Wednesday 21 December 2005

Coping with data loss

Only two words: you can't.

This is, of course, assuming you were full of bravado and kept putting off taking regular backups. If you don't belong to this category, and nonchalantly whip out your backup media and restore everything with the click of a mouse, please curl up in a corner and die somewhere. You're not helping the non-backup-taking people at all. And yep, this goes without saying, but I'll say it anyways - wipe that smug look off your face.

One word of advice to non-backup-taking people - never play around with partitions on your HD 'just because you feel like it'. The consequences may not be very pretty.

If you should choose to disregard aforementioned advice, DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES USE THE WINDOWS DISK MANAGER WHILE ON WINDOWS XP!!

It is NOT meant to be a tool to fiddle around with partitions with data still on them. Use a real partition manager, like Symantec [erstwhile PowerQuest] PartitionMagic or Acronis Disk Director Suite. Of course, these cost money, but you can never put a price on data. [Okay, maybe you can, but I digress...] You could also use the Ranish doodad or Terabyte's BootItNG, or what the hey, even FIPS.

I used Windows Disk Manager exactly once. All I did was delete an ext2 partition (which incidentally STILL shows up as "Unknown Filesystem" - and WinXP came out MUCH MUCH later than, say, Slackware 8.0. I wonder when Microsoft will grow up and accept that competition exists and it's good to get along...) and quit the tool. The next thing I notice - My Computer no longer displays my MP3, Movie and My Documents partitions. That's 55 GB of data gone. Just like that.

After experiencing that sinking feeling for about 15 minutes and just sitting there on the verge of tears, I decide to try out an Acronis demo, and sure enough, it tells me my partition table's gone pear-shaped, and even helpfully restores it, and the partitions, along with all the data. Only, itturns out to be not-so-helpful later, when it politely informs me that the demo does only that - demo the capabilities of the full product.

That was the closest I came to blowing US Dollars 50 on software.

Googling (googlying?) around in a rather defeatist manner leads me to TestDisk, which I will continue to revere for as long as I live. In spite of its clunky fdisk-like interface, it not only set right my partition table and let me embrace my not-too-long-lost-but-all-too-precious data, it also did it in a way that PartitionMagic does NOT get anal about!

I did cry this time - tears of joy.

Never has any software made me feel so happy. When I can afford to make random donations for the sake of free software, I will do so first and foremost to the makers of TestDisk. And then to Ubuntu, but that's a different blog post altogether...

Shock #2

Finding out that a colleague of yours in an I.T company - with at least 5 years experience in the I.T industry - actually thinks the Olympics started sometime in the early 1980s, and that all the continents weren't discovered until late into the 20th century.

Some might say this is pardonable. Okay, I grant that. But when the same person refers to Googly, that's not too funny...

Codemonkeys takes on an entirely new meaning :-/

Shock #1

Finding out that a classmate of yours - while doing Information Technology in college - believes processors can be exchanged on CDs, needs a half-hour walkthrough on cut/copy-paste and has no clue what WinAmp is.

Actually, once you get over the initial shock, it's kinda funny...

Radio Ga-Ga

I think I already gave this title to a post some time back, but what the hey...

One of the downsides to having such easy access to the T.V and live broadcasts of sporting events, is not that radio commentary has been killed, but that it is being subjected to the verbal equivalent of medieval torture tools.

And by medieval torture tools, I mean the radio commentators. The Hindi commentators are the most insipid of all. While they spare us the lame attempts at trying to sound exciting, they also ensure that they leave no leaf unturned in going to the exact opposite extreme.

Sample this - commentary when Irfan Pathan was out bolwed by Murali yesterday:
Murali comes in to Pathan, bowls an offbreak. It bounces more than normal, and Pathan turns it round the corner for a single.
Pathan is out bowled by Murali between ihs legs off the bat. Good ball by Murali.
and that's that. Says something happens, then says something else happened, all in the same breath, same monotone. If I weren't paying attention to the words, I definitely would not have known that a wicket just fell.

But there are times when you wish you just had some doodad with which ti record radio stuff instantly..English commentary by Milind Wagle today morning, when Sri Lanka starts off their innings needing a target of 509:
Sri Lanka faces a very difficult challenge indeed. As tall as a T.V tower. Even as tall as the Eiffel Tower. Almost a Mount Everest to scale. In fact, take anything that's really tall, and this task is as tall as that.
I kid you not, this is exactly what he said. Decent commentator he is, but gets his feet all tangled up in the jumprope sometimes...

Wednesday 7 December 2005


I never realized just how used I am to the Gmail interface. It smacked me like a Mack truck between the eyes when I see today they'd changed "Move To Trash" to "Delete".

Why oh why?!

Oh, and it also sucks that Microsoft Word doesn't accept :wq as a valid method of saving a document and exiting the editor. Sharp ones may point out that MS Word is not an editor, but a word processor. To these I say - go jump in a well.

Tuesday 6 December 2005

Oh dear God

I always figured I was a little strange.

Just how strange, I came to know earlier today, when I took the Nerd Quiz. Frankly, the results are rather depressing - I thought I'd be somewhere in the 70s range :-(((

I am nerdier than 99% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

This basically says that I am nerdier than 99% of all people. Which is just NOT true. People who know me, shaddup :p

Friday 2 December 2005

You scam me, I damn you

By some freakish coincidence, I stumble onto 3 (THREE!) very, very similar stories yesternight. All involving some generally idiotic behaviour by a 'seller' over some relatively trivial thing, which results in not-so-pretty things happening to them.

In short, selling party tries to pull one over buying party, and realizes - the hard way - that they've screwed with the wrong people. Not quite "Not A Penny More, Not A Penny Less", but actually much worse. In that amazing book (and not-so-amazing movie) the victims just scheme to get theyir money back. In these following cases, the scamsters lost a BLOODY GREAT DEAL more than they would have gained through their shady activities..

Precautionary note: When relating these stories to a colleague, he found them intensely boring. It's probably me. But they really do make for compelling reading. The scam itself is not too innovative, but the retaliation that follows is simply awesome.

This one has the most violent response ever. It actually gets physical here. And interestingly, this case has a Wikipedia entry too. The 'scamster' does end up apologizing, but not out of any feeling of guilt, more out of fear for his life.

