Monday, September 12, 2011

Breakfast in New York, Lunch in London.

It is a warm spring day in New York. I am walking on this beautiful tree lined street which has cafes on both sides. Everyone I pass while walking has a welcome smile (i noticed atleast 3 of the 5-6 girls that I passed, looked exactly like my wife). Wondering how could this be, I continue walking, almost in love with the balmy day and the nice feel-good vibe. I have almost made up my mind that this is the place I am going to spend the rest of my life in.
The cafes on kerb all smell of fresh coffee and mouthwatering baked delicacies. I decide to have breakfast. I order coffee (which strangely tasted like tea) and also start eating the dish which I cant remember what it was. The pleasure of having this breakfast equalled the one I used to have while gorging on Aalu parathas as a kid, with Chai and pickle. This breakfast was almost the same, very nostalgic. I finished my breakfast and started walking. Now, this part of New York looks more like Palampur or Kasauli. I also seem to know the roads better.

I dont know why but I am hungry again, I remember having had this awesome breakfast a short while ago. But I am hungry now and I start looking for a place to have lunch. And, how powerful is the human thought, I notice that there is a restaurant far ahead, rather a 'dhaba' and I rushed towards it. It is a very typical small town dhaba, complete with plastic chairs and smoke bellowing from the ceiling chimney. As I was walking towards this place I also noticed that there are no highrise buildings in sight on this street. Its just a road with trees on both sides. I reached the dhaba and felt totally at home, I do no longer feel the de-riguer sense of being a newbie in a strange city. The hosts are friendly and I could hear a faint hindi film song in the background. Dont know what song it is, is it a Kishore Kumar song? or has it suddenly changed to Backseatboys?. Frankly I cant tell. All I am concerned about right now is food. I order daal, tandoori roti and a gravy, fresh onions cut into rings and lassi. As I am waiting for the food to be served, I am wondering how quickly has London changed from a bustling metropolis a few blocks behind to this quite street with a dhaba. I see no one on the streets, they are totally empty. Oh, it struck me, they all are empty because 9/11 has just happened and I imagine people running and buildings falling not far from here. Ok, now it makes sense, this street is empty because all the people here in London are busy running away from falling WTC towers. Lunch is served, WOW am I loving it? Hell yes, never thought London would be this easy for a vegetarian. This city is awesome. I am totally enjoying this lunch, Daal is rocking, spicy and thick and potato gravy is like nothing I had ever had before. I finished my lunch and noticed no one here asked for any money from me. Oh, ok they would probably charge my card. Ok, makes sense, they would charge my card. As I walked out of the dhaba another lady walking on the road smiled at me. C'mon this cant be happening, even this lady looks exactly like my wife........

.......Next station Town Hall followed by Wynyard and then Milson's Point. My bag slipped from my lap and was about to fall when I noticed the person sitting next to me stood up and left. Looking around with just one eye open, I realize this indeed was my stop. Wiping drool off my face, I hurriedly leave the train on to the station. F@#k, I had fallen asleep on this goddam train. This is not New York (which suddenly changed to London), this is Sydney. I am not a tourist, I go to work everyday.  Oh, this is probably the lost sleep at night working overtime here on train. I had a breakfast of cereals and not Aalu parathas. I am hungry.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pack your bags mate!!!! Lets do some OZ!!

When I move, it usually happens because of inertia. With 'move' I mean the physical equivalent of a move. The amount of laziness in my day to day life can be used to make atleast 3 people super lazy (if you use the lame 'amount of money that x has can feed y number of...' analogy). That said when I realized that within a couple of months of moving from one job to another (as if this was not too much), I would be moving to a completely different country, lock stock and barrel !!!!! I lost much of the meagre 8+ hours of sleep that I usually get each day.

Its not easy, I can tell you with first hand experience. There are so many moving parts to this process which are not visible on the surface and absolutely anything can go wrong and frustrate the crap out of you. In my case it was the Visa process. Believe me I didnt even had to apply for it, Google hired some agency to do it for me. But the whole retarded process of waiting for it is like the 80's hindi film songs where the lead pair is running towards each other in slow motion. That is really irritating, everyone knows they would end up hugging and kissing each other, then why the slow motion. Just do it. Well, even I knew my visa is going to come but they took 6 weeks just to put a stamp on it.

