Friday, October 12, 2007

Shantaram: Writings and Beyond

Just finished reading Shantaram. In case you know me or have stumbled upon my blog from somewhere on the net, I’ll let you know that I love reading, to the point of being crazy about it. But very few books have so brilliantly, subtly and mysteriously intrigued me to the point that I am writing this at 3 am in the night. I don’t want to review the book or tell you about its plot, which you can anyways find here. What I felt like writing about are the beautiful quotes in the book. Reading them I felt as if he has packed his life's experiences, his pain, his love, his musings and most importantly his learning’s in so few words. The insight shown in these quotes is not something one can pick up so easily; it probably requires one to go through a lot of things which we don’t like or through events which unexpectedly define the course of our life. We all ultimately want to think that we are the river, cutting across different terrains and making its own way, its own path and probably its own destination. But we ultimately end up being nothing more than a cascade, natural yet governed , important yet short lived, beautiful yet perishable, the contrast only too natural to see; yet never so visible to us, though its dancing stark naked, shouting at the top of its voice trying to be as conspicuous as possible. The most obvious things in the world are the ones most often missed. We fail to see things in retrospect, forgetting the value of experience, or again, perhaps not wanting to look back, for what we see in our past, are failures and sorrows. This brings me to a point where I feel I need to share with you some lines from this masterpiece of a book.

Nothing in any life, no matter how well or poorly lived, is wiser than failure or clearer than sorrow. And in the tiny precious wisdom they give to us, even those dreaded and hated enemies, suffering and failure, have their reason and their right to be.

Sometimes we love with nothing more than hope. Sometimes we cry with everything except tears. In the end that's all there is: love and its duty, sorrow and its truth. In the end that's all we have - to hold on tight until the dawn

Come to think of it, whatever we achieve and whatever we don’t are actually equally important to us. The victory is a kind of hope that good things happen, not by a twist of fate, but by conscious effort. The defeats are things which we ought to learn from, the wise, harsh teacher. Hope and wisdom are like unidentical twins; the pedigree being the same, yet a mutated gene is all that makes them different. Wisdom brings about hope, and hope allows us to stay foolish, and its this foolishness that keeps us going. Under the surface, if one scratches a little, one can find the connection too evident to see.

Sorrow is something I believe that everyman should face. We only count our blessings when all is lost, and it’s only possible for the cruelest of emotions to force man to think about his blessings. Only in the most depressing times, when one lays low and feels a churning in his stomach so strong that the feeling of being even something evades you totally, we just thank our stars for having people who love us, around us. We are essentially a thankless species. Period.

If fate doesn't make you laugh, you just don't get the joke

Fate’s way of beating us in a fair fight is to give us warnings that we hear, but never heed.

Fate always gives you two choices, the one you should take, and the one you do.

Every human heartbeat is a universe of possibilities. And it seemed to me that I finally understood exactly what he’d meant. He’d been trying to tell me that every human will has the power to transform its fate. I’d always thought that fate was something unchangeable: fixed for every one of us at birth, and as constant as the circuit of stars. But I suddenly realized that life is stranger and more beautiful than that. The truth is that no matter what kind of game you find yourself in, no matter now good or bad the luck, you can change your life completely with a single thought or a single act of love

I don’t want to spoil these words by giving you any interpretations. Just think about major turning points in your life and you will get the brutal and honest meanings of these lines. I just feel that accept some things as they are and try to change your fate. We sometimes adopt a to defeatist attitude towards life. Some things are not meant to be. Some things are meant to be only if we have the courage and the conviction to pursue them. The only difference between the two is the effort one puts in.

Personality and person identity are in some ways like co-ordinates on the street map drawn by intersecting relationships. We know who we are and we define what we are by references to the people we love and our reasons for loving them.

Fate gives all of us three teachers, three friends, three enemies, and three great loves in our lives. But these twelve are always disguised, and we can never know which one is which until we’ve loved them, left them, or fought them.

This is how important people are in our lives. There is not one word in these lines that I will not give my right arm for. I truly believe that I exist because of the people around me.

And for people who take life too seriously

The real trick in life is to want nothing, and succeed in getting it.

Truth is a bully we all pretend to like

The fully mature man or woman has about two seconds left to live.

If you make your heart into a weapon, you always end up using it on yourself.

And to understand what Mumbai or in general India is, the best of them all

I’m a Jew, French, criminal and gay; Bombay is the only city in the world that allows me to be all four at once - Dider Levy (A character in the book)

To top it all

The facts of life are very simple. In the beginning we feared everything - animals, the weather, the trees, the night sky - everything except each other. Now we fear each other and almost nothing else. No one knows why anyone does anything. no one tells the truth. No one is happy. No one is safe. In the face of all that is so wrong with the world, the very worst thing you could do is survive. And yet you must survive. It is the dilemma that makes us believe and cling to the lie that we have a soul, and that there is a god who cares about its fate.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Sivaji Experiences!!

Yes !!!!

I watched Sivaji.


It was in Tamil.


It had no subtitles.

Did I enjoy it ?

Well read on.

Now Albert Einstein once very rightly said

"Two things in the world are infinite- The Universe and Human Stupidity, and I am not sure about the Former."

I mean how dare I prove this great man wrong!!

One thing that these software companies are very good at doing is recruiting unsuspecting poor engineering kids and put them through a 2 month ill organised and executed training .As i was battling this very phenomenon, some very good Illad friends of mine ( No sarcasm intended) thought of getting away and bunking.Being the sport that I always am and given my awesome records at Mech Dept @ NIT Surat, I jumped at the idea. They planned to watch Sivaji.It got me thinking.The day I landed in Chennai, I have been seeing the Sivaji mania all around me.Every news channel worth its salt has been going Gung ho about this celebrated man, people paying a thousand bucks for just a show, Sivaji caller tunes, life size posters all around chennai, processions to celebrate the release,Images of people dancing on the streets as well as in the theatre,people coming from China and japan just to watch the first show of the movie, US cinemas running to full houses and people going really really Crazy.
I realised that I need to watch this movie just to see what is the whole mania all about, and not wanting to be the cat ( no not the CAT, you pathetic IIM chasing morons...ahem ahem which includes me too) who dies out of curiosity, i decided to jump into the bandwagon.So our ever resourceful Karthic sir booked the tickets online and my rendezvous with the superstar of the masses was set.

The setting: Abirami Theatre,Purashaiwakkam

The Guys: Ansar(My partner in all my foodie indulgences), Shankar(who always takes notes in class), Venkat(SVNITian, that's an introduction in itself :P) and Karthic sir(The know all do all guy)

The prodigious willing Bakra: Yours Truly

The time:3 30pm show (forgot the date actually)

Due to a horrendous mix up we missed the initial 10 minutes of the movie.Before I start with the movie, I had messaged some friends that I was going for it,here are some of the replies I got, reproducing them as they were

A friend currently posted in Hyderabad said

saale koi kaam dhanda nahi hai kya?

Another SVNITian and victim of the same training process said

Great...Just let me know what you understood in the movie.Great guts i must say :)

A eternally pissed off female JAVA resource at Accenture Chennai, who was left out of the party

I dont care utsav...I DON'T

My younger cousin

U are a deserving Candidate for the Red and White bravery Awards!
U better develop a taste for such films pata nahi kab tak dekhni pade

A very good coll senior and close friend

Gud job bro! I am proud of you

Another SVNITian

I am not at all surprised da.typically you. Audience must have been surprised to see a Phorener among them

Our G8 stud said

Abey u gne completely mad.shit yaar.
Horrendous act.U in some shock.Oh god

A very good SVNItian said

lolz hee hee
I am proud of you .u've done the unthinkable.U re a full blown Anna now
Simbly start lookin for yann moti aunty.

