Monday, December 29, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
A bit of a digression here - I was watching a show on TV quite some time back. AB was being interviewed by Semi-Girebal on her famous non-sense show. She asked him a simple question - "What is the importance of your wife in your life" - and he replied - "She has given me two wonderful children".
I was a bachelor then, did not even have a girl in my life, but I immediately retorted - "What non-sense? What about the time you spent with her? Does that have no bearing on your life?
Now that I am married, and now that I am in Sydney, I kind of realize that I am so caught up in the labyrinth of daily life that I probably don't spend enough time with Richa. Not that I don't want to but by the end of the day, there is hardly any time left.
I just hope that I can find ways to take some time out from my daily life, and create some memorable moments for us. One day, if-and-when someone asks me the same question, I hope I will not come up with that stupid reply.
Since morning, I have been wondering how am I going to spend the rest of my time here. My family has gone back to Melbourne. The souvenir shopping is over. What next? So I found an internet cafe in Gloria Jean's Coffee shop and killing my time over here. And believe me, time killing is not over yet. I have to kill 24 hours at the Singapore Airport, as I have a connecting flight only the next evening. I might as well go out into Singapore and do some sight-seeing and take some Patel-shots :-)
On every trip, which happens to be a long trip for me, I have this great urge to be back home. When I was staying with my parents, all my trips were with them, so I don't know what it is to return back to them. When I was living alone, it used to be just-another-flight back home, and I used to be cocksure that I will have no interesting company on way back. It was always so, and it still is that way :-(
Things have changed a lot since I have been married. There is this strong urge to be back home with Richa, and the closer you get to home, the stronger the urge. The last journey from Bangalore airport to home will be the toughest of the lot. Fortunately, Richa will be there at the airport to pick me up, but let me tell you, its not the wisest thing to do - traveling 50 kms one way to pick me up at 10/11 pm when I can very well take a shuttle back home. Crazy it is, but I still like the idea of Richa coming at the airport - I get to meet here 2 hrs early.
Will blog about my Australia trip in detail later, with snaps and all. For the time being, let me just sign of with -
"Love you Richa"
Monday, December 1, 2008
However, there is something very seriously wrong with our political class. Imagine I go to a person's place to offer my condolences. However, instead of going with humility and sincerity, I go there with a pomp to show off or go there because everybody else has been there. I also take sniffer dogs with me, just to be ultra-sure that there are no bombs at that place. How would that person feel?
The next day, our TRP-hungry media, questioned the family and the politician. When they should have left the family alone, they went to needle the family.
Here comes the worst - our eminent politician says - "Not a dog would have visited that house had his son not been a martyr."
Where is humility? Where is humanity? Do you understand that someone has died? Do you understand that someone has lost his son? Do you feel his pain? Do you know what is the value of life?
How can you? After all, you are Mr. Politician.
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I do not know whether this is by design or by accident. Whatever it is, it sums up the whole situation. Where is the government?
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Sunday, November 2, 2008
- Bomb blasts in Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Delhi, and now in Assam. The government seems to be in a total mess and does not know how to tackle terror.
- Lehman Brothers and quite a few companies have vanished from the radar screen, effectively forcing a lot of technology companies to go into a cost-cutting mode.
- A very interesting test series between India and Australia is in progress. The Mohali test match was a great spectacle, and India out-bowled Australia in that match. Brett Lee's wicket (bowled Zaheer Khan) reminded me of Rahul Dravid being bowled by a similar delivery by Wasim Akram in the Chennai test. It was a great exhibition of reverse swing.
- No work or work-only-from-home on weekends. This will enable the lab to be shut down. This effectively means that we don't require air-conditioning in the labs for 2-1/2 days. A lot of saving indeed.
- Cut the frills from the beer-bash. Some may argue that beer-bash itself should be stopped, but in our company, beer-bash is more about bash than beer. By removing the chicken-tikkas, and chats from the beer-bash, the frills are gone. Beer-bash is not the same anymore.
