Thursday, December 27, 2007


I can't find myself in me
Trapped in the wilderness of thoughts
In this world full of dreadful cynicism
I am Lost!

Looking in the transparent mirror
I find my mind & soul at daggers drawn
And in between this gruesome clash
I am Lost!

Who am I? Am I here with a purpose?
Thinking seems to be the cruelest enemy
In the mixed bag of thoughts & actions... somewhere
I am Lost!

Unnoticed goes the silver lining; at the cloud I stare
Yearning for the rain of comfort to wash me away
And then like a drop in the ocean... unidentified
I am Lost!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Why animals are different from humans...

A Leopard takes care of Baby Baboon after killing its mother !! Does the 'civilized' man show such a compassion??

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Scheduled = Arrived?

No.. don't reach out for your thesaurus... you won't find it there. You may find it this equation the next time you go to fetch someone arriving at Mumbai's International Airport.

It so happened that yesterday, mom and I happened to go to the airport to receive Mama (uncle) who has come down to India for a brief stay. This is an annual ritual for us and so upon reaching the terminal, I checked out the arrival status screen put up outside the arrival lobby. The CX751 Cathay Pacific (mama's flight) was showing the 'scheduled' status. I told mom and we geared up for an impending wait. I chitchatted with mom for some time discussing miscellaneous things and again after 15-20 minutes, I went to check the refreshed status. It showed the same old 'scheduled' status and I again returned. For about 30-40 mins we were waiting for the change in status, but no luck!!

Then suddenly, mom saw mama on the other side of the glass in the lobby and told me so. I said, "Mom, the flight has not yet arrived. Don't you see... the screen is still showing scheduled. Its not even arrived yet." But then in less than a minute, I saw mama merrily coming out with his trolley! I was astonished & in disbelief I again glanced at the status screen. The screen still showed 'scheduled' for a flight that had already arrived long back!

I couldn't believe this. We all trust the arrival status screens so much that we don't ever question it. But for this incidence, it truly shattered my trust on the display system. And come to think of it... this airport is ISO certified (what a joke!). I left the terminal with mama & a skeptical look at Mumbai International Airport.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The November Errata

Well, November is almost about to make an exit... and this blog should have come up much earlier!

Whoever said B-schools in India produce world class managers, all accoutred for the corporate hot-seat need to do a serious rethinking. And especially when the spotlight of this quetching piece of blogging is one of India's Top 10 B-schools, churning out MBAs with their dosage of 'Six Sigmas' and 'Peter Druckers'!

I am referring to this year's desk-calendar of SP Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai (one of India's leading B-schools). The month of November 2007 in this calendar starts with Monday being the day on 1st of November, whereas November actually starts on Thursday! If you think thats all, behold... November has 31 days in this calendar (ouch! God bless my knuckles).

Apparently, it seems just a minor mistake. But then, when it comes from a B-school of a great repute, it certainly makes me think for a minute. The Institute which instills discipline of thought, meticulous behaviour & perfection in its students, ought to practise what it preaches. If this errata has gone unnoticed by any of the authorities, it surely makes me think about the standards the B-school works on! And just like I got a copy of this calendar, many people, many corporate houses related with SP Jain may have also got a copy. When you are creating a brand name in the market (like SP Jain in this case), its absolutely essential to live by that name!

I do not wish to offend anyone from that institute, but as a critical and a little fastidious person, I felt that I had to bring it up on this page. Its just another constructive criticism!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Its Diwali time!

Greenhouse? Ozone? Sounds familiar.....
Pollution? Smoke? Sounds familiar.....
Noise? Toxic gases? Sounds familiar.....
Cough? Respiratory disorders? Sounds familiar......
Accidents? Fires? Sounds familiar.....
Decibel levels? 10pm deadlines? Sounds familiar......
Be responsible? Have sense? Sounds familiar.....

But hey!!! Get a life...after all its Diwali time... Enjoy!!! Who cares????

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Beauty in the Crowd

Far away she stood, away from the chaotic crowd
The merrymaking seemed hard to douse
The claps & whistles would never drown
She stood there, alone & unmoved..
Oh! I fell for that girl ... the Beauty in the crowd!

