Saturday, December 31, 2011


So some scientists have found out that people can be identified by the butt prints that they leave on their seats. If we aren’t already being tracked enough by the social networks, location tracking mobile phones and cookies planted graciously in our browsers here and there, now the places where we park our butts will also start recognizing us. And life as we know it will change forever.

Imagine going to a restaurant with these butt identifying seats. By then, I am sure the Facebook Graph API will be available to be used everywhere. The moment I park my butt into a seat, the restaurant will automatically post on my wall saying – “Girish is sitting in this restaurant and eating blah blah”. If I am unlucky enough it would also know what I order all the time, order the same and update my fitness tracking app with the calories that I consumed.

People around me will also be Butt-IDed so Facebook will remind me – “The guy on the table besides you is your friend’s friend”. (After all we are separated by 3.74 degrees of separation from anyone in the entire world!)

Every club I go to will have bouncers with Butt-ID scanners. these will be simple devices on which you will be asked to sit to identify yourselves. So a burly looking gentleman twice my size would politely say, “Sir, may I see your butt please?”

Celebrity seats – seats that have been seated on years before by a celebrity, would become tourist attractions. You would have random seats all over the world saying “Lady Gaga Butt-IDed here” or “Do you wanna park your butt on the seat that Justin Bieber sat on?”. Then we would have celebrity-crazy tweens shelling out bucks to sit and take pictures to eventually put them back again on Facebook. Wow life is gonna be soo cool!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Endorsements gone wrong

In India, cricket is a religion (luckily without any reservations) and cricketers are Gods (Yeah its polytheistic). So these Gods of ours, other than controlling our destinies, sorrows and happiness also make us buy stuff. Cricketing endorsements make a major chunk of the advertising budget in India.

My marketing professor always said that if nothing else works in advertising – sex can sell anything. So our cricketing legends are the Indian equivalent of the legendary naked women. They can sell anything. Period.

The funniest endorsements that some of them have done are – fairness creams, inverters, engine oil, clothes whiteners, Mysore Sandal Soap, Toothpastes, Biscuits etc. !! For people who have forgotten, there was this legendary advertisement about a cricketer’s mom calling him up while he was on the field!

Sehwaag ki maa ka phone!

Anyways, entire of last week I have been hearing this new advertisement of a cricketer trying to sell me anti-virus software. The jingle goes “Trusted by the best”. Now I have no problems in him endorsing software. But its wrong to call a cricketer to be an expert in security software. Its like using Bill Gates to endorse a cricket bat.

Trusted by the best

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Caught in an affair

So I have a fairly common Indian name. I didn’t get statistics about number of Girishs in the world, but I am sure we are a considerable number. Now, considering that I started using Gmail while it was still in beta and was open for limited people, I got a prized email handle (Username). My definition of prized email ids are those in which I don't have to put numbers, last names or funny sounding acronyms that make no sense. I am sure years later I will be able to sell it to a rich Girish who will pay me handsomely to get this handle. Then I can retire from my day time job and write here all day and all night long.

A quick ego search about other Girishs did reveal to me an interesting Girish. I have been listening to his music all of yesterday and he is real good. Anyway, I think I am straying away from my core topic – the prized email handle.

Having this rare email address entitles me to get some misdirected emails. Other than a lot of interesting spam, I do get legitimate sounding emails which are continued conversations of other Girishs (which always start with “As discussed with you on phone…” and then an attachment which I dare not open). So I am Girish bhai, Girish dada, Girish bhaiya, Girish sahab, Girish sir, Girish uncle and a whole lot of other objectives. I have learnt to ignore most of the emails. I guess only twice I have replied to the senders – once when it was a bank statement (but they STILL continue to send me this legendary Girish’s credit card statement) and the second time was when some unsuspecting Girish gave my email address as his on his PAN card.

Anyways, these days a lovelorn and rather weird Girish has bitterly quarrelled with his girlfriend. This girlfriend of his has now retorted to sending him emails (apparently because he is not logging into the messenger). Now the problem is – this lover boy never bothered to give her his true email address. So she is spewing abuse all over the emails that she sends to me. Imagine my dilemma – if I reply saying I am not the right guy she is spewing venom at, I might end up embarrassing her and also, my mom told me to never talk to strangers. If I don’t reply, she thinks her Girish is ignoring her and her abuse is intensifying day by day. Anyway, God has given me the unique gift of being ultra patient (and lazy), and I will wait out her abuse till she gets a new boyfriend and dumps this Girish.

Sometimes it makes me wonder – life can be so interesting even if you just login to the internet everyday!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Scientific understanding

As a school going kid, I did understand my elementary physics quite well. But during my time, in school, physics barely touched upon particle physics. With the recent invasion of The Big Bang Theory and the Large Hadron Collider, I felt woefully inadequate with my understanding of particle physics in general, and the Higgs Boson particles and Theory of relativity in particular.

The Big Bang Theory

While browsing through books at a bookstore, I chanced upon a book titled – “Why does E=mc2?”. Now, I generally don’t do any book reviews, but to set context I would like to say that it is a perfect book for a guy like me who wishes to know a bit about particle physics without getting into the gory details of the mathematics behind it.

With my complete disconnect from physics lately, it took me quite a while and effort to get through this book. Though the authors have gone to a great extent to simplify things, my peanut sized brain still had issues with understanding the concepts. I literally had to read each and everything over and over again, many a times highlighting stuff and looking for it on the internet to really understand what each theory stands for. After 4 long months of arduous study, I kinda got what the book says, mostly about – space-time, theory of relativity, nuclear fusion and fission, standard model of particle physics, properties of fundamental particles, Feynman diagrams etc . (Well, before I go any further, I think I need to clarify my degree of understanding. If you are a particle physicist reading this blog, then I understand nothing, nada, zilch. I am a complete noob. I can just shake my head and say “I have heard those terms”. If you are my grandma reading my blog, then well, I can actually sit and talk about those terms for hours together and try to confuse you while I get confused at the same time.)

Most of the book (and if I mistake not – the theory of relativity as well) however is based on the assumption that no particle can travel faster than the cosmic speed limit, which incidentally also happens to be the speed of light. So finally, when I reached the last page of the book, I was ecstatic to have figured out at least a bit of particle physics. However the day I finished reading the book I read in our newspapers that scientists have discovered that neutrinos can travel faster than light.

Now, I know its still open for scientific scrutiny and the results of the experiment might be proven to be wrong later someday. But imagine if its not. Imagine – 4 months of efforts wasted trying to understand a theory which was going to be disproved the day I finished reading it. I am already dejected, not because a huge discovery of far reaching implications has been made, but because the lazy me had to spend so much time to read something which was ultimately going to be cast in a shadow of doubt! I should have waited till the experiments at the LHC were all done and we came up with a final theory which explains everything for lazy bums like me. Sigh!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

5 Indianisms that every non-Indian should know

We are a billion strong nation. And a foreign country ruled us for years together and made us learn English. So, we picked it up in our own way. Sprinkling English with words we felt appropriate and accent that came naturally to us. Over the period of time, we went to other countries, we worked to “blend” and sound like them. But then, we still stick to a few of our favorite words, that we refuse to let go. Here is my list of Indian words that I still occasionally use, though I am fully aware that they are wrong.

