Saturday, July 30, 2005

Carburetor Fantasy

In the US, there are forums to appreciate the best as well as the worst writing in fiction. One such forum, which recognizes the worst writing in fiction is, “Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest”. This year the prize was won by a Microsoft analyst who was ludicrous enough to compare a woman’s breast to the carburetor of a car!!!!

Now that is some imagination!!!! I have always head of instances wherein a female breast is compared to something – somehow men can never stop fantasizing about them – but this one has crossed all the limits and I was nearly rolling around laughing when I read about it in The Hindu yesterday.

The award winning line goes like this –

"As he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg carburetors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire, highly functional yet pleasingly formed, perched prominently on top of the intake manifold, aching for experienced hands, the small knurled caps of the oil dampeners begging to be inspected and adjusted as described in chapter seven of the shop manual,”

The writer gets to take home $250 for his imagination. Unfortunately he was not available for comments – he is some star I guess!!!

By the way, this is my 50th post in my blog. Not a bad thing to write about on the occasion. ;)

Friday, July 29, 2005

A Perfect Day

What a day it has been!! I just want to go home and crash into my bed.. er, I do not have a bed at home, I sleep on the floor – on a mat. Whatever, I just want to catch some sleep.

I usually get up early, 6am, so that I can get ready leisurely and reach office for breakfast. The breakfast timings in the office is between 7:45am and 8:15 am. I have breakfast, talk with a few people and reach office on time at 8:30.

Today, inspite of keeping the alarm at 5:45am, I got up at 7:30!!!! As soon as I got up, I knew that I would be missing breakfast in office and I will have to eat something at the dirty shop near our office. I was in a rush to get ready and reach office on time, but my stomach – which had put on a few inches thanks to the afternoon meals in the office and the complete lack of exercise on my part – would not allow me to. I was made to sit in the bathroom for around 30 mins, and finally when my stomach thought that it was enough, I was already late!!!

Started from home at 8:30am – I should have reached office by this time – and when I was nearing office, I realized that I had left my mobile at home. The traffic, heat as well as the fact that I was already late prevented me from going back home. Upon reaching office, I realized that I did not have time to go to the shop and eat something for namesake, but there was a meeting scheduled in the morning!! The meeting got over after 10, and finally when I had something to eat, it was 10:30am!!!

I thought that my ordeals were over, but no, my stomach saw to it that I would not be getting even a moments peace. It started rumbling and showing signs that it did not like what I gave him in the morning. I felt like vomiting, then after some time I was feeling dizzy, then I was feeling sleepy too!!! Unfortunately we do not have a rest room in our office, so had to go through this sitting in my cubicle!!!

Finally, as I am preparing to leave, I am having a terrible headache. I cannot stay back in the office since I am not feeling well, and I do not want to go home now, coz I will get bored alone there and also due to the traffic outside!!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

London to Kupwara

There have been atleast 2 incidents around the globe in the past one-week in connection with innocents being victims of police brutality.

The first one in London, where the British police recently shot down an innocent man suspecting him to be connected to the bomb blasts on 7th and 21st of this month. The casualty was a 27-year-old unmarried Brazilian – Jean Charles de Menezes - who was working as an electrician in London for the past 4 years.

After the bombings, the police had put a lot of houses and suspected places under surveillance. One such house was in the locality of Jean, from which he was seen emerging 2 days ago. The police started following him ever since, suspecting him to be connected to the twin bombings. On the fateful day, 22nd July, when Jean was returning from work, he was “challenged” by the police, while he was strolling near the Stockwell railway station. Jean resisted and started running away from the plain clothed policemen. He entered the railway station, and was attempting to escape by boarding a train, when a few policemen bundled on top of him and shot him at point blank range in front of hundreds of passengers. He was shot in the head as well as his body. The passengers described the shootout drama as “Hollywood Style”.

The Brazilian government has reacted strongly to this, and they want an explanation from the British government regarding the circumstances, which lead to Jean’s killing. The British police have termed the incident as “unfortunate” and they have accepted their mistake. The police state that they shot, since Jean started to flee the scene.

In another incident, in our own country, 3 youngsters in the age group of 11-15 were gunned down by the army in Kupwara in Jammu & Kashmir, mistaking them for militants. The 3 were the part of a marriage, which was taking place in the locality. They had ventured out in the night, to have a stroll, and entered an ambush area set up by the army. The army claimed that they had “challenged” the youngsters, who did not respond and started fleeing. The army responded by gunning them down.

There were widespread protests to the killing, with villagers taking out demonstrations and ransacking the police station of their locality. The government has ordered an independent enquiry into the incident. The army said that they had laid an ambush to trap militants who were frequenting the area in the past few days, they added that they resorted to firing only after the youngsters started fleeing.

There is a lot of similarity to both these cases. The police were under a lot of pressure to come out with results, the innocents panicked when confronted by the police and choose to flee the scene in order to escape and the police did not give them a second chance. The killings are the most unfortunate, considering the fact that world-over, it’s an unwritten rule that “Even if hundred of criminals escape the long hand of the law, not even a single innocent should be punished”.

I feel that you should be giving a thought to the other side as well. Scores of people were killed in both the London bombings; everyday there is a terrorist attack somewhere in the country, and who is to prevent all this from happening? – The enforcements. They were doing their duty of protecting and safeguarding the interests of the country where they work. Its true that they should not have resorted to immediate shooting of the suspects; but then we also know that if it were militants in their place, then the situation could have been different. It would have been the policemen and the people around who would have suffered if the suspects had been militants.

My verdict for both these incidents would be to consider these killings as sacrifices made for the war against terrorism. They are unfortunate and should have been avoided, but then so could have been 9/11 or 7/7 or Dec 13. To restrain the militants the police need to be proactive, they need to convey the message to the militants that they will not be dealt with softly. It’s the fear that the terrorists want to implant in the minds of innocents that should be used against them. Implant the same fear in their minds; we might see light at the end of the tunnel.

