Monday, November 19, 2007


I was pleasantly surprised to see that in just 2 phone calls, I was able to renew my DishTv subscription. Last time I tried making use of their helpline, I got frustrated with their re-assuring words and complete in-action.

However, this does not mean that DishTv has corrected all its flaws. Some obvious flaws -
  1. I had to send 5 sms-es before the their server responded favourably. Till then, it kept saying "Too busy".
  2. Once the payment was acknowleged, DishTv people slept on it for 3 more days. They were waiting for the almighty to do some "akaashwaani".
  3. They have a silly automated voice system. One can not press keys in between because the system does not recognize such keystrokes.
  4. Even if you choose English as the language, the people speak in Hindi. Then why have the option?

All in all, it is still a major improvement from a totally flawed system to a bearable system with a few flaws.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

After a long time

I am writing again after a long break. I was tied up with work and fun-n-frolic for last so many days. Quite a few events occurred during this period. I never had a chance to write about any of them.

I have started exercising again. When I dont exercise on a daily basis, I can feel a definite under-current of guilt. I continuosly feel - Oh man! I should exercise, and when I don't, the level of guilt keeps increasing. One day, the guilt-dam bursts, and I get back to my exercising ways again. The key is to not let it build in the first place. I think we should not aim to run a marathon, but aim for consistency over a long period of time. With two weekes of exercising, I am feeling good again. A few niggles and sores are still present, but the overall feeling is awesome.

India celebrated its 60th anniversary of Independence. TOI headlines read "Sixty and Getting Sexier". TOI has proved yet again that it is nothing but a 16-ply-TOI-let-paper.

India won the test series against England. Many arm-chair critics, including me, criticized Rahul Dravid's decision of not enforcing follow-on in the third test. Many, including me, said - "Australia would definitely have enforced the follow-on". In hind-sight, I think, his decision was right and borne out of the desperation to win a series in England. We must always remember that we are not Australia who win almost every test series they play, hence they can afford to take more risks. Also, had the decision of enforcing the follow-on backfired on a placid pitch, all the arm-chair critics would have crucified Rahul Dravid and his think tank. Australian public is more into "footie" than into "cricket", so Ricky Ponting has to contend with less of such criticism.

Monday, July 9, 2007

New wonders of the world

A new campaign. Select new wonders of the world. Will Taj be amongst the new wonders? Oh. Our Taj - the monument of eternal love will not make the list of wonders of the world. SMS Taj to 7575.

And millions of people sent their SMSes, worth 3-6 Rs each. The organizers spent a few million in distributing T-shirts, Caps, but gained billions because of these SMSes. Moreover, the campaign was not even backed by UNESCO.

Indian Idol, Voice of India, Wonders of the world - are all examples of making money by creating false impressions, and thus influencing people to send SMSes. Even the news channels ask people to send SMSes for silly things.

Taj will always remain as a symbol of love and a wonder of the world, but what we have done is label it as SMS-Taj.

Ciggys in Office

A snap of cigaretthe butts. Why are these butts lying on a carpet inside the office?
Somebody smoked somewhere, and threw the butts behind a flower-pot in the office. I dont know his thought-process, but it was a stupid thing to do.


Quite some time back (almost a month now), I had gone for a paintball-shooting event. I was a bit apprehensive about it initially, but I must admit it was worth every penny. I give the entire credit to Alistair for managing to accumulate 10 people; otherwise the event itself would have been cancelled.

Although I had severe muscular pain after paintball, I am game for paintball. It is the ideal sport for ADM. ADM - are you game for it?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A country called S. India

Last night, I visited my friend Sidharth. He recently visited Kerala, so was generally talking about the culinary delights from Kerala. He told me something which I will share with you here.

A chef in Kerala gave Sidharth his visiting card. The card had the usual details - name, occupation, address, and contact details. The address part was broken down into the exact address - the hotel name, the street... The state was Kerala - obviously. What about the country?

The country was S. India. When the chef was asked "What is S. India?", he replied - "Obviously South India".

Is there a country called S. India? Is it different from India? Is it not a part of India?

We Indians have not risen above petty things like - my state, my religion, my caste. We do not even have the courtesey to talk in a language understood by all when we are in a group. Very often I have seen two people talking in their mother-tounge in the presence of 10 others who do not undertsand the language being spoken.

I will repeat the oft-repeated sentence -unless we stop thinking in terms of state, religion, caste, and language, "इस देश का कुछ नही हो सकता".

