Friday, December 31, 2010

The yogic delusion

Now that I am back in India, I have decided to explore my Indian roots. Naturally, learning yoga becomes a part of it. Since I don’t keep new year resolutions anymore, a few weeks ago I signed up for a yoga class (Yogasana to be precise). First day of class they taught us various breathing exercises and I could do most of them. My success went to my head. I thought to myself, this is so damn easy, I should have started doing this long time ago. I also started growing a beard assuming that wearing a saffron robe is just a couple of weeks away.

However, the second class came and to begin with, we were asked to sit in a particular position to start the rest of the asanas. To my horror everyone in my class could do it in a jiffy. As for me, I couldn’t even start. I mean, I tried, but all the fat refused to budge, and I couldn’t even begin. The nice instructor told me to not worry and once I start practicing it everyday I would be able to do it effortlessly. The rest of the class was even worst. I spent the entire 2 hours looking at other people perform while I sat there twiddling my thumbs just trying.. most of the times I was far from even pretending to be trying.

I still can’t believe that someone can actually do something like that. I mean, how can this body part go and touch that body part? Or for that matter, how am I supposed to touch my forehead to my knee? For that to happen my stomach cavity should be empty and I should have like half a dozen ribs less. Any amount of practicing everyday is not gonna make it possible. Its like saying, “If you practice turning your head everyday, very soon you will be able to turn your head to your back!”

Now I am more or less convinced – I am either an alien, or just like the extra tooth, I have some extra bones in my body, that do not give me the flexibility that other human beings are naturally born with. Mind it, I am no longer blaming my fat.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The I-don't-care syndrome

So I am back again in Mumbai in the exact same area where I spent all my teenage years. Now after more than a decade after my teenage, I can actually retrospect about my naivety then.

As a college going youngster, I was always very particular to be prim and proper each time I left my house. I was conscious about the way I looked, the clothes I wore, the way I walked and even the company I kept. In my mind I was a superstar and everyone around me, right from the neighbourhood dhobi, was a fan. My every step was followed by a dozen paparazzi.

Now, I guess I have understood my fallacy. Over the doggone years I realized that nobody really cares about what you do how you look or who you hang out with. Everyone is bothered about their own life and about their own looks. These days, I have developed that “I-don’t-care-about-anything” attitude. So generally when I walk out I am unkempt with least attention to anything. I just go about doing my own stuff. Places like malls and theatres where I wouldn’t have dared to step inside in my PJs I walk in casually in anything these days.

And now I wonder, all those precious minutes that I spent thinking about myself in my teenage, I could have utilized for doing higher good in life!! Tch, tch – too late!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Buoyancy Effect

I went swimming in Mumbai the other day and the first thing I noticed after I got down into the pool was that I sank to the bottom of the pool like a rock. And I thought to myself – “Wow, the buoyancy of water in Mumbai seems to be way lower than that in Singapore”.

I was enthralled, captivated and (pardon me for saying this!) proud of myself. I thought of myself as the modern day Archimedes (but in swimming trunks). As I started my arduous journey towards the other end of the pool, I was exploring scientific reasons for this difference in my mind. Theories included – the latitudinal difference between Mumbai and Singapore (close to 18 degrees), the difference in composition of water (the pool seemed to have a lot of Chlorine) etc. I had some whacky ideas about time difference, population, atmospheric pressure also.

As I got off the pool to go home, I was thinking to myself – “today is gonna be a long night researching about buoyancy on the internet” – fundamental physics that I have long forgotten about. The fun part about reading physics at my age is – I start with one topic and then I realize to read this I need to know another topic before and so on and so forth. I like this particular set of comics by Abstruse Goose to really get an idea of my ordeal (Click on the image to follow the comic).

Click me

Anyway, the pool dressing room has a magical device called “weighing scale”. It estimates the force that you exert on the surface of the earth. After I was done dressing up, I casually stepped on it. To my bewilderment, I had gained a whopping 3kg in 3 weeks. All illusions about buoyancy, specific gravity and physics vanished in thin air. All that I had discovered was – “Denser objects sink faster”.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Holy Dog!

One often asked question by my foreign acquaintances is – Do you have cows on Indian roads? I believe every non-Indian is taught only two things about our country – All Indians are born computer geniuses and we let cows on our roads because they are holy to all of us. An excellent explanation of why we have cows on road is given here. But, my general observation has been – we have no cows on the roads in Mumbai. We have a lot of clowns inside cars that do not obey any traffic rules whatsoever (that includes this clown as well).

As far as animals on the roads in Mumbai are concerned, we do have a lot of dogs. We have dogs dogs everywhere. We fondly call them “stray dogs”. Stray because, you dare not stray close to them lest you accidentally step into their pee-marked territory and they tear you apart. And if you end up going into their territory with your car, the moment you get down, they “own” your car by peeing on your tyres. After that, getting into the car is an exercise altogether.

There are places around my house which are inaccessible from sundown to sunrise because dogs own them. If cows are holy to me, then I guess dogs are holier.

Stray Dogs

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Green Washing

Sometimes its funny how little thought is put into Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities. I know of an organization that felt the recycled cups that were being used at the tea/coffee and water dispenser machines were not environmentally friendly. They were identified as not being green enough! And within no time, they came up with a brilliant idea – give each and every employee a ceramic or a metal cup. There it is! We just turned green! And then they put up signboards everywhere saying – “Be Green. Do not use disposable cups”.

Now, I am no expert in “Green thinking”. But I guess, by doing away with the disposable cups there is an inherent thinking that using gallons of water to wash cups everyday is environmentally more friendly!

Lets take the average Jane. She drinks 3 cups of coffee in a day. Now, on an average washing a cup takes around 5-10 litres of water. And if you had forgotten to clean your cup after drinking your coffee last evening, then it takes twice the amount. So 3 cups of coffee equals washing the cup at least 3 times ( that's approximately 20 litres of water per person per day). For a 10,000 employee organization, we are assuming that wasting 200,000 litres of water a day is more environmentally friendly than using 30,000 disposable cups a day (please mind – we are not comparing financial costs here). And if we have to be really accurate then we also have to consider the delta effects of the electricity consumed by excess pumping of water, sewage treatment plant etc etc.

