Rest assured

Rest is very important in our life. It rejuvenates us; gives us the energy to deal with problems, oh sorry, issues; gives us, well, rest. Now that I have written such a complex sentence, and you have read it, let’s take some rest.

Welcome back. Coming back to the point I was trying to make – we don’t take enough rest. Rest can help you do better in your life. Let me give you some supporting examples of rest, straight from the classics. Let’s look at the battle of Kurukshetra. We see many Maharathis (big fry) take leave of absence in some pretext or the other. Karna did it, Drona did it, many people did it – with some silly excuses – if he is the commander I will not fight, etc, etc. I think all these rests kept them fresh and ready for greater battles. Same thing happened in Illiad as well. Achilles didn’t fight for many days, until Patroclus died. And when he came back to the war, no wonder, Hector couldn’t win against him. Hector was tired from the continuous battle, and Achilles was fresh. Don’t believe me? See the movie Troy. Eric Bana as Hector looked like he could do with some sleep when he came out to fight (he could definitely use a shave). Deviating slightly from the topic, you should watch this part where Brad Pitt and Eric Bana are fighting. I think Mr. Fred Astaire would have danced like that if given umbrellas, err… swords. I think they were playing for the crowd; trying to impress Helen and others holding dress circle seats. Who choreographed that scene – the Chinese synchronized swimming team coach? Anyway, so what I am saying is, learn from the classics. Take rest.

Let’s take a look at a current problem and see how this old theory of rest can work. Without further ado, I present to you, the Indian cricket team. As you know, some of our players were rested for a few months. When they came back in, their performance improved dramatically. Zaheer Khan, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman – all benefited from the rest that they got from not shooting for ads and not playing cricket, of course.

I am secretly hoping my manager reads this and gives me some rest in office. He needs some rest too. Now whoever coined the term Manager was very clever. The manager thinks it comes from manage, but no! Take some rest (like I have been) and you will see, it means “man ager” or “a position that ages a man”. See the benefits of taking rest? It gives you fresh perspective.

I can go on and on with examples but will refrain because of two reasons. First, I think you get the point. Second, the keyboard definitely sounds like it could do with some rest. So let me give it some rest, take some rest myself. After all, waking up restless at 4 in the morning and writing this stuff can’t be too good to support the theory! Rest of the theories is coming up in near future. Till then, rest in two piece.

Who is a happy man?

"A man who cooks in the evening with limited amount of vegetables in his own house; one who is debt free; one who is in homeland is truly happy."

Translation from a Mahabharat episode where Yam (god of death) asks the question and Yudhisthir answers.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

The best time: One week of vacation - relaxing at home, resolving problems with people, reading old books, eating ma’s cooked food, meeting relatives and shopping.

The worst time: Coming back – Finding out a lot of negative issues evolved between friends while you were away.

When I was fixing a part of my life's biggest problems recently, I realized that thinking about the issues didn't help me all these years. When I got down to resolving them, it was rather easy. It was easy because the other person was eager to resolve it too. What stopped this from happening before was our ego. Analyzing several other unresolved issues in my life, I find they are all ego related. I hope my friends are able to resolve their problems on their own and resume the beautiful friendship that they used to share.

Crazy friends...

... woke me up at 6 in the morning today.
... gave me 5 minutes to get ready.
... took me to Nandi hills for breakfast (65 kms away).
... stopped car to steal a bunch of grape from a vineyard.
... stopped the car to collect every possible sample of roadside flowers.
... forced me to play children's games with them.

Thank heavens, there are crazy friends.

Courte voyage sur Pondicherry...

... or a short trip to Pondicherry, as we say in English. Thursday and Friday were holidays for our team in office. Temesh and I decided that we will go on a trip to Pondicherry taking advantage of the extended weekend. Vimal, Sathish, Vijay and Kapil also decided to join us. Primary inspiration and information for this trip was gathered from Anu's digital world.

Thursday morning, six of us gathered in the Kempe Gowda Bus Terminus. The KSRTC Airavat (Volvo) bus started at 8:40. The bus stopped twice on its way to Pondicherry, finally reaching at 15:00. We checked in to our guest house, and soon came out to explore Pondicherry. A stroll on Goubert Street (or Beach Road as it is popularly known as), shows you the French connection. The buildings, clean streets, the old lighthouse, the road signs all tell tales of French colonial times. After sunset, we came back to the “Indian” side of Pondicherry. This side of the city is like any other small town in India – crowded, dirty and chaotic.

The next morning, Temesh and I went out at 5:40 to see the sunrise. An hour of roaming around the clean streets, clicking a few photographs was a perfect start to a long day. Later we went to the bus stand to bid adieu to Sathish – he left Pondicherry for his home town.

After breakfast we went to Aurobindo Ashram. Then we hired bicycles and explored the city. This is probably the best way to see the city. After three hours of cycling, we called it quits and took a taxi to Auroville. Auroville is a planned international city, for people who are spiritual and wants to live a divine life, without following any religion. We enjoyed our tour there and shopped quite a lot, in the end.

After coming back to our guest house, we relaxed in the evening. We sat on the roof top and shared drinks and stories. We came to know a couple of us a little better than we knew them earlier.

On Saturday, we went to a water sports complex called Chunnambar. This is a back water area. There were not too many options for water sports though. Just your usual row boats and paddle boats. We chose to take a ride to the nearby Paradise beach. This is a natural sand beach where we all enjoyed the water a lot. One can also play beach volleyball and football there.

On our return, we went straight to a French restaurant for lunch. We did not want to miss the opportunity to have French food, at least once, and we were not disappointed.

We checked out in the evening and went shopping. We got tired pretty soon and settled down in a restaurant soon for a couple of hours of food, drinks and tour recap. The bus started at 22:30 and by 4:00 we were back in Bangalore.

Some more pics are uploaded on flickr.

The name's Bond, James Bond

Dialogues from the first Bond novel, now made into a movie. For me, the most anticipated movie in a long time. All the controversy about Daniel Craig not fitting into the Bond role, and then the only time Bond falls in love - I had to see this movie. Highlights of the movie:

Bond is definitely more brawny! The action scenes are more real than ever. He is beaten up many times. Sometimes so badly, the Indian censor board had to cut the scenes! The first chase where Daniel Craig chases Sebastien Foucan is awesome. Sebastien Foucan is a pioneer of Parkour and Free running and his skills are simply unbelievable.

Gadgets! Where are the gadgets? The gadgets shown are all at least 5 years old. GPS enabled phone, phone as a remote control (my phone has that too!), life saving kit in car - that's it? They don't even show Q!

Bond falls in love! Couldn't have imagined this dialogue between Bond and Vesper Lynd(his love, played by Eva Green):

Vesper Lynd: You're not going to let me in there. You've got your armour back on.
James Bond: I have no armour left. You've stripped it from me. Whatever is left of me - whatever I am - I'm yours.

The movie is supposed to be a prequel to all the Bond movies. However, the setting is modern. The Sony Vaio laptop, Sony Ericsson phones, the Walther P99 gun and the cars are all modern.

Looking forward to Bond 22 (the working title for the 22nd movie in the official Bond series). I would like to see a few futuristic gadgets, Q and Moneypenny.

There was another Bond movie named Casino Royale in 1967. It was a spoof though.
Hrithik Roshan was considered for the role of James Bond.

50 point subhadip

Deepti's loooong tag post shortened here:

How to do this tag

The things I've done are in red
The ones that I want to do have asterisks (*) at the end. More *s indicate how much I want it.
An asterisk preceded by a - denotes I don’t want to do it.

