Thursday, November 27, 2008

In the name of the father...

Its been too long since I have written a blog entry although I use the internet almost 10 hours a day daily (excluding weekends, where I have a high probability of getting killed by the wife if I even give an attempt). But, this time, I have a very valid reason (that is, until you talk to the wife) for not being able to blog.

August 31, 2008 was not such a wonderful day in the history of mankind. No earth shattering scientific discovery or a startling discovery was made that would upset the stomachs of The Vaticans or anything of that sort. It was just that it was our 5th wedding anniversary. On any other year, (meaning for last 4 years), we would have gone to a movie, had lunch and dinner at a hotel, upset our stomach, be satisfied we spent a few thousand bucks down the drain and watch TV. It was not to be this year. We were in a hospital. My entire family (my parents, my brothers, their family, my wife's entire family) was waiting in St. Isabel's hospital. And damn this canteen guys, of all the days in the year, they had to choose today for their annual maintenance work. X-( (damn damn damn) I was roaming everywhere like a puppy who just burnt the tip of his tail. My wife was the one admitted. And she was sitting in the labour room. The kiddo was itching to come out and seems to be readying itself to push its way out of his creation and storage haven for the last 9 months. The contractions were coming at a regular intervals, and everytime it comes, my wife will see hell. I was going crazy to see my wife suffer. I had heard of people suffer a lot of pain during labour time, but this was the first time I was actually looking at one and undergoing the "experience" of being near one. Waves of emotion was floating everywhere. I used to say to people NOT to take any decision when they are emotionally charged. But seeing my wife in that condition, I decided "No more kids". I simply couldn't stand and see her suffering like this for months together, and like a movie climax (or is it the other way round) it peaked at the labour ward.

She was taken into the delivery room at around 8:30 PM. After that, it became worse. I have seen my wife shout. But, it was always in anger and I know how the voice will be. But, now, she was giving out a sound I have not heard before. (Later she told me that she herself didn't realize she was capable of creating so much decibels). It was nearing 10:45, but respite was still far. I was starting to wonder whether the baby will be born on our wedding day itself or born right-just-a-few-seconds-past-midnight and slip into the next day. Then the main doctor came out and told that the baby will be arriving in a few minutes (what the ???). And true to her word, the baby BOY was born at exactly 2300 hours IST on the SAME DAY as our wedding day (5 years ago).

Wooohooooo..... HEEEEHAAAAAA. I am father. This fact , after 3 months hasn't fully sunk into me. I am a father. I am a father. I am a father. (nope, still hasn't). I am able to accept everyone else as a father, even my brother, but not me. I don't know why. I don't know if this is how all newly-formed fathers feel and react. But, I did and I still do.

The moment I heard the news that both the kid and the mom are fine, I couldn't control myself from crying. Well, that was the first time, I broke into fits of uncontrollable crying (maybe the second time. the first time being when I was vacating from my mom's internal parking space), partly to the fact that this ordeal (for me) was over and partly to the fact that my wife's suffering was now over. We stayed there for another 2 days before coming home on Vinayaka Chathurthi. (here, I should highlight that our marriage in 2003 fell on the same day as Vinayaka chathurthi that year).

This is our King. Anthony Bastian

and a newer one (taken on Xmas 2008) here...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Call Drivers in Chennai (for ur records) - taken from Ergo

Sri Murugan Travels
Ph: 98412 84518 / 94445 52257
Charges : Rs.150/- for 4 hours (min)

Top 4 Call Drivers
Ph: 2825 7777 / 2823 5275
Charges: Rs.200/- for 6 hours

Jayashree Travels
Ph: 6529 5959
Charges: Rs.150/- for 4 hours

Chennai Job Service
Ph: 6450 8454 / 6526 7886
Charges: Only monthly hire for Rs.6500/-


Friday, August 15, 2008

My 6 yr old niece's dance video

This is my niece anika dancing. we shot this without her knowing. she was dancing for about 1/2 hour for 3 songs. we later edited this to fit into just one song.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Is It Microsoft Office XP or...

The other day, while re-formatting my office PC and installing the software (yes, i didn't go to my IT guy for support; i realized it a little later in a hard way). I was searching for CDs to install Microsoft Office 2002 (since that was the one previously installed). But I could not find the Office 2002 CD anywhere at all in the whole of the office. I ended having a CD which said "Microsoft Office XP". Now, I did not want to install anything different from what I wanted and so asked my IT manager. He said that both Office XP and Office 2002 are one and the SAME.

What the F*%# ??