I stopped in my tracks, ignoring the human abound
My gaze fixed at her, hypnotically as it may sound
Her pretty face with a void expression
Evoked my attention, I knew there had to be a reason..
Oh! I fell for that girl ... the Beauty in the crowd!

I observed her face, trying to read her
A hundred thousand emotions resonating on it
Hope, despair, love, tragedy .. I almost lost count
Never had I seen them so vividly, I fail to recollect..
Oh! I fell for that girl ... the Beauty in the crowd!

My feet stepped forward, I knew I had to talk
But she moved before I could, and joined the pervious crowd
I cursed myself in an utter despair
And the next moment, it was all over with a deafening sound..
Oh! I fell for that girl ... the Suicide Bomber!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sex Sells !!

Well, I am not talking about prostitution or pornography. I am talking about sex selling in broad daylight, overtly, in front of thousands of people & corporate delegations. I happened to be a witness to this 'sleaze marketing' about 3 weeks back.

Crudely put, it was much of a 'soft sleaze' analogous to 'soft porn'. I happened to visit Asia IT Expo '07 and there I was a witness to this widely used marketing tactic. Many of the visitors may not have been in a state to comprehend these situations, because rationality loses ground in visually tantalizing scenarios. One may not realize that he is getting lured into visiting that stall & checking out the products. Its one of the most successful marketing mantras & is unfortunately, here to stay.

The fact that surprised me was that the corporate houses using this 'soft sleaze' were among the top companies of that segment. Normally, a lesser known company would resort to such gimmicks in order to attract visitors to their products. Why does the world leader in processors require pretty girls in micro-minis to markets its new range? I mean, the name is enough for a consumer like me, to whom features of a new Notebook PC would appeal rather than those of a girl wearing a skimpy outfit. The same applies to a company dealing with security equipment like surveillance cameras, hiring girls in order to rake in visitors to their stall. The visitors' surveillance on the girls was much more prominent than any of their peeping security lenses!

These practices are rampant on most of the marketing checklists. May it be TV shows, advertisements, billboards - sex truly sells. And even 5 star hotels & reception desks in offices are no exception. After all, what matters at the end of the day is the Sales Graph! And sex is a tried & tested way to boost it. The visit to this "Asia IT Expo(sure) '07" turned out to be quite a first hand experience on these 'practices'. And yeah, of course I did come across some great products too!

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Lady in the Blue Jumpsuit

"We are not powerless specks of dust drifting around in the wind, blown by random destiny. We are, each of us, like beautiful snowflakes - unique, and born for a specific reason and purpose." These words by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross aptly metaphor the essence of Sunita Williams, the NASA astronaut who has made mankind proud by her achievements. She has become a youth icon to say the least, moreover a perennial source of inspiration for our generation. I am feeling highly elated and fortunate to have attended an interactive session by her, yesterday at Indian Institute of Technology - Bombay.

A keynote interactive session was arranged by the Aerospace Department as a part of their ongoing festival "Zephyr '07". After eagerly standing in a long queue for about an hour, finally it was the moment to see Ms. Williams live in person. My excitement knew no bounds and shortly she was right there, before our eyes waving and approaching the centre-stage. This 'lady in the blue jumpsuit' - a term I coined after her trademark blue NASA jumpsuit - got a standing ovation from a packed audience of about 3000. The claps resonated the convocation hall and looked like they would never cease. The enthralled audience (many of which were school children) finally took their seats and waited for Sunita Williams to address them. Ms. Williams begin her session desribing her 195-day spaceflight as her 'Summer Vacation'. She shared her experiences with the help of a video clip from inside the Internation Space Station. We watched, spellbound and agape, as she went about describing her daily chores, eating, drinking, exercising and conducting vital scientific experiments in a zero-gravity environment! It was surely and literally an 'out-of-the-world' summer vacation! She also emphasized on the role of the space station and the various experiments carried out there, much of them oriented towards getting to know the behaviour of living things in a non-terrestrial environment. "This" she said, "would help mankind to find other possible options for human habitation, like the moon!"

She also described her vivid memories of seeing the earth from up there. “From space you realise how beautiful our planet looks with all its mountains, crevices, valleys and streams and you can't see any borders from up there. All kinds of borders - national, caste, creed, gender, etc - exist only on papers and in your mind!", she exclaimed, with an underlying message of a holistic approach that we should not restrict our identity as a citizen of a particular country, but as a citizen of the Earth.