1. Bought everyone in the bar a drink -*
2. Swam with wild dolphins
3. Climbed a mountain
4. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
5. Been inside the Great Pyramid *****
6. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
7. Said 'I love you' and meant it
8. Hugged a tree -*
9. Bungee jumped
10. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
11. Seen the Northern Lights
12. Gone to a huge sports game – have watched Michael Jordan play!
13. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
14. Slept under the stars
15. Changed a baby's diaper
16. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon ***
17. Gone rock climbing ****
18. Midnight walk on the beach
19. Gone sky diving
20. Been heartbroken longer then you were actually in love
21. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them
22. Visited Japan
23. Milked a cow – rather a buffalo -*
24. Got flowers for no reason
25. Performed on stage
26. Been to Las Vegas ****
27. Recorded music
28. Had a one-night stand -*
29. Gone to Thailand
30. Been on a cruise ship *****
31. Spoken more than one language fluently – unofficial sign language counts, right?
32. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
33. Wrote article for a large publication
34. Petted a stingray
35. Broken someone's heart -* (unfortunately, many times - don't want to do it again)
36. Gone on an African photo safari ***
37. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
38. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
39. Ridden a horse
40. Had a snake as a pet -*
41. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon ***
42. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
43. Visited all 7 continents *****
44. Eaten sushi
45. Had your picture in the newspaper
46. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
47. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
48. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
49. Dyed your hair -*
50. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream

Phew! Please leave a comment now. And please be tagged.

Kick Ass!

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Longing for a short lens

After some serious research, I have come to the conclusion that the best lens for my use with my DSLR is…. ta da … Canon 24 – 70 mm EF f2.8 L USM

  • With a DSLR, it will give me a range of 38 – 112, which I think is just about perfect for portraits and street photography, which I intend to do.
  • It has 2.8f aperture throughout its range. In simple terms, that means sharp photographs where the background is completely blurred.
  • It is an L series lens, meaning it is built for heavy duty pro use. Even top photographers in the world trust the famed red ringed lenses from Canon. Remember seeing huge white lenses by the sidelines in a football match? They are all Canon L series lens. This one is black in color though.
  • It has extremely good reviews. I have seldom seen anything slightly negative written about its quality. Almost all reviews start with “The best just got better”, referring to the previous version of this - the 28 – 70 mm. Since I don’t have the luxury of trying out different lenses before buying, I would trust the experts.

Anything against the lens? It is heavy! Both in weight and price.

Check out the lens here.

So when am I buying it? As soon as I buy my Canon DSLR. When am I buying that? Waiting for Canon to launch an upgrade of the Canon 30D :-)

Five point someone!

Tagged ONCE again - this time by Richa. Her guidelines were extremely vague - write ten things about yourself that no one knows! After much debate, she agreed to shrink it to five. My deepest secrets revealed:

As a kid, I wanted to be a masseur. I used to practise massage therapy on my father for pocket money. Apparently, I was good at it.

I used to practise palmistry as a hobby in school. I learnt palmistry from a couple of old books that belonged to my maternal grandfather.

I never complain about food and I don't waste food - my mom's influence!

When I feel low, I sing to myself. I also go to eat out alone to lift my mood.

I am scared of heights. It took me years to convince myself to get on a giant wheel.

Tagged again...

... this time by Kanu. The rules: "Its a very simple questionnaire....kindly keep the answers limited to a word or a phrase". Here goes:

1. When I look at the stars... it calms me
2. Rains... dance
3. Happiness is... a state of mind
4. Books... bedtime stories
5. Men/Women(Whichever applicable).... Women
6. Love is.... a concept I believe
7. God... a concept I don't need to believe
8. Summer of 69?... those were the best days of my life
9. Pride.... is what leads people to excel
10. Life... is calling. Where are you?


Tagged for the first time in my life. Woodie tagged me, when I commented in her "tag" post that I never understood the concept fully. From now on, I will be careful with what I comment.

Anyway, here goes... my deepest secrets revealed...


1. Private tutor
2. Secretary in a sports organisation
3. Faculty in a computer education center
4. Physical education trainer for school kids


1. Lord of the rings trilogy
2. As good as it gets - any good comedy, really
3. Matrix series
4. Ben Hur


1. Kolkata
2. Chittagong, Bangladesh
3. New Delhi
4. Bangalore


1. Travel shows
2. Monster House
3. English premier league soccer matches
4. Adventure challenge


Too many, listing four from this year:
1. Ladakh
2. Masinaguddi (jungle in Tamilnadu)
3. Coorg (coffee plantation in Karnataka)
4. Hyderabad


1. - my customized home page gives me a snapshot of things I need to know.
4. Several blogs


1. Kababs
2. Chinese
3. Maggi
4. Eggs


1. On a hiking trail anywhere
2. Delhi – hanging out with friends
3. Singapore – shopping with my cousin / niece
4. Rishikesh - rafting

There's something about Saree

... that makes ladies look good. Especially when you are used to seeing the same girls wearing jeans / t-shirt or salwar / kurta to office almost everyday. Then one fine day, they all decide to celebrate Diwali and wear ethnic wear. These girls (from the next process - same floor as me) are not coming to office on Diwali day itself, so it is an advance celebration for them.

Now, they should have told us, right? Why? Let me give you a few reasons:

As I entered the floor, I actually had to check if I am on the wrong floor! Then, I was in two minds, whether to put the sunglasses back on again.

The newest member of the team, barely legal age to work, makes it a point to stop to say hi and shake hands everyday. Yesterday, I was standing right in front of him, and he didn't notice! Of course he didn't notice! He was busy checking out other interesting subjects.

All the boys in my team took extra breaks! There was even a discussion, unofficially titled "Saree - what makes it so sexy - a scientific analysis". I haven't seen the performance stats for yesterday in isolation, but I have a feeling...

And if you thought all ladies were very productive, think again. They were last seen discussing "Chiffon vs. South Indian silk vs. 1024 other sarees". Heck, they ogle more than men do.

I could have got my camera and taken some cool portraits.

P.S - Accompanying picture courtesy Deepti Siwal. You can check her digital art here.

Shoot, photo shoot

This weekend I attended a photography workshop conducted by well known wildlife photographer Sudhir Shivaram.

Saturday, Sudhir discussed the concepts of photography. The emphasis was on how to take control of the camera and not use the presets. Although I was aware of the basic concepts, it helped me understand how those theories can be applied practically. It also helped that Sudhir gave practical examples from his vast experience.

Sunday, we went for a practical session to the Hebbal lake, early in the morning, where Sudhir helped us to understand the do's and don'ts. Later in the day, he explained the post processing workflow. I didn't have a clue about this before. He explained it in details and we learnt by doing it on our own laptops. Although the results of my first post processing was a mess of a nice photograph, I got the concepts. Now I will have to practise them. Be ready to check some of my post processed photographs at my photoblog.

Night shift

I am doing night shifts - as per EST time. That means

I am in office at around noon IST and home by 10 in the night. :-)
So much time at home; so less in office. :-)
I don't meet my roommates :-( Today was an exception though - they came late and I woke up early :-)
I don't get to chat with some of my usual chat friends :-(
I eat both lunch and dinner :-) And I have put on weight :-(

I kinda like this shift.

Off to a day off

Some people had some problems with the state line between Maharashtra and Karnataka. They called a 12 hr bandh. What that meant to me? For me it was an unexpected off day in the middle of the week. What did I do?

Woke up at 4 in the morning to entertain some friends from office for an impromptu party. They left at 5:30 for office to beat the start of bandh.

Started and finished reading Chetan Bhagat’s “Five point someone”. I enjoyed it a lot. I didn’t hold a very high opinion of him going by his second book “One night @ the call center”, which I read sometime earlier. I think my friend Kanu will do a much better job of writing about life at call centers when she finally puts together her short stories. But Five point someone was different. Mr. Bhagat wrote it very well. Maybe because he was there in IIT for several years and the experiences were real and first hand. Maybe short visits to / reading about call centers is not enough to write about them.

Cooked cheese omelets and a variation of that with bread (proprietary recipe) for breakfast. Oh, by the way, breakfast was at 2 in the afternoon. Lunch was, a movie and a cat nap later, at six. The movie was “The devil wears prada”, playing in the new DVD player Sushant has bought.

Connected my Creative Zen mp3 player with speakers and let it play long playlists. Played all kind of music - from Bangla bands to old hindi to Pink Floyd to Rock.

Saw two more movies later - "Below 8" starring Paul Walker and several husky dogs; and "Under siege", the Steven Seagal / Tommy Lee Jones starrer.

Such a unproductively productive day!