I have read similar arguments about the electric car. If you are using your household electricity to recharge your batteries then you have to account for how your electricity is produced. In countries like India where majority of our electricity is produced by burning coal, the environmental impact might be the same for electric or petrol engines.

I hope you got my point.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pack like a pro

I don't qualify to be a globe-trotter or a frequent flier as compared to some of you. But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t done enough research on the internet on how to pack effectively. Over the years I have graduated from being a clumsy packer (the kind who has to sit on the bag to close it) to a suave one-carry-on-bag light traveller. So what is the secret? To summarise my years of searching on the internet it is – roll your clothes!!

Yes!! Rolling has many advantages. Firstly – clothes occupy significantly lower space in your bag if you roll them. Secondly – packing them up becomes easy, as you can stuff them around your bag in every nook and corner. And finally – rolled clothes wrinkle less in your bag!

So here is Girish’s guide to effective packing -

  1. First keep all heavy items towards the end of your bag where the wheels are on the outside. That way dragging the bag in your airport terminal becomes really easy.
  2. Keep all your non-cloth items like toiletries, electronics and other items at the bottom of the bag (in the centre). Put your shoes in plastic bags and keep their sole touching the sides of the bags.
  3. Gradually fill your rolled clothes around these items. And get astonished yourself!

And here is an excellent video for your viewing pleasure:

How to pack everything in a bag for your vacation!

Here are pictures of (almost) my entire wardrobe rolled and neatly tucked in my bag.

My rolled up wardrobeMy wardrobe in my bag

You could argue that my entire wardrobe is small enough anyway (I could only use so many tents!). Well as compared to some of you it maybe, but I definitely got clothes that can last me for more than 3 weeks.

So this was your lesson on effective packing this week. Now go plan a vacation!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Sorry guys. Long time since I scribbled anything here. I have been overwhelmed by the amount of change that is going on in my life these days. All my life I chose to be lazy till now and I have been forced to change so fast. “Change” sounded cool for Obama’s presidential campaign, but it is definitely driving me nuts. Lots of change equates to lots of stress.


To make a long story short – I am back in India for good. And now I am struggling to get everything in order to lead my ordinary unnoticeable life again. I also figured that my creative instincts (or whatever makes me pen worthless blog posts here) don’t work under stress. Also stress makes my head start to peek from under the hair that I had above it before.

Friday, November 12, 2010


For the ignorant few, there is an Integrated Resort in Singapore named Marina Bay Sands. It has got a super awesome swimming pool on the top of the building (57th Floor). I have been to  the top of the building a couple of times, and naturally I felt very tempted to swim there. However swimming in that pool requires that you be their “guest” ( read – spend boat loads of money by booking a hotel room!).

When you got no money to spend, but you still “want” to enjoy the high life, you become – Shameless. So the colleague who got conned, was staying in the same hotel. I figured that the only chance that I had to swim in that pool was to pose as a hotel guest living in the same room as my colleague and then go up there with him. However with my fantastic accent our conversation in office was limited to “Hello?”, “Good morning” and “Wonderful”. Anything more I say and my thick nasal Maharashtrian accent would baffle him out of his wits.

Still I persisted. After various attempts at explaining my wish, I bobbed my head up and down and pretended to breast stroke around the room. Then I pointed upwards to the sky indicating that I wanted to swim in the pool on his hotels’ rooftop. He obviously mistook that action to me referring to birds flying high in the sky. Pat came his reply – “Wonderful”.

Finally, I got another of my colleague (who could speak Chinese – and actually understood my accent) to join us in this adventure. Everything was sorted out. We finally managed to swim in the pool. Am putting some pictures here for you guys to be jealous about. And, before I end, did I tell you that I managed to swim there on 3 different occasions?

Infinity Swimming PoolInfinity Swimming Pool

Infinity Swimming PoolInfinity Swimming Pool

Infinity Swimming PoolInfinity Swimming Pool

I hope you all are green with envy. If you are not, let me remind you – I swam thrice not once!

Sunday, October 31, 2010


So a colleague of mine from China came for a business trip to Singapore. Being a gracious host, I volunteered to show him around Singapore. Like every tourist that visits a new place, he wanted to go shopping and he wanted to buy the HTC Desire.

Being the law abiding citizens that we generally are, I took him to the known and trusted electronics mall in Singapore. The prices there, were obviously high and he wanted to look for something cheap. So we went to another mall. And that is where our ordeal started.

Don’t wanna narrate the entire incident. But it sure was nasty. I have never in my life heard racial slurs (on my face!) about me and my country. I have been mistaken to be a Mexican and an Iranian before. This time I got cursed for being a Bangladeshi (yeah so I didn’t feel that bad). The shop keepers were two heavily built tattooed men with tattoos all over their body including their face. After having treating me that way and intimidating me, I walked out of the shop. But my colleague persisted. While waiting for him outside, I casually typed the shop’s name on Google, in my phone. To my horror, I read this, this and this.

Not only have they been treating their customers very very bad, but they also have been conning them for more than a year. The oldest complaint about them being in May 2009. Its ironic that they still follow the exact same tactic to fool their customers.

After reading the three stories, I decided to brave it out and join my colleague inside. I had to get him outta there. I could read the shop attendants like a movie script now. They did exactly the same set of things that other people on those forums have mentioned. To explain a story in short, my colleague was being “forced” to buy a phone that they earlier quoted $650 for $1265. And they held on to his passport which my trusting colleague had handed over to them for “unlocking” the phone!

The funny part is, a casual phone call by me to another of my friend to come and help us out kinda scared them (he was supposed to meet us at some other place, but we got stuck here so I had to call him up!). I got further cursed and was taunted that they weren’t afraid of anyone. To show how important they are, the guy just threw my colleagues’ passport and credit card on the floor.

