To You Neha , August 31st, 2014


"What is your opinion on dowry ?" , she asked me while laying on the terrace with me looking at the starry night 


"Stupid Question Neha. C'mon don't spoil the night " , my eyes focussed on the luminous full moon at this time. 


She turned her head sideways so that she could see my face, My cold and dull response hasn't gone so well with her. 


"Okay Rahul, another Question then. Hopefully you will like this one"




"What is your opinion on Life after death ?"


I turned my head sideways, she looked gorgeous in moonlight. Tiny light from the farthest of heavens came down that one moment  

to make her face glow with a mystic beauty or so i thought, I put my  hand under her head and said in my sweetest tone


"You know the thing about Life after Death is ... 


It is crap.


Utter Nonsense!! When we die , we just vanish. 


It is a lie among all the other lies that surrounds us.




You want to know what is real..


The comet we are waiting for, the one which appears once in 76 years.


That is real.


So stop this stupid talk of yours or else we might miss it "


I knew i had said something really bad to her, but i was too excited about the comet that i felt even Neha became a distraction.


She pushed my hands and got up quickly . She was starting to leave the terrace but not before saying this


"To hell with you and your stupid comet!!


You are the least romantic person in the whole world


I am off to bed. You can stay here  along with your comet.


Don't bother coming down."


Angry women always likes to have the final say in scheme of things. Knowing this , i kept quiet.


She would have looked at me once again , violently stroked her legs at the firm ground twice or thrice and moved her head both ways to show her dislike at the turn of events. I also imagined her going down the stairs calling me idiot , rascal and other names from her list of parliamentary swear words. This made me chuckle, thinking how much i know about her.


I cleared my mind soon and got back to observing the sky. It could be any minute from now.


It was 8th March of 1986 . 


After 5 minutes and 47 seconds , I saw Halley's comet passing through the skies in full glory. My eyes not even blinking following the comet and its beautiful tail with a pounding heart that can't contain its excitement anymore.


Moments before the comet disappeared from my horizon, I remembered the purpose of my night out


I made my wish!



I laughed for a while like a mad man and then tears rolled down my cheeks one by one.






On April 1st of that year the most unexpected thing happened. My inlaws decided to visit our home after the cold war that existed ever since my marriage with Neha. It was not a marriage that they approved of and it took almost 2 years for them to finally cool off and approve me as their son in law. Neha was extremely happy that day and i could see it in her face. Obviously I was happy too, it was always a regret that she carried with her that she somehow wronged her parents by marrying me. She loved me ofcourse, enough to blindly say 'yes' to my marriage request without thinking of the chain of consequences that would follow. But she was  a homely child and needed that parental recognition for her to be truly happy. And now she is.



The April Fools day had more surprises in store for me . I was positive though since the first surprise was truly a pleasant one with the visit of my inlaws. Among the other routines, i kissed on Neha's forehead as usual and left for work . It was a beautiful summer day and just before reaching the street where i worked, i took a turn and in about 10 minutes time reached the super speciality hospital.


"So has the lab results finally come Doc ? . This one month waiting period has put a lot of stress on me. You can't imagine the kind of life i had gone through ever since my last diagnosis. It is okay if i know something is wrong with me but this anticipation , It really hurts doc . I know that you needed time to get the results and stuff. I know all that , but i am just saying ..things like this , one can't wait for ever . I am sorry, i am just too emotional and don't know what to say. "




"It is just that everything has finally turned allright. My wife's parents , they turned up today and all our issues due to marriage is now over. They have finally accepted me the 'orphan' as part of their family. Can you believe that ? It is a big thing for me and for my wife too. You have to see her face , she is really happy and I want her to be happy . I want to share all that happiness with her but i can't do this way. I just can't . I am sorry doctor , i am blabbering . Just tell me whatever it is."



"Rahul , the results confirm our preliminary diagnosis. You have.... "


"CANCER.." , I filled the blanks which doctor was finding a hard time to fill. 


"Sorry Rahul. I was hoping for a better result."


