Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Diwali @ Home

Somehow I just love clicking candles :-) Got back from a long trip home. The trip was hectic, kept running all over the places, had to go to Calcutta a couple of times. Met up with Guddu Bhaiye after a long time, almost 2 years I guess. We missed Chomraj's company, her tid-bits about Jsr, the masala news and delicacies (??) at her place. Listening ma'am ??? You better send some chocoltes this way to redeem yourself :D

Jamshedpur never changes. Its the same old place where we went to school, the same old roads and the same old shops. Well almost all. Maybe thats kind of reassuring, now matter wherever you go you can come back to some place that you can call home.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Post India

Ladies and gentlemen here I present to you PostIndia...

"PostIndia is an experiment to delve more into the Indian psyche and find of the common threads the runs through the diversity of this magnificent nation."

After a long hiatus I have started work on this project. Your contributions are most welcome.

And do spread the word.


Monday, October 09, 2006

Some reading

I happend to read two amazing books back to back over the last couple of days. It was impossible to put them down even though they were taking away a lot of time from my hectic schedule but they were well worth the read.

"I want a drink. I want fifty drinks. I want a bottle of the purest, strongest, most destructive, most poisonous alcohol on Earth. I want fifty bottles of it. I want crack, dirty and yellow and filled with formaldehyde. I want a pile of powder meth, five hundred hits of acid, a garbage bag filled with mushrooms, a tube of glue bigger than a truck, a pool of gas large enough to drown in. I want something anything whatever however as much as I can."

A Million Little Picecs is the memoir of a 23 year man undergoing treatment at a rehabilitation center. Its a story of courage, of shame. Of everything bad a man can do and how he tries to atone for it, realizing all the while that atonement might not possible. Through the book there were so many incidents that made a chill run down my spine. You start of being in control and soon the addiction takes control over you. So much so that even though you know its killing you, all you can do to get over the feeling is dope some more. I thinks its a must read for all youngsters, it would prove to me a real deterrent in the fight against drugs.

Its also about the camaderie that develops in so obsure a place that seems so far away from a normal person's psyche. Judges and felons, drugdealers and doctors cohabit the same dorms, eat the same meals, share the same jokes and of course recourse to the same cigarettes to drive away the "urge". I am dying to read the second book in the series, My Friend Leonard.

The Cave is surprisingly another book on hope. Extremely enchanting.

BTW I am looking for a copy of The Story of Civilization Vol 1. Please holler if you know where to find it. Its out of print.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

one night...

the light dispels the darkness.
well, almost !!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Bombay Blasts...

Helpline: + 91 22-22005388, 24451515, 24452222, 26207254

List of casualties: Here

Mumbai Police website.

My heart and prayers reach out to those who left their home in the morning never thinking they wouldn't return. And to those that waited in vain... And also to those who came close.


PS: I am too numbed to say anything more.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Life: A users manual

Some pages from it actually. I haven't updated in quite sometim. To say my hands were full would be an understatment. There has been such a whirldwind of activity that I didn't even get time to sit back and ponder. Some updates on the life of yours truly
- Joined a new place to work. Thankfully before they kicked me out of Sarnoff ;) Heh. I'll be working at Fair Isaac for the next few years and see how life takes its course from there.
- Solved a 1100 piece jigsaw puzzle with a friend of mine. Estimated time 10hrs.
- Have been decorating my place, since I plan to stick around for some time in Bangalore. Theme oscillates between Austere to Minimalistic.
- Have a lot of work to do and lots more to learn so I wasn't really getting time off to mail/blog.
- Started working on a book with A. Lets see how far it goes :D
- Finished reading a couple of books, The Piano Teacher, Moral Animals, The Old Man and his God and a book on photography.

Work has been extremly good thus far, lots of interesting problems and as usual I cant write about my work :'-( But at least I am happy I wouldn't be writing s/w for killing innocent Iraqis.

There have been some other things that are really important and I am way too happy they way things turned out, but this does not seem the right place to post about such an incident :-)

Need to get back to work now. More later....

Thursday, May 25, 2006

I am not pro reservation...

...but I am not anti reservation either.

I would like to start this post with some facts and figures:
Total population of India: 1,028,610,328
SC/ST Population: 250,961,940 (~25%)
OBC Population: No definitive number, assumed to be around 52%
Percentage of Upper Caste: ~22%

The Consitution of India bars reservation beyond 50%.

I have been pretty unconcerned (read cold) toward this reservation issue but there was a big debate at work yesterday and every one was throwing up numbers in the air. So I went back and tried gathering as much information on the net before I had anything further to say. My sources include the Census of India, newspapers and some reports I found on the matters, a few of which also talk about the Mandal Commission. I know its really sad to know that more than 75% of the population of India is considered backward but lets move on...

Part I - On Social Justice:

Firstly who constitues the Other Backward classes?

The Mandal commission proposed 3 categories to identify the OBCs depending on social, economic and educational backwardness. A detailed description is given in Identifying OBCs.

I am not very convinced about the different parameters used to evalute whether a particular group belongs to the OBC or not, but it definitely talks about sections of society that are deprived.

India still remains a nation of extremely poor people. The central estimate is pegged around 40% but I belive it is somewhere in the range of 55-60%. I know, it hurts to accept the fact that more than 60 years after independence, majority of the population is still living in such a pitiable situation. More so because of the callousness of people who are affluent and can bring in change. But this post is not intended towards the social indifference in the Indian society.

Hence most of the people who would get affected by the reservation are people who belong to the upper/middle caste. The middle cast constitutes about 7% of the Indian population. Of the upper class 10% have so much money that they do not really care about the reservation issue, they can always send their kids aboard for studies if they WANT to. So doing some simple arithmetic the fraction of the population that is getting affected in an adverse manner if at all is about 12%.

