Friday, December 05, 2008

Similarities between Terrorists and MBAs !

  1. A small bunch of them can create havoc in the entire country.
  2. They are used to bringing down things.. Buildings, Companies, Economies.. You name it. MBA = Masters in Bringing down Anything.
  3. Both go through extensive training from the top in the their field.
  4. Their jobs are high risk.
  5. For any project, their planning is extensive.
  6. One is promised 74 virgins in heaven, other gets 7 figure salary.
  7. No matter what they do, they can screw you and get away with it.
  8. They will give a valid reason for all their actions (like bomb blasts, screwing finances) .

Any more suggestions folks? I'll append it to this list and give proper credits. :)

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Mindblowing advertisment by Baba Ramdev!

Courtesy: Tango!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

A "jihadi" Thereom

Thereom : A "jihadi" goes to heaven for a righteous act (read suicide act) where there are 74 virgins waiting for him.

Corollary 1 : Once the "jihadi" reaches heaven, he finds the virgins are 74 of his "jahadi" brothers who died in the righteous act.

Corollary 2: If you die a virgin, you might get to make love to a dead jihadi

Corollary 3: No one dies a virgin, Life "screws" everyone.

Update: I forgot to thank prempanicker and vedang from twitter world from where i got inspired! So here it is guys...a big thanks !

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Definition Of Democracy.

India is the largest Democracy in the world. What does Democracy really mean?

Democracy means :
  1. Anyone can shit/spit on the road.
  2. There are no need whatsoever to follow traffic rules.
  3. Anyone can protest on the roads and damage personal and public property.
  4. Anyone can launch verbal/physical attacks on certain communities while the govt. sits and watches mutely.
  5. Where arrests of "influential" individuals are more of a shenangian and their bailouts are faster than Shoaib Akthar's bowling.
  6. Money can buy almost everything including votes and ministers.
  7. Polticians use the British divide and rule policy to get vote banks.
  8. Internal Enemies are more than external ones.
  9. Cricrket/Bollywood/Politics gets more coverage than the "real" Heros who sacrifice their life for the Nation.
  10. Where "potential" terrorists are arrested, then released on ground of "not enough evidence" who then certainly go on and cause terror
  11. Anyone can enter  from land or sea and terrorize the entire nation.
  12. The Police have to use Normal Revolvers against AK47s, grenades and top cops die needlessly.
  13. Media can broadcast vital information about Marcos, NSG during their counterattack on terrorists, and the terrorists can watch TV and get live updates.
  14. Media continuously broadcast the count of dead people and time since when the standoff is going  similar to live updates of cricket matches.
  15. Media are allowed to cause panic because of anything from LHC Collider to bomb blasts.
  16. Peoples' memory of bomb blasts is that of a goldfish and we shamelessly say Citizens spirit cannot be broken .
  17. Government promise the sun and the moon, but not a zero tolerance to terrorism.

Definitions of democracy on the Web:

  • the political orientation of those who favor government by the people or by their elected representatives
  • a political system in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who can elect people to represent them
  • majority rule: the doctrine that the numerical majority of an organized group can make decisions binding on the whole group 

Thursday, November 27, 2008

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Quantum Of Solace: Movie Review

Quantum of Solace is the latest flick from the James Bond Franchise.

Daniel Craig does certainly stand out from other actors who have portrayed the classic super spy over the years. His panache, cold blue eyes and personality stand out. Coupled with hand to hand combat, chasing criminals over rooptops sans the usual gadgets is what made Casino Royale (prequel) stand out. They could have really give the Bourne franchise a run for their movie. To some extent in the last part they achieved this.

But in Quantum of Solace they went overboard . To make matter worse, the movie lacks any story but has the usual hero sets out the avenge the death of loved ones, two timing villians etc .(very common in 90s' Bollywood movies) . This is where the movie falls flat and fails to impress.

The usual Bond fan expects 4 things ... Gadgets, Cars, Larger than Life villians and most importantly hot babes!

Unfortunately coupled with a bad bollywold style story lime and total lack of the above, means that almost everyone is disappointed.

Daniel Craig does anything but act. He runs, chases villains, drives bikes, cars, flies  planes, run agains, chases villains again and so on.
Also  You need to have seen the Casino Royale to get any link of what is going on.
The action sequences are good but not good enough to carry the film through.

Overall. i would say this movie is watchable only if you have nothing else to do, otherwise do yourself a favor and go see the Bourne Series or even the Transporter ones.

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Stress: Are you really stressed out?

I spoke about the above topic at my 2nd speech at Toastmasters'
I have expanded over my previous post

Good Afternoon to all,I am Chirag Jog.
My topic for today is "Are you really stressed out?"

Do we feel you all are really stressed? Too much work pressure, travelling in so much traffic, rash drivers, drivers
talking on their cells, etc

Do you feel life was easier, simpler in the past? And do you feel your life will be more stressful in the future?
Lets see if this common feeling is really justified.

My was talking to my father the other day. He was visibly irritated because a rash driver
speaking on his cell, carelessly overtook him. He said "Life has become so stressful."
So much traffic! complemented by bad drivers.

Once the Nano comes out, traffic condition will  worsen and we will be more stressed.

Life in general seems stressful. People say that competition has increased manifold.
Competiton for jobs, for education, for getting the right life-partner.
Along with that the inflation rate is high. Petrol has become costly.
The list is infinite. Things were so better in the past. Life was so simple.