If there is one thing I have learnt after seeing numerous martial arts films over my childhood is – when in fear – run. You can caress your ego later. The moment he threw the card and passport, I dived for it on the floor, picked it up and ran away as if I was being chased by a lion. Luckily my colleague (who was reasonably scared now!) followed me as well.

That was the end of a very horrific experience in one of the safest countries in the world. I am truly appalled that they can do the same thing for more than a year and still get away with it. Being threatened by a monkey is one thing, but being threatened to buy a product that you don’t want is completely nerve-wracking.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Smell like a man!

So what do you do on a sleepless Thursday night? Yeah, browse around YouTube seeing useless videos. Now that I have had my share of videos tonight, I thought I write a blog post about two of them before I go to my bed to toss and turn.

For me, Old Spice reminds me of old people. Its got to do with the fact that it has been around for as long as I have known the concept of an “After Shave”. So if I want to pretend to be young and macho, I shy away from Old Spice. Then, if you are the Sales and Marketing guy for Old Spice what do you do? You come up with an amazingly stupid advertisement that uses Twitter and YouTube, and you got sleepless people sit the entire weekday night going through the videos. I loved the advertisements. They are funny, and they make you wanna go buy the brand again (kudos Old Spice!) . If you have all the time in the world then you should go to this YouTube Channel and watch the rest of them. Else just be happy with this one…

And then imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. And if Sesame street does it, it just gets better. So here is Grover from Sesame Street teaching us the word “on” by mimicking the Old Spice man.

And why did I put the Sesame street video here? Well because, I am still a great fan of Elmo and his friends (if you are patient enough, please sit and listen to Elmo’s interview below!) and in the video, Grover is sitting on a cow in the end. And long time readers should always remember my respect for cows here and here :) !! So if I spot a cow, you can rest assured that she is gonna appear on my blog!

And finally if you are too old to remember your muppets its time to go to this webpage and revise them all. I am gonna ask you questions next time when we meet!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Beginner’s guide to a BarCamp

I thoroughly enjoyed leeching at the third BarCamp of my life for the last 2 days, and it kinda made me feel guilty. Everyone who attends a BarCamp more than once is expected to contribute (be a speaker/ presenter or volunteer), but I have practically done nothing. So I thought I write a small 101 post about what a BarCamp is all about.

Each time that I tell some of you that I am going for a BarCamp, I get only 2 types of funny questions:

  1. Is it like a drinking (alcohol) camp?
  2. Is it a camp where lawyers meet? (Apparently the word Bar can only remind us of 2 things – a shady place where we all drink, or uptight lawyers!)

So what exactly is a BarCamp? The official definition says “A BarCamp is an informal gathering of people interested in startups, technology, education, media, travel and popular culture. We talk about the projects we are working on and try to learn from each other”. Its what the geeks call an “unconference”.

For me BarCamp is a place where there is no agenda, nothing planned other than the venue. Then on the day of the BarCamp excellent orators, thinkers, geeks, motivators arrive from all over the world and magically let lesser mortals like me explore other things in life than the ordinary. Every thing about the camp is amazing and captivating. Frankly speaking, its not really a technology-only conference. And best of all its free!

So how does a BarCamp start? Typically the organizers (group of motivated individuals like him) put up a blog post or tweet about the event. Then everyone signs up (the last 3 BarCamps I attended have had close to 500 sign-ups each). On the day of the BarCamp, everyone reaches the place. People who want to talk or share put up their topics on a board or post it notes. Everyone else votes for their favourite topics. The topics with most votes are then allocated rooms and people interested in listening/discussing about those topics go to the designated rooms. The entire day is organized this way. Its an excellent example of how people with diverse backgrounds can come together and have a very lively discussion about topics of their interest.

And what if you voted for an idea that you thought was good, but when you actually went to the discussion you found it boring? Well, there kicks in the “two-feet” rule. If you don’t like something, you are allowed to walk out on your two feet in the middle of the discussion with no social-stigma attached to it. How cool is that?

Here is a photo summary of the event:

The BarCamp Venue

The BarCamp was held in the National Art Gallery in Singapore this time.

The topics for the morning session The topics for the afternoon session

The list of topics that were selected along with the timeslots allotted to them. We had 4 rooms titled A, B, C, D this time. Each talk was scheduled for half an hour.

The Voting stickers 

Our voting stickers. If you like a topic on the Post-It then put your sticker. These stickers were then counted to select the topics.

Interesting non-tech topic How to be a kick-ass lover!

For people who think that BarCamp is all tech, here are excellent examples of the interesting topics that people present on. The guy who founded the “Standing Sushi Bar” in Singapore told us about his experiences in operating a profitable restaurant part-time while doing his full-time job in Microsoft!

And then this guy talked about how to be a good lover :) !! He actually had researched on the types of emotions that go into love and gave an interesting scientific perspective on love!

There were other interesting talks on education, food, fun, OLPC, travelling etc etc.

And while the entire thing is going on, super lively conversations are going on on Twitter as people blog, post pictures and tweet about the event. You can still read what all was tweeted during my last BarCamp over here.

This is a short introduction to BarCamp. I hope you guys attend the next one coming near where you live! And if there isn't any, then its high-time you volunteer to start one. I can’t imagine any other place where you can get so much information on so many varied topics from so many interesting people!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

How to make your mom use Ubuntu?

