Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The rationality myth

I have been studying Economics lately and every lesson in free markets, finance, and economics starts with an assumption that human beings are rational decision makers. We weigh all our options and always choose what is best for us so it says (and yes, we think at the margin :) !). But the current global crisis, the associated economy slowdown and the market panic seems to indicate otherwise! Reminds me of a funny rendition of the 10 Principles of economics by Yoram Bauman...

So finally, after reading months of print media, this is my understanding of the markets:

Most of the times we are just crazy speculators, who like to follow the herd or the so called "analysts" who can never even predict what's gonna  happen an hour from the time that they write the article! We are overly optimistic with our investments, and always feel that the future is somehow brighter for our doomed investments. To substantiate this argument let me quote Bruce Schneier - "People tend to be risk averse when it comes to gains, and risk seeking when it comes to losses". To read interesting evidence about this argument read this and this article!

Most of us (read menial small time investors) have no clue of what actually is going on inside the organizations that we invest in! And most of us enter the stock market as short term investors with limited budget to make money. In no time our investments lose value, so we invest more and become long term investors :) !!

These are the things that I had learnt as "facts of life" which were proved wrong in 2008:

  • Real Estate can never lose value, the world population is continuously growing, we will always need more land, so go ahead and invest all your money in a house!
  • Oil is a scarce resource, in no time we will see $200 a barrel!
  • Indian rupee will be so strong that the USD will soon lose value!

As 2008 comes to an end, I figured that I did some major changes in my life this year. Invested a bit in stock market and "safe" mutual funds (yeah, lost almost all that I invested!). Stayed in 3 different countries, quit my first job, took up education, made quite a few new friends, crossed the magical figure of 100 blog posts :) !! And yes, got older, fatter and more cynical. Thank you all for being with me for one more year :)! Catch you all in 2009....

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Piece of art

My rendezvous with art and art forms started and ended in school somewhere around the time I learnt to draw stick figures. After that anything that I tried to draw from object drawing to beautiful scenery all resembled my definition of modern art (read incomprehensible!). Though I loved drawing, I figured that I spent more time explaining "what I have drawn" than actually drawing it. Yeah, I did a little bit of drawing in my first year of engineering, but it was much more pleasant as it involved drafters, rulers, compasses and dividers and did not require anything that remotely resembled art.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I got an opportunity to make "posters" for a business plan that we had to make in our Innovation class. Its funny that in this world of computer presentations and animation we do not ever think of portraying our ideas in any other form! I was blessed with team mates who along with me agreed that we do not use any print outs on our posters and make them all "by hand". They also made me in charge of the "art department" (or the lack of it!).

Now having unlimited flip charts and dozens of sketch pens in my hand reminded me of my "stick figure" days again and in no time I came up with some sketches of our business plan. (Did I tell you that before the age of 3 all my sketches used to be on the walls of our family home? And well, most of them would be in the living room, so that everyone who came home could see? Show-off ain't I? :) !)

Funnily enough, we were the only team who thought of being "imperfect" by drawing all graphs by hand, and not using any computer magic whatsoever. This kinda made our poster to stand out as the only one without any finesse! Huh, so that's the story of my tryst with art lately. And here is me presenting in front of our final poster and also a part of the poster that shows what I actually drew :) !!

Business Plan presentation   The Idea!

And talking of Business plans reminds me that I have made 3 (totally unrelated!) business plans in the last 5 months. Ha ha, I figured that bull$..t comes to me naturally :) !!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Formal Scare!

I hate attending meetings that require me to dress up in formal attire. Not that I hate the suits and the ties, but considering my body type (read the capacity to sweat), this kind of attire for me is very uncomfortable especially in a warm and humid climate like Singapore!

Today I spent almost an entire day dressed in formal attire and now that I am outta it, I feel at peace with myself! All because of following the westerners and their attire and being dumb enough to forget that they come from countries where it actually snows 6 months of the year!

I seriously believe that the warm humid countries should come up with their own definition of a formal attire which involves wearing a light cotton shirt and a pair of shorts with flip-flops. After all, if you are not comfortable wearing something at a formal occasion, what's the point in being there? (I spent half of my time fiddling with the tie and the collar as that was the only place from where I could release the steam building inside me). I could have easily cooked an entire meal for a family of 4 (boiled eggs, mashed potatoes and beans) by just keeping them in my shirt pocket for the entire day!

That was the grumpy sweaty me protesting :)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Tropical Paradise

5 months in my university and I have started liking the climate out here. Though insanely humid at times, it rains almost every alternate day. And once it rains, this place is lush green everywhere. The rain soaked trees make a beautiful sight, so much so that I sometimes feel I am in a tropical hotel rather than a university. I have to take extra efforts to get me outta this vacation mood and study :) !!

Halls of Residence Soaked road

View from my hostel room Lawned building

Its been raining like crazy since morning and I haven't felt like opening my books yet. Thought I post this and make myself feel guilty so that I start studying :) !!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

The art of swimming

Me writing about swimming is like a Hippopotamus teaching you to fly. But then, my kindergarten teachers taught me that nothing is impossible in this world, and I am exploring the limits of it. For those of you who know me well (yeah that means all of you :) !!) the only sensible physical exercise that I can do (other than left-click and right-click of course!) is swimming. This is all thanks to my tryst with a manhole 5 years back and my subsequent knee injury (remind me to write about that fateful night someday when I am sad and down in the dumps (pun intended) :) !!).

Hippo in Water

So for the greater part of this year, I have been desperately trying to swim. This routine involves me getting in from one end of a perfectly calm swimming pool, and then subsequently creating a turbulence in the water fit enough to cause a tornado. People swimming around me seem to suddenly drift away and I bet, I look like a drain hole as pictured by a Google satellite from above :)

But then, persistence, thy name is Girish, and my quest to reach the other end of the pool continues. At times I have seen the sun rise and set above me and people suddenly looking older as I desperately try to still reach the other end of the pool. Theory of relativity at play, I bet :) !!

Finally, I decided to improve my swimming skills by asking the Internet. Yeah, and I figured one major issue in my swimming. You are supposed to roll your body with every stroke that you take while doing a front crawl stroke. What that means is that all times you are on your side and not flat inside the water. So while your left hand is stretched out your body is turned to the right. This was a MAJOR tip for me. I have been trying doing this for the greater part of this week, and I somehow seem to make it to the other end of the pool before the dawn of the next millennium.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Singapore and Project Better Place

I have been closely following Project Better Place lately (I mean for almost a year now :) !!). So what is Better Place? According to them - "Better Place is working to build an electric car network, using technology available today. Our goals? Sustainable transportation global energy independence and freedom from oil".

Sounds ambitious doesn't it? Well it sure is. But sometimes it takes more than guts to get things right, and somehow I feel this is the right time to venture into such risky projects. Only time will tell how their vision works out, but I sure wish that it turns out to be a big success! Also with some very solid partnerships (e.g. Renault-Nissan are building cars for Better Place) and some very novel ideas (the rechargeable batteries can be automatically swapped at their battery exchange stations to be spread out all around the country like gas stations today!) coupled with a novel business plan (pay for the service not for the car! If my understanding of the business model is correct, they are going to give the cars for (near) free and will charge for the service (number of miles driven?)) and the cost of charging the car at the charge spots) this project is surely a poster boy of innovative thinking.