Pujo - for me

Then: Pujo meant hanging out with friends on each night, for the whole night.
Now: What day is today? Shoptomi (the second day of Pujo)?

Then: I would get clothes as gifts for each day of the four / five days of pujo.
Now: I buy clothes on Oshtomi (the third day of pujo) because that’s a weekend – that too since Ma insisted.

Somehow Pujo is not the same outside Kolkata. It was still enjoyable in C. R. Park, Delhi, since it is a mini Kolkata, at least for this time of the year. There is another factor - both in Kolkata and Delhi, there is a change in weather at this time – you feel the nip in the air. In Bangalore, the weather is always so nice, it’s hard to tell its fall.

Subho Bijoya / Happy Dussehra to all.

Brain back in bits

It’s been a while since I last updated this space. For those wondering what I have been up to, well, to start with I went on a vacation (much needed, if I may add). This was a long planned and awaited trip to Leh, Kashmir from 11th to 20th August, 2006. For details of the trip, please visit

I have uploaded some photographs taken during the trip at:

Even some more in my flickr site:

I have been experimenting a bit with the flickr site to maximize showcasing ability in spite of it’s limitations for free users like limits on upload, only three sets, etc.

Immediately after coming back from Kashmir, I had to deal with all the pending work at office. For the first time in some time now, I felt work pressure. I guess it also had to do with the state of mind of not working, which I was conditioned to during the vacation. Anyway, I managed to beat the deadlines at work, and also managed to prove my critics (read Rohit) wrong by uploading my first set of photographs faster than others in the trip. That too when others have digital demons working for them, and the ‘D’ in my Dynax5D denotes date, not digital. Now, no one has the right to call me lazy, OK? If you agree, read on.

I must admit though that during the last two weekends, I have been extremely lazy. Doing nothing really – watching a lot of TV, reading in bits and pieces, tidying up the house a bit. Last weekend, the only time I went out was to watch a movie and to meet a friend from Delhi – Abhimanyu Mukherjee. Even this weekend, I went out to see Lagey Raho Munnabhai. Before that Sushant and I met Anubhav – another one of the xHughes gang, now in Bangalore for dinner. Thoroughly enjoyed the movie, especially the acting of Arshad Warsi as Circuit nee Cirkeshwar.


Left to Right: Samarth, Abhishek (Goli), Sriram (Sri / Ram Sir), Milind (Modak), me and James (Jamsie). All process trainers at some point in time with Hughes BPO. Seen here doing what they do best other than training - eating out!

Sriram and Abhishek were one of the first employees of Hughes BPO. They joined in September 2002. Samarth and I (along with 21 magicians including Amar Prusty, who became a trainer as well) joined on 7th October 2002 - part of the official pilot batch. We joined the training department in January 2003. Milind and James joined the company in January 2003. Milind joined the training department later though along with Arun Jhamb (Jhambo). The most balanced team you would ever meet anywhere - complimenting each other and getting the task done working with our strengths. Our den: the trainer's room: famous for it's strategic position in one corner of basement and view of garden outside. Inaccessible to everyone other than us and our friends - some infringments occured when the frogs would enter during the rains. TLs were known to come there for a quick nap or a quick mood fixer. Friends from Quality would come there for gossip. Others would come to confirm some rumor. V&A trainers would come when they were bored.

For three years, we learnt together, made mistakes together, gained respect together, had fun together... however, in a few months starting September, 2005, all of us moved on:

Abhishek is now the Training Manager with IBM, Gurgaon.
Sri is now the Training Manager with Genpact, Delhi.
Samarth is with IBM, Bangalore (same as me).
Milind is with the training function of HCL BPO, Noida.
James is the Assistant Manager, Training with Hughes BPO - our last man standing there.

Personally I went through some hard time in my life, both personally and professionally during this period. Without the support of these guys, I don't know how I would have survived. This is my way of saying a big thank you.

Letter to Kailash

Hi Kailash,

Congratulations, first of all, for being able to pursue your dreams. Not everyone can do that. I am sure you will work hard and shine there as well.

Take care of your health. I will miss you in the gym (I do go there) and those walks. We have also started playing soccer during weekends. My legs are still sore from yesterday's practise. To top it, Arun stamped on my right foot (he was in the other team).

We will definitely miss you during our eating outs. Brother, don’t forget Casa Piccola (haven't been there since you left). Whenever, you come to Bangalore, go there, for old time’s sake. We have discovered a couple of good, but vegeterian, restaurants.

Remember the hiking to Thadiyendamol. Yeah, dude… that is the right spelling… now say it properly… not the way you normally do… “Thadda dadda Amul”. But we had a gala time there, right? Specially the times when we were lost in the jungle! And remember the race to the top? We did beat the group with fresh legs and … well, you know what I am talking about… think about why Arun stopped.

You were like a big brother to me. Before you get senti… not so much for your actions… but because of the fact that you ARE one year elder. Samarth joined you in the one-year-elder-to-me club few days back.

And listen… when you sing, please sing at low volume. Unless, you are trying to make the neighbors - Kingfisher girls listen. Now, sometimes, Arun sings. I guess, he is trying to take your place. But, rest assured, he is no match for you.

My regards to your family. Wish the best of luck and everything to Anshu and you. And if I don’t get the wedding invitation, I will gatecrash.

Enjoy life and take care

Highlights of a jungle trip

What happens when 16 members from two teams in office go out for a trip to a neighboring state jungle for two days? Find out!

The team: Vivek, Vimal, Temesh, Amrit, TC Ravi, Deepa, Kumar, Mohsin and Mervin from SP. Palas, Stanley, Ditsu, Bharath and Veena from Belk. And of course, the team manager Sandeep with his wife and kid.

The vehicle: One Tempo Traveller which sits 12 and Sandeep’s Palio NV.

The destination: Mudhumalai jungle in Tamil Nadu.

Date: 10th and 11th June, 2006

We left early in the morning from office after the shift. Reached the resort at noon. Jungle Hut is a beautiful place with a few hills providing the back drop. Deer come in to graze at their will. The place is run by an American family and most of the guests are also foreigners.

After settling down in our rooms, some plunged into the swimming pool while others simply rested before lunch. After lunch, we went for a jungle trek in two groups. We walked for about two hours but all we managed to see was some birds, flies and some “elephant cow dung”, the last term courtesy Ditsu. Oh… and Vivek got bitten by some ants. Anyway, we reached a small stream and after relaxing for a while there, we returned to the resort. The other highlight of the trek was my slipping and falling on a rock. No big deal, although the left elbow hurts even after four days.

Evening was relaxing time with bonfire arranged by the resort. Soon enough, we were playing Antakshari between two teams. In our team, Vivek and I were the only two regular contributors with occasional ‘surprises’ from TC and Veena. On the other team: Ditsu, Temesh, Sandeep, Mohsin, Palas and others were all singing and contributing. At one time, Vivek and I were the only ones sitting at our side. Still we managed to hold fort and at the end of the battle, come unscathed. It ended with a free jam session with Temesh singing “Raat kali…” at least four times and requesting everyone to sing “One song… fulllll song, antara, mukhra… fulllll song” he would say and then start “Raat kali...”! After a hearty dinner, we retired to bed early, since we were to leave early the next day for a jeep safari.

The next morning, we started at 5:30. There were plenty of deer all around. However, after the payment was made at the checkpost and we entered the reserve forest, there was not a single ant to be seen. It was all like “there was a tiger here the day before”, or “once a tiger ate a deer here for 30 minutes”… Nevertheless, the safari was refreshing.

After breakfast, a game of cricket was played with some (four) senior players joining us. Temesh and Vivek were the two captains. After a fierce competitive match, Temesh’s team lost by 16 odd runs. True to the tradition of Indian subcontinent captains (Sourav, Inzy) Temesh got a key player (me) run out. Otherwise, I was about to win the match on my own. [Note: no comment on this one allowed]

Our senior players (a group of old friends who were also there in the resort) treated us to beer and coke after the match before they left the resort. All of us then jumped into the swimming pool. Some crazy new games evolved… one of them being catch – catch where a team had to catch the ball thrown at them by the other team. Another was water basket ball, where the rules were not very clear to me… I only saw some very mismatched fights over control of the ball happening: Kumar against Stanley (truly David and Goliath). The highlight there was a swimming competition between Palas, Vivek, Stanley and me. In the cramped pool Stanley first tried to grab Palas’ arm and when Palas pushed him to left, Stanley grabbed my… ahem… shorts. Anyway, Palas and I managed to get away from him, but as soon as I turned, there was Stanley, with no hurry, swimming directly towards me! Palas won the match, but the chaos caused by the unruly behavior of Stanley gave us a rematch. This time it was one on one. Palas and me in a clean race, where I managed to beat Palas by a slender margin.