I keep talking about open source and free software all the while. And I always felt guilty that my own computer at home had Windows XP installed on it. The problem with switching to another OS was – there are other people at home (read my mom!) that use my computer and they are not really comfortable doing the switch. But these days Ubuntu is so easy to use that I finally gathered the guts and did it. So here is a step-by-step method to do it:

  1. Sneakily download Ubuntu. If you have a slow internet connection, download it overnight. Then create a USB Installer.
  2. Tip-toe into the room where your computer is kept. Ninja costumes recommended for added stealth. Make sure that you hide the USB stick from plain sight.
  3. Boot through the USB disk. Preview. Install. If someone comes into the room, switch off screen and go “La-la-lala-la” as if you are enjoying your day.
  4. After installation is done, go back to your normal clothes, do your normal stuff and pretend that everything is normal.
  5. When your mom finally boots the computer and calls you because the computer looks “different” – feign ignorance. (I still haven’t figured why I am blamed for every little thing that goes wrong or stops working in my house!).
  6. Casually look at the computer screen and say “Oh! Hmm, I upgraded the computer today". “The new version of Windows is titled Ubuntu”. Show her how things have been moved around and some things have been “changed”.
  7. Show her the “latest” game – Mahjong. Guide her through the first game to make sure that she gets addicted to it.
  8. Done. Welcome to Linux nirvana.

Jokes apart  the moment my mom boot into Ubuntu, the first question she asked was “Is this the OS sponsored by that South African guy you keep talking about?”

Now she happily plays Mahjong along with her usual favorites – Free Cell, Hearts and Solitaire. She also browses the internet, checks email and listens to music without any issues whatsoever. Thank you Ubuntu.

Ubuntu - Linux for Human Beings!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

More learning

I am back to blogging. And before I start with my usual yapping, I kinda felt I should pen a summary of some “new” things I learnt in the last couple of months.

  1. You have absolutely NO control over anything. Whatever you think you are “planning” is just an illusion of control. It’s more like you are “hoping”.
  2. You are good to someone because you cannot be bad. There is no such thing as Karma. So if you are being good because you believe in “cause & effect” then stop.
  3. In the bigger order of things your existence or the absence of it doesn’t matter.
  4. Love is an extremely irrational emotion that makes you do absolutely illogical things.

Probably most of whatever I wrote here wont make sense to you. And frankly speaking I hope it doesn’t.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


This ain't a philosophical post. My life has come to a sudden stand still for close to a month now. Nothing I can do can change anything now.

"Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans" - John Lennon

I am taking a break from blogging for a while now as I try to put my life back together. Thank you for your patience.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


I finally got to travel to China. Before you ask me anymore questions. It was an 8 hour trip. The only thing I saw was a meeting room and 3 Chinese nationals inside it. So my first impression of China? Their meeting rooms look awfully similar to the ones in India, US and Singapore. And if the temperature of the room is right, I can feel sleepy in any meeting in any part of the world.

Anyway, my experience at Chinese immigration kinda bowled me over. So I thought I tell you guys about it. I have known immigration officers to be rather rude and at times with an apparent lack of a sense of humor. I can totally understand their plight. They have to look at random people with their funny looking pictures in their passports all day. The only thing you do is check the credentials and let that person into the country. Most of the travellers are tired, weary and stinky from a long flight. Very unpleasant I bet.

With my last name that sounds suspiciously close to a radical fundamentalist. And my grin that irritates the hell out of most people, I am not amongst the best guys that a potential immigration officer wants to meet. I have even had tough times emigrating out of India! (Yeah, Mumbai airport interviews you while you are leaving the country as well). I remember in one of my interviews the guy asked me what are you going to do in Singapore. When I told him I am going to study, he almost fell of his chair and gave me that compassioned look saying “You are still studying?” (What he meant was – at your age – most Indian guys’ children are in school!). Anyways, keeping your ego aside during such encounters helps.

Coming back to my Chinese immigration. The officer this time was a woman. She could be anywhere between 16-60 thanks to their genes. I was travelling with my boss, and being this dumb alien I was, he warned her that this Indian chap knows no Mandarin (or that's what he told me he said to her in Mandarin). The moment I came to the window, she gave me this broad nice warm smile – cleared my immigration formalities – gave my Passport back – and then – muttered - “You are handsome”.

Now, trust me, I felt very very nice for a while. There was a “How satisfied are you with the immigration facilities" form and I gave her a 5 star rating (I wanted to add another star just to indicate “super satisfied”). Isn’t it an amazing way to welcome people into your country, especially when they have low self-esteem? But, the more I think about it, the more I concur – that was the sentence someone taught her to say to foreigners. I bet she didn’t know what she was saying. Its like – the only Chinese sentence that I can say audibly (and it kinda makes sense to the Chinese as well) is Wo Ai Ni (I love you in Mandarin – And did I tell you that it was taught to me by a German?).

So the whole incident was like me being an immigration officer and looking at a Chinese national entering my country. The only thing Mandarin that I could utter would absolutely hurt everyone entering. Women would find me creepy and men would find me disgusting. And the best part – no one would bother telling me what it means cause you don’t want to mess with the immigration officer.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Happy 4th Birthday!

After 180 blog posts of relentless yapping, I finally complete 4 whole years of my online existence. Yes 24th July was officially the 4th Anniversary of my blog. What started as a not-so-thought about introduction has helped me to “voice” my opinion to you unsuspecting souls for all this while.

Thank you for having patiently read my blog and also for having commented occasionally :) !! On this happy occasion, I decided to play around with the data that I have collected and bore you readers with some mundane statistics. So (drum roll please) here is the best statistics I could collect:

Number of Blog Posts 180
Most commented Blog Post My Language Problem
Most viewed Blog Post Wasabi
First Blog Post Hello World
Most common label for Blog Posts funny

And now, like a true wanna-be statistician, here is some analysis of my Blog Posts.

Let me be very frank. I try hard to be funny on this blog. Yeah. If you have not realized all this while I have been desperately trying hard to crack silly jokes to make you guys smile. But very early in the existence of this blog I realized that most people do not realize that I am trying to be funny (thanks to my sense of humor – or the lack of it!). So I started labelling my blog posts "funny” for people to “laugh please”.

Funny Stats

As you can see I am funniest in March, September and December. So following the logic that I proposed in this blog post, girls interested in meeting me should schedule to meet me only in those 3 months :) !! (My Calendar is open as of now)

Blog posts per month

And then, I tend to write the most in July. That's because every July I have my blog’s anniversary, and it makes me feel all the more to write I guess. Or probably I am most free in those months :) !!