After having lived in Singapore for about 4 months now and having spent a lot of time on the Singapore statistics and the Land Transport Authority of Singapore web sites, I feel .. Singapore is a viable place to have the electric car network that Project Better place is talking about.

First things first. Singapore is a small country (4.8 Million population - 2008) and total road lengths as given below:

  • Total length of expressways: 150 km
  • Total length of major arterial roads: 604 km
  • Total length of collector roads: 468 km
  • Total length of local access roads: 2040 km
  • Total road length: 3262 km

The number of cars in this country are less than 515,000. That works out to less than 9 cars per 100 people. Singapore always has had the policy to restrict the number of cars on the island by means of the COE system. Couple this with the fact that the average journey distance for a car in Singapore is only 9.6 km and electric cars can go a distance of more than 120 km on a single charge this country is the hotbed to try out innovation in electric car technology.

Finally, Better Place is trying to have the recharging stations powered by renewable energy. Singapore being a tropical country, has an average of 6 hours of bright sunshine everyday. A viable option for setting up solar panels to supply electricity for the charging stations! I wonder, as I am writing this article, if there are talks already going on between the Singapore government and Project Better Place :) !!

And why am I making you, my reader, go through all this? Well, I felt I needed to talk to someone about this, and like always I figured I can blabber only to all of you ;) !! Thank you for your patience :)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Outsourcing done right!

I have been using Sify Mail well over 8 years now, and lately their web interface was really getting completely outdated. Added to the constant spam I was getting, it was really a frustrating experience to open up my inbox anymore!

This week I noticed a sudden change in my inbox. Though I am no expert at webmail, I have a feeling that they migrated their email to "Google Apps for business". Suddenly my inbox is a lot cleaner, my spam gets filtered properly, speeds have improved, mailbox size has increased and over all my Sify Mail experience is cleaner and richer again.

I bet they must have done a lot of research before they got to this decision. What really impresses me is that despite being an IT company, they did not continue developing and supporting a service like webmail in-house, but they outsourced it to a third party that could do the same a lot better (and I bet it must be much more economical for Sify too!).

Being an ex-IT company employee, I have seen many such in-house applications developed by in-house experts which do not stand up to the ease of use and feature set of easily available third party applications (both commercial and open-source!). However they continue to be used and supported (at the expense of a complete cost-center of talented employees supporting an aging application!). Supporting an application which has no future outside the 4 walls of the company is definitely a boredom inducer for the employees and very few of them stick around to support it! Not only are you making your other employees lose their productivity by using applications that simply suck, but you are also losing good employees in the team that is supporting this dead application! I bet investing in an alternative would be much more productive and economical!

I feel that all businesses should stick to what they can do best, and not waste their time and energies on things that others can do better!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Open book exam fallacy

My MBA first Trimester is over. Three months 4 subjects and 90 days of sleep deprivation! So what all did I learn in this trimester you ask? Well, I learnt a little bit of Marketing, a little bit of Operations Management and a lot of Financial Accounting and Financial Management. The finance courses involved more math than I did in most of my Engineering courses! For those of you who thought that MBA was for the "management kind" (read - mathematically challenged!) you are in for a rude shock!

This week I had exams for all the subjects that I just mentioned. And believe it or not all the exams happily proclaimed that they were "open book" exams!! Yippee, open book, you can actually "officially" cheat in the exams? Yeah! Get whatever notes, text books, periodicals, comics, magazines you want and write the damn paper!!

I was all happy. I carried like a truck load of books in the exam and there came the paper. First time in my life I figured that the appendix in the book is actually very important. It helps you track down words in the examination paper that you have never heard of before in your life!

That's not all. I opened all the books that I carried, but opening the books doesn't mean that you can make sense out of it right? So next 1 hour was spent trying to "comprehend" what the open book I was seeing actually meant :) !! All said and done, open book exams are like an open challenge in your face. They tell you that bring what you want, you are still dumb enough to not crack the exams :) !! Anyway, I am happy that I got over with my exams. This was like the first major exam I wrote after 5.5 years of merrily typing away everything on the computer. The first time that I picked up the pen to write, I felt like a 2 year old kid practicing his A,B,Cs!! By the fourth paper I scribbled words that didn't make much sense to me when I tried to read them back (Trivia - I had won in the handwriting competition that was conducted in my school ... 21 years back :) )!! Computers have crippled us in more ways than we can imagine!!

Anyway, I have this short 3 day vacation before I get on with my second Trimester...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Time tourist!

Hello fellow earthlings from a different era. Today I did the stupidest mistake of my life. I got into an innocuous looking enclosure that looked like an ordinary elevator and 40 seconds later, I came out 30 years into the future! To be precise, today's date is 7th January 2038.

Now I am old, tired and have lost the will to perform! Well for those of you who are interested in knowing about the future here is what it is:

  • The world is on the brink of a recession yet again (yeah like it happened in 2008) its the sub-prime and derivates crisis again! (History always repeats itself! We are on a sinusoidal curve!)
  • People still use computers, cars and other non-biodegradable pollutants
  • Students still have to study for exams

So what you ask is the evidence that I time traveled? Elementary my dear friend, see the time and date in the elevator's display :) !!

The Elevator Display!

Moral of the story: Before you get into an elevator see that its not taking you into another dimension.

If none of you found this post funny, its okay, with my exams less than a week away, my brain can only think so much :) !!

And now that I spoke about time travel, I would like to conclude my post by this particular statement by Stephen Hawking:

"Time travel might be possible, but if that is the case, why haven't we been overrun by tourists from the future?"

Isn't it like the most convincing statement against time travel? Keep thinking...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Made History

So I went for the practice session of the first ever grand prix held at night in Singapore. My first experience of watching a F1 race live. Breath taking indeed. Figured out that F1 cars are really noisy and very fast. So fast that your ordinary point and click camera can do nothing but click photos of the track sans the car.

Also figured that F1 merchandise is expensive and the city looks awesome under lights. I am saving the ticket to sell for millions of dollars 30 years from now to fund my retired life. This is what I call planning ;) !! Those of you who want to drool on the priceless artifact, it is made available here for your viewing pleasure only.

The Ticket 

Thought that this picture of the track makes it look serene ... enjoy!

The Track

Friday, September 26, 2008

Cleaning the floor in 15 minutes

Well, for those of you who know me, I am a cleanliness freak and at times over do it. But my hostel life has toned me down a bit, and I had been procrastinating wet cleaning my floor for a while now.

Today there is a huge thunderstorm in my part of Singapore. Talking of weather in Singapore, I bet even if you sneeze out there in India the turbulence that you create in the air is big enough for us to have a thunderstorm here!! Butterfly effect I bet. I diligently close my room windows each time that I leave my hostel room (cause like I said before, I would never know when one of you decides to sneeze in India!). But, today, my neighbor forgot to close his windows and went for his classes. The hostel rooms are so designed that there is another door that separates every room (internally connected).

