Sunday, December 17, 2006
However, I really enjoyed the view I got from London to LA. The flight path and time meant that I had an opportunity to see 3 sunrises and 3 sunsets in a single day! Seems unbelievable? Let me say that we crossed the earth's shadow two times in flight path. That should be enough to explain.
This is closest I have ever been to north pole. The view was brilliant. Hudson Bay looked magnificent. Now, I want to go even closer to north pole. This is second best view I have ever seen from a flight. The best still remains flying over snow-capped peaks of Himalayas on the way to Leh from Delhi. That was just superb.
Today morning it was good warm weather here. But in afternoon, it started snowing and the mercury is now at 6 degree below zero. Earlier post has the pictures.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
I did miss Q (or should I say R?) and I felt Craig isn't that great as Bond. He isn't as cool as Brosnan.
Overall, it was a great movie.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Saturday, September 09, 2006
It is described as "war of religion" rather than independence movement. I remember from the books, that the primary cause of revolt was indeed the religion with sepoys being forced to do certain things their religion prohibited (primarily, the meat). Definitely, in the subcontinent, religion was a very strong motivating and remains so to this date as observed in day-to-day news articles. It could very well be that some souls used religion to rally support for the independence cause like the way taliban uses it.
Archives are one way to look at the history and predicting the alternate course is next to impossible. Things might have different but how much? Would we have had another "Asoka" instead of "Bose"?
I would think that this revolt would have definitely happened if not in 1857 than few years later. It was a very socialist India then and hurting people from your neighbourhood definitely causes discontent among people. Another cause would have been the uprooting of village micro-economics by opium production policies of British Empire. That had led to unemployment (or rather ungainful employment or forced labour) which would have fuelled the revolt.
Friday, September 08, 2006
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Friday, August 25, 2006
5AM: Slept (burned the midnight oil)
9AM: In office
5PM: Ready to leave
upto 6PM: Waiting for mail from offshore
6.15 PM: Decided to leave anyway
6.15 - 6.20 pm: called up all cab companies... no cab
6.20 - 7.40 pm: tried to hail a cab... there is huge traffic jam... all over KL... no empty cabs... tried calling again during this period from mobile too... that didn't help either
7.40 pm: returned to office... keep calling cab companies after every 15 mins...
8.40 pm: thought I will have some food... went to coffee shop... closed... :(
8.45 pm: back to office desk... again called cab... they said no... i got frustrated... i told them u get a cab here, i'll pay double... she tried for 5 mins for me... got a cab (on double charges)...
8.53 pm: cab arrives... i'm in cab...
9.00 pm: i'm in cab
9.30 pm: i'm still in the cab... hungry, angry and tired... now working on laptop... nothing better to do...
10.15 pm: reached hotel... finally...
10.20 pm: called room service... good they are still serving... ordered some food...
10.30 pm: waiting for food to arrive... called up the room service again... finally it arrives... set the alarm to 5 AM next day morning for an 8.30 presentation... need to be in office at 8...
i don't remember any times after that...
Now, its 2 PM... the morning presentation went well... lasted 2 hours... another presentation at 3PM... need to make arrangements for that...
It wasn't the worst day... not even close to that... but now I can write about bad days... if, I happen to have time and connectivity on next day... connectivity... that reminds me of this article
Thursday, August 24, 2006
So much for their claim to be a developed country! They need to upgrade their newly built infrastructure.
Monday, August 21, 2006
On Janamashtami, I went to ISKCON temple after a full day of fast. It was great except for getting a cab on return. I met Anurag there. Here is a picture of me and him.
After that, on weekend, I visited Aquaria @ KLCC. The trip ended prematurely before I could enjoy it completely. Here is a chameleon relaxing.
Then went on KL city outskirts tour. Visited the Royal Selangor factory. They are the world's largest pewter maker. Here is my picture next to the world largest beer mug. This mug can hold more than 3,000 litres of beer.