Or were they really?

Lets move back in time a bit. Say 1980s. Was life less stressful then?
One would say, there was no rat race, no competition ! Yes thats true!
There were no jobs either! People today with just a degree can atleast hope to
work in a call centre if not anything else.
I remember when i was a kid i met a rickshaw driver who was a double graduate but couldn't find a job.

This surely would add stress to our life!

Lets talk about communication.
Life was so simple no cell phones, simple landlines

A parent wouldn't know when would she talk to her son who is working in another part of the coutry.
She also wouldn't know whether the letter she wrote will reach in time or would reach at all.

This surely also would add to stress. right?

Also the traffic then was so less. Not a lot of  vehicles on the road.
Well, yes thats true!
When you actually wanted to a buy Bajaj scooter, the waiting period was more than year.

Now the maximum you have to wait is 3 weeks.

Now this unnecessary waiting period would surely
to stress. No?

Lets move back in time even more.The prehistoric era.
Where humans lived in caves. Was there less stress then?
Man didn't know when his next meal would come from?
would it even come at all. Man didn't know which wild animal will he have face and when?

I am sure all these things surely did add stress to one's life!

I am surely all these examples are self explanatory.Stress is a negative human emotion just like anger,frustration,sadness etc.
The surroundings have nothing to do with it. It is something that is generated in our minds.And hence
it is can be controlled just like any other emotion! So just relax, and enjoy the pollution, traffic and
the fellow rash driver as much as you can!

Back to the toastmaster!

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KDE 4.1 or Gnome ?

I have been using KDE 4.1 for sometime now on Fedora 9. Prior to that, i have used both Kde and Gnome on Ubuntu.

So which is better? Which one wins the game? Well i am sure there would be a lot of blogs, articles etc abt kde vs gnome.

The applications/tools i use most often are:

1. mutt + getmail + postfix : For Sending/Receiving IMAP mails

2. Firefox : To Surf the Net

3. Amarok: Listen to Music

4. xchat-gnome : For IRC

5. Pidgin : Chat client for ST/gtalk/yahoo

6. IBM proprietary stuff like Notes, WECM etc

7. VLC Media Player: For watching movies.

8. For almost everything else, the Konsole, i.e the command line.

Over the past couple of (busy) months, i have realized it doesn't really matter which Desktop environment i use, as long as
these applications work fine for me; and these applications do work fine for me in either settings.

Yes, KDE 4.1 has the new jazzy plasma desktop and GNOME has its own Compiz-Beryl features. I have never used them
and surely do not need them. They are cool "candy-floss" features though, but surely not useful.

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

This is what i felt after i got my Salary Hike !

This is how i felt after i got my salary hike ....if you can call it a hike!!!

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An Update for Oct 2008!

So no blogs in sometime. Thought i'd write about something. But i can't think of anything in particular.
Here are some updates in general :

  • Planned a trek in December to Dalhousie
  • Started using Twitter actively
  • Enjoyed a trip to Goa in Diwali
  • Improved my car driving skills
  • Product Release jobless
  • Improved Pool playing skills (have a pool table at work)
  • F1 season over ! Nothing else worth seeing on TV except Friends and Seinfeld re-runs
  • Haven't watched a movie for more than a month except re-runs of No Entry, Malamaal Weekly, Bhagan Bhag, Guru on TV
  • Saw a bunch flats...planning to buy one
  • Listened to every Tom,Dick and Harry's opinion about Economic Crisis, recession, stock market crash, real estate bubble bursting etc
Yeah thats all i can think of for now!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Children Of Heaven

Children Of Heaven is an Iranian Movie directed by Majid Majidi . It is about a brother who has lost his little sister's school shoes. The movie makes us realize who innocent kids really are.
All the actors have acted very naturally giving the movie the "real life" effect. Story is kept short and simple. The direction is very good.

The only focus of the movie is children and their innocence. Truly worth a watch.

As Mr Hemanth would say, "Do Yourself a Favor and see this movie!!"

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Internet Has Standards !

Yes this is true.
Next time you write a blog, article or anything that can be published over the Internet.

Remember this: Internet Has Standards


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Monday, September 22, 2008

Successful Experiment

Whenever you come back from an outing say a trek or just a picnic, your mood will instantly turned of after seeing those dirty shoes. Sometimes it could be your sparkling white sports shoes that had to go under.
We suffered this emotion during our recent outing. Fear not,my dear friends i have a good solution to all such problems.

Just put those dirty shoes into the washing machine!
Yes you heard me right! Washing Machine !!

We had heard/read about washing the shoes in this machine. After being hesistant initially, we decided to take this chance.

The machine soaked, washed, rinsed and spinned the shoes. In the end, my shoes came out sparkling white!! OK not sparkling but pretty decent to repeat this experiment.

The washing machine also remained cleaned.

So go ahead and give your shoes the special treatment it deserves

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

This is the right time to change your job!

For all those in two minds about changing their jobs, this is the right time ! Don't think twice go for it .

Why is now a good time ? The U.S markets are not recovering. With recent bad news coming from both Lehmann Brothers and Merrill lynch, things are probably set to get worse. Although, not all sectors are affected yet. The fall in the US markets could very well trigger a chain reaction across all sectors and markets. In the coming 4-6 months things might just go from bad to worse. Companies will limit their spending . Hiring will freeze. Bargaining for a good pay packet will be tough.
Even if people are get a chance to switch jobs, the salary rise will not be as high as the usual (30-50 %) .