Very sooon, I will upload the scanned image of the card.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

हमारा बजाज - चुन्नु मुन्नु दे पप्पा दी गड्डी

हमारा बजाज. The बजाज scooter. चुन्नु मुन्नु दे पप्पा दी गड्डी.

The vehicle of choice for so many people of the 60s, 70s, 80s, and the 90s. The last such scooter rolled out of its Pune factory last year.

People of my father's age are still in love with their bajaj scooter. None of the various models of bajaj scooter were sleek. They were all bulky. It had a 150cc engine. It gave around 50kmpl. I at times felt like sitting on a tripod, and working with stuff on the floor while riding our bajaj scooter. The foot-brake was uncomfortable.

But people liked it. Earlier, there was limited choice, but later people liked it because most people say - it starts with a single kick, it doesn't stall, spare parts are cheap, doesn't break that often, works well with adulterated petrol, and "खराब रस्तों पर भी तकलीफ नही देती", and "इस पे एक LPG सिलिन्डर ला सकते हैं".

The number of bajaj vehicles sold in India, over a period of 40 years, is a testimony to its robustness.

No wonder the punch-line was हमारा बजाज.

We had one such scooter too. It was my dad's, bought in 1990-91 I guess. 3 days back, the scooter was stolen from श्रीवर्धन complex in रामदासपेठ in नागपुर. After 16-17 years of working well, without any problems.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

New shirt, new watch, new bag - बढियां है

Richa just returned from US, and she got me some gifts - a swiss gear sack, a caravelle bulova watch, a wawa coffee mug, a sweat shirt from Atlantic city.

The swiss-gear sack (made by victorinox - makers of swiss-knife) can carry a laptop, has in-numerable pockets, an audio-port, and is very very sturdy. It has got very sturdy zips, unlike other bags. You can keep your mp3 player inside and can connect headphones to the audio-port which is outside the bag.

The caravelle bulova watch is also very nice. I like the small inner dials, and the color and feel of the strap.

The coffee-mug is a big one. It can store 3 cups of coffee, is microwave proof, works like a thermos too, and is spill proof. The best part is - it came for only 1$.

So much for the shopping which was done for me. I am happy she returned safely w/o any unwanted incidents.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Makkadman and India

Today, I got two interesting forwards - one was how India should go about developing the second rung cities to ease the pressure on the metros. You can read it here. The photo shown in the article is that of Westside in Landmark building in Nagpur (my native place).

The second one is really funny. It is a perfect Indian adaptation of spiderman. See it here.

Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Time to take a back seat

There are times when you get so caught-up in the rat race that you forget to enjoy the little things in life. You are so caught-up thinking what you want to do in future that you forget your present. What you end up being is just a "rat" - nothing more, who is being fed by somebody to run as per his whims and fancies.

At times like these, some words of guidance from "dad" really help. They have gone through situations like this many times in their lives. After all, they have seen at-least 21 more summers than you.

The important step here is not to take a step forward, but to take a step back, and see where you are, and cherish what you have accomplished. Sadly, most of us have lost the ability to cherish what we have done, and have become some sort of cribbers. Another important thing is to develop some hobby - as it tends to support you in times like these.

I now realize the importance of taking time off, and having a hobby, or not pursuing those which I had :-(.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Experience of a lifetime

I just happenned to read an article posted by Alistair about his experiences with hair-cut. You can read his experiences here.

This has inspired me to share my experience with hair-cut too. This one was no ordinary experience but taught me something which I will remember for my lifetime.

We had gone to भीमाशंकर on a hot afternoon, to visit the Shiva temple there. भीमाशंकर is one of the famous ज्योतिर्लिंगs. However, it is quite far-away from Pune, the road is not good, the journey is quite tiring, and there is nothing except the शिव मंदिर. By the time we got back to Pune, I was pretty tired.

When I am pretty tired, and incidentally have a long hair, the only thing that appeals to me is having a nice hair-cut. In such situations, if the thought of hair-cut even crosses my mind, it stays stuck over there till I am done with it. I get withdrawal symptoms if I don't get a hair-cut.

This was just the sort of time I wanted a hair-cut. I went to प्रशांत in औन्ध. It was all going fine till the bastard slit the back of my neck with his उस्तरा (blade). Blood started oozing out of it. I just asked him for a cotton swab so that I could stop the bleeding, and do the necessary dressing.

