Saturday, December 29, 2007

Some photos from a recent trip

Had been to my grandparents' place at Pollachi this week. The tranquil garden around the house offered numerous Sony moments. Some of them...


In retrospect, am not too happy with this pic. There is quite a lot of noise that could possibly divert one's attention from the subject - the leaf. But the coloring effect takes care of that, I guess. BTW, can you think of some interesting caption for this pic?


This one was a very difficult shot. The problem is that when you point your camera at the moon and try to focus, it will simply refuse to obey your command. The moon would appear as a blurry blob. Just try it once for yourself. For that matter, getting the camera to focus on any source of light is a difficult proposition. I got this one by sheer luck :)


And ya, I can never stop clicking flowers on macro.. These damn things look beautiful any way, making our job easier ;)

Friday, December 28, 2007

CATcalls!

I just read this post through a link on Pagalguy. The author has lambasted the IIMs. I could not restrain myself from posting this reply to him. (This actually began as a comment on his blog :) Had to shift the text here in view of the length)

Heyy Kausar.. A very hot article :) But I dont agree with the largest part of it.. My responses to your complaints:

- CAT is flawed: Yes. I agree. In fact, I was directly impacted by this last year. Luckily, this year I went ready for errors in the Qn paper. And I did spot one. So saved some time and tension.

- Standardizing CAT: This would take the sting away from CAT. I believe CAT is a great exam simply because it tests your strategical reasoning powers as well. Standardizing CAT will simply kill it. And as for candidates getting confused, BOSS!! If one is expecting to get into a B-school overpowering 2 lakh other aspirants, he shdn't expect everything to be offered to him on a platter.

- Changing pattern every year: They do it just to make sure that people do not get in simply because they were TRAINED for it. A person's true value will manifest itself, when he is faced with something never-seen-before. The IIMs want only the best of the lot. I believe this is sure one way to do it.

- Intellectual Property rights: He he :) I donno if anyone else has noticed this. But going by how popular CAT is, am sure the IIMs wont take any chance. They would have taken some permission from the original authors. Maybe they did not print that on the Qn papers TO SAVE INK ;)

- Curbing coaching institutions by standardizing CAT: Even if the test becomes standard, coaching institutes will flourish as they do today. It's not abt the test dude.. It's about the B-schools.. Am sure all of us join coaching centers to hit the IIMs.. Not to crack CAT.. We target the IIMs, and the CAT is the route to them.. So we take the CAT.. If it was some other exam, we would still take that exam with due preps, and one means to that is to get professional guidance..

- IIMs should worry about the non-successful ones: Why would they do this? They did not ask 2 lakh people to apply.. They want only those 1500.. Do you think they consciously advertise and call for applicants? Nopes! We are the ones who apply in large numbers.. They simply pick the ones who are best suited for their insti, as per their judgment.. What else can they do?

- CAT should teach something that we can use in our daily life: CAT has taught me so many things: to get on with life without being bogged down by one problem; to pay attention to detail; to analyze and interpret data better; to read actively; to prioritize commitments.

- (234 ^ 234) / 6 :) If you had taken CAT in the right spirit, you would have realized that you don't actually need to tackle these questions.. You do get a whole lot of sitters in CAT too.. Questions at the same level as those in the GMAT (I have taken the GMAT too, so I know).. You can get thru the IIMs by cracking those questions alone.. CAT simply tests if you can identify which one to hit and which one to miss.. With your limited resources (time), how much of your unlimited wants (answering 75 questions) can you satisfy? this is what CAT tests..

- Errata from IIM websites: Sure do project the institutions in poor light.. I am with you in this..

- Minimum criteria for work-ex: As you yourself have stated, this is your personal opinion. But the IIMs know what they are looking for. My logic is this: If the class is full of ppl with experience, then fresh ideas would be missed sorely.. Cos when ppl gather experience, they are actually getting trained in systems.. They fall into a groove.. To think outside of that framework would require herculean efforts.. But that would come naturally to a fresher..

- CAT applicants should serve community for free: The IIMs are B-schools.. They are not NGOs.. Each and every entity has a purpose to focus on.. It would be great if just that purpose is served by that entity.. If we want CAT to impact the society positively, we may as well expect our cars to fly..

If you feel my views are not just, do let me know.. we can discuss further..

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Chennaiyil oru mazhaikaalam

I started from office at 7.30 PM yesterday.

And spent the rest of the night going home.

The roads were so flooded, one would think one were in Venice.

And I saw for myself: the Mahindra Scorpio IS truly making waves all over! It succeeded in drenching me knee-downwards at least.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

My first voyeur photograph

All Photographers are voyeurs.

