Naruto IS genjutsu!

For those among you who are already into cartoons, you must have come across this name from some place or the other as Naruto, the anime Cartoon, is the rage nowadays.

It would not be possible to describe what this cartoon is about in a few words. Those who have seen it can vouch for me regarding that. However, keeping a long story short, its about a kid who never gives up on trying to get better, his friends and the world that he lives in.

According to the Cartoon, there are basically three types of skills for a Ninja (There might be more, but I was able to gather only three).

1. Taijitsu : This refers to one’s physical skill in battle. The martial arts he has learnt and the will with which he uses it.

2. Ninjitsu : This can be thought of as special powers that the Ninjas have. They have this inner power called Chakra. Once you learn to master the inner power, you can control and mould it to be used as powerful techniques. You can spit fireballs, make lightning, etc. You get the idea right?

3. Genjutsu : This is the ability to manipulate once reality. If you have this skill, you can project an illusion at your opponent and he can be trapped in it for a time depending upon the skill you have in using it. Even though it can be done using music, sight, etc, doing it via sight is the most effective one. Especially if you possess the Sharingan eyes!

Well, what I’m saying is Naruto IS Genjutsu and I’m trapped in it!

One year back while I was studying my fifth semester, I shared my hostel room with Varun, Shabeeb and Koushik. After class in the evenings and the nights, Varun would turn on his laptop and sit watching Naruto while I wasted my time with my cell phone and laptop. Back then I wondered what the hell was wrong with this guy to keep on watching that stupid cartoon day and night. Upon his request, I had watched a single episode which was the fight between Neiji and Naruto. However, today I wish I had watched that cartoon with him. I would’ve really enjoyed it.

So from then on days went by without me watching it at all. Even at home my sister would watch it from youtube and would invite me to watch it along with her. But I simply wouldn’t watch it. Things went by like this until a month ago when one day while I was having my evening snacks, my sister was watching an episode of naruto. I simply went and gave her company.

Little did I realize it was the episode between Sasuke, the wielder of the Sharingan, and Daedara! I watched the episode and in between them I looked into the Sharingan of Sasuke! I never in my dreams imagined that I would be trapped in his genjutsu! Alas, I was and now even when I realise that I’m under his Genjutsu, I cant stop watching Naruto. Episode after episode I watched and exhausted all the episodes that I had on my hard drive.

I’m still itching for more but it seems that the further episodes have not been made yet. I’ll only be able to come out from this genjutsu once the person who cast it upon me dies. That means Sasuke must die. Like everyone else in the hidden leaf village, I too am counting on Naruto to save me.

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Myself.

The room was relatively dark. I could make out the outline of a few figures though. I was not alone.

Light is a natural stimulus and hence when I found it shining brightly through the smallest of cracks, I knew that was where I should be heading.

At the exact moment that I had that thought, my eyes got accustomed to the darkness and the room became vaguely visible. I was surprised to see me dressed in white, standing there weak and worthless. But how could that be? I was able to see myself there in third person. I ruled out the possibility of it being a mirror because I could see I was personally wrapped up in some kind of an old rag. Then who was that who shared my face? Even though he had a certain aura around him, he looked lean and completely worn out as if he was struggling to keep himself on his feet.

I was really confused so as to what was happening. The last thing that I could clearly remember was seeing that old woman carrying two heavy sacks in her hands while I was on my way home after buying certain things from the market. I could not remember what happened next. But somehow there I was watching someone like myself who looked half dead.

Suddenly, I saw him gather all his strength and trying to make a dash for the light from the crack. His rapid movement was cut short with a deafening blow that sent him crashing onto the floor. However, I did not feel anything but I was curious to know what was going on. I understood the whole scenario stank of trouble. I kept my mouth shut and just stood watching.

I was wondering who landed that blow and as if to satisfy my curiosity, I saw a hulking figure standing over the ‘white’ me.

By then my eyes had grown pretty well accustomed to the darkness and I could see things clearly. The new figure was not alone. There was a really beautiful girl along with him who looked disturbingly familiar. For a few seconds I could not take my eyes off her and slowly I realised that anything and everything she was, was what I wanted in a woman.

My thoughts were cut short by the screeching of a car’s break. I did not know where it came from, but there was an awesome looking sports car in the room. The door opened and a guy got out. He looked really cool with black shades and all. Well built. He resembled the movie star whom I always dreamt of meeting someday.

He stood there mocking the helpless figure on the ground. I began to feel pity for the helpless ‘me’ lying there. Why was this fate upon him? I had no idea. All I could do was to wait and see what would happen.

At that instant, as if with a sudden burst of energy, the figure on the ground jumped and tried taking a shot at the hulking figure. But the latter one was too strong and he again floored the ‘white’ me. I started getting angry.

However, the hulking figure snapped his fingers and a music started playing in the background. I recognised the song instantly. It was one of my favourite songs and upon hearing it, my anger subsided.

The big guy started to turn slowly. I still couldn’t make out his face but I was sure he was the boss there. Everyone stood there in deep respect of him. Many people had appeared in the room by now. Most of them were on the big guy’s side as if awaiting orders from him. Only one or two dressed in white were with the one on the floor and they too were as feeble as him.