Passed out – So I passed out of MBA in 2010. When we say “passed out” we actually mean we graduated. If you think that we lost consciousness when we graduated, yeah we were so ecstatic that we really did. So stop smirking there each time when I say I passed out.

Expired – Yeah Indians expire. We don't pass away. We all have an expiry date and when we reach that date we just expire. Yeah, I was not born, I had a date of manufacturing.

Couple of – When I say “I did a couple of presentations” or when I say “I met her a couple of times” it means – I did many presentations and I met her many times. Just because you think couple means twice, doesn't mean that I mean it that way. Even after 100s of emails, it will still remain – I sent him a couple of emails.

Lakhs of – When I say there are lakhs of people in my town. I mean hundreds of thousands of. We measure 100,000 as 1 lakh. So each time I say “lakh” remember – 1 lakh = 0.1 million don't give me that quizzical look.

Prepone – Just because you can postpone meetings, so can I prepone them. What's wrong in it? We think of pone as an event. If I move things beyond pone – I postpone them. So if I bring them before pone, I am preponing them.

How can you think any of this is wrong when 1 in 6 people in the world actually say it?

Sunday, November 13, 2011


When I was young, I had this bad habit of collecting stuff from places I visited. My innocent self felt that they would serve as fond memories of places (or interesting things that I had done) in my older age.

But now that I am old, I have realized that all these trinkets, ticket stubs and maps of places are nothing but an absolute waste of space. Not only do I never open them to “re-live those memories” but also, I have ended up having far too many memories. They now occupy so much space in my cupboard that my present is in danger of lying on the floor.

Every time that I found some interesting collectible, I just dumped it into this area “for staring at it longingly in the future”. The problem with this area was – now I had no clue what was there in it. It had become so unmanageable, that I dreaded to venture into it. Anyway, today I finally dawned my mask and off I ventured where no man has gone before.

Now the place where I live in is generally very humid. So everything that is not touched for a while gets covered in mold-like stuff. I am sure if I decide to sleep for a week doing nothing, I too would be covered by some mold with some mushrooms growing off me. Anyway, after hours of digging around through the fungi covered rubble, I figured that there was not much that I wanted to hold on as memories going forward. The stuff I liked was already damaged, and the rest was not worth keeping. Yeah I know I am cold-hearted, but I figured there was no point keeping them just so that I throw them off later someday (that someday never comes!).

So what was the weird and interesting stuff I held on so long? Lots and lots of refrigerator magnets. I had so many of them that to actually put them all, I would probably have to buy a few fridges. Then there were ticket stubs of amusement park rides, places of interest, bus tickets, train tickets, air tickets, boat tickets etc. And then dozens of press-a-penny souvenirs. I also found a few single chopsticks (mind you – they don’t form a pair!) and a few dozen wine bottle corks (At one point in time – I envisioned myself dabbling in cork-art). If this was not enough I had stones (yeah stones!), dried leaf samples and wilted flower samples! The most interesting bits that I found was – I had a Matryoshka doll that I bought at this fort. Unfortunately as of writing this blog post, I already managed to break the doll into pieces while trying to open her up.

All said and done, I am left with no more memorabilia. Now all I have is fond memories and lots of fungi all over my clothes.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Google Platform

I have not signed up for Google+ yet. But the more I think about it, I think Google has really nailed this one super right.


Google+ tightly integrated with Google Chrome, Chromebooks, and +1 API is slowly going to become a platform, an operating system a core of everything that we do online. It is going to be our unique identity across all Google properties and subsequently the internet. And when I think about it,  whether I like it or not Google is still my main point of entry into the big bad world of the internet. And how you ask?

Google Chrome

I start browsing online through my browser – Chrome (I still use Firefox, but considering that 82% of Mozilla’s revenue comes from Google, the browsers are technically “influenced” by Google). The first website I go to is – Gmail (to check my emails) and then chat with anyone who is online on Gtalk. There after I open my Google Reader (to catch up on my daily dose of feed-updates). If I have to search for something I go to Google (images, text, news or whatever!). And anywhere on the internet if I find anything interesting I +1 it.


When I am on the move, I use my phone (I have an Android (Google) based phone). All my contacts are automagically synced with my Google Contacts. Any photos I take are uploaded to Picasa (another Google product). All my meetings and birthday reminders are synchronized with my Google Calendar. I use Google Maps to get directions and when I am bored, I see YouTube videos. If I were in the US, I would be using Google Checkout and Google Music. When I wish to rant about the big bad world I write on Blogger (yeah another Google product) and if you are subscribed to my RSS Feeds or Emails, they are delivered by Feedburner (another Google product). I use Google docs to store all my important documents, and I use Google Finance to keep an eye on all the stocks that I am interested in. The point I am trying to make is – Google products are entrenched in my life everywhere.

And mind you – the main source of Google’s income – 97% (Google Adwords) is neatly embedded in each and everyone of these products and is tracking me and my habits and already providing me relevant advertising and making money. Google Adwords as a third-party plugin is also used on many websites all around the interweb to provide advertisements. With the plugin for the +1 buttons, Google has also started monitoring me at non-Google sites. Now, if Google forces me to have a single identity across all of its own products (it is already doing that – I lost my old Blogger, Feedburner, YouTube accounts) and sooner or later if that identity becomes my g+ login – I end up being a g+ user even if I don't sign up for it explicitly. And that unique g+ identity will be used across the internet by Google.

Comparing g+ to any other social-networking website is doing grave injustice to it. Its not “just” a social-network. It is more like your identity online. Google can simple make g+ the underlying thread (platform) connecting all of these properties (which it is already doing) and in no time it not only has a well established social-network but also a super engaged community using it. The friendly bar that you are seeing on all your Google properties these days is a sign of that community that is going to come (and have you noticed that the “Logoff” option is neatly tucked away).

Google Bar

To give an analogy to things that you do on Facebook today here is how I think it would pan out: All my current contacts in Google (and Android) will automagically get into different circles of my g+ identity. That takes care of the biggest obstacle for a social networking website – making people signup! Facebook photos (the biggest source of photos on the planet now) will be competing with Picasa. Picasa is already tightly integrated with GMail and my Desktop (I am sure a few of you have used the Windows based Picasa which actually scans my entire hard-drive and recognizes my friends from long lost photos). Integrate that with Google+ and I am sure it will go a long way. My +1s will come on your g+ timelines and that will compete with Facebook Like. All the current hullabaloo about social search will be taken care of by the +1 buttons as well. So the URLs that have been +1ed by your friends would appear higher in your search results. Also Facebook chat has a formidable competitor in GTalk. And messaging is best handled by GMail already. Finally, all the feeds that I liked on Google Reader are now necessarily +1ed and can also be shared in my g+ circles.