- Certain restrictions on food items such as biscuits, fruit juices, certain types of tea etc.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
I would like to confess something here - each weekend, I am a bit terrified: terrified because I have to think of something to do, possibly new or at the very least not mundane, so that Richa doesn't get bored. Some times, I wonder, why do only men have to come up with these entertainment options? Why do only men have to think of places to visit? Why can't women come up with something that both the sexes can enjoy? Wait, I am not talking about ---, but an activity of some other sort that would mean "quality time spent with each other". By the way, watching movies together at home, watching TV etc does not qualify as "quality time" :-). A piece of gyaan that all married men should get used to asap :-)
I must admit I was fortunate at least this Friday because Sidharth had already planned on going to a movie "मुंबई मेरी जान". Richa suggested that we watch this one and I, admittedly reluctantly, tagged along.
Fortunately, the movie was superb. The cast, I would say, is better known for their acting rather than for their parents. Each actor, apart from Irfan Khan, was beautifully used by the director. Although the movie is based on Mumbai train blasts, it is not a cliche as it does not focus on police hunt for the terrorists. It focuses on the psyche of the people, the fear factor that sets in, the mistrust that develops among communities, and how the city, slowly but surely, comes out of the tragedy. It is truly a tribute to the spirit of Mumbai. And the song, "ऐ दिल है मुश्किल जीना यहाँ" is truly amazing.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Monday, August 4, 2008
- Either believe that रामसेतू existed, and continues to exist, and find some alternate route for the ships.
- Or do not believe it at all, destroy it, and let the ships pass.
However, saying that Lord Rama himself destroyed the रामसेतू is asking for trouble.
I read an interesting article in TOI today. River तुंगभद्रा is currently flooded. Apparently, some monkeys had crossed the river over to the other side. I don't know how they did it, but they did cross over. Later, when the river started rising, they climbed tall trees to avoid drowning in the river. The villages saw the predicament of the monkeys, and alerted the forest authorities. As usual, forest authorities did not take any trouble, and paid no heed to the villagers' request to save the monkeys. The villagers took upon themselves the task of saving the monkeys. They built a bridge of barrels across the river. They then crossed over to the other bank in a paddle boat to woo the monkeys to cross the river. How do you woo the monkeys? With bananas of course. One person climbed the tree, and coaxed the monkey leader to cross the bridge. The rest of the gang followed the leader to the safety of the other bank.
Now, this looks like a story from पंचतंत्र, but it is indeed true. As true as reported by TOI.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
It has been brought to my attention, by a certain soothsayer, that developer productivity, on a given day, is inversely proportional to the number of postings to dl-nb-random.
I have decided to monitor and use this, from this day forward, as a metric to measure what our employees are up to.
President of Vice
Sunday, July 27, 2008
"Red wine with fish? White wine goes with fish." is what many people will say on reading this article. Let me tell you a small story before I go any further. On a wine tasting tour in Napa Valley, California, I was asking some very obvious questions to the lady who was conducting the tour. She was telling me that she could feel "peach and cherry" flavours in the wine. Since I had read their brochure some time back, I knew she was telling me exactly what was written in the brochure. This prompted me to ask her - "Where do all these flavours come from? Do you add these flavours to the wine?". She said "No. These flavours come from the soil, but we dont add anything to the soil". I instantly knew that she was spinning-a-yarn. To me, all this looks marketting gimmick.
"Make a simple thing a bit complicated, and you will arouse interest."
The point of the digression was that if you like a particular wine, just grab a bottle and enjoy it, and avoid all the talk-about-the-wine.
Coming back to Hardy's. I had a glass full with fish, yes fish, and my head started swirling. Curious to find out how others felt - I said - "Hardy's is ... (searching for the right word) ... dangerous". Instantly, others agreed, except Richa, who had consumed very little wine. I felt extremely fizzy from inside. Like shaken soda in a can. Just can't wait to get out. A bit too happy. This feeling is superb. Worth experiencing.
Come home sometime and I will get one more bottle of "Hardy's - Australian for Wine".
Friday, July 18, 2008
I was surfing the channels, when I noticed that DD-sports was telecasting the final of Junior Asia Cup (hockey), the match India won against Korea two days back. I hadn't seen the match live, so I decided to watch it.
One thing I have noticed is that India always does well in the junior hockey event, but fares poorly in the senior category. I guess the other teams graduate very rapidly and we don't when it comes to playing at the higher level.