Even though I had closed my windows, the water accumulated in his room came over to mine (from the gap between the connecting door and floor) and flooded here as well. And it took me a while to notice because I was day dreaming about the F1 race scheduled in Singapore from today :) and only realized the water when it reached my feet.

Back to my cleaning habits, I did clean up my room in 15 minutes flat (something which I could have easily done more often!).

Moral of the story? "God makes people clean their rooms who do not clean themselves!".

Update: The *other side* of the story can be found here

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Do a good deed online...

So we all have grown up to the fact that every little thing that we find online is free!! Free to the extent that we refuse to pay for any content that we find online, however good it is. An article that Seth Godin wrote recently has gotten me all thinking about this.

Most (if not all) of my knowledge these days is derived from the Internet. And as far as I remember, I have hardly paid any of the web sites for all the amazing content that they provide to me. Most of these web sites are maintained by people like you and me who are making ends meet by juggling their jobs, family and the web site. They are driven by a passion, a passion to share, a passion to help the world.

Aren't we then, as consumers of this information, obligated to help these guys in some way? So saying, if they are using online advertising as their revenue model, aren't we expected to consume (view) those innocuous advertisements? What harm can be done to your soul by seeing some advertisements everyday? Not only will this help you continue to get great content online everyday but also it will support the entire online advertising industry, one click at a time! Who knows, this might just help to eliminate that spam that you get everyday? After all, they are just seeking your attention...

As Seth says .. "If you like what you're reading, click an ad to say thanks". And before you start searching for ads on my site, wait! I don't have any. But if you think hard there are at least a billion other web sites that need your help!

And before I end, here is a sweet ad from Coca Cola (no I am not getting paid for putting it up here ;)) that fits right into this context .. "Give a little love and it all comes back to you.." .. And if you don't get the humor in this advertisement, its time you go play "Grand Theft Auto".

Yupp, you guessed it right, I am in the mood to spread some love ;) !!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Chimp with chopsticks

Whoever thinks that I don't have patience should come and see me eat with chopsticks..

Gimme a pair of chopsticks and I will try to lift anything and everything with my chopsticks under the pretext of learning to use them :) !! I make a big mess at the end of a rather long lunch/dinner (how about 1 hour?) spent fiddling with the chopsticks. The seemingly easy task of lifting things off the plate and putting them in my big mouth has now become a complex process involving my clumsy fingers, the awkwardly held chopsticks and finally gravity!!

However, I think I have already mastered the art of eating with chopsticks in a weightless environment. But then, I still have to live on planet earth, yeah with gravity around, things held between the chopsticks tend to fall back into the bowl splashing whichever colored liquid it held on everything in its vicinity. I have a t-shirt which has a horizontal line on its chest which most people can't decipher as my artwork with chopsticks :) !!

But then, the warrior in me refuses to give up. After all, how hard can it be to chase that last morsel of rice left on your plate with a pair of chopsticks?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Biological Magnetic Compass?

For those of you who have followed my blog long enough know that I have this something (called respect) for cows. Yeah, cows for me are those benign creatures who just go around "ruminating" and posing for photographs for silly strangers on highways. They provide milk, cow-dung (mind you, no bull-shit) and directions!

Directions? Yeah, on the highway you just walk up to a friendly-neighborhood cow and ask her for directions. Its as easy as that! Don't believe me? Read this article. Yeah technically they are just magnetic compasses (as of now!). So all cows in this world tend to point north :) !! Which means, if you are lost at night, you no longer need to look up to the north star. Just search for the nearest cow and see where she is looking at. Life is easy!!

Now we just wait till Google acquires some cows and comes up with a Google-maps mashup on them. Once Google has acquired them, you just walk up to any cow and say "I am feeling lucky". The cow will give you exact directions and also the time required to reach there. I know my imagination is running wild, but then .. I am sleep deprived :( !!!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Email subscription available

So I figured that there are some people in this big bad world that rely on their email inboxes to get news and other worthless information (like my blog :) !!). So to be of service to them, starting today, I have enabled Email subscription to my blog. That means, if you want, every time that I post a rant over here, you will get an email containing the same blog post in your inbox. No more fumbling around with an RSS reader and all. You can subscribe by email here.

I don't have an official privacy policy, but am not gonna spam your inbox. So relax and subscribe. For those of you who use RSS readers, ignore this post cause my RSS feed remains alive and kicking.

And finally, those of you who do not understand what RSS is .. see this amazing video by Common Craft that explains the concept ...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Cultural Ambassadors

Indians in foreign countries become cultural ambassadors of their country per se. So if an Indian does something weird, then it is assumed that "all Indians" do that and its an Indian cultural thing. Its funny how things get generalized to Indians. Some of the funniest assumptions about Indians that I have come across are:

  1. Indians are vegetarians - If I take the ratio of number of veggie to non-veggie Indians I know it will be 1:8 (remember, statistics are always made up on the spot)
  2. Indians are non-alcoholics - The less said the better
  3. Indians are aggressive - Look at me, am so naive and laid back
  4. Indians are good at math - Err.. am I really Indian?
  5. Indians are poor - Go check the Forbes list of richest people in 2008 we have 47 billionaires too :)

If you come to think of it .. not all of us eat the same food, speak the same language, follow the same religion or have the same festivals. Not all of us are dark/fair, short/tall, fat/lean, rich/poor, funny or crazy.

I think its time we tell the world that our languages, cultures, traditions, food habits and everything else is absolutely diverse, and there is nothing in common between two randomly chosen Indians out of a population of 1.13 billion, other than the passport of course :) !!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Yeah, so for those of you who have not figured it out yet, I have enrolled myself up in an MBA course. First 3 weeks of my program already over and here is an *executive summary* ;) of my learning:

Put 5 MBA students in a room to come up with a decision and after 3 hours you will still have them contemplating and arguing. I had read somewhere that the maximum learning in an MBA course happens from your colleagues. And I figured that people from all countries and all backgrounds can argue on any silly topic as much as I can :) !! We all are one ... we all are equally crazy ...

And I have been trying to play catch up with all the pre-reads, post-reads, case studies and presentations that I have to make. Figured that some subjects just *sound* good. When you actually open the text books to read, they are instant sleep inducers. Also figured that having a nice campus with amazing sporting facilities is a major distraction. For all you MBA aspirants .. choose a school that just has a library and the hostel ....

Thursday, July 31, 2008


Everyone of us in this corporate world of IT has sat through boring presentations now and then. All presentations start off with the presenter introducing herself, going through boring slides and slides of information (some of them very very verbose!) and some rather banal charts, graphs and figures. Yawn!! If that's not enough they exceed the time limit given to them and assume that the audience is still interested!