The few things that Google is left to develop in g+ is Social games (I am sure they are working on it) and have a vibrant third party developer community on it (this rant kind of talks in detail about it!). g+ could also become the singular platform for commenting (like Disqus!) on Blogger, YouTube and on blogs hosted through Wordpress, Typepad etc through a plugin and its pretty much all the identity I need anywhere. Google Checkout and g+ will aid in tracking my buying behaviour as well.

Chrome could then be further tweaked to save my browsing profile attached to my g+ profile. So even before I get onto the internet, I would login to g+ to get the right set of features in my browser, and possibly start browsing from the point where I last left off when I closed my chrome browser. Android and g+ will also make a superb combination – with me being in a position to share specific location based updates with circles of friends on g+ that I choose to.

Emails still are our favourite mode of communication. Also Google docs is awesome for collaboration. Google Calendar + Google Maps + Google Hangout will make arranging events easier! Top that up with Google sites, Blogger and Reader, I think g+ is so far ahead in this game that it is not really competing with anyone. And don't forget the fact that Google has lots of cash on hand. Any property that it buys next will also be deeply integrated into this g+ platform.

Finally, Google is making g+ available for Google Apps for Business. This would mark the first entry of a social-networking platform into business (Yeah chatter was technically the first, but I have never used it). Having g+ across an organization tightly integrated with its email (GMail) and document sharing platform (Docs) will do wonders to the socially active  employees.

The question of monetization without being evil remains. That is a tricky bit I am not sure how Google is going to handle. However, monetization through advertising is one thing that Google can do and is better at, than any other social networking website. Sorry for this long rant. I have been reading a lot of blogs about the imminent death of g+, and I thought I need to voice my thoughts somewhere!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Procedural Problem

A security guard at the entrance to an organization that I know of, is expected to check each individual’s bag while that person leaves the premises. The checking is done in order to deter people from stealing things from the premises.

Now, if the firm is engaged in the business of software services, the only “thing” of value that an employee can probably steal on her way out is electronic data/ software/ source code. So the security guard has been given strict instructions to check for electronic data storage devices that are easily visible – CD/DVDs, USB data sticks and Mass storage devices.

Most organizations in India employ the services of a third party contractor for security services. This means that the security guard at the entrance, is a low-paid not-so-techno-savvy individual. As taught in the rule book, she routinely and religiously checks for the artefacts that I mentioned above. And since she is a low-paid employee – she dares not to question the senior management of the company on their way out.

This to me, looks like an elaborate security theatre. The numerous obvious flaws in the system are laughable. Here is a simple list that I could conjure, but I am sure an evil minded civilian can probably come up with a lot more:

  • An average smartphone these days has an internal memory of 16 GB. However, phones are still assumed to be only used to make phone calls
  • Memory cards, data cards, and other esoteric looking data storage devices do not raise a suspicion
  • The average employee that is checked is always the low level employee. The worst offense that she can do probably is take her own code home. This offense is less damaging to the organization than the senior management employee leaking confidential financial and or strategy numbers to the competitors
  • Company laptops are not considered as mass storage devices. So you can easily carry GBs of data home through them and you will not be questioned. Mind you – all employees are Administrators of their laptops and can easily transfer data out of them

All said and done, we still go through the same mindless routine everyday. And this routine is not just restricted to this organization. An average person with a car, going to a mall or an public place in India is faced with a similar ordeal. Private security guards at parking lot entrances will make you open your car’s boot to check for explosive devices.

Without questioning their competence at detecting bombs “visually” (I am sure that's a herculean feat) I still have not figured out what they actually look for. I have had suitcases, boxes and other potentially suspicious articles in my boot, and have been let off without ever being questioned. And the explosives in the boot concept is so strictly followed that you can have anything else looking fairly suspicious anywhere else in your car, and the security guard wont be alarmed. This fairly useless routine has already been gamed once and we still continue going through it. My car has been through the atrocities so many times, that these days my boot’s pneumatic pistons (that hold it open) refuse to operate.

I am no security expert, but I am sure there are better ways to handle such threats. I would love to quote Bruce Schneier here – “And if I were investing in security, I would invest in intelligence and investigation. The best time to combat terrorism is before the terrorist tries to get on an airplane”.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Aisle placement

People who shop regularly in shopping malls (which means all of you!) already know that product placement on aisles is a science, and a lot of thought is given to – which product goes where.

Now without getting into the details – products at your eye level are generally paid to be placed there by the manufacturer or for selling them off faster. On the other hand, staples (things that you would buy irrespective of where they are placed – salt, sugar, medicines … ) are placed on lower or higher aisles. Also same products with different expiry dates are kept in the FIFO way so that people pick up the older items before they go for the newer ones (that are kept at hard to reach places!).

The problem with all these intelligent placement algorithms is – even morons like me know about them. So naturally, when we go shopping, we try to game the system. I always reach out for the hard to reach places to search for “fresh” stuff. The problem for the shopping malls though is – everyone does that. The old stuff just becomes older and everyone picks up the fresh stock from behind. Even after discounting products to sell off the older stuff, people just take the discount on the newer items off the aisle!

So the owner of the grocery mall that I go to now has adopted a random placement policy. Even if you reach for the most difficult corner, you can’t be sure that you will get fresh stuff there. First few weeks, people unknowingly picked up older stock by reaching for the back. But these days, we (the shoppers) have become smarter. We actually go through the pains of handling all the items, checking their expiry dates and then picking up the freshest ones. Not only this makes the aisles all crowded (with each one of us spending a longer time searching!), but it also now has made the entire mall a messy place (with people keeping the items here and there to just search for the best!). This also has led to a lot of items getting damaged. I pity the owner, by trying to game the shoppers, that person ended up damaging goods and taking higher losses!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Radio Addiction

These days I religiously listen to the local FM radio stations at least for 2 hours everyday. An hour on my commute to office and an hour back. Now people who drive through traffic everyday know that radio is a welcome distraction. For everybody’s sake, these are the channels that I get out here in Navi Mumbai:

  1. 91.1 MHz Radio City
  2. 92.7 MHz Big FM
  3. 93.5 MHz Red FM
  4. 94.3 MHz Radio One
  5. 98.3 MHz Radio Mirchi
  6. 100.7 MHz AIR Gold FM
  7. 104.0 MHz Fever
  8. 104.8 MHz Oye!
  9. 107.1 MHz FM Rainbow

Now my general observation is – in a half an hour interval a normal station plays close to 4 songs. The rest of the time I am made to listen to advertisements. And then there is always the over enthusiastic and chirpy RJ who is trying to pep me up by talking about all the amazing stuff that is out there. And then there are the self proclaimed citizen journalists or moral police who have something to complain about our city. Finally the RJ would ask you to call in and voice your opinion. Then I get to listen to a few disgruntled people who think that the entire system is out to get them ( I ain’t complaining, yeah but I don’t really enjoy that part). .

