A Threaded Encounter

Isn’t it ironical that when we get engaged and officially loose our ‘Single’ status, we actually take on a Single Process Model, with little or no scope for Parallelism, at least in the supposedly civilized world. Waiting for my connecting flight to San Diego, I was sitting at Denver International Airport toying with my IPod Touch, when this e-mail with my friends engagement pics suddenly conjured up this strange thought. I recalled the effort and time he had spent in optimizing his Scheduling Algorithms so as to achieve maximal efficiency and throughput in juggling his various ‘threads’. The guy practically had daily, weekly and sometimes monthly memory maps of when and where the execution was to be performed – probably even ‘how’. And there he was now, standing in a traditional Indian dress, in the center of a room full of people, all celebrating his recent upgrade to the Serial Execution Model. Surprisingly, the guy seemed happy too. For some reason I expected him to render the despair of a scientist, years of whose hard labor had been burnt down by a power surge that had caused an irrecoverable hard disk crash. On the contrary, he displayed a satisfied smile full of expectation, a smile similar to what I had when I got my First Desktop – A Compaq Presario 2240.

As I sat there deliberating on whether or not to add a few bits of sympathy in my reply (which he seemed to be in no need of BTW), an interesting mosaic of noodle strap like threads caught my attention. A lady had just seated herself in the row in front of me and the grid like square pattern of threads on the back of her top had a ratio that struck me at first glance. To satisfy my lust, I started counting the horizontal and vertical lines holding the neck of the garment in place. 10..40..80..120..160..192 vertical lines and 10..40..80..108 horizontal… 16:9 – Perfect!

I started rummaging the laptop bag for my camera, wanting to capture this marvel of chaos. “Do you have a problem?”. I raised my head to see if the question had been addressed to me, and of course it was. Apparently, the pattern’s owner had been alerted by her neighbor about my gaping stare and voyeuristic excitement and she had walked out of her seat and stood next to me furiously inquisitive about my problem. For a moment I was silent, not with guilt or stupidity but with the jolt I got from the sheer beauty of her face. Unlike my friend Vijay, I’m not afraid to admit that I am slighted when it comes to appreciating the beauty of World Faces, but I am, to say the least, a connoseiour of Indian faces – especially of the opposite sex. Its either some Evolutionary Pattern that I believe caused humans to be more attracted to members of the opposite sex having the same skin tone, hair color etc. or the standard Data Analysis Principle that the more you analyze a particular type of dataset, the more adept you become in your analysis of the same type.

So there I was, re-committing the sinful blunder of staring at her once again – this time her face. It is the questions that it raises, and not its attributes, as we study in photography, that define the power and beauty of an interesting face. And her face raised just one – “Is it possible, even for God to create something more beautiful?”. An announcement on the speakers got me out of my trance. Over time and with years of cloistering, my mind has developed a strange defense mechanism against strange situations in public places – that of pretending to be in even stranger ones. This time I was the child, who with one hand in his bag was frantically waving the other, pleading his innocence on not having eaten jam even though his whole face was smeared with it. As I took out my hand from the Bag, holding a Canon XSi 450D DSLR, her furiousness seemed to take a paradigm jump. “What do you think you are trying to do? Who do you think you are?……” I suddenly realized what the announcement on the speakers was. It was the last boarding call for Flight WN 3386 – My flight to San Diego! She wasn’t yet done with her lecture but I had to cut her short!! “Ma’am, I’m sorry but I was only counting the lines on that grid like thing on your back. It has 192 vertical and 108 straight lines. Multiply that by 10 and you have 1920 by 1080; the exact number of lines on a High Definition Television Display. I’m a Programmer working on HDTV Image Processing and my interest in Patterns enticed me into taking a snap of this weird oddity of nature or an unparalleled metaphor of the garment designer. Here’s my card. Count the noodle straps and in case you believe me, do send me a pic. My apologies for all the trouble… and for cutting you short, but I have a plane to catch!!”. With that I started packing up my laptop bag and preparing my final dash to the door on Terminal A. It was either my insane reply or the sudden lack of attention that made her leave with just two parting blazes of fury – “Perverted idiot!”. A compliment I graciously accepted.

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