I took that in my stride, visa came, everything is fine, done and dusted. Now the grind starts. This time there is no red tape to blame, nothing you could probably get done by slipping a quick note to the God while praying each day. This was the stuff that me and Shveta had to accomplish within a week : Pack the stuff in the house, send it back to Bilaspur, sell my car, Some shopping here and there, paying the bills, meeting everyone, go back home meet parents, probably attend a wedding, find a international courier to send stuff to Sydney and last but not the least if there is time left, get some rest/sleep etc. This is where the 'move' thing comes. I am constantly in Inertia of Rest, as Newton would have called it. The Escapist inside me, who tries to puts everything off till the last minute is a full-time employee of mine. That procrastinator is my personal assistant, he cancels all the meetings and important decisions till about the 11th hour and also is efficient enough to provide me with excuses for doing that. I never had any complaints for him (though my wife hates him), hence I never found any grounds to fire him.

But this time because of peer pressure and pressure from the Board of Directors (read wife) he has to be fired. It pained my heart but it had to be done. So, my days during the process became something like this : wake up at 6, try to go running, cajole my mind out of it, sleep till 7, start calling packers and movers for quotes, go to market- do random stuff, start packing everything according to the guidelines created by Shveta, Shopping time, review the to-do lists, sleep, wake up in the middle of the night - think about what the hell is going on. Now repeat this for atleast 15 days and you have a recipe that takes you to a mental asylum and not the sunshine country.

I dont know how but all this stuff was wrapped up too, all in a week's time. Though super hectic but still fun. The moment we buckled up in the plane to fly for Sydney from Delhi, I started missing India. Remember the feeling of sending a mail and then thinking "Shit!! Can I unsend it and think about it a bit"? I had the very same feeling, I kept telling Shveta that we are going to come back soon. Already little sad about leaving India we overcame the sadness by criticizing the bad service and seats on the plane (apparently an instant mood-uplifter for most Indians: Criticizing). Soon, we were loving it, our sadness was transformed into sheer displeasure for the service, even after flying business. Halfway through the Journey, that feeling was already gone, replaced by hunger and pain from stiff necks. Loved the second leg of the journey though, amazing proactive service and great food. One Tip: If you wish to travel International in the near future, make sure you travel with a Pregnant lady ;). They take really good care of them in the skies.

Sydney gave us a cold and wet reception, almost like a snob neighborhood kid who is not happy to see you because he thinks you are here to take his toys away. Thank God for the fact that we were going home to my sister and could anticipate some nice hot India food. That kind of cold and wet weather makes you a hell lot homesick. We thought its not going to be easy settling in. Boohoo, we were missing India.

Its been more than 1 month since that day. I feel settled in, Shveta feels at home and summers here are just a month away. Sydney is beautiful, has these pockets of calm and chaos,old and new and makes you a friend easily. My next project is finding a nice place to call home, I keep improvising my shortlist all the time.

All this while I am trying to keep pace with the city, catching trains on time, brisk walking to office and enjoying being orderly and disciplined. In this 1 month I have already figured out the train timetables for Sydney, learned how to make coffee in the coffee machine at office (designed to make people quit drinking coffee), can almost decipher the meaning out of an Australian English conversation, got a hang of the driving rules and have come to terms with life without honking and jumping queues. But Still, sometimes when I wake up in the morning, all I crave for is 'The Times of India' to kick start my day.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What really is Independence day??

This is probably the first time in my life that I was working on the Independence day and loved it. Well, I am not trying to sound too NRI-ish here because 1) I am not 2) I really loved it, for a change.