The soul of world hockey has changed, ever since "astro-turf" was introduced. Hockey is no longer "dribble past the opponent" game. It has become more of positional play, a quick one-touch game. Very much like football. If you ever see the Dutch playing hockey, you will understand what I mean. We continue to play the same old hockey which was popular when hockey was played on grass. Another major issue with Indian hockey is that we don't have a penalty corner specialist. Diwakar Ram is a budding talent, but he is still not in the class of Bram Lomans of Holland or Sohail Abbas of Pakistan.
The highlight of the programme was the pathetic English commentary on DD-sports. The whole commentary was made up of max. 4 words per sentence. The funny part was one commentator sounded drunk, and was interrupting his partner. Here are some excerpts -
- Koreans moving fastly
- Here come the Korea
- The defence of the Korea
- Yes Yes. Indians takes the move. On the attack.
- Right, right. You are right. Chance missed.
The solar power plant works this way. Very simply, sunlight is reflected using concave mirrors onto a special tube. The concave mirrors and the special glass tube have been specially made by Schott, AG. The concave mirrors focus sunlight onto this special tube. The glass tube is special because it is made from ultra-pure sand. This sand is free from metallic impurities. This helps it in letting through a lot more light w/o reflecting any of it. The glass tube has a metal tube inside and the air between the glass tube and the metal tube has been removed, creating a vacuum. In short, its a thermos. Temperatures inside this thermos can be as high as 700C. A synthetic oil is heated due to sunlight. The oil heats water to produce superheated steam, which drives an alternator.
The power plant is spread across 40acres of land. The cost of building this plant was high - something around 250M$. Doesn't sound much, but so much money for 22MW of power is high. However, the beauty is - fuel is free. All your investment is one time investment. The incremental costs are only maintenance costs.
The sceptics will argue that it is way to costly to be commercialized. I disagree. We have to start harnessing solar energy, wind energy etc today. The fuel is free. We don't have to invade other countries to get fuel :-).
Something like this should be done in Rajasthan's Thar desert. It will probably go a long way in solving India's energy crisis.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Why do athletes take to drugs? Due to the pressure to win. The physique of an athlete, his endurance, and injury management have become so important today, that these athletes are forced to look for short-cuts. Anabolic steroids (Nandrolone being one example) provide them this short cut. They help in building muscle and bone mass by stimulating the body to create more protein. These steroids help athletes to train harder and longer.
But as you have definitely heard - "no gain without pain". One has to earn the muscle the hard way. Taking steroids to build muscles is not correct, not only because it is banned and unethical, but also because it puts you at risk. All these steroids have serious ill effects.
At times, even in gyms, the trainers offer your some good advice - "You should take protein supplements in the form of shakes etc." These protein supplements have a photo of a muscle-man on them. You know what I am talking about. My dad (a doc himself) told me a few days back that these protein supplements create electrolyte imbalance and put your kidneys under a lot of duress.
Another example is "lose 5 kgs of weight in 5 days w/o any exercise". Lot of TV commercials are promoting various gadgets that help you lose weight without exercise. Frankly, all that is lost is water. I have been running 2-3 kms per day, lifting a lot of weights, and eating normally, and I have lost just 1kg in 15 days. Still, I am happy with my progress, because I am not losing water. I am burning fat.
People should understand - "no gain without pain".
Sunday, July 13, 2008
When I started watching the show, it was time for the duo of Shahid Kapur and Vidya Balan to promote their upcoming film "Kismet Konnection". If not anything, the name has an Ekta Kapur "konnection". As usual, they mentioned that the film is different, and the moment they read the script, they fell in love with the script, and they had a great time shooting the film, and they shared a great chemistry with each other. So so cliche.
One interesting question w.r.t this camaraderie between realtiy shows and film promoters is whether any money exchange is involved? Or is it simply - we increase your TRP and in return we will promote our film through your show? This is the most interesting aspect of this association.