Then the interactive session kicked off, with the school kids dominating the session with their curiosities about the space and Ms. Williams. The organizers had a busy time running about the hall, trying their best to get as many people to ask questions. Ms. Williams gave comprehensive answers to queries ranging from her thoughts on global warming, space tourism to that of encountering any aliens! When asked about her source of inspiration, she replied that firstly it was her parents and then Mahatma Gandhi.

Time flew quickly, and soon it was time to bid farewell to her. A roaring applause showered affection and good luck for her future endeavours - the least we could do for a befitting role model. I came out of the hall with a happy heart, wishing these inspiring memories would forever remain undiffused in my mind and heart. I had just been with one of the beautiful snowflakes in that quotation by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross!

Sunita Williams - A Factfile

Commander - US Navy

NASA Astronaut

Records As a female Astronaut
» Longest Spaceflight (195 days)
» Number of Spacewalks (4)
» Cumulative time of spacewalks (29 hrs 17 min)

Monday, August 6, 2007

Nutshell Identity

I came across this jingle (well...more like a song) recently while watching a television channel. Inspite of being a Marathi, I hardly have an inclination to watch Marathi channels; so the other day, it was almost like a rare rendezvous with a Marathi channel on television.

No sooner did I tune in to that channel, than the 'Title Song' of the channel started. The channel was 'Mee Marathi' and to my knowledge, has recently begun its telecasts. Now it so happened that many of my friends had happened to mention it to me that this jingle (call it whatever you want) was a very popular one. So just out of curiosity I spared the remote control of another channel switch, and decided to have a look at the entire jingle.

Though I don't remember the exact sequence or the flow of the jingle, I remember that after I watched the entire jingle, I quitely smiled. The jingle depicts the glorious history and culture of Maharashtra, no doubt; but at the same time it doesn't depict anything else!! I mean its okay that you start the jingle with Maratha warriors brandishing swords and the Saffron flag, a part of the history every Marathi soul is proud of. Then the jingle continues into the cultural aspects of Maharashtra, the culture which we have proudly inherited. Even that is appreciated. Then the jingle again revolves around the Maratha warriors; occasionally with bursts of a musical slogan: "Mee Marathi"...meaning, "I am a Marathi (son of the Marathi soil)". The slogan has a effect of reiterating the Marathi identity. Another thing that struck me in this jingle is the body language and the bravado depicted. I feels its uncalled for.

For the time being I assume that I am a third person, hardly knowing Maharashtra and Marathi people. I will surely feel that the identity of a typical Maharashtrian revolves around his pride for the Maratha kingdom and the culture. Thats it! What other impression do I get of Maharashtra from this? Sadly, nothing more! Now if you are a Maharashtrian reading this blog, maybe you would get an impression of me being churlish, but please don't forget I am just referring to that jingle only.

Right from my school days, I have been watching these song videos on TV depicting National Unity and Integration. Surely, culture and history have a major role to play, but they are not all encompassing. These videos used to show the progress India has made in multifarious domains; sports, literature, science, medicine, space, academics, theatre, music, etc., and featured eminent personalities in these fields, and as a whole gave a fair view as to what India's identity is to any foreigner. Had it been the dominant parameters of history and culture, those videos would have only featured the historical rulers and kings of India and the rich and varied diverse cultures. Analogous to this national progress, it goes without saying that every region or state also has its own footprint on sands of progress and rediscovered identity. And that very depiction is amiss in the jingle that I have described. Maharashtra has produced such eminent personalities in almost every field that it makes any Marathi beam with pride. People like Dhondo Keshav Karve, Jyotiba Phule, Dr. Jayant Narlikar, V. Shantaram, Lata Mangeshkar, Sachin Tendulkar and numerous others carry on their shoulders the modern identity of Maharashtra.

The bottomline of my displeasure with this jingle is that it depicts a serious miniaturization of the Marathi identity. In todays' time, we have come out of that nutshell and made our mark in almost every field. So does it convey the identity it is meant to convey- "Mee Marathi"?

Does Friendship need a day?