And I took some pictures of twin towers too. My hotel is pretty close to it. Here they are:
A view from the front of twin towers. (From main entrance)
In their magnificent glory (from the KLCC Park)
East side view from the skybridge (170 meters, 41st floor, twin towers). West side view is not so great. Also it was not a good day for pictures.
View of KLCC park from the skybridge
Me @ skybridge
Petronas twin towers at night. I think its one of my best shots given the conditions. No tripods and no SLR. Just a mere 3 MP camera. This picture is serving as my laptop background for time being.
Do you find the pics interesting? Leave a note.
Friday, August 04, 2006
The country is hot and humid and I don't like the weather here. It rains pretty often for my comfort.
The twin towers are magnificent but they could have been much better. The looks aren't as soft as empire state bldg in NY. The Suria KLCC is a good hangout for any kind of activity.
Haven't had much time to myself. Will posts some pictures once I'm back to Delhi.
Friday, June 16, 2006
Why do people always criticize moves to introduce mother tongue material in the schools in India? Shouldn't the kids enjoy speaking in their mother tongue rather than a phoren (foreign) one? I think its unfair for young minds to be subjected to literary materials from more than one language.
Is there any study by any one showing the stress effects and corresponding decrease in learning abilities of kids studying in foreign-medium schools vs. mother tongue medium schools?
Different reasons, same outcome - "Quit India". (Wonder what Mahatma Gandhi would have said to these BPOs?)
I partly agree with their decision that its difficult to answers queries related to energy supplies by call centers located in different countries. Though, I feel that the actual reason is probably customer backlash against outsourcing.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Friday, June 02, 2006
I must admit that I was disappointed by the fact that it wasn't able to guide me towards an ideal profession. They have their reasons, but that left me in dark. What do you think would be the right profession for me?
I am -0.75 on Economic Left/Right scale. I didn't considered myself to be on left. Strange!
I am -2.15 on Social Libertarian/Authoritarian scale.
I'm actually pretty close to Gandhi on this. He being slightly more left than me.
Friday, May 26, 2006
Shares of Yahoo! went up, eBay went up, Google went up, and Dell went up. And Microsoft went up too!
I don't know if Google's move is counter to Yahoo's since only hours separated these news. But one thing for sure, Google definitely hit upon a great idea to realize the real estate offered by Dell. Eversince HP and Lenovo have been successful in cutting the fab and consumers starting to prefer window shopping PCs to ordering over Internet, Dell share has been declined. Their results were below expectations. This will increase profit margins for them.
As a consumer, I see it as going in positive direction. I see a future where minimal configuration PCs preloaded with search and other discount coupons for shopping be real cheap if they were subsidized by search engines and shopping portals? How about mail-in rebates for amazon.com when you buy a PC?
Recently, I hit upon the quiz that talks about famous Honda "Cog" advertisement. I had seen it on Internet and liked the commercial a lot (being similar to my childhood machines). However, I never know that these are called "Rube Goldberg" machines after the famous cartoonist who invented them. Now I know that they are also called "Heath Robinson contraption" (in UK) and Pythagorean Machines (in Japan).
I loved playing The Incredible Machine a lot after I first learnt in G-20, Ravindra Bhawan at the university. Me and N. V. P. Iyer spent nights playing this game. Those who haven't played it should give it a try. I still play the later versions of this game: "Return of the Incredible Machine: Contraptions", and "The Incredible Machine: Even More Contraptions". They are so much fun.
I would have liked a lighter version. A small applet consuming 20 MB of RAM is not a good one.
Monday, May 22, 2006
I should also undergo DNA test to find out that how much % of me is OBC! That alone can ensure some future to my offspring. Where have we come?
As if killing IITs and IIMs are not enough, they want to kill private sector now. Our vulture government is adamant now on introducing reservations in jobs in private sector too. If I own a company, I decide who I employ. That’s none of government business. I pay taxes for you to set-up whatever you want to. Keep out of my company.