Some unanswered questions may be – What do you do with militants who have no fear for their lives? What would have happened if the innocent man shot in London was an American?

Monday, July 25, 2005

Back to Loneliness

The last week was full of fun and for the first time during the past two months of my stay in Chennai, I was beginning to enjoy my life in Chennai.

Since yesterday was the last day of Bhadra’s visit and since he did not know when he will be making his next visit to Chennai, I decided to take him to VGP Golden Beach. It’s a beach resort, started a long time ago, and I a favourite picnic spot in Chennai.

A few guys from Polaris and other friends joined us there. There were 8 of us at VGP.

On the way to VGP, we had the luckiest escape of our lives. We were speeding along on my Pulsar at 80km/hr and just ahead of me, there was a Maruti WagonR, he had been attempting to overtake an Indica for a long time. The Indica, was not showing any intentions of overtaking an auto which was in front of him. Now, tired of attempting to overtake the Indica, the WagorR took a sharp turn to the left in an attempt to overtake the Indica from the left. I was moving behind the Wagon R, and as he steered left, he was directly in front of me now. To everyone’s surprise, the Indica also turned left in order to overtake the auto. WagonR had not expected this and he applied breaks suddenly, I was unable to stop all of a sudden, since I was traveling fast. I applied breaks, and yet hit the WagonR on his rear bumper at a reasonable speed of 20-25km/hr. I was beginning to loose my balance, and I was expecting to fall down, but somehow – I do not remember how, as things were happening too fast – we managed regain balance and move on. There was no damage to my bike, but as my wheels had hit the WagonR’s rear bumper, there was a black mark on the middle of his number plate. It was a close shave and could have lead to some injuries; but due to god’s grace nothing serious happened.

At VGP, we had a nice time. Talking, sitting on various rides, eating and drinking. Vasudha was amazingly daring to sit along with me on all the rides, the best one being the roller coaster.

We sat on the beach for a long time, where Kranthi was blowing bubbles on everyone’s face. It was cloudy and the stay at the beach was a pleasant one.

In VGP, there is an attraction called “Statue Man”. A man stands at a podium – emotionless – for hours. He has a particular pose, and he does not even move when he is on the podium. He takes short breaks in between, but stays on the podium for most of the day. We were not able to get a glimpse of him, when we were passed the podium in the afternoon. As we were returning, we saw that he was there. So we went along to have a look. All of us stood at a distance, while Kranthi went a bit close to him and started studying him closely. Suddenly, and to say unexpectedly the statue man moved, and his intention was to scare Kranthi, since she had been staring at him for a long time. Along with the sudden movement, he also made let out a booming shout. Kranthi was taken by surprise, since the statue man was not supposed to move. She let out a shriek and ran from the place. She was dead scared and tears were streaming down her eyes!!!! All of us had a hearty laugh.

We left for home at 7:30pm, had dinner in the way. I was so tired after reaching home that I slept off for sometime. Went to see Bhadra off at the bus stand. When we were in the bus stand we heard news that an earthquake had hit the Andamans and there was an initial scare that another tsunami was on its way. Some were even telling that there were tremors in Chennai also. Anyways I never felt any tremors.

Now I am back to my lonely life at Chennai. Hope to keep in touch with more people so that I can get out of boredom.

Friday, July 22, 2005

My First Blast in Chennai

Past few days have been the best days in Chennai. Going out daily, enjoying life as if there is no tomorrow.

It all started on Tuesday(19th July) evening, when one of my close friends from TAPMI, Amitabh called me and told me that he would be arriving here the next day and he plans to be here till Sunday. Amitabh is currently in his training period. He had to make a trip to Chennai as part of his training.

Since he has come, I leave office early, at 5:45 pm and rush home. After getting ready, I meet him at his hotel and we go out. On 20th we went to Marina beach, chatted for a long time, and then we went to the pub in his hotel and had Vodka (After Fresher’s party in March, it was the first time I was having hot drinks!!!). We ordered dinner in the room. By the time it had started raining heavily outside (Rains are the least expected things in Chennai!!!). I stayed back with Amitabh for the night. We were chatting till 2 in the night and I was so tired that I slept off while he was talking!!! Got up early (After 4 hours of sleep) and left for home.

The next day again we met in the evening, and this time there was another friend from TAPMI, my roommate – Surya, who joined us for dinner and movie thereafter. We watched Sarkar, directed by Ram Gopal Varma. Shall get to the details of the movie later in the blog. After the movie, I went to drop Amitabh in his hotel. One the way, we were stopped by police. Without being asked, I told them that we had gone for a second show and showed my tickets. The policeman took a look at the tickets and then asked where we were working. I told him the name of the place where I work, for which he wanted proof. As luck would have it, I was not carrying my ID card (I was carrying it the other day!!!). But luckily I was carrying my vehicle papers with me, and I remembered that I had given my office address in the insurance letter. I produced the insurance letter and I must say that he was pretty much impressed by the fact that I was carrying all my papers neatly in a plastic cover, tucked in my pants. He verified the address, asked us if we had taken liquor and left us without troubling us any further. Amazingly he did not say anything about my Karnataka registration.

So past two days have been full of fun and little sleep – little over 9 and ½ hours. Still 3 more days to go………………

I’ll be discussing about the movie in the rest of the post, so people who have not seen it, don’t proceed any further. It’s worth a watch.

The story is about an extremely powerful politician Subhash Nagre, who is above law, police and government. He uses his power to do good to the common man. His house is a heavily guarded fortress, and people come to seek justice, which has been denied to them by the law and order of the state. Subhash is known as “Sarkar” by his followers and loyalists. Set in the backdrops of the Mumbai city, this film boasts of superb direction and some class acting by all the actors. The director acknowledges that his movie has been an inspiration from the 1972 Hollywood movie – Godfather, directed by Francis Ford Coppola. In the original movie Amitabh Bachchan’s role is played by Marlon Brando and Abhishek Bachchan’s role is played by Al Pacino.