The first Sunday of August! The scraps start filling my scrapbook on Orkut & SMSes wake me up early. The occassion? Well, the much celebrated 'Friendship Day'. It is one of the most popular days in school & college circuits. The day when guys & gals tag their friends' wrists with colourful satin ribbons embossed specially for the occassion. When I was in school, even I used to celebrate this day with much fanfare. But then after one fine Friendship Day in Junior College, I happened to take a critical look on this yearly celebration, and happily that was the last Friendship Day for me.

As I write this blog, SMSes pour in. And I smile sarcastically. I wonder whether we need a day for celebrating one of the thickest bonds of human relationship - FRIENDSHIP!! Have we so much lost our essence of friendship that we need to dedicate a special day for remembering that special bond? My mind fails again and again to grasp the 'reason' behind this hyped celebration. And I am happy to be a part of the small minority which thinks the same.

Thinking about friendship, the first thing that reminds me of this word is the friendship between Krishna & Sudama or for that matter Krishna & Draupadi. Those friendships give us the proud feeling of being a part of a culture where friendship was not just a mere nomenclature of a relation. That friendship existed - and I highlight - was 'celebrated' every single day, every single hour, and every single moment. That friendship did not need a reason to be reminded or kept alive, or a memorial day. And I, for one, believe in that friendship.

Coming back to the college campus, many of the times, Friendship Day is celebrated by many who don't actually know why they are celebrating, but are gripped by peer pressure (they won't admit openly). They don't give it a second thought and are least bothered to reason out. Another ritual which is omnipresent is to decorate the wrists & hands of each other with ribbons & worse - sketch pens! (they make awesome totem poles .. ha ha). Our graffiti kings & queens sometimes don't even spare the clothes. And when its all over, the person covered the most with festoons of ribbons & pen-marks feels highly elated, counting the number of friends who have made a human canvas out of him. More closely you resemble a joker; more is your popularity quotient - that’s the unstated funda! So the marks & ribbons quantify friendships - strange!

Another aspect behind encouraging Friendship Day by the media & the business world is nothing but a commercially viable event! Friendship is looked upon as a commodity which can set your cash registers jingling; and we don't feel sad about the commercialization of friendship at all! The satin ribbons & friendship bands become abound at every corner shop, while the shopkeepers sell them at twice or thrice the cost as compared to any other day when no one gives a damn about them. Well ... its another of those 'Friendship' gifts for the Chinese production houses! Also, I don't need to elaborate on the statistics of single day profits for telecom players who happily provide SMS services to cater the 'wishes' of its consumers (pun intended!). Its a profitable day for them. So why won't they promote the festivities?

By now many of you who are disagreeing with me on this issue must be thinking that I am writing this blog, filled with jingoistic culturalism. But believe me, my lines of thought are different from the fundamentalists who don't even know why they vandalize a gift shop on Valentines' Day (read between the lines!) Maybe we both are antagonists of such events, but its the thought behind the antagonism that differs and counts. Moreover, I wouldn't & won't ever link this to being something against our rich, magnanimous, fertile Indian culture nor being anything which seems typically anti-West (a very handy tool if you can't think of anything else). Most people relating such events to their popular outcry of 'anti-West' don't even know what is to be opposed in being so-called 'Anti-West'. No! I won't ever resort to such arguments.

My argument is simple & straightforward, which should arise in any questioning & thinking mind. Celebrating is not the objection, but the justification of motive behind celebration is in question. Every action has a motive & if that motive is inconsistent & irrational with respect to the action, the whole essence of action is at loss & becomes a subject of mockery for the rational mind.

So next time you pick up that dazzling friendship band or pick up your cell phone to send friendship day messages, its my friendly advice to you to let your mind give it a little thought.

Friday, August 3, 2007

A Trek to Kanheri Caves

I had gone for a half-day trek to Kanheri caves (Borivali - Mumbai) with some friends of mine on 22nd July. It wasn't a rainy day, but the weather was pleasant with an inviting zephyr. The road to Kanheri caves passes through the forest of the National Park and took us about 2 hours getting to the Caves. The scenic beauty on the way to the caves was very appealing and my friend - an ardent photographer - clicked many such moments in Nature's Garden. The trek became all the more memorable due to these lovely pictures which embellish my desktop background today!

I would like to share those picturesque images of the bountious Nature with you all ! You will find the pictures at:

Have a look !