Lesson learnt: NEVER mess with road rashers. Even online. Especially if you're a snotty brat.

Orbitz, an Internet travel company (damned if they're getting any PageRank through my blog!) based in Chicago, decided to sell Maddox an 'impossible itinerary', accepted their error, and refused to refund him. This guy's really popular, and puts up his experience on his site. Immediate result: MASSIVE losses to Orbitz. Then Orbitz actually tries to justify their stance by attempting to discredit Maddox's claims, only to end up going "Ow, ow, ow...ooohhh bullet in foot hurts ooohhh". And losing still more customers.

Lesson learnt: None. Orbitz still hasn't issued an apology. Unless you count some random fake email Maddox received. But on some level, they're now more wary of who they decide to screw over.

(This, I found through Slashdot) This is very similar to the regular online shopping scam deals. Guy orders dirt cheap camera, only to be taken for a ride he's not likely to forget. PriceRitePhoto, the retailer in question (once again, no PageRank from here, dude) is gradually being de-listed from various shopping sites, and the icing on the cake would be that it's also been reported to the New York State Attorney-General's office. Read the comments on the Slashdot post for more horror stories.

Lesson learnt: Listen to good ol' Abe when he says, "You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time."

Thursday 1 December 2005

Fun with avatars

Yahoo! Avatars is definitely something to be checked out, if only for its initial "oooh-there's-an-interesting-widget" value.

I did notice one really, really interesting thing. I'm not sure if Y! did this intentionally or not. When customizing your avatar, you get to pick a hairstyle. Y! Avatars offers you FOUR pages of hairstyles alone, so I decided to go through them all. And what do I see? The fourth (and last) page has only one hairstyle.

Yup, you guessed it - 'No hair'. Egghead!

Sunday 27 November 2005

Scratch the surface

I just discovered George Ouzounian/Maddox's page today (Hat tip: Jayakanthan) Figured if anybody got moms against him, he must be a pretty decent chap. Of course, the fact that he hates Websense endears him to me :-D

Excellent thoughts on racism, and its true definition.

Why whine about 'losing out on jobs', Yankee doodles? Your country is the pioneer of capitalism, and free market economy, and all that. Suck it up.


You Are Chinese Food

Exotic yet ordinary.
People think they've had enough of you, but they're back for more in an hour.

Saturday 26 November 2005

Oh goodie

Slashdot finally has a news item posted that, for a change, does NOT bash India/Indians. This particular comment appeared to me to be quite uncalled for, though.
Is there some value that I'm missing in this? Why does any care that some rich guy made a balloon to take him up 60K ft? Is there some practical application that he is trying to improve this technology for? Or, is he just trying to pump his own ego?

Why does this get reported everywhere / anywhere?

Friday 25 November 2005

Of controversies and verbal diarrhoea

Just got back in touch with the civilized news-channel watching world tonight. I managed to catch NDTV Turning Point, where I find out India's lost by ten wickets. I've never seen Navjot Singh Sidhu spew so much vitriol before. Blustery yes, but never ever have I seen him so angry.

I really wish I'd seen the match. I want to know if Rahul Dravid and Greg Chappell were indeed booed off the field. If they were, then I suppose one might be forgiven for concluding that the Eden Gardens curator was "out to get them".

The Eden Gardens crowd hasn't shown itself in the best light over the last ten years :/

As an aside: I'd have like to seen Greg Chappell giving the finger to the crowd.

As another aside: I feel sorry for the anchor chap on Turning Point who has to put up with Sherry's bluster. Wouldn't want to be him...

Thursday 24 November 2005


Amit points out a blog post, written by a female, no less, that gives hope to all us non-slim people of the world! *bows to Amit in eternal gratitude*

I would've commented on that post itself, but can't email from office :-/

Once again, hurray!

Tuesday 22 November 2005

This is a test post

to see if anally-retentive policies against blogs just depend upon the name of the site, or the service itself.

Oh, and it feels like AMI all over again, what with higher-ups fearing your deserting the company..

Monday 21 November 2005

Good call, Gaurav, but...

Gaurav Sabnis wrote a while back about DD cleaning up its act. Well almost.

While deciding to accept that overs in cricket consist of 6 legitimate deliveries is a step in the right direction, I still have a bone to pick with DD about they way they instantly cut to the ads after the last ball of an over has been bowled, in the process unceremoniously cutting off the commentator mid-sentence. [Whether Ranjith "never-disagree-with-fellow-commentator" Fernando or Ravi "left-the-bat-like-a-tracer-bullet" Shastri actually have anything of value to say is immaterial..]

However, what REALLY gets my goat is "Fourth Umpire". When I reached that point in Gaurav's post where he talks about that generally pointless exercise [haven't seen Anjum Chopra in action yet, but (sadly enough) my namesake Srikkanth and Wassan do say the same things over and over again], and noticed that he was picking on the opening sequence, I read on with bated breath to see if he would pick up the GLARING error in it. He did not :-(

A game of cricket already has 4 [FOUR] umpires. Charu "I-wish-I-had-Mandira-back" Sharma is not the 4th. The 4th umpire is the poor guy who trots out some time shortly after the 37th holding a box of balls [cricketing ones] in his hand and stands timidly to one side while the on-field umpires and batsmen and captain of the fielding team pull out their hair [from their heads] over which ball [again, cricket] to use as a suitable replacement for the one that's gone all green [not blue]. If only he'd added this little bit, Gaurav "insert-random-behavioural-statement-here" Sabnis' post would have been complete.

Incidentally, I was also going to comment on the umpire being Billy, and not Brent Bowden, but common sense prevailed and I Googled a bit to see that he is indeed Brent "Billy" [Fraser] Bowden. So much for deliberate nitpicking :-/

Sunday 23 October 2005


On the other hand, BW India does some probing of its own. No matter if its already been done by all the bloggers already, it's still a step in the right direction. They manage to question PTM about all the advertising liberties, the replies to which sound rather sheepish...I wonder how long he was expecting to continue that way without being found out eventually.

Another interesting tidbit in that article - not is is A. Saxena the "President, Legal and Compliance Cell", he's also "Head of Corporate Communications". I tell you, that man is multi-faceted.