Of the 4 songs that I listen to in that half hour interval, the probability of me actually liking more than 2 of them is pretty low. Even if I switch the channels, I get to listen to the same routine over and over again across all the channels. Many a times, I switch over and over and just listen to advertisements everywhere during my entire commute.

Now the thing that really interests me is – even though I know that I ain’t gonna get to listen to some good music, I still tune in to the radio absolutely everyday! If I pop in a portable music player, I know for sure which songs its gonna have, and I know for sure that I can put in only the songs that I like, for my commute.

And this is where the internet comes to my rescue. Apparently, we all like unexpected surprises. Apparently, in a study conducted on monkeys, it was observed that the dopamine levels in their brains went up, each time they got an unexpected surprise (the key is “unexpected” here). So in an hour, even if I get to listen to 1 song that I like, the dopamine levels in my brain go up. And just to get that sudden surge of dopamine in my brain because of that unexpected song I hear, I listen to this long torture every single day. Tch, tch, the things we do for pleasure!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Administrative efficiency

I belong to a generation of drivers in India when the driving licenses were written by hand and looked like a small book. After 12 years of driving around while carrying it in my pocket and through sweat, rain, mud and other elements of nature, it was tattered beyond recognition. So I decided to upgrade myself to the latest state-of-the-art Smart-card based driving license that the state government introduced a few years ago.

The Shiny New Driving License

Like I have already mentioned before, going to government offices in India is generally considered a nightmare. So we got agents everywhere (even outside the offices itself!) that promise to make your life easy. Most of them reign on FUD and tell you that its almost impossible to do any activity in a Government office without paying a bribe or spending insane amounts of time and several visits. So the naturally gullible citizen decides to pay the agent upfront to get her work done.

Now the brave soul I am, I have been experiencing India (Mumbai) in its element for a while now. So I decided, I take time off my priceless routine and actually experience how bad this license change procedure actually is.

The RTO in Vashi is situated inside the APMC (Sec-19) (not welcoming to begin with). I chose Tuesday morning as a strategic time to visit. Saturdays are nightmare to go to Government offices. There is a spill over crowd from the weekend that keeps Mondays busy. So generally Tuesday and Wednesday mornings are the best times to go.

When I reached the office, I was pleasantly surprised to see hardly any crowd. I approached an officer who helpfully guided me through the procedure. This is very unlike public perception that Government officials are rude. Well, to be fair, he was not all smiling and happy – but then I am not expecting that level of pretentious service from them. He even went through the pains of fixing my form for me (wherever I had left the simple form empty!).

He asked me to then go to the payment counter. I was assuming, I would be asked to pay more than the receipt (corruption for morons). But they charged me 250 rupees and provided me with a receipt for the same! That too with no complaints for not providing exact change (its a sin to carry higher value notes).

The receipt

Then, I was redirected to a room where my photo, thumb print and signature were taken. There too the lady official was sweet enough to warn me in advance “Sir, your photo will be taken now”. Most places where my ID photos are taken, I am caught unawares so my photo makes me look like a convict. Here, I could smile like an ape with a banana in his hand (well that part is my fault not theirs). She also asked me to verify that my signature made sense (cause you have to write on a touch-sensitive electronic pad!). Then she told me that the driving license would be delivered to my home address and I could go home now!

Total time in RTO office = 20 minutes. Total time spent by me in filling the form = half of it. I am mighty impressed by the way our RTO works. I am sad to see an article in DNA India that they did not have a similar experience in Andheri RTO.

Exactly 3 days later, I got my shiny new license in my mail delivered to my doorstep. Just for kicks, I asked a local agent how much would he charge me to get my license renewed. He said 1000 rupees. That's 4 times the amount that the RTO actually charges, and that too for doing nothing special!

The Envelope

Welcome to the new India. Like I said before, India at grassroots is not as corrupt as it is at the higher levels in the administration.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Biology was never my subject of choice in school. Except for the birds and the bees part of it, I found everything else fairly boring. Last week however, I had the chance to do some research on a flower, so I thought I share with you some of my new found knowledge.

In India there is a flower popularly known as the “Brahma-Kamal”  which literally translated would stand for Brahma (the Hindu God of creation) Lotus the flower(And for a moment if you visualized Brahma whizzing around in a Lotus (car), don’t worry, you are not alone!). Now my knowledge of Brahma’s relation to the lotus is limited to the fact that he is supposed to be sitting in a lotus that grew out of Vishnu’s (the Hindu God of preservation) navel. Anyway, this flower is supposed to bring good luck. It blooms rarely and it blooms and wilts over one night. My mom has had the flowering plant potted for close to 5 years now and we never had a chance to see it bloom, till last week.

After seeing a bud, we were obviously excited, and we were all prepared for the flower to bloom. I took out my camera only to realize that it was no longer working. Luckily I could borrow a camera (Sony DSC-H10) from a friend of mine and all the pictures that I took are thanks to him. The funny part is – his camera was so sophisticated that however hard I tried, the flash kept whitewashing my entire image and I couldn’t take a picture at all. Finally I came up with this stupid idea that I would light the flower using an ordinary white-light based emergency lamp and then take pictures with the flash off. The pictures have been put here for your viewing pleasure.

The pseudo BrahmakamalDutchman's Pipe

Another angleClose up

Now for some trivia. Being the wanna-be geek I am, I obviously did some googling around before posting this blog. Apparently, the flower that is actually termed the “Brahmakamal” is Saussurea obvallata and is found in the Himalayas. It looks like the one shown below:

The real Bramhakamal

The flower that grew in our house was actually  a Epiphyllum oxypetalum (also known as Dutchman’s pipe, Night queen or Nishigandhi). It is a type of cactus (a variety of nightblooming Cereus). And there goes away all my luck! How I wish I hadn’t googled and remained happy with the fact that there was indeed good luck blooming in our house!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sweaty encounter

Bumped into some more celebrities this weekend. However since I have already finished my quota of celebrity spotting on this blog, I think I will let you know a retro celebrity incident that happened to me a long while ago.

For the few of you who do not know, I am quite a pseudo-adventure junkie. By pseudo I mean, I love adventure, but I am such a chicken that I do things that I know are statistically safe. So I don’t do death defying stunts, but I like things like sitting on a roller coaster and shouting away to glory.