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


NEWS - That is one thing I look forward to watch on television after a day crammed with study and lectures. The true essence of News is to keep us posted on the day's events & its analysis (preferably without a bias... Utopian expectations!!). It is a primary source of information which helps us to keep abreast with current socio-politico-economical situations & to set up a thought-provoking analysis on problems faced on a micro or a macro level. This objective is accomplished only if there is a certain standard set for broadcasting news. According to me, the standard of news of a city, state or a country greatly reverberates the thought-standard of its citizens. Hence quality of news is of vital importance.

But nowadays, I am surprised & equally disappointed by twisted concepts in the world of news broadcasts (here I mean news on TV). For example, the concept of "BREAKING NEWS" is a concept used by news agencies to broadcast news of high priority, or of critical importance that supersedes all other news at that moment. It is urgent, important and needs highlighting. Having said that, it goes without saying that a certain discretion - intellectual & in some cases political - is applied to the news feed before broadcasting it as "Breaking News". This I feel should be the generic parameters of classifying news as "Breaking".

Coming to my point of disappointment, the crux of my disappointment lies in the fact that the basic identity of "Breaking News" is carelessly flaunted & tainted - that’s what I observe as a viewer. This I am pinpointing to some Indian News Channels which I believe, lack the intellectual capacity for classifying news. Let me cite one of the numerous examples supporting my observation.

I suppose the 'chartbuster' "BREAKING NEWS" of year 2006 for news channels was the rescue of a toddler "Prince" from a pit in Haryana. All the news channels were beaming each & every development in the rescue operation as "Breaking News", thus creating a mass euphoria and a hype of such a magnitude that it projected an image that for 2 days, all other news was seemingly unimportant or inferior than this 'significant' event. People sat glued to their TV sets following each and every stage of operation. The news made an overnight hero out of Prince & sure enough made a self-mockery of Indian news channels. As an Indian, I felt ashamed of the fact that it was a Black Day for Indian news agencies & that the standards of "Breaking News" was at its abyss.

Numerous such examples can be cited & still observed if you switch on your TV sets even at this moment. Try India TV, the ace among these "Breaking news"-mongers. This channel can 'create' "Breaking News" till eternity! They even have separate slots for such news - A Breaking News which is preplanned! (should I laugh or should I cry?). They certainly deserve a sarcastic applause.

In my opinion, "Breaking News" in context of Indian news channels is at a stage of serious identity crisis, wherein it is being seriously mistaken as an instrument to gain TRPs & to make insignificant news marketable. Indian media is still in a nascent stage & has a long way to go before it can (hope so...) mature! Till then let me check out CNN or BBC for some 'REAL' "Breaking News"!

-*-*- End of bulletin -*-*-

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Greatest Invention

This happened when I was in 1st year of engineering. After the day's lectures, I used to sit in the library and study from reference books. This way I got introduced to some of my seniors who used to be regulars there. I especially sought company of a senior named Rahul who was then in the final year. I used to spend about half an hour after finishing my studies, discussing many things with him. This guy had an unquenching thirst for knowledge and was quite an insightful thinker. In our friendly discussions, we touched upon numerous topics including books, movies, education, company policies and much more. I gained much knowledge from our talks and used to look forward to our library-table talks.

During one such chit-chat, Rahul asked me a question, "Mihir, what do you think is the greatest invention made by mankind?" Simple, as it sounded, I was very much baffled by this question. I had never thought about anything like this. Nevertheless I asked him for some time to think. Now my mind was searching for possibilities. 'Internet' I thought, but then I was skeptical whether it was the greatest of all. Electricity, fire, wheel ... all made their way to my mind, but deep down I knew these weren't the greatest of all. There was something that was much more supreme than these inventions. After thinking for about 10-15 minutes, I finally gave up. Then I asked Rahul to tell me what the answer was. The answer he gave silenced all my thoughts and there wasn't any need of further clarification. His answer was, "Language is the greatest invention ever made by man". "How true!", I thought. My mind went back to the Stone Age and the Early Man. Language was one of the earliest and most basic of the inventions which endowed him with the characteristics of a social animal. Man would have never ever intellectually evolved, had 'language' been never invented. His interactions with other humans would have never been possible. The great deal of knowledge now available to man would have been impossible to acquire. The concept of civilizations and their literary treasures and manuscripts would have never existed. The development of language was pivotal in building up the pillars of civilizations on which today's world has been erected. All the landmark events like Renaissance, Industrial Revolution, etc would be unheard of. And the world wouldn't be the one we see it now.