Other than "oh what is this firangi doing here" to " some over enthusiastic movie buff/research student" to "what the fuck!!!!" looks by the junta around,my transition to the theatre was ok.

Finally the Movie

The movie stars Rajni as a NRI who returns to his home state to set up schools, universities and industries etc to help his home state develop.But he faces lots of opposition from a local Don who also runs colleges n other such stuff. So he first tries to do things the right way, and does not get anywhere, so he eventually pays up.But the baddie ensures that his project derails and rajni aka sivaji goes bankrupt. He decides to fight back the baddie and the corrupt system of the country and eventually wins.

Ok this may sound as a very boring and done to death script, had it not been for the following

1. Rajni also comes looking for a bride who is traditional and very much rooted to Indian values.He finds her in a temple and then goes on to woo her.The extent he goes to woo her is simply pathetic.He tries to show of his poweress and has some action sequences thrown in. The movie unfortunately reinforces a huge stereotype about Indian's obsession for fair skin.He eventually gets her

2. How this traditional homely coy girl suddenly turns into a sizzling hot cleavage showing babe in every song and back is beyond me, even keeping the standards of our Industries imagination in mind. Moreover the girl is shown pretty naive to believe anything and everything.

3.The heroes sidekick is Vivek, who is simply a superb actor and has awesome comic timing.His talents lay underutilised.If you can make a non Tamil knowing guy laugh, i consider him a good comedian

4.Technically, the movie is pretty superior. The stunts look very real and well executed.Also the songs are picturised pretty well.Cinematography rocks too.

5.Finally the Rajni touch. The man himself.He adds charm to the movie.He sports 7 hairstyles(maybe more, lost count after a while), wears some outrageous clothes, does unimaginable stunts, imagining them is an achievement in itself, self confessed Bachelor of Social Service(BOSS), his typical way of eating chewing gum, flipping coins, saying COOL n number of times, displaying agility which could put any Kung Fu master to shame and make god himself wonder whether Rajni is his creation and innumerable things i may have missed.I was laughing my ass off during all these scenes and people seemed in awe and were transfixed.Well as HSBC guys say, Different people, Different perspectives.

The reason of this short review is that there is nothing much in the movie to talk about.Its a typical masala movie.
But why does the movie work

Because the masses love it.They see him battling the problems they face daily and succeeds.Too simplistic an explanation?? I cant sem to figure anything else out.And as a friend says" You have to be brought up on this kind of cinema to appreciate it."Well with all due respect, this is my last rajni movie.

It was an experience that is going to stay with me for long.Hehe for different reasons altogether though!!

Thursday, July 05, 2007


This is a first part of the post. I have decided that for the comfort of the reader, it better be divided into several parts.

Something which has been never completely understood by man, which is probably never meant to be understood, an elusive search to understand nothing leads us to a maze of endless questions and gets one caught in the ever expanding and entangled web of understanding the meaning of nothing. Nothing in its various guises has never failed to capture the imagination of man. Philosophers have struggled to grasp it, while mystics dreamed they could imagine it, scientists strove to create it, astronomers searched in vain to locate it, logicians could never fathom it, and mathematicians succeeded. Writers and jesters were more than happy to create much ado about nothing. From the zeros of the mathematician to the vacuum of the scientists, to the void of the philosophers, to the erudite wanderings of Shakespeare, over centuries and with passage of time, nothing has seen kings come and go, civilizations vanquished, resurrected just to be vanquished again, to be reduced to nothing. Man may have evolved from a primordial state to a highly developed one, but he still struggles to answer the question that surpasses all human intelligence and has been bothering people from all walks of life, albeit intermittently, but nonetheless it is an inseparable part of life. God's greatest creation has clearly failed to understand this void. It holds a special place amongst the elite, the educated academicians, a subject of never ending speculation and discussion for them; with each of them well aware that we are miles away from understanding what this innocuous looking word really means. The point about nothing is that we do not need to use it in the operations of daily life. No one goes out to buy nothing. It is in a way the most civilized of all the cardinals, and its use is only forced on us by the needs of cultivated modes of thought. And I being Homo sapien have also failed to understand it, which shall be clearly reflected in my writings. Here, I will try to bring out a few facets of Nothing and Zero as seen by us.


Simply put, in mathematics nothing can be equated to zero. Probably and by far the most important number in our world of mathematics, its origin has been attributed to Indians.In fact, G B Halstead once remarked

“The importance of the creation of the zero mark can never be exaggerated. This giving to airy nothing, not merely a local habitation and a name, a picture, a symbol, but helpful power, is the characteristic of the Hindu race from whence it sprang. It is like coining the Nirvana into dynamos. No single mathematical creation has been more potent for the general on-go of intelligence and power."

The oldest known text to use zero is the Jain text from India entitled the Lokavibhaaga, dated 458 AD. It was first introduced to the world centuries later by Al-Khwarizmi, a Persian mathematician, astronomer and geographer. The very name Algebra has been derived from his famous book Al-Jabr wa-al-Muqabilah. 'Algorithm' or 'algorizm' is named after him. Zero is such a profound and powerful idea which appears to be so simple that we appear to ignore its true merit. Zero has single handedly shown mathematics the way to connect to reality and be a part of the real world. Be it geometry, where understanding the concept of point as having dimension as zero, or the concept of almost impossible in probability, or something as basic as the Mobius function in number theory and combinatorics, which applies to all numbers except zero to being the First Perrin number to simply being anything that is not seen and cannot be quantified, Zero has lent mathematics more credibility and acceptance amongst the people and has established its hold over human thought. But what does zero mean to a mathematician? It probably means his success to prove the Riemann Hypothesis, his ability to find mathematical tools to solve the Navier Stokes Equation, his understanding of the empty set or the infinite applications of zero in his works- all of which amounts to nothing. Our poor understanding of the connection between mathematics, reality and nothing, probably compelled one of the greatest minds of the 20th century, Dr Albert Einstein, to say "what we are sure about in reality is not reflected in mathematics and what we're sure about in mathematics is not reflected in reality". In fact, in hieroglyphics, zero means the "courageous one".

Zeno's Paradoxes

I will not get into explaining the paradoxes. Just read them and enjoy.

Achilles and the tortoise

"You can never catch up."

In a race, the quickest runner can never overtake the slowest, since the pursuer must first reach the point whence the pursued started, so that the slower must always hold a lead


In the paradox of Achilles and the Tortoise, we imagine the Greek hero Achilles in a footrace with the plodding reptile. Because he is such a fast runner, Achilles graciously allows the tortoise a head start of a hundred feet. If we suppose that each racer starts running at some constant speed (one very fast and one very slow), then after some finite time, Achilles will have run a hundred feet, bringing him to the tortoise's starting point; during this time, the tortoise has "run" a (much shorter) distance, say one foot. It will then take Achilles some further period of time to run that distance, in which said period the tortoise will advance farther; and then another period of time to reach this third point, while the tortoise moves ahead. Thus, whenever Achilles reaches somewhere the tortoise has been, he still has farther to go. Therefore, Zeno says, swift Achilles can never overtake the tortoise. Thus, while common sense and common experience would hold that one runner can catch another, according to the above argument, he cannot; this is the paradox.