Its amazing how our brain remember things and words only because there is a story or picture associated with them. For example When someone says Bat, and Indian would definitely think of a wooden Club used to play cricket and not the flying fox. Whenever I read or hear 15th August, It reminds me of a Holiday and a couple of Nationalistic sounding songs. I am sure like most of my friends in India, I would have been more excited about the whole 15th August thing this time because it was a long weekend. Seriously thats the only thing we care about these days, long weekends. Go for movies, dinners, plan out a trip to the hills, drink and when you come back load the pics onto facebook. Album title 'Independence day weekend' and yeah make sure that our profile pic is replaced by the Indian Flag till atleast 17th August. Thats Independence Day.

I remember the last independence day and also a couple of them before the last. The most patriotic thing I did last year was buy a small Rs 5 Indian Flag at the Traffic light in Delhi to put up on my Car's dash. I didn't put it there eventually but, hey I atleast bought it. And also an Independence Day may be an year before because I felt terrible at not having an Indian Flag like everyone else to put on my office desk, though I had diligently put one up on my Orkut profile.
In Sydney this time, I came to work yesterday. Spent the whole day working and in meeting and went home after a good productive day. It was kind of liberating because I didn't have to prove that I care about Independence day by buying flags.

I think we are the worst generation that India has seen since Independence. We are a generation of Armchair thinkers and Twitter Revolutionaries. We are the ones who put the most flags and start the most number of public conversations, and do nothing. I think we have wrongly started to assume that words written on Twitter or expressed on a blog like I am doing are impacting a change and would eventually make India a better place. It saddened me to the core reading the headlines on Indian dailies this morning. Someone who tried to do something and not just pretend like we do, had been arrested and disallowed. Numerous updates on this have been posted to twitter since morning and if you are following the right people, the story has already been converted into jokes. And pay attention please, its only 16th August today and most of the DP flags are still there.

Just because we posted it here on blogger, tweeted on twitter, shared on Google+ and updated on Facebook, many of us believe we have done our part.
India probably needs a huge 'Cleaning up the mess' drive. I don't know how but I know who would do it. Its eerie to even try and work up a similarity with events that happened in Egypt and rest of the middle east couple of months ago.

I have nothing more to add here, would go back to my happy existence and pretend to ignore whats happening on the streets of Delhi today. Let me read some technical articles and not think of the rot thats crippling my country.

I am sure this was a good blogpost that I wrote, I am sure most of you who read this would be nodding your heads. And that exactly is the problem, we have started mixing the real world with the virtual. We have convinced ourselves that since we wrote/read the patriotic article on a blog and listened to some patriotic songs on Youtube, thats exactly the amount of patriotism we require these days.
I am not against being social on the net. In fact I am the most ardent fan of the things I just described here as bad. My only request is that if you find a Patriotic article on twitter, Facebook or Google+, go ahead and share, But don't stop there.

Googling Google

Mountain View is not the kind of town which could give the first time visitor any indication of its importance. Like many other small towns on the El Camino Real it has a old world charm and laidback persona.
But this little town has been the center piece of my imagination for a longtime now, only because Google Inc, the organizer of world's information is headquartered here. I used to form pictures of this town in my mind when I first heard that Google is HQ-ed here and they were of a Space age city with lots of fancy cars and super cool technology. I must say I was taken aback. The only indication that Google may be around here for any first time visitor is the ubiquitous 'GoogleWifi'.
I reached Moutain View near noon after a very annoying and tiring 13 hour flight with the worst service one could imagine and all I could think of was a hot shower and hot Indian food (though still imagining about the space age town).
Believe me Mountain View or MTV (as it is known inside Google) looked different and beautiful partly because of the un-hurried vibe but also because I saw an Indian restaurant right across the street from my Hotel. Waaah, my day is made, took a shower in record time and gorged on some south Indian delicacies.

Next day was big, figuratively speaking. Had been planning this day for many years, What is it like to be at the GooglePlex? Are all those Youtube videos true? What is to be at the heart of where it all started?
11th July 2011 answered most of these for me. Googlebus was there to pick us up in the morning and wow it had wi-fi. The campus is enormous and nothing like what used to play inside my head (space age, flying saucer like vehicles and robots all around). Rather its such a cool and leafy surrounding. Brick buildings housing different teams and google bikes like the ones in the Pic below for transportation. I was sold yet again, isn't one of the reasons why we love Google is that its so simple and friendly? These google bikes made me love the place a bit more (would have been a different feeling if there were cars or buses). Our training was happening in a building that was a little removed from the real 'Plex', so the first lunch time cycle ride to famed 'Charlie's Cafe' was the real thing. I wanted to see everything and also take a pic of everything like a 5 year old in Disney Land for the first time. A dedicated Indian 'Namaste Cafe' didn't disappoint a bit either.