In related news, the animated .GIF in this post is simply tooo funny. Kinda makes me think of Bill Gates if he ever read Slashdot....

More MSM crap

Outlook puts out articles where it is, more often than not, sorry for the ensuing French, talking through it's ass.

Their coverage of the IIPM brouhaha is no exception.

I actually stooped to registering on the site so that I could provide them with the following 'feedback':

First Mr. Vivek labels Indian bloggers as a "bitchy, self-indulgent, incestous network" and then accuses THEM of name-calling and taking potshots at others?

And still the mainstream media continues to ignore the real issue. Has it ever occurred to you that maybe, just MAYBE, the bloggers aren't doing this imply to drive traffic to their blogs? That there might be something to these 'allegations'? And that maybe the so-called 'real journalists' should be doing the work here?

Saturday 22 October 2005

An enumeration of the general idiocy

What next? Taking out supari on the bloggers in the forefront of this issue?

Sheesh. Grow up.

An enumeration of the fraud

Office blues

It's 1600 hrs on a Saturday. And I'm sitting in office. Not that I had any great plans for the weekend, but it's always nice to have an entire day to yourself after a week of weird work timings. The worst thing about me sitting in office today is that I'm not actually doing any work. [I can feel wisecracks coming on about when I do any work. Stop it.] I just have to w...a..i..t. So what do I do? Go restricted surfing, of course!

Some interesting things have turned up..Press Talk led me to this link about fake Indian universities i.e ones that have been blacklisted by the UGC All the indignation aside, that list has some really funny names, which in itself should alert any person with any reasonable amount of intelligence about their dubious nature.
  • Commercial University Ltd., Daryaganj, Delhi

I mean, come ON people! They're practically flaunting their intentions!

  • National University of Electro Complex Homeopathy, Kanpur

Right. As opposed to other instis only indulging in the pedagogy of Magneto Simple Homeopathy?

  • United Nations University, Delhi

Like I said - come ON people! I really cannot believe anybody would fall for that one. But then again, if all of Ekta Kapoor's teleserials rack up the TRPs, despite being exactly the same, anything's possible in our country...

  • Vocational University, Delhi

Fakest name. Ever. Even faker than the word 'fakest'.

  • Raja Arabic University, Nagpur

Nothing unusual about that one. Just included to show off the secular nature of my blog..

  • Handwriting University India, No 16 Church Road, Basavaugudi,Bangalor-4

Wow, an entire university for penmanship alone? That sounds like a univ I could use...

  • Indian Institute of Planning and Management

Oh wait, that's not on the list. Silly me, I wonder how I could've made that mistake..

There's also a reference to the 'Mal Practices Alert regarding American University of Hawaii'. Sounds neat :)

Come to think of it, when I said 'any person with any reasonable amount of intelligence', I probably wasn't thinking. These kinds of shady places don't really target those kind of people. They're more likely after the gullible types who want a degree appended to their names at any cost. Kautiliya has written at length about 'trapping suckers'.

Coming back to my opening paragraph, one of the few good things about slaving one's [admittedly large] posterior off in software development is that you get to see that even Vinod or Goach can't get out of this one!

Saturday 15 October 2005

IIPM quickie

Even though the article is fairly dated, this is apparently the only way IIPM grads are getting jobs...heh

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

This is supposedly a leaked IIPM press statement. Please read the title of this post again for my reaction to it.

Therefore, in the general interest of our existing students, as a policy decision we have decided that we will take legal action against any form of media trying to spread baseless lies and rumours about us with malicious intent.

This really means they're going to sue themselves. I mean, who's been spreading baseless lies and rumours about them more than themselves?

Oh yes, and speaking of blatant lies - Swati's done some interesting work. Makes you wonder - are the Tehelka-style shenanigans the only methods of investigative methods known to the MSM? And are they only interested in politics and sex?

And now that IIPM's declared war openly on Gaurav Sabnis, now that they're stooping to leaving insulting comments openly on blogs, now...what? All I can say is - now that I'm in a position to take active part in such goings-on, I will stand by the blogosphere's right to freedom of speech all the way.

That major newspapers STILL don't have any proper coverage of this story is an outrage. I'm hoping at least The Hindu lives up to its principles and does something, anything about it.

[As an aside, I bought an LG 17" monitor recently, Man does it rock!]

Thursday 13 October 2005

Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

No, it's my 3-day week-end flying up, up and away into the yonder! Ah the trials and tribulations of one in the I.T industry...

Anyways, since I'm at my office now, this is just a quick post to prod my blog into believing I'm not dead, and also to state that I'm not unaware of the IIPM vs. bloggers fracas. I also find it mildly surprising that IIPM hasn't come out openly on the issue. I would've thought that anybody being 'defamed' would issue stringent denials of all charges first, *THEN* take to legal recourse.

All this only re-inforces my belief that anybody who advertises that much should be given a bullet or two. Not because they might be misleading/lying thru their ass/being 'obscene', but because they're hogging the space where interesting news would otherwise have appeared.

And yes, I totally support JAM (which rocks, by the way), Rashmi, Gaurav, and Varna. I would put a few reactions on the apathy of the MSM (which stands for Mainstream Media, as I recently found out - we can thank IIPM for that..heh), but I don't have cable :-( so my only access to the MSM is The Hindu (which also rocks, by the way, so much more than that tired, washed-out, downright vile excuse for a newsrag)

More power to bloggers!

Saturday 8 October 2005

A sad day for my blog

I have had to turn on the Word verification thing, even though very few comments I get. Comment spam sux. All spammers should suffer the same fate as this Russkie here.

Sunday 11 September 2005

Excuse me?

Recently, (well, about as recent as you can get w.r.t my blog :-) ), Pothy's unveiled their "World's longest silk saree", which "depicts India's history". And I was like, wtf?? Okay, fine, I appreciate the effort put into it, and all the intricacies and other assorted whatnots associated with weaving a humongous silk saree. But really, when RmKV did it, it was innovative. Just about a year later, if someone else does it, really sorry, it's got "COPYCAT" stamped all over it.