In my 5 year career in IT, I have been lucky enough to sit in a very few interesting and lively presentations. The one thing common that I have found in most of them (my personal observation only!):

  1. The presenter is humorous and has a pleasant personality. However boring the topic is, the presenter is the key to making it pleasant. Trust me, I have sat through a 3 hour presentation on Project progress and never once yawned :), all thanks to a fantastic presenter.
  2. Slides are succinct and do not have a lot of verbiage. One thing that I have noticed in most presentations is that people tend to read the slides. If the presenter is trying to make a point, there is no reason for her to write it down in the slide. It just takes away the attention from her!
  3. Great presenters stick to deadlines. 15 minute presentation? Finish it in less than 15 minutes. Period. You are wasting the cumulative sum of everyone's time. If you can't present in the time allotted to you, it just means you aren't prepared. Audience are giving you their most precious resource (their attention!) and you aren't prepared for it?

Well, I am no good at presentations myself, so technically I do not practice what I preach. But then, I am making a conscious effort in the right direction, and if there are any like minded people, I thought I as well help.

So, what triggered this blog post you may ask? Well, I sat through a presentation today and it was funny to see that the presenter referred to another presentation made by Dick Hardt in OSCON 2005 (almost 3 years back!). This happens to be one of my *most* favorite presentations of all time. 15 minutes of presentation on a rather *techie* topic delivered flawlessly. Best example of the 3 points that I mentioned above. I know the video is rather long, but you have to see it to believe it!! I have embedded a link from Youtube here, but you can always stream the video from Identity 2.0 website.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Breakfast dreams

I am no guru of Motivation theory, but if there is one thing I know for sure, I need more than motivation to get me up on time in the mornings. Now with the grueling routine that I am currently in, its getting all the more harder everyday to keep on snoozing and then rushing up my morning act later :).

Ever since I discovered the joys of a breakfast (that's after the healthy eating fad caught on me) I figured that if I am going to have a mouth watering breakfast, then I have all the more motivation to get up and out of my deep slumber. Every country that I go to, I always have that one breakfast that I really love. So in the US it was always "Kellogg's Frosted Mini-wheats (Strawberry Delight)" dipped to perfection in a 2% Reduced fat bowl of milk heated to exactly 180 seconds in my ancient microwave and in India it was "Nutri Choice biscuits and tea".

Here in Singapore I was craving for a good breakfast for a week, but now I finally found my motivator: 2 Kaya toast and 1 Kopi-C :) !!! Maan, its heaven. Kaya is actually a coconut egg jam, and trust me it tastes real good (mind it, this is a starved Girish speaking :) ). As far as Kopi-C is concerned its just coffee made with condensed milk and sugar.

Now every night I sleep (tucked under my curtain) dreaming about the Kaya toast and Kopi-C that I am gonna have the next morning, and nowadays I just snooze for 20 minutes :) !!!

Kaya Toast and Kopi-C

Monday, July 21, 2008

My language problem

I agree, I have an accent. An Indian accent. To be very precise a Maharashtrian English Accent. "You understand me no?" But this accent has survived me through malls, job interviews, customer service phone calls, and of course client interaction in the United States and greater part of India.

Yesterday I went to a mall in Singapore looking for a blanket/comforter/quilt. The lady at the counter just refused to understand what I was trying to buy. I drew it down for her, I told her in the slowest way possible and I even wrote it down. I had reached to the extent of showing her a superhero and pointing her at his cloak. Finally after half an hour of explaining (which involved singing and dancing as well!), she figured what I wanted (or I thought so!), and got me something packed in a plastic bag from her shop. Just to be sure I tried to open it and the lady gave me the most gruesome stare and went "Nooooooooooooo" till she almost lost her breath. Trusting that all's well I came home, only to find that she had given me a ... curtain.

Now curtain it is that I use to comfort myself every night.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Being from the land of the Taj Mahal, confessing our love by making bold statements comes naturally to us. So be it getting a tattoo with your girlfriend's name on your forearm to defacing priceless historical artifacts with you and your fiance's name, we have done it all.

Recently I had been to Ratnagiri, and I got to experience undying love (or the likes of it) very closely. Here is the story, and before I start, the standard disclaimer follows:

All persons in this blog post are fictional and any resemblance to any person or animal living, dead or somewhere in between is purely coincidental.

Long long ago in the treacherous land of Ratnagiri in Maharashtra, there lived a king Vishal. He was known for his valor and for his painting ability. One day while he was out hunting, he came across this beautiful princess Priya. It was love at first sight. He just couldn't stop admiring her. To impress Priya, he took her to the nearest pier constructed by the Government of Maharashtra and declared in white paint "Priya I love you Vishal" (English grammar at its very best!). People from far and wide could see his love for her (and now I epitomize their love by posting this magnificent artifact on my blog) ...

Priya I love you Vishal - from a distance Priya I love you Vishal - from close

Then one fine day Priya got bored of him (after all Priya wanted some "space" in her life) and Vishal wasn't the kind who would leave her alone. So she said to Vishal "Duur ho ja mere najro se" (which literally translated in English stands for "Go far away from my vision..."). Exit Vishal, enter Somnath. Again it was love at first sight. They ran around trees, sang songs, and again as luck would have it reached the same pier where Priya had come with Vishal before. Now, the romantic soul that Priya was, she told Somnath "Vishal ne hume itna pyaara toofa diya, ab tum kya doge?" which translated stands for "Vishal gave me this lovely gift (by defacing the pier!), what are you gonna give me?". Somnath was a genius. He figured that rather than being bigger and better, he could be more artistic. He drew this big heart with an arrow passing through it (how original) and wrote Priya's name followed by his. And just to be different he wrote it in the devnagri alphabet. I bet he immediately broke down into the Unchained Melody but in Hindi ... "Oh mere pyar, meri priyasi, muzhe bhukh hain tumhe chuune ki ..." and the rest is history (I guess I have also figured out by now that I am very bad at translations :P). Kudos to Vishal and Somnath for defacing historical monuments and tax payer's property in the name of love. We all are very proud of you.

Priya and Somnath

And before I end, I found this (different) love triangle between Heena, Maya and Vijay, which looks like Heena and Vijay were love birds before, and after he broke up with her, he found his new love Maya. To make Maya feel *closer* to him, he squeezed her name between Heena and his own! Eternal love, I must say!

Heena Maya and Vijay

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Chaos Marketing

Coincidence. My reading of "Unleashing the Ideavirus" by Seth Godin had to be on the same day as the dumbest marketing fiasco of recent times unfolded in my city.

Here is the plot: Advertise like crazy and tell the world that you are going to give away Rs. 1000 (almost 25$) free to every Tapan, Dinesh and Hari who drops in to a XYZ shopping mall and gives his/her fake address and name to one "so-called" financial company. The news spreads like wildfire and before the advertiser knows it the entire junta of Navi Mumbai (2007 population estimate - 2.1 million) with their aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers and every distant relative, friend and enemy they can catch hold of, descend upon this poor mall. Chaos prevails. Truck loads of people from other distant towns also come for this prized bounty. Things get out of control, people get angry, throw stones, destroy the glass facade of the mall and then go around town burning vehicles. Wow! Don't believe me? Read the story here. Brilliant marketing I say. Imagine the amount of negative publicity that poor firm could garner (forget the costs that it is going to bear for all the damage that happened later :) !!).

