Monday, March 7, 2016


Sometime back, I was asked to answer this question on Quora. The question was whether Oda-san has portrayed Zoro and Sanji as equals in the anime until the Zou arc. I don't feel like answering the question, but I've thought about why I like Zoro better than Sanji, and why Zoro is one of my top 3 favorite characters in One Piece (after Luffy and Shanks).


Each member of the crew has it's own ambition; little is known about the ambition of those outside.

Luffy - to become the Kaizokuo - the king of pirates, which as per his definition is the person with the most freedom on the seas.
Zoro - to become the best swordsman in the world.
Sanji - to discover All Blue and become the best cook.
Nico Robin - to uncover the secrets of the Void Century and, become the best historian and scholar.
Franky - to become the best shipwright and carpenter of the Kaizokuo.
Nami - to draw a map of the world.
Chopper - to become the best doctor.
Usopp - in his own words, he wants to be a brave warrior of the sea, but according to his talents, he is poised to become a world class sniper like his father.
Brook - he seeks to conquer Grand Line but after his rebirth, his ambition is less clearly defined. To meet with Laboon again, perhaps?

Based on ambition and the effort taken towards it, Zoro is the one whose combination of seriousness and how close he is to his target is closest. In fact, among everyone's definition of ambition, Zoro's is the one which entails violence by default. One does not simply play with swords and become the best swordsman in the world. One could argue how Usopp's doesn't qualifies, but if you threw a gun in Usopp's hands and asked him to shoot someone, I'd be hard pressed to be convinced that he would.

Portrayal of character

Being the captain of the ship, Luffy steps up at the most important points in the story; most notably being at Eneis Lobby when he asks Sogeking to shoot the world government's flag down. What. A. Scene.

This scene is testament to the seriousness that Luffy has over his ambition of becoming the Kaizokuo. It is only matched by Zoro's rebuttal when Luffy says he is going to fetch Usopp who leaves the crew, fighting over the Merry. Another great scene. I'm yet to see another character from the Mugiwara no Ichimi displaying the same amount of seriousness.

Aiming to be the best swordsman in the world, Zoro's character comes with an implicit smugness and blood thirstiness. The latter makes his, a very compelling character amongst the Ichimi(most of whose fights involve minimal or no blood thirst). There are many fights where Luffy's life is on the line and he exclaims that he is going to kick the antagonist's ass, but he isn't out for blood. Zoro is. Notable scenes are

Ashura at Water 7 - "You got cocky and said too much, you bastard!"

and Daishinkan at Punk Hazard - "Have you seen a fierce animal but were convinced that it wouldn't attack? I haven't!"

Near death scenarios

With respect to near death scenarios, Zoro has had the most that prompt you to say, "Man, that guy got really fucked up by this dude." The fights with Mihawk near the Baratie, the fight with Daz Bones and the portion where he decides to absorb Luffy's damage from fighting Odz against Kuma are some of the best sections of the story without contention. In each of these, you get to see Zoro being visibly on the edge of death. I'd be hard picked to choose between the three as Zoro's best.

Zoro's biggest badass moment


Chimping off the previous section, Zoro has had some pretty amazing fights and opponents. Daz Bones and Kaku are among my favorite fights in One Piece. I've always felt that the amount of detail in fights was less (much less!) compared to Naruto which has some of the best fight choreographies till date. But these 2 fights compensate me for it partially.
Zoro's inner peace moment where he can cut steel and not cut a leaf leaves(excuse the pun) me with goosebumps how many ever times I watch it. The huamndrills' challenge comes close.

Inner peace

It is difficult to have a character with such a dark and intimidating personality yet make gags, which the grand master Oda-san pulls off amazingly well with Zoro's lack of sense of direction. Zoro is an amazing character and it's tough to not have him in your favorite characters list. I'm sure you'll agree. :)

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Cowboy Bebop

I’ve finally completed watching Cowboy Bebop. Like most other anime, I came to know of Cowboy Bebop through Animax when I was in school. Late night telecast schedule and curfew for sleep at home ensured I couldn’t watch it while I was in school. In a sense, I’m glad that it was that way because I’m not sure I would have appreciated the show as much then. 