The movie starts with a man coming to Sarkar, to help him avenge the rape and death of this only daughter by a wealthy guy, who manages to escape the clutches of law. Sarkar is moved by the plight of the man; the wealthy man is killed by his lead henchman. Then we are introduced to his family – his wife, 2 sons, a daughter-in-law, a grandson and the wife and daughter of an old friend.

His eldest son is a film producer, Vishnu, and is a rebel. He tries to take things into his own hands without the approval of Sarkar and always ends up in trouble. He is extremely emotional and is easily influenced. He has a lot of friends who are his father’s enemy. He is married and has a kid. He is also attracted to the heroine of his latest movie. The role is played by Kay Kay.

The second son, Shankar, has returned from abroad after completing his studies. He is a devout son who feels that his father is “Outside the system, and helps people who are inside the system, unlike many who are within the system and help themselves.” The role is played by Abhishek Bachchan. He has a girlfriend, who is played by the glam girl Katrina Kaif. She trusts him, but not his family and wants to take him away from this life of crime.

Sarkar has many foes, and a few friends. His friends include Selvarmani, a south Indian, and an old ally of Sarkar. The Chief Minister of Maharashtra is also his friend. His foes include Vishram, who is Vishnu’s friend and Sarkar’s one time ally, and a gangster from Dubai – Rashid.

After the introduction of the family and other roles, we get to know that a highly respected politician Khurana, does not approve of Sarkar’s work and asks him to surrender. In the meantime, Rashid approaches Sarkar to seek permission to do business in Mumbai, to which Sarkar declines on moral grounds.

Things start to turn for the worse, when Vishram tells Vishnu that the heroine of the movie to whom he is attracted to is having an affair with the hero of his movie. Vishnu kills the hero, much to the ire of Sarkar, who throws the former out of his house and also helps the heroine of the movie in filing a case against Vishnu.

Vishnu gets refuge with his fathers’s enemies and goes hiding. With one of Sarkar’s son with them, the villains start plotting plans to kill Sarkar. The villains are guided by a swamiji.

The politician – Khurana- is killed and Sarkar is charged with the murder. Sarkar is arrested, while Shankar runs from post to post to prove his fathers innocence. He seeks the help of Selvarmani, only to find out that he has also joined the villains. Shankar also gets the information that his father is going to be attacked in the police station. Shankar escapes the clutches of the villains and reaches the police station just in time to save his father.

Sarkar comes out on bail and he also knows the identity of the people who have plotted against him. Fearing their lives the villains attempt a last ditch effort – use Vishnu to kill his father.

Shankar rescues his father again and this time he takes things into his hands to settle the matters once and for all. He kills his brother, and methodically kills Selvarmani, Vishram and Rashid. Shankar lets swamiji live in return for information on the main villain. Shankar restores peace, and becomes the new Sarkar.

The movie has excellent performances by the actors, great direction, camera work and background music. The director has focused one the emotions and body languages of his characters and scores here. The background music is typical of a Ram Gopal Varma’s gangster flick.

There are a lot of scenes which I liked in the movie – The rapist getting lynched by Sarkar’s men, the meeting between Sarkar and Rashid, the argument between Sarkar and Vishnu at the dining table, Shankar coming to his parents and telling them that he killed his elder brother. Rashid getting killed and many more.

It would be unfair to compare the movie with any of the Hollywood or Bollywood gangster movies that have come earlier. This one, even though inspired from Godfather, is different from the rest.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Easter Eggs

The Easter Eggs that I am going to discuss in this post are the Easter Eggs with respect to the computer world. The actual definition of an Easter Egg is that they are hidden features or messages that appear on a movie, book, CD, DVD, computer programs or computer games. Since I am not a computer games enthusiast, I will not be speaking about the numerous Easter Eggs in computer games; in fact the maximum number of Easter Eggs can be found in computer games.

In computer programs, programmers usually add their names or some other significant information of the developing team or they may add a game or they may make the program behave in a funny way when you do things in a particular combination. Let me illustrate a few of the famous ones.

The best one being the car driving game that comes along with Microsoft Excel 2000. Open an Excel Worksheet, and in the menu, under File, choose “Save As Web Page”. In the options Save, choose “Selection: Sheet”. Now a checkbox below gets activated, the checkbox is “Add Interactivity”. Give the page any name and save it anywhere in the compuer. Now open the web page, go to Row 2000 and Column WC. Highlight the entire row, and use the Tab key to highlight the box under the column WC. Hold down the Ctrl, Alt and Shift keys and click on the Office icon.

You can use the arrow keys to drive the car, “0” key to drop paint slicks, Space Bar to shoot and “H” key to toggle between headlight on and off positions. For the game to start, you need to have DirectX in your computer.

Easter eggs are also used by companies to ridicule their competitors. One of the works I like is such a ridiculing between Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Internet Explorer.

Open Microsoft IE, and in the address bar, type “about:mozilla”. You will get a screen with a particular color; this color was chosen since in Windows NT and above, this color means that the Windows has crashed and needs to be restarted. To counter this Mozilla added a code in their browser. If you open Mozilla and type “about:mozilla”, you will get a screen with a particular color as well as a verse; which talks about Firefox’s growing acceptance amongst Internet users.

Talking about acceptance of Firefox, I too am an avid fan of Firefox. Mostly due to the multitab facility as well as the fact that no ActiveX controls are stored in your computer. Firefox is far ahead of IE in terms of security, and you need not download the “Google Toolbar” in Firefox, most of the things are already available in Firefox like pop-up blocking and Google search text box.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Changes to my Blog

Since I am not good at HTML, changing the contents in my blog is truly an experience. Initially I thought that I could get a book from the library and modify things. I tried it at TAPMI, but was soon bored since it was taking a long time and I was not reaching anywhere in terms of modifying the contents. That’s when I hit upon this simple idea – Get the source of the pages you like and modify accordingly in your page!!!