ING Direct had a similar scheme in the US (don't know if they still have it!). You refer a friend to ING Direct and in return you earn 10$. Amazing idea. The reason it worked there probably was because it was done online, and one had to open a bank account to get the amount. Also you can't really fake your identity while opening a bank account! Though am bad at convincing people, I actually got 3 of my friends signed up for a whopping profit of 30$ :) and I guess within a month every person in my organization had an ING Direct account.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Open source

Most of my friends know that I keep on ranting about open source. I wouldn't do justice to this fact without listing down at least a few open source apps that I simply adore. I have always believed that open source is the solution to the problem of piracy. Most of us (read 'poor people') are not in a position to afford expensive software. Rather than getting on the wrong side of the law by using illegal copies of proprietary software, its always best to use their open source alternatives. Some of the software listed below do their jobs better than their commercial alternatives. Yeah, and since you guys already know about Firefox, I am not even going to list it here :) !!

  1. TrueCrypt Everyone of us has something personal something important that we would like to hide from the rest of the world. People who think that they have nothing to hide, are simple being naïve. I bet most of us don't want to share our Salary Slips, Credit Card Statements, Increment Letters, Resumes, Bank Statements and stuff like this with strangers. However when it comes to storing this data securely, we casually fling it into our tiny portable data storage devices and flaunt it everywhere we go. So much for security. You lose the drive, and the guy who lays his hands on your drive has a treasure trove of your information. This is where TrueCrypt comes in. The best on-the-fly encryption utility that I have used. It creates a virtual encrypted partition where you can store your data. Once you enter your password, the drive is just like any other drive where you can drag, drop, copy, paste, view or delete files from! Magic ....
  2. KeePass Passwords are a sensitive topic. I can bet 95% of the people reading this blog use the same password for all their email accounts, and probably a different but singular password for all their bank accounts. If this is not enough they securely store their list of passwords on a spreadsheet hidden deep inside their Folder hierarchy or worst still, on a piece of paper tucked inside their wallets (omg!). KeePass is the open source alternative to your not-so-secure way of storing passwords. Using industry standard encryption technologies, your passwords are encrypted in KeePass' database, and even if you manage to lose your portable drive with a KeePass database, rest assured that your passwords are safe (unless of course you were working for a top secret military agency, and people are ready to spend billions to use brute-force to crack your passwords! But then, on second thoughts, you wont be reading my blog, you would have better things to do :) !!)
  3. Notepad++ After that heavy dose of encryption and security (meant to scare you indeed!), coming to simpler things in life. I find 'Notepad' as a lean text editor, which can hardly do any text editing other than using it as a temporary clipboard for copying and pasting stuff around. If you need a serious editor with things like column editing, macros, compare tools and a zillion other plugins to do some very cool stuff, Notepad++ is the answer. A simple utility that you can carry around in your portable device, it can do magic with text editing! Use it, and I bet you will feel sorry for having wasted your time after Notepad :) !
  4. 7-Zip Most of us grew up with the assumption that archives can only be opened with WinZIP. An ubiquitous utility found on almost every computer that I have ever used, it is not free. Come 7-Zip to the rescue. Much smaller and simple to use than WinZIP, and can handle all the archives that I have ever come across (included RAR files and ISOs!) 7-Zip is the best archiving utility that I have used.
  5. VLC Media Player Music is everyone's religion, and who doesn't use a music player on his/her PC? But then the problem with so many media file formats is that most media players support only a limited number of them. I found VLC Media Player to be the best amongst them. It has support for maximum file formats that I use, and its a simple, no-jazz kinda media player that I simply love :) !!
  6. PDF Creator I don't have a printer at home, and I do believe in the philosophy of 'save paper'. Well so saying, there are a billion small things that you want to save as a backup for future reference. An on-the-fly PDF creator is something that I miss in Windows. But then here is where PDF Creator comes to the rescue. Sitting like a simple printer on your machine, you can print anything out of any application and viola, PDF Creator will give you a beautiful PDF of it .. WYSIWYG at its best.
  7. PDFTK Builder And the perfect example of technology driving more technology is this. How many times in your life have you wondered "I wish to create a single PDF of all those pages of the single document that I have scanned!" or "How am I gonna extract just this one page out of this 49 page PDF document?". PDFTK Builder can let you play around with your PDF documents like you never did before. And best of all .. its free!
  8. Open Office Though all of us need to make documents/spreadsheets or presentations at one point of time in our life, most of us aren't rich enough to buy a licensed copy of Microsoft Office for the petty work that we do at home. Open Office is the best alternative that I have used for Microsoft Office, and it has never once failed me!
  9. Gimp Yeah, everyone needs to touch up photos, create some amazing visual effects and generally do stuff with their photos and images that paint can't simply handle. GIMP is the most amazing and powerful image editing software that I have ever used (I haven't used Adobe Photoshop, but then, I ain't rich enough to buy it anyways!). I have been able to do most of my work with images using GIMP, though I must agree it has a big learning curve!
  10. Infra Recorder Before the advent of cheap portable disk drives, all our data went around in CDs. I always had this problem of using a good free software for disc burning. Though Nero was coupled with the external CD writer that I bought, I never had any disc burner software for my Laptop, till I stumbled across this amazing utility. I have always used Infra Recorder for all my burning needs, and I never had a problem!

So that's it, my list of 10 favorite open source apps (that are relatively unknown!). I am no geek, so if you are looking for Open Source alternatives for your favorite software, check out this site .. and it should help you on your quest to freedom!

Updated 7/22/2008:

For those of you who are not comfortable using TrueCrypt, here is an excellent article that takes you through a step by step process to install an encrypted partition on your portable drive.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Life's changing

Have been making some major changes in my life, and today happened to be one of those turning point days. Yeah, I left the organization that I worked in for the last 5 years. Hmm, walked out with a heavy heart, but I guess it was time to move on. I have made some of my very best friends out there (and incidentally also most of my blog readers :) !!). Gonna miss you ...

So I have now 17 days to my disposal before I take on the next big thing (in my life that is!). Its time to update my "About me" section :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Firefox 3.0 is available

As you read this blog post your eyelids are becoming heavier and heavier. Everything around you is slowly becoming a blur. There is a cool breeze blowing and you can no longer hold your eyes open. Your eyes are so heavy that they are about to close. You are now breathing very slowly and deeper than usual.

Now you shall do what I ask you to do. You, my dear reader, are completely in my control now. Go download Firefox 3.0 from this link now! I mean now! Click here ....

Stupid jokes apart, I do not find a single reason why you are still waiting to download Firefox 3.0. If you have already been using Firefox 2.xx before, downloading Firefox 3.0 and upgrading it is a breeze (just double click and you are done!). Firefox 3.0 gracefully installs where your old Firefox 2.xx was, and it also upgrades the extensions that you already have to suite itself. What more do you expect?