Okay, that was issue #1. Issue #2 would be Pothy's bragging about the way it is a "tribute to Mother India". Hello? When I saw it on the news, it looked like a really really long wall hanging, not a silk saree..Once again, not dissing the effort that's gone into it, just thinking that it's all a bit pointless...And really the Guinness Committee should have some more stringent requirements of what constitutes a saree. Otherwise, I'm just going out and buying TRUCKLOADS of dhotis/veshtis and stitching them all together and call it the world's longest cotton saree.


Oh, and RmKV announced a 50,000 colour saree. Assuming this kind of madness will never end, this is kinda funky :-D

And no, I'm not just saying this 'cause my cousin sister's former classmate was the grand-daughter of Rm. K. really...

Monday 5 September 2005

I'm all kinds of things

Well, I tried the Food-Eating Battlemonkey meme, but the results are too embarassing to post...I was beaten on every count by Putu :-( The only thing going for me here was that Putu is a phenomenon, so losing to him is no disgrace

Buuut....but but but but but...kintu-parantu-lekin-but..The other two are pretty okay :-)


is a Giant Mecha-Robot that spits Ice, breathes Fire, emits Clouds of Inky Smoke, can turn Invisible, and CANNOT BE STOPPED.

Strength: 12 Agility: 7 Intelligence: 13

To see if your Giant Battle Monster can
defeat shr1k, enter your name and choose an attack:

fights shr1k using


is a Robot that is fitted with a Giant Axe and an Oil-Slick Nozzle, has Four Metal Wheels, runs on Petrol, is Semi-Organic, and can divide into Several Smaller Robots.

Force: 5 Handling: 8 Weaponry: 2

To see if your Battle Robot can
defeat shrikant, enter your name and choose an attack:

fights shrikant using

So what are you waiting for??

Trying to post from office..

And not the Microsoft types! Or the Open types! Posting from my desk at Verizon [DS] India [PL]!

All this possible through fundoo software thingy called Citrix. Restrictive, but it gets the job done..

Friday 2 September 2005

Oooooo aaaaaaa eeeeeeeeeeee memememememe

In case you didn't get it, that's how an opera sounds to me. And no, even if some hot babe took me to Troilus And Cressida, and tearfully explained it to me, it would still sound the same..

Anyways, point being that I finally got around to downloading Opera. The browser, i.e. Wasn't using it till now because of multiple reasons..

-> Firefox + extensions totally ROCKS.
-> It's not free, and comes with ads. Yes I know I could use a keygen or crack or whatever, but it's a brilliant product by brilliant people. Don't want to needlessly rob them of their due :)
-> I'm just soooo spoilt rotten by Adblock on Firefox...

Now that I'm using, I wouldn't say it rocks just yet, but it's amazingly fast. Quite possibly the fastest browser I've ever used, in terms of startup and page rendering. Cool interface, totally browser-migration-hassle-free.

Pages render a little funny, but I gotta say this blog looks positively STUNNING on Opera..Dunno why...

Wednesday 31 August 2005

Chennai train insanity

One bashful couple quietly blushing at each other. One not-so-bashful couple quietly groping each other. All this in different corners of the same carriage in a Chennai local train.

The things you see when you're just sitting and minding your own business!

Somewhere between the couples is a sloshed guy, barely able to stand. Needs to hold on with both hands. The obvious bulge of a big bottle in his shirt. Who or what is he hiding is from? It's ducking obvious.

The things you see when you're just sitting and minding your own business!

Oh blah

The Google NavBar is very very warsht. They really should delink it from the page's CSS.


After days of searching for a template, and more days of tweaking it, and even more days of wondering why Blogger was breaking it, and still more days of revising it, and a few hours of wondering of tinkering with settings to make it display at least okay in most browsers, I bring you the new and (hopefully) improved !

Friday 29 July 2005

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways - naan, pizza, idli, paneer...

Almost exactly two hours back, I was having an SMS conversation with a colleague (I can say that now! Woohoo!) called Sushmitaa (Yes 2 As, and don't ask questions you already know the answer to..) and talk veered, as is inevitably does when you're talking to me, to food.

It then struck me that I should really put up a blog post here explaining what I feel about food. Yes, that's right, you read right what I wrote. (hehehe, I'm attempting A.C-style stuff here). I have feelings about food. As in, I love it.

No no, I don't just love eating food - I actually love food. When I'm having a meal, which is really often, like 5 times a day, and I encounter some thingy that I don't particularly like, I eat it anyway. Why?

Well, my theory is that food also has feelings. The scientists of the world are all morons with twisted priorities. My salutations to all the IIT people who end up doing Food Technology. I'd happily trade degrees with you!

Anyways, coming back to my point, I basically theorized that food has feelings. Therefore, it must feel bad when we reject it after putting it on our plates. You don't raise hopes like that, and then recklessly dash them to the ground. NO, that's just not done, okay? So I do my bit towards the emancipation of not-so-good food that's already been selected, and eat everything on my plate. Hell, I practically wash my plate. Waste not, want not :)

I'm actually going to draw an analogy from my own life. Only *I* [no, actually, a few others too] know how it felt when a company tells you, "hey pal, come on board, enjoy yourself" and then just when you're about to set foot on the drawbridge, they yank it up and go "Neener neener". I just don't want anybody else, human or otherwise, going through that in their lifetimes in whatever form. [Actually, there's another analogy from my own life, but I'll be damned if I'm going to bring *that* one up :-p]

So you see people, I love food. Sometimes people love people, I love food. And what makes this better is that even food that you've been having for a long time never loses its zing. Food doesn't make fun of your paunch. Food doesn't pester you to go on a diet. Food doesn't stand you up. Food doesn't put nakhra. You don't have to wonder what a particular foodstuff tastes like, or what aftertaste it leaves, you can delve right into action and sample it. And pass judgement without feeling guilty. Food doesn't BSOD on you. Food doesn't segfault. Food doesn't crash. Needs no drivers. Very few, if any, dependency issues. Food doesn't deride you for being a klutz with it. You can be with food for a really long time, say nothing, and still turn out totally satisfied. Food can't break up with you, it can't ditch you, dump you, break your heart, screw with your head. Food can't pee on your legs. Food doesn't leave hair on the sofa. Food doesn't leave the toilet seat up, neither does it forget to flush.

And most importantly, food doesn't eat up your time by writing long, meandering blog posts about human beings.

Update: I forgot to mention that I'm writing a book about my love for food! Hurry up and book your copy today!