All this was followed by some stupid challenges for the contestants, and the judges clapping for them, and those fake whistles from the crowd. Finally, it was time to announce the 2nd runner up. I did not count how many times Mandira repeated "2nd runner up" and its meaning, but it must have been atleast 20 times. In between, there were those expected surprise breaks "जो आपके दिल की धड़कने तेज़ कर देती हैं". Just before they were going to annouce the results, the contestants were asked their "दिल का हाल. क्या कह रहा है आपका दिल आपसे इस वक्त", and they were asked to sing a song that reflected what they felt at that moment.
Harshit sang "सुनने वालों कभी ऐसा भी होता है" from OSO. I dont know how he could feel that way, but it is his heart and his feelings. Rahul Vaidya sang - "कभी ख़ुद पे कभी हालात पे रोना आया" and sung it beautifully. I dont know how he could feel this way, but because this is one of my favourite songs, I give him the benefit of doubt.
Rahul Vaidya singing the old melody was the only highlight of the show. You will be wondering why do I watch this reality show if I have so many abuses to hurl at them? Only for some good hindi songs. This is the only reason why I am ready to absorb so much of stupidity.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
The Left was saying why the PM had to issue an important statement on the nuclear deal when he was not in India. The Congress spokesman replied that when the statement was issued, the PM was in air and in Indian airspace, so technically he was in India.
The fight then moved to why the PM had to make the statement in the first place. What was the big hurry? to which Congress spokesman replied that the left had demanded that PM give his final position by 7th July.
Sometime later, Rajdeep Sardesai asked a very simple question to the Left. "By voting against the government, are you not siding with the BJP, the party you are so fundamentally against and the very reason why you sided with the Congress?" to which the Left gave some convoluted answer. Now, if I understand correctly, if you are not with the AYEs, then you are with NAYs unless you abstain from voting.
Politics is one area where boolean logic can never be applied. As one prominent politician has said - "In politics, there are no permanent friends and no permanent foes". I guess, when confronted with simple questions with very clear answers, politicians tend to use diversionary tactics and start a debate on the most frivolous matter without addressing the core of the question. They have this unique ability to call an Apple and Orange and justify it in one statement and deny it another.
Something I find very interesting, amusing and worth inculcating.
Monday, July 7, 2008
I got my first income tax refund today. I was glad that ultimately I got a refund. I was all very excited to open the envelope, as I was hoping that I will find a cheque inside. Although I manage my taxes well and generally dont exceed the actual tax, some time way back in 2005-06, I had paid some 1K extra tax. This refund was for the same year. My excitement was short lived as the cheque was already invalid. It was more than 6 months old.
I was preparing all the paper-work for this years IT-returns when I noticed that my wife was given only 7K of deduction instead of 70K in the ELSS segment. I was shocked. I asked my wife to raise the issue with her finance dept. As expected, the reply was -
"अम्ह. एक ज़ीरो ही तो मिस किया है. अगले रीफन्ड मे ले लेना."
Both are excellent examples of carelessness.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
During our regular team meeting, my colleagues phone went off. In the midst of absolute silence, the Sholay tune was sounding great. My colleague was struggling to get his phone out of his tight jeans pocket. I enjoyed the Sholay tune.
One of our other colleagues quipped - "The National Anthem - huh".
What a pity. I was surprised to see that this fellow could not even recognize the national anthem. The anthem that one sings in his school day in and day out. The Sholay tune is markedly distinct from our National Anthem. Its impossible to make a mistake.
The fellow made it and then tried to cover up by saying - "Some other country's probably".
Monday, June 30, 2008
I then had some cereal, got ready, and before leaving, folded up the damn quilt and made my bed. It was a hectic day in the office. I also had my share of the traffic when I went to HDFC in the afternoon to collect some damn certificate. In the evening, I worked out in the office gym - a bit more than usual. I came back home pretty tired and very hungry. I thought Richa would have forgotten all about the challenge. I was probably day dreaming.
I was greeted with a sarcastic smile - a smile that said - "Dear, I haven't forgotten anything about the challenge. It is time for some supper". Fortunately for me, there was plenty of "Pav Bhaaji" from last night. I just had to heat it and set it on the table. I was feeling a bit relieved.