The Dichotomy paradox

"You cannot even start."

That which is in locomotion must arrive at the half-way stage before it arrives at the goal.


Suppose Homer wants to catch a stationary bus. Before he can get there, he must get halfway there. Before he can get halfway there, he must get a quarter of the way there. Before traveling a quarter, he must travel one-eighth; before an eighth, one-sixteenth; and so on.

This description requires one to complete an infinite number of tasks, which Zeno maintains is an impossibility.

This sequence also presents a second problem in that it contains no first distance to run, for any possible first distance could be divided in half, and hence would not be first after all. Hence, the trip cannot even begin. The paradoxical conclusion then would be that travel over any finite distance can neither be completed nor begun, and so all motion must be an illusion, which in simpler words is nothing

Probably with calculus coming into play, the paradoxes seem to be resolved but they only address the geometry of the situation, and not its dynamics. It has been argued that the core of Zeno's paradoxes is the idea that one cannot finish the act of sequentially going through an infinite sequence, and while calculus shows that the sum of an infinite number of terms can be finite, calculus does not explain how one is able to finish going through an infinite number of points, if one has to go through these points one by one. Zeno's paradox points out that in order for Achilles to catch up with the Tortoise, Achilles must first perform an infinite number of acts, which seems to be impossible in and of itself, independent of how much time such an act would require.

It raises an even more intriguing question- Are time and space infinitely divisible?

Enough of Bheja-Fry for you guys, though gyaan freaks like this blogger, can also look into Paradox of place and paradox of the grain millet.


Historically, there has been much dispute over whether such a thing as a vacuum can exist. Ancient Greek philosophers did not like to admit the existence of a vacuum, asking themselves "how can 'nothing' be something? "Plato found the idea of a vacuum inconceivable. He believed that all physical things were instantiations of an abstract Platonic ideal, and he could not conceive of an "ideal" form of a vacuum. Similarly, Aristotle considered the creation of a vacuum impossible — nothing could not be something. Later Greek philosophers thought that a vacuum could exist outside the cosmos, but not within it. Christians believed that the idea of vacuum is immoral or even heretical; the absence of anything implied the absence of God, and since God was the ultimate power, it would be against god to create nothing. A common notion in earlier times was that Nature abhorred a vacuum and a true vacuum doesn’t exist. Even the finest thinkers of the century like Plato, were convinced that a vacuum cannot be created. But the inquisitive young minds of those times thought otherwise and the famous Magdeberg’s Spheres, Michelson Morely and Torricelli experiments (Kindly strain your memory and recall your school days) proved beyond a doubt that there exsists a vacuum and ether is fictional. Even Newton was later convinced that for his theory of interplanetary motions to hold true, a vacuum needs to exist. Yet even today, our concepts and fundamentals of the VAccum are still very shaky.

This rounds off the first part. The second part should be coming soon once the battle with UNIX and PL/SQL is over.

This is a first part of the post. I have decided that for the comfort of the reader, it better be divided into several parts.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Prisoner's Dilemma Demystified

We all have at some point in life faced major dilemmas. The ones which can make your life interesting to say the least, when you would suddenly start to understand that Heisenberg with his uncertainty principles was not such a big fool after all or why was the word vacillating added into the English language. But what concerns us on a day to day basis and seems largely inexplicable is not something that cannot be quantized and is very much tangible. It seems that those geeky scientists who seem to be so preoccupied with their great unsolved problems, weird hypothesis, earth shattering researches and ground breaking procedures also seem to look into the dark labyrinth of the human mind and fish out something so funny, interesting and yet life changing that will leave us surprised. It makes us realize that we are living in a vicious circle. First simplify the complex things and then use science to complexify( couldn't think of a word actually !!!) them. Well the purpose of my post is to allow one to have a peek into the classical prisoner’s dilemma problem and yet demystify it and see its applications in day to day life. For the uninitiated, here is the problem.

The Prisoner's dilemma was originally framed by Merrill Flood and Melvin Dresher working at RAND ( the same place John Nash worked for some time) in 1950. Albert W. Tucker formalized the game with prison sentence payoffs and gave it the "Prisoner's Dilemma" name

The classical prisoner's dilemma (PD) is as follows:

Two suspects, A and B, are arrested by the police. The police have insufficient evidence for a conviction, and, having separated both prisoners, visit each of them to offer the same deal: if one testifies for the prosecution against the other and the other remains silent, the betrayer goes free and the silent accomplice receives the full 10-year sentence. If both stay silent, both prisoners are sentenced to only six months in jail for a minor charge. If each betrays the other, each receives a two-year sentence. Each prisoner must make the choice of whether to betray the other or to remain silent. However, neither prisoner knows for sure what choice the other prisoner will make. So this dilemma poses the question: How should the prisoners act?

The dilemma can be summarized thus:

Prisoner B Stays Silent

Prisoner B Betrays

Prisoner A Stays Silent

Both serve six months

Prisoner A serves ten years
Prisoner B goes free

Prisoner A Betrays

Prisoner A goes free
Prisoner B serves ten years

Both serve two years

The dilemma arises when one assumes that both prisoners only care about minimizing their own jail terms. Each prisoner has two options: to cooperate with his accomplice and stay quiet, or to defect from their implied pact and betray his accomplice in return for a lighter sentence. The outcome of each choice depends on the choice of the accomplice, but each prisoner must choose without knowing what his accomplice has chosen to do.

Applications of Prisoner’s Dilemma in real life

Warning: These ideas move from the very serious to the downright crappy!! , so choose your order of reading, at your own risk

The Jews

If you look at the time line of Jews as a community, ever wondered why they had faced prosecution at the hands of various communities without putting up a fight and actually submitted themselves as slaves. The answer may lie in our analysis of the prisoner’s dilemma

Throughout history, the Jews have lived under the shadow of an immense future, believing in the promise of them being the chosen people, of their belief of a second coming. They lived as scattered communities in areas that were hostile to them or around people who initially saw them as a nuisance. Any sort of action, which was either “non cooperative” or even mildly unfriendly was dealt with severely. So they actually had a better chance surviving without putting up a fight or in PD terms cooperating and not defecting

This strategy worked well for two thousand years until they met the Nazis who seemed to have a mania to purge the world of Jews and carried out their systematic extermination for years to come. The hatred they had faced before had been less deeply rooted, or more inconsistent, or less violent.

That’s why today we see a more violent Israel than they had been in the past as Jewish people. The instinctive action would have been cooperation with the Nazis, which would have resulted in their extinction as race.

The Arms Race

The PD scenario is often used to illustrate the problem of two states engaged in an arms race. Both will reason that they have two options, either to increase military expenditure or to make an agreement to reduce weapons. Neither state can be certain that the other one will keep to such an agreement; therefore, they both incline towards military expansion. The paradox is that both states are acting "rationally", but producing an apparently "irrational" result.

Tour De France

Consider two cyclists halfway in a race, with a large group at great distance behind them. The two cyclists often work together (mutual cooperation) by sharing the tough load of the front position, where there is no shelter from the wind. If neither of the cyclists makes an effort to stay ahead, the group will soon catch up. An often-seen scenario is one cyclist doing the hard work alone (cooperating), keeping the two ahead of the group. In the end, this will likely lead to a victory for the second cyclist (defecting) who has an easy ride in the first cyclist's slipstream.