Before lunch, we had a small gathering where we discussed our office, process and related stuff. This was an official trip after all. Again the deer came in the resort and managed to distract us so we called the meeting off soon. Lunch was again a very elaborate buffet. After stuffing ourselves to glory, we left for Bangalore. DJ Palas was extremely efficient with my mp3 player and played one hit after the other, prompting Vivek to whistle a record breaking three minutes at a stretch.

The trip ended in office. Thanks to Ravi for providing the drunken entertainment and Ditsu for doing much more without getting drunk. It was a thoroughly enjoyable trip where we came to know so much about each other. We need to do this more often. What say guys?

Something I did for the first time

That’s me rappelling down the rock face at Ramnagar, 50 kms away from Bangalore. Amit, Kailash, Arun and I went to Ramnagar yesterday to attend this adventure camp. Photograph by Arun with his Nikon F55 / 28 – 80 mm lens / ISO 400 film.

One day, I will go to

North America: New York and Niagra falls. White water rafting down the Colorado river, if possible.

South America: Hike the Inca trail to Machu Pichu in Peru. Also if possible, go to Brazil and watch beach soccer.

Africa: Cruise up the river Nile. And while I am doing that, I will visit the Pyramids, of course. Also I want to see at least one World Cup soccer match. South Africa 2010 is my target. That will also give me a chance to see the southern part of Africa.

Europe: Florence, Sicily, Venice and Paris are a must. Anything else will be bonus.

Australia: Outback.

Antartica: I can’t remember the name of the place but it’s white with snow and is near the sea and has some emperor penguins.

Asia: Malaysia and Thailand.

Disclaimer: This list is not absolute. Nothing is likely to be taken off this list though. Some additions possible when my mind fancies.

The motorcycle diaries crash

Kailash came back from Hyderabad this Saturday. He surprised me with a gift. But that is another story. This post is about two movies we saw this weekend. Kailash had brought some DVDs with him, adding to his already impressive collection of DVDs. The one that we decided to see first was “The motorcycle diaries”. It’s the story of 23 year old Ernesto Guevara de la Serna and his 29 year old friend Alberto Granado embarking on a trip across South America on their old Norton motorcycle which they call “The mighty one”. The plan is to start from Argentina and celebrate Granado’s 30th birthday in Venezuela. Their journey and how it changes them and the history of the world is the story of this movie. BTW, if you have not already guessed it… Ernesto Guevara is Che Guevara. I must read the book – “The motorcycle diaries”. Someday, I must go on a journey like this.

The other movie that we saw was “Crash”. It’s a patchwork of intertwined stories. The direction is awesome and you can’t tell where the story is going next. Just when you think you have got a hang of the story, there is a twist. Very thought provoking, but equally enjoyable.

Glad to have seen two high quality, thought provoking movies over the weekend. I remember the weekend when we went to the movie halls to watch Crash, but due to lack of tickets, saw "Fun with Dick and Jane" instead. What a waste that was!

Kya yehi life hai?

This is not the name of Ms. Ekta Kapoor’s new daily soap opera. This is the stranger than any tear jerker that Ms. Kapoor is capable of producing. And it starts and ends with a “K”. It’s called Life! Life with a capital K. Allow me to explain:

There are two things in K – The I and the <.

The I is me – me, myself and no Irene – only me. This is my life as I see it. For me it is a linear path.

The "<" is another person’s life you are involved in. And this is purely from your perspective. For the other person, her life is I and you are "<".

And you know what is the point where "<" and "I" meet? It’s called “now”. This is the time that you are involved with "<"; interacting with her and influencing her.

You know, who the fortunate ones are? They can influence the K and makes them F, where the other person comes in your life and stays till the end of life.

You know, who the unfortunate ones are?

New member in SLR club

Mr. Arun Salwan is now the proud owner of a Nikon F55 SLR camera with 28 – 80 Nikkor lens (3.3 – 5.6f). It took us one full day to look around, decide and purchase the camera, weighing the pros and cons of buying this one. He is already showing the symptoms of a newly hooked; sneaking out of the house without telling (to get the sunset picture, he told me later). Let's wait for the first set of prints to see the results and to verify whether he actually went to capture sunset!

Meanwhile, I bought a tripod for my camera. It is not too heavy and quite stable for my use. Hope to get better pictures from the 100-300 lens, which is (as expected) very sensitive to shakes.

Sandwich technique example

Good news: Sudip got married to Ronnie on Saturday. Although the gang could not make it to the marriage in Kolkata, they had a party at Sudip’s place – U 24/25, pink town houses, DLF Phase III, Gurgaon.

Bad news: That was the last Hughes party in U 24/25. U 24/25, “the” party place for the Hughes gang for the last three years is now officially closed. Over the last three years, there have been numerous parties here; more than parties, it was a place where you could meet your friends in the weekend and vent frustration gathered over the week. Entry was by invitation only and only close friends attended, mostly comprising of Batch 1 and 2 of Hughes. There were unwritten two rules. 1. What we said there remained there. 2. Every two hours, we would have to lower our voices for half an hour (because the neighbors complained!!!). There have been gross violations of both rules on occasions. Still, it played a very important part in the friendship that we share with Hughes colleagues, most of them now working elsewhere. Will miss those parties.

Good news: Bangalore branch of U 24/25 – code named 406 (after the flat #) is now officially open. At the same time when U 24/25 held its last meet, we celebrated “officially” for the first time here in Bangalore. The party – Arun, Samarth, Amit (Junior), Dheeraj, Girish, Sushant (BD), Mr. Milind Modak (Yeah – special guest from NCR) and me. Although it lacked the neighbors-pluggin-ear-bud, straight from dictionary-of-profanities language, it was fun. Looking forward to more meetings.

In case you are wondering how Milind got here: He was in Chennai for a training session. After the training got over on Friday, his vacation started. First destination – Bangalore to meet us. We enjoyed a lot yesterday, showing him the city and making comparisons between Bangalore and Delhi. Like, you know, when he was looking at a local Volvo bus (launched recently – and looks really impressive), we pointed out that this is the normal local bus here; unlike in Delhi where the blue and white lines needs major overhauling. When immediately afterwards a local bus (the regular ones, running for ages and really unimpressive) passed, we mentioned that these are the heritage busses so that people don’t forget their culture and heritage!

He left tonight for Trichy, where his parents are. He will be there for the entire week and then go back to Chennai and then leave for Delhi.

Images from Hyderabad

Resident pigeons of Mecca Masjid, Hyderabad practising synchronised flights.

Charminar, as it appears from a glass vendor cart shop. There are 23,479 other vendors around selling everything you can think of!

Mrs. and Mr. Partha Chakraborty in front of Hussain Sagar Lake a.k.a Tank Bund. Thank you once again for being such wonderful hosts.

5 reasons why Hyderabad is better than Bangalore

I went to Hyderabad to meet my friend Partha-da. He has been asking me to come over for a weekend for a long time. Finally I managed to visit them (Partha-da and his wife Joyeeta). First impression of Hyderabad: I loved the city. Here are five reasons why:

1. Auto wallas: In three days, I haven’t faced a single refusal; neither have I seen any haggling for fare. In fact, one of them took a few rupees less since I didn’t have change! And all of them speak Hindi, unlike the Bangalore rickshaw walla, who sometime conveniently forgets how to speak Hindi!

2. Food: Oh, the Biriyani! And then there is the biriyani! And some more! Can’t get enough of it. In three days, I had biriyani thrice :-)

3. Service: I am talking about food service here. The service received in every restaurant in Hyderabad is excellent, even in very small restaurants. These guys know how to serve.