We always love to swoop in on unsuspecting insects having a gala time on flowers, and click them in compromising positions without their knowledge, whilst they suck away to glory. Then we release the pictures on the internet and whip up a storm.

But this time around, one of my pics whipped up a storm at home itself.

This was one of those voyeur pics, alright. My first (I've named it Hello_World.jpg). I thought it was a significant milestone in my photographic journey and put it up as my desktop's wallpaper at home. The very idea of a bug sucking the hell/gel out of a flower seemed exotic to my artistic vision.

Ok, maybe it was not a bug.



I still found it exotic.

But alas! When have parents really understood your triggers for excitement?

Mom kept telling me to pull the pic off the desktop, cos she constantly felt the urge to swat the fly off the beautiful flower.

And Dad tried hard to make me realize how revolting he found the pic to be. He kept complaining of nausea until I relented eventually.

This blog-post is an appeal to all parents in the world to understand the importance of the house-fly:

1) It is the ONLY creature in the world to be called "house-fly" (I am sure of this)
2) The name itself is interesting, giving rise to such great pieces of jokes such as this:
"A: I saw a house-fly.
B: Oh.. Maybe the building was strong and the basement, weak"
3) This is a dummy point, without any content. If someone skims through this list without reading consciously, I want him/her to believe that I have written a lot more than I actually have.
4) Last, but farthest from the least: It is the only THING to have stayed put while I clicked a pic. And I have proof.
Just have a look at the pic of a pug doll below.


It was a freaking non-living thing! And still it chose to shake instead of saying cheese. (Maybe it was still under contract with Hutch and was trying to follow my cam lens wherever it went. Who moved his cheese?!)

Proof no. 2:


Would you believe me if I told you this was a LAMP POST? No, right? Ok am not telling you anything about this pic.

NOW, Mom and Dad. Counter this :-|

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Road trip to Thirumalpur: III

Part 1 here.

Part 2 here.

The last of this series.

BTW, everything in the temple signifies unity between Shiva and Vishnu. There was even a statue with the face of Hanuman and the base of Nandhi. After spending some more time looking and clicking around, we both bade the priest farewell and exited.

And I have to say that Mr Sambu was very patient in explaining everything about the temple to us: right from history to what has transpired in recent times.

The priest - Mr Sambu

Some more notes from what he told us:

- The temple was built in the period around 500 BC by Sundara Chozhan

- The original Shiva linga in the temple was actually made of mud and made it through 1500 years!!! (albeit decreasing in height with the passage of time). And when the temple was renovated in 2002, a metallic kavasam was clamped on top of the small lingam. But even now, it looks fairly diminutive

- The temple is now under the aegis of the Archaeological Department

Once we came out, I set my camera on my tripod and began to lock in on the fa├žade of the temple. Hardly 5 seconds later, I was surrounded by native kids who peered from around me into my cam’s LCD display. There were some who excitedly ventured to the front and peered into my lens barrel. I looked on amused, as an old man came and shoo’ed the boys away from my camera. I then clicked a couple of pics and dismantled my tripod. As I packed it in my carry bag, the oldie asked for alms. I fished a coin from my purse and gave it to him. He had a brief look at it and handed it back saying “What can I do with one rupee? Have it yourself.” Though he actually did not say the words, his tone seemed to suggest something along the lines of “mayi*a kooda ******* mudiyadhu”. Then I realized how true that was. With the kind of hair he had, that was well nigh impossible. I have nicknamed him oldie-locks.

Oldie-locks

My bro got very angry at the man’s doing and wanted to ask him whether he accepted Visa and Mastercard.

But the kids were still lurking around, talking in hushed whispers. I called them on to pose for me, and they obliged!

Each one has emoted differently :) My favo is the topless guy

Anyway, with our expectations met, my bro and I began our return journey, briefly stopping to click some pics.


But not too many, as we were damn hungry and bro wanted to eat at home and nowhere else. We reached Chennai in record time with the weather still being too good to be true: chill and cloudy. The moment we reached home and entered the main door, it began raining cats and dogs outside!

On the whole, though the “newness” of the temple was a bit of a disappointment for me, the bike-ride and the village more than made up for it. Thank you, Dwija!

Some details for those who want to visit Thirumalpur:

Name of the temple: Manikandeeswarar Temple -- Get this right. There are a couple of other temples too in that region. One is of Guru (Dakshinamoorthy). Another is of an Amman.

Name of the place: Thirumalpur / Thirumarpaeru

Location: Around 15 km from Kanchipuram and from Arakkonam. 80 – 85 km from Chennai.