"It is okay Doc. The funny thing is I am turning 28 in another 3 days. So much  future ahead of me i had thought once , so much of youth left in me right ? ; All those dreams i had , they mean nothing anymore . How could such a thing happen to me Doc ? I mean I never drank , never smoked , excercised regularly and took good care of my health. How could god , if such a person ever exist do something like this to me ? especially now when everything else have turned alright ." 


I was about to cry like how i used to do when I felt lonely in my orphanage. But somehow i managed to stay strong.


"You Know Life has always been so difficult for me right from the beginning , yet somehow i had managed to put on a fight against all the odds and i finally thought i had everything in my grasp. Everything i ever wanted and then the world comes shattering down on me only to make me appear as  a fool, a fool for having hoped for a good life . I must be the biggest fool on this April Fools day , a fool who thought that he could be happy "


"Rahul . You must not lose hope ..." 


"One last question Doc . I don't want to waste your time . I am already a lost cause . How much more time do i have ?"


"It depends on various factors"


"A number doctor. I need a number . approximately "


" 7 to 8 Months .. It also ..."


" Thanks Doctor"


I rushed out from the hospital as fast as i could without giving a proper chance for doctor to complete. I went to the parking and found comfort in the confined space of my car where i cried like never before. It was the most honest moment of my life. I realized at that moment what means the most to me. I drove my car to home to see my wife and i hugged her that day like it was my last.








My Husband died on December 24th of 1987.


It was Christmas eve . 


Everyone was celebrating on that day. Doctor's , nurses , office staff - They all greeted each other with their 'Happy Christams' and 'Merry Christmas' wishes while i succumbed into a level of pain which knew no limits.


I felt truly alone in that hospital on that chilly night. No words of consolation brought any relief to me. What everyone found surprising which i learned later was how i never cried. Not a single drop of tear came from my eye . What they didn't realize was that only living people cried , i was already dead by the time Rahul left me . Or so I thought.



I met Rahul the most unusal way.


It was during a chess competition. It was the 80's and i had got myself into a FIDE state level event. With some good luck going for me, i was able to reach the semi final where i was supposed to play against Rahul. Rahul was a higher rated player than me and I honestly didn't think i had a chance to move into the finals.


Rahul won the first match quite comprehensively. It was a best of three event and my confidence had hit rock bottom after the first match. But to everyone's surprise i won the 2nd and 3rd matches even after making few big errors . Rahul's rating dipped down to an all time low and i moved into the finals. I wasn't good enough to win the finals, but my  photo appeared in some newspapers and my dad and mom were really proud of my achievement. I didn't feel deserved to get all this attention though, i kept on thinking as to why that guy after playing such a brilliant first game lost his complete touch for the remaining two.

It remained a mystery for sometime until i got that letter.



A letter came to me almost a week after from Rahul.


It was addressed as 'to Neha, State Level FIDE Finalist'


The letter had just three words


" Be My Queen ."


I was angry at first for someone having the courage to send  such a letter . Then i smiled , a kind of smile whose meaning could be ony understood by another woman. 


I met Rahul on a coffee shop and i asked him what the meaning of all this was and why he played so poorly  from the 2nd game.


"I have seen you many times before Neha. I live in the orpahanage next to your block . I know so much about you already. For instance  I know at what time you catch your bus to college , I know when you return back from college . I know that you like color blue alot since almost all your dress have a shade of blue . I know that you like golgappa since you have it everyday from the street vendor . I have even had golgappas with you few times but you have never noticed. I know you love your dad by the way you talk to him while jogging and how you put your arms around his shoulder while returning, i know he loves you alot  from the way he follows you till college without you seeing but i have seen it. I know that you really don't like going to temple but your mom forces you to and you would do it because it makes her happy. You see Neha, i have started going to temple just so that i could see you on those fridays. I have loved you and your family so much even after staying so distant from all of you. "





So imagine what would go through the mind of Rahul , the so called 'orphan chess prodigee' .  Chess was the only thing that made an orphan like me special Neha . It means a great deal to me , but when i met you as my opponent - it was something which i never expected , I won the first match to prove my strength . I lost the 2 remaining matches to show that i am willing to go to any level of sacrifice for your friendship. Suddenly chess was not the most important thing in my life , i wanted to see you happy , i wanted to see you win which is why i made those errors. "



When i looked into Rahul's eyes that day i saw a sincere , earnest and innocent man whom you instantly know you could trust for life. We became good friends from that moment . We had many things in common and yet many things that were different. We agreed on many things fought on many other . At some point i felt that there is something more than a friendship and to my parent's huge disappointment i married Rahul and became his 'queen'.