Sunday, bloody sunday

December 6th, 1992 was a Sunday.

Why this topic, now? I was browsing around and found this. Echoes my sentiments exactly.

Even today, when I think of the sight of the kar sevaks dancing and celebrating at the site at that moment, I feel sick to the stomach. No really. Physically nauseated.

Although I was only 9 or so then, I can distinctly remember the time. It came on the news. Oman T.V. No satellite channels then in Muscat, except for the filthily rich. The significance was so starkly visible that my folks promptly popped in a V.H.S tape into the cassette recorder and preserved those images on magnetic media.

A few days later, I couldn't take it any more. I didn't get the 'religious' hoo-haa around it, but it still sickened me that people could get so happy by destroying something. We children were taught to only bring up, not topple.

A few more days later, the inevitable. Backlash. In Bombay. Following the news of which my mom quietly and quickly recorded M*A*S*H over it.

Even now, I like to believe it was more out of loathing to keep in our home such a reprehensible chapter of India.

And just as Anand puts it, that was the first time - keep in mind I was living in Muscat, Oman since 1989 - I was aware that I'm Hindu, and my friends are Muslims. But I suppose it wasn't as bad as it would have been in India at that point. There wasn't any real tension in the air, just some sort of a *are* you different? More importantly, *why* should you be considered different? Looking back, we were pretty smart children, eh? Never let faith, or its lack thereof, interfere with our cricket in vacant lots...

Meeting Leon head-on, hopefully ;)

Before I start off, I'd like to make references to this, this and this. And this too. Now, one at a time :)

"Yes, CBSE is great(I studied in CBSE too) but it still offers far fewer choices to students than American school education does and opens up far fewer opportunities."

Choices? You don't need choices till the 10th. Learn the fundamentals of everything possible. At that point, you decide what you want to pursue, and you take up that branch going into 11th. Before you're even 16, if you're given the 'choice' to choose subjects in school, it's almost a guarantee that one will pick krapo stuff because it's easy, scoring, whatever. Hell, that already happens in the State levels with students taking up French and Sanskrit, not to learn the language, but to score more. Choice is good, but only when you're equipped to make it properly.

"What would you say about your undergrad education? best?"

Why not? As Indians who take advantage of our system to 0wn Maths and inflate our SAT/GRE scores, we look at American institutes almost exclusively from the point of return on investment. So we tend to overlook the so many community colleges all over that country, which might offer just as good an educational experience as the biggies, their only fault being that they're *not* a biggie. For all its affiliation horrors, I must say I had a most wonderful undergrad experience, and if I had to do it all over again, all I'd change is that I'd probably study harder ;)

"Admittedly the IIMs are great institutions but I would think Harvard, Stanford, Wharton and Sloan are not far behind..."

Accessibility is the key. It is the endeavour of all IIMs that no student be denied opportunity to pursue the Post-Graduate Programme in Management for want of adequate financial resources. While you might find some way later to make money, USA schools ask you for proof of financial solidity. Just how easy would it be for the IIMs to say, "Hey, you're going to be raking in the moolah by the truckloads after you graduate anyways, so suck it up and scratch along." You got a tuition waiver, I know, but gazillions don't :-p Asking you to furnish financial details is really way out man. If you can't, then what? You're stymied at the first hurdle. And I'm going to pre-empt all arguments about 'consultancies'. They charge a fairly hefty fee for their services. So looking at ROI again here, the IIMs come out trumps.

the Indian education system at almost all levels, is designed to make well oiled human machines that perform reliably over a long period of time. It is not designed to produce thinkers and innovators."

Was designed, not is! And what's wrong with reliability over long periods of time? Better that than burnt-out at 30. One more point here - the education system doesn't stifle anything, it's our society, which too often likes to fall back on our "culture" for anything and everything...Scene from 'Swades', anyone?

"...And that is ALL the reason you need to not choose to live in the US." -- :-)

"...You say you've lived abroad for 7 years. Why not study in the US for 2 years and then go back to that "American telco" back home?"

Eh? The point being? What's my studying abroad for 7 years got to do with anything? I studied C.B.S.E International Syllabus. I don't understand the connection between those sentences of yours...

"I'm sure your job back home would ensure you visit a lot of exotic locations. And it would take only 10 years!!!"

Eh? The point being? Once again, I don't get the connection between those sentences...are you implying that the money would be inadequate? Yeah it probably would, if I looked to fly executive-class on premium airlines, and live only the Savoys, the Carltons and the Sheratons. Dude, that's not travel, that's the high life. I like to TRAVEL, not be ferried around...

I want to wind up with one more disclaimer. I'm no great fan of the Indian education system myself, but all I'm saying is that the American system probably is equally bad, if not worse. At least here the government tries to care for education. Capitalism creeping into education is just as bad communism into business ;)

Monday 25 July 2005

Why not U.S?

Leon waxing profundity never fails to inspire a blog post ;)

But it did get me thinking. About turning down an opportunity to study in the US of A. Why did I do it? Never wanted to study abroad. With all its pitfalls, the Indian education system is still one of the best in the world. Okay, I'm probably generalizing here, so I'll be more specific.

Till the 12th standard (grade, for you Yanks), if you study the C.B.S.E syllabus, you're guaranteed to have fun learning. I did it till the 10th, and loved every moment of it. And I still regret not continuing in it till 12th, but that's another post.

College is where it gets iffy. Undergrad is probably best in India, what with all its heavy subsidies and all, and ultra cool 'insti's. A technical grad school is probably best abroad, because of the better returns for that extra effort. [M.Tech from IIT earning only about Rs.60k per annum more than me is slightly sad...], but for B-schools, India would be it. So why'd I choose to stay here? Mostly because - I love India. It may sound corny, but I really do. For all its shortcomings and rough edges and poverty and grubbiness, it's still amazing. Best place in the world to live in. Why? Because it's home. Essentially the same reason I prefer Bombay over Chennai. Home. Beat that, U.S.A.

It's not really patriotism. Hell, I work for an American telco. I've stayed abroad for 7-something years, and realised that home rox. What you can do here, you can't do anywhere else. Simple analogy: when you visit someone's house, do you be yourself, or be the guest?