Blog post per Week day

This is the last stupid statistic that I pulled out. Apparently I blog most on Weekends (understandable!). What I found interesting is that I tend to blog a lot on Wednesdays. So I guess I face mid-week crisis and try to cheer myself up by writing to you folks.

That's it from me. Thank you for being a part of my life.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

East Asian Gene

In an unprecedented development, scientists in Singapore have isolated a gene amongst East Asians that stops their aging process at age 16. The gene is supposed to stop the visible effects of aging in individuals like change in appearance and the “mature” looking face. The gene seems to mysteriously stop working its magic beyond 60 years of age. Scientists are now working to introduce this gene in other races.

Well, I just made that up. But every non- East Asian will agree with me on this one. People here don’t seem to age. They just all look 16 years old ( I am lying – some do look close to 18, but I guess that's about it). Then for the next 40 odd years they look the same. So if you bump into a 15 something “looking” person on the public transit don’t just assume he/she is just in high school. They very well might have kids that age.

And why did I have to write this up on my blog? Well, I just realized that since last week, I have become the leading authority on Wasabi for the Brazilians. Google Brazil has been redirecting awfully lot of traffic from Brazil to my Blog post for people’s queries on Wasabi. I wonder what the Brazilians think when they read that lame post on Wasabi. And I also wonder why suddenly soo many people are searching for Wasabi in Brazil after the FIFA World cup.

Last Week Statistics

Most Read Posts Last Week

So going forward, I am the leading authority on East Asian genes (if there is one :) !!). We anyways tend to trust what we read on the internet even if it is written by someone who has no clue what a gene is.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Tight Integration?

So I use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Foursquare. I diligently follow what my friends write or do on all these Social Networking sites (that sounds soo 2009).  All was good with these sites last year. But this year its all been so awful.

These days you can combine your status updates. So you come up with a witty 140 character line and post it on Twitter and zap – it automatically updates your Facebook status and your LinkedIn status. Then you Check-In to a place in Foursquare and zap – it updates your Twitter and Facebook status again. Whoa. And what happens to people who follow you at all 4 locations? They get the same update 3 more times. And then you crack a not-so-witty joke. You end up irritating your followers 3 times all over again. Imagine having 100 friends doing that and you have a nightmare of status updates to read every hour, every day (How am I supposed to accomplish anything else in my life? ;) !!)

I am hating integration. Each site exists for a purpose. LinkedIn is the professional side of me. I definitely would love to know what Project you working on professionally, but I definitely ain’t interested in seeing you pruning your cat there (but I don’t mind your cute cat pictures on Facebook). And then if you show me your beach pictures with pina-colada in your hand on Twitter and LinkedIn it just pisses me off (that’s called a case of sour grapes). I hope you get my point.

I don’t want excuses like - “if you get irritated then stop following me”. I just am not gonna do that. Thou shalt be stalked. So just be more courteous to your stalkers.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Big Bank

So some poor soul named Girish (I am a poor soul too, but that’s not me) opened a Credit Card account with The Big Bank. To save the environment he signed up for email statements. And he did this 6 months ago.

For the last 6 months though, I am getting his credit card statements on my email address. Well, I can’t really read it because the statements are password protected. But every month I get an email with a PDF document attached stating it contains my expenses for the last month, and every month I get the shock that someone has opened an account in my name with the Big Bank only to realize that it is - poor soul Girish.

The email is followed by this wordy disclaimer and warning:

This email and any attachments are confidential and may also be privileged.  If you are not the addressee, do not disclose, copy, circulate or in any other way use or rely on the information contained in this email or any attachments.  If received in error, notify the sender immediately and delete this email and any attachments from your system.  Emails cannot be guaranteed to be secure or error free as the message and any attachments could be intercepted, corrupted, lost, delayed, incomplete or amended.  Big Bank and its subsidiaries do not accept liability for damage caused by this email or any attachments and may monitor email traffic.

And for the last 6 months I have been diligently notifying the sender and deleting the email. But the joke is Big Bank is not bothered about notifying poor soul Girish about his plight. And, I can’t block their email address because someday I might want to open an account with them.

So what is the moral of this blog post? If you have signed up for email statements, please check that you are actually receiving them!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Where am I?

Sorry people. Long time no post. Life as I know is “happening” to me. I have started living the busy life of a working professional. Going to office everyday by 8:00 AM, and coming home only after everyone has left for the day. To keep myself busy at home (and while travelling) have bought a few gizmos which keep me occupied for the rest of the time I have on hand. Have become highly disorganized and that is reflected on my infrequent posts now. It always takes me time to get on top of things so hold on till I post my next post :) !!

Its funny how we consider ourselves settled when we become a part of the bigger system. The one which makes us countless drones commuting mindlessly to our place of work and back everyday. Waiting for that elusive Friday night, to do something fun, which inevitably is catching up with friends for dinner or movies. Life just goes on and on and on.

My only source of entertainment these days is the gourmet food that I consume for lunch everyday. My ultra-efficient digestive system, meanwhile, is efficiently pulling out all the fat and storing it around my body for safekeeping. I miss my good old days of clumsily roller skating and mindlessly watching The Big Bang Theory!

Thursday, June 10, 2010


So I live in one of the safest cities in the world. So safe that you can walk alone in the city in the middle of the night and there is a high probability that you will return home safe and sound without being bitten by a dog, robbed by a thug, shot by a sociopath or sold to a terrorist training camp. Living in such a place naturally makes you less aware of your surroundings. So, you go out one fine morning for a leisurely stroll in the park and get mugged … by a monkey. Not only does it remind you that low crime doesn’t mean no crime but it also hurts your rather fragile male ego.