Consider two companies A and B. If both Firm A and Firm B chose to advertise during a given period the advertising cancels out, sales remain constant, and expenses increase due to the cost of advertising. Both firms would benefit from a reduction in advertising. However, should Firm B choose not to advertise, Firm A could benefit greatly by advertising. Nevertheless, the optimal amount of advertising by one firm depends on how much advertising the other undertakes. As the best strategy is dependent of what the other firm chooses there is no dominant strategy and this is not a prisoner's dilemma. The outcome is though similar in that both firms would be better off were they to advertise less than in the equilibrium.


From my (in)experience about love, the PD is very much applicable. We all have our dirty secrets, the skeletons waiting to tumble out of the closet. What would happen if two people in love want to share some secrets about their past they wouldn’t normally do

The dilemma can be summarized thus: *

Girl remains silent

Girl shares

Boy remains silent

And they live happily ever after

She will go along thinking all her life that all men are some breed of sexual perverts, with sex on their minds all the time ( err…hmm .ooh ) looking only for relationships as a way to show off his machismo and would be very apprehensive next time she commits.

Boy shares

His life is screwed, he will probably go mad for some time, in special cases turn to spirituality, start some sort of secret society which in extreme cases can lead to mass paranoia or run a helpline for relationship advice or look for another girl

If sensibility prevails, they stay together, with lots of guilt off their shoulders.

* Please see end of page. In case you don’t have the patience to read through or have already closed this window, the above observations are purely speculatory in nature

Engineering Vivas

I can already see a smile on your face. This reminds me of the countless vivas I have given to my really fundoo and esteemed Profs and to the moronic; linguistically challenged maniacally mugging machines called Ad- hocs. Here is a not so unfamiliar encounter of a fundoo ( albeit depressed in the end ) Prof and 3 engineers.

If you have been a true engineer, which I need’nt explain, but eventually will, knows nothing about his field of engineering, is always on the brink of getting into the short attendance list, occasionally making it there too, never did a journal on his own, believes that glass was made solely for the purpose of a glass trace and to taste other earthly liquid delights and serves no known scientific or industrial purpose, studied for the exam on the last night, or even better in the morning, doesn’t know where most of his laboratories are located, ends up sitting in the canteen all day ogling at god’s best creation, his fair draft of human beings after creating, man. He is the enlightened one who sincerely believes that the Vivas are places to learn, show off his spontaneous idea guzzling abilities, undo the work all those poor scientists have done by giving out of the world explanations to the most basic of questions. The very fact the you are reading this shows that you have loads of time to kill .Enough, I am already sympathising for the poor Profs. Back to prisoners dilemma and cut to Viva scene

Moi : Good morning Sir

P: good morning all, have a seat

P: it seems you have copied the readings. These do not match with the experiments we did in the lab .

Classic PD …what should the others do, keep shut and let hope float or bring down the house

E 1 : No sir, these are the same readings……..all others nod ( Huraay!! They have cooperated, I knew I could trust you guys )

Suddenly T1 (topper no 1 aka the Ghissoo, insatiable grade earner and GPA hungry, ready to exploit the system to screw his peers…classic PD again )

T 1: no sir, we have copied the readings from the senior’s journal.

All: ( Wtf!! I think we need to talk …and this one is going to be unpleasant. Hostel main mil…. Saari sincerity aur honesty nikaal denge..It seems he had an overdose of morality and ethics . )

P: I thought so. But at least you could have been honest with me. See T 1 had the courage to at least tell the truth. you $^%)%@)(!_&^@%

All : Its all over, CC pakka, now we shall re enroll in the elite 6 pointers club we have been so proud of, a heritage that will die only in our placement and B school interviews, inspired by 300, we decide to fight back )

P: anyways, what is the significance of the Nusselt number (don’t bother, neither did I)

T 1: starts off as if he has very few moments to live on this earth and he feels that he must share his pearls of wisdom with the ignorant, early man-ish, unintelligible, gibberish crowd giving him company at the teachers cabin. He follows his divine duty of enlightening us with ideas even nusslet hadn’t thought of, ensuring that his knowledge has a bearing on the generations to come

Prof is beaming, we are feeling like possessed men with blood shot eyes ready for the kill, only to be killed soon by the prof .

The rest is the question and question session between prof and students (physically available, mentally retarded) which might look very familiar to you, so I am not taking the pains to put you through all that

So basically each time the topper defects and the poor others end up screwing their GPA, their life and never the topper. Classic PD isn’t it?

P.S The prisoner's dilemma can be applied in economics, politics and sociology, as well as to the biological sciences such as ethnology and evolutionary biology. And I sincerely hope that coming this far and after being through 1953 words which make some sense, you don’t expect me to know all the above mentioned stuff.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Boulevard of Broken Dreams

The verdict is in. I’m out. The last nail in the coffin stuck deep down my dreams. On the 22nd morning the omniscient omnipotent omnipresent almighty guided me towards the computer centre and I logged in. He has his own strange ways of doing things. It always happens that whenever I get a reject, he would empower the website servers to work full throttle and ensure that the skies fall upon me at the anointed moment. He will also ensure that the more confident I am of getting somewhere, the faster he will bring me down. When people around me expect more from me, he ensures that I will let them down in some way or the other. And when I succeed its hardly noticeable, it’s like the bird causing a blip on the radar, highly inconsequential yet disturbing. I have been a person who had a lot of confused dreams, half baked aspirations, ill conceived notions and loads of things happening around. But the last two years have been so weird that I can hardly put all my experiences in words. I have seen peaks of ecstasy and have touched the nadir, been overwhelmed by events around me and been crushed, rejoiced for days altogether and felt completely lost again, found new avenues, explored new horizons and then was down in the dumps, I been admired and been despised, I have triumphed and I have tottered, been victorious and have been victimized and vindicated, did things I never would have done, missed things I would’ve died for, accepted some things at face value, worked hard and got nowhere, lost something on the way and treaded the boulevard of broken dreams. This follows the main character from Green Day's song "Jesus of Suburbia." He leaves town, has one crazy first night and now it's kind of like the hangover. He's just walking, thinking about whether it was the right decision leaving where he used to live.

"Boulevard Of Broken Dreams" – Green Day

I walk a lonely road
The only one that I have ever known
Don't know where it goes
But it's home to me and I walk alone

I walk this empty street
On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Where the city sleeps
and I'm the only one and I walk alone

My shadow's the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
'Til then I walk alone

I'm walking down the line
That divides me somewhere in my mind
On the border line
Of the edge and where I walk alone

Read between the lines
What's fucked up and everything's alright
Check my vital signs
To know I'm still alive and I walk alone

My shadow's the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
'Til then I walk alone

I walk this empty street
On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Where the city sleeps
And I'm the only one and I walk alone

My shadow's the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
'Til then I walk alone...