It turned out "Office XP" is the marketing name, but the actual name (on display) will be "Office 2002". I was wondering how a discussion between two Microsoft guys would have gone before they came to a similar conclusion

M1: I think we are up with a new version of Office. We need to find a new way to make this more appealing to the Office "Enhancer" series.
M2: I think we can have "The all new Office XP Multi-domain" series.
M1: What is multi-domain?
M2: Just that if a user gets a single CD but with multiple licenses, it is called multi-domain
M1: But don't we already have a "multi-user license" for that
M2: This is different. This is coming with all new features and enhanced stability
M1: What exactly are the new features?
M2: Well, actually they just fixed 2 bugs which was causing Word to crash when HELP was called.
M1: ohhh... (muses to himself. then...) That is a good marketing term. We shall keep it that way.
M2: But, don't forget, we need to make sure that the "About" box gives a different name from what the CD / package mentions.
M1: Why is that?
M2: We can add that as an "added features set" to all the users and mention in the attached overleaf "For exclusive customers only"
M1: Perfect. Then, the About Box will show "The all new Office XP SP4" with Multi-domain in the second of line of display.
M2: Perfect. I will take forward this proposal to the "steering committee" and get their approval before sending out a leaflet to all those guys at CNN and BBC
M1: Yea. We need to create a hype for those guys to buy into this crap

Voila, the next generation of Microsoft Office is born...


Tuesday, July 01, 2008

What it is not

Sometimes, (well most of the times) when I see people being so ignorant and half the times just damn adamant in their behaviour and thoughts, it irks me to the core. Some of these below things cross my mind when seeing these king of people, but I just sulk away with an overgrown case of timidity and boneless-ness. I do hope I can come out of this...

* When you want to go down in a lift, you dont CALL IT UP, but you TELL it that you want to go down. My office is in the 5th floor. More often than not, when people want to go down and they see the lift in the ground floor, they immediately press the "UP" button and ASK the lift to come up. I used to get irritated before, but nowadays, I just cant suppress the smile on seeing a live telecast of ignorance. Though, this is not the worst part, their behaviour after "asking" the lift to come and pick them up, they keep fidgeting with their mobiles as if a chauffuer will carry them to their destination.

* In a traffic signal, if the "green" side is free, then we have the RIGHT to move and proceed towards our destination regardless of signal on our side. Our RTOs are among the worst of the lot while examining and giving driving licenses. The "best" thing about getting a license in India, or for that matter, anything in India, all you need is to know the process of using the money-under-the-table technique. Ive heard of this news in madras. A normal procedure while building a house is for the owners to get a "completion certificate" from the CMDA before you can apply for Electricity connection and water connection. But, if you have the skills of using money-under-the-table, all you need is 10K to get an electricity connection regardless of whether a house is there or not. Now, beat that.

* Any place, any side of the earth where a tyre can roll, we can drive. This logic is applicable to every two/three/four/six/eight (and what not) wheelers in india. An array of vehicles will be standing at a signal waiting for it to become green. But, those coming behind cannot wait. Its always "you are blocking my path" attitude. The immediate fix to this situation is to find the next or nearest possible "escapade" on the sidewalks, pavements or if the median is low enough, the median. It doesnt matter whether you need to take a right or not, I can stand on any side of the road, right, center or (the best location) the left to take a right turn when the signal turns green. Oh every time (EVERY SINGLE TIME), I really pray to God that he gives me the magical power to just burst those "shrewd" tadpoles on tyres right at that point. But, so far my wish hasnt been granted.

More to follow (am feeling sleepy...)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

How NOT to take a seminar

I recently attended a seminar/lecture by a colleague on a new concept, that too in the afternoon. I am not a very good day dreamer, but after just a few minutes into the seminar, I was flying into the realms of day dreaming. Half the others were sleeping and almost none were interested. My brain completed its fantasy journey and returned me to ground reality and made me to take some points, those which I SHOULD NOT do if and when I take a seminar.

* Read what is written in the slides.
I feel this is one of the worst way to take a seminar. This gives the feeling to the attendees that you are not fully prepared. Dr. Walter Lewin, an MIT professor, known for his different and histrionic ways of taking a class said about taking a class (and it applies to everything) "It's not what you cover, but what you uncover". He also said "Never show a student a slide or an equation on a slide or on transparencies. Everything they have to digest, YOU should be able to write on the blackboard, (with an exception for pictures)." I agree to this completely.

* Show an equation/diagram and not explain it on the board. Already, I know nothing of it. Showing a technical diagram and not explaining is like adding salt to the wound.

* Dive into the core of the seminar from the word Go. Those sitting there are NOT machines. They are people. They have been working their ass off (atleast half of them) at something different and are already pre-occupied. If the presenter jumps directly into technicalities, he/she does not give an opportunity for the listeners to gain access to the seminar's environment. Once they are blocked, they never enter the seminar (mentally) at all.

* Look at only one or two persons and talk. Either the others get bored or get bugged. Either way, this is not a right etiquette during a seminar.

* Use very irritable and poor hand gestures and postures. Being a technical seminar in itself is tiresome. Nobody wants to look at a person to get themselves irritated more. Any hand or eye gestures ought to be relevant to the topic and should be graceful; At least should go with the personality of the presenter taking the class.

* Use too many textual slides. More the slides, more impatient people become. My policy is have as little slides as possible and talk more. If possible, make it a two way conversation with the audience. It makes for a more "alert" audience.