I kept mum about this incident for a while but I finally thought I let you (my dear readers) know. So it started off as a lazy Saturday afternoon with nothing much to do than surf (on the internet). A friend of mine and I decided to do some activity and we figured that the MacRitchie reservoir was the closest to go. Now anybody who has ever been to a state park anywhere in the world knows that it is not good to feed wild animals the junk food that we have grown up on (not only is it unhealthy but also it is really bad for their survival instincts). Singapore makes it doubly sure that you do not feed animals by making it an offense with a hefty fine attached to it.

Do not feed the Monkeys!

We wore our trekking shoes, geared ourselves up and decided on the 11 km route that we planned to take. Now, being in the rainforest, its always good to keep ourselves hydrated. So I bought a bottle of an isotonic drink to keep me company. Barely 10 steps into our walk we saw a monkey on our path. Now, monkeys never deter me. If I see a lion, may be I would twitch a bit (girls please take note ;) !!). So we continued our walk oblivious of its existence, till it jumped right in front of me and snarled. My dear friend had the presence of mind to run away (yeah he sprints really fast!) and in no time he was a distant spec on the horizon.

Looking at the monkey’s size and my apparent beastly appearance, I decided to be a man and fight back. So I naturally snarled back and growled (effect of seeing “The incredible Hulk” I bet). Not only did that annoy the monkey but it also made it take a rather aggressive stand (which looked like he was about to jump on me and bite my face off). I looked around for a second, salvaged all my pride and started to run. It was the first day I realized that given enough face-threatening snarls from a monkey, I can run like a chicken about to be captured. It also made me realize that I run so slow that any monkey can yawn and still catch up with me in no time. While I was running (with a rather old monkey walking leisurely behind me), I realized that the only thing on me that the monkey would be vaguely interested in, was my bottle of drink. So I yelled to my friend (who by now was standing at a distance and watching all the fun) to catch the bottle as I tried to throw it at him. However my clumsy throw was expertly intercepted by the monkey (a-la Neo from Matrix in bullet-time) and he victoriously walked to the side of the trail with his just-robbed bottle of drink.

Moral of the story? You don’t look as fierce as you think you do. You are not to feed wild animals, but they don’t really know that you are not supposed to. And finally read every signboard that you see in a State park. On my way back, I read this signboard.

 Food Snatching Monkeys around!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Aim to fly!

Whoever has been to the Men’s restroom in Changi Airport must have noticed the fly printed at the bottom of the urinal. Its an interesting artifact to miss considering that while you are peeing there is not much you can see or think about. Anyways, just in case you indeed missed, I tried to take sneaky pictures of the fly after I had done my duty.

 There's a fly in my loo! The Fly - Up, Close and Personal

Now I have been googling about the “fly in the loo in Changi Airport” for a long time but never really chanced upon any article suggesting its existence. Till very recently I figured that the fly is meant for men to aim at. A very comprehensive research of men’s peeing habits revealed that men are not particular good at peeing into a bowl. Without focus we tend to pee all over the place.

If you have been to the Changi airport toilets you must have realized that they are cleaner than your own toilet at home. This level of cleanliness can only be achieved if men are trained to aim straight into the bowl. But if they put up a board saying “Please pee carefully” we would dismiss it to be just another example of Singapore’s kiasu tendency. So by printing the fly at the bottom of the urinal, the airport is indeed trying to keep you busy by making you subconsciously aim at the fly. So you end up watering the fly and in the process, you actually aim for it. Wow. What a brilliant idea. Research shows that the fly helps reduce human spillage by 85%. Its time we start drawing flies in urinals all around the world :) !!

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Have been exposed to a fair bit of Western Classical Music including Opera lately. It’s funny that when you listen to a certain type of music for a long time you automatically start liking it. One of the oldest operas that I have ever heard was the “Largo al factotum” by Rossini. If you grew up in the 1980s with a fair dose of cartoons like Bugs Bunny and Tom & Jerry, you can rest assured that you have heard this piece before (I thought it was titled “Figaro” for a long time!). I always liked it for its comic element and pleasant sound. Only recently did I realize that it is amongst the toughest arias to perform.

I like the rendition in which a man made out of clay performs it at the beginning of the movie “Oscar”. I am sharing the video with you all to see, listen and enjoy.

Figaro - Oscar

If you really wanna see how tough it is to actually perform you should watch this video of Thomas Hampson performing it:

Thomas Hampson - Largo Al Factotum

And here is a quick guide for non-Italians (and non-art savvy people like me) to enjoy operas. Go read the lyrics in English (Google, Wikipedia and Youtube to the rescue!) before you go and listen to it. Then, even though you wont know what the person is singing, you can always understand the emotion behind it.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


So I have been very busy last 2 weeks and couldn’t really put much on my blog. Today I got some time so thought I do a quick update about the things happening in my life lately. Yeah I have been introduced to a lot of Korean stuff whole of last week so this blog post is all “Korean”.

To start with, I ended up working with a lot of Koreans all of a sudden. Then at home, my apartment mate seems to have developed a strong affinity for Korean dramas. Everyday in the night there is one Korean sitcom or another playing in our house. And then of course, there is Korean food everywhere. Lots of Kimchi flowing through my intestines these days. So I thought I introduce to my dear readers, the last thing Korean I know – Korean music. So here are 3 songs (yeah that's all I know!) from Korea that I like.

Sorry Sorry - Super Junior

I don’t know much about the band. I like their dance steps and of course the sound is catchy and cool.

Nobody - Wonder Girls

If you are from Korea and if you do not know Wonder Girls its a cognizable offense. Everybody knows Nobody by Wonder Girls, and now you know it too.

The song is so popular that there was a parody made to educate people to wash their hands during the H1N1 outbreak in Singapore.

Wash your hands too - Mr Brown

Gee - Girls' Generation

Yeah this song’s got something to do with my nick name. But its too complicated to explain out here. So just go and enjoy the song (and the video :) !!).

So that’s all that I had to say about Korea today. I hope I change my cuisine preference from tomorrow (the Korean people I was working with have already left for their country!).

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Lamborghini Mystery

Disclaimer: I am bad with numbers, charts and interpreting them :) !!