Took numerous trips around the campus on the lovely cycles in the after hours to see all the landmarks at Google. From 'Stan the dinosaur' to Space Ship One and the Giant Android to the Google Store. I loved the vibe of the campus, everyone is friendly and helpful and you run frequently into guys who look exactly like the ones who come to your mind when you think about words like 'nerd', 'engineer', 'geek' and 'hacker'.

One of the evening social events that was on schedule was a 'Bowling Social'. I had thought we would be put in the Googlebus and transported to some Downtown bowling alley in MTV or Palo Alto. On the evening of the event we were rather asked to take the cycles and go to another building. Whatt????? Google has an on-campus bowling alley aswell?? yeahh, it does and how cool is that. I would have totally made that place my 'Adda' if I was working in MTV. The Bowling Social without doubt was fun with the team from Dublin beating the shit out of everyone.

Didn't realize it was almost a week since I had come to MTV, last day here was a friday. Another big day figuratively speaking. I had been imagining this day as well, for sometime now. Why? because friday at Google means TGIF. Yes, the weekly event where no matter how big or small you are in the company, its your chance to be in front of the Big shots and ask questions. I went there early and took the TGIF equivalent of a Balcony seat. It was 5 PM and who did I see walk past right next to me, yes Sergey Brin and Larry Page. Whoa, disbelief (the celeb gazer that I am). Larry was quite 'dressed up' which in Google terminology means wearing a jeans and a polo. But the interesting part was Sergey Brin, in shorts, a sweaty t-shirt and socks, yes you read it right, socks no shoes. Whoaa..whats happening?? Aren't these guys the founders of one of the most recognized companies and oft-used web service in the world? worth $38 billion each? And where are the airs and the Charisma? Well, there is none. Engineers at heart these guys are the closest you can get to the Billionaires who behave like normal human beings. My respect for this company's culture of openness and coolness just went a notch up.

As I was walking out of the event to pack for my flight back to Sydney, I realized Google is not a company, its the 'zeitgeist'. Its the way people in my generation think and behave and express themselves. Google is tuned to that wave length, it knows why and what we are. And, I was here at Google, attended TGIF, heard Larry and Sergey standing right next to me crack self-deprecating jokes and ate at Charlie's Cafe. It had finally happened.

I went back to the hotel, packed and left for San Francisco International for the flight back to Sydney, proudly wearing a satisfying smile and my Google T-shirt.


Sunday, June 5, 2011

On the Platform

How quickly loyalties change, really. Till about 2 years back I could not even fathom myself using any other phone than a Nokia. With peer pressure and reluctantly last year I got on to the Blackberry bandwagon, was hooked and could not imagine myself going back to Nokia again. This year the iPhone happened. I havent ever sweated so much for a single piece of gadget, as I did for the iPhone 4. It has me in love till now and suddenly Blackberry seems so year 2000s (oh, you dont have angry birds and Talking tom on your BB?, ok)

Its amazing how fast new platforms are coming and how quickly they come in the reach of ordinary folks like me these days. I still remember vividly from school days when Game Boy was something only boys with NRI relatives used to have, or in college in Palampur when having a camera in your phone made you an instant hit in the University (Hey, I am friends with the guy with camera phone. Can I come ahead in the queue?)