4. Infrastructure: Hyderabad scores way above Bangalore when it comes to infrastructure. The roads are better and the flyovers really help. Going to Hi-tech city took less then 20 minutes from Tank Bund. One should go to hi-tech city to see how well they have set up that place.

5. Recreation: Anywhere I went, there were not too many people, surprisingly for a weekend. In and around Hussainsagar lake, there are three public gardens, one food court, one multiplex-cum-shopping complex, one water park(under construction) and boating facilities. There are other heritage places as well like the Golconda fort, Charminar and the museums. Not like Bangalore where there are three places to visit: M.G. Road, Garuda mall and Forum mall.

My first visit to Hyderabad was thoroughly enjoyable, thanks to Partha-da and Joyeeta.
Their home cooked food will give very tough competition to the excellent hyderabadi food, if they ever decide to open a food joint. And all the cooking happened in between roaming with me tirelessly! Thank you so much. I was also very glad to meet Alok Sinha (ex-colleague from Hughes) after a long time. Also managed to go to the IBM office in hi-tech city. Nice set-up. Thanks to Kailash for the last biriyani at Paradise 30 minutes before the bus left. Photos will take some time. Till then...


April 13, 1919, Jalianwala Bagh, Amritsar, India: British Indian Army soldiers, under instructions from General Dyer, open fire on a peaceful gathering killing many.

April 13, 2006, Bangalore, India: “Mourners” mourning the death of Kannada film idol Rajkumar, create a riot, killing few, injuring many and causing widespread damage to property, both public and private.

87 years ago, we blamed it on one person for the senseless killing. Who do we blame now? I see an entire population of a city losing all sense because an ex-actor died at age 77, due to heart failure, for which he was receiving treatment anyway. Shame on you, Bangalore.

Have you eaten anything?

We are obsessed with food. I am. I like eating out and trying out different things at different places. In general, I think, all of us in India are. It is a common question to ask in India: “Have you eaten something?” or “What did you have for lunch?” This is asked to mere acquaintances too. We were discussing cultural differences today during a clinic on culture training and this topic came up. You know, how Americans don’t understand that it is to show concern about them. For them, it’s more like “None of your business”.

While we were discussing this, I remembered, one of my friend had this habit of calling early morning (early for me – they call it afternoon) and starting the conversation with “Have you had anything to eat?” Being a close ended question, it had two answers. If I answered “Yes”, inevitably the next question would be “What did you have?” If I had answered “No”, the following question would be “Have something. What will you have?” Uuurrrggghhhhh!!! And this happened for more than a month. I know, she meant well and cared… but I couldn’t take it any more. One day, I told her “Listen, I have been out of my home for the last six years (that time), and my mom doesn’t ask me if I have eaten or not. You know why? Because I am healthy; I take care of my body and I love eating” Fortunately, the questioning stopped. Later sometimes she would ask me impulsively “Have you eaten…. oops, sorry!” … and I would be like “It’s OK. You can ask another question… and for the records, I have eaten”.

Here I am

Many friends have been telling me that I haven’t written in a while. Well, it’s not entirely true. I did write a very emotional blog entry after looking at this picture by Deepti Siwal. This painting has many meanings for me. Unfortunately, I became too emotional and the writing became too personal for me to publish. I was generally sad for a few days because of what I wrote. That I was not well for a few days did not help me get over it either. You know, when I am not physically well, I tend to think about old painful experiences! Sometimes I wish I could write better so that everyone could understand what I am thinking by reading my writings.

Anyway, all is well now. Saturday, Kailash and I went for some shopping to Commercial Street. Basically, it was a long walk doing nothing. Well, almost. I bought a pair of hiking shoes from Woodland. We ended up walking down through Brigade road to Garuda mall on Macgrath Road. Moved to CMH Road Casa Piccola just in time for dinner. Arun joined us there. Samarth and Anu went to Beach (restaurant on 100 ft road, Indiranagar) with Amit (Junior), Dheeraj and Ritu (Dheeraj’s wife). After dinner, we all met outside Beach and went to Café Coffee Day. We relaxed over desserts and hookah! Bad habit, boys! Give up smoking!

Sunday was another relaxed day. We got Arun’s car washed and minor repair work done. Had an early dinner at, no prizes for answering, Casa Piccola. Try anything there, except probably, fish – and you are bound to like it. Wiener schnitzel, Pot pie, Casserole, Fritters, Steak … anything, it’s good. Even vegetarians like Arun and Anu like their dishes. Anyway, I think, if I wrote anymore, people would start asking me about how much Casa paid me.

This week, at office, I am going through a training on facilitation skills. So, I go in the afternoon and come back at 11. Nice shift! For a change, I eat breakfast and dinner both!

James came, saw and almost conquered

James Abraham, my Hughes ex-colleague, eating-out partner and friend was in Bangalore for his recording work. He managed to stay at our place for two nights. Although we met pretty recently during my visit to Delhi and Dehradoon, but still had a lot of catching up to do. Actually managed to chat till six in the morning! We went to Mysore for a day trip. Saw the usual tourist places – Mysore Palace, Chamundi hills, Lalitha Palace, KRS dam and Brindavan gardens. We planned to get back to Bangalore early so that we could dine at Casa Piccola. If I know James, he would have loved Casa. Unfortunately, we were late and tired, so ordered food instead. Just in time, the electricity went off, so we had a candle-light cum moon-light dinner at our terrace. Not bad, but I still wish we had time for Casa. Next morning James left for Delhi. James: next time, first thing. Then it will be conquering Bangalore!

Amit Junior came to our place on Saturday evening. Kailash, Arun, Amit, Rahul and I went to Pecos for a couple of drinks before dinner. Sushant joined us before we left for Bobby Dhaba near Ulsoor lake. The authentic Parathas with Rajma and Dal Makhani was well worth the wait. Even the huge glasses serving mathas looked imported from Punjab. Out of the many things that came up for discussion during the wait was blogs. Many of the questions that Sushant and Amit were asking were after reading my blog. Like Arun said, it has now become an open diary. If you don’t know what someone is doing, just go through his blog! People actually went through my blog from Arun’s blog and started asking questions to Arun about the many girlfriends that I had written about. Even Abhishek asked me to write about James' visit so that he could read it! Gives me renewed faith in blogging.

I am uploading a pic of Sushant here. He was playing the guitar when he came to meet us a couple of weeks back and I couldn’t help but click some photographs. I was photographing after a long time. I was probably not getting inspired. Since clicking Sushant’s photographs, I haven’t stopped. In just about two weeks, I have finished three rolls, and still clicking! Thanks Sushant.

Thadiyendamol trek

Since the failed trek in Uttaranchal, I was looking forward to a trek somewhere. Kailash also wanted to go somewhere exciting! As usual, Arun was game. We decided on going to the Coorg side as it was one place we had heard a lot about and none of us have been there. Kailash did some research and I consulted my trekking holidays book and together we found this trek to Thadiyendamol, which looked interesting. Apparently, the only two places to stay there were Honey Valley Estate and Palace Estate. Honey valley was full; however Palace Estate had some rooms. In the process of booking, we spoke to Vincy and Prasad, the owners of the place; and even before we left Bangalore, we knew they were nice people. Prasad gave me the perfect route plan over the phone (only later did we came to know that he is incredible in charting routes). Later we also came to know that Prasad is the youngest of three brothers. The other two brothers are Prakash and Poovanna.

Friday evening, Arun and I had an evening shift. We went back home at three in the night and by four we were ready for the drive. I think it is relevant to mention over here that Arun was the last person to get ready as he was busy with a "phone call" and later he couldn't find the car keys! The drive was smooth and in just two hours, we reached Mandya (118 kms). The later part of the drive was not that smooth; however, it was scenic. Especially the parts near Gonikoppal and the Nagarhole outskirts are very beautiful. The route was Bangalore - Maddur - Mandya - Shrirangapattanam - Mysore (bypass) - Hunsur - Gonikoppal - Virajpet - Kakkabe. The directions given were perfect and we reached there by 1130.

