little boy dressed in half torn night pants.

“Rajini Kanth”, was his answer with a cute smile on his face.

“Oh, you are a super star then”, I smiled.

He just gave a tiny smile in reply.

After a few seconds, “Anna, are you a computer engineer?”, Rajini Kanth asked me curiously.

“Yes”, I said.

“Is becoming a doctor easier than becoming a computer engineer?

“You cannot compare like that, both are different”, was my quick retort.

“Why didn’t you become doctor then?”, he was unstoppable!!

“Do you want to become a doctor?”, I questioned him this time, without answering his question.

“Yes, if my father were alive. He used to tell me that he’d work so hard to help me become a doctor but he’s no more now. I am not thinking about it now”, Rajini turned little sad.

I was speechless for a while because I didn’t know what to say. At that moment, this quote flashed in my mind. “When you want something, the entire world conspires in helping you to achieve it” - quoted by Paulo Coelho in the book “The Alchemist”.

“Do you want to become a doctor” — this time I was looking closely into his eyes — “if someone helps you for that?”.

“Yes, anna. For sure”, was his reply with a little hope in his face.

“Then the whole world should help you, if the world is really kind enough” — I thought to myself but didn’t speak out.

This was my conversation with a little boy in “Nagarjuna Avasam” at Marriguda (5 KM away from my home place, 70KM from Hyderabad) last Sunday. “Nagarjuna Avasam” is a non-profit organization that helps 42 boys (as of today) who are either orphans or have lost one of their parents or really poor and can’t even afford to study. The boys study from third standard to tenth.

I was there this Sunday, accompanied by one of my favorite school teachers (in fact, he’s favorite for hundreds of students) and a couple of my close friends. We were all there to visit the Avasam and offer some material help to the students.

From the moment we entered into the compound, we were all in a different world. Every student welcomed us with a special “namaskaram” (with two hands put together) and looked at us with a smile on his face (at once, I felt like meeting some old friend after long time). Sometimes, they were discussing something among them but it was not audible. My friends and I were really lost there. We were very eager to know the students, their names, life style, background, what do they study now, so on and so forth.

For a moment, it seemed like we entered into a strange world where we don’t blabber continuously, where we don’t fight among ourselves for some petty issues, where we don’t work selfishly for our goals, where we don’t try to pull each other’s leg on some nonsensical matters (you can guess what it can be :P), where we don’t fight among ourselves for/against some celebrity with no benefits for us unlike we our daily life. We were talking to those kids for most of the time, though we were also looking at each other every now and then wishing to do something more.

Just before their master was about to address the gathering there, all the kids chanted some “shanthi mantras” and sung a nice inspirational song. I was not really sure how many of them really understood the meaning of the song but every one of them sung every line. I was inspired and completely motivated.

After we distributed the books that we had bought, they dispersed and quickly formed small groups. Each of my friends was engaged with a group, and the master was discussing about the daily routine of students (you know, they wake up at 4.45 AM daily and sleep at 9.45 PM). I just couldn’t believe it. What further surprised me was that the students work in their free time to ripen all the vegetables, prepare the “gobar gas” (see http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/gobar) enough for their cooking. They indeed cook the food themselves and reduce the efforts required by their master.

I was keenly observing my friend who was completely absorbed in the discussion with the students. Some kids didn’t dare to talk in front of others due to fear and were standing in the back lines, while some were asking some interesting questions like these.

“Anna, did you study in Telugu medium till your engineering?”

“Anna, what if I am unable to speak in English even after my 12th?”

My friend was completely involved in the discussion, and patiently answered their questions. Trust me, I had never seen my friend so calm and composed, so patient, not even during his exams.

Though we knew that the donation we had given wasn’t really high, it felt really great when the kids were thanking for the help they received. We felt ecstatic at that moment.

While we were about to leave, I got a call from another friend.

“Where are you?”, was the question from other side.

“I’m at the Avasam in Marriguda”.

“Achha, I heard you were planning to donate something to the kids there. What did you donate?”

“Dude, it’s not us. They were really gracious enough to donate lot of happiness to us in exchange of some *not so costly* books”, should have been the best reply but I didn’t tell it to my friend (he might not get the right context).

“Books…”, I said and moved on happily.

