Saturday, March 29, 2014

Imagining Earth

On weekends, I love to travel. But considering the limited amount of resources I have (time and money) my travelling is severely constrained. That means, I have figured out a way to travel around the world literally sitting on my couch. Now before I reveal my secret let me tell you something about me.

My type of travelling involves going around the city and admiring its architecture and history in general. Now, when you actually physically travel to a place, though you can admire the architecture, the history bit can only be obtained off the internet. However, when you travel to a city on the internet, not only can you admire the architecture, but also, you can learn about its history.

So without further adieu, let me introduce to you, my favorite travel companion of all times – Google Earth. Of all the amazing products that Google has produced this one somehow gets a bit of less limelight.

Let’s say, early Saturday morning, I get the sudden urge to visit the Gateway of India in Mumbai. A few clicks and aha, I am there … standing in front of the Gateway in all its glory with the Taj Mahal hotel in its background.

Gateway of India

Obviously, that reminds me of the real Taj Mahal in Agra and I go there to see….

Taj Mahal

Once I am done seeing that I think of visiting the Queen. Obviously I need to fly and take a train. Here I am waiting outside the Victoria station in London, waiting to walk down to the Buckingham Palace.

Victoria Station

Then I feel the need to visit Hollywood Boulevard to check out the Chinese Theatre, and here I am standing in front of it in all its glory.

Chinese Theatre

I know where this is going. You gonna tell me, nothing beats seeing it in real life. Pictures are not a substitute. I agree, but while you work your a$$ off trying to save on all the money you need to go to these places when you are old (and hopefully healthy), no one is stopping you from flying there today, right this moment and virtually walking around on the street. You can also go in the wrong direction on the highways and no one is even gonna bother you!

So take my advice, travel regularly. Use Google earth everyday.

Sunday, March 23, 2014


Most of my day job involves working with multiple people on multiple assignments at various stages of progress (or in deep $hit). This involves, setting deadlines, following up and in general trying to control lots of things across lots of people (including senior management, customers and partners).

I am sure everyone of you (in jobs like mine) have your favorite tool that you swear by to help you control the chaos. So, today, let me take a few minutes of your time to introduce mine. It’s called Trello. It’s awesome. And it makes my life that much easy. Period.

Now, unlike your favorite tool, mine has a rather illustrious background. Trello is made by Fog Creek Software. Does that ring a bell? Well, I can safely assume it does. Every old software person out there (by old, I mean you learnt to code in the earlier part of this century) who saw the internet evolve, has read this one wondrous blog – Joel on Software. And Fog Creek Software was founded by none other than Joel Spolsky himself.

Joel explaining Trello

I can’t really describe how useful it is in a blog. I would recommend you try it. It is vaguely based on the Kanban system of cards (inspired by Toyota?) and then it helps to collaborate and works across multiple devices and got tonnes of nifty little features. Best of all, it’s free. So yeah, that was me expressing my love for Trello.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Keep In Touch

Once in a blue moon I get this Facebook note or an email from a long lost friend chiding me of not keeping in touch. I obviously reply, apologize and resolve to be in touch and then the email goes into oblivion for eternity.

Keeping in touch is like a handshake (banal example I know). It’s an activity in which either party has to put in equal effort for it to be meaningful. So if you get all upset on me cause I haven’t “had the time” to keep in touch with you, then may be you should try getting in touch as well.

And before you conclude, I do occasionally think of you. I do get nostalgic about all the good times we had together. And of course, I always remember you on your birthday. So next time when you write to me, do sign-off saying “We keep in touch”, so that we share the responsibility.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Walk of shame

I don’t understand commercial aircrafts at all. I am like a redneck when I take flights. For me there are just 3 types of aircrafts – small, big, bigger. I haven’t yet had the chance to sit in the biggest. But I know there exists one. So if it’s small, it means I can’t sleep cause the seats are too cramped up. If it’s big, then I can sleep a bit (probably on my co-passenger’s shoulder). And if it’s bigger then I can get a good night’s sleep. Not as comfortable as sleeping on a bed, but I can at least recline my seat and catch a few decent winks for my day ahead.

Now, I have also noticed that in the small and big aircrafts, (assuming I am sitting near the front of the aircraft) I am let in from the front door. Now problem with this is the moment I enter, I get into the part of the plane that is reserved for the ultra-rich and the super-rich types. And airlines generally let these kinds in first. So the moment I enter, I feel like they give us all (the economy class travellers) a condescending look. The kind that says “You mere mortal, I look down upon you!”

Then they proceed to show their ultra luxurious seat/ living room complete with a bed, a sofa, a home entertainment system and other stuff that I don’t even recognize. Once they are done showing, then they sip on the ultra-rare wine made from the rarest of rare grapes found on this planet centuries ago. And then they let out a hush stretch their legs and settle down in their throne.

We the economy classes then scuttle past them with our head hung low. Holding on to our meagre belongings we make ourselves scarce and go hide in our corner seat/ rabbit hole, never to disturb the royals again. Sigh. I dread this walk of shame every time I get into those aircrafts. Can the airlines please not let us through this ordeal?