Six Tips for being the Sane Half of a Programmer!

For some of us, marrying a programmer might have been a deeply considered, well-thought-out decision, but for others it was a decree of fate. Those of us who’ve embraced a programmer as our life-partner, while in full senses, are courageous women and men, who knew exactly what they were getting into; but others, who got tossed into these turbulent waters by a quirk of fate, have learned some survival techniques through bitter experience.

Cartoon of a programmer - binary love funny -six tips - programmer jokes.

I now share some of these tips with you, and hope that you will add your own experiences to this list, and share them with others of our kind.

  1. The Bug-hunter

When you detect a roach trying to sneak in, and squeak (or scream,) “A bug…a buuuuggg!” and instead of materializing behind you as your protector, your knight in his crumpled tee and faded jeans jumps up from the sofa, shouts “where, where?” and rushes to his computer, then don’t lose heart. Don’t assume that he has lost his sense of direction or that he doesn’t love you – it’s just that he loves his programs a wee bit more.

  1. The Java-lover

When he takes that cup of coffee from you, draws in its aroma, closes his eyes and smiles – and you wait for him to say something really nice, really sweet to you; instead he sets the cup on the table, looks at the monitor, and says, “Java is awesome,” don’t ply him cups after cups of the same brew. You must learn to appreciate how one Java leads to another, and how the real turn-on is that Java which scrolls on his screen.

  1. The Bean-picker

When one morning, he finally comes unstuck from his seat, and condescends to accompany you to Mother Dairy where you look at the beans to exclaim, “Aren’t these beans looking great,” and he drops the shopping bag, grins widely, and asks, “Are they enterprise beans or session beans?” don’t surmise that he has lost his mind. He’s overawed but thrilled, because he thinks that you are finally learning to speak Codemese!

  1. The De-bugger

When he looks buggy-eyed all the time, it isn’t because he’s contracted conjunctivitis. It’s because he’s been debugging a particularly nasty piece of bug-riddled code. Debugging might sound a bit like deworming and your may wonder if it feels similar, but if you’d wait long enough, then you’ll witness a look of pure delight on his face. You will also get the opportunity to experience that Eureka moment when he fills his lungs and shouts, “I found it!” You might think that he had found a treasure trove and not a crummy bug, and you’ll want to tell him exactly that, but don’t. Just join him in his glee, and throw a party!

  1. The Code-master

When you want to find out if he still loves you and whether his love for you hasn’t been relegated to a background process, and you ask him, “Do you love me still,” but he continues to stare at the antsy-looking text called code and says, “One minute,” don’t stress yourself out wondering whether the flame of passion in your relationship was beginning to flicker. Just parse his statement, pick “one” from it, and tell yourself that zero is false and one is true, and so he still loves you!

  1. The Keyboard-Warrior

And finally, if and when you really want your keyboard warrior to come and save you, you must shout ctrl + s if he uses Windows and command + s if he works on Mac. And yes, you better find out, pronto!

Face in the Fire – A Short Story and the Caricature of Anger Divine.

“If I could, I would kill him!” the man in the tattered jacket and stained trousers hissed as he watched the flames that danced violently mirroring his own state of mind.

He didn’t expect his cry to be heard, nor his pain to be felt by another. He sat in a small recess that was between two cliffs that faced each other, touching and teasing at times then moving away, just a little, just enough to let a man escape the freezing wind that could peel the skin off his face; just enough to let a man build a fire that could warm his chilled bones and melt the blood that had frozen in his veins.

“If they wouldn’t hang me for killing him, I would kill him,” he muttered to himself, contemplating why he hadn’t killed him. He knew they would hang him, or take him out to the fields, ask him to make a run for his life, then put a bullet in him – they’d call it encounter. They ignored the law when it came to punishing a crime against their own kind.

And now, more than ever before, he couldn’t die. He had to live. He couldn’t even get arrested and be put away for years.

He turned his attention to the fire. He needed to stop thinking about that man.

But how did you stop thinking about someone who stole your reason to live?
How did you tell yourself to go on, when your reason to go on, had gone away… taken away… wrenched away…hacked away?

He couldn’t staunch the flow of his thoughts, but watching the fire soothed him. The fire hadn’t lost its strength yet. It still burned strong, nearly white in the center; and a fiery orange outside. It threw a golden glow on the walls of cliffs that faced each other. The flames still danced passionately, angrily, demanding to be assimilated, absorbed in each other.