So, make up your mind now!

Have a great Day!

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Out sick again?

I have been out with malaria supposedly couple of weeks back and now had a relapse (with higher temperature).
I was strictly adviced against working by a lot of people.
There were only 2 things i could do i.e reading and watching some movies.

I read some really good books like

1. The Economic Naturalist: Follow this link

2. India in Slow Motion by Mark Tully : The author travels across the length and breadth of India and tells inspiring stories of people who are fighting corruption and bureacracy while adding bit of humor and history to it.

3.The Motorcycle Diaries by 'Che' Guevera: It is a memoir of the great revolutionary leader Ernesto Che Guevera, long before his became Che. He takes a journey across South America along with this friend, which opens his mind and moulds him into the charismatic leader

4. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch : A truly inspirational "last lecture" give by CMU Professor Randy Pausch who has 10 tumors in his liver and only 3 months to live

5. Fooled By Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets (Still reading) by Nassim Nicholas Taleb :
Just started reading this one. It talks about ( as the topic states) how sometimes we just get "lucky" and how there is a lot of randomness in nature especially in the stock markets.

I also saw these movies:

1. The Godfather: Adapted from the classic novel by Mario Puzo (titled with the same name) . A must watch classic movie.

2. Schindler's List : A classic movie from Speilberg's stable. It tells the true story of Oskar Schindler who helps rescues thousands of Jews from the

3. The Machinist: A psychological thriller starring Christian Bale

4. WALL E : Another awesome animation movie from PIXAR

5. Street Kings: Keenu Reaves starrer about a corrupt cop who tries to correct things when his parter get killed. A regular cop movie one guy fighting against corruption. Watch L.A Confidential Instead.

I am ready to get back to work after a really long break.

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My dad was talking to me about the amount of stress we and the future generations were going to face. More Traffic (due to the Nano!), more pollution, more idiots talking on mobile phones while driving etc etc.

I thought for a few seconds and responded, "Stress is an emotion of the human psyche just like happiness, sad, frustration etc"
Humans have always experienced stress. Just that the reasons of stress vary.
Today the reasons are different from the ones yesterday. But you can't say that its more or less. People (especially from the older generation) tend to think that older times were better times, less stressful times. This retrospective utopian thinking is surely misplaced.

In the 60s and 70s, communication was really poor. One wasn't sure of the next time he would get to listen to his son or daughter's voice who were probably in the U.S . People graduating from college weren't sure getting jobs.

If we go even further back in time, prehistoric era where humans lived in caves and hunted for food; there was no certainity of when the next meal would come?
whether it would come at all? There were other things to worry about like wild animals, shelter, clothing etc

So circumstances change over time, and so do things that can add stress to your life and also things that reduce stress.

Let me reiterate the fact that stress is a human emotion just like sadness, anger and frustration. This is a good thing, as it can be brought under control.

So Learn to reduce stress in life by controlling rather than complain about it!

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

61 reasons why India is special !

On the occasion of the 61st Independence Day, i ponder on what makes India so special, so different from rest of the world . I have accumulated 61 different reasons. Check it out.

Disclaimer: I know, every country is unique in its own way.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Dark Knight ... latest Batman Offering

Couple of weeks released, the sequel to the movie Batman Begins. The producers created a lot of hype around the movie, drawing more than the usual crowd for the movie.
Within the first weekend, it broke the record for highest earning over a weekend beating Spiderman 3. On IMDB it has shot up to Number 1 beating greats like The Godfather, The Shawshank Redemption, Schiedlers' List.

What makes the movie so special ?

1. Hats off to Christopher Nolan (Director) creating one of the most twisted villain of all times. The Joker, enacted by Heath Ledger is literally twisted and a true pyscho who challenging Our Dark Knight to raise his bar each time.

2. The movie finds a balance between, character development with power dialogues and the power-packed action sequences. This surely helps cater to a very wide audience.

3. One of the most important, things i felt that makes the movie great is the minimal use graphics/animations. Yes, most of the action sequences are done in the old-style with real stuntmen.

4. Most importantly, strong screenplay.

5. Also the all-star ensemble, esp Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman (both great veterans actors) that add a touch of humor and very valuable advice to our Caped Crusader.

Bottom Line: I am ready to see it again! ;)

The Economic Naturalist !

Currently I am reading The Economic Naturalist by Robert H Frank . This book teaches some of the most basic economic principles in a very unique narrative way. The author claims that any learning from a narrative ( type of story telling with real life examples) is very effective. This is very truly the case.
He shows how economics works in everyday life with examples in the form of questions and answers.

Here are some of the questions:
  • Why do female models earn so much more than male models?
  • Why might retailers deliberately hammer dents into their own appliances?
  • Why do the keypad buttons of drive-up cash machines have Braille dots?
  • Why are child safety seats required in cars but not in airplanes?
  • Why is there a light in your refrigerator but not in your freezer?
Each of this has an economic angle to it.

I am sure after reading this, you'll surely head to pick up the book.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

Just today, i saw this amazing speech by Randy Pausch, a former Professor At Carnegie Mellon University.
It was his "Last Lecture".

His shares three things
  1. Achieving your Childhood dreams
  2. Helping others achieve their childhood dreams
  3. Lessons Learnt
Here is the entire video. I find it truly inspirational.
Its an hour long video though but please do take out time and watch it, you surely won't regret it.