One more peculiar thing about Language is that it has a global presence, in each and every home, unlike other inventions - which aren't omnipresent. From a tribal in the jungles of Africa to the sophisticated businessman in his plush office, language has a presence in each one's lives. Hence the key to man's development and progress through past, present and the future is one great invention - Language!

That day when I packed off for the day, I had a happy feeling in my heart. Being a student of telecommunications, in future I may contribute in my own small way towards furthering the cause of communication among people through the medium of mankind's greatest invention - Language!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A Monsoon Trek

It had been almost a year since I went for a trek. The last time I went trekking was somewhere in July 2006 to Takmak Fort. My first trek was to Pratapgad, near Satara when I was in 4th grade. I have been to around 18 forts till date and trekking continues to be one of my most favourite hobbies. Unfortunately due to the schedule of my college and studies, trekking has now become like an annual event for me during the short vacation after semester exams. But whenever I get a chance, I make it a point not to miss this outdoor activity.

This trek on 17th June was a 1day trek to Fort Kaldurg near Palghar, Maharashtra. Our trekking group (Janaseva Samiti) left early morning at around 5 am, boarding a Virar local. After getting down at Virar, a shuttle train took us to Palghar in about 40 minutes. The weather was pleasant, but had no signs of cloud cover, which unfortunately we were dying for! From Palghar, we boarded a ST bus which took us to "Vaaghobaachi Khind" which was the base for starting the trek uphill. We had a light breakfast at a Shiva temple at the base and filled our water bottles from a hand-pump. Soon we started our uphill task, eagerly waiting for first showers of the monsoon. The way to the top was fairly easy, compared to other treks. Last year I remember I had gone for trekking to 'Takmak' fort, which was more difficult than this one. So, we trekked along through the jungle, enjoying the breeze which can hardly be enjoyed in our concrete jungles. With many new trekkers in the group, the climb took us more time than expected. After one and half hour, we finally reached the summit. The far-stretching view of the entire region was a sight to see. The fort being not much of a full-fledged fort, has not much historical credits to its name. The fort was infact used as an outpost, to keep a check on the region under its influence. The breeze atop was very strong and I lay down on the rocks to enjoy it to the fullest.The fleeting clouds created a fabulous shadow-play on the hills nearby. I was watching the myriad strokes on the canvas of nature to my heart's content. We were there on the summit for about an hour and then started with our descent. On our way back, we got a
little sprinkling of water from the heavens, but that was too less for any comfort! Finally we were back to square one, the point where we started the ascent, but still no rains! We had our afternoon lunch at the same temple and then it was time for us to get back home.

We returned home only to find out that rains awaited us back home in Mumbai, where it was raining substantially. And lo! I had to take out my windcheater for the very first time this monsoon upon arrival at Borivali station, much closer home! What a way to
end the 'monsoon' trek!

Information you can use:

How to get there:

1) Board a Virar bound train early in the morning (5 - 5:30 a.m. is a good option)
2) After alighting at Virar, board a Shuttle train and get down at Palghar
3) From Palghar west, board a ST bus which would take you to "Vaaghobaachi Khind", the base camp

The Trek:

1) Trek is ideally suited for 1st time trekkers or a 1-day trek
2) Difficulty level: easy
3) 1.5 hrs ascent and almost the same for descent
4) The pathway to the summit is very straightforward; no scope of straying away from the course
5) Carry adequate water for drinking because there could be no or very little water on the top

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Behind Microsoft's 'Stop Piracy' Curtain

No one reading this blog needs to be acquainted with the rampant software piracy which has gripped the entire globe and moreover the developing countries. Hardly you will come across any person who has never ever used a pirated software anytime. And you will agree with me that the most common pirated software; rather Operating System (OS) used by many users is Windows.

Coming to Microsoft (MS), let me share with you something that
would leave you thinking over one of the most successful dual-policy adopted by this company. MS Windows needs no introduction, being the most popular OS. On one hand, MS calls for a 'Stop Piracy' campaign, and on the other hand.... believe it or not.... they do not want the piracy to stop!!! MS has a long term gain (obviously monetary) in letting the pirated copies of Windows run free on our PCs. Let me explain the crystal clear business tactics behind this.