Jokes apart, Its actually becoming tough to form loyalties here. Just got a gadget from office the other day and now testing yet another platform, Android. This time its a not just a phone I am playing with but rather a 'over grown' phone Samsung Galaxy Tab. I know I am an Apple aficionado but errr.. Android is damn cool.
I have avoided using the term OS (Operating System) here because its not just about the OS anymore. Like the Symbian days when only Nokia phones were easy to operate, all others like Sony Ericsson, LG, Samsung and Motorola sucked big time. That was the age of the OS, you had to live and die with whatever the OS had to offer.
Unlike then, this is the age of Platforms. Apart from the features you offer to the customer inbuilt, what else is on offer in your device through the larger ecosystem of developers is the thing that really matters. I am of the opinion that the mobile phone revolutions is not happening because of the devices but because of the Apps.
No matter how useless they are, like talking tom or (my wife's favorite) Angry birds if you dont have them on your mobile phone, sorry but you are missing something. Gone are the days when employers had to be cautious about employees wasting time on the internet on games or chatting. Now they have to closely look at the devices in everyone's hands, sending out tweets and texts or twitpic-ing sleeping co-workers in board meetings.
Give yourself 1 year and be ready to see these new platforms ruling our lives, from real-time traffic updates on maps to spying on cheating husbands. The age of dumb phones is over, smart phones have started controlling our lives. The reason we would see a huge activity in this area is partly because of Android. The open source/open standards platform that is bringing the cutting edge apps, which till recently were only meant for so called Apple Snobs, within reach of everyone. Android has everything that Apple's iOS has and still your eyes dont pop out when you see that shiny little tag with a barcode.
(Click on the picture to enlarge)

See this report for yourself to see where its headed.

So, after I complete this Android testing exercise, who knows may be my iPhone would be listed on eBay. I dont know, its one relationship where the more you shy away from being committed the better it is.
Apples, Blackberries, Androids all coming our way with much high velocity its better we be welcoming.
And, yeah sorry, there is also this 'Mango' from Microsoft. But, right now I am not saying much about them because apparently they just woke up.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The lifestory of a photograph

...Story behind some of the best pics I have clicked

All of us travel for different reasons. These days most of the times it is for getting away from the madness that our lives have become. Pressures of workplace, weird bosses, weirder boyfriends/girlfriends and just breaking the rut are most often the primary reasons.
I travel, so that I would be able to click photographs. A vertically stacked existence, that is living in highrise apartments only gives you an opportunity to click either neighboring buildings or if you are lucky and your neighbor has a beautiful know what I mean..

I dont count myself as a black-belter in photography just as yet, but one thing is clear I am not a shutterbug. I am more of a thoughtful photographer who thinks before he presses that little chrome button. I probably wouldnt have 1000 photographs from a 2 days trip, I would have just a handful but with a story behind each (Ya ya I know I am great).

Here is a collection of some of these pics, handpicked from my collection. Which according to 'me' deserve the space here with a story. Click on the pics to enlarge them.

Here is why they were clicked :

On the face of it HongKong is a concrete jungle. Still, the city has a deep connection with history and a remarkable human touch. An old man trying to catch fish in the middle of this urban behemoth is just that face of this city. On being asked if he caught any, the answer was "the fight is on"

A deep respect and liking for Buddhism makes me visit a lot of monasteries and take a closer look at the life around these temples and the large tibetan settlement in Himachal. A lot of people were in the prime of their youth when they left everything that was theirs to settle in a land thousands of kilometers away and start afresh. Its been years since some of the old people came to India, long enough to feel at home here, still a longing for that native land and a hope that they would return someday, seems to linger in these facial lines.

I was in my hometown of Bilaspur, and attending a 'Jagran' at the local temple. I kept thinking 'why I was even carrying my camera'?. I clicked no pics there and I only planned to be there for an hour or so. I left at around midnight. When I reached the temple parking, a stunning view caught my eye. With nothing but the wall to steady my camera, this pic was captured. A surprisingly long exposure does justice to the meanders formed by a seasonally drying Gobind Sagar, the hills on the other side of the lake and the magical moonlit night. Sometimes you dont, but the camera knows that it has to be with you.