I feel similarly about my dreams. Dreams that were never meant to be, dreams that shouldn’t have been seen. I was probably happy, but then I left the safest shores and ventured out into the unknown, took my aspirations to a new level , strived for it, worked for it and then everything came crashing down. I suddenly feel everything going wrong and getting messed up. But looking back at 20 years of my life, I have just this to say

There will be times when you would despair

There would be times when you feel defeated

There will be times when you feel rejected

Hold your thoughts and ponder

Wait a while and remember

Don’t judge yourself from a day’s experience

For what you are today, was not made in a day

A failure is a way, I believe

To see yourself in a different light

In a different perspective, through your own inner eyes

You rejoice in success

You analyze in failure

For failure is a queer teacher, it will teach you things the hard way

It won’t facilitate, it won’t accentuate,

It will hit you hard in your face

But if you get bogged down, give up or simply stop

Do it at your own risk, kill yourself, albeit in parts

They can take away an opportunity, they can take away a chance

They may take away the world from you, and make you penniless

And you are down and out unless

You see with your inner eyes

The potential, the passion, the talent, the energy, the enthusiasm

The spirit, the will and most importantly the faith.

You will see yourself

In a totally different light

For these are the things

No one can take away, no one can change

No one can tamper, no one can suppress

Because this is all what you are about.

No matter how many times I fall, I will get up and work. I will push myself harder, and will ensure that I will follow the 3 golden words to success. Citius , Altius and Fortius. You are not a failure until you think you are. And as Andy Dufferene always said “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies. “

I dedicate this post to all those who have supported me, prayed for me, and been there for me, I needn’t post their names, because those will be the ones reading this post. Its because of people like you that I can see myself as I am.

Friday, March 16, 2007


The day started early with me reaching the Mecca of all B Schools -- IIM Ahmedabad. The sight of this red brick structure never fails to instill in me a sense of belief in oneself. I have been to IIM a number of times in the past but each time I experience something new, something changed within myself. It seemed as i am undergoing a metamorphosis of sorts, an evolution that seems so ephemeral that it hardly lasts but the impression it creates in me is something inexplicable. One has to be there to experience it, the dorms, the buildings, the crowd, the girls (he he ..Well Murphy isn't always right ... beauty X brains is not always a constant), the whole aura that surrounds the institute is actually very enchanting. It seems I am already in my wandering mode. Coming back to MICA... they had arranged a bus for us and we started off towards our destination. It was a nice sight, two buses full of aspirants in all shapes and sizes, diverse backgrounds, far more diverse interests. This is what i really appreciate about MICA, the kind of diversity we see there makes it not only the very best in the communications field (probably even better than IIM’s), but also probably the most weird and enigmatic people from across the country can be found on campus. Diversity is the most important factor when it comes to actual learning because I sincerely believe that knowledge is what remains when what has been learnt is forgotten. My 4 years at NIT Surat have taught me the same, a days experience is worth a thousand books. We can learn immensely from people around us,all we need is a roving eye and an attitude to learn. Err... arey back in philosophical mode. Fast forward ... 8.00 am. We reached the hallowed portals of MICA and the beauty of the campus was amazing. Red brick structures ( i am fascinated by them ) , well maintained lawns, so much greenery around ( you perverts, I was talking in the botanical sense) , it seemed to gel in so well with the image of MICA I had in my mind. We moved towards the registration rooms and saw familiar faces and got chatting. In the process i realised that I had actually been late for registration with me being amongst the last ones. Anyways we were directed towards our MICAT centers for the test. For the uninitiated, it is the test that MICA conducts to test creativity and divergent/lateral thinking.


The test was 90 minutes in duration and consisted of five sections being word associations, RC and English usage, psychometric test, Maths and DI and finally the Essays. We were advised to stick to the time limits allotted to us, although they were not binding on us. I decided to sincerely follow the instructions and the test went well. The only thing i could not understand was the fact that how were they testing creativity ( other than the Archie- Jughead cartoon strip which we were supposed to fill ) in essays titled " What steps should be taken by the Indian industry to become technological leaders on the global stage " and the feasibility of the manned moon mission of ISRO . I was able to complete the test just in time and I must say was pretty satisfied.

The Group Exercise

Post MICAT went to check out my group, was having a pre lunch slot with 7 members in all. Now the tamasha begins, out of the 6 members, i knew 4 of them very well, ramya from college and the others three from IMS centre. So the GD turned out to be a discussion amongst friends. Among the other two, the girl did well and was very cultured but the other guy some Siddharth was your GD nightmare. The topic given to us was about violent and sexually explicit programmes harming children and steps that should be taken to prevent this. We were given 9 parameters to rate individually first and collectively, post discussion. The discussion started and was going on smoothly until Mr sid felt that he had deprived us of his views and knowledge. He started off with points that were nowhere near rationality. He seemed to me as a megalomaniac who had grand designs on being the leader of the GD but failed miserably. He was the only one who had problems accepting others point of view, forget it.. i am being tooo polished, he was not ready to listen to anyone. At the end of 20 minutes we had boiled down to top 2 choices but sid's participation ensured that we didn’t get down to the third one. I spoke well and would rate myself 8/10 and the 3rd best in the group.

The PI

I was the fifth to be interviewed. I had the same people in the interview panel as i had in my GE. One was tall French bearded guy( industry professional) and other was sari clad fair lady ( Anita.. MICA faculty). Let’s call the FB and FL ... M will be yours truly

I entered the room, exchanged niceties and sat down

FB: So utsav, where other then The Times of India do you write?
M: Sir i keep a blog.

FL: So what was your last post about?
M: It’s about the various interpretations of the song “Hotel California". I like to look at things from different perspectives. Other than the dangers of materialism, it also talks about drug addiction, satanic cults etc (refer previous post for the details)

FL: ok that's interesting, tell me more about it
M: bakar bakar

Now comes the scary part. If you have been to interviews, you know what the following question means. And I don’t think this was asked to throw me off balance.

FB: So, do you want to ask us anything?
M: (WTF, are you insane .arrey bhai inhe koi le jaao, 2 minute ka interview, itni jaldi khatam kar rahe ho..kyun ?? meri shakal itni buri bhi nahi hai.. mera gunaah kya hai .. agle saal phir aana padega) Sir i wanted to know more about MICAvaani.

FL: bakar bakar and thank god she says lets move on .
M: (sigh of relief, felt like a moor, thought would have the last sigh, he he showing my batisisi all around)

FL: So, you are a mechanical engineer...
M: ( arey madam, aap to getting personal ..You seem like nice lady..chodiye naa purani baatein..kahan acads vacads.. sab moh maya hai .. main to yun hi mazzaking..err) yes madam

FL: tell me something about quantum mechanics
M: ( kya.... einstein ki aulaad nahi hoon ..frankly speaking i felt just one thing .. either she knows everything about mechanical engineering and i am a moron or she is just trying her luck ...thankfully the latter was true. So I go on with full confidence) Madam i do not recall anything.
( one thing engg will teach you.. to say no with confidence .... full confidence and zero knowledge )

FL: (seemed genuinely surprised) isn’t it one of your core subjects at mechanical engg?
M: no ma’am, it’s not even a part of my syllabus, we studied this in 12th (which is true)

FL: ok, so tell me about any subject in mechanical engg.
M: ( yahoo!!.. i love open ended questions .... thankooo ma'am ... i realise that you don't know anything about mech engg.... me showing full batisi...pata nahi kucch zyada hi hasn raha tha..shayad wisdom tooth bhi dikh raha hoga) full steamed bakar on computational fluid dynamics

FL & FB : seemed convinced... smiling

now FB going through my form , sees column of parents education

FB: your Mother holds a PhD ?
M: yes sir

FB: which subject?