Another EXTREMELY important aspect of governance. Goverments are not run like corporates and thankfully so. They have to keep the benefit of the masses in mind !!

So of the goverment thats affects 50% of the population in a positive manner at least makes social sense. I know there are other ways of improving the situation, like good primary education, vocational education, micro-finance initiatives but all this would take time and effort and initiatives are already on their way in these directions too. But coming back to question of reservation, if this reservation helps someone get education and a job later, his entire family transforms. The turn around time is much less in this scenario.

Part II - On Education

Now lets talk about meritocracy, and let me tell you all this talk about meritocracy is pure balony and nothing else. The only places in India that where one can get good educations are the top tier colleges like the IITs, AIIMS, BITS, a couple of others and of course DU. But once you move away from the these colleges, the quality of education decreases exponentially. All education means in India is just getting a degree. I have hardly come across anyone who really learnt something during their college days and yeah I HAVE interacted with a lot of people. The second/third tier colleges are dime a dozen and many more would mushroom if there is a demand for them, so the students going there should not be really alarmed.

Now coming back to the premier institutes. They still have 50% seats thats are based on Merit. The very best will still get in, and if you really care about meritocracy thats all you want. People getting into these insitutes would be more focused and determined about their goals in life because the competition is so much tougher. People wont just land up in IIT because thats what everyone around them aspires to do. Then and only then would we have good Engineers/Doctors in the true sense of the word. And even if 20% of these students were really good, thats all it would take to change the country. Sadly thats not the case (maybe another post on that sometime...). So as far as retaining the best talent is concerened this "current" system of reservation does nothing to hinder the growth of true merit. People with true caliber would still go places in this scenario.

Now lets consider someone who belongs to the general category and was just on the border and would get rejected because of this act. He does have an option, an option to work harder and make it to the insitute. And is working hard bad? A developing country like India needs people who work really hard!!!

After my little research I feel various organizations like Youth for Equality are fighting a non-issue. They should have fought when the standards of IIT-JEE were smashed, they should have revolted when the number of IITs were being increased. India does not have enuf Profs to teach in the existing IITs where will they get profs for 11 more IITs. These are things that would have really taken down the name of IIT but we didn't hear even a whimper of protest. Did these people take up to the roads when they discovered the sorry state of affairs in primary education, or Narmada Dam issue for that matter. There are so many more important issues that need addressing, but alas their selfish motive is blind to them.

The reservation helps a major section of the society in a positive way and makes things a little harder for a smaller section. I really do not see how that is a cause for such uproar until all those protesting want is things made easier for them, easier for them to get into colleges to get jobs. India at this juncture can ill affoard these luxuries. And they talk about MERITOCRACY !!!! I am amused...

Part III - On Autonomy of Educational Insitutes

The only reason that concerns me about this reservation issue is the ease by which the Legislature can affect the course of education in this country. It is not reservation but the power of the Legislature to govern and change the functioning of colleges is what irks me. And this is not something that should be allowed in a Knowlege based society. US is what it is today because of private universities, that have complete autonomy in their governance. Sadly in India all these good colleges are goverment funded, and whereever thats the case the funding agency decides the course of research and teaching in the country. This flaws plagues not only India but a lot of European countries like Germany. They used to produce the BEST engineer till about the 40's but now they are reduced to second rate counterparts of the US univs. I hope people with capital (the big corporates, alumni of the premier institutes) realise this flaw in the educational system and take steps to change it before its too late. These should be private insitutes of the stature of MIT, Standford and Yale.

And after all the deliberations I think it makes sense to have some kind of reservation. What kind and what percentage I am not knowledgeable enough to comment.

At the end: I DO NOT approve of students getting beaten up during the demonstrations but at the same time I do not approve of students taking to streets for solving their problems. What then is the difference between people who attend Laloo's rally and the ones who attend the Maha Rally of the medicos/engineers. I believe it is just cheap mindless theatrics in a fit of josh.

There could have been more ways of solving the problems of poverty, of backwardness. This is one way and the numbers show that if implmented in a correct manner they would indeed affect the society positively. If not you better come up with an action plan before you curse the goverment for their deeds.

What is the current goverment's motive behind the reservation, and would they be able to implement it in a fair way? I don't know.

Jai Hind

Census of India
Positive Discrimination in India: A Political Analysis
Identifying OBCs

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Which element am I ?

Your Element is Metal

Your power colors: white, gold, and silver

Your energy: contracting

Your season: fall

You are persistent (and maybe even a little bit stubborn).
If you see something you want, you go for it.
You have a lot of strength, and it's difficult to get you down.
Very logical, you tend to analyze everything going on in your life.

Friday, May 19, 2006


A mail about this contest dropped into my inbox today. You are supposed to travel through India for 15 days and document you expereinces. I have always wanted to do this since I left college, and all my "close" and "trustworthy" friends (read: Supriyo and Madhur) kept ditching me on this. I had planned to hitch rides from truckwallas and buswallas and maybe hop onto the train for certain legs of the journey. Starting from Kanpur, I would go on to Amritsar or Peshawar depending on whether I had the required visas. Then it would be a visit to Rishikesh via Delhi. From there on I would have moved on to the heart of India, to MP, places like Bhopal, Indore that I have only childhood memories of. After exploring the forts of MP I would again hit NH 1 and head on eastwards towards Calcutta. Would laze off there for a few days, relishing the great Bengali cusine and then move on to Silliguri, and then further on to the North East for a week. But more that visiting these destination I was interested in talking to these people, putting up in one of those roadside dhabas, travelling in the truck with music blaring on the radio. As I write this I can almost visualize the sounds and the smells. I am looking forward to someone joining me, if you are game and jobless let me know :-)