After that, you can play it in vlc or kaffeine.
or watch here on youtube directly.

Randy Pausch, an Inspirator for millions

Icebreaker Speech

In IBM Pune, I am part of the local Toastmasters' Club known as the IBM Thinkmasters.

The first speech that you give here is known as the Ice Breaker. Typically you would take about yourself.
I did just that and i am going to share is here.

Good Afternoon Everyone!
This is my ice breaker speech.
I will talk about myself.
But I won't be talking about Academics and things like that.
I will talk about a bit of my hobbies, experiences and the lessons
that i have learnt.

My Hobbies
I love travelling a lot.
My favourate state is Himachal Pradesh.
In the last 5 years, i have visited Himachal 4 times.
I like going unknown not-very-popular destinations rather than the regular tourist places.
I love travelling by train. As i kid, i was always fascinated by the train and i still enjoy travelling
by train. Along with travelling another thing i enjoy is trekking. Recently I completed 10-day trek again in Himachal.
Besides that, the biggest two passions i have reading books and watching movies.
I typically read a lot of non-fiction books, and the categories range from History, Economics, Philosopy
to Travellogues.
In movies, no specific genre...any good movie is fine.

My Experiences and Lessons learnt
1. During my school years, i had fallen into bad company. I was distracted from studies, good friends
and a lot of positive things.The end result was that i got really bad marks in SSC i.e 10th.
I found it tough to get into a good college. Luckily I did get into a good college.
My parents did support me a lot. I realized my mistakes then and worked to correct them.
I studied hard and got good marks in my 12th. That helped me get into a good engg college.
The lesson i learnt from this is that
"we will make mistakes in our life; we will fall down but life
always gives us chance to get up and rectify these mistakes
and we should take those chances and make full use of them"
In the movie "The Shawshank Redemption", there is very dialogue
"Salvation lies within". This is very apt.

2. In 2004-05, I had just finished my 2nd yr of engg and i had gone with a local pune group for a himalayan trek.
On the last day of the trek, (the day we have trekked the most). We were completely exhausted.
I, along with another friend on the trek got lost in the jungle.
We were lost and spent the entire night in the jungle.
I was just an amateur trekker back then, just learning and this friend was an expert.
We had to cross a lot of dangerous terrain which wouldn't have even in our wildest
dreams. Even though I was not a greater trekker or very fit trekker, i never thought of quitting
no matter how tough or dangerous the terrain was. We are lucky to have lived to tell the tale.
I learnt firstly "Don't get lost" and "secondly, When there is a will, there is a way"

3. Now, I will talk about the most important part of my life.
I am really lucky that I got to marry the love of my life.
There were a lot of issues which we knew of before hand, that
would surely prevent our being together. There were times
when our closest friends would say that it not going to happen
and that we should stop seeing each other etc.
But obviously, we couldn't live apart and things fell into place
and everything got resolved.Again My parents supported me here as always.
I learnt that "When want something from the bottom of your heart
the entire universe will conspire to make it happen and surely does!"

These are some of the most important lessons that i have learnt in my life.
I thought sharing these experiences and the lessons learnt would help others.

I hope i have broken the ice !

Friday, July 18, 2008

Kung Fu Panda

Po's dad has a very successful restaurant business. He has a "special ingredient" soup which is very popular.
He tells Po that ingredient has been passed down generation after generation.

"The secret ingredient to the secret ingredient soup, Po is nothing", He tells Po . Po says "Nothing ?!"
Po's dad says, " You have to believe that your soup is special, then it becomes special"

This is what makes this movie teaches.

Po is a big fat panda who dreams of kung-fu and dreams of being an awesome kung-fu master.
His dreams turn to reality when is chosen by mistake to guard a secret scroll against a ferocious snow leopard who is the greatest warrior.
Po's master albeit hesistant to teach Po kung-fu initially is forced to realize that "Believing is everything" and as Po's master's master puts it "There are no mistakes"

The animation and story telling is very good as expected from dreamworks. Jack Black does an amazing job as voice of Po.

When Po meets the snow leopard in the final showdown, the leopard say "I can beat you easily, you are just a big fat panda". Po responds "I am not a big fat panda, I am the big fat panda !!! "

Now thats confidence from someone who believes in himself !

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Broadband Internet in India

The current state of affairs of Broadband Internet in India is as follows:

The Good

  1. Airtel Broadband (Bangalore) : The best so far (as per my experience). The uptime/performance is good, so is the customer service is good. The problems are handled very well. Incase of an outage, you get an intimation well in advance. Down side is that its not available in all areas
  2. YOU Telecom(Pune): They are not as great as Airtel but their services are decent. Problems are resolved within 24hours.One pain point is their billing system. Postpaid isn't truly postpayed and they keep nagging you to pay the bill. Another is they rate limit data downloaded via p2p networks.

The Bad
  1. BSNL (Bangalore): When it works, nothing like it. The question is how often does it work and how long does it take to get it fixed. Customer service is pathetic. They don't care about customers. You have run around to get things working.
The Ugly
  1. BSNL(Pune): People here just don't care. It took them more than 2 weeks to find out the reason why the Internet connection is not working after numerous phone calls. Not that its fixed. There is no concept of customer service! No one cares about you. Incase of a complaint you are redirected to another person and then to another. I already 5 numbers stored.
  2. Hathway(Pune): The management is bad. Its been 2 years since i have disconnected their service; i still have the rented modem and still keep getting bills. Again when it worked, it worked like a charm but unfortunately it never worked for me. The concept of customer service didn't exist.
This leaves out Satyam and Tata Indicom. I have heard/read really bad reviews for both of them. Recently Reliance entered this space. I don't have any reviews about them yet.
The state of affairs of broadband in India is really pathetic. Only few players provide good service. But again they can't provide connectivity to all parts of the city.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Average Cost of Eating Out!