I thought of various alternative reservation mechanisms to follow up my earlier post. I still think we don’t need the reservations but owing to current state of affairs with respect to primary and secondary education, I propose following alternatives:
A. Government is given 25 years to get primary and secondary education systems in shape. Let there be reservations for economically backward classes (people below 50% of per capita income) in all institutes. Let this be pegged at 30% from year 1 and reducing in one percentage point every year for next 25 years (29% in year 2, 28% in year 3 and so on... till 5% is left in year 26). Then let 5% continue for another 25 years period and probably forever. Allow vacant seats be filled by general category.
B. Identify what people actually need reservation. Analyse their demographics. Install a point scale from 1-10 for these people. Award them that many % extra marks. That’s the way it is done for NCC cadets, War Widows and like. No reservations, just plain, pure and simple affirmative action.
C. Same point scale as in B and gradually decreasing reservation as in A. And the cut-off of reserved category be set at 10% below (at 90% of marks of) last general category student admitted. Again, allow vacant seats be filled by general category.
None of my alternatives are based on castes (scrape the SC/ST quota too), as I don’t like discrimination and don’t want to divide based on caste. I remember an OBC leader saying that they have suffered 2000 years of oppression. Are we supposed to pay for (claimed) sins of our ancestors? Where are the facts? Didn’t Muslims invade
See where it is heading? Why don’t the government reserve everything in this country to everybody in their share of population? OBCs drive on road in OBC lanes. SC/ST in SC/ST lanes. Let’s reserve seats in airlines, railways, buses, and all public and private transport. Let’s designate half of country’s lakes as OBC lakes. OBC and other backwards take east shore of any river and general category the west shore. 50% of “sulabh” toilets are reserved for OBC. So are 50% of hospital beds. And, 50% of all cars sold. And, 50% of all two-wheelers sold. And while are at it, 50% of parliament seats and 50% of cremation grounds, too. To hell with it, why doesn’t the government divide
I hate being unable to do anything about it. That’s where I don’t like democracy. You own the cow and neighbours decide who gets the milk. Democracy probably depends too much on average IQ of the population below the median IQ.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
I found how much Afghanistan loves Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi and was, honestly, a bit surprised. Ekta Kapoor promoting genesets sales in Afghanistan. I don't happen to like soap operas but I know how many people prefer to get involved in Tulsi's life. It does not matter to some that may be their own problems will get resolved if they spent the same half an hour discussing with their hubbies. Well, their life, their choice. On the same note, I wish these serials have significantly less *noise* of heads turning, eyeballs meeting etc. Each such scene repeats thrice with ill-conceived sound effects. It is deafening and boring. Unfortunately, other serials have started copying it too. I wish TVs have programmable automatic sound filters.
Sensex has tanked today. Markets witnessed their highest absolute fall till date. Down 826.4 points (-6.76%) at close. Black Monday is legacy now. Lets talk about Black (or rather Red) Thursday. It had to happen. But the slope surprised me. Looking at advance decline ratio, recovery seems remote. It may fall further on Friday. And FIIs may come to feast on it if it 11,000 is broken.
Monday, May 15, 2006
I agree that consumerism is a good thing. Car, flights etc are neccessary things which are offering value (such as reduced travel time) and has an associated cost. Ofcourse, people can travel by train rather than the plane and spend the money thus saved into philanthropic causes. People have done that and are doing that. But thats not I would expect from anybody or everybody.
Dogs, however, serve a different need, that in my opinion can be substituted in most of the cases. Perhaps, thats my perception and prior experiences with dogs and their owners. Most of them treat their dog as their (super)kid and flant them. They also believe their dog is superior to many poor kids living in the neighbourhood. This was in reference to these scenarios.
Dogs also serve other needs that can't be substituted such as aid to blind persons, sniffer dogs and other specialized roles. Its not about that.
Consumerism is good for society so long as it remains within reasonble realm. Its good as long as it does not strain resources. If resources are plentiful, consumerism is good. If resources are scarce, proper measure ought to be taken. Imaging water scarcity driving water prices to $20 per liter. Would you say that poor have no right to drink water since they can't afford it? Would you say in that scenario that water industry is creating lot of jobs and lots of money for shareholders so its good for ecnomony? You could say the same about opium trade. (in negative sense, though. They generated lots of jobs and lots of money. But do we want it?)