I had planned another escapade with my roommate Rishabh, we had coaxed a fisherman to accompany us on the boat from Kanpur to Allahabad on the Ganges. The journey would have taken 4 days and 3 nights. Have u ever been on a river in the night? Its an amazing experience. Total darkness all around, and you are surrounded by water. The land is far enough for you to swim and reach and in the darnkness it becomes almost impossible to locate the shore. It has an eerie kind of enchantment. Anyways all arrangements were made and a day before we were supposed to leave Rishabh mother found out about it, and me acting like the nice guy as I always do, talked Rish out of the plan :-(

Some how I have this fascinstion for the Ganges, I lived for a couple of years in Calcutta when I was a kid, then I moved on to Patna, and then finally to Kanpur. I have stayed on the banks of the Ganga for almost half of my lifetime and for some reason I tend to keep moving closer to the source. Sometime in the future I would like to settle down in Rishikesh if there is anything like settling down for me ;-) Another things I liked about the All India Trip was the fact that I would intercept Ganges at so many places. The river meanering away in the distance dotted with small fishing boats. The sun setting on the horizon, painting the entire sky with a golden hue and reaching out into the river to quench its thirst. And once it has satiated itself darnkness breaking out. The dark sky daubed with orange puffs of clouds. The chants of the temples wafting on the river and countless diyaas starting their fleeing journey on the waves of the river...
Devī Sureśvarī Bhagavatī Gange,
Tribhuvanatārinī taralatarange,
Śankaramaulī vihārinī vīmale,
Mamamatirāstām tavapada kamale.

Disclaimer: The author is in no way affiliated to or the contest

Thursday, May 18, 2006

On Startups...

Read this talk by Paul Graham on startups: How American are Startups? He makes some really interesting points which I have always believed in:

"You need two kinds of people to create a start-up: rich people and nerds."

I have always felt that only a right blend of the two can actually get the engines revved up to go. Startups need money to hire smart people, and its takes really smart peole to turn the investment into a 100X profit. Only an organization driven by innovation/IP can offer these kinds of returns in short period of time. Normally in India there is a disconnect between the two. The "RICH" are mostly people that belong to the old world economies, like the Tatas and the Birlas, most of these are not people who have become rich a part of the new world economy. They are still in the brick and mortar timeframe and I think it makes a lot of sense for them to be so because of the manner in which these industries work. None the less they are changing, but these changes cannot be forces and can only advance organically. There is some money that is coming in though funds like West Bridge Capital, Blue River, Intel Fund for India but its nothing compared to the money floating around in the valley. And most of these funds tareget IT/ITES companies (except the Intel Fund) which is not a really innovative bussiness, at least not a lot of techical innovation takes place in this industry. Most of the good startups in India like TV.Veveo and Riya are funded in the Valley by American funds. Paul specifically metions this "Won't work in a poor company. India might one day produce a Silicon Valley, because it has the right people but it's still very poor. US has never been as poor as some countries are now, so we have no data to say how you get from poor to Silicon Valley. There may be a 'speed limit' to the evolution of an economy." I feel there is still a BIG gap between the nerds and the people with the moolah, the gap of two different economies.

One of his statements that really made me smile was "So basic recipe for a start-up hub is a great university and a nice town. You could improve on Silicon Valley easily. Just let people in." Sadly India still does not have either. Yeah not even the IITs are good enough places for innovation/enerpreneurism, they are just good "undergrad" teaching institutions. And the only one that has some flickr is situated in a God forsaken place called Kalyanpur :p

Drew this while I was getting bored in a telecon... Write in ur suggestions :D

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

More info on HIV

What is HIV?

HIV is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It attacks your body's ability to fight illness and weakens your immune system, eventually leading to AIDS, the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. Most people who acquire AIDS die from the disease or its complications.
HIV is spread through contact with 4 bodily fluids: blood, semen, vaginal fluids and breast milk. There are 3 ways that HIV can be transmitted: blood-to-blood contact (such as sharing a needle with someone who is HIV-positive); unprotected sex (oral, anal or vaginal) with a person who is HIV-positive; and from mother to child (before or during birth or from breastfeeding).
HIV is not spread through casual contact like hugging, shaking hands, sitting next to someone, sharing meals, using telephones or by being bitten by an insect.

How does HIV work? - The 4 Stages:

HIV develops in 4 stages:
Stage 1: In the first stage, HIV infection is recent and usually occurs 2 - 8 weeks after the virus has been introduced to the body. During this time, a person may feel like they have the flu. The immune system is still able to fight back and symptoms may only last a few days up to 2 weeks.
Stage 2: In this stage, a person may look and feel perfectly healthy. Symptoms may not exist for another 8 - 10 years in some cases. However, the virus is still at work and damaging the immune system.
Stage 3: In Stage 3, a person begins experiencing symptoms that may include fever, night sweats, swollen lymph glands in the neck, underarm or groin area, upper respiratory infections, fatigue, diarrhea, rapid weight loss, decreased appetite, vaginal or oral yeast infections, white spots in the mouth or rashes. HIV can also cause damage to a person's nervous system, making them forget things easily and/or confused. These symptoms are persistent and may last anywhere from several weeks up to several years. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms for more than a week, you should see a healthcare provider. While these may be signs of other illnesses, it is very important to seek medical advice.
Stage 4: In the final stage, HIV has severely damaged the immune system, leaving a person's body vulnerable to infection and disease. AIDS has now fully developed. In some cases, this does not occur for more than 10 years after infection, especially with the help of treatment. It is also important that a person's AIDS status be diagnosed and confirmed by a medical professional.
With the body weakened by AIDS, other infections such as tuberculosis (TB), invasive cervical cancer, PCP (AIDS-related pneumonia), wasting syndrome, candida/thrush, CMV retinitis, Kaposi's sarcoma and toxoplasmosis can simultaneously occur.