It was New Years day  of 1988 . It was the most tensed day of my life . I was driving back home after visiting a family friend when i received call from my wife. In a moment of panic she blurted out that our only daughter had tried to hang herself to death using a rope . She immediately took help from one of our male servants and took Neha to the nearest hospital. When i reached hospital my wife was sitting shell shocked and i sensed some really bad news.


To our greatest relief Neha survived that day, It was also on that day that i heard from the doctor that Neha was pregnant . I didn't know whether this was   good or bad news. But when i told about this to my wife , she smiled and told me that it is definitely good news. She believed that our daughter would need some strong reason to live and this child might give her that reason, to come back and live a normal life , to be a mother and to be our Neha again.



I was honestly surprised at how accurate my wife was. Neha soon started taking good care of herself and we were starting to get back our old Neha bit by bit. 


On September 29th of 1989 Neha gave birth to a baby boy. After a long period of sadness and grief , this baby became the reason for our small happiness. Me and my wife cuddled Neha who was holding that baby , it was in that moment i realized the true value of a family. We had gone through lot of pain and sadness , our life was filled with nothing but sorrow and darkness and here there was - the small child in Neha's hand , a hope for a new future .


It was me who suggested to name him Pradyot , since the child really was  a ray of light illuminating our lives from darkness. 


It was the beginning of what i would call reasonable happy days . I could still see in Neha a lot of sadness , i knew very well that she wouldn't fully be able to forget Rahul or she would entirely become happy . But I was sure of one thing , as long as her son existed , my daughter wouldn't think of doing anything foolish again. We never bugged Neha about another marriage because we knew how deeply she loved Rahul and we knew that any extra pressure from our side might lead to a disastrous result.



I wouldn't say that those were perfectly happy days. We were always worried that something would happen to Pradyot, the fear started when we heard about how diseases get transferred genetically. We lived in constant worry that something bad may happen to our grandson like what happened to his father. This thought scared us a lot through this period. 


It must be also said that we never took anything for granted. We really felt like evey new day with him was a gift from

the heavens. We laughed a little extra for his acts, we applauded a little more . We were determined not to make him feel like he is missing his father ,  i tried to be the best grandfather any kid can possibly have and all three of us tried our best to fill the vaccum which Rahul had left. 



Years went by quickly and we all felt that bad days are past us. But like always we are just actors playing out the roles of a script return by someone. Who are we to know what twists and turns lies ahead of us. ?





I am an agnostic . It means i don't fully agree nor disagree to the question of whether there is someone called god. Through out my life there has been various experiences which made me embrace and question faith. I think i was a very religious person until my 15th birthday, i would owe it mostly to my grandmother and grandfather. In a short span of 15 years , i think they managed to make me visit almost all the temples one can visit in south India . I soon understood that it was more fear than anything else that made my family this relegious. They feared that something will happen to me just like my father and they believed that only gods had the power to alter future.


Like i mentioned before , the fist incident that made me question faith happened on my 15th birthday. My beloved grandmother who loved me so much died on that very day. She was trying to cross the road when a lorry came from nowhere and hit her. She had gone to a temple to do a special pooja for me and was returning back home. 


I cursed all the gods whom i worshiped that day and sweared never to bow down my head anymore to them. They took my father away before i was born and they now took my grandmother away from me when she had gone to temple only to pray for my good health and that too on my birthday. I never celebrated my birthday afterwards . The death of grandma worsened things for grandpa . 

He was never the same guy again, the tragedy was more than what he could bear. But surprisingly my mother endured through this , she was the person who held our family together through the tough times. 