Average Cost of Eating out over the years, indicating the treats I gave and got:

First Year of Engg : 100 bucks for 2
Second Year of Engg : still 100 bucks for 2
Third Year of Engg: 200 bucks for 2
Final Year of Engg: 250-300 bucks for 2

And now?
easily above 400 bucks ......
What does this indicate ? :)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Interesting Incidents during the Sar Pass Trek - Part 3

This blog completes the trilogy of the interesting incidents that occured during the Sar Pass Trek. Some one got inspired to go for such a trek after reading the first Part. Leena told me to warn him that such things don't happen to everyone just a few lucky ones like Me .

Incident 6: Correlating 3 incidents

Here i just correlate 3 events and the conclusion is highly speculative and may not even be true.
This happened at Guna Paani camp. During the night,in our tent we talking general stuff. (Incident 1) One guy (Mr P) mentioned that during his visit to Hyderabad, he visited a pub where there was some semi-nude dancers. Although he couldn't stick around for the whole show as his wife was waiting for him at him; He felt he was deprived an oppurtunity of a lifetime. Moving to the next morning. All in our tent didn't sleep well because of the uneven ground. (Incident 2) I was surprised when Mr P said that, He had a very sound sleep. I thought "Lucky you!". Before we move out of any camp, all the tents have to cleant. (Incident 3) I and Hemanth usually cleant our tents. We went inside and were dusting all the blankets, when i noticed that the blanket i was dusting has a round wet spot around 6cm in diameter. It was coincidently Mr P's blanket.

Just correlate the 3 incidents mentioned above. Get a hint? Hemanth and other folks who told this story got the hint.

Incident 7: Atop a bus

One of things in Himachal not to be missed is sitting on top a bus. Yes! not inside but on the top. We experienced it twice during the trek and once after the trek. After finishing our trek and moving out of the Kasol YHAI camp, we were waiting at a bus stop to catch a bus to Manali. A private bus stopped and we were to climb on top of that bus. The conductor stopped us; it was against the rules to do. So we kept our luggage on top and sat inside the bus. After crossing Bhuntar, the bus broke down.

We all got off. Luckily another bus of the same company came along. Well there wasn't any space inside. So we all went top of the bus. Yayee! Dream fulfilled.

We enjoyed the journey though cautiously circumvented all the wires and trees in the way.
Krishna said he didn't know what to expect next. We surely didn't. It started raining. We were ok with the drizzle, but then it came down hard. We got down at the stop; leaving our bagts on top of the bus. The bus was already overfull. Before we could get in, the bus started moving. We were now left at the bus stop without our bags.

We waited patiently and helplessly for the next bus. We desperately climbed on it and hoped our bags were safe.
We thought at Kullu, we would change buses as that was long stop. When we reached Kullu, we realized the bus that had our luggage had already left for Manali and this bus was only until Kullu. Things were getting worse or more exciting i can't say.

We then boarded the bus Manali. On reaching
Manali, we realized none of us knew what was the number of that bus that had our luggage. We spanned out all corners of the Manali bus stop. We eventually found our luggage, although we had a hard time explaining the conductor as to how we and our luggage travelled on different buses.

Incident 8: Solang Valley

Manali, one of most sought after tourist places in India is crap. So are places around it eg. Rohtang Pass , Hidimba Temple and worst of all Solang valley. We were told by some one in the trek, that Solang valley was a very good/beautiful place. I, having visited Manali the 4th time (in the last past 5 years) already knew that Solang Valley would be as good (or bad) as Manali. But I was ready to proved wrong. So when these folks were making plans to go to Solang Valley, i didn't play spoilsport and followed the plan.

We rented a taxi (for 600 bucks) and reached Solang Valley. Now the question what is Solang Valley?
Is it a beautiful valley with amazing vistas?
The answer No!, its just a flat ground with a few hills around it. The flat ground has a lot of stalls put of akin to melas or fun fairs we visited as kids. This had some adventure sports though.
Like you can do gliding for less than 2 mins but for more than 600 bucks. Or Stand inside a big ball and roll inside it for another 700 bucks.
We had already spent 600 bucks for the cab, and had had all the adventure we can think already!
Evidently, these guys were all pissed and ready to track down that camper who adviced us this place and beat him up.


Rolling in a ball

Krishna was thinking of ways of claiming back the 700 bucks. There was a stall put up where if you knock out all the glasses from the table with a ball, you get 500 bucks. You pay 20 bucks for 3 tries. Fair enough?
Krishna was ready to take the chance of losing 20 bucks. Sri decided to take a shot.
Did he have a good aim ? Did he have the necessary skill ? Could he have made it to any IPL team even the Royal Challengers?
Well, the answer is No!! He missed all his tries, by almost a kilometer. But could he have still made it to the Royal Challengers team ? With their current form, can't really say!