Reverse Bungee

Singapore (at that time) just had 2 adventurous things to do for the roller coaster aficionado – a Reverse Bungee and an Extreme swing. Being a student also entitled me to a student discount. That's the reason I did that quite a few times (yeah call me a cheapskate). One of the times while I was standing in a queue and was just about to sit on the Reverse Bungee, a bunch of burly guys came out of no where, pushed me aside and let through a petit looking guy who at that time seemed a bit weird to me. I was annoyed obviously (after having waited in anticipation and building up all the excitement it was obviously disheartening). Also Singaporeans are generally so disciplined  that even if in the middle of a busy mall you start walking behind a random person, everyone around you will all of a sudden start following you two in a single file line (very much unlike my Mumbai).

But when the guy got onto the ride, I suddenly noticed a lot of 16 something girls shouting out to him. That's the time I realized the entire place behind me was packed with at least 100 odd girls who were screaming at the top of their voice some name that I could not decipher. I figured he must be some sort of a rock star musician from a boy band. I meekly waited for him to finish his ride.

Now people who have sat on a roller coaster know that once the ride starts, you involuntarily start shrieking and shouting. I could see his face, he was shit scared, but still he had to put up a brave face for all his pretty fans. I can go all “Mom I wanna pee, I wanna pee” on a roller coaster and no one would even bother to see who is saying that.

Anyways after the ride was over and he was done waving to his fans and blowing kisses he walked down to me and actually said, “Thanks bud” and shook my hand. Now, I still don’t have a clue who he was, but that was the first time in my life that 100 odd gals looked at me (well yeah they were disappointed why they weren’t lucky enough to get to shake hands with this guy!). Anyways, his hands were sweaty, so I just smiled and casually wiped my hands on my friend’s shirt while he was not looking.

I will always wonder, which celebrity I actually shook sweaty hands with!

Monday, September 5, 2011

The gloved threat

The Central Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006 (India) has now mandated that all people handling food will have to wear aprons and gloves. If someone is found violating the rule, they would be fined up to Rs. 100,000 (close to $2500).

The interesting part though is – there is no mandate on how often should the gloves be changed (or if they have to be changed at all!). I know of a food vendor (who incidentally serves my lunch everyday) who dons a plastic glove early in the morning and reuses the same glove the entire day (or rather I doubt he has ever even bothered to buy a new one). Rather than only handling food (which I believe is the intent of the glove), he handles everything and anything from tables, chairs, pens, plates, spoons and worst – currency notes! Now, research has proved several times that currency notes are carriers of all kinds of disease causing bacteria.

If this is not enough, I have seen him scratch and do all sorts of funny stuff with his gloved hand. We believe that putting oil in our hair nourishes them. This vendor religiously oils his hair everyday. Having done so (and Mumbai being a warm and humid city) his scalp too itches at times. This sensation is relieved by him by gently scratching with his gloved hand.

Sometimes I wonder, if he had directly used his bare hands, I am sure he might have washed them once a while and kept them cleaner than the way he treats his plastic gloves. I have pointed out to him on several occasions that he shouldn’t be handling money and food with the same hand. But he gives me that typical Indian look that says “Dude, are you from a foreign country? This is as hygienic that I can be!” (For the Bambaiya’s he literally means – “Khane ka to kha, nahi to nikal patli gali se”).

Sigh, another well intentioned policy, that is bound to be misused again.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The pink umbrella

I bought a state-of-the-art Japanese umbrella (or that’s what the vendor claimed to charge me a premium) in Singapore last year. It is big. So big that I can accommodate an entire cricket team along with the 2 umpires under it and we still can have a celebration. And then it can be folded down to put into my back-pocket when I am carrying it around. Its super cool so much so that I could use it as a pick-up line – “Do you wanna see my umbrella?”

Anyway, I bought this magic wand to Mumbai. I have been using it on and off in light rain. The first time I took it out in Mumbai torrential rains (we term it downpour, and it literally is – Mumbai rains are like someone in the sky turning a huge bucket of water all on your head at once!), that was the last time it ever worked. Now it is all broken and if I try to open it, the umbrella drapes around me like a burka.

Rains are expected to subside by the mid of next month. So I am not thinking of doing a capital investment in a umbrella now. I thought I borrow my mom’s umbrella. Now the problem with her umbrella is – it is small (I can hardly fit my stomach inside it) and it is pink. Pink as in bright baby pink. Now with the "I don’t care attitude" that I have lately developed, I thought it was okay to carry a pink umbrella and go to the crowded city (and for added effect, I was also singing Umbrella by Rihanna).

I was wrong. Absolutely everybody on the street turned around to look at me. I think the sight of a big fat guy with a pink umbrella didn’t gel well with the rest of the crowd, and I kinda stood out. My macho image suddenly got a huge beating. So to salvage the rest of my pride, I closed the umbrella and walked in the pouring rain. I held it in my hand as if I was carrying someone else’s umbrella. The pains a guy has to go through! Tch tch. Now I have decided to invest in a guy-umbrella, even if its for a day!

Monday, August 22, 2011

New species

Lately, I have been noticing a new species on Mumbai roads. The species resembles the females of the human race but are characterized by a mobile communication device either stuck directly  or wirelessly to their ear. They can be seen walking randomly, aimlessly and completely oblivious of their surroundings.

The species walks and talks oblivious of the fact that it is right in the middle of a busy traffic junction, in the middle of a busy street, or in a shopping mall blocking everybody’s way. For this species, everything around them is a nice quite garden with flowers, birds and bees for their company.

Now assuming that most long duration calls happen between members of the opposite sex, I always wonder, why don't I see equal number of men on the roads walking dreamily with their mobile phones to their ears? This thing has been bothering me for a while. And here is what I have concluded.

The sex ratio in Mumbai is amongst the lowest in India (838 girls per 1000 guys). That means there are a lot of suitors per eligible girl in Mumbai. Being the nice girls they are, every guy who approaches them is given an equal opportunity to prove his worth. So every gal has to entertain so many phone calls in a day and patiently listen to every suitor as he tries to prove his superiority over the other guy.

Considering that its a competition, guys sit in a calm, secure place away from all distractions and call up the gals. The gals on the other hand have to handle so many calls (as they are nice) that they cant sit at a place and take the call. That's why I see many of them walking around dreamily.

So next time when you are driving or walking in a public area, please do not lose your patience, they are just doing good to the males of our species.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Doggie days

India is a very dog friendly country. Especially in Mumbai these days if you are a dog, we take care of your food shelter and clothing (Hmm, may be not clothing – cause I didn’t come across a dog who was shy for being naked).

Food – We throw our garbage on the road. Even if we put it in the municipality provided dustbins, we make sure that we keep the lids open. So all the dogs can get in and eat at their will. Then we have dog lovers who on their morning walk serve left overs from yesterday to all the dogs that they meet on their way.

Shelter – we provide our crazily parked cars. Ever car has a dog sleeping under it. So each time before we get into a car we bend down and request the dog for permission to take away its shelter. Then of course we have all these covered sheds built here and there especially for all our doggy neighbours to sleep. Also in the nights, human beings are not allowed to walk on the streets. Doggies fiercely guard their shelters in the night (may be for little doggies to sleep – or may be they do not like humans invading their sense of privacy). After all, how many of us would like to have dogs in our bedrooms when we get all intimate?