We lost grandpa 7 years later. His health had declined through these 7 years and death was the eventual course of action that 

all of us knew was bound to happen. The day in which he died will be remembered by many Indians . It was the 2nd of April 2011 -the day Indian cricket team won the world cup. I used to feel like tragedy striked our family in a cold and ruthless manner, on days when everyone else gets to celebrate - we get to cry. At 1 am in a hospital room , i relized that my family had shrunked to just 2 members - me and my mother. I cried on the lap of my mother . Not a drop of tear came from her eyes through all of it.







It was April 2nd 2029 when i finally got the test results . The first person i informed the news was his mother . 

She was the most resillient women i have ever seen, a woman of incredible courage and strong will power . I took a day off from offie and went to meet her. She was running an orphanage in memory of her husband , it was her life's work . After Pradyot married me , she moved to the orphanage and has been busy on its working. 


She used to visit us on saturdays , spend a day with our two children and then leave on Sunday. When i told her about the test results she broke down for the first time. This repetition of tragedy over the course of time was simply unbearable for her. She held my hands tightly and said with moist eyes.



"It is not 1986 . I was a dumb girl who didn't know what to do to save my husband . 


You are a doctor Sandhya ,.... this is 2029 ..... You can save him 


You can save your husband. 


My grand children .....needs their father ..... i need my son .


You should do everything..... in your power to save him"



My marriage with Pradyot was strictly an arranged one. We didn't even knew each other properly . I was studying in HMS when the proposal came in through a family friend. He was also in Boston running his start up company at that time. It was after 1 year into our marriage that i realized that our marriage was not merely a coincident. It was a brilliant plan envisioned by Pradyot's mother to save her son if something goes wrong.



My research at HMS was on 'Possible cures for Cancer' , I was working with the leading experts on the topic at possibly the best  lab in the entire world dedicated to cancer research. It still remains a mystery to me how she managed to find me and how she executed the entire marriage thing. Perhaps the love of a mother for her child is the strongest force on earth , one that can even set in motion events that triggers miracles.







//Wikipedia Entry//



List of Nobel Prize winners in medicine 




Year                       Awarded to                       Achievement

****                       ************                       *******************

2029               Harvard Medical School          For their breakthrough invention of the first ever

                       Cancer Research centre          cure for cancer 







So Guess I am a lucky guy to be back again in this story line. I survived my scare with cancer when I was 39 . It was a miracle that brought me back to life , a miracle that made me a believer again of a force whom i believe has a greater plan for all of us.They say that my wife's work was instrumental in HMS finally coming up with the cure that saved millions of people's life. I wonder  sometimes  whether all the bad things that happened in our family was for leading upto this one invention . Then i realize that maybe i am getting a bit ahead of myself by thinking such things. Who really knows anything for certainity ?




There is one other thing which happened somewhat later (circa 2045) , a small event which many might think is trivial yet very relevant to the storyline of my family. It was a letter which my father had written to my mother dated 8th March 1986. I found it in a dusty little envelope while sorting things out in the basement. I don't know if my mother had seen this before . I hope she had seen this , since there is no way i could show this to her now. 


"To You Neha,



When i came downstairs you were fast asleep. I know that you are angry at me for what i said tonight. I am really sorry if i hurt you somehow. I know that i have been acting somewhat weirdly for about a month now. I promise you that things won't be the same going forward.


Do you know the old myth about comets ? They say that whatever wish we make it an honest heart while seeing a comet comes true. When i saw that Halley's comet today , I was thinking all about us. I wished with all my heart that we are together forever and no force ever seperates us. That was my wish dear . 


And i hope that this wish will come true.


Ever Yours,


Rahul "





Year 2069 July 27th




News Presenter : After the break, we bring you the story of this Indian family of 9 members who have travelled half way across the world so that they can see "Halley's Comet" a bit more clearer and closer





A 75 year old Pradyot looks up into the clear night sky at a little farmland at some distant corner of the world. With him is his wife , their children and grand children. There is a sense of anticipation in all their eyes . Within seconds a bright shiny thing appears in their horizon , they point their fingers up in the sky as the comet moves through the heavens . At this moment when the comet appears to be bidding goodbye to earth with a promise to return after 76 years ,  what will be going through this family's mind and what will be their wishes.