About Treatment

An early HIV diagnosis and steady treatment can help a person live a full, active life. Currently, there is no cure for HIV infection or for AIDS. But new treatments are working to battle the virus and prolong the lives of those infected. You can talk to your healthcare provider to learn more and decide what's best for you.

Know the Risks, Prevent the Disease

HIV affects all walks of life - anyone can get it. Of course, some forms of behavior are riskier than others. That's why it is important to know the risks as well as the ways to prevent HIV. The safest ways to prevent HIV are abstinence (not having sex), not injecting drugs or sharing needles, and for pregnant women, inquiring about treatments during pregnancy.

  • Practicing safer sex through the use of latex condoms or polyurethane condoms will help reduce the spread of HIV. Use a new condom every time, and a water-based lubricant for vaginal and anal sex.
  • Using oil products such as petroleum jelly or body lotion with latex condoms can cause the condom to break.
  • Condoms should never be reused.
  • If you do inject drugs, do not share your equipment and only use needles and syringes that are new and have been sterilized.


HIV testing is widely available. Most test centers are able to process your results within a few weeks and provide counseling to handle your concerns and answer questions.


National AIDS Control Organisation
Ministry of Health & Family Welfare
Government of India
9th Floor, Chandralok Building
36, Janpath
New Delhi 110001
Tel: 23325343, 23731774, 23731778
Fax: 23731746

It was so frustating to find one contact number for an AIDS Helpline by googling. Sad state of affairs :-( Info cut and pasted from here

Saturday, May 13, 2006

AID/HIV in India

One of my favourite magzines COLORS is running an article on the situation of AIDS/HIV around the world. I remember watching a documentry on AIDS way back in 1994 when it had started taking on monsterous proportions, and its a shame that the public awareness about the virus still lags by so many years. Currently about 0.9% of the adult Indian population is infected, with the estimated numbers close to 5.21 million. About 0.88% of the expectant mothers carry the infection and most of them are unaware of their condition. These numbers are mostly speculative as most of the cases go unreported, because of the social stigma attached with the HI virus and also because of the lack of skilled doctors. Its is only recently that the Medical Council has started training doctors to detect and handle patients. The following chart shows the increase in infection over the last couple of years.

The spread of this epidemic is second only to some African nations and even a 0.1% increase would result in millions of people getting affected. Today India stands at a critical point where if adequate measures are not taken would result in an uncontrolable outbreak of this disease. There are several organization like the Gates Foundation, NACO, GAP that are doing commendable work in these areas though they are looking mostly at the grassroot levels. Most the of the people who are infected with AIDS are truck drivers, sex workers( ~9%) and about 11% drug users. But it has started spreading into the common population. In the earlier days of AIDS everyone in the US thought that the virus was something restricted to the gay communities until they found themselves in their midst. It is not long before the it becomes a pandamic especially because the so called "normal" citizens of this country choose to be unaware of it. And these are the reasons I believe it would happen:

1. The sorry state of affairs of the Indian medical system. Walk into one of the goverment hospitals, like AIMS, Safdarjung or one in your local neighbourhood and you'll see the filth and the total lack of consideration for patients. The situations in private hospitals is even worse where there is no accountability. This is the country where the patient consider the doctors second only to God, and sadly most of the new doctors abuse this trust. Almost 30% of the disposable needles are reused. And there are very few legislations or government agencies in place to prevent such a gross abuse of the Hippocratic oath. There should be effective mechanisms in place that monitors the quality of medical facilities and the doctors.

2. India stands are a crossroad where its is being bombared with ideas from all over the world. Young kids are coming out of their shells and experimenting with their bodies. Its one thing to raise a hue and cry about the Indian culture going down the drain and quite another to acutally do something that makes a difference. These growing up children should be educated about themselves, about sex because its very natural that they would experience attraction towards the opposite sex. The least that can be done is make them more aware of the pitfalls, the hygiene. Make them more aware about STDs, AIDS, contraceptives... And all the grown ups like to do is turn a blind eye to this problem, like it does not exist.

And only once people start accepting that a menace like AIDS exists amongst them can they accept people who suffer with this dreaded disease and accept them as a part of the society.

The first step towards solving any problem is acknowledging that the problem exists.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

बच्चों कि लिए- इकबाल

Dedicated to my my niece Avni :)

लब पे आती है दुआ बन के तमन्ना मेरी
ज़िन्दगी शम्मअ़ की सूरत हो खुदाया मेरी

दूर दुनिया का मेरे दम से अंधेरा हो जाये
हर जगह मेरे चमकने से उजाला हो जाए

हो मेरे दम से युंही मेरे वतन की ज़ीनत
जिस तरह फूल से होती है चमन की ज़ीनत

ज़िन्दगी हो मेरी परवाने की सूरत यारब
इल्म की शम्मअ़ से हो मुझको मोहब्बत

हो मेरा काम ग़रीबों की हिमायत करना
दर्द-मन्दों से, ज़ईफों से मोहब्बत करना

मेरे अल्लाह! बुराई से बचाना मुझको
नेक जो राहा है उस पर चलाना मुझको

Friday, April 28, 2006

One Lazy Evening

Reminds me of the evenings I used to spend at my Grandma's place during the summer vacation. Picked up from ddoi.

Friday, April 21, 2006

LFS Ahoy !!