I reached sydney on sunday and it was cold and wet. It kept raining for 4 consecutive days. With limited time at my hand I was getting anxious if the rain would ever stop and if I would get a chance to see the quintessential sydney. After a week of waiting for the sun, I finally started for the city to see the 2 most recognized modern monuments in the southern hemisphere. Getting off the train I caught this first glimpse of 'The Harbour Bridge'. Spellbound, I clicked this pic from the train station, while I was being pushed by my sister to atleast get out of the station first. I love the perspective. This pic was also selected by Schmap's Sydney guides as one of the featured pics of the Sydney CBD.

One of the most adventurous trips I have ever done was the one that is chronicled in this blog under 'Journey through the Himalayas'. A perilous 2000 km journey through some of the most inhospitable terrains in Himachal qualifies as adventurous not just because of road conditions or the fact that it was done on motorbikes. But, it was done without a backup plan. There was no plan B, if anything went wrong, we would have been royally ..(you know what). This journey had rewards, like the one captured in this photograph. Seen here from the roof of Key Monastery is the valley of Spiti river. The reward just justified the effort.

Did I not just mentioned that I love bridges? When I got to know that I would be traveling to San Francisco for a training, the only thing on my mind was The Golden Gate. After a full day touring the bridge and capturing numerous pics from various angles, I met this guy. He was calm, looked me in the eye and didnt move until I clicked some pics of his. He just dwarfed one of the most famous bridges in the world. The hero of this pic is the Seagull and not the monument I went to San Francisco for.

One of the stops in Journey through the Himalayas (link to the post) was planned to be at Chandratal lake or the 'Moon Lake' as its name suggests. We made the 8Km journey from the main road on foot, which at 4500 feet was asphyxiating to say the least. Reached Chandratal and were greeted by a Snow Storm, which would have killed us if it was not for the local Gaddis who saved our lives that day. This pic is of the morning after, signs of the clouds and the storm from last night could still be seen. But, can someone even imagine that a lake so serene and calm could have taken 2 lives? Chandratal, the morning after it almost killed me. Lovely.

Being a small town guy, I love all the aspects of being brought up in Bilaspur, an inconsequential small town in a corner of well known Himachal Pradesh. Clicked this pic from an angle which I hadnt seen, even after being in Bilaspur for almost 3 decades. There is no story behind this pic, still it is in my opinion one of the best I ever captured. The quintessential Bilaspur at dusk, complete with the lake, the town and the adjoining hills.

These were just the few, though I have a huge collection of my self proclaimed best photographs, will keep clicking more and more with a story in my mind. Click on the pics for a larger view.
You feedback would be appreciated. As far as photography is concerned, Less is more for me because again, I am not a shutterbug, I am a thinking photographer and every time someone tells me how sharp my photos are, I assume that it isn't a very interesting photograph. If it were, they would have more to say.


Friday, May 20, 2011

In India's very own Palo Alto

Delhi lives upto its reputation without fail. For a flying time of 2 and half hours, you spend 2 hours stuck in traffic on delhi roads and 2 more hours waiting for the 'Air traffic' to clear. But not complaining much, the new domestic terminal 1D is a treat, with lots of options for eating and shopping, the time on the airport just flew by.

Landed in bangalore at 00:30 hours, and my'o'my was Bangalore awesome?? Hell yes it was, 19 degrees compared to Delhi's 40, I found myself shivering and totally loving it.
Bangalore feels like homecoming, not only because the temperature mirrors that of Himachal, but also job wise. It is India's Silicon Valley and anyone working in Tech can relate to the city. More so for me, because I started my career here.

But, what a city this is? really. Any corner you turn has a piece of India's IT industry right there, from glass and steel buildings to laptop carrying junta filled roads, it is India's quintessential IT city. But, what makes this city so live-able is the weather, always hovering around a comforting 25-30 degrees. Delight for anyone coming down from delhi. Walking on the streets is easy as well. As if the early spring like temperature was not enough, the roads are lined by enough Jacaranda, Bauhinia and Magnolia for the sun rays to even try making a sweat.

I have 2 more days in the city and since shopping and Mall-hopping is something that least interests me, tomorrow morning would start with a search of authentic South India breakfast. Original south indian filter coffee (especially the one served in tiny steel tumblers) has also been alluding me for a while, thats on the to-do list for sure.