With money comes responsibility. Atleast for those, who understand that money isn't everything.
Friday, May 12, 2006
The case in point is the expenditure incurred on dogs vs the kids. As per the news item, buying a dog could set you back by 50,000 - 75,000 INR. And their monthly maintenance expenditure runs from 15,000 - 30,000 INR. That's a whopping INR 180,000 to INR 360,000 per year per dog. For international readers (if any) of my blog, that translates into $4,000 - $8,000 per dog per year.
Sample these facts. Indian per capita income is less than $600 per person per year. So an average dog has higher per capita income than an average Indian (or for that matter, higher than an average citizen in half the world's countries). Even on purchasing power parity, Indian at $3,400 falls short of a dog.
But that's not what I want to debate on. My concern is the next fact.
It costs INR 800 to educate one child for one year, that's less than $18 per child per year. You can sponsor a balwadi, (place where 35 below-poverty child below 6 yr old stay so that they don't get dragged into child labour) for a sum of INR 30,000 (or $670) for a year.
That to me translates that a dog consumes equivalent to 210 - 420 toddlers' basic needs; or education of 225-450 kids.
Still with me?
Another fact: India is home to 17 million child labourers (official). Unofficial estimates put this figure to close to 75-80 million.
I live in Bangalore. I have seen that the dog craze in this city is much more than in places such as Delhi. So much so that I am often disturbed by their indiscriminate barking that I can't work or live in peace. I wonder how people cope with that.
Estimating that only one in 50 families have at least one dog in Bangalore (I think I'm being conservative here); with population of more than 5 million, that would translate into more than 20,000 pet dogs in Bangalore. But even by this standards, that dogs consume more than what it would cost to setup up 240,000 balwadis caring for more than 8 million toddlers or about 10% of India's child labourer population. And that's just one city.
So, these dogs to me are more of enemy of these poverty stricken kids than human's best friend.
Talk about getting the priorities right?
I remember one poem from my school days. I forget the name of poet, but was probably, Sumitra Nandan Pant (one of the four great Hindi poets during 60s - 70s). Let me know if that's right. It goes:
"Kutton ko milta doodh, bhooke balak akulate hain.
Maa ki haddi se chipak chipak, jaade ki raat bitate hain."
Its in Hindi, written sometime in 60s or 70s. Here is English translation:
"While the dogs enjoy the milk, hungry kids agitate and go restless.
Clinging on the mother's bare bones, they pass the winter night."
(agitate is probably not the correct word here to Hindi "akulana" which is feeling of hunger, restlessness and feeling of being not able to do anything to change status quo)
Next time, you decide to buy a dog, think of how many kids you can rescue from the clutches of poverty. Go here and save the India's future.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
People say we are poor country. A miniscule percentage of Indian public, who invest in primary markets and who are into "retail" segment with less than $2000 each to invest, coughed up more than Rs 200,000 crores or more than $ 4.5 billion. This excludes high-networth investors and financial institutions.
I think government should setup "Basic Education Fund" which has tax exemption of 200%. So if you have income of 10 million, donate 5 million to this fund and pay no tax. I'm sure this will lead to decent corpse. But the execution also counts a lot. We need to maintain public account of this fund to see how much goes where.
With so many politicians, incl. Arjun Singh and Left, saying that so-called backward castes need reservation, I challenge them to donate all the money they have for the cause of upliftment of their caste-brothers. No. They won't do that. They want middle-class to suffer and pay for their cause, reducing their right to education at the same time. I have never seen worse arguement that this. Kill the golden goose. Kill the middle-class. Kill the India. They never think of middle-class fellows who study 16-hr a day for their right to quality education. Rich will escape to foreign education. What about your bank-clerk's daughter? What mistake has she made in her life, apart from being born in India, that deny her birth-right to fair competition to quality education.