On an average, say a child starts his primary interaction with Windows when he is only a first grader, ie 5-6 years of age. And since the Windows installed is pirated version (mostly), the cost of using Windows is almost negligible. Now this child uses Windows throughout his school, high school and college life. For almost 2 decades, he has used Windows OS.

Now, when he enters into a corporate world of which IT and computerized processes are inseperable elements, he is already habituated to Windows. So if he is given a new OS to work on, say Linux, he would require say 15 minutes to complete a certain task compared to only 10 minutes on a Windows platform. Now, since the employees and their work time are a part of resources of a company, the company wants to utilize them at an optimum level. Taking this into consideration, the company installs Windows on its system. And when it comes to an organization or an institute installing Windows, they 'have to' buy genuine Windows because they have to be legally safe and avoid being dragged to the court.

For each of the computers in that firm, a genuine Windows has to be bought, and we very well know that genuine Windows costs a bomb (approx. $150-$199). Now, we are the consumers and are directly related with the products or services of these companies. Hence it goes without saying that directly or indirectly the cost of these genuine Windows is recovered from us. So Microsoft recovers the entire cost of the loss they suffered when we used pirated Windows on our home PCs. Think of the millions using pirated Windows. We get habituated to Windows and thats where the crux of profit-making lies.... You make someone habituated to your product, even if it means incurring loss in initial stages. But over a long period of time, its sure to set your cash registers rolling !!

Monday, April 30, 2007

Over a cup of cold coffee

Summer is here to stay in Mumbai and most of the student community is busy with its vacation plans. Most of my non-engineering friends have already completed their graduation examinations & are raring to break free in the much awaited vacations; following which their colleges would never ever reopen again !!

But for all my engineering friends and I, vacations are a distant dream. Our plans for this summer?.......what else but to dig our summer-baked heads into those heavy-weight engineering books. That's because we are not as blessed as our non-engineering counterparts. Now for those who are not acquainted with Mumbai University engineering, here's a fact file - the semester usually is of 5 months; 3 months of lectures (and 'extra-curricular' activities) & almost 2 months of examinations (including vivas, practicals and a teeny-weeny preparatory leave).

Now enough of grievances and back to the point. Simply put, its a long haul for us. But then its an experience which we would cherish when we will look back after becoming engineers. The clock ticks relentlessly & time flies at apparently supersonic velocity. At the end of the day, we realize that only a single chapter was studied during the entire day. So now, the obvious necessity for us is to burn the midnight oil.

Its said that "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise". But that hardly applies in our context. If we were to follow that, we would be in a soup. As far as studying at night is concerned, its something most of us are habituated with. The studies have gradually turned us into insomniacs.

So now, the night session of my studies commences. After relaxing a bit after dinner, its back to the desk again. As the clock approaches midnight, the silence of the night makes me feel isolated (though books keep me company !!) & then I turn on the music, usually instrumentals like Kenny G or Enigma, so that I don't get distracted by lyrics. And then, like a cherry on the cake, to create a perfect 'ambience' for studies, there's a refreshing cup of cold coffee kept ready by mom. Sipping slowly on it, I make sure that the coffee experience lasts about an hour, before its finally time to catch up some required quota of sleep. What a way to end the day's studies.... over a cup of cold coffee enriched with a dash of mom's love and care!!