And then he saw a face – among the flames, made of flames; so full of anger that it could have been his own. The matted hair that coiled on the top, the impression of a third eye – he knew the face, and he knew that the anger that filled this face that was made of flames, was the force of justice.

Caricature Portrait of an Angry sadhu -

“What did he do?” he heard a voice, which sounded like it came from the face in the fire.

The calm voice from the angry face, made him feel better. Gradually he began remember everything in vivid detail – everything including that which reminded him why he couldn’t kill the man who had rendered his life meaningless. Images rushed to fill in the space that his receding pain and anger left vacant. He saw the woman he loved and their son waving him goodbye – the image was lit with the soft morning light that fills hearts with joy and hope. Then he saw the broken door, the picture of him and his wife on the floor with its glass shattered, and inside, he saw blood on the sheets. The light he saw it all in had the ink of night spilling into it – throwing his soul into the dark abyss of hopelessness. She wasn’t there, nor was his son. Then he saw her – bloodied, clutching her throat and dying near the scarecrow they had both built together. Finally, he saw in her fist, the piece of paper that stopped him from going after him and killing him. He had taken away their son! He had known him for fifteen years and considered him a friend.

“He should pay,” said the angry face in the fire, or he thought it said. But could he? If he killed him, and they killed his son, what then?!

The stream of his thoughts was dammed by a scream that came from above. He looked up and saw a man falling, hitting the walls, rebounding from one then from the other. He crashed to the ground just a few feet away from him on the other side of the fire he had built. Before his body struck the ground, the man’s face turned toward him. His head smashed against a boulder that lay at the bottom of the cliff’s wall and spattered it with blood, before his eyes closed forever. The police uniform that he had always admired on his friend was soaked in blood, even his badge was twisted out of shape.

The man watched spellbound. He had wanted this man to die – but his death didn’t soothe him the way he thought it would. His death couldn’t become life for her…and his son? He was still missing.

He turned to look at the fire.
The face was gone.
Or was it never there? 

He looked up, wondering if the face was up there among the stars, but it wasn’t. Instead he saw a tiny silhouette of a little head. He could’ve recognized it anywhere. Against the backdrop of a moonlit sky, he saw the child. They used to come here, father and son; they knew the place like the back of their hands. His son was safe. Now he had to only get up there and pick the threads of his life again. He had a reason to go on.

Before he prepared himself for the climb, he turned to look at the fire again. It was suddenly close to dying, like it didn’t have a reason to blaze and sing anymore.

But he was sure.

There was a face in the fire.

My Tutankhamun Affair resulted in this Caricature!

First, the caricature.

Caricature of a Grumpy Old Man (Inspired from the description of Theodore Davis in The Tutankhamun Affair by Christian Jacques)

My friends know that I love Egypt. Not the bundle of confusion that it is today, but the Egypt that existed in its glorious past – the Ancient Egypt. Blinded by this love, a few years ago, I purchased a book called “The Tutankhamun Affair.” It is written by Christian Jacq, an author noted for the fiction and non-fiction works on Egypt. My friends also know that I have a marked preference for fiction. When I picked up the book around a decade ago, I had no idea that the guy wrote non-fiction too…and that I was buying a somewhat boring biographical account of Howard Carter’s quest for Tutankhamun’s tomb.

I brought the book home and settled down for a thrilling ride that I hoped would take me through both ancient and modern Egypt. As I started turning its pages, I realized that there were easier ways to die than reading The Tutankhamun Affair, and as dying wasn’t on my to-do list, I pushed the book the farthest I could inside my boring-books book-rack.

A month ago, one of my archaeological expeditions yielded The Tutankhamun Affair – a book I hadn’t read. So I gave it another shot.

Oddly, I didn’t find it as boring this time as I did earlier. Either my own boredom-resistance quotient has gone up, or I’ve learned a few things in the last 10 years – things that now enable me to relate to the tribulations of poor Mr. Carter.

I know that the yarn is growing longer – before you get tangled up and are thrown off-balance and off my blog, I’ll let the story of this imaginary caricature of Mr. Theodore Davis out of the bag.

Mr. Davis appears on page 124 of the soft-cover edition.

“Of average height, Theodore Davis gave an impression of weakness.He did not move without a stick, hid his throat with a white scarf and covered his head with a wide-brimmed hat. His Jodhpurs and puttees made him look like a rider without his horse. A thick moustache spread like the wings of a bird covering the lower part of his face. His gaze was aggressive behind the round lenses of his tiny spectacles.” – Chapter 28, The Tutankhamun Affair by Christian Jacq

I removed his Jodhpurs and puttees and gave him a sensible pair of trousers. (Jodhpurs and puttees are both Indian terms – puttees: bandages.)