FB: he looked so dazed and shocked, as if i had said the most ridiculous thing in the world, as if she had done her doctorate on the marriage customs of the zulu tribes of Africa!! He seemed to be in a trance for a while...i thought..Must be bad at hindi in school ..memories must have started to haunt him ..all those matra and spelling mistakes

FL:( seemed ok with the idea, but decided not to probe further)

FB: so you write for the response feature. have you wriiten anything for the editorial
M: ( arrey bhai ...logon ke baal safed ho jaate hain editorial tak pahunchte pahunchte.. aur main koi shakespere ki aulaad to nahi hoon naa) no sir

Then lots of bakar about what i did at Times of India etc .not posting as all that was serious talk and morover not very relavent to you

FB: so what will you do if you do not get through here
M: Sir i come from a reputed college and have an offer for a job. I will take that up and try again next year at MICA ( this is what i spoke ..and being honest i am pretty serious about going to MICA)

FB: so what do you plan to do after studying 2 years here
M: bakar about my interest in media but wanting to explore the other fields futher..spoke well

FB & FL: ok thank you utsav
M: thank you sir , thank you ma'am

And I came out, pretty satisfied 15 minutes+ interview they seemed happy and content by my answers. I felt they categorize you mentally before they call you in and the interview goes in that direction. They didn’t ask me anything about Why MBA, why a shift from engg to communications, strengths and weaknesses etc. I tried to move my interview towards reading and other extra curriculars but either they were too seasoned or had other things on their minds

Overall I felt good after the whole process and would rate myself 7.5/10 .... Please post your analysis of the interview... and pray!!!!!

P.S that sid guy from Group exercise got screwed badly in his interview for his behavior ...peace at last.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Hotel California- One song, many interpretations

The song has been known and enjoyed all along but there are many interpretations to the lyrics of the song. This is what I have compiled from the very concrete theories to some very wild ones and some ideas of mine thrown into the understanding of the song. People have been imaginative enough to say that when played backwards the song has references to Satan. No matter what interpretation you consider appropriate, I feel that the following words is the jist of the song.

Whatever the song is about, I think it has some commonality with all of them. It is about being in darkness, drawn to a promise, immersed in a way of life that provides no escape, yearning for escape, and realizing that there is no returning to the lost innocence of the darkness and the desert when we could have continued on a different path. This scenario can be applied to many things in life, and many of us have had personal experiences for which these lyrics ring true. For me, the line "we are all just prisoners here of our own device" reminds me that we control our own destiny, but often imprison ourselves in a way of life from which we can't see an escape. We are often trapped by the decisions we take in our lives and sometimes we go too far ahead to return back. The last line symbolizes the point of no return. Temporary respites are all we can muster but the pleasures derived from these are ephemeral and so is the joy derived from these mirages of promise we are yearning for. The song ridicules the state of the human mind for being foolish and getting trapped in its own ideas and thoughts. It probably also says that man is naturally drawn to things that are grand and evil in their design only to repent it later. Maybe I am reading too much into it or may be I missed the bus treading into the lyrics superficially. The first interpretation is in line with the composers idea about the song

Requests, if you haven’t heard the song, first listen to it. Not for the interpretation, but for it sheer beauty and the guitar pieces at the beginning and the end.

I have given the lyrics of the song in the first meaning. For the lack of space and to prevent the post from being excessively long, in other areas only the interpretations are written.


This song is about the temptation and danger of materialism. We are bombarded by societal messages to accumulate material goods, be it fancy cars, or expensive jewelry. We feel drawn to these status symbols, but they also can cause us great unhappiness.

> On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
> Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air

The singer is free and liberated at the start of the song. Highway, isolated desert, wind blowing through his hair: all symbols of freedom. Colitas is marijuana, which of course also symbolizes a liberated mental state.

> Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light
> My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
> I had to stop for the night

The shimmering light is the materialism. It shimmers and glows like gold. The singer feels intoxicated by it. It casts a spell on him.

> There she stood in the doorway;
> I heard the mission bell
> And I was thinking to myself,
> 'This could be Heaven or this could be Hell'

The doorway is the transition into this new life, of materialism and greed and away from freedom. "She" is his way into this life, whether it be newfound wealth or sudden status. He sees that the world of materialism and flashy possessions could be glamorous (heaven), or it could be torturous.

> Then she lit up a candle and she showed me the way
> There were voices down the corridor,
> I thought I heard them say... 
> Welcome to the Hotel California
> Such a lovely place
> Such a lovely face
> Plenty of room at the Hotel California
> Any time of year, you can find it here

California represents materialism in many ways. It is the place of the gold rush (lovely place). It has Hollywood (lovely face). People come out to California to try to strike it rich.


Tiffany's for expensive jewelry, Mercedes for expensive car. Both are status symbols. People's perspectives get distorted by these things, which explain the words "twisted" and "bends". The pretty boys line also talks about high society.

> How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat.
> Some dance to remember, some dance to forget 

All these people are bought into the materialism, the "dance" of pursuing possessions. Some do it to remember back to their childhood or earlier in their life when they had more money. Some go after money to forget about something else more painful in their life.

> So I called up the Captain,
> 'Please bring me my wine'
> He said, 'we haven't had that spirit here since nineteen sixty nine'

1969 is Woodstock. The spirit means "free spirit", i.e. creativity and freedom, unshackled by money. Christian interpretation. Wine is Jesus's blood. He is in an old Christian church that turned Satanic in 1969

> And still those voices are calling from far away,
> Wake you up in the middle of the night
> Just to hear them say... 
> [chorus]
> Mirrors on the ceiling,
> The pink champagne on ice
> And she said 'We are all just prisoners here, of our own device'

Pink champagne is another symbol of luxury. The last line is saying that we are trapped in the pursuit of wealth, but we did it to ourselves by buying into the idea.

> And in the master's chambers,
> They gathered for the feast
> They stab it with their steely knives,
> But they just can't kill the beast

The beast is the primal desire within us to go back to freedom, away from the trappings of society. These people who have been suckered in want to kill that part of themselves which still longs for the liberated days, but they can't defeat it.

> Last thing I remember, I was
> Running for the door
> I had to find the passage back
> To the place I was before

The singer wants to get back to his former, free lifestyle.

> 'Relax,' said the night man,
> We are programmed to receive.
> You can checkout any time you like,
> But you can never leave!

We are brought up and conditioned by society to be receptive to its messages about status and wealth. We can mentally "check out" and decide to resist those messages, but we can never really get away from them or their strong pull.


It is a song about hell (Hotel California). The first part - until the first chorus - is the guy dead and "choosing" whether he should go to hell or to heaven. The "desert highway" would be the after-life highway to heaven, the "mission bell" would be the door to heaven, but somehow his attention is drawn to a different place - Hotel California. Devil is pulling his game. The second part is after his choice for hell, when everything is just fine. The man sees good-looking ladies, people dancing and pretty boys as friends. The voices down the corridor would be the guy's own conscience, remembering of the bad choice he has made (The praise of the Hotel in the chorus is a little bit sarcastic). In the third and last part is when the true face of hell is shown, the seduction is over and now the Devil (the nightman) is going to collect its debts. The fancy girl turns out to be a "prisoner" (not physically, but her soul is doomed). The master's chambers is another reference to hell. The steely knife stabbing can be interpreted in two ways: one could be a ritual of black magic and the other would be the rage of the main character after he realized he was deceived by the Devil. He could stab the Devil as long as he wanted to, but it would never die. And the final verse is the guy trying to escape, maybe back to the desert highway, but the Devil closes the Devil and states that great last sentence, meaning that the guy was doomed for eternity.