Do they believe in life after death ? Or do they believe in continuity of life here on earth.


Somethings we never know!!












This is one topic which was daunting to me whenever i saw it in college. I had skipped everything that there was to do with algorithm analysis and time complexity. But i feel like i have got some understanding on what it is and through this post i want to check if i really have understood it afterall.


Let me keep this as concise as possible. We are always looking at better ways of doing things. Increase in speed of getting something done is what we try to achieve in all our day to day activities. If we have two algorithm options , we almost always tend to prefer the one which gets shit done with less number of operations . So time complexity, asymptotic notation call it whatever you may - they are metrics the only ones we can trust on to see how an algorithm performs with the size of input.


For example let us take the case of  linear search and binary search algorithms. Linear search algorithm has a time complexity of O(n) , which means if there are 10 elements in an array it would take 10 comparisons in the worst case to find the element. If there are 1000 elements it will take 1000 elements and so on. Now let us take the case of binary search, binary search has a time complexity of O(log n) which means that if there are 1000 elements it will only take log 1000 comparisons to find the element in worst case.

So by looking at the time complexity we come to the conclusion that a binary search is way better than linear search.

The link below from stackoverflow explains the concepts in a greater detail.


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Problem Statement


Find the sum of all five-digit positive integers that

  1. are square numbers
  2. have all digits square
  3. and are NOT ordered numbers.


  • An ordered number is one whose digits are in an increasing sequence. For example,   is an ordered number but   is not;   is an ordered number but   is not.
  • A square is one that can be obtained by multiplying a number by itself (in particular,   is a square).

This problem was inspired by "Freaky Square Number!" by Mark Mottian, which was inspired by Problem #3 of the 2014 South African Programming Olympiad.


Here is my solution 

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Let me just say this at the very beginning , Arundhati Roy is a gem of a writer whose first book 'God of Small Things' is a favorite of mine. I could go on and on speaking volumes about how good a first book that is and why even if she never writes another novel, her book will continue to gain adoration and respect for time to come. But that is not what this post is about, I don't have the literary accumen to challenge Ms Roy but i feel like she is going through a period of decadence to have made such a statement on Gandhi.


Arundhati Roy while speaking at a function in memory of the great social reformer Ayyankali had given the audience a little more than what they expected, not just deviating from the topic, she surprised the heck out of everyone by suggesting that Gandhi's name should be removed from all institutions starting from universities. She accuses Gandhi of being a casteist by citing an article which he had wrote titled 'My Ideal Bhangi'. The article which appeared in the late 30's in Harijan had controversial quotes like the one given below 


“The ideal Bhangi of my conception would be a Brahmin par excellence, possibly even excel him. What qualities should such an honoured servant of society exemplify in his person? In my opinion an ideal Bhangi should have a thorough knowledge of the principles of sanitation. He should know how a right kind of latrine is constructed and the correct way of cleaning it. He should know how to overcome and destroy the odour of excreta and the various disinfectants to render them innocuous. He should likewise know the process of converting night-soil and urine into manure.


Even the die hard Gandhian would have a difficult time to turn the above mentioned passage to appear anything but silly and atrocious. But why would anyone want to project Gandhi as a perfect human to have ascended from the heavens when the idea of perfection itself is rubbish. He was a man of flesh and blood, he had few personality quirks just like all of us , he made few mistakes here and there. Still a major portion of world populace considers him as one of the finest to have represented our humankind and i am siding with the major portion here not because i want to follow the bandwagon but because of the simple fact that a man's life is measured by his contribution to bringing net positiveness in this world. And for all the quotes and proofs that anyone can come up with showing a darker side of Gandhi including a) how he was not a good father to his children b) on favoring Nehru over others c) Calling the south African blacks 'Kafirs' ; there exist a brighter side of Gandhi which shines over darkness, I feel obliged to quote Einstein here not to prove anyone a point but out of my respect for the Mahatma

"Generations to come, it may well be, will scarce believe that such a man as this one ever in flesh and blood walked upon this Earth.”