The 4-5 odd months that I have spent here earlier, were mostly spent in getting a hang of the new job and hence a lot of bangalore monuments are still not ticked off from my list. Ulsoor lake is one of them. Dont know if I would get time but I am keen on going to Ulsoor and Bangalore palace.

I hope I make the most of these 2 remaining days here. Right now after a heavy dinner, time to bask in the amazing breezy, cloudy weather here. More Later.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A few changes here and there

Changed the layout and the color palette of my blog, the older one was cool but kind of gave me a feeling as if I am sitting in Prague and writing for some Grunge art magazine (Not that I mind doing that).

Now the thread has some lively 'summer-ey' feeling. Everything is bright, Osama is dead, life is good, I am shedding weight and good times expected ahead. This was the basis of this change.

Also I have added a cool 'Follow me on twitter' link here (such a pile on, i am)
Now all you have to do is click on that link and land on my twitter page, I am already 1200 wise tweets old and I am sure you cant wait to read more of me. So, just follow me on twitter.

I would have added a 'connect with me on facebook' button as well, but if you ask me, frankly thats too much marketing and also I am kind of done with Facebook now. My interest is waning and twitter seems like the right medium.

Also I have monetized the account, so now you would see ads on my blog. My adsense dashboard tells me that people have already clicked on them and I have made $0.19 in the process (my retirement fund is coming up).

Well so this is about the changes I have made here, I was used to the earlier layout but then as Jack Welch said "change before you have to", I think it was time.

So, Welcome to the bright, sunny and happy "Broad Strokes on the Keyboard" everyone.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Poor man's Formula 1

I ride daily in a F1 Car. For all you F1 fans, yes its exactly the way it seems on TV, cars zooming past each other, then another driver trying to show a deadly maneuver on a tight curve and yes the adrenaline is there too.
In delhi though they are not allowed to be in varying colors, they usually are in white with a yellow number plate.

A cab picks me up from home daily for office and back, only yesterday my cabby pulled a maneuver off, which we only get to see in formula 1 chicanes. On a tight corner he saw a car that had passed him a couple of kilometers ago (and he was still holding the grudge), he almost instantly made up his mind to show that guy some of his skills, as the other car was about to go into the corner, he sped from the direction of the corner between the other car and the divider and almost forced the other guy to brake abruptly, took the lead and was now race leader.2-3 screams and chosen hindi pleasantries later he hit the straight road. still eyes firmly on the rear view to check if the other guy is planning a revenge. I just survived a mini heart attack.

Delhi is a great city, with roads which are in top notch condition for almost 10 months in an year, its a drivers delight. Why I do not compare it with drag racing?? Simple, if you are driving all day in bumper to bumper traffic, its not easy to speed. Here skill is the real winner, how you piss off 5 other drivers and take the lead is what counts.

On one particular occasion while driving on a single road with no divider, two F1 cars coming from different direction came so fast at each other and my cabbie braked so hard 0.0002 seconds away from collision that i was thrown to the front of the car by impact. On giving a nasty inquisitive look to the cabbie and expecting a 'Sorry Sir', I was rather told that its the other drivers fault as he apparently was at 140 Kmph compared to my cabby's 137 kmph. I instantly tendered an apology.

If you have been driven around Delhi roads in some of these white colored formula 1 cars, you cant have missed the last nano-second brakes, coming at 80 kmph and suddenly braking 0.001 meter away from the front vehicle, incessent honking, choicest hindi gaalis for the driver who does not oblige by clearing the way for your cab and also stoping the car in the middle of the e-way because the cabby's 'Bua' just called to check if he has gained some weight or not.

I suspect that Delhi has just one school from which these guys graduate in their driving degrees. Because everyone seems to have the same skills, same language and similar hate for anyone who tries to pass them.