Satanic cults

If we take time and dissect the song using a bit of our brains, its not hard to see that the band is subtlety hinting about satanic cult, though it is not in anyway saying that it is associated with the cult. We shall look at the lines in greater details. The protagonist was walking, seemingly dosed with drugs (colitas). He then sees the church light, and since the side effects of the drug was kicking in, he had no choice but to stay over. "There she stood in the doorway I heard the mission bell And I was thinking to myself, This could be Heaven or this could be Hell" ~ A woman welcomed his visit. However, despite being a church (heaven), it was a satanic one (hell) and thus he had his reservations. He was ushered into the church and there seemed to be a ritual going on with all the voices around. He was welcomed by cultists. "Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends"~ he saw a rich girl who was shapely. " She got a lot of pretty, pretty boys, that she calls friends How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat. Some dance to remember, some dance to forget"~ Subtlety, it hints of the fact that an orgy is taking place. “So I called up the Captain, Please bring me my wine He said, "We haven't had that spirit here since nineteen sixty nine"~ 1969 was the year the first satanic church was set up, and the spirit here literally meant that the holy spirit no more resides here " More emphasis is on the latter part when the woman said that people chose to practise this(satanic cult) on their own accord. "And in the master's chambers, They gathered for the feast They stab it with their steely knives, But they just can't kill the beast "~ it isnt a real feast we are talking about; it is a human sacrifice! They were using razor sharp knives to stab the sacrificial, yet they could never get rid of the demons that were residing in their hearts. Seeing all the events, the protagonist got scared and he had to leave the place. "Relax," said the night man, we are programmed to receive. You can checkout any time you like, but you can never leave". He saw a guy who let him leave. The guy commented that anyone was welcomed to the cult but once you joined the cult, there would be no turning back.

Another concise interpretation of the satanic version

The man has embarked upon the highway to the dark side (the initiation)

Warm smell of peculiar things burnt in ritualistic offerings (as in Bohemian Grove)

The new arrival gets a heady dizziness from the superb brightness of the place as it is being approached and all senses that can caution grow numb and the decision to stay for a little while is made

The usher herself is the embodiment of the all the lucrativeness of that world

Cautioned by the mission bell, the new arrival is fully cognizant of the dangers now

The new arrival is lead through a darkened corridor (clearly tells about the physical aspect of the building that was converted into "the place") where faint/mocking/encouraging voices extend the suspicious welcome

The wild orgies/celebration/decadence abound in the place and people are gathered for different reasons, and some have been selected as sacrifices (real or mock ritualistic)

The new arrival is denied any chance to go back because as of 1969 the place had become Satanic with the Holy Spirit removed.

At the height of the ritual, the dissidents try for a desperate escape by stabbing the high priest of the chamber instead of the sacrifice, but the high priest can't be killed

The situation getting more desperate and the new arrival tries to run away, but once somebody has made a pact with the devil He holds them to it . You are given all materialism and riches but the soul is for His to keep.

Plato's Allegory of the Cave

I believe the song is an allusion to Plato's Allegory of the Cave. Summary of the Allegory of the Cave: People have been chained down in a dark cave for their whole lives. All they can see, all they have ever seen, are shadows of the rest of the world on the wall in front of them. Because they don't know any better, they assume that these shadows are real. One day, a prisoner is released from his chains. He goes outside of the cave, into the light, burning his eyes, but becoming enlightened. He decides to go back into the cave to tell everyone what he saw, but they don't believe him. In the Allegory, the darkness of the cave represents ignorance, the light represents knowledge, and the chains represent our perception of the world. How Hotel California connects to The Allegory of the Cave Instead of a dark cave we have a "dark desert highway" that, to the prisoners, seems like a nice place. The shimmering light alludes to the "light" or knowledge that the man who broke free of his chains gained. Like the man, the narrator of the song hurt his eyes because of it. "She" could mean knowledge; because the narrator has been in the dark for so long, he is still uncertain if he believes that the knowledge he's learning is real. The narrator is still learning. The other people who broke free of their chains tell him that the light is much better then ignorance in the dark and it was here all along. All he had to do was think. Again, "her" means knowledge. The narrator is saying that she seems to have and know everything. Everyone else who broke their chains are trying to gain as much knowledge as they can("she's got a lot of pretty, pretty boys"). By calling the knowledgable people pretty, the narrator is starting to show that he believes that the knowledge he's gaining is real and the "shadows" are an illusion. Some (remember, the "they" in the lyrics above refers to the people who have broken their chains.)dance to remember that the knowledge they gained in the light is not an illusion. Some dance to forget the shadows in the dark cave. By requesting wine, the narrator is showing that he wants to forget the knowledge he gained. The Captain is surprised by this. Most people who come into the light never want to go back except for a case in 1969. The enlightened people still keep insisting that the light is better then the dark. Alibies will be needed for the individuals still in the dark; not everyone is ready to learn about the light. No one can be forced to stay in either the darkness or light; anything that keeps you in a place you don't want to be is due to your "own device." Don't forget, this is still from the narrator's point of view. He sees what the enlightened people believe and the events they take part in, but it all sees so weird to him, a person who has known nothing but shadows for his whole life. The nightman tells him that he can go back to the cave, but it won't be the same; he'll never forget the knowledge he learned in the light of the Hotel California


This refers to a dark time in life, one that you are trying to escape. This could be a possible escape from the darkness. You find a way out, and it seems pleasing to begin with. He stops for the night because there is a chance that he can get out of it. And he sees the temptation (Women always represent temptation.) He thinks to himself, as he gets his first taste, "This could be Heaven or Hell" in regards to the mixed feelings that he is having. “Then she lit up a candle and she showed me the way there were voices down the corridor, “This "temptation" draws him in the Hotel, which represents addiction. The voices of the other addicts welcome him to this beautiful prison. The chorus for the first time says he is trapped and is put here because he has just been drawn in and now, even if he does not realize it, he will not be coming back out. It is such a lovely place with so much beauty, because everything is more beautiful in the 'Hotel' as long as you play along. It also says that it does not matter when you want it, because you know you can always have it. California is always beautiful... as long as you see it that way. "Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends She got a lot of pretty, pretty boys, that she calls friends ", He says that she is a very twisted, but very beautful girl. This is the first time he speaks of anything negative about the 'Hotel'. This could be the end of a high. He also comments that she has many pretty boys, saying that temptation has captured so many other people as well. Some people dance to feel how they used to, to feel good again, and some do the 'dance' to forget the pain, to make their problems go away. He tries to lay his hands on some wine but he does not get it. "And still those voices are calling from far away, Wake you up in the middle of the night Just to hear them say... " Even though he talks to them, even though he is in the Hotel now, he can still hear them calling for him, deeper and deeper within the 'Hotel' He wakes up, probably in cold sweats... remembering what a lovely place it is... what a great feeling it was, and it calls to him. "And she said "We are all just prisoners here, of our own device"", no matter who they are, they are all here because they did it to themselves. They are trapped in the Hotel because they made this decision. "The stab it with their steely knives, But they just can't kill the beast ", This seems to refer to feeding the addiction. (Steely knives - needles) That every addict wants to quit... after this one. and they think if they do it this last time, then that will be it. "Last thing I remember, I was Running for the door I had to find the passage back To the place I was before ", He is trying to find his way back, now he realizes what he has gotten himself into. He is trying to go back through time, take back his mistake. In the end the nightman says that why worry, you are here anyway, just enjoy it.”You can checkout any time you like, but you can never leave!". You can say you are going to stop at any time, but you are never going to escape it. Once you are in the Hotel, there is no way out.