I am not planning on writing about the virtuos life which Gandhi lived, a good history book would serve the purpose . I want to focus my post on why people like Arundhati Roy find it fashionable to defame people who ought to be respected for generations to come. She represent a pseudo intellectual Left liberal group in India that sees only the wrong things happening in our country. They have been a group so good at criticising everything and anything in this country that now they are bored and want to  move onto something bigger like shackling the core belief system of peoople and what better way to achieve this than attack the most respected figure in India. Heck, i don't remember a positive thing she has said about India for a long time and i do follow her somewhat. Look at how all the global media has responded to the news , In their eyes she is a person of Indian orgin , a booker prize winning author who has travelled the lenght and breadth of the nation calling our most respected figure a casteist. A poor picture is painted and western media has found one more point to throw poor light on a man whom they have been trying to bring down from his high pedestal for a long time unsuccesfully.


For more than half a century we took pride in calling Gandhi the father of our nation, he has been our passport to gain respect and support through out the world all these years for our non aligned movement and attaintment of freedom through non violence has left most people in awe. But sadly there has always been   groups that has tried to undermine our growth story and tarnish our image, and people like Arundhati Roy are simply playing it to the hands of such groups.


Quoting the famous Macaulay speech again to drive home

'In one point I fully agree with the gentlemen to whose general views I am opposed. I feel with them, that it is impossible for us, with our limited means, to attempt to educate the body of the people. We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons, Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect' 


Maybe Maccaulay had succeeded after all.


Ms Roy  baffles me quite a lot from her Kashmir seperation comments to her recent remark on Gandhi, i can understand when someone is criticising a system to see it get changed but in her remarks i see a fervent hatred and i can't quite see where it stems from. It is as if she wants to laugh at all our conventional belief systems.


Given a fair amount of time , i can come up with an article  that Hitler was a good man who turned to  the side of darkness since fate was tough on him. I could start with his wonderful paintings and come to an argument that anyone who could be so expressive in painting couldn't possibly carry all that malice in heart. I could explain his troubled upbringing and how he got fewer opportunities with arguments like 'If that art school in Vienna had accepted  him he wouldn't have become the dictator' . To put some strenght to article I could add some 'Freud' or probably a passage from his autobiography. In the end i would have enough material evidence to say that Hitler was a product of his surroundings and deep inside he was a good human being. With the right amount of research and some shiny words thrown here and there i could make few people believe in my story. Someone who is good at this sort of thing can convince a lot of people, someone with a Man booker prize to his/her credit can make a lot of people question their initial thoughts about hitler and make them do google searches like 'Hitler Good Man'. 


But no matter how many awards such a person had won, he/she would have nothing to say to the group of people who lived in Concentration camps seeing the 'Arbeit macht frei'  boards hoping for their life to end through work. Because when such a fictious award winning writer comes face to face with the survivors , there will be no more lies but the truth : Hitler was a bad man who brought nothing but misery to world. All the counter arguments will fail because truth is plane and simple.


Gandhi brought hope and peace to this world, taught us to lead a life in harmony without killing each other  (To know how big a deal those words are see what is happening in West Asia). He is a man with an iconic stature, anyone who is trying to bring it down is only trying  their charm at what advertisers call 'shock value' . You say that the Most important , most revered figure in Indian history is nothing but a casteist ; It creates a sudden shock wave in people on hearing often followed by strong negative emotions. I can't fathom why someone of Ms Roy's pedigree would resort to such a cheap form of publicity. 


To prove my point further let me take the case of an article which Ms Roy herself wrote for outlook magazine in 2010 . The article titled 'Walking with comrades' (Link : ) , is given the subtitle as 'Gandhians with Guns' and the article basically charms us by giving a shock value that the people whom we consider to be ferocious killers are actually very simple people fighting for a cause. See how she is ready to call them Gandhians in this instance , the word Gandhi is not yet derogatory for Ms Roy instead it is a symbol of respect. Fast forward 4 years and suddenly it seems like Gandhi is her worst nemesis , so much so that she wants his name removed from public institutions.


I can think of the act by Arundhati Roy only as a sacrilege  to our  belief systems , a form of Infinite Injustice that has been put on the man who went through a tough life so that people like Suzanna Arundhati Roy have right to free speech.