The big guy went over to a table on which there was a laptop. I could make out what was on the screen. It was my favourite game. However, when he went and sat in front of it, I began to feel disturbed for I could see his face. It seemed familiar and yet strange. I went a bit more closer and what I saw froze me with disgust.

He had my face!

Yet there was so much wrong with it. Even though one could make out that it resembled my face, it had the eyes of a man who did not have an ounce of love or sympathy. The face itself was so twisted that it was horrible to behold. Only the ones who could derive pleasure out of pain and cruelty would be able to bear that face.

My mind was beginning to fill with hate, anger and disgust. I was not that ugly or cruel! My thoughts were cut short when something strange caught my eye. I saw the ‘white’ me looking at me. I saw him looking at with me with pleading eyes and pointing to something behind me. I kept on staring at him. However, as if something pulled my gaze along with the direction at which his finger was pointing to, I slowly began to turn my head and looked behind me.

I saw the old woman just a few feet away from me, standing and panting heavily having put down the heavy sacks. I had to help her.

With this in mind, I turned back to the room, only to see something completely amazing. The ‘white’ me was sitting on the floor now. But he looked completely rejuvenated. All the signs of tiredness and weakness had vanished from his face and body. The aura around him shone brighter, He had a confident pleasant smile on his face.

He was slowly raising himself from the floor at the moment which the celebrity in the black shades standing there saw him. “Stay down!”, he shouted and clenched his fists ready to land a blow.

His raised arm was about to come down crashing upon the one on the floor when in the blink of an eye, the ”white’ me rose up landing a huge uppercut right on the jaw of the cool guy. He was taken out.

Seeing this, the hulking figure got up but the beautiful lady gestured him to wait. She went towards the ‘white’ me and looked into his eyes. Her gaze was so strong and seductive that his eyes slowly began to lose its determination. His released his clenched fists. He relaxed and the lady slowly went near him and put her hands around his shoulders. She slowly brought her lips near to his.

“Hiya!”, he screamed and landed a fierce blow on her belly followed by a strong right fist on her face. She was thrown away with the strength of his punch. At this, the hulking figure and his goons were on him. But the two with him had now become many. It was a small battle with many clad in white against many in black both headed by people looking like me.

However, the whites were too strong and they won the battle easily. When I looked upon the scene once again after rubbing my eyes, there was just the ‘white’ me standing there. He looked handsome and fair. He resembled goodness and it was a pleasure looking at him. Slowly, he turned and looked at the crack the bright light was shining from. He went towards it, put his fingers in the crack and ripped it apart letting in a dazzling light!

I went  and took the sacks in my hands. The old woman looked and smiled at me.

How and when did I start using computers and when did I start using Linux?

Well, talking about personally having a computer, that takes me back 5 years.My brother bought me a computer just 10 days before my 12th board exam. All I knew when sitting in that car from Trichur railway station to Edappal with the computer at the back was that I could play games without depending on anyone any more.

I remember computers when I was four years old. At that time we were in gulf and my brother owned a PC. That was in 1992 approximately and you could imagine its configuration. Frankly, I don’t know its configuration but I’m guessing a few kBs of RAM and… Man, I don’t even know how low I can go with this!

Right now, thinking about the first time that I remember seeing a computer brings this scene to me. I’m sitting on the floor in my brother’s room at our apartment and playing with some toys. I look up a and see my brother playing the “Simpson’s Arcade game”. I don’t know why but I still feel good thinking about that game and I vaguely remember the scenes from it.

Mom comes with food for me and I remember my brother sitting away from the computer and letting me sit in front of it. He put the game “Fox” for me and I would sit and play that while Mom gives me my food. I’ve been able to gather that Fox was one of the really popular games at that time.

There you go! That’s my start with computers.

From then on it has been the equation, computers = games, for me till roughly my eighth standard when I was introduced to MS paint at my school.

I’ve been a raving video game addict from my childhood onwards and it has been only two or three years since I’ve rid myself of that addiction. These days I don’t play games at all and I kinda miss it.

Thinking back, lots of my memories are about playing video games with my cousins, my brother, my dad and my sis. Most of them are pleasant memories while there are unpleasant ones too where my addiction was exploited and some of my cousins wouldn’t let me play their games.

So far I’ve owned 15 8-bit games, 5 16-bit mega drives and 3 PS-1s and 1 Game Boy Advance SP. The number of cassettes and the cheating and transactions are so much that they are better off for another post.

My addiction for computer games only grew when I realised that there were cooler games. There was this computer center near my home and the guy who owned it would let me play some racing games on his system. I only knew “Up, down, left and right” and one day he showed me how to change the desktop wall paper which was like this “great” knowledge about computers!

My brother had by this time bought a Laptop (one of his dreams) and would let me play Sands of time/Deus Ex on it whenever he came home from Bangalore.

So things went on like this until the day I got my computer 10 days before my 12th exam. My brother took it all out, assembled it and turned it on for me. He showed me a menu that comes at the beginning (which I later on realized was GRUB) and told me to select Ubuntu. I did. It was version 7.10 or something back then. He told me to check it out. I was introduced to Linux.