ROFL !!! Something I shamelessly plagerized from the LFS Orkut community

Disclaimer : These are comments from our school teachers, just in jest :) We mean no harm, just plain fun. Thanks for being such an integral part of our lives. LOVE you all :D
Sister Helena happened to be our principal and was torment by kids from the kindergarten to the 12th standard. Well actually we lived in dread of her till the 10th std, and then things changed some :)

"I will shake ur ears until ur teeths fall off (While poor Swaminathan couldnt control his giggle ;))"

"There are a number of students waiting outside to get a seat in LFS"

Mrs Lisi Mathews was the bestest teacher we ever had. She always stood by her class even though they were thrown out at the end of 12th std and were not allowed to answer their Pre ISC. Well I guess they didnt have any problems with that ;). And this wasnt MY class, we were the best behaved batch ever :p

This was after the whole class did pathetically bad in our half yearly exams -" R u people Coakraoches, dont u have any brain .. if u do then make the brain cells work"
Ms Scolt, dunno much abt her except she was Mr. Scolts wife, the best maths teacher you could ever expect

"You r acting as if Butter wont melt in your mouth "
Mrs Chakraborty, lets say we had a love hate relationship :D

" Pouring water on a ducks back"

".... you still have'nt seen the worst of me" I can never forget Monish's comment on that one !!!!!!!!!

Mr. Munro, out PT teacher. I got on pretty well with him,nice guy :)

After plucking a twig from the tree during the PT class.... "I will leave you out in the sun to die like rats"
Mrs. Moss, she actually made Shakespeare interesting to read. Go figure :)

"Refined people" her class seemed to be a refinery...
Mrs Suzan Mathews - one of the strictest teachers in school, she happened to be my first class teacher at LFS and I became her pet after sometime so chill :D

"The 1 thing you all can do well is warm the chair and hatch eggs'" (std dialog)

Normally this was said to someone sitting in the front bench "Go and bring me d-merit slip book from mrs samuel" We would all hope that person never came back :)

"I do not mind if u curse me , the more you curse the longer is my life , I am happy with that"

"Get out of my class...."

"Where r u ? I want to see ur face,stand there right in d middle" Once she made 90% of the class stand outside with books on their heads, Was quite a sight :))
Mrs sahay, she happend to be my sisters Godmother in school(hindi miss)

"shaant ho jao dhayan dooooooooooooooooooooo..."
Mrs Gogna

"Agar tum ladko ne aur halla kiya, to pant kholke class ke bahar khada kar diya jayega. Kal 4A ke ladko ko pant kholkar ghar bheja gaya tha" :O
Miss Rana, was my hindi teacher in the 6th std. And once she pointed me and Sharon out to the class saying we are the epitome of decency and everyone in the class went "OH YA" :))

This happened wen payal panda was caught passing her note bbook to someone in class by ms. rana..n then started the lecture "aaj tum notebook pass kar rahi ho..kal chit pass yahan jhadi ke peeche milo"

Ms Bhuyan, the sweetest ever computer teacher.

U button button eyes.. I will trow u out of the window.

i was lookin outside the window as usual....n then i hear a loud scream whose decibels reachin 2 that of the supersonic level..mrs bhuyan was shoutin at quote her without her consent."oyeeeee sauthya(this is how she called my name) WAT U LOOKIN OUTSIDE THE WINDOW 4....UR PRINCESS IS SITTING INSIDE THAT AUTO.."...n then she makes a sad face on the board .."now look at this..stupidddd one

she asked sarthak "ayeee sarthuak ..i will give u programs 2 write n rasagullas 2 eat wat will u do.."we dodn't know why on earth she gave such wierd option 2 him..neways i know that motu must b thinkin of havin rasagullas..lmao

Mrs. Munro was the first teacher I came to know in school. Extremely nice person :)

One favourite one liner n' this used to come when some girl would burst into laughter..she used to say "girls should be seen and not heard" Hmmm yeah DEFINITELY :D

Kripal Singh, was an ardent reader and had information about anythign under the sun.

Geography classes in 10th were amazing....we had to carry those maps D/7 and D/ if we were on some "survive the jungle-camp-trainig-program" ......and during classes wen ppl wud really start the chitter pitter .....he wud say " YOU LEAKING GUTTER PIPES" :-))

"Some people don't know that they don't know, that they know" ... still confuses..

Std everyday question "Can anyone tell me which is the coldest place in the world??" Verkhoyansk in Siberia -43C
Common by all "I dont want to hear -gud gud gud...morning morning morning...miss miss miss give me 1 solid "gud mornin miss"

Hooligans, Hooligans, Hooligans...

That we were =))

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Bangalore Burns

The last week saw mahyem errupt in Bangalore. The city was torn by riots and incidents of violence. Lots of public vehicles were gutted, most of the offices and shops remained closed and the city almost came to a standstill...

Dr. Rajkumar, one of the forerunners of the Kannada film industry passed away on Wednesday afternoon. Till this day I haven't witnessed such mass commotion break out due to death of someone. I do not wish to belittle the sentiment of the people of Karnataka and Dr. Rajkumar's stature but I fail to understand how could someone command so much passion amongst the masses. Like the autowalla that drove me home that evening said "Woh Karnataka ka Raja tha. Koi politician bhi maare to itna riks nahi hota. Ab to sab kuch band ho jayega." If people has taken out processions showing their grief that would have made a whole lot of sense. I do not think any civilized society can warrent such a rowdy behavior the intensity of emotions not withstanding.

What Bangalore witnessed last week was not public outpouring for their deceased hiriyaNNa (elder brother), neither was it an outpouring against the outsiders, the IT industry, the North Indians, the Tamils. It was a very lucid attempt and albeit a very successful one at causing mass hysteria and holding the entire city at ransom. Acts of violence like riots are never committed because people FEEL too religiously/emotionally about a matter, thats just the facade, the underlying reason IS always a chance to loot people without any consequences. It gives people (read hooligans) a chance to have the wildest wet dream possible, breaking building, robbing shops, settling scores...

There have been a couple of posts about this incident on the blogsphere, some very enlightening other that try to make a whole deal about how people are not happy with the IT industry etc. But I earnestly believe there is no justification behind this commotion except the one that is very basic to human nature, humans by nature are prone to loot and plunder. These riots give them a window to do this in today's so called civilized society. One can always weave a multitude of reasons on top of this but then again they are fit to burn in the same fire that incinerates the city.