The Prakash Poovanna Palace Estate is a beautiful place and the view that greets you takes your breath away. It is like an endless carpet of hills. The main house is 120 years old and the guest house has been re-built last year. There is a well maintained garden in front of the two houses with coffee beans drying over a square patch. I don't think I will do justice by writing about it; let me post some photographs. This one here is the guest house. Two rooms in the ground floor and four in the first floor. All rooms with excellent view.

Prasad discussed and suggested what to do there while we sipped coffee. There is something about the way he talks that makes you feel very comfortable and at home. He also drew a map for us to follow. After a hearty homely lunch, we went for a short walk around the estate. Saw the Nalnad Palace, which is just below the Palace Estate. Once again the views everywhere were just awesome. We also went to a small waterfall near the house. Dinner was again homely affair with some treat waiting for us - the pork curry was simply unbelievable. Over dinner, met the other guests. One thing about going to unusual and non-tourist spots is that you get to meet unusual and interesting people. Met Elizabeth and Denisse from London, who are with the music industry and have seen more of India than we have. Also met Sam, who is from Lebanon / US, who is on a tour since January, 2005. It was very interesting to listen to them. It gives you a new perspective about our country and it's people. We chatted till about midnight in the balcony.

Next day, we went for the trek. Again Prasad had drawn a map for us to follow. We left at 06:30 in the morning. The trek was divided into four sections. The first section was through the estate itself but it was steep. I think it was difficult for us because our body was not ready for the ordeal that early in the morning. The next two sections were gentle till you reach the base of the Thadiyendamol peak. After that, the tracks are difficult to follow. We actually wandered off twice - all because of wrong left: I never understood the leftist view anyway. Once we took a left that we were not supposed to take and landed up in a valley with no where to go! We managed to trace our way back to the stone wall (landmark) and then instead of taking the track to the left took the other left track to a deep jungle! After wandering again for about half an hour, finally decided to come back. Came back to the wall again and this time took the right track. By this time, there were four other trekkers who almost caught up with us. They seemed to have fresh legs and we were already tired. Realizing that they will soon catch us, Arun wanted to catch his breath and suggested that we don't stop for him. Kailash and I decided to make it to the top without stopping. We wanted to be the first to make it to the top that day! the view from the top is beautiful. It was a very clear day and we think we saw one river meet the ocean! We had our brunch there - rice cakes, eggs and a very sweet pineapple packed for us by Prasad / Vincy. By this time, we had finished all the drinking water that we had.

While coming back, we took a de-tour to visit a waterfall and sat there for some time. The return walk was without any further event. We just joked about things like how Arun said "I don't trust you anymore" when we were lost in the jungle and how Kailash's shoe sole was all but non-existant by then.

After returning, we ate another wonderful meal: this time mango curry being the main attraction. We took the afternoon easy. We slept for some time before dinner. Next morning, after another cup of the fresh coorg coffee, we left at 07:30. The coffee flowers were in full bloom by then. This is not a very common site though since this happens only a few times every year. Sam took a lift till Virajpet. As Kailash said "One Bengali, one Punjabi, one Gujrati and one Lebanese listening to Spanish music in an American car". After dropping Sam at Virajpet, we drove towards Bangalore. We reached home at 3 in the afternoon. Back to office in the evening!

If you are interested, here are the details:

Prakash Poovana Estate
Palace Estate
Kakkabe,Kodagu – 571 212
Tel: 08272-238446
Mobile: 988 044 7702
Contact : Prasad / Vincy Apparanda

This trip reminded me of Gushaini more than anything else. Wish James, Sri and Milind were there to share this experience.

Marching into March

It's the end of another week and it's time for me to write the weekend report.

Weekdays were normal; after returning from Delhi, I took some time to settle down to work; good that I finished all my work for February before I left.

Weekend was lazy as usual. Saturday was all about waking up (big job), watching TV, listening to music, and finally dining out at Chung's. The food was very nice; service was slow though(for a chinese joint); portioning was great. What we ordered for three turned out to be enough for five!

Sunday was when we decided to give Samarth's TV back to him. From now on for a few days, we don't have television. Sushant had come over after a long time and we decided that we were to cook lunch for him. The menu - Dal, Dum Aloo, Papad, Pickles and roti; the chef - Mr. Arun Salwan; the helpers - Kailash and me; the guests - Sushant, Samarth and Anu; the food - GOOD! It always is when you cook yourself. We had fun while cooking pulling each other's legs and goofing up. I exceeded my own expectation when some of the rotis that I made were actually roundish in shape. Went out in the evening for some window shopping. Ended up watching "Fun with Dick and Jane" - my first movie in a Bangalore hall! Good hall - bad movie! We had choice of "Crash" and the Dick movie and I chose Dick: what a *&%$. Just came to know Crash has won the Oscar this year! Dinner was at Tigerbay (food court - Garuda mall) - they specialize in Seafood. The Prawn dishes were good. The fish cutlet was actually a fish chop! It didn't have a crispy coating of cutlet that is normally there due to the presence of egg. Heck - I am not your typical Bong, but I am a bong after all! Desserts and coffee were at Cafe Coffee Day, Indiranagar. Started missing the TV after we came back. But there is always a good side to everything. For about three hours, we were chatting about everything under the 'moon', which wouldn't have happened if there was TV! So let us talk, read and listen for a few days before we get a TV. Have to do something about the Champion's league matches!

Before I end this report, have to tell you a few positive things happening:
1. Shaji has gone to Dubai on Friday to find a job. I hope he does that soon and starts wearing "Dubai ka chasma". Settle down there Shaji - I will have one more place to visit!

2. After a long time, I felt the urge to click a few photographs: Model - Sushant; prop - guitar; set - terrace. Will post them as soon as I get them developed.

3. Anu just gifted Samarth a Motorazr V3i. It's sexy as hell and functional too! Thank whoever that Motorola had the brains to add expandable memory to the V3.

Five reasons why I think England might win the World Cup

1. Defense: Ferdinand, Garragher, John Terry and Sol Campbell can all play central defense. Gary Neville in the right back position and Ashley Cole(if he is fit) in the left back position and you have a solid defense.

2. Midfield: Beckham / Shaun Wright Phillips playing right, Gerrard and Lampard playing attacking midfield, Owen Hargreaves / Carrick playing defensive midfield and Joe Cole in left looks formidable. It's a pity Gerrard, Lampard and Beckham may not play together.

3. Forward: This could well be Rooney's world cup. Besides Rooney, Owen(if fit) and Crouch are there to play forward. Darren Bent can be a good replacement.

4. Bench: Jermaine Defoe, Jermaine Jenas, Woodgate, Ledley King, Alan Smith(if fit) can all be very worthy replacements to the replacements / alternates already mentioned.

5. The draw: If everything goes right they should top Group B. Second round they meet Costa Rica / Poland and then Mexico / Holland in the quarterfinals. If they manage to go through all these, in the semifinals, they meet Brazil. Then anything can happen!

Overall, England is a strong team. Against Uruguay, they showed they have the character to come back and fight. They have key players at all positions and also have good replacements. They can be a very attacking side. Think of this: Gerrard, Lampard, Carrick or Hargreaves fighting for the ball in midfield; Neville - Beckham from right and Ashley Cole - Joe Cole from left creating waves of attacks; Rooney and Crouch prowling in front of opponent's goal - exciting! Can't wait to watch them.

Broken Promises and Black Beauty in jail

In case you are wondering what happened to the grand trekking plan, here's what happened: Sriram had some family business in Chennai, so he backed out. That he did not leave Delhi is a different issue. He was busy in office. Milind had office work so he said he would only attend the marriage. But after Friday, he did not answer the phone! Later, I came to know that he had gone somewhere with his team! James told me that four days could be difficult to manage, so let's make it two days. Since there was no one else, that was never discussed further. He did make it to the marriage though.