Also, those same politicians say merit will not suffer. I received a wonderful suggestion in email, that I would to share. How about reservation in Parliament? Let all doctors that treat MPs, MLAs be from backward classes. Let all aids be that. This will ensure jobs for them and provide good oppurtunities to growth. Let all government jobs for unskilled labour be reserved for backward classes. But ensure free and fair competition for skilled jobs.
I also don't like the concept of pre-nursery, nursery, LKG and UKG before getting into 1st. Poor kids. Give them a break. Let them enjoy atleast first 5-6 yrs. After that, its competition for the rest of life.
On the same note, I found this article from Rahul Phondke interesting from my alumni site. I can't link that here but here is how it goes (quoting verbatim)
In a significant move today, Congress announced 50 % reservation for all Left Handed people in IITs/IIMs. Said a congress spokesman , "In 60 years of independence there has not been a single left handed CEO. It is time to set the system right " . This reservation will be over and above the existing reservations taking the total reservation to 99.73 %. In order to take care of the fractions, the government also announced an increase in the number of seats taking the total IIM seats to 1000.
The official bill would be signed soon by the PM's office ....with his left hand ...
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Its great feeling that atleast somebody I know is enjoying the life to the fullest. Mangesh is the other one I know. Rest seem too busy to write even one mail per month. Last meet I organized nobody but Rupi turned up. Let me see if I can organize another one.
BTW, if you are wondering which batch I am talking about here, its University of Roorkee 1996 B.E. batch.
Friday, March 24, 2006
There have been so many events since last post. India lost the cricket test series to England. Yes, 1-1 draw with a part time team to me is loss. They can't bat full day to draw a test. What with the world's most formidable line-up that fails to deliver when it matters. Always. When was the last time they batted days out to save a test? From a winning position to losing one, thanks to their kiddish fielding. Anyway, its time I should stop watching cricket or at least hoping that they have balls.
South Africa showed what will power can achieve. Beating Australia in a world record mammoth run chase. That was superb.
What else... well, there has been huge uproar in parliament on "office of profit" issues, a violent mob in Mumbai, nuke deal between India and US as well as India and Russia etc. I like the nuke deal. This shows that everything is negotiable if you have the right cards. For years, China has violated NPT by arming Pakistan. Nobody questioned China. NPT has, anyway, became useless. Now Pakistan is crying that Indo-US nuke deal signals that NPT is dead. Well, China put first nail in coffin. Pakistan the rest by acting like Chinese agents selling Chinese nuke technology to Libya and Iran. Pakistan paid 9/11 investigators to remove its name from report. Look who is talking?
As any Indian would tell you, most of us laugh on Pakistan's inability to comprehend the changing global scenario and still behave like it was cold-war period. They do have higher per capita income compared to India. But that's it. I'm sure it won't be long before we beat them at this too.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Second day was better though again the event management showed off their weakness. Food served on both days was not up to the par and I just don't like the T-shirt throwing in events like these. Crowd (should I say mob?) goes crazy for these T-shirts and many get injured. This is not for weak-hearted. Why can't they just give it to ones who participate or give it to all. I think, they didn't expect this much crowd.
Also, I feel that they should stop doing multiple tracks. I feel like attending more than one but have to sit out another due to concurrency. Somehow, there is duplication of information across sessions. They should streamline and review the contents of all presentation so that it is crisp and upto the mark.
Overall, barring few sessions, I felt it was not worth travelling 500 kms in a bus to watch this event.
Thursday, January 05, 2006
Another new year. Another resolution. I have seen some people who make a long list of resolutions for the coming year. I don't make one. I am yet to follow the last one I made couple of years back. Times have changed but the need of that resolution is fresh as ever. So continuing with that. If I can achieve that, I'll make another.
Been very busy lately. Got some relief today. Wrote a small poem on the new year resolutions for my close friends, similar to that jokes/poems of Ahsaan Qureshi of The Great Indian Laughter Champions fame. I like his style more than any one else in that show. आखिर, व्यंग भी काव्य का एक अंग होता है ।