My blanket statement about new Lamborghinis every week has got me thinking. The showroom I pass by everyday has approximately 5-6 cars. Assuming that 2 new cars come in to replace 2 sold every week, it makes 2*52 = 104 Lamborghinis sold every year. That's a huge number for a little red dot.

So off I went to do my research on a lazy Sunday evening. The LTA publishes the car population by model for each year. Here is a quick snapshot of the number of Lamborghinis on the island each year, in the last 10 years. As of 2009 there were 201 Lamborghinis and 294 Ferraris. To put it in perspective, I have compared it to the Ferraris. Since, apparently Lamborghini entered the car manufacturing business to build a better car than the Ferrari.

Number of Cars on the Island

Some interesting things that I discovered in the numbers. Singaporeans are indeed going crazy about the Lamborghinis (its just not me ;) !!). If I am the Ferrari marketing guy, this is something I need to worry about. The numbers also show a dip in the number of Ferraris on the island in 2003. That’s a bit weird. It means either people sold off their Ferraris to the people in adjacent countries or those cars were indeed scrapped! Wow that's lot of money in the scrap yard in one year.

Approximate number of cars sold per year Approximate Sales Growth Rate

Anyway, coming back to my so called “research”. There are only 201 Lamborghinis on the island. The maximum cars sold in a year till now is only 46 (in 2008). So 104 is indeed an impossible number. However, 1 car a week puts it to 52, which is not that far a number from 46. So I might as well be seeing a new car in the showroom every week and because of the lack of caffeine in my blood assuming that there are many new cars! Have I just discovered a highest ever sales trend of Lamborghinis out here? Hmm, only time and LTA can tell :) !! Anyway, now I am off to bed. I will put myself to sleep by counting Lamborghinis (lame joke!).

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Double Decker anomaly

So I take a double-decker bus to office everyday. Well, not that it is my only option, but somehow I find the inconvenience of leaving perfectly good single-deck buses and getting up early to get this one bus; small enough to fulfill my fascination for them.

And anyone who has ever been in a double-decker bus knows that the best seat is the one above the driver. Anywhere else and you are not really doing justice to the bus. You might as well get off and take an ordinary bus if those seats are not empty.

And then on my way to office, I pass this Lamborghini showroom that makes me go weak in my knees every time I see those gorgeous cars staring at me (remember I am seeing them from the top deck of a bus, so better view :) !! The showroom somehow manages to replenish its stock of Lamborghinis once a week. Considering that Singapore is a small country and there are only approximately 576988 cars on the road as of 2009, that's a miracle that I have not figured out yet.

However, there is this slight technical problem. The showroom is on the left of the road. So if I have to feel like a king and at the same time ogle at the cars, then the only option I got is to sit on the front left seat. Now all this while, life was good. I had my left seat to myself, I would get up early, get dressed and go wait for this prized bus of mine.

But lately there is this 6-7 year old school going kid who is causing me problems in my quest to world domination. Not only does he want to sit in the front of the bus (ok fine!) but he also wants my seat. Yeah, you got it right. MY Left seat. Its like someone trying to steal my throne.

First couple of times, I let him do that cause I felt he is a kid and he can have the pleasure. But then I figured, enough is enough. He has a longer life to live and might end up driving a Lamborghini sometime in his life (for that matter, I don’t even know why he likes the left seat – he could very well take the dumb right seat in the front of the upper deck and be happy about it!). So I started competing with him to get into the bus first and go grab the seat for a while. Unlike me, however he is small and agile and beat me to it almost everyday. (Ok I am not that slow, but yeah, I carry an office laptop and can’t really run around in the bus like he does!). But what I lacked in agility, I feigned as an act of kindness towards him. So I let him take the seat for a few more days.

But then, how many days can someone not ogle at the Lamborghinis as you pass by the showroom? That's just injustice to the cars. So now, being the nice guy I am ;), I get up half an hour early to catch the earlier double-decker, so that I can sit on the right seat, see the cars for a fraction of a second in my entire journey and then reach office half an hour before time and impress my boss as the "hard worker”. Sometimes life is just too good :) !!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Little Durian Star

Durian is amongst the first fruits you notice once you come to Singapore. Pardon me for my limited knowledge, but to me, it looks like a Jackfruit but smells like ….. Yeah you guessed right. Durians are sooo pungent that you cannot miss the presence of a Durian within 50 feet of wherever you are (and I ain’t kidding about it). The fruit smells so bad that it is officially banned on the local public transport. Anyway, God has also blessed me with a limited sense of smell and taste, and I kinda like to eat Durians (cause they remind me of Jackfruits but taste better if you ignore the smell).


There is a Durian vendor close to where I live and each time that I pass by, I am tempted to buy some. If an Apple a day keeps the doctor away, then a Durian a day keeps everybody away. If you wanna be anti-social the easiest thing to do is have a Durian early in the morning and then burp away to glory the entire day. No one would wanna talk to you anymore.

Anyway, if you have not been living under a rock, you are probably already aware of the World Expo 2010 happening in Shanghai this year. Singapore has chosen a cute little 5 year old boy named “Little Durian Star” as a mascot (I searched for the Indian mascot as well, but I couldn’t find any. Here is the Indian pavilion though). I like the way he has been given an entire personality with Hobbies, Values etc etc.

Little Durian Star is nuts about durians, but they're not readily available in the places his family travels to. To help her poor son who's always thinking about the pokey fruit all day long, Little Durian Star's mum made him a delightful little costume. And now Little Durian Star looks like a little Durian. Wherever he goes, this little king of fruits makes other children green with envy!

And his favorite food? – Durians, Laksa, Hainanese Chicken rice, Black Pepper Chilli Crab and Roti Prata :) !! (Which reminds me, I gotta write a “Girish’s guide to food” soon :) !!) Its funny though, they have not listed his favorite brand of perfumes. Some company can make a killing out of advertising their brand as “Even a Durian can smell good”.

