Friday, April 13, 2007

The Pursuit of Happyness & Rubik's cube challenge

I own a Rubik cube. I am yet to conquer it though. On some days I decide to conquer the silly cube and force it to show me all its colours arranged neatly on each side. It has never happened.

I’ll do one layer. Feel happy and try some more. Mind you, I don’t use any of those fancy algorithms. So usually I just end up messing up. Finally I get bored and move on. Most of the times I just lose patience and put the Rubik’s cube in its corner. Something like a punishment – “Stand in the corner, you silly cube!” The silly cube sits in its corner and mocks me and challenges me for another tussle. I had given up these futile attempts after several humble defeats. Until I saw The Pursuit of Happyness.

When Will Smith did the final Rubik rotate, and cracked the Rubik's code, I felt that this simple scene in the movie had a lot of hidden ideas beneath it. The message being portrayed throughout the entire movie was depicted so easily in that one simple scene.

(For those who haven’t seen the movie and are wondering what I am talking about here’s some F1 - In the movie The Pursuit of Happyness starring Will Smith as Chris Gardner, Smith’s character successfully solves a Rubik's Cube to the astonishment of his future employer, who thinks that it is impossible to solve, and this becomes Gardner’s ticket to a great job and well, happiness!)

So here are a few things I think I really need to finally conquer my silly cube.

Try. Try. Try. Try. Try. If you are not sure, try again.

You are GOD. You decide whether to rotate left or right. Only praying and crossing all your fingers and toes won't work.

If you don't make that move, there's nobody else to make it for you. YOU are the TEAM. You play the coach, the manager, the player....

NOW. You have no control over the past and the future. What you have is NOW. Seize it and do what you want to do or lose it.

You are never wrong. You might be just partially right. But wherever you are, there is still a way to reach where you want to be. There are no dead-ends. But you can always turn back anytime you want!

And who could have done this better than Will Smith, whose life story is no less inspiring.

And one last thing, there’s nothing that you cannot do. And to solve my silly cube, I just had to find this pdf – The Mathematics of Rubik’s Cube. It is a very simple document in which different strategies to solve the Rubik’s cube are explained through very basic Mathematics concepts. If you like Maths, you might enjoy it. Otherwise, a Rubik’s cube can make a very good paper weight too! :)

Some tidbits about the movie and Rubik’s cube:

- Rubik champions Tyson Mao and Toby Mao and Lars Petrus were hired to teach Will Smith how to solve a Rubik's Cue. Smith can now solve it in less than two minutes, it seems!!!

- Rubik’s cube is the same as Hungarian Cube and Magic Cube.

- A Normal (3×3×3) Rubik's Cube can have (8! × 38−1) × (12! × 212−1)/2 = 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 different positions (permutations), or about 4.3 × 1019, forty-three quintillion (short scale) or forty-three trillion (long scale), but the puzzle is advertised as having only "billions" of positions, due to the general incomprehensibility of such a large number to laymen!!!!

- Despite the vast number of positions, all Cubes can be solved in twenty-seven or fewer moves. (This was news to me!!!)

- The official world record based on an average of the middle three out of five Cubes is 11.76 seconds, set on January 7, 2007 in Seoul, South Korea by Yu Jeong-Min.

- Rubik’s cube and I share a special connection. We were both born on the same year! :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

He & She

- "Hey dear, do you love me?"

- "Of course honey."

- "Hmmmm so you wouldn't mind doing anything for me?"

- "Assuming that you are not juvenile enough to ask me to jump off a cliff or to go to the end of the world, I'll take a little risk and say, no, I wouldn't mind doing anything for you."

- "That's great. I don't want you to go to the end of the world for me. But please get a glass of orange juice for me from the kitchen, will you?"

- "You manipulative thing!!"

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Alibaug – Kashid: Another Mumbai getaway

Alibaug - Kashid beaches

If you are in Mumbai and if you are ready for a 3 hour drive along good roads to spend a weekend at the beach, Alibaug is the place to be in!

Well, it is not exactly the best beach I have been to, but it comes pretty close to the top contenders for various reasons.

1. Shallow. Period.
You can walk and walk and walk and still feel the ripples on your ankles. That's how shallow Alibaug beach is.

2. Forts.
My main motive to visit this beach was to see one of the so called sea-forts. And it was worth the visit.

3. Food.
Hotels serving lip smacking home cooked food.

4. Sparse.
A couple of couples and some families were the only crowd in these beaches. We almost felt like we had the whole beach to ourselves. A dearly welcome respite from the over-populated Mumbai streets.

5. Clean air.

6. Vast expanse of trees.

It's got all the ingredients for a perfect tranquil weekend in the beach. Whether you want to just lie around listening to the stories whispered by the waves unsolicitedly, or read a book or gorge on sea-food or walk on the smooth sands with moonlight making it all the more romantic for you or just catch up on some zzzzz on one of the numerous hammocks under a Casuarina, think no more and head to Alibaug/Kashid beaches.

A caveat. If you are looking for exciting water sports and stunning scenic beauty, you are better off not making the visit. For me, Kappad and Varkala beaches remain the most beautiful beaches in India.

Thursday, April 05, 2007