But, all this food and shelter has made the rest of our roads (the ones left after the parked cars and the cordoned off areas by doggie pee markings) doggie dropping zones. So doggies attend their nature’s calls on the only strip of land left for pedestrians. So if you go out for a nice evening walk, either you smear your shoes in doggie droppings or else you hop, skip, jump around town. No wonder Indians who go for a walk are healthier than people who go to the gym.

If you are an exploited dog reading this blog and living in any other part of the world, please come down to Mumbai and I will be happy to help you.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Porter’s 5 forces

So I have had the unique opportunity to interview a few MBAs to recruit for my company in the last few weeks. Being a techie in my jobs before, interviewing was fairly simple. You have a set of your favourite programming related questions that you ask. If the candidate can answer 50% of them, you select her, else bye bye.

Recruiting MBAs however for me has been very difficult so far. You are expected to evaluate their analytical and other MBA skills (read soft skills!). Now these skills are pretty difficult to decipher if you don’t lead the interview properly. Like most of you already know, most “MBA types” are very good at speaking and can very well lead you to their comfort zones in an interview.

Now, as a part of any MBA education, I am sure we go through a dozen or so different frameworks in each subject which aid in analysing or predicting certain factors. So be it Marketing, Finance, Strategy, Operations or Human Resources, there are a set of frameworks that have been defined and widely utilized in each of those streams.

Porter's 5 forces

However, ask any MBA to analyse anything in this big bad world and beyond, the only framework that they somehow end up utilizing is the Porter’s 5 forces (Yeah, I am exaggerating, some do use the SWOT analysis framework as well but that's all). In the last few interviews, I have seen Porter’s 5 forces being used to analyse anything and everything from company profitability, population growth of India, US debt crisis, European debt crisis to the effectiveness of the Lokpal bill. My understanding of the Porter’s 5 forces has been now so screwed up (thanks to the enterprising candidates) that I thought I sit and read the theory again to really understand what it means. Hence this blog.

If there is one thing I realized, I am never gonna use the framework in any interview ever, unless the interviewer specifically asks me to use it!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Internet Amnesia

Just read an article about how the internet is making us lose our memory. Now along with making me dumb, it is also the chief cause of memory loss (that reminds, what exactly I am writing about? Ahem, I forgot already!).

I have another thing to blame on the internet. Specifically on social networking sites. Facebook took away the charm of remembering birthdays. I used to painstakingly remember the birthdays of all my friends and wish them just so that I could make them feel good on their special day. Then Facebook came along and took away all the fun. Now everyday when I login, Facebook shouts, today is Ms Y’s birthday, go wish her!!

Now, everyday I wish a 100 people a very impersonal – “Happy birthday! Have a great day!”. Call me old, but I still miss the charm of receiving a physical card with a thoughtfully written message from my friends on my birthday. Which reminds me, just because I decided not to reveal my birthday on Facebook, most of my friends have decided that I am born no more and I have no birthdays.

Anyways, why the rant you ask? Well well, I forgot to wish a very close friend of mine on his birthday. And I have been feeling bad since then. Figured, if I blame the social networking sites, I will feel a bit better.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Rain Romantic

Long term readers of my blog know that I love driving and have this thing for rains. So when I get to drive in the rains, I generally love the feeling. But lately, nature played a very wicked trick with me about rains and driving.
My office has 3 locations in Mumbai. 2 out of the 3 are quite close to where I stay, but the third one is far far away. To reach there, I have to cross rivers, climb mountains, fight fire-breathing dragons and drive through generally very congested roads.
Last entire week, I was summoned to the farthest office. Last week, Mumbai also experienced some very heavy rain days of this season. Naturally, I was all excited about the opportunity of driving in the rain.
Water logged roads
But I realized that driving in the rain though a romantic notion is completely different from “commuting in the rain”. The romantic notion assumes that you have empty roads in front of you, the rain is falling longingly on your wind shield and everything outside is pleasant, soothing and perfect.
While you commute, it doesn’t start that romantic. You are actually racing with million others towards your place of work. So there is a sense of urgency. For my commute, after I cross the fire-breathing dragons section, I get to drive through severely damaged roads. The only reason they could be called roads are because every other car is also on that piece of broken tar. I think this is the only place in the entire world where cars make a unique sound. The sound of your suspension bottoming out. That sound comes when your suspension is so badly compressed that the top end and the bottom end touch each other. My heart goes out to the pain that the car goes through when I drive in these potholes.
Anyways, after I am done with the crater section of the road then I come to the river section. I am not joking when I say that I have to drive through at least 2 feet of standing water in sections. Sometimes I feel, I should just switch of my engine, take out a paddle and start rowing my car in the river.
After I am done with all this, the last section involves getting stuck in traffic. That congestion brings out the worst amongst each one of us. No one wants to yield and we stick to each other’s bumpers so close that even a fly can’t fly between 2 cars. Sometimes I feel if we were not termed a “civil society” we would have pushed each other off the road to go ahead.
Anyways, the last of my romantic notions of driving in the rain is dead now. I have becoming a zombie commuting on Mumbai roads. Alas! Where do I go to seek romance now?

Saturday, July 16, 2011


How to spot I have been bumming around and being lazy without doing anything at all? If you answer – by looking at my messy room – you are absolutely wrong. My room is always messy. I believe in the school of thought that says “Why should I clean my room when its going to be messy again?”

The only thing that I religiously clean every once in a while is my feed reader. Last month I have been ignoring it as well. Its soo messy now that there is no practical way for me to go through all the blog posts that are unread. Imagine! Even my favourite tech blogs – Engadget and TechCrunch have been lying unread for way too long.


Huh. That's why I need (its not a “want”, its a “need”) to be on the internet every single day. Now I have decided to do the inevitable. I am going to clear all unread blog posts in my feed reader without knowing what they ever contained. Imagine – more than a month of tech news, silicon valley gossips, takeovers, lawsuits and juicy unboxing videos will never be read. I shall never know the secrets behind Google +, the availability of Skype in Facebook and the product launches that happened in June and July 2011. Tch tch, I here by strip me off my wanna-be geek title. From now I shall just be lazy and live up to my title of the “God of procrastination”.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Its a man-thing

Other than my man-voice and man-beard, I am pretty much a chicken in man’s clothing. So you wont generally find me doing man-kind activities (if you are a damsel in distress, don't go all bachao bachao on me, I ain’t gonna come and help ya!).

That means, I don’t man-swear (f#$k, b$%ch), man-drink (hick), man-drive (zooooom), man-ride (yeah I look like a sissy on a motorbike), man-fight (I prefer running), man-flirt (yup, I suck miserably at that) or man-body build (the less I talk about this the better it is). All this, like you already guessed, hurts my fragile man-ego a lot.