That was the last incident that happened. After that we all parted ways, Krishna and Sri went to Shimla for some more adventures. I and Hemanth returned to Delhi and then to Pune and Bangalore respectively.
It was truly an amazing trip i had done in recent times especially with all the incidents that we witnessed/experienced.

Interesting Incidents during the Sar Pass Trek - Part 2

Incident 4: Fart Master.

It was around 5am in the morning at the Kasol Base camp. I was half asleep. I heard a really loud noise almost like those really loud lakshmi bombs that go off during Diwali. My eyes were wide open. It was a fart. Not only did Hemanth,Sri and Krishna confirmed that, they also told me that when i was out the tent to attend nature's call, another bomb went out. Only after a couple of days did we find who the culprit was ( I'll refer to him as Mr.F) ; as he always tried to better his record. There were other bombs let of by his buddies (as though competiting) that went out in our tent but albeit of lower intensities. We were trapped.
Now, during our trek through Sar Pass, there was a very steep climb where it was adviced that only one person climb that stretch at a time. Hemanth And Krishna had already crossed. I was next and Sri followed. Sri stayed back and waited until I crossed . Now Mr F comes overtakes Sri and is trying to climb. Sri told him to wait until i complete. But this guy was in a mighty hurry. He started climbing. The scene looks like this, Sri is standing and Mr F has started climbing just above him. Now Mr F fires out a bomb (loud enough to cause an avalanche ) right in Sri's face. When Sri finally reached on top. His face was worth looking at, but we weren't looking we were laughing our heart out.

Later we found Mr F and his buddies wolfing down a lot of groundnuts. We dreaded the night ahead.

Incident 5: A fight.

Which are the verbal fights you like the most? I really enjoy the ones where the participants don't understand each others' language. On the trek, I witnessed a fight between a female who was continuously yelling in Kannada and a guy apparently arguing back in Hindi.
How did the fight start?
There was an old rickety bridge which only one caould cross at a time. Each one took turns. This Delhite overtook the female from Haasan, Karnataka albeit cutting lanes. The lady freaked out and started yelling . This guy surprised as ever was quiet initially as lane/line cutting in Delhi as very normal. Even after a lot of the folks tried to quell her anger, she still kept yelling unecessarily. Eventually this guy also lost his cool and started yelling back. This female's husband also joined in and knew only Kannada. It took a while to resolve the whole issue.
I can understand folks arguing when they understand each other's language. But its really amusing when they don't and just vent out their anger.
In Rheotic, Hemanth asked, "Have they come all the way up (8000ft) to have a fight? Don't we do it everyday in the cities?"

Incident 6: First Slide/Torn Pants
We had heard from other folks from previous camps, "Don't miss the kilometer long slides around Sar Pass". So here we were at the first natural snow slide. We were explained how to sit and go . There wasn't any support . If do something wrong you're screwed. How could I not goof up here? You sit; lie back; keep your legs in the air and slide down. Your elbows are your rear brakes and Feet the front brake. We all know what happens if you apply the front brake instead of the rear brakes. As if i didn't know that already, i did exactly that.

Initially during the silde, i was going down on the support of my back. Then applied the front brakes for some reason. I had a blackout for a second. When I opened my eyes again, i was sliding down on my stomach!!
When i reached down, i had snow all over and inside me (including underwear); folks were laughing their heart out. Krishna exclaimed, " This was the most entertaining slide, we have seen. Why do such things happen to you?"

Now, while trekking in snow you aren't always sure in which parts have snow melted and in which parts are they intact. So normally the guide tests the snow and makes the path, you just follow. Near our lunch point, i was walking around generally on untested snow. I kept my foot on one patch, and my leg went way down. I heard a particular sound which you don't want to. The result :

Yes, my jeans were torn at a very strategic position. Luckily i had another set of pants ( which were worn out). I didn't have a choice. The following day, what i dreaded came true. These pants also tore. Yeah and at the same place. I was lucky that Hemanth lent his jeans and they fitted. He kept verifying though that his pants weren't going to be a victim too. Krishna again exclaim "None of the other campers had any torn pants, You had two! Why do such things happen to you ?"

Wait, there are another set of incidents. Stay tune for Part 3!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Who Scratched My Car ?

How many people owning New and Shiny cars have sleepless nights about their car getting scratched ?
Your car can be scratched by miscreants, by children or by your novice neighbor learning to park his car; purposefully or even unknowingly. I pretty sure, all folks parking their cars in shared parking areas would agree.

My dad was always vary of buying a new car for this reason. So we had 2 second-hand cars and eventually now he bought new one, which inspects very meticulously everyday in the morning and will solemnly reports "There is another scratch!" or " The neighbors are useless!"

Why do i suddenly bring up this topic?

Today morning after returning from the gym, Leena noticed some scratches on her car! She went berserk cursing the children who normally play around during the day. I smiled and laughed a bit. That just things made things worse.
I then realized that, Scratches on the most beloved possession can make anyone's mood bad especially when you can do nothing about it.

My advice to all folks owning/playing to own cars (new or old) is GET OVER IT and Learn to Live with it . This is surely, most definitely going to happen; especially if you are living in India. There is no escape and moreover there is nothing you can do with it. Hence, stop sulking/cribbing/getting angry.
And Have a Nice Day :D .

So I bought a New Cell...