Some interesting reads you can follow:

I also think this outsider v/s us debate has gone on too long and is pure balony. Most of the people from outside would love to go back home. There is nothing left in Bangalore that would make someone linger on. Bangalore does not deserve the cosmopolitan tag that it so loves to flaunt. It not the infrastructure that makes a city cosmopolitant but the attitude of people that inhabit it, and sadly Bangaloreans/Kannadigas have not been too welcoming to the outside world.

Would I have expected something like this to happen in Bangalore? NEVER... The city is dead, long live the city.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Primere Book Stall


Space for Primere Book Stall, the "bestest" bookstore in Bangalore.
Contact Mr Shanbhag
Ph: 080-25091220
Address: Church Street, behind the Night Watchman

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Bangalore and the House Hunt

"Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders."

The sunscreen song is what comes to mind when you look at Bangalore, a place that has gone so beyond me that I do not even wish to catch up. Bangalore, the only Indian city I fell in love with when I saw it for the first time. Bangaloreans, one of the most happy go lucky lot you would find anywhere. All of it suddenly transmorgifed into something that is so alien. The tree lined roades replaced by the choking smoke of the unmoving traffic. Lido replaced by INOX. And now they are closing down Premier Book store :o I went down and talked to Mr. Shanbhag the otherday and asked him if I could do something to help. He wants some place to set up his shop :-( Sadly thats something that I can definitely not help him with. But if you do know someone please call him at 080-25091220. I need to move out of Bangalore soon. My reason to stay here diminish as days go by, a city that broke my heart like no other (well not exactly but it sounds better that way :p).

Anyways on a good note after looking at 40-50 different houses I finally found a place to stay in Bangalore. So my address changes yet again ;-) And with a stroke of good luck I found two that were in the same lane. Its exactly what I had in mind, open spaces, not too much traffic and all the jazz. Now one of these apartments was on the second floor and the other on the ground floor. I would anyday choose a place thats as high up as possible so I had made up my mind about the one on the second floor. But my sis wanted the one on the ground floor because it had a garden!! Well anyways I was contemplating which house to choose... And out of no where this amazingly beautiful girl comes out and says 'Hi, I guess we would be neighbours pretty soon'. For a moment I went speechless trying to figure out what to say, then we chit chatted for a while.

"Where are you from?"
"Where do you work?"
"Ah I stay here with my husband"
"You should come over to our place when you move in"
Yada yada yada...

And all the while I kept looking at her pleasant face trying to catch everything she was saying. She had such a rich husky voice (Anshuman husky is not raunchy :p). I so have a crush on this lady :-) Not since my 9-10 std. do I remember having a crush on anyone. I have been in a couple of relationships since then but I guess the chemistry is extremely different.

Well I decided to take the house with the garden so I won't be her neighbour, but hey I can always call her over for dinner and alas her husband too *sighs*

PS: Rach, I am not giving you my(her?) address. I can handle competition from guys, not from the fairer sex :p

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Kaze @ Zen

Deepak, Harpreet and me went over for dinner at The Leela this friday and it was one of the most sumptous dinners I have ever had in Bangalore. After gulping down a couple of drinks we drifted off to one of these personal tables which are very cozily poised on the second floor of the restaurant. There was a crackling fire on the heart in one corner of the room (sorry no pics...) that gave it a very homely feel. And then there was the FOOD. There was a serving of garlic chips, which I savoured pretty much. Harpreet and me started talking about Kanpur with Deepak's racist(Delhi v/s Kanpur) remarks thrown in. We talked about the swimming pool that was started while he was there way back in the late 70's, the canal at the back which I know most of my batchmates won't know about, the SAC and so on and so forth :) It always great to meet someone from your college who graduated so many years back and even better to work with him. And quoting him "Delhi guys were quite an unmannered lot back then", well somethings never change (yeah Deepak sue me :p). We talked quite a bit about how things are changing there, academic rigor going down, lack of faculty. Though there was a brighter side about students willing to stay back in India, lot more enthusiam and the willingness to take risks. Now coming back to the food, we had yummy Japanese food, scampis, chicken, some Japanese soup. And the best part of the dinner as ever was the dessert. Thats what you see getting cooked in the pic. Caramelized fruits with ice-cream. HEAVEN !!!! An extremely filling and delicious dinner though pretty expensive. Well the most expensive I have ever had in India. But, Go EAT !!!

Update: And I forgot to mention our charming hostess Bharti who cooked for us :D Thanks to the "kind-hearted" Deepak for reminding me :p

Saturday, March 18, 2006


Extremely succint and so true...

The world survives by those that have generosity of spirit.
But it is owned by those that have none.

-Tarun Tejpal

Jamshedpur again :-) !!

Sometime ago I was reading a book on Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata that was written about 80 years ago. It gave me an inkling of the foundations that makes the Tata Group what it is today. Companies like TISCO and TELCO transformed the landscape of a predominantely tribal region in the the Chota Nagpur region. Unlike the IT industry of today which touches the lives of the educated elite, these pillars of modern India also transformed the lives of the uneducated, underpriviledged sections of society. Tatas do only make steel or machines but they transform the lives of thousands of people who work with them. These industries have not only made profits but have also altered the landscape of this region, making it one of the most evolved regions in the country. I believe India needs more corporates like the Tatas who not only contibute enormously to the economy of the country but do it fairly too. For me the Tatas represent the pinnacle of industrial rigous and social responsibility. Will write more on this later...

Here is a talk that L.N. Mittal delivered when he visited Jamshedpur this year.