So today after ages, I got to do a man-kind activity. Yeah, I changed my car’s punctured tire. Now for you man-beef guys its no big deal, but for me its been an accomplished. It took me well over 20 minutes and well, I was sweating, huffing and puffing, but I successfully pulled it off. And now my back and my wrist hurts, but well, those are minor inconveniences suffered while doing man-kind activities.

Yeah, I am that good!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Singing Sensation

Being an Indian, I am expected to sing at social gatherings, irrespective of how bad (hoarse) I sound. Its more like if you sing well – you are good, but if you sing bad (like me) then you are plain amusing. I think this is a very cultural thing. When 2 Indian people get together we bitch about the third one, and when the third one joins we sing. And if the third one is like me, we make him sing throughout the night or till he feels so embarrassed that he leaves.

Over the years, after having been the most popular singer (grrr!) in most social gatherings, I have figured there are some Hindi songs that I can sing without losing breath. I mean people still laugh, but they just LOL and don’t ROFL. So here is my list of sing-able songs for guys who bray like me. The songs are definitely very nice, but they just “can” be sung (badly) without losing your breath.

Allah Ke Bande – Kailash Kher

This song was my first chance discovery. We were on our bus trip to Las Vegas way back in 2006. Well, it was a Chinese bus tour, but all the occupants of the bus were Indians (with a Chinese tour guide!). So immediately after the bus started rolling, everyone had to sing. Now, I generally can fall asleep immediately in any moving vehicle, and I guess by the second song I was already fast asleep with my mouth wide open. Somewhere in the noon, I was jolted awaken by my co-passenger – “Girish, go go your turn to sing”. And in my semi-dozed state I sang this song. Rest they say is history (last heard the tour guide took up Zen and has retired from the tourism industry altogether).

Josh walon ko – Jagjit Singh

This one was during one of my birthdays in Uncle Sam’s land (after the bus tour). My friends forced me to sing (specifically insisting on me not singing the earlier song). I tried to sing this one. Now its a very deep and serious song. I remember all my friends were crying after I finished (the kind of tears that come when you laugh so bad that it hurts in your stomach).

Hum Bewafa Hargiz Na The - Shaan

While I was stuck in the hotel this time around (without internet), for days together I had no one to speak to. I missed hearing my own voice and decided to sing. The only song I had on my laptop then was this one. I remember singing it throughout the day on one Sunday. In the evening I realized that the entire floor in my hotel was empty. Coincidence I say, that all people checked out on the same day.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Blogger’s block

I dont exactly qualify as an “author” to have a writer’s block. But what I have been facing lately has got to do something with my inability to update my blog. I know I have had a hectic last month, but I am sure if I think hard, I could have easily made way for an hour of updating my blog. But each time that I sat down saying now I am gonna write something over here, I spent an hour seeing Lady Gaga videos and just generally fooling around on the internet.

I researched on the internet about “Blogger’s block” and if it exists. Mighty Google told me it does and I indeed came across some very well written articles about how to overcome it. Some of my veteran blogger friends might find these posts useful.

So I decided I blabber a bit here. One of the tips to overcome blogger’s block is to write outside of your niche. Now, long term readers of my blog know that my niche is – cracking fat jokes about myself. (I know I have repeated them to such an extent that most of you shun away when I open my mouth). So without further ado, I am gonna write about - Theology.

According to Wikipedia, Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths. Deep indeed. My knowledge of theology is limited to understanding its meaning. So I leave it at that.

While I was researching about my article about Theology, I chanced upon what does the ado (in without further ado) stands for. Apparently ado stands for “fuss” or “delay”. If you spell your further ado as “further adieu”, you are using the French word for goodbye. So your statements actually mean “without further goodbye”. Thanks fluffy for explaining that to me.

And this also means two other things – I came over my blogger’s block by writing this idiotic post and I actually got you interested in theology. See! Life is simple. Now if I keep this post as a draft too long, I am sure I am gonna delete it. So just as I finish this sentence I press the “Publish” button. Here it is.

Monday, May 30, 2011


I have had the unique opportunity of speaking to more than 35 users in an organization to understand their problems as a part of an assignment I did lately. Being on the other side is an interesting experience in human psychology.

Within the first 5 minutes of your interaction, you are generally aware how forthcoming the person is going to be. Especially since it was a voluntary effort on everyone’s part, some people opened up, while others expressed their displeasure assuming that it was a completely futile exercise. Some people were arrogant while few others questioned my competency.

However, one thing I realized during the entire assignment was – respect can’t be demanded, it has to be earned. I mean, I would only respect someone if that person is in a position to deserve it. In today’s world just being a senior doesn’t automatically entitle you to “respect”. Only when you open your mouth and make sense is the time we start respecting you.

This also means that as an individual, it has become important for us to be humble and let our knowledge do the talking and not our position. It is funny how few a people actually comprehend this.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


All of May I have been stuck in this one matchbox sized hotel room. I always envied people who got to stay in a hotel for long. But now that I am in a similar situation, I kinda realize how bad it can get.

Now before I start complaining, let me get the good things out. Firstly I got a very cozy king size bed all to myself. Its soo good that these days my back aches once I get up in the morning. And secondly, I get 3 fresh crisp towels everyday (or at least I think I do).

Everything else though is not so pleasant though. I got a closet that was meant for midgets to use. And I got only 3 hangers. This means most of my clothes have to be kept in my bag. And to make it more convenient, I got no iron in my room. Everyday morning I gotta go to the ironing room (a shady little room 5 floors below where I stay) and iron with a 19th century iron on an iron board which makes my shirts look dirtier than they were before I ironed.

Talking of clothes reminds me of laundry. The laundry service is soo freaking expensive that I might as well buy a new wardrobe every week than wash the soiled clothes. To give you a perspective - I can buy 3 undies in India for the price of washing one here. To make a mockery of my clothes, every time I give my undies for laundry, they neatly wrap them in paper with little bits of paper inserted at strategic locations and finally iron the undies. Its like saying "Dumb wit, we felt we remind you that you are paying dearly for our service".

And finally - Internet. We are in the second decade of the 21st century and still hotels conveniently charge you dearly for Internet. Its like charging for air or water in the room! The hotel actually offers free Internet for an hour if I go down to their lounge and order something. So, I have been having a coffee (the cheapest thing I can buy in the lounge!) everyday! So much that these days if a barrista forgets the recipe for a latte they just take a sample of my caffeniated blood stream.

I am looking forward to going back home soon! I wonder how people can live out of a hotel so long! And this blog post was written over two days (that means, my dear readers I paid for this through 2 cafe lattes)

Saturday, April 30, 2011


So the second half of April just passed me by in a jiffy and before I realized its already the end of the month. This means, I ain’t gonna get much time to write any more blog posts this month. Trying to squeeze in one before I say goodbye to April 2011.