The first such operation was conducted on Karthik’s blog. After that I had not touched the settings and the blog was as it is. For the past few days, I have seen a lot of new things on other blogs, which I wanted to add to mine. First one was the “Currently Reading” section, which I added without any help from other blogs. The main thing which I wanted in my blog was a Visit Counter. I had seen such a counter in Krish’s blog as well as Yash’s blog.

Since I have been free for most of the day; I tried to get this thing on my blog. Firstly I tried Krish’s blog, but somehow I was unable to get any help. Then I tried Yash’s blog and this time I was able to find out that he had got this service from StatCounter. So I go ahead and sign up with them, get the codes which is to be added to my existing HTML code, and there it was – Everything which I wanted was there on my blog.

Here are some other updates that I wanted to post.

Started Don Quixote. The narration style is so very different from the novels that I have read so far. Read some 20 odd pages and its interesting so far.

The maid has not been coming to clean my house for sometime now. Its in a mess and there are also a lot of clothes to wash. Hope she comes today and gets my house back in order. Now I know why my mom tells me to marry whenever I complain of my untidy house – we men are so good at making the house dirty and I don’t know how these women have the ability to keep the house clean all the time.

I have also been smitten by the investment bug. I am looking at various options of investing my money to gain maximum benefits. Looking at Mutual Funds, Insurance, NSC, etc. There are a few hurdles like not having a good advisor/agent to help me out, some difficulty with Internet banking, due to which I am not entering the foray now, but I hope I can get into all that from next month onwards.

Even thought there are a lot of things I do not like about Chennai, the cost of living here is very less when compared to Bangalore. I am able to save a considerable amount of my salary, and inspite of the fact that I will end up spending around 8k for my house and other things, I can still invest around 6k after repaying my education loan as well as giving a part of my salary to mom.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Weekends @ Bangalore

It was a trip, which I had been eagerly awaiting for. It had been more than a month since I last visited Bangalore, and I was beginning to miss the place like hell, water and weather in Chennai being the main reasons.

Gaurav Gupta, one of my colleague frmo office, accompanied me. We were to take the 10:30pm Volvo. The journey went on well, except for the fatso sitting behind me and snoring off. He even had the nerve to push my seat into a more upright position while I was asleep. I was so irritated to find my seat in an upright position when I woke up that I pushed the seat back with full force, which crashed on him as it had done earlier in the journey. His reaction for my first crashing had been the dreaded 4-letter word, but this time, he was quiet, lost his world of sleep and snores.

Saturday was the day, which I had planned to go out and visit friends. After some confusion, a few of us met in Church Street for lunch. My trip to Church street was quiet an adventure. People who know Bangalore would be able to relate to the stupidity.

I got down at Mayo Hall, and from somewhere I got this notion that Church Street was somewhere down the Brigade Road. So I walked down Brigade Road and reached the beginning of Hosur road. With no signs of Church Street, I asked a medical shop. He asked me to go back in the one way and after the signal take the second left turn. Now there are 2 one ways there, one was Brigade Road and the other was Museum Road.

As its so common of me to choose the longer of the two, I choose Museum Road thinking that it would take me to Church Street faster. I reached Residency Road and in my confusion, took the left at the signal – Now I was walking towards Richmond Circle!!!!! My intuition never deserts me totally, after walking for 5 minutes, I realized that I was once again on the wrong way. So I stopped at another medical shop to ask for the way. He asks me to walk back to the signal where I had taken the left turn and go straight, cross a signal and take a right near a sweet shop.

As I started to walk, I remembered the golden rule – always cross check your information with a third party – so I stopped at yet another medical shop (The third one for the day!!!). He also asked me to do exactly as the previous medical shop person had asked me to. So finally after 30 minutes of walking I reached Church Street and met a few of my friends.

Those poor souls had been waiting there for me for the past 45 minutes and they vented their frustration on me by kicking my rear – which hurt after the 30 minutes long walk!!!

We had lunch at a new place – I forgot the name, but we got chapatti rolls there – spending a good 2 hours at that place.

Now if you think the journey to Church Street was adventurous, wait for the details of my return trip to home.

By the time, we said bye-bye and left for our homes, the sky had turned dark and it was starting to drizzle. Initially I thought I would take a bus and get home, so I walked from MG Road to Central Mall and waited there for a bus. The new rule, which made the Residency road a one way created more confusion as to where to wait for the bus, which would take me to Majestic. After waiting in the drizzle for 5 minutes, and not finding any bus to Majestic, I gave up hopes of traveling by bus and started to search for an auto.

I got into MG road and got into an auto, who surprisingly agreed to take me according to the meter. When the auto was standing at the Brigade Road signal, the driver asked me the exact location, which I promptly gave him. Now suddenly the driver changed his minds and said he could not go since his stand was at Yeshwantpur and going to my location would be circuitous for him. So I get down and start searching for another auto.

My search takes me from Brigade Road signal to the front of Woodlands, where I ask the driver whether he was willing to take me home. It had also started to rain by then. To my shock, the driver coolly asked me for Rs.100/-, I asked him if he was willing to take me for Rs60/-, which he declined. So I continue walking – crossed MG road, and reached Kasturba road. That’s when it started raining real hard. So I stop at the Kasturba Road bus stop and wait for an auto or bus.

After numerous buses and autos passed the packed bus stop, even without showing signs of wanting to stop to help us poor souls, one bus stopped. It took me to Market and I was lucky to get a bus immediately to Vijaynagar. After reaching the bus stop, I walked to the nearby ICICI ATM, to withdraw some money, which I had planned to give to my mom. By the time I took the money and was on my way home, it rained even harder and I was drenched by the time I reached home.

So much for a day’s adventure!!!

I decided to take a rest the next day – I did not move out of my house on Sunday. I was sitting and spending quality time with my parents.