Broken Marriage

The lyrics are a commentary on the state of Marriage, in California, where so many relationships seem to go well at first, and then fall apart badly. Of course, few people at that time would knock such a strong social institution as Marriage- at least not directly. It was supposed to be the best that a relationship could be, and what we might all aspire to, one day yet so many of them had been going obviously wrong. Read the lyrics and see if you find the same meaning or at least a few things to think about along the way. After all, the seventies were an age of veiled lyrical meanings, and creativity.

Perhaps colitas referred to a certain feature of the female anatomy. However there is a dual meaning here, since colitis can also pertain to the little buds of marijuana, with a warm sweet smell. ( both somewhat intoxicating, and affecting judgment )At any rate our singer starts out a single man- riding carefree down the highway, thinking of his girl, who may even have been riding in the seat beside him. With the influence of the girl, our author stops (perhaps at a hotel) for the night. BUT more importantly, his sight/reasoning grows dim, because he decides to settle for a girl that wasn’t quite right for him and thereby enters the "Hotel California", of relationships.

What the song doesn’t directly say is: It is the doorway to a CHURCH. We've advanced a few months, and are about to be married, which is why you hear the mission bell. And as he looks at his bride, somewhat uncertain, he was thinking that this (the marriage) could be heaven, or could be hell.

Candles and romance, for at least a honeymoon's worth, yet something is not quite right - a little voice in the distance bothers him: is this really going to work? He tries to convince himself he is done the right thing. Welcome to the married life it's supposed to be good. Of course it is: look at her, she's lovely. Plenty of room at the hotel California more people getting married all the time, and inviting everybody else to do the same - just like you did. Any time of year you can find a time & place to get married. Yet the voices in his head are still there.

It turns out, that his wife is definitely high maintenance, with expensive tastes and more interested in his money than him. After the initial passion is over, she's got several other boy-toys on the side. When he's out with his wife, he starts noticing other couples and depending on whether things are going well or not some dance to remember happy days, some dance to forget troubled ones. The "spirit" here isn't alcohol, but the spirit & emotion of the marriage he’s looking for. Unfortunately that’s long gone, and we haven’t seen it for a while. Yet the voices are still there and the doubts grow stronger, leaving him awake in the middle of the night, thinking. Welcome to the Hotel more voices, Other people think the marriage is going great - they're living it up- But it's not quite what you'd hoped (what a nice surprise)Excuses are made, accusations too, alibis are in order. They try to rekindle the romance - get a little kinky - pour a few more drinks. We are all just prisoners here, of our own device: We're the ones who decided to get married - we did it to ourselves, but now we just feel trapped. Sooner or later (in California style) the marriage is over. In the master's chambers (Judges chambers, during the divorce)They gather for the feast. The lawyers and his wife are all going to benefit and a gruesome, ugly, “feast where they all take whatever they can get from the husband. As for the Marriage: the bitter words, sharp tongues lash, but they can’t quite destroy the lingering shreds of marriage, or the husband portrayed as a "beast".

By the time the divorce was finished, he just wanted to be OUT. With the marriage fully over, he tries to put his life back to how it had been, before he was ever married. But it's not easy. The voice in his head reminds him, that it's never really over once you've been married, there's always going to be some part of you that isn't the same. For better or for worse, he realizes that even after getting divorced, and checking out of the "Hotel California," you can't just leave it all behind. We (society, biology or emotion) are programmed to receive. It's easier to get IN to marriage than out

Alien abduction

A man driving alone in the middle of nowhere sees a "shimmering light" ahead of him and feels drowsy. He pulls over and drifts to sleep. When the man awakens, he finds himself in a strange place that "could be Heaven or...could be Hell". As she leads him down a corridor, he hears voices and in trying to understand them, he thinks he hears them say "Welcome to the Hotel California. The woman, whose sanity he questions, shows the man the various artifacts brought onboard with the other abductees, how live in a daze unable to remember much of their lives before the abduction and unable to forget that they are abductee. The woman in the song represents the lull of drugs and prostitution to the men, who were captured in the hotel and cannot leave. The man, falling into the lull effecting the other abductees, addresses the Captain of the ship. His experiences last so long onboard that he sees the pattern emerge of the strange sounds emminating from the ship at the same intervals each night, and each time he thinks the voices are saying "Welcome to the Hotel California". The quarters each abductee is given has metallic mirrored walls and ceiling, with luxuries available to placate the prisoners and to entice them to stay. The abductees, in either an experiment or a meal, are presented with a living creature which they have to kill in order and consume. Try as they might, they just can't kill the beast. The narrator, seeing the failed experiment for what it is makes good on his escape attempt, fleeing down passageways on the ship to escape and get back to the desert and his car. He struggles with a guard who tries to subdue the narrator but fails. As the man gets out of the ship, he knows he'll be traumatized by the experience and never really forget the horror he experienced.


The song starts off, he is driving down the highway, smoking some weed, just hanging out. He gets tired and sees an old church. However, it seems that the church is no longer a church, but a brothel. This could be heaven or this could be hell refers to the fact that you get pleasure here, but at the same time it’s a dirty guilty pleasure, one that feels almost definitely like a sin. The woman who greets him is all dolled up and dressed up. Her friends are the other clients who come to see her. Dancing is an allusion to sex. People come there for many reasons, remembering a lost girl, or even to forget a girl who broke your heart. The chorus is just the sentiment of the people who come there .Alibis refers to not letting your wives know where you went. Prisoners of our own device refer to the fact that everyone succumbs to their most innate desires of lust. The feast is the sex, they stab it with their steely knives, but they just can’t kill the beast. They screw to quench their thirst for lust, but in the end all it does is make them want more. Here is basically after he’s done and he has that feeling of what have I done? He runs out but before he does, a guy basically tells him, you can leave this place, but this place will never leave you.


This is the one about which I have absolutely no clue.

This song is about Charles Manson, the Manson member and the Tate-LiBianca murders in Bel Air in 1969. The hotel on the cover is the Beverly Hills Hotel which is located right next door to Hell, Bel Air, where the murders took place. The Hotel itself, in the song Hotel California is not a real one. The California in Hotel California is the street the Church of Satan is located on in San Francisco. Read the lyrics very carefully and you will see the references to Manson, the year, being programmed, stabbing, lighting candles, as they had no electricity at Barkers ranch, and how you could check into the family but you could never leave. Dark desert highway up to Barkers Ranch. The song speaks of the last thing I remember I was running for the door, after the stabbing, finding a passage back to the place I was before, getting back to Spnahn ranch. Warm smell of colitas, Sharon's body after the stabbing. Her mind is tiffany twisted; Tiffany's is the best stuff, and Susan Atkins warm in Charles mind and most twisted. She's got Mercedes 'Bends'. The bends is not a misprint. They are referring to a curvy female body and not a car. Susan Atkins was a shapely woman in 1969. Susan also danced at Anton Lavey Church of Satan on California Street in San Francisco.

Well I am actually not through with the interpretations. I also found some really absurd ones like cancer and car crashes and people went to the extent of saying that the song is about Vietnam War!!!!

Well all I can say is “Different people, different interpretations”. Please leave your comments about the song and what it means to you and also your comments about the post.