So I had four days with me without a definite plan. But I did have work! Arun was supposed to leave on Wednesday. Arobindo took Sudip's car to drop him at the airport. While coming back, he met with an accident. Arun missed the flight because of some agitation at the airport by some people and the subsequent closure of the check-in counter. We reached the police station where Sudip's car - the black beauty was parked. After a whole day of discussion and negotiations, we managed to get her out of the police station. Even while it was a tense day, we managed to crack jokes and cheer each other. We even discussed the chances of Aro being in the same jail as Salman Khan... and the opportunities there after! Thankfully, there was no police case. Next day, Arun managed to leave for Bangalore, Sudip took the car to the workshop and others returned to their normal life.

For me, the next few days were very relaxed. Normally spent reading books, watching TV, going for walks and meeting friends. I met Ananya (Abhishek's daughter) for the first time. Friday night, Shaji brought some friends along from office and it was a long session of drinks and singing. Saturday, the trainers from Flextronics met at India Gate for a meeting - Sriram, James, Abhishek, Milind, Arun (Jhambo) and me. As usual, it was a session of leg pulling and discussion about different companies that we are now part of. We had dinner at Pind, Pandara Road. Thanks to Jhambo for the dessert.

Two weddings and a date

17th Feb: I reach Delhi. Milind was supposed to come to pick me up but he was sleeping! Shaji was there to pick us up. Unfortunately Samarth's flight was delayed by over two hours. Anyway, we roamed a bit in Gurgaon; went to Teletech and Flextronics and met some of our friends. Met most friends at SUnil's engagement ceremony. Besides family, we were the last to leave (henceforth coded LTL). At Four in the morning, I receive a call from Arun asking about flights and purchasing options. After some failed efforts, he bought the tickets. This was going to be a big surprise for everyone!

18th Feb: Went to Sunil's wedding. Met more friends. We spent about an hour outside the party socializing before we entered. Spent a considerable amount of time persuading Rahul (Menon) to come with us to Dehradoon for Samarth's marriage. Once again - LTL.

19th Feb: We were supposed to leave at around noon to go to Dehradoon. One car was supposed to pick Siddharth and the other car was supposed to pick pick up gifts for Samarth and Chivas Regal that he ordered and then go to pick Naveen. Unfortunately, it took some time to do all that and by the time we reached Noida, Naveen had to go to do some errands. Mr. Arun Salwan, never to miss an opportunity, called one of his innumerable lady friends, and set up a quick date! The quick date lasted for couple of hours and we finally managed to leave at 5! Without further incidents and some good driving by Shaji and Sudip and some expert navigation by yours truly, we reached Dehradoon at 11. Just in time to attend the tail of the cocktail party. After the party (LTL as usual), Samarth guided us to the guest house. After several loops of eight we finally reached Asha guest house. Our room had 12 beds in dormitory style, just perfect for us to chat. Everyone was too tired to chat, so we decided that we will call it a day and we shall wake up at noon the next day.

20th Feb: Surprisingly, we woke up at 9! Others who didn't were made to wake up. After a lot of chatting, we moved out. James took the morning train to Dehradoon and we went there to pick him up at the railway station. We roamed and shopped a bit in Rajpur road. In the evening, we got ready for the marriage and reached Hotel Madhuban at nine. It was a grand venue with lawn, hall, terrace and everything. Samarth was looking uncomfortable with his headgear and suit on. You can see for yourself in this pic.

Sitting: Anu and Samarth - the bride and the groom. Standing from right - Sudip, Shaji, Rahul, Siddhartha, Arobindo, Naveen, James, Arun and me.

The official complete photo collection is here.

By midnight, the crowd had thinned and we were on our way to be LTL ,when we decided that we should leave for Delhi. We left Dehradoon at around 1:30. Driving was difficult under the foggy conditions and oncoming traffic. We reached Delhi only in the morning.

Frantic Feb

Have not been able to update this blog for some time now... not because I didn't do anything but because I was busy! This Saturday, I went to visit my cousin - Sayandeb aka Bappa-da, who just came back from the US. Debarati-di stuffed me with classic Bengali lunch which I ate heartily... let me make that HEARTILY! I swore that I won't eat for another day.... but fate had other plans for me!

Went with flatmates and neighbor - Rahul to Casa Piccola again. What can I say about the dinner... read the previous entry!

Sunday, we went to a place called Shivanasamudram - a waterfall. This was supposed to be 110 kms from Bangalore to be covered in 2:30 hrs. Research was done through Outlook weekend gateaway and maps. Unfortunately we took the wrong road... got lost... ultimately caught the shortest but bumpest path! It took us more than 5 hrs to reach there. What an anticlimax it was when we reached there - there was no water in the waterfall! While coming back, we took the Mysore road and came back in less than 3 hrs.

This week, I am a bit busy at work since later this week I am going on a vacation. Have to complete all monthly work by this Thursday!

Casa Piccola - Oh la la!

We went for shopping on Saturday. Bought next to nothing but shopped for a long time... you know what I mean? Was very hungry after the ordeal. Went to Residency road to have dinner at Casa Piccola. Divine is the word for the food we had. Tried their Mix Grill, UFO, Chicken Parmigiana, Chicken Steak and Mexican soup. All of them were good. Service was not that good though. Meal for four cost us about 700, which is excellent value for money. Want to try a few more things this weekend. Maybe I will go to their CMH Road branch this time. Pity they don't deliver although their website says so!

Jethro Tull - Live in Concert!

Just came back from the Jethro Tull show. They put on quite a show. I was never attracted to their lyrics, but some of their music was really good tonight. Specially the "no words" pieces like "Moe's Art" and Bach's "Bourree". Ian Anderson has amazing energy for a sixty something guy! He has an amazing sense of humor too! I found out that he doesn't have a driver's license and has a very good explanation why - here.

It was after a long time that I went to a live show and it was a very worthwhile experience. The organisers did a great job of managing the show, except for the quintessential late start and lack of litter bins. In fact we did not see litter bins in the entire IIM Bangalore campus!

The opening act "Thermal and a Quarter" did a decent job of warming up the crowd. I really liked their "Jupiter Cafe".

I had heard a lot about Bangalore croud and their knowledge about music. I managed to be in the first three rows, so could be that I was surrounded by hardcore fans; but they sure knew about Jethro Tull's music. When a few IIM students were busy chatting with each other, someone actually told them "Please stop it... we are trying to listen to the music here"!

Right Alt - My latest .. ahem ... love

This is not about ... ahem ... what you thought! This is serious stuff!

I am used to using the Windows key for many shortcuts in Windows. However, the IBM (Lenovo) ThinkPad T43 laptop that I was given doesn't have a Windows key! Apparently, none of the TPs have Windows key, although all of them have a shiny silver sticker saying "Designed for Microsoft Windows XP"!

Everytime, I had to lock my TP, instead of pressing Windows + L, I had to minimize all open Windows and double click the "Lock Computer" icon! Then, of course, to minimize all windows, I had to manually minimize individual Windows, since I couldn't press Windows + D or Windows + M (I am not a big fan of the Quick Launch bar - so no "Show Desktop" shortcut)!

Finally, I found a solution. Now my right Alt key is configured to act as Windows button! Got it from IBM's support site article. I am happily locking my TP with Right Alt + L; Viewing System properties with Right Alt + Break; Opening Run Window with Right Alt + R...

Till the time those otherwise brilliant designers (or decision makers) decide to put the small Windows key in their laptop: Right Alt it is for me!

DSLR: To Buy Or Not To Buy

To buy or not to buy - that is the question! The will and reasons to buy a DSLR is increasing day by day.

First, the experiments with the last few rolls did not come as expected. Most of the prints are somewhere waiting to be destroyed.

Second, on Sunday, Deepti was talking about buying the Canon 350D. Funny, when you talk about something that you remotely want with someone who remotely wants it and it increases your crave for that object!

Third, I took just eight snaps at Nandi hills. Now I will either have to wait for the right moment to finish this roll, or I will have to do pointless photography! With a DSLR, I can take shots that I like: could be one, could be five, could be 36 at a time.

Still I am not buying it right now. I want to try the Nikon D70 or D50 and Canon 350D before I decide to buy. And an investment of 50K is still a luxury for me. Hope the price will come down soon :-)

Inspiration from an unusual source

I like the column by Mr. Subroto Bagchi in Times of India. He often writes about ordinary people who struggle a lot amidst trying circumstances to achieve something. I met a similar person last night.