Also, if Firefox 3.0 is not your favorite browser, you can also set it to be not your default browser. Simple!! If you have always been waiting to download Firefox, today is the most auspicious day. Go download Firefox now.

And finally, to help Firefox set a world record of maximum downloads, please make up your mind and download the fastest browser on earth before 10:00 AM PDT on June 18th 2008, which is 10:30 PM IST on June 18th in our country.

The whole world is downloading. Don't believe me? See this...

And if you have already downloaded, do not forget to collect your own shiny certificate of a Guiness Book World Record :) from here ..

Download Day 2008

Updated 04th July '08: The Guinness book record is now official. Firefox was downloaded more than 8 million times that day, to be precise 8,002,530 downloads on June 18 2008. Congrats everyone, we all are record holders now :) !!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Pulsar Mania

Yaa, ya I know I am not a motorcycle fanatic. I am so bad at recognizing them, that for me all bikes above 400cc look the same. I know most of you motor-heads would love to kill me for that statement of mine. However, lately I have been hanging out with some biking enthusiast junta, and came across this amazing advertisement promoting the Bajaj Pulsar. If you are in India, I bet you have seen this advertisement atleast once. But then, seeing is one thing and assimilating it is quite another. Off I went on a quest to unravel the mystery behind this masterpiece of an advertisement and here is what I could gather. Before I get behind the history of it, here is the video...

And here is the trivia:

Budget: 2.5 crore INR (approximately 600,000 USD)

Location of the shoot: Capetown, South Africa

Ad Agency: Ogilvy & Mather

Riders: AC Farias, Matte Griffin (and others!)

AC Farias and Matte Griffin are professional stunt riders and quite famous in Europe. AC Farias' bio says that he has been 2nd in World Championships since 2007. Though I couldn't find much details about Matte online, here is AC Farias' website translated in English, thanks to Google :) !!  

Music: Paul Norwood (Audio Militia)

What strikes me soo hard about the commercial? Well to start off with, they aren't really ranting about how good their product is. The video just starts off with some amazing choreography on stock bikes (mind you all the bikes used in that commercial are strictly Pulsars easily available in India!), as the advertisement progresses, the song tempo increases, and so does the intensity of their stunts. The advertisement is simply awesome, you have to feel it to believe it :) !!

And while I am at the subject of bikes, I would like to sign off with this funny video about "how bikes sound like their names", that has been doing the rounds of the Internet for quite some time. Enjoy...

Cuppy Cake Song

Can't believe myself that I am actually writing a blog post about this. Couldn't get this song outta my head this evening and thought I do some research about it. So here is the Cuppy Cake Song in all its glory:

You're my Honeybunch, Sugarplum
Pumpy-umpy-umpkin, You're my Sweetie Pie
You're my Cuppycake, Gumdrop
Snoogums-Boogums, You're the Apple of my Eye
And I love you so and I want you to know
That I'll always be right here
And I love to sing sweet songs to you
Because you are so dear

The Lyrics are copyright Amy J. Music and more details about the song can be found here. Since most of you have already heard it, let me present to you the video of the girl singing it live. She is Amy Castle and when she sang it she was just 3 years old.

And having seen a lot of Jackie Chan movies all my life, how can I not treat you to the bloopers and the out-takes of this song. So video for it is here:

And all cute kids grow up, so Amy Castle also happens to be an established actress now. See her IMDB Profile here. I hope I have laid to rest all your doubts about this video once for all :) !!

Thursday, May 29, 2008


So bowling has caught on me lately. Not because I like that game, but because every one of my friend is crazy about it, and it is the only decent game that we can play in the evenings without getting sweaty.

My bowling skills are breathtaking. I can throw the ball in the gutter from any angle. I guess I am so good at it that I can probably aim for the gutter blind-folded. I know you guys must be smirking at the fact that I can't even bowl. But you got me completely wrong.

I am gonna start a new organization called PCBP - Prevention of Cruelty to Bowling Pins (pervert minded souls - stop making other *meaningful* acronyms out of it :P) Imagine a job in which you have to stand miserably close to each other for 8 hours a day, only to be hit by a huge ugly ball 5 times your weight! If you are not hit in the first chance, the other employees that fell are cleared off the floor and you are made to stand alone, facing the huge bull charging at you. No lunch breaks, no tea breaks, no meetings, not even appraisals. Do the same thing over and over again every day of your life!

Every time that I stand to bowl, I see the harmless pins waiting in anticipation of the agony that they are going to be meted out, and my heart goes out to them. I can't change their life, but I can definitely not cause pain to them. That's the reason why I throw the ball in the gutter. Next time that any of you comes bowling with me, stop laughing at me, and think about the Pins... I may not become a Lettuce Lady, but I definitely feel for them (for the pins I meant :P).

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Iron Man - The Movie

So I took my dad for the Iron Man movie. Dad was perplexed, horrified and spent rest of the day thinking how could the Iron Man do all that. Here is a gist of the conversation that we had during the movie:

Dad: How can he create a source of energy so small (arc reactor!), in a cave in Afghanistan when he couldn't build it (that miniature!) in his own laboratory in the United States?
Me: Dad, he is a superhero!

Dad: How can he withstand a Shell fired from a Tank?
Me: Dad, he is a superhero!

Dad: How can he break the sound barrier?
Me: Dad, he is a superhero!

Dad: Why is this popcorn making me light-headed?
Me: Dad, you are watching a superhero movie, it happens!

Finally at the end of the movie...

Dad: Isn't that noise something you play a million times at home?
Me: Yes, Dad thats "Iron Man" by Black Sabbath, one of my favorite songs of all times!

Conclusion: Don't take a technically minded, analytical dad to a superhero movie, especially when the hero can fight terrorists, fly, dodge missiles, lift cars, break the speed of sound and also fall in love with Gwyneth Paltrow all while wearing an exoskeleton made of some bizarre metal. As for me, hmmm I loved the movie, amazing special effects, great body suit and nice fight sequences. And the title track rocks!! And people call my generation stupid!

Here is Iron Man by Black Sabbath:

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Turn off your computer!

I bet the blog title sounds funny to be coming from me! Yeah, yeah, I did not literally mean turn it off right now! If there is one thing that really irks me off in the office, it has to be the people who never turn off their computers after office hours!! The most common arguments that I have heard from people keeping the computers on at night is:

  • I might have to log in from home!
  • It takes a lot of time to boot my computer in the morning!
  • The life of the computer reduces if it is turned on and off every night :) !!

I couldn't have heard sillier excuses than the ones given above. I understand that people at times do need to log in from home. But most of the times we know before hand if we might need to log in, and it never happens everyday. So much for the first excuse!!

And if someone does believe in the myth that the computer's lifetime reduces because of it being turned on and off everyday, its completely baseless. Keeping the computer on throughout the night however does reduce its lifetime! And most computer equipment today is designed so robust, that it generally out lasts its useful life!