How to reach Thirumalpur (by own vehicle):

Take the Bangalore Highway. Near Kanchipuram, there is a huge flyover. Do not get on the flyover; go beneath it to its left and turn right to reach the Kanchipuram – Arakkonam main road. Drive along for about 12 km, parallel to the railway track. Once you reach Thirumalpur station, you would have to take a left and go on for a few more km to reach the temple.

How to reach Thirumalpur (by bus or train):

There is an electric train that starts at 7 AM from Chennai Beach and reaches Thirumalpur (the last stop) at around 9.00 – 9.30 AM. Take share autos from there to the temple.

But return would be a problem. There is a train from Pondy at around 2 – 2.30 PM that would take us back to Chennai. And maybe a couple more in the evening. That’s all.

Bus would be a better choice: Reach Arakkonam or Kanchipuram and reach Thirumalpur from there by bus at anytime (one bus every half hour, I believe).

And make your own arrangements for food! No decent eateries around there.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Road trip to Thirumalpur: II

(Continuation of part 1)

Our hearts sank as we stared at the huge green door that was locked.

The temple's facade

(Pan picture, stitched together from 3 separate pictures using Autostitch - freeware)

Those dimensions meant that we could not even try to peep over the doorway. And as per regular schedules, the temple would not be opened for at least 4 more hours.

But my friend – Dwija – who had told me about this temple had also told me that the priest lived right next to the temple. True enough, as we found out, he was sharing a compound wall with Mr Manikandeeshwaran. (Refer pic above)

Though a bit unsure about disturbing him (the priest; not Mani Sir), we had no other choice. So we knocked on his door. After we sheepishly told him that we wanted to visit the temple, he came out at once to open the door. He did not betray even a wee bit of irritation at being disturbed, though he had locked the temple just ten minutes back. And his wife was extremely hospitable and offered us water (while we were expecting her to abuse us for disturbing her husband’s siesta).

Mr Sambu (the priest) unlocked a small part of the huge door and went in, asking us to follow him. My cousin did that without batting an eyelid, while I had to battle with the door-lid to squeeze myself in.

Mr Sambu (right) and his assistant.

(Can you spot the small door-like opening in this picture? Look between the two men)

It was now that I began to actually observe the temple. It was not Herculean as I had imagined it would be, but it sure was huge by normal standards. But I was very disappointed at one thing: everything looked fairly NEW! And I had traveled a distance expecting to ogle at an ancient relic! The priest clarified things when he said that the temple was rejuvenated in 2002.

Drats.

That was a setback right at the beginning for me. But I labored on into the sanctum sanctorum. The priest then began to narrate the “thala varalaaru” (meaning “the story of the making of Shiva-ji’s temple”.. Not “Thalai Ajith’s Godfather-turned-varalaaru”).

Long long ago, there was a King by name something. He had some minor tiff with a sage named something else and wanted to blast him into after-life with the kind of pyrotechnics we see on TV. But since the sage was actually much more powerful (and also since Standard fireworks had not been established by then), the King could not inflict any harm on the sage. So he worshipped Lord Vishnu to help him in this. The Lord responded by setting his Chakraayudha (cycle-pedal-ring-like wheel weapon) upon the sage. The sage did die, but the Chakraayudha got destroyed as well. So the Lord’s idea of using the boomerang-like weapon boomeranged on him and he was left wheel-weaponless. After a while, another war happened during which the Lord missed his weapon a lot. In order to get another tool of the kind, He came to the spot where we stood and worshipped Lord Shiva asking for a new weapon. After 3 yugas (9000 years), Lord Shiva appeared in front of Lord Vishnu and said “Un thavatthai kandu mecchinom” (meaning “Am pleased with your penance”). Meanwhile, Lord Vishnu had had this habit of offering 1000 lotus flowers everyday to Lord Shiva, but as Murphy would concur, on exactly that day, he had one lotus less. Since there was not enough time to get one from Koyambedu market, Lord Vishnu offered an eye of his own instead. Lord Shiva was mighty pleased and granted Lord Vishnu with a new wheel weapon: the mighty Sudharsana Chakra (which has been used ever since to slay demons at daytime, and mosquitoes at nights).

And it is for this reason that Thirumalpur is also known as Hari-chakra-puram (without the hyphens).

From this, we learn that:

- Even the Lords love playing “EYE’s boys”
- Lord Shiva owns the copyright for the most oft-repeated dialog in Tamil mythological movies

Part 3 here

Monday, December 03, 2007

Road trip to Thirumalpur

Starting a new series with this blog: veni vidi civi (latin for I went, I saw, I was conquered)

I got excited the moment I read a friend’s blog on this place called Thirumalpur. She claimed that it was a must-visit place for any ancient-temple-lover. That hooked me on and within four days I had made my plans: my cousin and I were to visit this temple on a bike!