But no! My barber thought himself to be the dresser-in-chief of Apollo Hospital. He took the cotton swab, put it on the wound. Then to my horror, before I knew, he rubbed the wound with something. I did not know what.

The only thing that I could was - "ऊह आह आउच". I shouted at him - "ये क्या लगा रहे हो". To which, he said "फिटकिरि" (alum). I was zapped.

Now these barbers watch too much of hindi cinema. When the hero gets a bullet wound in his arm, what does he do? Yeah. He did the same with me.

He took a cotton swab, took a match-stick, and lit a fire on the cotton swab. He then rubbed my wound with a burning cotton swab.

By now, I had totally lost it. I shouted at him again - "खबरदार जो ये सब किया तो. चुप-चाप जो बचे कुचे बाल हैं, वोह काटो."

Since then, I have never gone to प्रशांत again, and I have never allowed any barber to use उस्तरा on me, even if he changes blades or does any damn thing with it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Waiting for monkeys to complain

TOI today reported an incident where some prominent doctors from Nagpur had gone to a reserve forest called Nagzira. In their merry-making, these people got a bit too drunk. The generous people they were, they offerred their drink in steel plates to langoors. As it would happen, some of the monkeys also got drunk.

Then a fight erupted between the doctors and the monkeys. The doctors were abusing the monkeys, pelting stones on them, and even throwing chairs on the monkeys. The monkeys in response were doing what they could.

The forest guides, who are on govt. payroll, were mere spectators. Some of the nature friendly tourists registered a complaint with the forest authorities against those erring doctors. When contacted by TOI, the forest in-charge had this to say - "We did not receive any complaints."

I suppose he is waiting for the monkeys to register a complaint with him.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Oh No! Not again!

Shilpa is in news again, thanks to her, Richard Gere, and the nation's no. 1 news channel - Aajtak.

The not-so-general public, the moral brigade, the guardians of Indian culture - generated a lot of heat because Richard Gere kissed Shilpa Shetty on the cheek.

There were several reactions, and if you are not a cultural-moral policeman - you will find them hillarious.

- Shilpa Shetty defending Richard Gere - "It was an impromptu act he did for the audience’s entertainment."

We were certainly entertained. The credit definitely goes to you and the moral-brigade, and of-course to Aajtak for bringing the issue in prominence.

- Shilpa Shetty criticising the moral brigade - "It is really sad that the issue for which the two of us came together, AIDS, was totally sidelined and this frivolous issue has got prominence."

Good you realized you were indulging in a lot of frivolous acts these days.

- A moral-general - "We are a culture that worships women, we believe in ‘nari shakti (woman power)’. Padmavati, Durgavati and Rani Laxmibai are our ideals."

Oh! Cut the crap man. We all know what you do when you are not morally policing the rest of India.

- The real reason - "We are not bothered about how many times he kisses how many women in Hollywood. We are troubled with Shilpa’s behaviour. When the man was being outrageously indecent before a large gathering, why did she keep giggling?"

Whats the real issue here? Was it the man's indecency before a large gathering, or was it Shilpa's giggling? Decide your problem dear

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

सर्जरी - द्वितीय भाग

Starting where we left off - well that is strictly not possible because as I said previously, you don't have any recollection of what happenned during your surgery.

When your anaesthesia starts wearing down, you can sub-consciously hear a few things. You still can't see anything because you are बेहोश for all practical purposes. I could hear my surgeon say - "सब कुछ ठीक हो गया".

In my opinion, this particular stage is extremely dicy. You are in a state which is similar to what you would be in, when subjected to narco-analysis. You react - w/o any fear, w/o any restraints which the society puts on you, w/o any restraints which you might have put on yourself.

If, at this time, your wife asks you - whom do you love the most, well don't be surprised if she later tells you that you named your ex-girlfriend, or a girl whom you had a big crush on in your college days. Believe me, it is that dicy.

Fortunately for me, my wife did not ask that kind of a question, but I guess, next time she won't spare me. One incident that did occur, as per my wife, was this -

Sub-consciously, I was afraid of the vasofix - yeah - the same vasofix. I had felt a needle going in, but never felt the needle coming out. I was under the impression that the needle is still sitting in my vein, and the axis of the needle and that of my vein are identical. Any disturbance in any axis could lead to my vein getting ruptured. Hence, I was sub-consciously very "conscious" of anybody coming close to the vasofix.