"I visited Jamshedpur over the weekend to see for myself an India that is fast disappearing despite all the wolf-cries of people like Narayanamurthy and his ilk. It is one thing to talk and quite another to do and I am delighted to tell you that Ratan Tata has kept alive the legacy of perhaps Indias finest industrialist J.N. Tata. Something that some people doubted when Ratan took over the House of the Tatas but in hindsight, the best thing to have happened to the Tatas is unquestionably Ratan. I was amazed to see the extent of corporate philanthropy and this is no exaggeration.

For the breed that talks about corporate social responsibility and talksabout the role of corporate India, a visit to Jamshedpur is a must. Go there and see the amount of money they pump into keeping the town going; see the smiling faces of workers in a region known for industrial unrest; see the standard of living in a city that is almost isolated from the mess in the
rest of the country.

This is not meant to be a puff piece. I have nothing to do with Tata Steel, but I strongly believe the message of hope and the message of goodness that they are spreading is worth sharing. The fact that you do have companies in India which look at workers as human beings and who do not blow their software trumpet of having changed lives. In fact, I asked Mr Muthurman, the managing director, as to why he was so quiet about all they had done and all he could offer in return was a smile wrapped in humility, which said it all. They have done so much more since I last visited Jamshedpur, which was in1992. The town has obviously got busier but the values thankfully haven't changed. The food is still as amazing as it always was and I gorged, as I would normally do. I visited the plant and the last time I did that was with Russi Mody.

But the plant this time was gleaming and far from what it used to be. Greener and cleaner and a tribute to environment management. You could have been in the mountains. Such was the quality of air I inhaled! There was no belching smoke; no tired faces and so many more women workers, even on the shop floor. This is true gender equality and not the kind that is often espoused at seminars organised by angry activists. I met so many old friends. Most of them have aged but not grown old. There was a spring in the air which came from a certain calmness which has always been the hallmark of Jamshedpur and something I savoured for a full two days in between receiving messages of how boring and decrepit the Lacklustre Fashion Week was.

It is at times such as this that our city lives seem so meaningless. Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata had created an edifice that is today a robust company and it is not about profits and about valuation. It is not about who becomes a millionaire and who doesnt'. It is about getting the job done with dignity and respect keeping the age-old values intact and this is what I learnt.

I jokingly asked someone as to whether they ever thought of joining an Infosys or a Wipro and pat came the reply: "We are not interested in becoming crorepatis but in making others crorepatis."

Which is exactly what the Tatas have done for years in and around Jamshedpur. Very few people know that Jamshedpur has been selected as a UN Global Compact City, edging out the other nominee from India, Bangalore and only city of India and 2nd in Asia who has got ISO 14001, Selected because of the quality of life, because of the conditions of sanitation and roads and welfare. If this is not a tribute to industrial India, then what is? Today, Indian needs several Jamshedpurs but it also needs this Jamshedpur to be given its fair due, its recognition. I am tired of campus visits being publicised to the Infosys and the Wipros of the world. Modern India is being built in Jamshedpur as we speak. An India built on the strength of core convictions and nothing was more apparent about that than the experiment with truth and reality that Tata Steel is conducting at Pipla.

Forty-eight tribal girls (yes, tribal girls who these corrupt and evil politicians only talk about but do nothing for) are being educated through a residential program over nine months. I went to visit them and I spoke to them in a language that they have just learnt: Bengali. Eight weeks ago, they could only speak in Sainthali, their local dialect. But today, they are brimming with a confidence that will bring tears to your eyes. It did to mine.

One of them has just been selected to represent Jharkand in the state archery competition. They have their own womens football team and whats more they are now fond of education. It is a passion and not a burden. This was possible because I guess people like Ratan Tata and Muthurman havent sold their souls to some business management drivel, which tells us that we must only do business and nothing else. The fact that not one Tata executive has been touched by the Naxalites in that area talks about the social respect that the Tatas have earned.

The Tatas do not need this piece to be praised and lauded. My intent is to share the larger picture that we so often miss in the haze of the slime and sleaze that politics imparts. My submission to those who use phrases such as "feel-good" and "India Shining" is first visit Jamshedpur to understand what it all means. See Tata Steel in action to know what companies can do if they wish to. And what corporate India needs to do. Murli Manohar Joshi would be better off seeing what Tata Steel has done by creating the Xavier Institute of Tribal Education rather than by proffering excuses for the imbroglio in the IIMs. This is where the Advanis and Vajpayees need to pay homage. Not to all the Sai Babas and the Hugging saints that they are so busy with. India is changing inspite of them and they need to realise that.

I couldn't have spent a more humane and wonderful weekend. Jamshedpur is an eye-opener and a role model, which should be made mandatory for replication.I saw corporate India actually participate in basic nation-building, for when these tribal girls go back to their villages, they will return with knowledge that will truly be life-altering.

Corporate India can do it but most of the time is willing to shy away. For those corporate leaders who are happier winning awards and being interviewed on their choice of clothes, my advise is visit Tata Steel, spend some days at Jamshedpur and see a nation's transformation. That is true service and true nationalism.

Tata Steel will celebrate 100 years of existence in 2007. It won't be just a milestone in this company's history. It will be a milestone, to my mind of corporate transparency and generosity in this country. It is indeed fitting that Ratan Tata today heads a group which has people who are committed to nation-building than just building influence and power. JRD must be smiling
wherever he is. And so must Jamsetji Nusserwanji. These people today, have literally climbed every last blue mountain. And continue to do so with vigour and passion. Thank god for the Tatas!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Images from back home

I went home after a long time, tried to capture some pics that took my fancy. The resolution is horribly poor because my cell-phone camera is totally screwed up but I kind of liked the eerie affect it gives to all images.

Man on a cycle, life passing by

A flock of birds flying over my house in Jamshedpur. Something that I was so fond of earlier and never realized it went out of my life without me even noticing it.