I was very excited for two reasons:

1) This was to be my first ever biking trip

2) I would be taking my new Sony DSC H3 along! I had got the cam 2 full weeks back and had not experimented much with it. And this trip seemed to be a God-send!

So this Sunday, we started at 10.45 AM and reached NH 4 (Chennai-Bangalore highway) in a short while. The first thing that caught my fancy was:

God only knows whom the NHAI wishes to navigate to Mumbai from here itself. (And if you are wondering why my two-wheeler looks like a dirt-bike: it’s been quite some time since Ayudha Pooja happened, remember?)

After a couple of warm-up clicks here, we moved on. Soon the road became less crowded and the real look and feel of a highway presented itself to us on a platter. As we zoomed on (90 kmph is zoom-range for a Bajaj CT-100), contrasting sceneries accosted us. While the SExy-Z zones of SIPCOT looked positively futuristic, scenes like the one below were a welcome respite:

After an hour’s drive, we finally reached the outskirts of Kanchipuram. Wishing to know the way to the inskirts.. I mean, interior of Thirumalpur, we asked a guy at a bus stop for the route. After answering us to the point, he added pointlessly: “Remember a huge accident happened two days back in which two buses collided head-on leaving scores dead? Well, Thirumalpur is pretty close to the place”. Big help that was.

Anyways, it was now that the real fun started. We were traveling on the Kanchipuram – Arakkonam road which reminded me of my native town Tirupattur. Lush green fields accompanied us throughout the route, with a railway track running parallel to the road the entire distance. Seemed like a scene out of a movie. Especially since the sun was being so easy on us: it was one of those cool cloudy-but-no-rain days. Both of us rode on wearing Dhanush-like smiles. And when we had to take a detour to reach the destination, things got even better. The village looked straight out of Asterix. The huts were so small. Like small. And add the characteristic coir-rope cots at the entrances. It was like we had stepped a good twenty years back in time. Grazing cattle and sheep only added to the effect. And there was just one house that had a tractor and a first floor - which we concluded must be Sarath Kumar’s (or Vijayakanth’s).

After an invigorating drive through these rustic settings, we finally reached the temple at around 12.45 PM.

And stared at the locked door.

Part 2 here

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Pursuit of Happyness

After months of waiting to catch the movie, I finally did that last night. (It's one of the movies I bought at landmark sometime back, if you remember :) )
To say the least, I was floored. The narration was so smooth and the flow was so engrossing. Sure will be a great source of inspiration for all those who want to make it big.

But what incited me into typing this excuse-for-a-blog-post was just one scene close to the climax: when the bosses at the stock broking firm call Smith for a meeting at the end of his internship. I still get goosebumps when I think of the way Smith emoted in that scene.

Mind-blowing and Super (to borrow from Sangeetha and Sundaram Master of Jodi No 1 fame, respectively)

Want to catch "Life is beautiful" next (also so that I can finally put up one post with a label that makes some sense)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

My new blog

People.. This is to announce the launch of my new blog. Do honour the page with your presence! :)

Monday, November 12, 2007

What d'ya mean!

Had my heartiest ever laugh in recent times now.

A friend was looking at an online catalogue and came across the term "Price on request". In all seriousness, he muttered under his breath: "Price on request.. Hmmm.. They will give the product at whatever price we request it for" and went on with his browsing!!!

:D :D :D

It took me quite sometime to overcome the strain of laughing and explain the terms to him :D

Monday, November 05, 2007

A matter of choices

I have always had problems when faced with too many choices. The more I am offered, the more confused I become. Why else do you think I flunked in CAT 2006? The paper had one choice more than the conventional four! :( And again, it's cos of this detest for choices of any kind that I have not watched the Matrix series more than once (they went on and on about "choices" and "consequences" and other such words starting in "C" - words that you have always considered stupidly simple; how naive of you, ha ha!)

Anyway, having set the background let me tell you what the problem is. Last Sunday I went to Landmark armed with a couple of gift vouchers for Rs 750. The vouchers were set to expire this month-end, so I could not push the trip off any further.

You know what is the greatest experience in life (apart from reading someone else's personal diary)?

It is: stepping into Landmark well aware that it's not your own money that's at stake.

So I floated into the showroom at Apex Plaza smiling like a deranged baboon. And the neat arrays of books seemed oh-so-lovely!

Rubbing my paws.. err.. hands gleefully, I stepped over to my usual haunt: the humour section.