Apart from all that, there's some X factor, really. Why do I want to stay here? it's home. Why DON'T I want to study there? Dunno. And till now, that's the best reason I could come up with. Dunno, I just don't...beat that, U.S.A :)

Disclaimer: I love travelling, and wouldn't mind visiting any place on Earth. But to live? India it is, with distinct leanings towards Bombay ;)

Hindi Chennai Bhai Bhai

After [very belatedly] following up a discussion flamefest initiated here, riposted here and again here, with another related post here, I decided to put up my own two cents. Now people who know me may dispute this, accusing me of being stingier than Scrooge McWasp, but we will ignore them.

I feel qualified to talk about this, because, one, it's my blog :-p and two, I've lived in both Bombay and Chennai for fairly long periods (10 and 4 years).

Both of them are pretty amazing places to be in, to live in. But, Bombayite at heart that I am, Bombay still rox.

Why? It's fast. Imagine yourself hovering in the air above V.T, and above Chennai Central. Okay make that Mambalam station, which hugs Ranganathan Street [R.S] . At rush hour, the size of the crowds at R.S and V.T are similar, but the R.S crowd is almost glacial in comparison to V.T.

Other points of comparison are fairly moot. Booze doesn't matter to a teetotaller, and squalor is a fundamental right of all Indian cities, as are grubby commuters/vendors. The Hindi squabble is best left alone - personally, I think all Indians should compulsorily learn Hindi up to 10th. The "deal with it" attitude isn't going to win any friends...And to be fair to Karnataka and A.P, whenver I've been there, the amount of Hindi spoken by the populace has always impressed me. OTOH, the amount of Hindi here [in Chennai] is bordering on the microscopic.

Travel then. The public transport system in Bombay is any day better than Chennai, where you're pretty much stranded on a remote island if caught out past 10 p.m without private transport. And yeah, the auto drivers here completely empty your pockets. *EVEN* if you're a local. Rs.30 here for a Rs.15 distance in Bombay. And it's actually a poor reflection on the State Government that it doesn't step in to do something...[where something == enforce the meter system] The buses here though, what can I say? Chennai buses rock! Literally and metaphorically. The green, monstrous khataras do compare with cycles without rubber tires, but you also have the 'luxury' buses that charge double, and do actually offer a pretty fast, smooth ride. And the bus network is amazingly widespread, with service to even some hidden corners.

All in all, I think the general public in Bombay are infinitely better than the weirdos in Chennai, who really tend to spoil the public transport experience here. [rant alert] I mean, live with it, if it's crowded for you, it's crowded for everyone else. Don't grumble, or blow your top 'cause someone elbowed you. For all of Bombay's famed peak-hour train mobs, it's quite easy to get in, stay there, and get out in a totally composed manner... [/rant alert]

Real estate costs in Chennai are way lower than Bombay, which explains why people get the illusion that everything's easily accessible here. In Bombay, only the very early movers and now the upper middle class and above get to live in the heart of the city, and its innards. In Chennai, I can fairly easily get a house in Mylapore, or Ashok Nagar, or some such other 'city' place. Both my Bombay and Chennai houses are outside city limits, so I have a fair idea of what I'm talking about. Commute times are pretty much the same. About 75 minutes from Chromepet to Tidel Park. About 75 minutes from Thane to Churchgate. End to end, average times.

I'm pretty much on the fence on this issue, with a very distinct tilt towards Bombay [the pace, man, you have to experience it to believe it, it gives you purpose in life], I'd say that whether you're an ardent Bombayite or a fanatic Chennai-ite, as long as you keep an open mind when going from one city to the other, I promise you, you'll absolutely LOVE the experience!

Friday 1 July 2005

Acta est fabula, plaudite!

The most significant ever year of my life has ended. And an equally, if not more, significant year has begun. And well too. Spoke to all the people in the world that I absolutely love, and couldn't do without. All of you, my pillars of strength - you define my world, my life.

Sunday 26 June 2005

Not quite Borg, but still...

Okay people, I have (actually, had) made it five in a row. By this, I mean that I've given 5 'company aptitude tests' (or whatever else krap name you want to give it), and gotten through to the interview on all 5 occasions. While this is not exactly any sort of reason to break out the bubbly, it gives me something to post about :)

1) American Megatrends India Pvt. Ltd.

Two tests, actually. First one was the proper thingy which everybody in college wrote, with quantitative, analytical and technical aptitude. The people selected through this wrote a second test in either Java or 8086 Assembly. Turned out this test was just a farce, and didn't really matter, except to determine what kind of personnel you would be interviewed by.

The next day we had to go to the AMI office (at Sathyabhama Instt.! Ack!) where we had a group discussion and a technical interview. The peeps shortlisted from this were further subjected to an H.R interview. Yeah, I made it through, and everything was going swimmingly, till he noticed that I was from Bombay, and was giving the GRE, TOEFL and the CAT. And finally they decided to pick only 4 students, obviously rejecting me for 'wanting to desert the company'. And that's a quote. No wonder I 'wanted to desert the company'! Add to that the word straight from the horse's (the co. head) mouth that any form of growth in the technology sector is only possible after 2 years. Now *this* is a backward looking company...

2) Virtusa India Pvt. Ltd.

Again, Sathyabhama Instt. :( But the test was amazingly structured. The quantitative aptitude part required you to give reasons for your answer, without which it would not be accepted as correct. Following this there was a section on 'Programming Ability', which I think should be on the papers of all company recruitment drives. Problem statement given, no need to 'write code', just a suitable algorithm will suffice. Nice! And lastly, there was an essay section. No limit on number of words, so methinks this was just an eyewash exercise.

Got thru the test (duh!) and went thru a painful group discussion the next day, followed by fairly short technical and H.R interviews, but which required excrutiatingly long waits. Got into the company. This was August 2004. They said we'll be joining June 1st, 2005. On May 26th, 2005, they call us to a meeting where we are informed of 'changes in their resourcing plan' which will require us to join only by January 2006. Tentatively. Talk about setting the cat amonst the pigeons!

3) Verizon Data Services India Pvt. Ltd.

After hurried preparation of a demand draft for Anna University and even more hurried resume printouts and marksheet photocopies, and even even more hurried borrowing of tech books, clothes and shoes, the Virtusans wrote the test. Which was pretty much standard, with all the usual components. The only thing slightly unusual was that it was outsourced to a small firm called MeritTrac.