Taxis awaiting their turn on Howrah railway station.

A rikshaw puller resting after a tiring day. They STILL have hand pulled rikshawas in Calcutta. So INHUMANE !!

It was a rushed trip home. Could not get to meet my friends, a very handful of who are still there in Jampot. Had a nice chat with Parnil, she is joining HLL this June. Was missing Soma aka "Chomraj". But all in all a good journey home :D

PS: My MOTO RAZR works like a charm with my Powerbook :D My earlier Nokia 6600 was totally diagreeable... And balls to Nokia UI, this phone has a much better and well thought of interface.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Back to the basement !!

I went over to meet Obaid today in the basement Lab 001. Its been more than 2 years since I last set foot in the lab and most of it came back like it was yesterday. The faint smell of agar, bottles of fly culture, chemicals and of course the EP lap :)

But some where I realized how naive and unsystemmatic I was when I first started working there. I wish I had been more organized, and then maybe I would have stuck to neuroscience. But then again that was a field where I was completely overwhelmed by the amout of information (NOT knowledge) and the monotony of the work. Though while discussing several problem with him I was able to realize how my problem solving process has evolved considerabley over the years, asking specifics, on the toe thinking, more mellowed and deep analysis. Quite unlike what I was like when I was in college, where anything and everything seemed possible. I have become more result oriented in my approach to things, personally and professionally. And I believe the transformation is a good step towards the "consolidation" of my efforts.

Anyways got to see a lot of familiar faces. Some pretty ones too that I remembered from some distant past. After a long enough time has passed all most people can say is "Hi" and move on with a smile... Like a great abyss of time seperating people, they can see each other, but only so vaguely that all that comes back is a faint recognition. Saw some new ones too that were prettier than the old ones :) Well girls is one reason I should have gone into Biology in the first place ;)

Apart from that the place pretty much remains the same. Like what it was when I went there for the first time with Madsy. Just a little more crowded...

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

[Book]The Alchemy of Desire

Wicked book :'( Made me extremely restless.
Go Read !!

On a lighter note read my blog on colors :)

UPDATE: All lovers the same in love/lust? Do they desire the same things, go through similar emotions of passion? So predictable... ??

Monday, January 30, 2006

Your Birthdate: June 5

You have many talents, and you are great at sharing those talents with others.
Most people would be jealous of your clever intellect, but you're just too likeable to elicit jealousy.
Progressive and original, you're usually thinking up cutting edge ideas.
Quick witted and fast thinking, you have difficulty finding new challenges.

Your strength: Your superhuman brainpower

Your weakness: Your susceptibility to boredom

Your power color: Tangerine

Your power symbol: Ace

Your power month: May

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

To the lighthouse

The lighthouse at Long Island beach

And where am I?? High up in a plane trying to keep the camera (not this one) stable and get some jerky videos of the lighthouse :D

I am working on this project where we needed some aerial data, so a coworker was great enough to take us to the airport and ask us to hop on his plane. Off we went shooting, all over Princeton, Route 1 and couple of places around that are classified ;)

It was so much fun being up in the air. And believe me being in one of these small planes is a far better experience than sitting crouched in the Boeing 777. For the first time I was really able to make out the curvature of the earth, I could look in all directions.

And John, our pilot kept doing all these manouvers, much to our pleasure. And none of us were airsick so it was a real swell. I was able to capture the famous bridge at Trenton that says "New Jearsy makes and the world takes" We approached Philidelphia, not all the way though. It was like one of those action movies when you can see the sky hugging buildings rising in a distace, growing at amazing speed.

There are so many pics that I would love to share, but a couple of them wouldn't do too great on the net *wicked grin* Would post some soon that are mild and neutral :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

GMAT Essays

Since I have been advising people on how to write their B-school essays, I think its high time I earned some money to do that ;)

So here it is, in true DD fashion:

"Hear ye, Hear ye !!!

Don't have time to write your essays??
Don't know what to write? How to write??
Do you know someone who is tearing his head tring to complete his application packages??

You need someone who can take the burden off your shoulder and provide the much needed shoulder to push you cart around.

Mail the super wiz at vibhanshu AT gmail DOT com.
Complete satisfaction guaranteed !!!"

LOL !!! Well though I am pretty serious about it. The deal is INR 10,000 or US$ 300 for a set of essays for ONE college. You can pay me if you like the essays. But I chose who I wish to write for AND you would need to work in tandem with me if you want your essays written :D

All work will be issued under Creative Commons. So that means if you get a high paying job at the end of it you need to send me some grub. Well just kidding. But some cookies wont hurt anyone ;)

I hope my dear blog readers will spread my fame FAR and WIDE :D

Sunday, January 08, 2006


Well first things first - Adobe labs should have been /Labs rather than <labs>

The site redirects to if you click on any of the link. Its nice to see that Adobe is continuing the Macromedia tradition but it would have been neat if they exposed some of their technology to the world. I hope they plan to do that sometime in the future.

Adobe is the ONLY company that understands digital media in all its entirety, with product lines ranging from the creation to distribution. Some things that I think could become opensource or public knowledge - PS Level 2, the Vector Graphics project that the marketing shelved due to competition to the earstwhile MACR, libraries for processing images, videos. API's to build cool plugins on top of the Acrobat framework.

I think Adobe is in a great position because it has a great fan following and some of the users are actually people who can write "good" code. Exposing APIs would be a great step for Adobe to bring the hacking talent of these people to good use which can help enhance the product to a much greater extent than its current team of engineers can do.

Lets see how the future of Adobe unfolds...

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Another year, lets start all over...

Let this be a time to build bridges that were broken down,
Countries that were torn down,

A time to wipe away our blemishes,
To revisit promies that were never kept.

Put an end to the ever growing strife,
Of endless greed and pride.

So that the sun,
May someday, rise