My wife was making me drink water periodically, to prevent my mouth from drying. In this attempt, she was coming close to the vasofix. According to her, I had a raised voice when telling her: क्या बार-बार इधर आके पानी पिलाती है. उस कोने में जाके बैठती क्यों नही?

To this day, I am conscisouly repenting for what I said when I was unconscious.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

सर्जरी - पहला भाग

For a very long time, I wanted to jot down my tryst with surgery, but could not do so for lack of inclination. Today, I feel like jotting it down.

It all starts with a few scans, a few tests. Your surgeon (your doctor till now) looks at those and says: "Young man, you need a surgery." You then fix the d-day with him, and from that moment onwards, pray that all goes well here-after.

A day before your operation, you need to get what is known as a "fit-for-surgery" certificate. It involves some routine tests like blood-sugar, B.P, and other blood related tests, some X-rays etc. If you pass, you are sure to undergo surgery; if you fail, I guess you are in greater trouble.

On the day of surgery, you tend to be apprehensive. There are a thousand questions that your mind cooks up, which in hindsight I can say are needless. What are they planning to do, has the surgeon done enough homework, is he skillful enough, will he be able to do the job correctly, will I tolerate anaesthesia well, will there be scars on my body, and god-knows how many others.

Once you reach the hospital, the first thing that is done is - recording your B.P. Soon you realize that recording B.P is done every 20 mins. Every 20 mins, a nurse comes over, takes your B.P, blabbers some thing to you - " अब मैं आप्को टेटनस का इन्जेक्शन लगा रहीं हूं." Each time the routine will be the same, only the contents of your bloodstream will be altered in newer and newer ways.

The fun part begins when you meet your anaesthetist. The first thing that they do is - you guessed it right - record your B.P again. I guess they want to be doubly sure that its absolultely right. Next, they start feeling your vein. You then gently ask them - "कोइ और इन्जेक्शन लगने वाला है क्या?" Yes: Vasofix. Vasofix is a prick-once-inject-many-times device. It remains seated in your vein, and acts as a one-way-valve. Anything can injected into your vein through the vasofix. You keep looking at the vasofix, when you should not. You get tense, your veins shrink, the anaesthetist taps at them, and gives up. Gently he/she says: "टेन्शन लेने की कोइ बात नही है. Relax. Don't look at the vasofix. After some time, he/she tries again. This time, you listen to what was told. You look away.

Ouch! Before you realize, the vasofix is inside your vein, and the anaesthetist is seen strapping it up with a sticking-plaster. Some more things are dumped inside your blood-stream, and you are all ready to make it to the big league - getting into the O.T.

The O.T is full of instruments, T.Vs, and some really state-of-the-art equipment. In the center, lies the stretcher on which you are supposed to lie. As soon as you enter, you can't help but look here and there. Soon you are lying on the stretcher, with your arms outstretched. The main surgeon then introduces the team to you. Everybody very politely says "Hi" to you. The anaesthetist then takes over and starts by asking some questions which sound weird to you then. Here is the dialogue which transpired in my case -

प्रश्न: आप किधर काम करते हैं?
उत्तर: PANTA Systems, पुणे
प्रश्न: Software है क्या?
उत्तर: हां
कहीं बाजू से आवाज आती है: आज कल तो Software की भेड चाल है. हा हा हा.
किसी और क प्रश्न: कितना m.l
उत्तर (मेरा नहीं): 6 m.l

Thats the last thing I remember, because as soon as the anaesthesia went into my bloodstream, I was asleep. I don't have any recollection of what happened later. My parents could see the surgery live on TV.

आज कल इस्का भी सीधा प्रसारण होता है.

Monday, April 2, 2007

मजेदार weekend

This weekend was great. It was hectic, but it was great. It all started with me, Richa, and Shyam going to Alistair's place in जयनगर on Friday evening. After some search, फोना-फोनी, and some escorting from Alistair, we managed to reach his place. Apurva and Monica also joined us there and we had a good time yapping and whiling our time away.

The next day, Shyam and Alistair came over to my place. After a lovely dinner, we settled down to play cards. We started with GKB (गरीबों का ब्रिज). Shyam and I were partners, and we managed to beat Alistair and Richa by a handsome margin. The score in the end was - Shyam and Aditya +134, Richa and Alistair -34.

GKB was followed by coffee on the terrace. There was one more group on the terrace - the typical group of सुट्टेबाज and noisy people, whom I dislike very much; so we had to cut our coffee-break a bit short.

