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Vikas Kamat
 Vikas Kamat is a programmer- entrepreneur living in Birmingham AL. This blog is a complex mix of Indian culture, life in southern USA, computer sciences, and sports. Opinions are his own.
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Computing, Libraries, Tennis, India & other interests of Vikas Kamat

Remembering an Old Friend D.K. Murthy Durable Link to this BLOG
While sifting through our picture archive, today I ran into a rare photograph, of one of the dearest friends of Kamat family.

Portrait of D.K. Murthy
D.K. Murthy, Bangalore

His name was D.K. Murthy. He probably met my father first as a customer. He was much closer to my age than my dad's, but they bonded so well! He referred to Bappa as "Professor", and visited dad's Scientific Photo Lab. almost on a daily basis exchanging literature on photography, photo-chemistry, and photo-equipment.

In the days when photographic materials were hard to obtain in India (late 1970s and early 1980s), Murthy with friend Maruti Kumble, was the oxygen supplier to Bappa's hobbies and business.

I don't think Murthy's financial situation was stable, but his enthusiasm knew no bounds. He ventured into advertising, furniture design, tinting (a chemical process of turning black and white photographs into blue and white or brown and white collectibles).

One day in 1985 we got a rude shock -- news that Murthy had committed suicide. Till today I have no details --but it was a great loss for all of us. Death of a young friend (Murthy was probably in his 30s, not married) affected my dad very much -- "If only I knew he was in financial burden..." he'd lament, and the tragedy perhaps drove my dad to become a recluse.

Anyway, I found this photograph today, and wanted to thank Mr. Murthy for the years and years of invisible, thanksless service he provided to India -- the unique service of enabling Bappa. Murthy didn't live to see the fruits of his labor -- who knew in 1985 that technological advancements of the next decade would transform the dusty, dirty photographs he and Bappa toiled to produce, be available for millions (December 2005 page viewership of Kamat's Potpourri: 4.5 million) to view and appreciate?

You will find many such unsung heroes in our Acknowledgements list.

For those who don't know the depth of my dad's collection, here's a statistic: he took an estimated 200,000 photographs over his lifetime (we have scanned about 11,000 of them).

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Tuesday, January 03, 2006
Last Modified: 1/3/2006 3:21:44 AM

Update from Kamats Durable Link to this BLOG
Already lots of new stuff in year 2006.

Amma's long forgotten humor essay in Kannada, "Kallara Kalla" (The Thief Among the Thieves) in being included in a 10th grade text book in the State of Maharashtra. She said (via telephone) "such a thing hasn't happened in my own state"! I reminded her how the Maharashtrians have recognized and honored S.L. Bhyrappa much more than the people from Karnataka.

Talking about Bhyrappa, a reader of this blog (Mr. Venkatesha Murthy of California, who in fact, took to much trouble to procure it, and warmed my heart) after reading my entry "Whom Did Draupadi Love?" sent me a copy of "Parva", which I have been enjoying very much. More about Parva in a separate entry...

I have updated the Indian Festival Calendar for Year 2006.

Newsletter for "Friends of Kamat" went out. You can join the Yahoo Group here.

I am excited about my forthcoming trip to India, and currently accepting invitation to play tennis in Bangalore ;-- )

Talking about Tennis, by popular request, I am fielding a USTA Men's Tennis Team in Birmingham.

Learnt that it is much easier to make money with Google stock than with Google AdSense.

All this in just six days?!

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Friday, January 06, 2006
Last Modified: 1/9/2006 11:51:09 AM

Kamat InBox Durable Link to this BLOG

In Konkani we say "dav hath gandik sasar". I am not going to detail its hilarious connotation, but literally "The left hand has an easy access to the anus."

Excerpts from my InBox

  • Please vote for Meenal Jain (Vaid) from Indore in the "Indian Idol 2" contest. Please ask your family members to vote as well.
  • Please provide publicity to the 25th Anniversary Celebration of the Art of Living Foundation, an event when 2.5 million followers will gather in Bangalore for a "Spiritual Olympics".
  • I want to visit Bangalore from Panaji. Should I take the Hubli road or should I take Honavar road?
  • Where can I meet beautiful Indian women?