Little Durian Star

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Finger Print Scanner

Yeah, sorry for the techie title but this thing has been bothering me for far too long to not write in my blog :) !!

The place where I work is like a hi-tech organization with all the latest gadgets for geeky minds to play with. So to be in with the times of "biometrics" all our office doors are secured shut by Finger print scanners. For the uninitiated they look like devices that got holes in them to put your finger in, to be identified as an employee.

Now, I personally don't like inserting my finger into holes where others have put their fingers in (pardon me if my imagination is running wild here but it is for obvious hygiene reasons!). I am quite ok with putting my finger in to mark my daily attendance, to get into the server room etc. But the one place where I really dread is the scanner right outside the restroom.

To start with, I haven't yet figured out the need to have a scanner to enter a bathroom. I can't think of having anything secure inside the bathroom that only people with a "legitimate reason" to be there have to enter! (Yeah before I wrote this post, I did a reconnaissance operation inside the men's room to see if I was missing something (I have not completely neglected the possibility of having a highly secure code on the toilet paper).

Statistically 23% of people do not wash their hands after relieving themselves. So statistically there are people in my organization who fit that description. And then statistically, I end up putting my finger in the same scanner after they have put in theirs (Its the same reason why you are not supposed to eat free peanuts kept in a bowl in a bar!).

Anyway, I decided I had to do something about it. So I complained to the HR and Admin department about the obvious lack of hygiene in the fingerprint scanner outside the bathroom. Luckily, they agreed, and viola, we got a hand sanitizer installed next to the scanner.

Now here comes the fun part. Hand sanitizers dispense a gooey liquid that takes time to evaporate. And scanners can only scan "dry fingers". And since most of us don't have the patience for the sanitizer to evaporate before we scan our fingers, we now have rendered a scanner useless by inserting our gooey fingers in it. The device now makes us insert our finger a couple of dozen times before it finally recognizes "Oh its you!". The sad part is, its the only place in the entire office where you are in a "rush" to get in. So much for technology!

The Big Bang Theory

So I have practically disappeared from the face of the planet for the last few days. The only place I am forced to go is office. I patiently wait for my office clock to tick 6:00 pm to run home. Reminds me of my good old days in school, when the last lecture was practically spent staring at the second hand of the school clock waiting for the magical school bell to ring.

Anyway, the reason you ask? Well well, I have been completely hooked onto the comedy sitcom "The Big Bang Theory". Its semi-geeky, very funny and I haven't been able to stop myself from watching it. I finished watching the first season in 4 evenings and I have this sleepy red-eyed look that makes everyone feel that I have been working really hard ;) !!

That also means that I haven't had the time to update my blog, eat (I have had cornflakes two times a day), wash clothes and do rest of my daily chores :) (that explains my obvious anti-social behavior)!! Haha, anyway, I am done with the first season now and before I start with a marathon second season, I thought I take a break come back to the mundane world (called reality!) and let you all know about it. If you have not yet seen the sitcom, I would highly recommend that you start watching it, and if you already have been seeing it, then I am very angry that you didn't tell me about it before ;) !!

The Problem with Teleportation

Monday, April 5, 2010


So a little known game is causing a lot of furor amongst the Bloggers that I follow in Singapore. The reason being the leader of the rebel group in the game Just Cause 2, Bolo Santosi has a Singaporean accent.

Bolo Santosi

Yeah, some Singaporeans do have an accent. Personally I don’t think Bolo’s accent is that pronounced. For that matter, I had not heard the “real Singaporean accent” till I shifted to the new place where I live now. My neighborhood is as authentic Singaporean as I can dream of. Scavenging for dinner is an interesting exercise for me these days cause most people have no clue what I am ordering for (yeah my terrible Indian accent), and I don’t bother to think about what gets served in my plate later. As long as things don't start creeping out of my bowl, I guess I will be fine.

Singlish Chat

Most places I have visited always have had Indians around me. So I never felt like an alien before. But these days, I am actually like the only Indian guy out there. I get those “hey look at the alien playing with chopsticks” glances!

And since I started with accents, I thought I end with this funny video of Russell Peters about the Indian accent.

Indian Accent

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Gaga gugu

Have had the privilege of staying with a 1 year old for sometime and thought I give my expert opinion on the subject ;)

Even though the kid hasn’t gone beyond basic sounds that range from “waaaaah”, “dah dah dah” “na na” to the very complex “kot kot kot” (which do not make sense in most of the languages that we speak with him), we as adults have already started speaking to him like 2 year olds. So all “r”s are pronounced as “l”s and “s”s are pronounced as “sh”s. A hypothetical Girish Singh would now be called Gilish Shingh (I hope you get my point!).

Today, I am proposing a new corollary. It goes – “Kids speak like they do because adults do not speak like adults to them”. If you think of it, I have never seen an adult speak like an adult with a kid. We always try to sound cute and make funny noises and sounds to them (If you don’t believe me, try recording yourself when you speak to a toddler, and then later play it back!). At the time when they are trying to learn a new language they end up sounding the way they do cause we speak gibberish to them.

And if this blog post sounds without purpose and out-of-the blue for you, well it is! I have been staring at my screen for the last one hour thinking of something witty to write, and this is the only thing I could come up with!! Well, well, while I am writing I generally listen to something in the background (yeah music somehow spurts my creativity – or I like to think of it that way!). But lately I have realized that I am stuck in the late 90s as far as my music taste goes (Uncle tendencies!). To update myself with what's happening in the music scene now, I decided to listen to Lady Gaga. So rest of the hour was spent watching her videos than listening to her. Then I finally put this blog post together. Anyway, I ain’t putting any of her videos here. If you are a guy, I would highly recommend you go watch them as well. I would just put Christopher Walken’s (Don’t I love my uncles!) rendition of her Poker face here:

Christopher Walken - Poker Face

And if you don’t remember Christopher Walken, then you should see his Weapon of Choice dance for Fatboy Slim. So what is the lesson for today you ask? Next time when you write a blog post – do not pretend to listen to “new” music!