P.S: If you happen to read this post and are interested to either help those kids or want to visit the Avasam once, please let me know (buchi dot 22 dot aug at gmail dot com). The help need not be monetary but it can be anything which will be useful for them. If one wishes to do some monetary help, it’s a registered organization so the donors will also get tax benefit.

Running Ubuntu with VMWare on Windows 7

I always wanted to run some Linux OS on my laptop but could not install one. So, I though to running Linux as a virtual machine and explored different options recently.

It wasn’t a tough job to choose a decently good software to run virutal machines since it turns out that there are not too many products available (at least the so called famous ones).

Different options for running VMs?

There are different options like using VMWare, Virtualbox, Prallells and Sphere for running virtual machines. I have understood that both the VMWare and Virtualbox are the most widely used for this purpose and I have picked VMWare based on some of the references given below.

I just wanted to give some details on how one can quickly launch a Linux virtual machine from Windows7.

Steps for running a virtual machine using VMWare:

1. Download and install latest version of VMPlayer for Windows.

You can download it from here.  This is pretty straight forward and should be done in few minutes.

2. Download the required VMWare image for the guest operating system you want to run.

For example, http://www.trendsigma.net/vmware/ provides images of bunch of Linux operating systems and you can download the ones you want.

3. Configure higher memory for the guest OS in vmx file you find in the downloaded zip (you can edit the vmx file with the text editor). Please note that you can skip this step and configure the memory later also.

Default values will be generally 512M which might cause slowness (due to excessive paging) to your guest OS if you are using it extensively.

4. Launch the VMPlayer installed in step 1 and select to open an existing virtual machine from the options.

There, you need to pick up the vmx file (that you modifed in the previous step) and paly the virtual machine.

You should now see a complete Linux OS running as part of the VMPlayer window.

If you need any further assistance for this, you can either google for it (there is lot of community support) or reach out to me at buchi dot 22 dot aug at gmail dot com


References:

Here are some references for comparison of different VM players.

http://marsbox.com/blog/reviews/vmware-vs-virtualbox/

https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/VBox_vs_Others

http://tidbits.com/article/12498

Perl’s DESTROY method

What is DESTROY for?

Just like some other programming languages provide automatic garbage collection for the programs, Perl also collects all the garbage from your program automatically. Perl uses a method called ‘DESTROY’[1] for this purpose and this method is called by Perl implicitly when an object goes out of scope after reference count is dropped to zero.

When should I use it?

In general you do not need to use this method explicitly but you might need to use this if you have recursive data structures that point to themselves. In those cases, Perl will not reclaim that data structure since the reference count for that data structure would be non-zero so you can use ‘DESTROY' to break the links manually.

Is it invoked always?

There are cases like program being aborted with interrupt signal, under which Perl will not invoke DESTROY method. So, if your program is using some resources which must be released before the program exits, make sure you catch the signals and take care of releasing the resources.

Also, there is no guarantee about the time at which DESTROY will be invoked by Perl so we should not depend on DESTROY assuming that it will be invoked at an expected time. Perl provides no guarantees for when will DESTROY be called.

Difference between END and DESTROY?

END block is a piece of code which will be executed by Perl just before the interpreter exits and END is not related to object oriented features. There can be multiple END blocks in which case they are executed in the reverse order of declaration but there will be only one DESTROY for a class. If you override DESTROY in a subclass, you have to explicitly invoke super class’s DESTROY method.

References:

Here are some references if you would like to understand more about the DESTROY method in Perl.


[1] All the methods which are implicitly called by Perl will be in upper case.

Just wanna scribble something!!

Welcome to Buchi Reddy’s scratch space ;-) This is a place to share my opinions, some nice things I come across and other topics of my interest.

I always wanted to blog but time doesn’t permit. I did some attempts at another blog in the past but with not much advancement. This is an effort to revive that hope and try putting up some things here from my mind. Things may range from technology to gossips, ‘galli’ (local) politics to international issues (:P) and sometimes it might be completely about me.

Whatever I write here might not be that great because it will be purely my opinion. Some of you might not agree with what I write here but that’s absolutely fine because “Opinions are like hand watches” and one should accept that. So, stay tuned if you want to know my interests :)

Happy blogging!!

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