(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Monday, January 09, 2006
Last Modified: 1/9/2006 11:25:30 AM

Stuff Durable Link to this BLOG
Sankranti or Pongal is my favorite Indian festival to greet and remember all the friends and relatives I forgot to wish during the Christmas and New year's. So here we go:

Links to Some Great Teachers:
• Webiste of Artist Ravishankar Raval
• Amma remebers Sane Guruji who gave us such classics as "Shyamchi Ayi"

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Friday, January 13, 2006
Last Modified: 1/13/2006 5:24:49 PM

Postal Workers Durable Link to this BLOG
BBC: Postman of Rajasthan Slide show documents a day in a Postman's life.

See also:
• Ramzanji, the Postman
• Postwoman Story


(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Thursday, January 19, 2006
Last Modified: 1/19/2006 9:15:15 PM

Waswo's Timeless India Durable Link to this BLOG
I very much enjoyed viewing the photographs from the book "India Poems" by Waswo X. Waswo. The images are graphic, full of rustic beauty, and rich in storytelling.

I especially liked the picture of a sickle vendor, which reminded me of the cosmic form of Vishnu with multitude of weapons in his hands.

Funny Name, Serious Pictures

Other than Wilson Wilson (of Home Improvement, played by Earl Hindman), I don't know anyone whose first and last names are same, but Waswo X. Waswo is indeed the actual name of the photographer from Milwaukee, WI, and his photographs are as interesting and beautiful as his simple name. Although shot in contemporary India, they connote a period that has since been lost, perhaps due to their monochrome depiction, and Waswo's deliberate avoidance of contemporary topics (such as rich-poor divide, the pollution, or exploitation).

Picture Courtesy: Wawso

Unnecessary Commentary and Controversy

The book contains many essays, as if to justify Waswo's work, which I find unnecessary. Photography is a medium of its own and the accompanying commentary either must be interlaced or restricted to a brief annotation or caption. It is possible that the the photographer was criticized (during many exhibits that he held prior to publishing this book) about his selective manipulation of subject matters and their resemblance to the works of colonial photographers (a common problem for Western photographers depicting India) , and the author seems to address those criticisms. But as a first time reader, I found both the lengthy commentary, and the controversy unnecessary. I didn't read much of it.

Yet, for all the verbose, it is disappointing to note that many captions of the photograph lack creativity and are titled simply "untitled portrait" or such.

Picture Courtesy: Wawso

I hope Waswo continues his artistic depiction of India. I also hope he chooses color for the next project, because as Raghubir Singh used to say "India is inherently a colorful country!"

Another idea I hope Waswo considers is mixing photography with poetry (Waswo is also a poet: see Waswo's poetic works) -- like the photo-poem jugalbandis I tried to compile sometime ago.

India Poems: The Photographs by Waswo X. Waswo, Rooftop Vistas, ISBN: 0976012529, Price: $39.00

See Also:


(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Saturday, January 21, 2006
Last Modified: 1/23/2006 10:28:26 PM

What is a DOS Blog Durable Link to this BLOG
I define a DOS blog as an overly verbose, ASCII text blog.


The DOS blogs remind one of the bygone era of monochrome, text-only computer screens.

Here are some otherwise excellent, Indian DOS Blogs.

Other categories of Indian blogs:
• Frankenstein Blogs
• Ad. Infested Blogs
• Indian blogs which have a PageRank of 6 and above.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Sunday, January 22, 2006
Last Modified: 1/23/2006 6:26:41 PM