At this point I have to tell you about the complex algorithm I follow when choosing books to buy:
1. Go to the humor section
2. Pick a book and look at title and name of author (to fool others)
3. Nonchalantly turn over to back cover
4. Act as if reading testimonies
5. But look at price tag ('p') on the sly
6. Turn over to last page and see page number ('n')
7. If p > n, smirk and keep book back in place
8. If p < n, whoop in joy and run to billing counter clutching cook to chest (actually "book to chest", but this one looks better.. alliteration.. and some 'c' words we actually know)

My favorite authors are PG Wodehouse and Dave Barry. An uncle of mine owns the entire collection of PGW, so buying that would be wasteful expenditure of hard-earned gift vouchers. And Dave failed the acid test of my algorithm. Miserably. (Dave, if you are reading this, do ask your publishers to release Eastern Economy Editions). And the rest of the humour books did not seem exciting.

With humour not staking a strong enough claim for my 750, I moved around looking for other topics.

Philosophy... eeeeek...

Computer... Grrrr...

Kamas -- oooohhhh -- tra...

Stocks... Waks...

PHOTOGRAPHEEEEEEEE!

This particular section grabbed my eyes tight. How did I not think of this before! Photography is my new-found love (my dreams revolve around the sexy silvery curves of the Sony DSC H3). At once I started leafing through books on digital photography. Found a couple of interesting ones. But somehow couldn't move beyond step 5 of my algorithm. Maybe cos I suddenly realized that there are a whole lot of free resources on the net to learn the technical aspects of photography. I swear.

With that undone, I was again left to fend for myself, burdened with a blasted gift voucher :( I truly lost the smile on my face. The more and more I looked around, the more and more I became confused (any onlooker would have thought I was modelling for 'Ring Guard').

NO I could not just pick any book and be done with it. Like the true Indian that I am, I wanted to milk as much "value" out of my 750 as possible - I wanted it to perform like a 1500.

Whilst I went round and round in circles, coming back to square one every time, my sis completed her purchase. And her patience wore out after sometime (read 1 hour). Then she scared me by pulling out all kinds of movies from the English movie rack, for me. That was a strong wake-up call for me. I did not want to spend my money on stupid movies titled "Dark Africa: In the wild lands" or "Darker Africa: In the wilder lands". If at all I had to buy any stupid movies, I wanted MYSELF to be the one to decide.

So after an cntire cvening of confusion, I FINALLY cettled cown for come Cnglish Covies I cave clways conged to catch.

Cya!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Ah.. Thought so!

(Read my first ever post on this blog that was written after the Cricket World Cup early this year)

Was reading the papers today morning. It was all about the euphoria surrounding our historic Twenty20 victory. Email forwards have started doing their rounds funnily claiming that "India has become a super power in Twenty20 (2020) - Kalam's dream accomplished!". In all probability, these mails would have been forwarded by the same guys who relished sending around the mails which showed our cricketers taking up alternative vocations after the World Cup debacle a few months back.

Looking at all this, I get extremely angry (which is quite something because usually I am as emotional as a computer is). Spineless madness!

And this is not the first time we are reacting like this. Time and again, we have changed colours with the swiftness that would hurt a chameleon's ego.

And we complain about politicians for their volte faces.

Just heard from a friend that the media has not been allowed inside MS Dhoni's house.

Lovely.

Surely would hurt the media. This means they have lost 4 hours of a "Breaking News" story. Would sure be a big pinch for them.

And adding to all this glam-sham is the BCCI's attempts to dwarf the ICL. Millions of dollars and crores of rupees are being offered to the players. Aren't we making too much out of Yuvraj's heroics of six-in-a-row? In those three minutes of his life, he reserved enough money to buy a brand new BMW. Or a flat at Mahindra World City. But was it truly worth all that? In this form of the game, this was but a natural consequence. If at all someone had to be felicitated specially, it should be the bowlers, I would say.

But the BCCI just wants to play to the gallery and be seen as the savior of cricket in India.

Hrrmmphh.

To think of it, India was the only country that opposed the Twenty20 format when it was put to vote by the ICC.

Anyway, one good thing that comes out from all this is: the players would feel good to have doffed their soiled image.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Mercury Rising

(This is a Monday-morning mail that I sent to my friends when I was at Bangalore last year)

Good morninnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng Mummmmmbbbbbai!

How y’all??

I spent the whole of the weekend trying to recuperate from my illness..

It all started on Friday evening.. While returning home I felt too dizzy and decided to consult a doctor..

I said: I decided to consult a doctor..

Doctor..

(Guys, some reaction pls! Cos this is somethin that I wouldn’t have dreamt of doing normally! I hate all doctors in general, save Sumanji from Munna Bhai)

So as it was, that day I did decide to go to a doc and landed up at KR Hospital pretty close to my house..