I must admit that I’ve previously tried to watch the show only to give up 2 or 3 episodes in, due to the slow pace of those episodes. But this time around, after having had more experience with slow screenplay (watching movies like The Godfather, Everest etc), I got around to completing the entire anime. I haven’t watched the movie yet. I’ll probably watch it over the next weekend. 

Spike’s encounter with members of the Red Dragon syndicate, Jet’s connections in the ISSP and Faye’s struggle to stave off her unknowingly accumulated debt keep the plot vivaciously gripping. To have made characters to likable in 26 episodes with a plot that doesn’t dabble much with righteousness or panache as it does with realism is commendable.

Jet Black’s episodes Black Dog Serenade and the one with Alisa were good, but they didn’t strike a chord with me. He's my least favorite character among the lot. Megumi Hayashibara has done a fantastic job of voicing Faye Valentine. Faye is my favorite among them all(yup, even more than Spike). Ed was the most fun character I've seen in a long time.

While rummaging through the interwebz about Cowboy Bebop, I found that there was a plan to make a live action movie of it, starring Keanu Reeves. After having seen him in John Wick, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about his being cast as Spike Speigel. But if it the project does make it off the shelf again, I’d definitely see it. 

My favorite episode of the bunch was originally Pierrot Le Fou (Oh, how it changed my opinion about CowboyBebop being slow!), but it was later replaced by Hard Luck Woman. I enjoyed watching Cowboy Bebop. Would recommend, if not for anything else, for the soundtrack!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016


If you were a person in Asia with a habit of frequently catching cold, chances are that Axe oil is your great friend. Unless you are one of those who prefers the Vicks inhaler, that is. I belong to the former category. What was once a relief during cold, gradually morphed into something that I used to avoid motion sickness. Given that I travel over 2 hours every day, and Bengaluru’s roads have the habit of not being straight for more than a kilometer and a half inside the city, a vial of Axe oil stays inside my bag always. One fine day, I use it on the way to office and shove it into the side pouch where all last minute things and generally my earphones go(think of it as a low latency cache, #selfthoo).

Bengaluru’s weather is nice unanimously if you’re from a place that has both extremes of weather. But if you’re from a place like Chennai, where the seasons are Summer, more Summer and 11/10 Summer, Bengaluru’s winters will bear the curses that you hurl at it for making you shiver. Accompanying your shivering is the coconut oil bottle’s irritating habit of freezing up. That’s what happened to one of the roommates at the Madiwala house. Except that, roommate is insistent on oiling his hair that weekend day. Roommate goes to kitchen to heat the oil up, except that he holds the bottle too close to the stove :D 

The bottom of the bottle melts slightly with oil oozing out of the newly created deformation. Roommate grabs one of the unused measuring cups they give with Surf excel(the only other regularly bought provision other than coconut oil at the Madiwala house). 

Hacks being hacks, in this case, the bottle’s width being small enough to fit inside the cup, but the length tall enough to tip over the bottle and cup placed on the study table(Is it even morally justifiable to call it, that? Although it sounds better than “Temporary shoving open area” ). 

My earphones also being one of the occupants of the temporary shoving open area, becomes a candidate for an oil massage. I try to rub it off using paper and my own oil deprived hair, but the flavor on the oil(oh yes! Did I tell you it was flavored oil?) is too strong. Meh, I didn’t care as long as it was working. 

Fast forward to Monday morning, and as usual after I board the cab, I take out my vial of Axe oil, take a pinch drop of it, only for my nose to curse at the pungent nonsense that was the aroma of Axe oil’s eucalyptus, pudina and coconut oil’s fragrant flavor all mixed up. It surely didn’t help with the motion sickness, I can tell you that.