Finally my cell gave way. It fell sick after the trek and now is lying on its death bed. After procrastinating a lot, i ventured to buy a new one! Whenever you go for advice on buying a cell or go to sites like etc, the first thing they'll ask is requirements!
What do i require??
I was confused anyways!
I wanted wi-fi ( when people why?, i had no explanation) and ability to sync with my Lotus Notes Calendar. This mostly means a high end phone more than 12k. I was in no position to blow so much money. Nor did i want a simple phone with a monochrome display . I knew my budget was around 5k. So I walked around visiting couple of shops with lousy salesman ( viz The Mobile Store and Subhiksha), who treat customers(wanting cheap mobiles) like dirt. But i was determined to get one. I went in another shop in aundh namele Baba Mobile. As i said told them my budget, they enthusiastically showed 4-5 models in that range. The sales folks were good and courteous.

My eyes fell upon the Samsung J150. It looked really sleek. It has the regular stuff; 1.3M camera, Mp3 player, Bluetooth, FM reciever, MicroSD card slot etc. I fell in love with its looks. I bought it right away for 4.8k . The GUI layout is very very user friendly and intuitive. The quality of the GSM transciever is very good, so is the quality of audio output.
I am very happy with this purchase. Hope i make this one survive some treks ;).

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Interesting Incidents during the Sar Pass Trek - Part 1

I am not going to write a blog about how the Sar Pass trek was in general, instead i am going to write about the interesting incidents that happened during the trek.

Incident 1: Learn to wear your belt correctly

This happened to me on the very first day at the base camp itself. Hemanth has a pic of it. I hope he uploads it quickly.
We were moving out of our tent for a session on first-aid. When i came out of the tent, i realized that i had forgotten to wear my belt. So i got it out and started wearing it. This happened while standing out the tent. After buckling the belt; i started to move. Then i realized, i couldn't; something was holding me back. All the folks around me started laughing and clicking snaps. Only then i realized that not only did the belt go through all my pant hooks, it also went through one of the ropes of the tent. The rope that keeps the tent standing. Hence i couldn't move and gave people a hearty laugh.

Incident 2: Life gives you chances to say "No", use them!

After Incident 1, we moved to the central camp for a session on First Aid. The lady doctor called on volunteers (who she guided) for showing how to attend to sprains, setting up an oxygen cylinder etc. For the last demo, she scanned around the tent, and her eyes feel on me. She called me forth for a demo on CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation). In layman's language Mouth-to-Mouth . I thought she would just make me lie down, talk in general about it and let me off. How wrong was I ! . First i was told to take off my T-shirt. Then the guy acting as a aid was told to take off my belt!. Folks started laughing and i started getting a bad feeling about it. I prayed to God, "Please not the pants! not the pants!" . Luckily the pants stayed on. She explained certains things and then came the mouth-to-mouth . Yes, the lady doc gave me a mouth-to-mouth. Lucky for me she placed a handkerchief on my mouth before she proceeded. Unluckily, i could hear flashes go off. So photos were clicked, and were then used to blackmail me.
Later folks, asked me what was going through my mind during the incident. I replied I was praying to God "Please save me!!"

Note: Lady Doctor wasn't hot.

Incident 3: In search of a special kind of grass

This happened at our first camp, Gunapaani. Hemanth and I climbed up a small hill nearby. We were later joined by another person from our trekking group. He was married, had 2 kids and seemed in his late 30s. He started searching for something in the grass. He mentioned that in Uttaranchal, there is a special type of grass which cost 10 grand per kilo. Hemanth guessed it to be some sort of dope. He said no dope. It was good for sex. We were amused. He then told us the story of the discovery of the grass. Farmers found that their old and useless male horses had suddenly become "very active". The farmers were surprised and kept a watch on them. Then the farmers found this special grass . I was in two minds to ask, how did they find out that it worked for humans also ; before which we were out of that place.

There are more incidents that happened. I'll talk about them in the follow up of this article. Stay Tuned!

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Saturday, June 07, 2008

Tareef, A Mughalai Place in Aundh

Today, Leena was in a mood to have some Mughalai style biryani, so we visited Tareef, a Mughalai restaurant in Aundh itself.
It is located near the Ozone Mall. There is big red colored board put up. Hard to miss.
The decor of the place has an ethic feel; from the wall-hangings to the cutlery.
The menu has a nice variety of dishes. We ordered the Akbari Macchli and Murg Biryani Dilliki.
Both the dishes were really sumptuous and tasty. The fish was fresh and the Biryani was well cooked. Both of us really enjoyed our meal. The waiter was also courteous enough to ask us about the food. We finished it off with a Malai Phirni which was decent enough.
The rates are a bit on the costlier side, though i would most certainly recommend this place for Tandoor and Biryani fans.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Another blogging client

Testing another blogging client... This one is scribefire
It looks better than BloGTK or gnome-blog..

This is my blog post using a blogging client BloGTK .... testing

Monday, April 21, 2008

Things that truly refresh !

What are things that can really refresh me ??

  1. Drive to work. Early Morning.Open/Empty Roads. 20kms of pure refreshment
  2. Fresh Coffee
  3. A Hard Workout
  4. Spending some quality time with Leena
  5. Travelling By Bus ( Discovered of late) Pune-Nashik journey through Asiad Buses Surprising??? I am surprised myself :)
  6. Eating some really great food !
  7. Mindless babble with friends
  8. Watching classic movies like Shawshank Redemption, Casablanca etc
  9. This may sound stupid. It surely does. Watching these two videos
If you Come Today by RajKumar

And Love me or Hate me again By Rajkumar

Monday ( 14th April 2008) was a Great Day

Exactly a week ago. This seemed to be quite auspicious. A lot of good news came.
Leena got a good posting Covelix. She will be joining as a Market Research Analyst. This is something she is really excited about and really looking forward. This was the first news of the day.