That description painted a picture for me and I laughed. So I drew that picture for you, hoping that it would make you laugh too 🙂 I hope it does.

The Highborn Lady and the Golden-haired Girl (A Short Story and an Ink Drawing.)

The Highborn Lady and the Golden-haired Girl
(Fiction…hopefully.)

She looked down her powdered nose and peered at them. She hated them all. That she was forced to walk the same earth they did, was a fact that rankled all the time, oozing acid into her heart.
“Cretins,” she mumbled, then mused, “how could they have been created by the same God who created me?”
As she looked at them under the wavering light of the torches lit in the wall-sconces behind her, a thin smile crept over her lips.
She looked through the iron-bars into the dungeon from where the tear-stained faces of seven teenaged girls looked up at her silhouette, and wondered if she was an angel who’d free them from their misery.
Free them, she would. One by one. Her eyes moved from one scared face to another, evaluating them for a purpose of her own.
“The one with golden hair and green eyes,” she turned to the gaoler and said in her strong, stern, and clear voice.
A hushed silence fell in the dungeon. The cries stopped, and twelve jealous eyes turned to the girl with golden hair and green eyes. She was going to be freed tonight. Others will remain. Right now, they were all the same, and she was different. The similarity of their fates bound them together in their hatred for her.
The girl with golden hair and green eyes looked up, and through the bars that made up the dungeon’s ceiling, she tried to look into her savior’s eyes, but her face was in shadows.
The lady turned and left. She walked through the labyrinth that took her away from the darkness of the dungeon into her palace above.  In an hour, her bath would be drawn. In the shimmering glow of a hundred candles, the silky smooth mixture of milk, honey, and blood will enter her pores and rejuvenate them. God had given her the boon of eternal youth, and this was why the same God who had created her, had created them. For her.
She smiled again. The thin, controlled smiled of a high-born lady.
Caricature - a pen and ink drawing of a proud, rich, and evil woman.
About the Artwork:
This artwork is important, both due to its inspiration and its timing. I did it about 8 months ago. It was inspired by a high-born lady who I’ve known quite well. Not directly, but through someone I deeply care about. I did this caricature-art when I was hospitalized – a day after my surgery. (That’s why the line-work isn’t clear. There’s only so much you can accomplish when you are propped up on pillows and still under the influence of pain-killers and other medicines.) This artwork is about things that are seldom spoken, and never talked about in public. It’s about mothers who should never have been mothers, about ladies who aren’t ladies, about empathy or the lack of it, and about the pain that’s inflicted upon you, merely because you are you.
The story, however, is fiction; perhaps inspired by a historical account of a countess…I think. Let me google it out. Oh   yes…Elizabeth Bathory.

Caricature – Sinner: The Fire of Hell burns within the soul of a sinner and singes his insides!

Another long day of sitting in the waiting area resulted in a stiff back, a head full of images that I’d rather not see again, and another caricature.

I don’t think I am an authority on religious stuff of any kind, and yet I’ve read tomes on Hindu Mythology and Indian History…and you can’t separate religious teachings from mythology…not from Hindu Mythology at least, which is intricately woven around our gods and goddesses. I mention this as in religion (and not just in Hindu religion, but other religions as well,) there’s an underlying concept of your being rewarded or punished by being sent to heaven or hell, as the case may be. I don’t know if other religions too share some sure-fire, quick-relief after-death remedies of ensuring that regardless of a person’s misdeeds, he or she may arrive in heaven, if certain procedures were followed.

Within the purview of my currently limited knowledge in this area, Buddhism is the only religion that confirms the finiteness of life in a body and speaks of your soul being the vessel that can be filled either with your reward (peace and happiness) or your punishment (pain, guilt, and humiliation,) all in your lifetime.

This caricature captures the fire of hell that burns within the soul of a sinner; fueled by guilt and humiliation, it starts in his mind, spreads through his entire existence, and then gradually eats through his sanity and darkens his visions with soot and smoke.

Caricature Cartoon of a sinner - angry mad man with a guilty conscience - fire of hell.

I am waiting for the wait to end…

There still are caricatures waiting to be drawn, hiding in the future…when they happen, I’ll bring them to you.