The return trip to Chennai was also by Volvo. The bus was at 10:10pm. The return trip was eventless except for the Kannada movie being played in the TV, and I had great trouble sleeping since I was sitting in the front row.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Quiz on the Net

The first time I heard this phrase was when I was in the first trimester at TAPMI. There was a quiz conducted by IIM Bangalore, which was one of its kinds. The quiz would start at 9pm everyday for a week. There would be 15 questions to be answered in 15 minutes. You can use any help from any known source and send in the answers for the 15 questions. I did not play the quiz at that time, but did help a few seniors in getting the answers from Google.

In the first year at TAPMI, I was part of the Systems Forum. Towards the end of the first year, it was customary that the junior members show their caliber by conducting an event without any help from the seniors (Ofcourse, they did help a lot in administration during the game). The term was coming to an end, with just 2 weeks remaining and the seniors were literally after us to conduct something.

There were 4 of us in Systems Forum, Narasimha Raju, Nitin Gupta, Yashasvi Arun and myself. During one such casual chat with Raju and Yash, I suggested that we conduct “Quiz on the Net” at TAPMI, with the same rules. Raju said he could take care of the coding in ASP (Access as backend), while Yash said that he could provide the front end of the game in HTML. We got to work and in 2 days time the game was ready. It was launched with much advertisement and to our amazement 54 teams enrolled for the game. That was a record for any game conducted by any forum/committee at TAPMI. I still remember how the labs (CC & Systems lab), Library and Hostels were all crammed with people who wanted to play the game. The game went on without any hiccup and it was a major success. The game did give us a few tensed moments, but it finally went well.

After its success, two other forums wanted to conduct a quiz in the similar fashion, with Systems Forum providing the technical support. Those games added to the popularity of the Systems Forum and it helped us beat Finance Forum for the best Forum award in the year 2003-04. That was indeed a great moment; it was an award that we thoroughly deserved.

Come second year, the idea developed by IIM Bangalore caught on with other B-Schools, and they came up with better quizzes. One such conducted by NITIE – titled Mastishk – was a brilliant one. During the 10 days, I used to skip everything and dedicate all my time in solving the quizzes. I was rewarded by scoring the highest points in 3 out of the 10 quizzes, and winning one of them.

Now that I have left college, I thought that quizzes and stuff were over for me, but I was to be proved wrong. The day I got a computer to work on, there was a quiz being conducted within the organization under the program titled – Discover India. Our company has branches in various locations and this program is aimed at getting the employees to know more about the locations we are at and also learn the kind of business we are earning from the location. Apart from giving business related information about a location, there is a quiz at the end, which was regarding the history, location or importance of the organization. And guess what, I won last weeks quiz!!

I won a Parker pen and a key chain, both of them having my company name embossed on them.

Regarding my trip to Bangalore, I have booked the tickets. I will be traveling by Volvo, which is a costly affair. I will be spending nearly Rs875/- for the trip, which could have been reduced to Rs.400/- if I were to travel by train. I hope that the next time I plan my trip well in advance and get the tickets booked on train. Another incident to add on to my never ending list of “I-could-have-done-it-better-the-other-way”.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Coimbatore Trip

I was to travel to Coimbatore by Nilgiri Express, which was to leave Chennai Central at 9pm. Gokul and myself had planned to go by the cheaper mode of transportation – bus – for which we needed to reach Vadapalani stand by 7:30.

I left office at 5:30 and reached home, only to be greeted by the secretary who was complaining about the non-payment of maintenance work undertaken before I shifted the flats. I told him about my inability to make the house owner pay, and assured him that I will remind him again to make the payments as soon as possible. The things were going smoothly until he said, “Pay the money or we will shut down water and electricity!!” I lost my cool at that very precise moment. Here was one guy who was asking me to pay up for things that I was not aware of and on top of that he was threatening to cut my water and power supply. I started shouting at him, which he promptly shouted back. The things went on for 10 minutes, till there was no solution in sight and we left cursing each other.

Thanks to the argument, I was getting late. I packed in a hurry and there were no major incidences for the day. We boarded the train at 8:45. Had dinner at Saravana Bhavan, which again left both our stomachs and pockets empty.

Reached Coimbatore at 4:30am the next day. We were to wait for another set of friends who were arriving from Bangalore by Island Express. They arrived at 5:10am and we (6 of us) left for a hotel booked for us.

The Muhurtam was between 6am and 7:30am, which meant that we had very little time to get ready and reach the Mandapam. Luckily 2 rooms were arranged for us, and we managed to reach the mandapam just before the Thali tying ceremony took place.

We had breakfast, and left the place at 10am. Since we had a whole day lying ahead of us and no other way of spending it, we decided to go for a movie. We went for a movie titled “Terindum Teriyamalum”. I did not like the movie a bit, but since there was no other option, I watched it.

The movie is about a guy, who stays in Nagercoil. He comes to Chennai to pursue his engineering. While in Nagercoil, he accidentally gets a glimpse of the heroine with whom he is unable to talk. After coming to Chennai he happens to meet her and the love story goes on. Parallel to this is the story of the don in Chennai, Adishanksran (Prakashraj). Their stories intersect at times, like both of them meeting at the temple and the girl getting caught in the crossfire between Adi and his rival gangs. Most of Adi’s fights are carried by his right hand and foster son Kutty (Arya).

Infuriated that his love is injured, our hero becomes the witness, much to the displeasure of Adi and his foster son. Adi does not harm our hero since he thinks that the guy is too young and he can be talked to. Nearing the intermission, Adi learns that the hero is his own son, born from his wife Lakshmi, who left him due to his violent life. Lakshmi commits suicide after the child is born.

The rest of the story revolves around how Prakashraj and Arya go around convincing our hero that they love him and want him back in their lives. There is also the character of the city police commissioner who plans to get both of them eliminated from the city for their increasing crime rate. Finally all’s well that ends well, the hero goes back to his father and brother and in this process also getting his lady love.

The film may be remembered for the bit of comedy in the second half as well as the heroine who looked very sexy.

After the movie, we went to one of our friend, Lakshmikanth’s house. Had a great lunch there. We even enjoyed a breezy siesta (The house was in an open area and was very breezy).