We were back to playing cards, and this time we started with Memory, and then followed it up with Judgement. Alistair was new to this game, but being the smart fellow he is, picked it up instantly. After two rounds of judgement, we realized that सुबह के पांच बज चुके हैं. We decided to call it quits for the time being, and all of us went off to sleep.

We all got up lazily, some time around 11 a.m, had breakfast, ate पाव-भाजी in lunch. We then settled down for another round of judgement. However, the best part of the morning was april-fooling our friends. It is something that I haven't really done in my life. Sometimes, it can be real-fun too.

All in all, it was a fun-filled weekend. I am sure there will be many such weekends in future.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Outsourcing and Sports

Outsourcing of business processes is something that Indians are doing a lot these days. It is an industry employing millions of youths in India. This has created a lot of furor in the west, as people are losing jobs. People are getting tagged as "bangalored". Since I am not the person who has lost a job to someone else, I can not understand their pain.

Indians have also been outsourcing some important jobs to developed countries. Since the title mentions sports, let’s talk about outsourcing in sports. I am particularly interested in three sports - football, hockey and cricket.

Football in my opinion is not made for us. After watching the European leagues, I am positive that Indians simply can not play football, because we don't have the physique for it. May be some people from the armed forces can take it up, but others simply do not have the physique and athleticism for it. We employ foreign coaches who merely manage to improve our rating from 156 to 155.

Hockey - our national sport - and we hardly put any money in it. We have a hire and fire policy as far as coaches is concerned, and the funny part is we keep rotating the same coaches. I only hear the following names - Cedric D'souza, V Bhaskaran, and some others. How many times Cedric D'souza or V Bhaskaran have been our hockey coach - even they might have forgotten by now. A German coach, Gerard Rach, was employed and fired in the midst of a tournament. In spite of so many changes in coaches, we still play hockey with a straight stick, we still can't convert penalty corners, we still concede penalty corners by dozens, and we still dribble the ball needlessly thereby losing possession of the ball.

The real outsourcing happens in cricket. BCCI is crazy about foreign coaches - John Wright, and then Greg Chappell; foreign trainers - Gregory Allen King, Andrew Leipus, John Gloster. In spite of so much foreign investment for last 6 years, our players are still not fit. They are still not athletic. Our players still can't bat with a straight bat, still can't bowl at the death, and the same problems plague Indian cricket. With India's abysmal show (I can't use the word performance here) in the World Cup, there is bound to be some root-cause-analysis; and if there is none, my sincere advice to the BCCI would be to stop functioning altogether.

Sometimes I think we need to outsource the job of "playing" to the Australians - they excel in all three fields.

Code, Reports, and Presentations

Recently, I joined a new company and have spent the last month reading various documents, reports, viewing presentations and reading a lot of C code.

One of the good things here is that the presentations are not mere ppts, but you see and hear a person lecturing you live. Some of the presentations were beautiful, some were what my professor used to call "reading from the slides".

The thing that is irritating me right now is the code I have been trying to understand for last 5 days. Very mildly put, the code is shitty. Some functions are as long as 2000 lines. Occassionally, you come across a function which is 700 lines in length. If that is not enough of a torture, 7 streams of functionality are using the same set of functions. As a result, the readability of code, I should say, is missing altogether.

I sometimes wonder, what do all the coding standards in an IT industry achieve, if the code that is getting written and checked-in, is not readable at all? And by readability, what I mean is ease of understanding for a person who knows the concepts and is new to the code. Mere indentation and how to use braces; should not be the only parameters of coding standards.

During my stay at IIT Bombay, the following links really helped me. I do not claim I am a perfect coder, or a great orator or presenter, but these have definitely helped me. You can also try them - no harm.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Bengaluru - a city for the rich

Bengaluru is a city for the rich. You must have a lot of money here. There is no denying this. Be it housing, transport, eating, or entertainment. Every aspect of human life is costly here.

When I started searching for a house, I was amazed at the rent people were paying. A decent 2BHK house comes for anything between 13K to 16K. The deposit is always 10 times. The logic of 10 times eludes me. Those who are lucky can find a decent place for less.

The auto-walas here are the worst of the lot. They are just not willing to go where you want to go. The buses, as usual, are always overcrowded.

Entertainment deserves a special mention here. The multi-plexes here are very very costly. Tickets have to be booked a week in advance. Some times, even 2 weekes in advance.

All in all, it is a very expensive city. Those who migrate to this city should take into account the expense ratio before making hasty decisions.