The doc inspected me as technically as he could (which was: peering into the abyss of my mouth with a small torch that hardly emitted light in the visible spectrum).. And yeah, he also inspected my breathing pattern (by sticking the steth on to my back with an adhesive for quite sometime.. So much so that I almost fished out a book from my bag to read while he counted.. Maybe he was trying to count on his fingers and was successively losing track of the count..)

But soon it was over when he was sufficiently convinced that my breathing wasn’t paranormal..

That was when I started thinking whether I should tell him abt the medicines that I took myself.. (Ya Ya, self-medication is risky.. but then.. what could possibly happen to me? Like anyone else)

My hesitation stemmed from the thought that the doc might throw a fit or something along the lines of “You ppl never realise.. You take all kindsa risks and put yourself in deepest shit.. and then come running to us expecting us to fish you all out.. What d’ya think we are? Some kinda corporation conservancy workers?”

But soon, Bapuji appeared in front of me and said “Beta.. Karam kar.. aur pal ki aasha na kar” with a pleasing smile..

I know that was nowhere related to my predicament but still it made me feel good.. And I decided to tell the doc the truth..

Ya.. I can get so ruthless at times..

“Err.. Doctor I took a couple of tablets two days back”

“Is it? Which ones?”

“Sporidex 250”

“How many?”

“Two.. Once in the morning and once in the night”

The doctor started to laugh.. He didn’t exactly laugh his arse off.. err.. dunno.. the table blocked my view anyway..

But the overall effect was that he was trying to make me feel small.. real small.. like small..

And he succeeded..

I was sitting there whimpering like an idiot wondering what the blasted doc found so funny in the fact that I popped a couple of pills into my mouth two days back..

Then he soon regained sanity and said “that’s the dosage for children.. had u taken a couple of sporidex 500s you wouldn’t have had to come here today”

My jaw hit the floor.. I gathered it back and tried to look as if I wasn’t gaping..

But deep inside I was churning! Man! I took the right pills, but not the right dosage.. DAMN! Needn’t have come here at all! Could’ve saved 30 to 50 bucks na! That’s equivalent to 3 dinners at the Andhra mess! Ai gaa!

But soon I realised that it was much less significant when seen in other towering terms.. as in units of CCD.. I felt marginally better..

Anyway, I thought then that it was all over.. But no.. He proceeded to prescribe some drugs.. some other drugs.. And the prescription looked something like this:

Rx Mr. Vishwanath

Tablet 1 ? 1 – 0 – 1 (6)
3 days

Tablet 2 ? 1 – 0 – 0 (3)
3 days

#$%#^%^$@^ (The doc’s sign)

Very clear right? Not the sign, I mean the tablets and dosages? But the doc went on to explain the same to me in three or four different ways..

On second thoughts, “different ways” indicates the usage of different words na? then I should rather say he explained the same to me three or four times.. Using the same words.. in the same dragging monotone! I was surprised I stayed awake thru the ordeal of having to listen to his yarn!

I vigorously shook my head thus aggravating my headache.. but that seemed to placate that guy and he stopped his explanation..

Then he wrote “100” on the prescription.. I thought probably that was my patient ID or somethin.. Or maybe the doc was keeping track of the number of patients he has dealt with to date.. We do know abt his penchant for keeping count of things na..

Then I asked him abt his fees.. He told me to pay at the reception..

I went out and the receptionist gave me a bill that seemed to suggest “120”..

I started seeing stars! My throat went dry!

ARRREY! That guy just told me what I took myself was right.. And he went on to charge 120 bucks for doing that eh?! Wat is he? A doc or a psychiatrist?! Only psychiatrists have the right to charge fees just for reassuring people!

But I couldn’t fight na?!

So I spat on the notes before handing them over to the receptionist..

Of course without her knowledge..

Then I went to the medical shop and bought the same drugs that I had taken earlier..

But it so happened that I later got a bit wet in the rain when I went to my CAT class and I did not seem to recover at all.. So had to buy the prescribed drugs..

They cost 103 bucks!!!!!

My temperature almost shot up to that level!

In the celcius scale!

I went home and remained funereally silent..

But the good news is that the medicines did work and I almost became totally alright miraculously! ? within a couple of hours!

Phew! Got to go work now.. Else Bapu might reappear and say something totally out of context and still make me feel guilty..

p.s.: I have a wee bit of a suspicion if one of the tablets I was asked to take is being manufactured by Ruffles.. The package is fairly big.. but there’s lots and lots of air inside.. lots.. Actually, air is good for health.. But never realised they’ve started selling that with medicines like this!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Moments

Life is largely stereotypical for most of us. Even for someone who’s doing the most offbeat of jobs (circus ringmasters / journalists / skydivers / politicians) it might get boring and monotonous after sometime. This being the case, how do most of us manage to keep our chin up, flash a smile and maintain a cheerful demeanour for the largest part of our conscious time?