If you’ve read till this, you would've probably realized that there is no point to this post. I’ll just leave you with a moral- don’t fucking heat a plastic coconut oil bottle over a gas stove.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Something that was cool

So I came across this question on Quora, and wanted to write an answer for it. But the answer I had in mind, was neither far back to qualify as the past, nor did it answer the second part of the question (triviality). However nobody does it these days, or so I think.

This was in the summer of 2010 when I was learning C programming. It was a crash course and our lab had only Turbo C++ compilers. We used to have lectures where syntax was explained and we used to try them out in labs. To explain the concept of loops, we were explained with an example program which printed different triangles and quadrilaterals. Discussion after hours led to a clever combination of using clrscr(), setxy() and rand() function in combination with mod to create so called screensavers, in the form of marquees, shapes that appeared in a random fashion. It was cool then. For people who were just learning to program.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

An unexpected visit for the second time

So this happened last December (2013) that I had to travel to Bangalore from Coimbatore. I had never travelled in a AC sleeper bus on an overnight trip. The scheduled arrival time for the bus was 5 am, so I promptly kept the alarm at 4 30 and slept off. The occasion was that Kurukshetra's Xceed was happening at Bangalore and I was going to help host a quiz.

But it so happened that, the bus ended up reaching half an hour earlier, and by the time the bus had gone past all the alighting points, past Majestic and to the shed, I was sound asleep. That being the last set of beds in the bus, the conductor didn't notice me as well. He was irate and gave me a good bunch of appreciative words as Suprabatham, waking me up at the shed. I got down and it was cold, very cold! I reached the main road at around 4 10 and took an auto to IIM-B. Never really managed to find out where that shed was or how long I had overshot Majestic.

A couple of days back, my cab driver took an alternate route and I found myself crossing a familiar temple to a road under a bridge. Then I remembered this incident. The area was Chamrajpet.

Fun times. If you never failed,  overslept, you never lived.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

GoIbibo: broadcasting travel plans since God knows when!

I have GoIbibo app installed on my phone. Never having used it is another story, but today a notification on my locked screen alarmed me!

Who the fish is Rahul? I have had some problems in the recent past because of the previous owner of my current phone number not having updated his number at all online locations, but that was someone called Victor, Rahul was a new name. I was curious; so I went to the Account page and saw this.

Good, so nobody was signed in. Anyhow, let me just click on "My Bookings" anyway. And, to my shock and surprise, there are 2 bookings.

I click on one and I see this: an itinerary for 3 people.

Who these people are, I have no idea. Why is their account appearing on my phone also I have no idea. I think it is a problem with user bookings from Guest accounts on GoIbibo. Well done on privacy and security domains, *massive applause*.

If you are using this app, uninstall it. Who knows, which random person is seeing your flight details?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Counting Stars

It's been a while since I've written anything at all, so I thought I'd let me guilty feelings take a small break by writing a small piece today. We went to Hogenakkal for the weekend, since it was a 3 day weekend (Bless Republic Day for falling on a Monday).

It has been quite a few years since I had been to a falls and taken a bath at a natural waterfall (6-7 years? I don't even remember the last time, it was with Grandpa at Kutralam I think. Kishkintha doesn't qualify.) But the most enjoyable part of the trip was stargazing.

Chennai and Bangalore are too polluted to see anything in the sky at all, but the sky above the Forest Officers' guest house at Hogenakkal was crystal clear. So many stars visible that I almost cried. I am not a big fan of identifying constellations (in fact, I don't know if I am-- I haven't done it much during my childhood) but identifying Orion constellation was overjoying. The inner kid in me was awakened. I was also able to identify Canis Major with the help of an image that I was able to Google up which showed constellations in their relative positions. It isn't much, but it was fun. I should try picking this up as a hobby.

Also writing. Must write more often. That's all for now.