We left for the hotel at 6, where we took rest till it was time for us to leave for our trip back to Chennai. We were to return by Cheran Express.

I reached the flats a bit late, owing to the late arrival by train and the bus journey from station to my flats. I reached office half an hour late, and had to skip breakfast.

Today I need to go and book my tickets for the Bangalore trip for the weekend.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Renewing my Vehicle Insurance

This had been a reason for tension for quiet a few days for me. Knowing myself very well, I knew that it will be a long time before I get my vehicle insurance renewed.

Its going to be one year since I got my bike, which also means that my insurance policy is about to expire, to be precise, it expires on the midnight of 16th of July. For the people who do not know, it’s a criminal offence to drive a vehicle on Indian roads without insurance (you need to have atleast a third-party insurance).

After days of procrastination, I finally decided that its time to pick up the phone and enquire with the insurance company (New India Assurance Limited) as to the details to be followed to get my insurance renewed. Firstly I checked the Internet to find out the office that is near to my office. From the net, I was able to find that the Guindy as well and the Adyar offices are close to my office at Guindy. I also got their telephone and e-mail addresses. I was so tempted to send them a mail, but then I knew that mails are going to take a lot of time.

So I pick up the phone, and try the Guindy numbers (They had given 2 numbers). There was no response from either of the numbers. So much for a main office in Chennai. Then I decided to call the Adyar office, and much to my surprise, the phone was answered before the third ring was completed. The person on the other side asked me to come over to the office and fill up an application form, and assured me that the entire process would not be taking more than 30 minutes.

So I left office after lunch, with the permission of my boss. I reached the place, and without much hustles, I got the insurance. The office of the insurance company was so typical an office – a perfect government office. The sight of a person reading a novel in the office made me a bit apprehensive, but everything was done in a little over 20 minutes. I was back in my office within an hour.

If you are considering as to why I had to make a post of this, then may be you don’t know me properly.

Doing this task all by myself before the due date is an achievement. I am a person who will set benchmarks for procrastination, I have submitted numerous assignments seconds before the due time. I have taken permission to sit in the Systems lab throughout the night to complete a project and presentation (SADN) to be submitted the next day. I have also gone to the extent of submitting one of my projects (OOAD) late - Late by an entire day!!!

Weekend with Chittappan

This weekend was a short one. Had planned to do many things, but as it had become so typical of me, I ended up doing nothing.

The very first thing on my list of to-do’s the last weekend was to have a haircut, and then I had planned to wash/clean all my bathrooms. I also wanted to book tickets for my trip to Bangalore next weekend. I had even wanted to go out and buy a few things in the evening.

Sasi Chittappan (Dad’s Co-brother) had called on Saturday night and said that he would be coming over to my house for the weekend. He is one of the person I am expecting to stay with me. So on Sunday morning, he came home by 10am. I had to pick him up from Mambalam suburban station. The whole of the morning and afternoon went in talking to each other. We talked about our jobs, family, share market, Chennai, and the topics were limitless.

In the evening, we went to Santhome, to look at a house that suited all needs of Chittappan. We saw the house and also went to the Aiyyappan temple in Santhome.

It’s been a real long time since I visited this temple. I was a regular visitor during my 12th. At that time, the temple was still under construction, now the temple is fully constructed and is an exact replica of the Sanctum Sanatorium of Lord Aiyyappan at Sabarimala.

Driving in this dreaded city is a bane. You need to be really focused on the roads; take your eyes off the road once and you risk yourself getting into an accident. I was dead tired after the trip, it was nearly 35-40 kilometers and moreover in the evening traffic.

Chittappan left today morning. I dropped him back to Mambalam suburban station.

At the end of it all, I did not have a haircut, could not clean my bathrooms and I could not buy the things that I had planned. There is something that I did as I had planned to – I had gone to the railways reservation counter to book tickets, but the tickets were not available. Looks like I need to choose the costlier option of a Volvo bus.

Saturday, July 09, 2005


Now everyone is aware of this game, even I have played it when I was young, or when some of my cousins cajoled me into playing it with them.

Typically it involves an n*n square box, full of numbers (1 to n2), arranged in random across the box. The numbers are struck as and when they are called, the person, who is the first to strike off all the numbers in a particular row, or column or diagonal shouts “Bingo”. The person who ends up with more bingo shouts is the winner.

Today I received a mail from one of my colleagues, informing me about the latest version of Bingo being played amongst the corporate. The game is titled “Bullshit Bingo”. The mail claims that this is the perfect remedy for people who keep falling asleep in meetings, seminars and conferences. The mail details the steps to be followed during the “game”.

  1. Before, or during, your next meeting, seminar or conference call, prepare your “Bulshit bingo” card by drawing a square, 5” by 5”, and divide it into 5 rows and 5 columns. This would result in 25 1” by 1” small squares inside the big box.
  2. Write one of the following phrase in the each of the box –
  • Synergy
  • Strategic fit
  • Core competency
  • Turbulent environment
  • Out of the box
  • Pushback
  • Bottom line
  • Revisit
  • Take that off-line
  • 24/7
  • Out of the loop
  • Bench mark
  • Value-added
  • Proactive
  • Bandwidth
  • Win-win
  • Think outside the box
  • Fast track
  • Result-driven
  • Paradigm
  • Empowerment or Empower
  • Knowledge base
  • At the end of the day
  • Touch base
  • Mindset
  • Client focused or Customer focused
  • Ballpark
  • Game plan
  • Scenario
  • Leverage
  • Cascade
  • Sequence or Sequentially
3. Strike off the appropriate word as and when they are mentioned in the meeting
4. When a row or column or a diagonal is struck, get up and should “Bullshit”.

On searching the net for this new version of Bingo, I found its reference in Wikipedia and CompanyCulture.

It seems that this version of Bingo is a satirical or ironic version of “Buzzword Bingo”. The game Buzzword Bingo was first played at MIT’s 1996 graduation; the chief guest was the then vice president of US, Al Gore. He was known for his frequent use of technology buzzwords in his speeches. The graduating class had distributed buzzword cards containing many buzzwords to the audience!!!!