A few hours later, Ankita gave some good news. Her US trip is finally officially approved. She is surely very excited about it. Its really great. She will be mostly in Beaverton . I am sure she will have a great time.

Post lunch, my long lost ( and found again) Pal Sudeep pinged me. He is all excited about his job at MINT, A finanicial Newspaper based in New Delhi.
It was really turning out to be great day with great day. To make it even better, I got the news that ISL folks are shifting from Ozone to Hinjewadi. This reduces my travelling to half. Although most of the folks aren't happy, I am joyous !

To top it all up. You Telecom provided me with Broadband Internet at home. They were quite quick in their service. Now I can take all my late calls from home.

This was one of those days, that had a lot of good news! We wish for many more such days !! Hurray!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Always Breathe deeply !!!

Life is a circle. Whatever goes around comes back.
There is no use of anger in this life or any other.
Anger only spoils things.
Always be peaceful. Be in peace with yourself and others.
Always sort things out peacefully.
Keep your mind cool and calm.

Always Breathe Deeply !!

Whenever you feel angry, take a deep breath and realize it is not going to solve any problems.
Forget your past. Forget the bitter things.
Always look ahead. Always look towards the future.

Always Breathe Deeply !!

The past is behind us. Forget it. But remember the leasons learnt and move ahead.
People may do foolish things and so may you.
Forgive yourself first and then others.
People may hurt you and so may have you.

Forgive yourself first and then others.
Look at yourself first and then others.

But Remember, Always Breathe Deeply !!

Don't regret things that have always happened.
Everything happens for a reason.
You will find the reason for every foolish thing you do.
That reason is always good.

Everything happens for the good.
If you think otherwise, its just your perpective.

Life is a party, enjoy it till it lasts.
And It won't last forever.

But Always Breathe Deeply !!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Getting Tata Indicom V-data card in ubuntu linux

To start using the tata indicom v-data card in ubuntu, follow these steps

1.Run this command
$sudo modprobe usbserial vendor=0x12d1 product=0x1001

2. Edit the /etc/wvdial.conf and add the following lines

$cat /etc/wvdial.conf

[Modem 0]
Modem = /dev/ttyUSB0
Baud = 115200
Dial Command = ATDT
FlowControl = Hardware (CRTSCTS)
Init1 = ATZ
[Dialer Defaults]
Init1 = ATZ
Init2 = ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0
Modem Type = Analog Modem
Phone = #777
ISDN = 0
Password = internet
New PPPD = yes
Username = internet
Stupid Mode = 1
Inherits = Modem 0

3. Run
$sudo wvdial

You will see your primary and secondary DNS getting set.
Now you are set.

Note: The data card is of Huawei make.

Also for the TATA Plug2Surf USB modem to work;
Insert you modem in and do a

You will see some messages with /dev/ttyACM1.
Just replace /dev/ttyUSB0 with this in the above mentioned files.

Thanks to varun for showing me this method

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Ubuntu on Compaq Presario F500

Installing Ubuntu Gutsy on Presario F500

Recently Leena got a new laptop [ Presario F500] . At its base, there is a 64-bit AMD Turion Processor and 1 GB RAM. To add to this there is a Wide Screen [15.4''] and Altec Lansing Speakers. But this is not good enough for Windows Vista [packed by default] to run.

Ubuntu Installs normally except certains glitches.

1. LiveCD causes the system to hang.

  1. Once you see the splash screen of Ubuntu's main menu press F6
  2. You will get the kernel command line, append vga=792 or vga=791 to that line and press Enter or b
  3. Now X server should start and you will see the Ubuntu Desktop
The reason for this hack is probably because it has a widescreen display.

2. Machine during boot up.
  1. Post Installation, your machine will hang because of the above mentioned problem.
  2. In grub edit the kernel command line and the params mentioned above.
  3. This may not be enough for your system to bootup. It wasn't surely enough for me.
  4. I had to remove the params quiet and splash also.
  5. Make these changes permanent once the system boots up by editing the /boot/grub/menu.lst .
NOTE: Removing quiet and splash, although necessary will not show any splash screen while the OS is booting. You will directly see to the login window.

3. Getting Wireless/Compiz working.
  1. Unfortunately Wireless doesn't work out of the box.
  2. You will need the Broadcom wireless binary driver.
  3. Goto Menu System-> Administrator -> Restricted Driver Manager .
  4. It will say Broadcom driver not in use. Select the checkbox associated with it .
  5. It will ask for a link from which to download firmware . You will get it here .
  6. Once the state changes to in use. You are successful.
  7. Similarly to get Compiz working, select the NVidia Driver which is not is use.
    It will download the driver and again once the state changes to in use. You are successful.
  8. This will need a system reboot.
4. Nonfree Flash doesn't work in Firefox.
  1. The non-free Adobe flash player embedded in Firefox will surely not work although package manager will say its installed, as there is no 64bit version yet.
  2. Use gnash [ open source/free flash player] . It works just fine.
  3. People seem to crib about java plugin for Firefox not working on 64bit boxes, but it worked fine for me.

1. Tom On Identity
2. Ubuntu's wireless Docs