Well, what initiated this post you ask? I came across this article today about 50 ways in which we can help the planet. And I thought I do my bit by blogging about it. Do check out the link, some places we all can contribute!!

50 ways

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


Have you ever wondered that we inevitably start our day by procrastinating getting up by repeatedly snoozing every day? So the root cause of major suffering for mankind today is the pitiful "snooze" button on your alarm clock. To fight world hunger, poverty and the energy problem, first we should learn to get out of the bed on time every time :) !!

I have perfected the art of snoozing, and today was like the worst day of my life. I snoozed from 05:30 AM to 06:30 AM 1 hour straight. Considering that my alarm snoozes only for 9 minutes, thats a whooping 6 times!! So much for wasted time that I could have better spent elsewhere.

Snoozing is an addiction. You set your alarm clock only with the intention of snoozing yourself to glory. I mean, I could have easily gained that calm deep sleep without snoozing if I had set my alarm for the final time that I really intended to get up. But no, not me, I derive pleasure out of the 9 minutes of bliss that I get before the alarm goes off again!!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

How to lose a customer?

True story.

Have been going to the same sports store as long as I remember. A small family run store in the heart of Sec-17 Vashi. Went to get a pair of swimming goggles last week. Picked up one, and went swimming only to find out that the protective film that was put on the glasses had got stuck to it (must be because it was in store for a long long time!). Instinctively went back to get it exchanged.

Take two.. The owner becomes angry and starts shouting at me. I protest, and walk out of the store forever. The cost of the goggles? Rs. 200 (approx 5$). The outcome? The owner lost a loyal high-spending customer (one of those wannabes who buys all the high-end sports equipment hoping that his game would improve :P) along with half a dozen of that customer's close friends!

Ironically, I got a better pair of goggles by the same company at a cheaper price in a factory outlet close by! As for my swimming, I still am equally bad with or without the goggles :) !! Just that now I look a lot more cooler, and most people can't recognize me as the same old bad swimmer, in the pool :) !!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Candle lit...

I did the most romantic thing that a single 27/M/Mumbai can think of. Yeah, I had a candle lit shave! "Candle lit shaving" is the art of shaving in candle light when you are getting late for office and the electricity in your home is cut off. Its the pleasure and pain of cutting yourself and not figuring out till you apply after-shave. Its the grandeur of leaving stubble at hard to reach places cause the candle light wasn't bright enough. Its the magnificence of making your face look like a lawn mowed by a drunkard. All said and done, the romance was soo intense that my face is still burning 3 hours after the act...

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Horn OK Please?

So Mumbai decided to observe the World Health day by designating it as a "No Honking day". The city where the first thing that you do after buying a truck is paint "Horn OK Please" on the back of it with a motley of colors available at your local painter's shop (with his take at artistry) its ironic to expect people not to honk for a day.

I decided to not honk and live up to the expectations of the Traffic police. And lo-behold I took 45 minutes for a 3 km drive which I otherwise took 20 odd minutes coupled with honking :)

Well, not honking in my city is not practical. For us to not honk, we should first learn to follow lanes. There is no lane discipline. Most of us just inch towards our destination by pushing our vehicles in every conceivable place on the road that we can imagine (that includes the oncoming traffic lane too!!). Also, almost every road in my city has been dug up. It feels more like driving between craters, than on roads!! All this with people crossing the road, the bicycles and the auto rickshaws (The article on Autorickshaws in Wikipedia is very informative, check it out :) !!). I bet the only reason auto rickshaws are built with a single wheel in the front is for them to sneak into spots that 4 wheelers cant go and create trouble. All said and done, this is my first "protest" blog. Please follow lane discipline, and silence and peace will follow :) !! I really pity the Mumbai Traffic Police. They have a tough job to do!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


So I am back from an amazing vacation, and I thought I write about a small observation that I made.

We, the people, are fond of smelling each other's armpits. Don't believe me? Check out the rush for suburban trains in Mumbai. Everyone is eagerly waiting at the platform to catch the train so that they can smell someone's armpits. The moment the train approaches the station everyone runs for the door so that he can get the best armpit to smell.

I traveled a couple of times by the train, and me too caught onto the habit. I chose the armpits in the second class compartment. I was eagerly waiting at the station for the train to arrive. The moment it got into the station, I jumped in it, even before the people interested in getting down could do so. I chose the smelliest armpit and stuck to it. On the other hand, in no time atleast 4 other people stuck to my left and right armpit. I enjoyed the smell till the last station. It was a memorable journey.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

What has changed?

Yeah, I am acting a bit weird, a foreigner in my own motherland. Why so? Things have changed quite a bit in the last 2 years that I have been away. So I thought I make a list of things that have noticeably changed!

  1. Electricity load shedding up to 4 hours everyday. Its a pain, but I guess my city of Navi Mumbai is facing energy crisis, and electricity is actually being rationed for all of us here :( !!
  2. Toll for parking anywhere and everywhere!! I can't believe, but I have to pay toll at every place that I try to park my car. I mean, even my neighborhood grocery store parking is no longer free :( !!
  3. Huge malls and movie theaters everywhere. Before I went, my town just had a single theater and a single mall. Now there are more than 4 movie theaters with a gazillion screens, and yeah as I write there are 5 huge malls in my vicinity with 3 more coming up.
  4. Traffic. Now practically everyone in my neighborhood owns at least 2 cars. Traffic is a mess, and am scared of driving :( !!
  5. Mobile phones. They are ubiquitous. I am probably the only one in this country that doesn't own one now :) !!
  6. Mobile phone models. Yeah, in US you just drool over the iPhone, come to India and you have so many drop dead gorgeous phone models, that you end up wagging your tongue in the phone shop :P
  7. Pollution. Smog smog everywhere.
  8. Customer service. Yeah that was an unknown term for most of us. But now its amazing. Most people in the service sector have become amazingly courteous and friendly!
  9. Health clubs. Yeah, lots of choices now!!
  10. FM Stations. Yippeee... So many FM stations, its cool, entertainment on the run!! I haven't ever heard soo much radio and soo many Hindi songs, as I have in the last few days!!
  11. Internet speeds are increasing and prices are dropping. Yippeee... now I can actually thrive :) !! Imagine, I had the option to choose between ADSL, PPPoE over Ethernet, and a Wireless Internet connection protocol which I have no clue what it is, but they actually install a dish at your home!! Freaking awesome :) !!
  12. Mouthwatering food. I am rediscovering Indian cuisine, that I missed so much. I have been thriving on Vada Pav, Samosa, Masala Dosa, Indian Chinese, Tandoori and the rest. Huh, and I managed to regain all the 3 pounds that I had painstakingly burned off in the last 1 year. I am eating as if there is no tomorrow :) !!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Hats-off to Alcohol!!