My take on this is that: it is because of small moments of happiness. Moments which you don’t even recognize as significant. But they are there alright, making your day, bit by bit; smile by smile.

As I was driving home yesterday, I began thinking about instances of these moments and was quite surprised at the big list that I drew up in my 15-minute travel! So here I am at my desktop, trying to put together that all-important list:

- Scratching where it itches
- Finding an old friend on Orkut
- “It’s Friday” mails from all and sundry on Fridays
- Getting into the lift and finding that the only other occupant is a good looking girl / guy (depending on whether you are a guy / girl)
- Reaching the counter after a long wait in a serpentine queue
- Driving out from a petrol bunk with our fuel indicator set to “on” from “reserve” after a long time
- Indicating to a fellow motorist that his headlight is on (during daytime)
- The smile the security people give you when you enter office
- The few moments that you spend admiring yourself on the mirror every time (you think) you look good
- Locating a lonely spot on a beach
- Finding a parking slot
- Relieving oneself after a long period of "urgent bathroom"
- Being the first to vroom off at the green signal
- "Your salary has been credited" mails
- "Rush to my table for sweets / chocs / tirupati laddoo" mails
- Getting a nice ringtone from a friend
- An old favo playing on the FM radio
- Coming across Mile Sur Mera Tumhara on Doordarshan
- Humming A R Rahman’s signature tune for Airtel
- Seeing a Mani Rathnam movie lying on the bed on a lazy Sunday afternoon
- Getting a window seat on a bus / upper berth on a train
- Reaching the venue in time for a meeting
- (And finding that no one else has come yet)
- Getting into the lift at the top floor, and zooming down to the ground floor without any stops in between
- People laughing for a joke of yours
- Someone tries to break your code and fails
- You break someone else’s code
- Getting a full house in Thambola
- An early morning walk in a (c)hill station (cap and gloves in place)
- A sixer shot landing outside the ground
- Breaking for tea during a long day at work
- Receiving your first ever visiting cards / name plate
- Looking out of the window for a fleeting moment on a very busy day
- “New mail received” desktop alert when you are sitting bored
- Being shaken up from your sleep at midnight by a group of friends who came over to wish you on your birthday
- Pushing a door marked “Pull” and finding that it works either way
- Pulling a door marked “Push” and finding that it works either way too
- Taking time off work and reading a nice blog
- Wishing the author that he has made your day

Add more to this list in your comments; would sure help us realise how much there is in the world to feel happy about.

So is there anyone out there who still contends that life sucks?

Monday, March 26, 2007

Nokia va Noandu ya!

One good ideal to follow as a 'good' consumer would be to use a gadget / service as extensively as possible. I have seen people using high-end tools for pedestrian applications! And when that happens, it irks me like nothing else can. What else can I do, when a person sincerely opens MS Word to store a phone number!

Let me get to the point directly. This blog is to state some cool "secret" things that can be done with higher end Nokia phones. (N Series / 6681 / 6680 / 6600 etc)

Ok, frankly there is nothing secretive about these features; they are there on the user manual alright. But none of us turn to the user manual EVER, right? As people often say, "If all else fails, read the instructions". So I believe you guys might have some useful take-aways from this one.

Here goes...

1. To select text: YES! You can select text like you can do on the computer.
- Place the cursor at the beginning of the text to be selected
- Press and hold the edit button (it is the button labeled with a small pencil)
- Now move your cursor to the right without releasing the edit button (use the arrow keys for this). As you run the cursor across the text, it will get selected and will be indicated as on a computer
- Once the cursor reaches the end of the text to be selected, release the buttons
Simple!
(Tinker around with it; for e.g., with the edit button pressed, instead of pressing the right arrow several times, press the down arrow once to select an entire line.)

2. To copy text:
- Select text as indicated above
- Now press and hold the edit button
- An option will appear on the screen to copy the text

3. To paste copied text:
- Place the cursor wherever you want to paste the copied text
- Press and hold the edit button
- You will get an option on the screen to paste the text

4. To mark multiple continuous options on a list:
Like, when marking many songs / images on lists. There is a much easier way than to go to options each time!
- Place the cursor on the first item in the list
- Press and hold the edit button
- Press the arrow keys to select multiple items
But the catch here is that this is useful only if the multiple items are continuously positioned on the list.
To unmark all marked items, repeat the same procedure. Now all marked items will be unmarked.