Before dinner, I had to place all the washed utensils in their proper locations, and believe me, I had no clue which one went where. I have seen Richa do it in less than 2 minutes. I had to open each and every drawer quite a few times. Took me some 15 minutes to finish it. During dinner, Richa continuously kept teasing me - "How has your day been so far?". Each time, the smile got a bit more sarcastic and annoying.
After finishing the last chore of the day - cleaning the table and kitchen - without a doubt the most annoying one, I was back on my bed, relaxing and watching TV. I was hoping to catch some Federer - Hewitt match, but the remote was in Richa's hands.
I should have seen it coming!
She had asked me to get the weekly grocery. I did not bother too much about the grocery till it was time for her to be back home. Hurriedly, I went to the store and got what she had asked for. In my hurry, I forgot to make my bed. The bed sheet had come off and the quilt was lying on the floor - unfolded. My clothes were strewn on the bed. It was indeed a real mess. I had planned on cleaning up the mess once I came back from the store.
When I got back home, Richa was already there. Quite angry at the sight of the mess that I had created. I got to hear a lot about how she keeps the house clean and how I mess it up, how she spends hours cooking and cleaning in spite of her hectic schedule, and how I do not realize my responsibilities etc etc etc. Then she dared me to exchange roles with her for just 7 days. By now, I too was a bit agitated hearing all my flaws and gladly accepted the challenge.
I had no idea what I was getting into then, but it seems accepting the challenge was very very stupid of me. Now that I have accepted the challenge, I will not chicken out of it. That is for sure.
Monday, June 23, 2008
In the quarter final against Russia, who had been erratic till then, the Dutch, yet again showed that when it comes to the crunch situations, they choke. They looked like a school side in front of Russia, who thanks to Andriy Arshavin, played some very attacking football. The Dutch showed no fighting spirit, no will to win. They were lucky that the scoreline was just 3-1. Russians could have easily scored more if not for the Dutch wall Edwin Van der Saar.
When I look at Germany, they come across as a side that always bounces back. You cannot relax against Germany till the final whistle is blown. They always fight till the last. Sure they may have a bad match or two, but they still fight till the last. They always have the stamina and the energy to fight.
Unless the Dutch inculcate the German will-power, they will never win any major competition. They will always flatter to deceive.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Currently, I am reading a book on Peter Drucker. There are lots of gems in this book. I am quoting the one I liked a lot. Peter Drucker was talking about the importance of asking the right questions when one of his students asked him -
"How do you know the right questions to ask? Aren't your questions based on your knowledge in the industries in which you consult? How did you have the knowledge and expertise to do this when you were first starting out with no experience?"
to which Peter Drucker replied -
"I never ask these questions or approach these assignments based on my knowledge and experience in these industries. It is exactly the opposite. I do not use my knowledge and experience at all. I bring my ignorance to the situation. Ignorance is the most important component for helping others to solve any problem in any industry. Ignorance is not such a bad thing if one knows how to use it, and all managers must learn how to do this. You must frequently approach problems with your ignorance; not what you think you know from past experience, because not infrequently, what you think you know is wrong."
Monday, June 9, 2008
I would appreciate if you could give some ideas about how to go about this fund raising activity more effectively, any social forums or organizations who can help us in this endeavour.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
My friend advised me to buy some Tata Motors. Tata motors has been in the news for quite a lot of reasons. The Jaguar deal with Ford, and of-course the Nano. Much has been written about the Nano - how it will create a chaos on the streets, the pollution levels will rise etc etc.
The Nano, IMHO, will provide a big boost to the cab industry in IT-cities in India. The diesel Indi-cab comes for nothing less than 4.xL. In this amount, the cab-walas can probably buy 3 Nanos. The streets in Bangalore and Pune to some extent dont present an opportunity to achieve speeds greater than 60. With Nano on the streets, the congestion on the roads will increase further. Mileage should not be a concern because Nano boasts something around 20kmpl, slightly more than an Indi-cab.
What most people dont know is that Tata has invested in a company called MDI. Check out their website http://www.theaircar.com. There are a couple of good news reports that one can read. Tata has bought the license to build and market the car in India. The car will be available in India in a couple of years probably, and will be priced around 3500$. The real issue will be the ease with which one can re-fuel the car.