The next day saw me all harried due to the lack of proper clothing. So I gritted my teeth and wore bottle-green flatfronts to the damn thing. I thought I could run thru the tech material once I got there, but noooo, I was 3rd on their list, so had to go in up front. And what ensued had to be the most grilling half hour of my life. This was shorter than my one hour ordeal in AMI, but it covered a lot more than just C, C++ and Java. We went through the entire gamut of topics available under the umbrella of Information Technology. And nobody was more surprised than me when I heard, much later, that I'd gotten through! And even better, no more interviews - just sign the offer letter and it's done!

4) Honeywell Technology Solutions Lab

This required me to fly down from Bombay to take the damn test. And I did it, as I didn't know I was through to Verizon then. And what a test! Filled with problems lifted straight from early Computer Science GATE papers! Came out feeling awful, but the day got better as I got news of Verizon then. And won a Landmark gift voucher (however unethically), so yeah.

When I went back to Bombay, saw that HTSL had indeed selected me for an interview, which was to be conducted in a hellhole known as Madurai. But too late, I was a Verizon-ian then, so 'twas a no-show :)

5) Temenos India Pvt. Ltd.

Gave this one for a lark, 'cause friends were doing so. Easiest test I've written in my life! Must've got at least 35 on 40... Also didn't attend interview for this one.

In hindsight, turns out that not attending the interviews for the last two were wise decisions. Tha starting pay was 4 digits per month!

I'm officially retired of writing these tests now. Tried yesterday for a company called Data Patterns, but it was too crowded, too mismanaged to be worth it...

And just so you get a picture about that company, click on the company hyperlink :)

Sunday 5 June 2005


Almost forgot to mention

-->>     THIS     <<--

Mandatory Update

Lots of things have happened since my last post two months ago. The most notable of them being Virtusa's volte face on my job offer :( Oh well, life goes on at Verizon, or so I would like to think. Interesting to see in what general direction my life will be headed...

Oh yeah, and just so that saved message in my cellphone outbox isn't wasted, here's a list of all the places I visited in the period from May 13th to May 28th (or roundabouts that time..) :

  • Papanasam
  • Kalladaikurichi
  • Vallioor
  • Tirunelveli
  • Salem
  • Kunnathur
  • Trichy (aka Tiruchchirapalli)
  • Thanjavur (aka Tanjore)
  • Varagur
  • Swamimalai
  • Kumbakonam
  • Veppathur
  • Kidathalaimedu
  • Pudukottai
Of all this, only Vallioor and Kidathalaimedu are worth mentioning.

Vallioor town itself is strictly okay. But the estate that we own [part of] is pretty amazing, to say the least. No, actually, it rocks :-) What with all the lack of 'amenities' like electricity and gas stoves, we had to eat stuff cooked in battered aluminium vessels over a wood fire. Food actually tastes better that way! The occasional hints of the existence of certain nocturnal wildlife were suitably hair-raising, as were the weird noises that would be heard at night outside the shack we were staying in. Noises that everyone would laugg about, but never go to investigate. I'm proud to say that I was the bravest one - I needed to pee and actually walked in the middle of the night to the ramshackle toilet hut thingy :-D

Kidathalaimedu [KTM] is worth mentioning simply for the fact that it has the audacity to call itself a village. Pudukottai is a village. KTM shouldn't have a name. It's all of one temple and four houses. That count exactly. What's amazing is that it even has it's own postal code!

The rest of my life has been pretty much the same - eating too much, getting abused by hijras on the train to Bombay, eating some more, sleeping, eating and reading blogs. And eating again. Which would explain why I weigh three-quarters of a century in kilogrammes :-(

Oh yes, one more thing, that I simply *have* to mention. I have a new person to totally adore the writing of [is that statement even correct? Oh well..] - Uma Mahadevan-Dasgupta.

Thank you for bringing Bombay to me in Chennai!

Monday 4 April 2005


Is that because of the car passing by, or simply its fuel?

This sounds slightly Utopian, but freakin' cool! Fuel cells be damned!

With the incorporation of bi-energy (compressed air + fuel) the CAT Vehicles have increased their driving range to close to 2000 km with zero pollution in cities and considerably reduced pollution outside urban areas.


Saturday 2 April 2005

Know your multiplication tables

It's April 2005. And guess what? It's designated Math Awareness Month!

Few cooler things in the world...

Wednesday 30 March 2005

Longest chemical name

Now there's an interesting title for a blog post. [Un]fortunately, it also happens to be quite appropriate for this link here.

Son of a....!

Friday 25 March 2005

More Slashdot

Man, that site rocks! No, actually AlterSlash rox...

Check this out! Chance e illa!

This is nice!

Techie, but nice!

Culled from a Slashdot post:

"When a drop of ethanol is dropped on a surface at low pressures (1/5 atmosphere or less), it makes no splash. Science offers a brief synopsis and fascinating pictures of the phenomenon. The results seem to confirm the (perhaps counterintuitive) prediction that more viscous liquids are more likely to splash, not less likely . Links to the researchers’ home page at U of Chicago (as of now, the site is timing out) and pdf version of the article on arxiv can be found on the Science page also."

Friday 18 March 2005


I went to Tirupati on Tuesday, the 15th day of March, 2005. I describe the date in so much detail because it has been the singularly most sublime experience of my life.

The Padmavathy temple at Tiruchanur [aka Alamelumangapuram, apaprently] was nice, but didn't have the same effect the hubby's shrine...

Cutting through all the bookkeeping details, we made it at last to the sanctum sanctorum, after grappling with a most unruly, rowdy bunch of so-called 'pilgrims' [One guy actually yelled "Yenna myra pudungara!" at me! While in line! Inside the temple!].


For the entire duration of the minute I was there.

No sounds audible. Nothing else visible. No thoughts. Nothing. But the idol and its aura. Unadulterated divinity. Unsullied by the rotten world. Untouched by the trials of time. Pure.

Unquestionably the most spiritually and physically overwhelming encounter in my life.

Even the variegated, unlimited lunch after the darshan couldn't do much to shake me out of this kind of trance state...