The only difference from F1 here is that unlike the F1 cars which are high maintainance and need some work and service every 10-20 laps, these cars are service free, the recent one I sat in, was last serviced in 2007 and was still in top-notch condition (the fact that i had to assist the driver in changing gears and also had to push the cab once, are a different story all together)

All in all, I no longer watch the boring F1 races on sundays or go about wishing in front of my friends as to 'How cool it would be to riding those cars', I believe in taking matter in my own hands. 4 years and a dozens on 'oh f#@k, i am gonna get killed just now' moments later, Formula 1 has lost its charm.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The World without OBL

Oh, so they did it finally. And in a very Hollywood-ish manner. Choppers fly into a compound carrying the elite Navy Seals team 6, a swift 40 minutes raid and end of Osama Bin Laden. What??? Thats it??? No more of Osama from now on???
These are real voices in my head, having lived in an age which was largely defined by 9/11 and Al-qaida, these are very relevant questions.
I have rather already started missing him (not that he didnt deserve to die, he did, rather much earlier).
But OBL has left a huge void in this world obsessed with Good Vs Evil stories. No, the world has not become a safer place after he is gone, not by any stretch of imagination nor we would see any leniency in Airport checks (thats what we really care about). Rather the World is now without a face it so loved to hate. Now, all we are left with is a World which is as dangerous for normal people as it was with Osama still alive, but no one to curse for it.

Osama was that respite, he was the favorite punching bag for dont know how many people. Whatever was going wrong in the world could have been blamed on him without much noise.

On a personal level, I have spent a hell lot of time reading Spy thrillers and intelligence non-fiction to suddenly realise that the Holy Grail for spies around the planet has been found and killed.

May be they should have caught him and kept it to themselves, may be this way they could have still legitimized a couple more wars.

And for less mortals like us, we could have still lived in fear and awe (as we do now) but someone to curse for it.

Now waiting for someone in the fashion industry to come out with OBL t-shirts like the ones featuring Che Guevara and Nazi Swastika.


Monday, April 18, 2011


Ahhhh,,,,,phewww......(and many such expressions later..) Google finally happened.
I am writing this post in the official capacity of a Googler (though right now technically I am still a Noogler)

I have been a kind of silly, nerdy and annoying kid growing up in my small town. Since there was nothing much to do there apart from playing cricket, riding bicycles and studying, one of my favorite time pass was - Asking questions.
Some of my family members would happily vouch for the fact that they didnt want to be around me most of the times when I was on my question asking spree.
Whys, Whos, Whats, Whens and Hows ruled my day.
I wanted to know everything about everything that was going around me.

Years passed by and internet happened and I was in love, not with email (or with the numerous seedy websites I had heard about),but with the whole Idea of internet.
I used to wonder how can someone come up with this revolutionary idea of information on demand. But still if I had questions, they were to be answered by Family, friends or magazines.

My peers heaved the final sigh of relief when the questions stopped, not because I had stopped being inquisitive, but because something had happened in faraway Silicon Valley which changed many lives forever.

Google was born and believe me I havent asked a proper question to any living being since then.

Everything that I ever wanted to know was surprisingly there. Google has been iconic since then, even before I graduated with my Business Masters I had dreamt of working for someone like Google.
Why?? was it the perks and coolness stories that I had read??? --NO
Was it because Google has been on top of all Best employer list the world over?? --NO
Was it because of the money Google puts on offer?? --NO

The only reason I wanted to work for Google was because this one company has changed the life of a inquisitive young boy long before it became cool or had the legendary cash everyone talks about. It was because Google is different, It was because Google says "Dont be Evil" and also because Google is going to change the world we live in (and I surely dont mind the perks, benefits, the coolness and the money though)

Thanks for hiring me, Google - looks like I have just clicked on "I am feeling lucky"


Sunday, April 17, 2011

iPhone could be a great posting tool too

This is my first post in months, i have no excuses this time. Work, marriage etc etc have all been previously exhausted. The truth is i was plain lazy and though I am a writer of no interest to anyone (apart from my wife), I am having a serious case of writers block. There are a thousand things i would have loved to chronicle from 'Umreeka' to Hongkong to food to gadgets but I was lazy enough to tap fingers on keys.

Now that I have become accustomed to typing on my iPhone, this is my first post from the mobile device.

I promise they wud keep coming.