Puneet, was driving a private car for three years. Slowly he saved some money and now he has bought a Tata Sumo. He is driving it for a vendor of IBM. He works six days a week - Monday through Saturday. On Sunday, he plays cricket near his residence in Jayanagar. He is also going through Bachelor of Commerce course through correspondence.

It's amazing how some people will work amongst all the challenges to succeed and live a better life! Fortunately for me, I got to chat a bit with him. He was the driver and owner of the cab which dropped me home. It was his first day at work for IBM. I thanked him for talking to me and dropping me... but I wonder now, if I thanked him enough! He got me thinking about my life!

Weekend Report

Friday: It was a strange day! Strange in a positive way! Many of my friends called from different places - Delhi, Kolkata, Bangladesh, Singapore. I was really happy and it helped me handle the long day I had in office.

Oh... Milind confirmed that he will go with us for the trek. We have finally decided that we will go for trekking in Nag Tibba. If he doesn't get leaves, LWP!

Saturday, 8 p.m: Last night(Friday) I was coughing a lot and had cough syrup after I came back home. I am still feeling its effect! Still very sleepy and drowsy... I think the right word is LAZY! Not done anything today yet and not planning to do much. Samarth and Anu are busy cleaning up their flat downstairs... Kailash and Anshu are also home... Amit Junior came with his mom. It was nice just sitting there and listening to both Aunties(Amit's and Arun's mom) talk about maids and their inefficiency, our apartment and apartment size in Bangalore, our work hazards and hence sleeping disorder, Arun and Amit's marriage... don't think they can avoid it for long!

Sunday: Arun and I had been planning to go out somewhere this weekend with Aunty. Finally we decided that we will leave early morning for Shivanisamudram, a waterfall around 110 kms from out home. But fate had something else for us in mind. Last night Anshu's friends - Deepti and Shruti had come over for a "night picnic". Deepti's mom had sent some very tasty food and we also had food delivered from Nandhini. It was quite a picnic. Then some chatting over drinks and songs... and we ended up sleeping only at three. Arun and I still decided to wake up at eight and go for the outing. I woke up at around noon and Arun probably woke at 1130(although he says he was up since 0930!), so the Shivanisamudram plan was cancelled! After consulting "Outlook Traveller's 52 weekend gateaways around Bangalore", we decided we should go for Nandi hills, which is closer home. We left at around two and after dropping Deepti home, went straight to Nandi hills! The road is mostly nice and there are clear road signs. Nandi hill is nice... with some very good view of the surrounding plains. Nothing spectacular but nice... the weather was very pleasant. I did not find too many photographic subjects there to shoot :-( After a short visit to Nehru Nilay, we started the long journey home. Kailash and Anshu had bought some very bright curtains for home... now our apartment has character!

February Fancies

Here's what I plan to do in February:

1st to 16th Feb: Finish all the audits(QA Deepshikha's job - she is on leave) I need to do in office.
17th Feb: Fly to Delhi (Flight IT202 ETA Delhi - 1005). Meet everyone!
18th Feb: Attend Sunil's marriage.
19th Feb: Chill out with friends.
20th Feb: Go to Dehradoon and attend Samarth's marriage.
21st to 24th Feb: T R E K.
25th Feb: Come back to Delhi.
26th Feb: Fly back to Bangalore.

Now this TREK depends on whether James, Sri and Mils get their leaves. If they don't I don't know what to do for the four extra days that I will get!

Getting ready for the trek

The same gang to Gushaini(Sri, James, Milind and me) is planning a trek in Uttaranchal in Feb. The plan is to attend Samarth's reception on Monday, 20th Feb and then go for the trek on Tuesday for two / three days. The places that we have shortlisted are a few day treks from Mussorie like the Nag Tibba or the Benog Tibba. I am not sure what the temperature will be in February. If weather(and time) permits we might also go to the Valley of flowers near the Hemkund Sahib lake. James and Sri are getting the information from Aro, who was there last year. I will get in touch with Prashant, who went with Aro on that trek. This will be strenous: I am not sure how fit we are.

Talking about fitness, I have started my preparations for the trek in my own way. Since Saturday, I have started avoiding the elevator and have started taking the stairs to my fifth floor apartment more often. Yesterday, I did a lot of walking while shopping in Commercial Street. Today, I went to Indiranagar to pay some bills. It is about five kilometers(roughly) from my house. I came back walking and to top it took the stairs! Need to do this more often to build lower body strength and stamina.

What do I do this weekend?

The plan was for me to go to Hyderabad and stay with Parthada: Partha Chakraborty, my friend from my Aptech days (both Kolkata and Bangladesh). However, it is not making sense.

First of all, my household stuff has come from Delhi and we are yet to get everything fixed in it's place here. Then Samarth need to move his stuff to his new flat. His new flat is actually one floor below ours so distance wise it is not much. Still there is a lot of stuff to be moved and Kailash is already in Hyderabad, so it will be only Samarth, Anu and Arun to move all the heavy things.

Secondly, I need to be in office till 3 in the morning tonight. So the earliest time for me to leave is early morning tomorrow. And I need to be in office on Monday evening. So it's effectively 1 day that I will be able to spend there. It doesn't make sense!

Besides getting our flat sorted and help Samarth to move, I can also fiddle with the new IBM ThinkPad T43 that IBM has given me. 1.8 GHz Pentium (Centrino), 512 MB Ram! Faster than my desktop! For the last two days since I got this, I have been bragging about the TP to Samarth and Kailash. I know I shouldn't do this: you never know they might get a TP with Centrino Duo processors with 1 GB Ram! Anyway, I hope i will be able to write a few things tomorrow and day after and upload them on Monday.

Sore from Mysore

These are some pics from our Mysore trip. I was not really impressed with the photographs that I took. I attribute the defects to the Konica film, the light, the camera settings, my hand shaking or a combination of some or all. Anyway, here are some pics that are 'postable'.

St. Philomena's Cathedral, Mysore. Nice structure, heh?

Bird in flight over Chamundi hills. I think this is a Kite.

Prashant: xHughes friend from Delhi. He is the one who suggested this trip.
Pete, I told you this pic would come nice!

Statue on the outside of Chamundeshwari temple, Chamundi Hills.

This is the statue of Mahishashur, Chamundi Hill. There are about 200 people at the base of the statue trying to get their photograph clicked, which I avoided.

Bull in front of Chamundeshwari Temple. I liked the contrast of black and white of the subject against the colorful backdrop.

Giraffe in Mysore Zoo. I really liked the Mysore Zoo. It is the best Indian zoo that I have been to. I actually saw African Elephant for the first time in my life.

There is another set of pics that are yet to be developed. I really enjoyed taking photographs of the Mysore Palace. Hope they come out nicely.

What do I write?

I am wondering what to write. My friend, Arun writes his blog pretty well [] and pretty regularly. I am almost inspired to write a daily (or twice a week or once a week). I do have another blog to describe my tours and travels []. Now, the problem is "What do I write?".

For starters, let me write about an idea! I was thinking about a radio programme for Samarth. He has this amazing ability to listen to any track for a second (and I am not exaggerating) and he will tell you about the song. He is amazing with songs and sound tracks. He could actually host a radio show! My idea for the show was he can play some classic music and talk about history of the song / band / singer. He can always search the net for tidbits. The idea started taking shape when he forwarded this link:

I remember those days in Delhi when we would go our respective home at 3 in the morning and the first thing we would do is turn on the TV to watch reruns of RockStar: INXS. Then we would call each other and discuss the show. Our favorite was Mig Ayasa and would discuss the rocker's performance of the night. For me the best performance of the series was Mig's rendition of Peter Frampton's "Baby, I love your way". Our other pick was Suzie's version of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" with the orchestra. I actually liked Jordis' version of "Imagine" a lot. I thought her quivering voice was well suited for the song. You can catch some of the action at

Well, I am in office right now. I will leave a bit late tonight along with Arun. We are going to Mysore early morning tomorrow. Prashant 'Pete' Bhardwaj has come from Delhi and he is the one who planned this trip. Hope to catch some sleep in the car. Will write on Monday about the trip to Mysore.