Now, where was this piece of news when I was at TAPMI??

Friday, July 08, 2005

Tanha Dil

During my engineering days, when I used to get bored in class, ie when I had no interest in listening to the lecturer and I had no way to get out to the canteen, I would turn to the last page of the notebook which I used to bring and write the lyrics of the songs that I used to like. Usually my notebooks were empty from the front, but had a lot of songs and solved puzzles from the back.

Today, as I am sitting in front of my computer, waiting for some response from any of my bosses so that I can carry on with my work, I felt like doing the same – To pen down the lyrics of a song. So that’s what I have done.

The song is “Tanha Dil…” by Shaan. This song is from his hit album by the same name. It is one of my all time favourite songs.

Aankhon Mein Sapney Liye,
Ghar Se Hum Chal To Diye,
Jaane Ye Raahein Ab Le Jaayengi Kahaan,
Mitti Ki Khushboo Aaye,
Palkoonpe Aasoo Laaye,
Palkoonpe Reh Jaayegaa Yadoon Ka Jahaan,
Manzil Nayee Hai Anjaana Hai Kaarwaan,
Chalna Akele Hai Yahaan,
Tanha Dil.... Tanha Safar.... Dhoonde Tujhe Fir Kyoon Nazar.....

Dilkash Nazaare Dekhe,
Chilmil Sitaarey Dekhe,
Aankhoon Mein Phir Bhi Tera Chehra Hai Jawaan,
Kitni Barsaatein Aaye,
Kitnee Saugaatein Laaye,
Kaanoon Mein Phir Bhi Goonje Teri Hi Sadaa,
Waade Kiye They Ab Na Hooga Aashiyaan,
Waadoon Ka Jaane Hoga Kya,
Tanha Dil.... Tanha Safar.... Dhoonde Tujhe Fir Kyoon Nazar.....


The Polaris guys got their postings today, and as luck would have it, there’s nothing in it for me. I was expecting that APRKR get his posting here, so that I can get a roommate in my new flat. It seems that most of the people’s locations were decided, but in the final moment, due to the arrival of a new short-term project, some 20 members have been asked to stay back in Chennai for 45 days. APRKR is one of them, and his final location has not yet been decided.

My parents had called me yesterday and were suggesting that Sasi Chittappan join me in my new flat. His office is near the Harbour, which is quiet far away. Considering his health, staying with me would be a better alternative. I had asked Chittappan to stay with me last week itself, but he said that he was looking for a place where there are good schools nearby. Dad has said that he would talk to him regarding his stay.

When I met Gokul yesterday for dinner, he was telling me the roommates with whom he was put up currently, are planning to shift to a new room. He said that he also wanted to move in with me.

Now the problem is that the house owner had instructed me initially that there should not be more that 2 people staying in the house. So in case both Chittapan and Gokul are planning to shift in, then I will have to talk to the house owner.

Apart from the house issue, there are other news as well.

Bhoopathy, my classmate during engineering, is getting married on the 13th of this month. I will be going to his wedding, which is in Coimbatore. This should be a good place to meet old friends and to have a gala time. I have taken a days leave for the same.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Goals & Objectives

This is the latest Management Mantra. Professed by the Six Sigma Gurus, this sheet describes what an individual would aspire for in a year. You need to describe your Goals, Management Points and Check Points for the year. You also need to mention the benchmark that you want to achieve and how much of the work you will be able to complete.

Being in a company that is practicing Six Sigma, the form was handed over to me by the HR Department. After a lot of deliberations and meetings with my bosses, I finally decided on my Goals and Objectives for the year.

I am to lead in two projects, both of them in Process Improvement, i.e., to study the existing process and suggest ways to improve it. The main emphasis will be to reduce cost and to improve manpower utilization. There are four other projects where I will be a team member; most of them are in the field of infrastructure development and alignment of the IT department with the other Business Groups of the company.

With my Goals & Objectives defined, I hope that my complaints of not having much work to do in the office comes to and end.

Regarding other things in my life at present, I am slowly getting settled in my new flat. Feel a bit lonely at times, but then there are no other options. I talk a lot to myself, play games in my mobile and read newspaper or magazines to kill time. When I complained to my mom about the loneliness, she suggested a simple remedy – To get married!! I have stopped complaining after that. I prefer staying alone for the moment than to tug a girl along with me at present.

Right now I am too busy enjoying my “Single” life that I am not even looking forward to having a girlfriend. Eventually I will marry, since I strongly believe in the following quote –

“Every man should get married sometime; after all, happiness is not the only thing in life”.

Before I end this post, here are a few more quotes on marriage, which I liked.

“Bachelors should be heavily taxed; its not fair that some men should be happier than others.”

“Don’t marry for money; you can borrow it cheaper.”

“Its not true that married men live longer than single men; it only seems longer.”

“When a newly married couple smiles, everyone knows why. When a ten year married couple smiles, everyone wonders why.”

“The most effective way to remember your wives birthday is to forget it once.”

“When a man is single, he is incomplete. When he is married, he is finished.”

“Marriage is a three ring circus – Engagement Ring, Wedding Ring and Suffering.”

“Love is blind, but marriage is an eye opener.”

“By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you will be happy. If you get a bad wife, you will become a philosopher.... and that is a good thing for any man.”

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Saravana Bhavan

Saravana Bhavan is one of the famous chains of hotels in Chennai. I first came to know of this name in 1993, when I was in Chennai. There was a branch of Saravana Bhavan near our home in T Nagar. We used to go there atleast once every month. The chain of hotels were known for its excellent quality of food and sweets. The ‘Sambar’ is very tasty in these hotels. The chain of hotels have grown over the years, and today its known as the best destination for hygienic and quality vegetarian food in Chennai.The brand today is a global brand with its presence in 13 foreign location, apart from its branches in Chennai and New Delhi. More information about this brand of hotels can be found here.