Trying to live up to my blog’s reputation as a “sports blog”, I figured that I should give you practical tips about the only other game that I play (and have still never mentioned about it here) – badminton. I know the moment you hear the word badminton you have flashes of Asian people stepping around the court gracefully and smashing the shuttle down the moment it is inches above the net in between. Now if you imagined me to be anywhere close to that, you are way over estimating me. So let me set the record straight.

To begin with, like I told you guys before, I like to invest in top-of-the-line equipment for my game. That means I bought the best Yonex racket that I could afford (and to tell you frankly its way too good for me!). Well, I used to play with an ordinary non-branded racket before. But I kinda lost to every Tom, Dick and Harry that I played with. I figured that it was only the racket I could blame (for me, I was as graceful as I could imagine!).

So now with this new racket I go play at this really nice indoor court with a nice wooden flooring, excellent lighting and generally nothing to complain about. And I got this badminton buddy who plays with me after having done a 2 hour football practice (you can imagine his stamina). An ordinary game goes like this – I serve – he strategically places his return – I run – I return – he places the shuttle somewhere else in my court – I run – I return – he places the shuttle at the other corner of the court – I run again …. This ordeal continues till I start seeing multiple shuttles in the air (that's called – getting dizzy and hallucinating) and try to hit the wrong one. I hardly get to make a few points here and there (mostly because he makes a mistake rather than I earning it!) and he wins with such a wide margin that it further hurts my already hurt sports ego. I have tried all sorts of tricks with him, trying to drop the shuttle around the net, smashing him around etc. But somehow he magically takes everything that I do.

One thing that I truly like about myself is, I still don’t give up. I still go with him to play, and I still challenge him to a match and I still lose only to try again. So what is the moral of this blog post you ask? Well, the moral is – I play every sport equally bad.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Unsung heroes

I am sure we all know a person in our life who is a celebrity or has done something great. I haven’t had my share of celebrity friends (yet) but I think I know some truly great people. And here is a description of one of them.

We went for a company team building event yesterday. It involved a trek to a fort. I geared up in my usual shorts and t-shirt attire and off we went for the trek. Since its scorching hot in and around Mumbai these days, I carried a 2 litre disposal water bottle with me.

At the destination I figured that there were around 70 of us and most of us had anticipated the heat and were carrying huge water bottles. Now the average age of a person in my organization is 27 something. For such outings that average goes down to 24 something (yeah I was above average!). So you can imagine the entire group was young and fairly educated. That fits in the definition of – environmentally conscious people.

The trek was extremely exhaustive and in no time, we all finished all the water that we were carrying. The inclines were rather steep, and carrying anything on us was extremely tiring. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that a few youngsters started discarding their used bottles on the nature trail. It was disturbing, but considering that the circumstances that we were in, I felt it was “okay”. I kept mum (yeah I didn’t throw away my bottle – cause I didn’t find it that inconvenient).

The crusader

I have this friend cum colleague that I know for close to 7 years now. He fits the usual definition of what we call “a perfect guy”. Smart, intelligent, humble and nice. But what he did yesterday bowled me over. As everyone started discarding their bottles, he silently collected them on the trail. Without making any fuss about anything, he stuffed in as many plastic bottles that he could in his sack. Even after his sack was full he found out a novel way to carry more of those bottles on himself that involved using a rope to awkwardly tie the bottles around his waist. Just so that people don’t notice he kept at the back of the entire group. Now imagine doing all this on a difficult trek, all the way up and then bringing the bottles all the way down, only to discard them at the nearest bin that he found at the foothill!

We consider ourselves environmentally conscious, but how many times have we gone out of our way to protect it? Considering that the entire group was in the new generation, I would have assumed that we are more conscious of our environment. I have a million times seen people throw stuff here and there. But I never bother to go pick it up and throw it in a bin, if the person doesn’t do so. I just give them that “oh you are so uncivilized” look and walk away.

As for my friend, he generally likes to keep a low profile. But what he did yesterday proved to me that if you are really passionate about a cause, you will go to any extent to defend it. And after I noticed what he did, I feel bad that I didn’t even bother to help him in his crusade!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The “Like Me” Experiment

So, it has been two weeks since I started my shameless “Like me on Facebook” campaign. I am sure at least a few of you must be interested in what the results have been. Before I get into the statistics, I think you all need to know some background.

Long long ago, in the days of dial-up internet, I consumed most of my information on the internet through – news websites and search engines. So everyday I would login to the internet and then go to a news website (like Yahoo News, Google News, Times of India, etc). Then as the internet matured, I could subscribe to receive emails from these websites daily in my inbox. These emails were called newsletters and the internet was consumed through the inbox. Then we further matured, and I started using Atom/RSS Feeds. As I started reading more stuff online every single day, it was not possible for me to read it in my inbox (too many mails to go through!), the easier option was to login to a feed reader (Bloglines, Google Reader etc) and then consume the information from there. I have realized that over the last year, I have been mainly consuming all my news and information from the News feed of Facebook and my Twitter timeline. Though I still read news from my feed reader, it seems to me that slowly, we all are shifting towards friend generated news. That means, for my blog to be read, I have to be on Facebook. This meant that I had to make people “Like” my blog so that any updates I publish start appearing on their wall.

Now, why I want you to read my blog is beyond my comprehension. The only plausible explanation I can give is – I am a narcissist and I love it when you read what I write (yeah, it makes me feel as if I am doing something – influencing your thought process, making you laugh, smile, cry or simply – irritated!) Anyway that motivation put aside, now I come back to my experiment.

After cajoling, pleading, calling up and at times bullying people to “Like me” (at least a few of you), I have reached a number of 20. Now that’s an achievement in itself (Thank you for giving in to my pressure!). But alas, Facebook doesn’t give me an independent existence if I don't cross the magic figure of 25. So that is where it ends.

I am dejected, but that doesn’t mean I will stop writing here. You will hear me rant about my sadness for a while, and then I will be back again to my usual silly self. So enjoy!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Like Me, Please!

After 4+ years of existence, I have decided to engage myself in a bit of shameless marketing of this blog. Besides pestering all my close friends to go read my blog, I did the next obvious thing – listed myself on Facebook as a “blog”.

Marketing wasn’t my strong subject in MBA. I am good at criticizing other’s marketing efforts, but when it comes to my own, I suck miserably. So I spent yesterday afternoon figuring out how to setup a Facebook page for my blog. After numerous attempts and some funny results, I finally got it up and running. But well that was just the beginning. Now I figured, I gotta go and invite people to “Like” it.

Making people like my blog and publicize it is a different ball game altogether. After pestering and individually calling up my friends (yeah, that shameless I had to become!). I have reached a comfortable number of 4!

But I have decided not to give up. So I hereby ask all of you who regularly read my blog to “Like” me on Facebook so that I hereby enter the world of Web 2.0 and Social Networking.

(Link provided below)

And now begins the next embarrassing social experiment. Waiting for you to like me!