2006 Australian Open Roundup Durable Link to this BLOG
Australian Open Roundup
  • Agassi and Nadal are being sorely missed. The rebuilt, superslow-but-bounce-high surface would have helped Nadal a great deal.
  • Richard Gasquet, Gael Monfills, Andrew Murray (all heralded as "Future of Tennis") were very disappointing.
  • Early exits for Sania Mirza (2nd round), Paradorn Srichapan (1st round) meant that the "Grand Slam of the Asia-Pacific" was without adequate representation from Asia-Pacific.
  • The William sisters also lost early -- the first time both of them lost in the first week in any grand-slam (?) event.
  • Federer's got game -- or TMG (Too Much Game) as Pat McEnroe calls it. Great five setter against Tommy Haas will just help him peak this weekend.
  • Hingis is Back -- Martina Hingis is back from retirement (she's only 25) and looks good.
  • My prediction (or rather wish) is for a Federer-Ljubicic final in men's (to be won by Federer) and Lindsey-Clijsters in women's (to be won by Davenport).
  • Link to Australian Open Website.

Update: Ljubicic and Davenport have lost, so my prediction is 50% wrong already.

© Vikas Kamat
Venus Williams Looking for Lost Mojo
Venus Williams looking for her lost mojo

Satire of American Express' Lost Mojo Campaign.
Picture adapted from American Express Advertisement

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Monday, January 23, 2006
Last Modified: 1/25/2006 8:08:56 AM

News and Links Durable Link to this BLOG
Replublic Day -- "Yet another festival in India when you don't go to school or work."

From Andaman Prison -- a mother discovers her father-in-law's picture in a prison museum and the the ensuing conversation. Wonderful.

Everybody missed the great story of Baghdatis in this year's Australian Open.

Encarta Does Wikipedia: Microsoft now allows readers to modify and improve the contents of Encarta encyclopedia.

After a lapse of two years, I have new entry in Kannada Blog.

BBC: Hamas Scores a Stunning Victory -- Now What? So much for proponents of democracy...

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Thursday, January 26, 2006
Last Modified: 1/26/2006 11:26:53 AM

New Tricks Not to Lose Durable Link to this BLOG
Justine Henin-Hardenne just showed us how to deny the glory to the opponent. Instead of losing the Australian Open to Mauresmo, she claimed a hurting stomach and retired at 1-6, 0-2.

Very disappointing.

It is one thing if you trip, fall down, or otherwise retire due to injury during play. It is quite another to retire while being beaten badly. Any righteous sportsperson would have finished the match.

This is the second unsportsmanlike behaviour by Justine. A couple of years ago, her antics first surfaced while playing against Serena Williams.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Saturday, January 28, 2006
Last Modified: 1/28/2006 12:34:38 AM

Programmer Joke Durable Link to this BLOG
There was a good old barber in Mumbai. One day a florist goes to him for a haircut. After the cut, he goes to pay the barber and the barber replies: I am sorry, I cannot accept money from you; I am doing a Community Service. The florist is happy and leaves the shop. The next morning when the Barber goes to open his shop, there is a "Thank You" Card and a dozen roses waiting at his door.

A confectioner goes for a haircut and he also goes to pay the barber he again refuses to take the money. The confectioner is happy and leaves the shop. The next morning when the barber goes to open his shop, there is another "Thank you" Card and a dozen cup-cakes waiting at his door.

A programmer goes for a haircut and he also goes to pay the barber again refuses the money saying that it was a community service. The next morning when The barber goes to open his shop, guess what he finds...

.. a dozen programmers waiting for a free haircut... with printouts of forwarded mail mentioning about free haircut.

(promptly received via email and published by a programmer)

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Sunday, January 29, 2006
Last Modified: 2/14/2006 7:04:43 PM

Rattling Rose Apple Fruit Durable Link to this BLOG
Picture Postcard from India - I

Meet this super-exotic fruit belonging to Jambosa family.

Called "Gudu-gudu Jamba" in my mother-tongue Konkani, it is really like eating a delicious apple that also smells like the strongest rose you have smelt.

© Vikas Kamat
Exotic Fruits from India
"Rattling Rose Apple" and Pomegranate fruits

The seed inside is completely detached from the core (hence the name Rattling Apple) -- if you shake the fruit, you can hear the seed rattle. The aroma and the taste are very exotic.

More exotic fruits of India at: Fruits of India


(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Monday, January 30, 2006
Last Modified: 2/14/2006 7:04:27 PM

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