While I was searching for information on Saravana Bhavan, I came across this interesting Review on the latest branch opened by Saravana Bhavan in London. You can go through the review here.

Yesterday night, I happened to eat at a Saravana Bhavan hotel near my new home, in KK Nagar. I could not find any marked change from the restaurant which I had visited in 1993. The same white uniformed waiters, the same steel tumblers. But I was appalled at the quantity of food they served.

My usual dinner at Vasanth Bhavan (Upcoming chain of vegetarian food hotel), costs around Rs.50 and the quantity of food is filling. Yesterday, in Saravana Bhavan, I had ordered more items than I would have normally have and ended up feeling hungry even after having 4 items. The only reason that stopped me from eating more was the fact that I was about to touch the 3 digit mark in terms of cost.

I paid the bill in the old fashion – pay the money at the counter, without paying any tip to the waiter – and left the hotel with a half empty stomach, and an unsatisfied mind.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Home, Sweet Home!!

The weekend did not go exactly as I had planned it go, but nevertheless, I accomplished whatever I wanted to in the two days.

Initially I had planned to shift into the new flat by Saturday afternoon. In the evening I had plans to visit Sasi Chittapan (My mom’s sister’s husband), he’s working with Indian Bank and had been recently transferred to Chennai. Soon after reaching Chennai, he developed throat allergies and fever. So I had to meet him in the weekends to find out how he was doing. On Sunday, I had plans to go out with my friends.

On Saturday, I had arranged for a boy to clean the house. Since the house was occupied till the previous Saturday, I thought that the cleaning process would not take much time. Unfortunately, the boy did not turn up on that day. I waited for a few hours, then thought of doing the cleaning the flat myself, but there was lot of dust, and since I was allergic to dust, I did not want to take the risk. So I arranged for another maid to come over on Sunday morning at 8.

Sasi Chittapan was put near his office, which was near the Chennai harbor. The place is around 16 km from my place. I left Vadapalani around 5:15pm and reached his place by 6 pm. I was to be greeted by a surprise.

In Kerala, it used to be customary for husbands to grow a beard when their wives are pregnant. Sasi Chittapan did not have a beard when he married (I was 4 years onld then). The next time I met him was after he had a child, and after he had a child, he preferred to keep the beard. So for the past 20 years I have always seen him with a beard. After coming to Chennai, may be due to the heat, Chittapan had shaved his beard. Now when I was waiting for him at a place decided by us, I could not recognize him at the first go, even though he was waving his hands and trying to get my attention. I recognized him only after I looked closely into his eyes.

I was with Chittapan the whole evening. He had improved drastically from the fever and weakness. I watched ‘Kunjikoonan’ from the place where he was put up; the movie was being screened in Asianet. I returned home at 11:30, after dinner. The return journey was delayed due to rain. My onward journey had taken me 45 minutes, while the return journey took me just 20 minutes.

On Sunday morning, I had to be there in the flat at 8 am, but I was late by 10 minutes. When I enquired with the neighbors she told me that the maid had left and would be coming back only by 10am. So I left and returned at 9, with the newspaper, so that I could wait for the maid. The maid never turned up, but the boy who had promised to come on Saturday turned up. I got his help in cleaning the flat, and the cleaning work was over by 12 noon.

I shifted my luggage by evening, and by 7:30 pm, I moved into the new flat.

The flat is spacious, breezy and in a good locality. The only problem is that I have to put up alone, and sometimes it’s bugging. I hope APRKR gets his posting in Chennai, so that I can have company.

I slept with the AC on, it was wonderful to sleep when the room was cold. First time I was sleeping in such a condition in Chennai. It should be seen as to how long I continue doing this. Sleeping in AC everyday means that I use up more electricity. Nevertheless, I have decided to use AC till I get the first month’s bill. After taking a look at the bill, I will decide whether to use the AC or not.

Friday, July 01, 2005

First Salary

Yesterday was the last working day of the month, and it’s the day when your salary account gets credited with your salary. There were speculations that the salary account might get credited on the day before, but it had not got credited. From the morning I had been checking my ICICI account, as to whether the salary has been credited or not.

After many unsuccessful attempts, I finally succeeded at 5:30 pm. My salary account had been credited with an entry called ‘Salary’ and the account balance was 19.5k. I had expected a reduction of 3k in my salary since we had joined 5 days after the start of the month, but I ended up getting 4k less. Anyways the good news is that I am finally independent. I will be spending and living on the money earned by me.

Its not the first time that I am earning a salary. My first salary was from a company called ‘Snecma Aerospace India Pvt Ltd’, I was working in the company as a software tester. My tenure was for 2 months. The company was good and the facilities they provided were good. The salary was a bit low; mostly due to the IT meltdown during 2001-02. I was drawing 8k. I can never forget the canteen food. Snecma is the place where I met Srikanta Das, who is a very good friend till date.

The next salary, or its better to say stipend, was from Saatchi & Saatchi Direct, Bangalore. I had done my summer project there, during which I was earning a paltry stipend of 1500/- per month. Even though we (Me and another classmate Kuldeep Gaur) did not get much from the company in terms of money, the learning we got there was immense. Infact the company did spend a lot in our transportation. Our projects carried us to Tamilnadu, Delhi, Haryana and Chandigadh.

The difference between the earlier pays and this one is that this will continue for a long time; apart from the fact that the salary is 3 times higher that the maximum I had earned earlier. The previous 2 stints were not permanent; it was a part of my learning process, I was not fully independent.

There were a lot of things that I wanted to buy with my first salary – Digital Camera, Mobile Phone, Watch, etc. Looks like they will have to wait for sometime. There are a lot of people who mean so much to me in my life, I have decided to spend my first salary on them. I will keep getting more salaries, which I will put into getting the things that I have been wanting for a long time.

I was browsing the net today, when I came across one of the additional sites of Wikipedia, called Wikiquote. It is a collection of quotes on various topics. I also came across this nice collection of quotes on Friendship.