What happens to all your electronic equipment when you leave it unused in a damp dusty environment? You guessed it right they simply stop working. Well its a bad feeling to see all your favorite things dead.. but you won't believe when I say that I could revive most of them. Huh, its amazing the amount of torture electronics can take today!! Most of my electronics could be revived by just cleaning its contacts by the "Music Cassette Head Cleaner fluid". I ain't exactly sure but it just contains some kinda alcohol is what I believe. So there it is. Alcohol saved my day!! My lovely music system, my car deck, all my remotes and my Computer (at least part of it!) are revived and rocking. Huh, I saved quite a bit of money all thanks to Alcohol. Yeah, and you thought that only consuming it was good :) !!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Back home

So, I am finally back in India, back at home, and enjoying the new found freedom. No work, at home or in office, and kinda enjoying this "no responsibilities" phase of my life :) !! I am gonna be gone on vacation for 2 weeks, and since there is no Internet around, I wouldn't be writing for at least 2 more weeks!!

Monday, March 3, 2008

3 Pancakes down

Yeah, me reached Hongkong Airport. Don't know why they made us get out of the airplane. But, well here I am, sitting in the Burger King in HKG Airport, already gobbled 3 pancake breakfast for 26 HKG dollars. Wonder how much it shows up in USD on my Credit Card day after!! Very forgettable 14 hour journey I had from SFO to HKG. Did nothing but eat and sleep. Yeah, got to catch up on my sleep and technically dreamt for the first time in a flight!! Actually, had a nightmare and got up to see the guy next to me sleeping on my shoulder! Yikes!! Shrugged him off and went for a leisurely tour of the plane at whatever unearthly hour it was!!

Its actually 3:15 PM for my bio-clock, but I guess I already have adjusted myself to the Hongkong Standard time (how else do I explain the sudden urge for a pancake breakfast?). Anyways, now my next halt will be Singapore before I reach my country!! Adios amigos, until we meet again!!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

A day to go

I can't believe I can get all sad and nostalgic about this. But leaving a place that you have inhabited for 2 years sure does hurt. Its a bitter sweet feeling actually.

There are all these people you have been with that make you feel special, make you feel important and wanted. You know that you are gonna miss this place, but the reality doesn't really dawn on you. I somehow have never felt the pain of leaving a place till I actually left it! You try to assimilate as much as you can. You try to do that routine one last time!

Today when I packed up all my stuff in my office, and looked at it, I actually relived the entire 2 years in a flash. I sure am gonna miss each and everything and each and everyone that I have been associated with. But, on this last evening in California, as the sun sets behind me, I have this small flicker of hope in me, that things are going to be far better for me in the future and I am gonna enjoy my life to the fullest!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Ferrari Spotting in the wild

Every guy's dream machine. If you can't spot the difference between a Corvette and a Ferrari, your life is doomed to misery.

My proximity to Walnut Creek and my infrequent visits to Beverly Hills have helped me to do one thing in plenty - drool on a lot of Ferraris in the wild. I mean, I know every guy on this planet has seen a picture of a Ferrari atleast once in his lifetime, but watching her zip past you is a different feeling altogether. I have been privileged enough to have seen more than 10 Ferraris (mind you it still is just around 10 in more than 2 whole years!). I remember once I followed a Ferrari F430 for 6 miles (completely away from my destination) just so that I could see her. The funny part of the entire session was that every signal we would be together and then the car would zip past me only to hit her brakes again (remember the speed limit on most California city roads is just 35 mph?) and I would happily catch up with her till the next signal :) !!!

Well, the reason for this post of mine is two fold. I not only shamelessly followed a Ferrari 360 Modena today (again!), but I also got to take her picture. Well, so close was I, that I actually could see "Ferrari" written on her brake calipers!! Yippeee... I feel soo good. I know I should be dreaming of owning one, but the feeling of seeing her itself is ecstatic :) !!

And for the uninitiated amongst us, Ferrari 360 Modena is the same car that Fiat gave to our beloved Sachin Tendulkar...


Oh yeah! I am finally writing again. A 1 month hiatus was a bit too much wasn't it? I actually saw the world fly by in the last month as I literally tried to relax and enjoy California for what it is - a beautiful state!

Lots of changes happening in my life. The Project on which I spent 8.4% of my life (yeah statistics! I know I am good at that ;) !!) is finally getting over (atleast for me!). So the 2+ years that I spent at uncle sam's land are slowly coming to an end. Like the last shopper on a sale, I am trying to grab all that I can. Every weekend is thus spent exploring that one last State Park, or that one last Restaurant that I couldn't make it to, in the last n months!

I made it to Disneyland in Anaheim CA three times. I know thats an achievement for an elderly gentleman like me. Come on, its for kids ain't it? Well nooooooo!! Disney is for people who are still in touch with the kid in their heart. If you guys want advice on planning your trip to Disney so that you sit on every ride, see every show and do all that you can do, come contact me :) !! I have done a PhD in running around there :) !!

What else happened in the last month? Hmm, for me ... well lots of things ... go-lives, apartment moves, dejections, recession and everything in between :) !!

Thursday, January 10, 2008


I bet all of thee motor-souls have already read the news that India built the "cheapest production car in the world!" Holy cow, Tata could actually fit a whole 624cc 2 cylinder engine along with 4 wheels, chasis and a steering and then extract a 54mpg from the engine while still meeting the Euro-IV and Bharat Stage-III emission norms in the Tata Nano!! Sometimes I feel that some of us Indians are simply crazy :) !!

And, now let me take the pleasure of introducing my most favorite portrayal of an Indian. It sure is "Asok the Intern" from the Dilbert comics. Not only is he extraordinarily brilliant, but also he knows telekinesis and shape-shifting!! If this is not enough, he could also re-incarnate himself :) !!

Haha, I bet the mysterious land of holy-men, snake charmers and software engineers has more in store than what meets the eye ;) !! Watch out world, a land of 1.1 billion people can't be just sleeping...

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Time travel

Though technically, more than half of the world is already into 2008, the land that I currently contribute my weight to, is still in the last year. Taking advantage of this great time difference, I try to squeeze in my very last post for this year.

I am not much into resolutions. The last one that I remember I promised to myself was long back when I was learning to tie my shoe laces! I couldn't keep mine, and if any of you have noticed, I still use slip-on shoes. So much for resolutions. I don't keep any.. (well, that's a lie, in the last century I kept a resolution, that I won't ever keep any more resolutions, and I have stuck to it :) !!).

Now let me get into some numerology. 2008 will be a good year for all of you who read this post. The reason is simple. 2008 is an even number. It ends with 8 which happens to be the cube of 2. 2 is the base of our binary world. Also 8 bits make a byte, the fundamental foundation of this great virtual world. The word "blog" is a 4 character word. 4 is a divisor of 8 (got the connection?). 2008 starts with a 20. The prime factors of 20 are 5 and 2. Its an interesting combination of an odd and an even prime number. You will have a great financial year this year! All your financial trouble will be washed away. Your love life will be rocking and if you are married your spouse will be very happy with you.

Thank you for your attention. Wish you a very happy new year 2008. I cant believe we are already 9 years into the 21st century. None of the essays that I wrote as a school boy on "Life in the 21st century" have come true yet! Come next new year and 10% of 21st century will already be over!