* Talk to the screen. The audience are looking at you to listen. NEVER avoid them. It will show the presenter in a poor light.

* Use poor language. Phrases like "anyone can understand this", "anyone can read it" are top phrases to irritate the audience. The audience sitting are not idiots to hear these words. They know if its going to be easy or not. Its not for the presenter to decide on the intelligence of the audience.

* Underestimate an audience's intelligence on the topic at hand. There are people who will know better than what you are trying to know. Respect that.
* Mismanage time. Any seminar/meeting getting extended is bound to go on the wrong side of people, be it technical stuff or personality development. There is only so much that a crowd can accept. Know the limit, and keep to it.
* Try to interpret a question before the audience completes it. Hear them out fully before answering. Its your seminar. Its your duty to hear their questions and explain to them. That is one of the intentions of having a seminar.

* Prepare fully for a presentation. Doing a dry run before a presentation always helps. You will get to know where you get stuck and correct it, so your presentation goes smoothly. A well prepared presentation shows itself on the audience's faces and their observance.
* Be confident on what you spell out. If a statement's validity is not clear, do not spell it out. In all probabilities, there will be a person who will catch that exact statement to raise his/her query.

Some of my Short "Spirit" tips for making a seminar/presentation a success.

- Clarity of thought on the subject at hand.
- Demonstrate love for the field/subject. It will shows itself by your presentation flow and energy you exude.
- There are no stupid questions. Chances are that if the person who is asking does not know, then you may also not know.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

CellOne International Roaming

If you have an international roaming enabled BSNL CellOne SIM, to activate the roaming when in a foreign country, the following procedure needs to be followed.

Select the "Cellone" menu in your mobile. Then, select the "Network" sub-menu. In that select "international" to activate your incoming and outgoing calls in international roaming mode.

Main link

An effective saloon

Last week, I went with my uncle to Baroda to meet some people relating to my uncle's work. While loitering around the office (in the Gujarat Industrial Area), I came across this sight of a saloon. With the cost of living growing faster than AIDS, I cudn't say much but to admire and appreciate the simplicity of the situation. I later found many more such shops scattered throughout the industrial area.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Kuruvi - A first feel of the music

Happy New Year : Sunidhi Chauhan,Yogi B, Dr Burn

What starts out as an ECR Resort Pub Song, quickly takes a U turn to Triplicane and stays there for most of the time. The "pick up" in the middle of the song might suit the flow of the movie, but does not seem to fit in the flow of the song. Sunidhi Chauhan has given a powerful performance to boost the song in its "urban-koothu" culture.

Dandaana Dama : Sangeeth Althpur

Obviously the introduction song for the hero, with a very good "build-up" piece. Sangeeth's voice fits perfectly with Vijay's personality. The lyrics does not seem to give anything new, or atleast does not give the feel of a newly written "build-up" song. Cudnt expect anything other than expecting Vijay to do some (obviously good) dancing and lots of "hero-image-stints" like the resting stork pose or something similar.

Thaen Thaen: Sung by Udit and Shreya Goshal

A typical Vidyasagar peppy melody. A nice arabic styled beat to go with the flowing voices of Udit and Shreya. Udit's awful pronunciation of the language does not deter the song from its melody and style.

Palaandhu Palaanadhu : Vidhyasagar, S Rajalakshmi

Lots of punjabi thump, with a touch of arabic pop finishes here and a bit too much of voice-slazing (which goes to the point of irritation). This song was pretty irritating the first time, but the pain subsided from the next time.

Theme Music : Praveen Mani,Dr Burn,Renina,Suvi

Part 2 of Ghilli's "Kabbadi" Theme Music. The first half of the song is more of a rock song while the second half quite majestically transforms to madras' local rhythm style

Mozha Mozhannu : KK , Anuradha Sriram

From rumours, I heard that this will be an item song with Malavika.  In that case, the starting lyrics fits the bill perfectly. Although the song's theme words gives an "uneasy" feel, the other lyrics does not make you squirm. A gana song, vidyasagar style.

Thaen thaen is for car stereos, Mozha mozhannu is for midnight masalas, and the rest for all FM channels and music channels.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Article on Banyan (or is it?)

(with no hatred to the author or the paper...)

Writing an article for a newspaper needs real good skills, as it needs to reach to a varied audience. Something should have happened to the author or the folks at Indian Express while approving this article, a "cover story" article with the title "Six months in the shade". It seemed to tell about the author's life/learning when she was at Banyan.

Link to the article

The passage talked about the author buying dresses, taking autos and lots of stuff which were related to the title like Uninterrupted power supply and the Electricity board of India, before actually entering to the subject at hand. At the end of the passage, I was wondering if I was confused or frustrated or drained down of energy. To top it all, the whole gist of positive words about banyan were highlighted in a boxed area and that is about all you can muster about Banyan from that passage. The flow of the paragraphs were getting stuck like peak hour Bangalore traffic. The passage, overall, tasted like drinking a special portion of hot lime milk.