Obviously, my first question was “Where can I play games from!?”. He showed me a few games in Ubuntu with which I wasn’t amused at all. He told me how to restart and logged me into Windows. I don’t exactly remember how it kicked off but my guess is that it was Deus Ex itself. An awesome game even though pretty old.

He simply gave me an advice that if I wanted to hear songs, play videos, look at photos, insert video cds, etc, I were to use Ubuntu and whenever I wanted to play games, I could use Windows.

My brother also did not let me play any pirated games. He told me to never borrow games from my friends. Whenever I wanted a new game, I was to ask him and he would buy me an original one. I did not know what was wrong with him then but today, I think I understand what he meant.

Now and then, he would tell me about Linux. That what I was using was free and I could make any changes that I wanted in it. At that time my freedom was that I could delete the panels, resize them, change the applets on them whereas in Windows the start button and the panel at the bottom would remain the way it was. I even remember telling this seriously to someone making my point that Linux was free.

Oh and the all too familiar belief of viruses not affecting Linux was also there.

Till reaching college, such was my life. It was only after reaching college that I heard the word ‘programming’ and ‘computer languages’. It was then when the things that my brother told me started making a bit of sense.

It was during this year that I moved further into using Linux because one day my Windows was affected with a virus and it was a complete headache until my brother came and reinstalled it for me. After that, I became a supporter of Linux with little knowledge of what ‘free, open source, Ubuntu, Fedora’ etc meant.

First year too went by uneventfully with me playing Oblivion, the elder scrolls. My brother would tell me to read Dennis Ritchie and practice coding. But I guess I never listened to him. Now that I start understanding the world of computers and programs, I realize more and more the mistakes I have made in not listening to my brother. I seriously had not done any sort of coding on my system during my first year. I would copy some seniors programs and show the output in our labs.

Optimistically, my brother bought me a laptop during the end of my third semester. But then too, the only thing that I used it for was to listen to music and everyone at hostel even termed it as my ‘walkman’.

The first time I did a program on my system was when I was learning for my s3 university lab exam I guess. At the end of that year was when my brother introduced me to GSoC. He helped me download and install the tuxmath game. It was then when I started experimenting for the first time.

That was my entry into open source.

From then on I started hearing and seeing things related to it and from then on did my journey further into the world of freedom began!

Upgrading to Ubuntu 12.04 – The way I did it.

“Never mess with your stable” is a lesson that I have learnt and is a mantra that I hold close to my heart. Especially when you have a good choice not to mess with your stable, you simply shouldn’t mess with it. Hence, I left my 10.04 unscathed and installed my 12.04 in another partition. Here is a screen shot of my hard disk :

After installing, the first thing I did was to get rid of unity. Boy, do I hate that. I did the following to accomplish that:

sudo apt-get remove unity unity-2d

I installed Gnome by

sudo apt-get install gdm gnome-shell

I tried it and have reported a few bugs so far. You must have noticed that I have only one /home partition and I have let both my 10.04 and 12.04 mount that as their /home partitions. I wonder why nothing is getting screwed up considering a common .bashrc file being there.

Anyway, the point reached where I decided to switch entirely to 12.04 and leave 10.04 behind. But for this, I needed to have all the softwares that were there on 10.04 to be installed on my new 12.04. Even though I vaguely knew the steps of how to do this, I asked for help and got a tremendous help from http://askubuntu.com/

You can read the conversation from the site here, but I’ll be explaining the steps right now.

1. First you have to know which all packages are installed in your 10.04. For that you can do

sudo dpkg --get-selections "*" > pack_file

After running that, you will have the names of all the packages in 10.04 in the file called ‘pack_file’.

2. Transfer that file to 12.04 and run the following commands

sudo apt-get update
sudo dpkg --set-selections < pack_file
sudo apt-get -u dselect-upgrade

This will fetch all the packages as well as their dependencies and install it on your system. I had to download about 2GB of data but was at peace that my distro won’t get ruined. Maximum my “apt” and “dpkg” might suffer but then again, these two have been going through tests like these and more continuously for the last decade!

I wish this would be the end of this post. But no. I had maintained a separate partition for /var (/dev/sda11) which was only 3GB in size at first. Therefore, after downloading my 2GB files, when trying to unpack and install them, it ran out of space and my package installation quit halfway. Even though update manager popped heroically and offered me a so-called “partial upgrade”, it kept on crashing complaining that I had no space left which was, unfortunately, true.

In order to work around this problem, I did the following.

Well, I followed the obvious way of jumping back to my 10.04, launched gparted, and shrank the 12.04 root partition and allocated that space to /var. Then I came back in to 12.04 and tried this :

sudo apt-get -u dselect-upgrade 

However, that told me I had messed up dpkg and I had to manually run

sudo dpkg --configure -a 

in order to clean the mess up. I did so and again ran the first command which resulted in everything being installed correctly and peacefully. 🙂

So the world is a brighter place once again in which I’m going blaze my trail with the PrecisePangolin!

PS : For a few problems that I personally had with 12.04, visit this page.