5. To insert multiple symbols in a text message:
- press "*" and bring up the list of symbols
- Move to the first symbol you want to insert
- Press "5" (NOT "select")
- Now the symbol will get inserted in the text, but the list of symbols will not disappear. So virtually you wont be able to see the text; but do not worry. The symbol would be there alright
- Now move to the second symbol you want to insert and press "5" once u reach it
- Repeat the same for all symbols you want to insert, BUT FOR THE LAST SYMBOL ALONE PRESS "SELECT" INSTEAD OF "5"
- Now the list of symbols would disappear and you would find that all symbols you inserted would be available on the text in the same order
(Tip: To navigate in the list of symbols you may use the arrow keys. But keys 2, 4, 6 and 8 also double up as alternate arrow keys. I find it easier to navigate with them, rather than with the arrow keys)

6. To view all open applications:
Ok, this is already quite well known. But repeating for the sake of the uninformed.
- Press and hold the menu key
- Your screen will now show the list of applications that you have still left open (if no application is open, it would say "telephone" alone. That is your phone's desktop)
- You can move between the list by using the arrow keys or the menu key
- Choose the "select" option to open the desired application

7. To close applications open in the background, without entering them:
Closing unnecessary applications is very essential. Applications which remain open in the background will consume your battery power. So it is prudent to often check as per the above instructions if you have any applications unknowingly left open. This will often happen this way: You might have called someone from your contacts book / call register. Then you would have forgotten to exit your contacts / call logs once you finish the call. (Worse still, some of you might not even know that it has to be done!) So without your knowledge, after every call you make from your contacts / logs, your battery power will keep reducing unnecessarily. The way to close those applications without entering them is this:
- Press and hold the menu button
- The list of open applications would now appear
- Navigate to the application you want to close (by using arrow keys or menu key)
- Once u reach the application to be closed, press the delete button (the one marked with "c")
- You will be prompted if you want to close the application
- Choose 'yes'

Well then, folks! That's it on this.

I have tried as much as possible to keep the instructions general so that they can be applied on any Nokia higher-end phone. But do remember that nobody is infallible!

As cheap as it can get!

At a time when the entire media seems to be going hammer and tongs at the Indian cricket team, something that everyone has conveniently forgotten is that the players themselves are human beings with feelings in their hearts. Am sure none of the players performed badly out of their own choice. It so happened that things did not go well for them a few times. And that signaled the end of our world cup campaign (in fact this is a wake-up call for the ICC to review its tournament structure; 3 matches is too short a time to decide the “super 8s”. If two of the stronger teams in the world are rather prematurely out of the biggest tourney in cricket, then it simply means the process in wrong! Anyway, that’s a topic worthy of another debate)

My heart goes out to Dravid who very rightly said “No one feels as bad as the players themselves”. How very true! Let's think of our younger years... Whenever we fared badly in an exam, did we not go home in pristine gloom? How would we have felt if someone else had humiliated us (in public) for those failures?

Just imagine! They are people who were till very recently celebrated so much in the country! Now the public stoops down to the oh-so-cheap levels of “stoning” their houses! What kind of emotional instability is this! Just think, will everyone accept it if I go and stone my barber’s house because he did not cut my hair the way I wanted it? Eventually it boils down to that right? We are angry at the team for not performing well na? It's the same thing.

My blood boils at the thought of a photo that I saw today morning in a newspaper. A group of people in Patna had put up posters of Indian players on a wall. There was a big label above the posters which said "Greg Chappell and his army of eunuchs". And the posters showed images of our players modified to look like eunuchs. And the "angry crowd" was hitting the posters with slippers and shoes. It looked so very gross!! How silly, stupid, cheap and ugly can people get!

And what can I say about a newspaper which puts this picture on its front page?!

Sigh.

Or maybe *SIGH*.

Let's get this clear: we ALL are upset about the early exit of the Indian team from the world cup. Am not saying the team performed well. They did falter. But are we not reacting too much? All we can do now is to offer support and solace to the players who themselves will be returning with their heads bowed.

I can very well predict what will happen a couple of months from now; our cricket team will perform some really great deed and the ever-mercurial media (now bolstered with support from instantaneous journos on blogs) will start crying hosannas in praise of the team.

It has happened so many times before and it WILL happen in the future too.

Man, being a celeb is such a thankless job!

In conclusion I just want to remind all of us that nothing stays the same way forever. Things are bound to get better with time. But in the short span of time when something irks us, please let us not lose our senses and do something that we'll regret later. Let us help our players lick their wounds and get back to the field as soon as possible.

After all, success is not about not falling down; it's about how high you bounce back after falling down.