Saturday 12 March 2005

Indian Ocean...

Doobke jaan tu kitna paani
But, undoubtedly, their best track (out of all the ones that I've heard, grand total of 5) must be something called "Torrent". It's the ultimate in vocal/guitar balance. And it's all humming! No lyrics to worry about! One of the few natural highs in music. (Another one being GNR's November Rain...oohh..goose pimples....)

Once again, they totally rock. I worship them.

Friday 18 February 2005

Pompous Extortionist Jackass

This post, once again, should've come earlier, but for extreme laziness :(

Anyways, P.E.J is what the Ticket Collector guy on trains is. I know he's called TTE or some other bullshit, but frankly I just don't give a damn any more. After two completely miserable train journeys between Chennai and Mumbai, where the PEJs seemed to have it in for me. At least in terms of trying to line their pockets.

I formed the above term after I'd been asked to shell out dough for him 'allotting' me a seat. This in spite of me having a confirmed seat. i.e RAC at time of booking, but confirmed a day later. I concretized the term after having my confirmed seat allotted to some other cheap prick of a Marathi guy. Without the PEJ even bothering to examine my ticket. Travelling Ticket Examiner? My shiny hiney. I'm never travelling from intermediate stations any more. And hopefully, after a short while, I won't be travelling by train any more =]

Dragging feet

Okay, now I just feel obligated to update.

BSNL is one suck-ass, god-awful, low-down SCHMOZZELBURGEN of a company. I have no idea what that word means, but I hope it conveys what I think of the organization. And in case it doesn't, well, it plain sucks.

After *not* sending me a bill, disconnecting my phone line for not paying a bill I never received, and generally giving me a lecture for forgetting to bring along a pen to the Customer Service Centre, the dumbass female issues me a receipt for my latest bill, which I hadn't even bothered about. [Because it's last payment date is much later].

So after I tell her about this, she goes into another diatribe on how people rarely pay their phone bill on time, all the while completely oblivious to the fact that people are waiting to precisely that. Anyways, I get my proper receipt, go home and find out that my connection still hasn't returned by the next day. You know what comes next. Back to the same old center, same old counter, same old crank. Except, this time, she decides that simply sitting there and looking around is her definition of 'busy' and asks me to come later. Fortunately for me, I go away and don't come back. And mysteriously, my connection was also restored...go figure...

Saturday 29 January 2005

Mood Indigo 2004 - Creative Writing

Su[ndeep] and yours truly participated in the Creative Writing event at IIT Bombay's Mood Indigo 2004, which was sometime in December. We were shown a picture and asked to write anything that included the picture and any one of two verses supplied. And this is what we cranked out!

This post should have come earlier, but for my abject laziness :(

Anyone interested in viewing the entire picture? Go here!

Image Hosted by

The waters that sparkled so bright before,
Now moon alone, the gloomy shore,
And all is dark, as Fate will be,
That spreads its cheerless path for me.

As I stand now upon the brink,
With barely the ability to think,
I do not know how it came to be,
That this desire for death overwhelmed me.

Having sunk into the depths of despair,
For my own life, I no longer care.
With a beard so big and a form so portly,
I cannot perceive how anyone could love me.

As I stand upon the cliff contemplating Death,
“Goodbye, cruel world!”, I mutter beneath my breath.
As I prepare to plunge into the sea,
I behold the shapely form of a naked lady!

Perfectly proportioned, graceful as a deer,
All I could do was stand there and leer.
She reminded me of a girl at Mood Indi,
Was it her? Could it really be?

She espied me standing upon the cliff,
Maybe she sensed that my member was stiff!
Embarrassed, she seemed to glance at me,
Yet no attempt was made to cover her body.

I just stood there, lost in my thoughts,
She was mine, and I was calling the shots.
To the untrained, this might be pornography,
But to me, ‘twas an erotic symphony.

I held my hand out, as if in question,
And perhaps, a faint hint of suggestion.
Do I come to you, or you to me?
What say you and me have a quickie?

I took a step forward, with my breath bated,
Unaware that a perilous plunge awaited.
From the heavens now, the lady I see.
Though I am dead, my mind is still dirty!

No, we didn't win anything. But that's only because nobody appreciates art any more. [Actually, it could be because of the occasionally crappy metre and the awful tense structure, but we don't want to go there...]

Thursday 20 January 2005

Sick, sick, sick, I tell you!

A lot has happened since the last post. Actually not, but that always seems like a nice cliched way to start a new post.

In reality, very little happened. Except if you see my leaving to Bombay again on very short notice as something of importance. I was kinda hoping it would be, but as I sat at home all day this time around, it wasn't :(

Developed a mild fever, which became a raging one here in Chennai, due to the absolute horribleness of the water. Bah, I'd leave this place using the water quality [and quantity, come to think of it] alone as a reason. So I'm back to near-starving meself and developing a very short temper in the process.

This post is supposed to contain the fruits of Sundeep's and my valiant efforts to produce legible output during the Creative Writing event of IIT-Bombay's Mood Indigo 2004. [For more details about what happened during the fest, run on over to Vinod's cyberplace to peruse his slightly laboured efforts at a Mood Indigo Diary, which, to his credit, he chucked after Day 2, and just gave it a somewhat ruthless finishing touch.] Incidentally, Vikram C.R of our 'conti' took runners-up honours with his Gabriel Garcia Marquez-esque 'A Treatise On Loneliness'. Now I haven't really read the piece, but the title alone is enough to suggest enough Marquez-esque-ness. And those of you who know that I haven't read any Marquez either, don't let it out...

Wokay, coming back, the hard copy of the 'porno poem' we wrote is hidden someplace amongst all my rubbish in the airbag, which is yet to be unpacked. So Su, sorry man, sometime later, surely :)

Finally, I Googled 'potrzebie' and turns out it's an actual word, and not simply a MAD made up thingy. How depressing :(

Saturday 1 January 2005

Oh man

What a year it's been! That's a good thing, btw.

Anyways, just a quick log-in to say that I'm returning to Chennai on Monday. After a lousy ending to the last day of the old year, I had a pretty damn amazing beginning to the first day of the new one :D

Woohoo! And I just hope this year remains halfway decent to me, as compared to 2004, which basically totally rocked.