Sunday, April 8, 2007

The Namesake - A review

Last Sunday evening, I had gone to watch Mira Nair's movie, The Namesake. I had heard very good reviews about the movie & I was very eager to watch this movie. The movie is adapted from a novel by Jhumpa Lahiri by the same name.
The storyline revolves around the life of a Bengali family; Ashoke Ganguli (Irrfan Khan), Ashima Ganguli (Tabu) & their son Gogol (Kal Penn) and his sister, who live in the US. Gogol who is born & brought up in the 'land of opportunities' is discontented with his strange name that had become a subject of mockery. He feels desocialized & is perplexed as to what made his father name him after his favourite Russian author Nicholai Gogol. One day Ashoke tells Gogol the story behind his name; revealing the conversations with a co-passenger in the train he was travelling in, before it met with an accident. At that time Ashoke was a college-going lad & was reading Nicholai Gogol during his journey.
A few days after this revelation, Ashoke dies of a sudden heart attack & Gogol soon starts realizing how great his father was & how he had failed to understand him. The quest for discovering his father makes him realize his roots & the journey of life brings him home.
The movie sets its own pace & is never unduly stretched at any point. The characters & the ambience is treated in a simple fashion & absolutely no glamorous scenes are included; which in fact appeals to the viewer & binds him with the characters. Irrfan and Tabu set their own standards & exhibit multifaceted acts. Irrfan depicts the most intricate scenes with utmost ease & sheer simplicity. And Tabu asserts being a top-notch actress, handling all the finer nuances of her role with great maturity of acting.
My verdict: the movie is a very good one to watch with your family & would definitely appeal to you if you are the one who enjoys offbeat cinemas. So friends, go ahead and watch this masterpiece.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Relativity: The way I look at it

"Albert Einstein". Thats the name that immediately strikes your mind when you hear the word 'Relativity'. People from world of physics know him for many of his theories, equations, relations that are still a matter of deep interest to many. But I think the most popular among the multitude of his theories ought to be the theory of relativity.

My acquaintance with Relativity was a rather simple statement, "If you sit with your loved one, an hour seems like a minute; but when you are with someone whom you don't like, a minute seems like an hour". Well, at first, it didn't quite appear like a theory propounded by a physicist. I wondered how this fitted into the jigsaw puzzle called physics - its physical viewpoint. Frankly, I never treaded deeply into this theory, but it surely gave me a new dimension to look at it.

Relativity, as I see it is much to do with human nature than with the complexities of physics. Human thoughts, relations, behaviour all follow this theory. Everything in this world is subjective, rather; relative. Success is relative, happiness is relative, freedom is relative; even contentment is relative. I think the very concept of an 'individual' or 'individuality' stems up from roots of Relativity. Our perception of material or immaterial things is dependent on our
own parameters or viewpoint on the matter concerned. If you ask any other 'individual' his or her take on the matter, it will always be relative to personal interpretation. And that's what makes us realize the true meaning of the word 'an individual'. You cannot have a comparison between any two persons, for the simple reason that there can be no comparison among individuals, which in turn symbolizes uniqueness. And that's because of the nature of their Relativities.

Sure enough, you cannot expect to have something called as 'degree of relativity' so that you have a yardstick for measuring Relativity. That's because assigning a degree to something needs a 'reference'. And 'reference' too, is Relative !!

So what do I conclude at the end of it? Well, the manifold hues of life; thoughts, experiences, notions, beliefs add a dash of variety to our monotonous lifestyle. The nonuniformities we see around and which enhance and expand our outlook of the world exist thanks to differences in Relativity.

And yes....'conclusion' can also be Relative !!

Sunday, April 1, 2007

A 'literal' confusion

Please help me out with this confusion...

Everyone has friends. And friends can be of many types; just friends, good friends, close friends and.... best friends. Now, some or the other time when I have spoken or chatted with my friends ( I mean to say friends in general; not any specific type ), the topic of discussion has touched a term called as 'best friends'.

"I have 5 best friends", "I made 7 best friends in school"... are some of the statements that make me smile sarcastically. Well, being a guy who loves words and respects their worth and meaning (and I am not being rude to my friends who are reading this), I am very adamant when it comes to proper usage of words. Well from whatever english I have learnt all these years, 'best' is a superlative degree; that means its the highest degree. And it goes without saying that whatever is at the peak, or the highest form ought to be unique. And if it is unique, it surely must be a singularly unique entity.. For example, 'Mount Everest is the "highest" mountain peak in the world'.

By this analogy, a 'best friend' should be one and only one friend. How come there can be multiple "best friends"? Thats what my confusion is.... why this paradox of 'many best friends'?

Please help me out of this..

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Prime Duty - A misunderstood concept

Many a times, we talk about our rights & duties as citizens of our beloved nation India. Our constitution has also laid down certain rights & duties for the citizens. But have we pondered & ever asked ourselves: what is our Prime Duty?

The functioning of India, & as a matter of fact any nation is based on the national policy adopted. These policies, according to which the administrative setup functions, are sketched out by politicians. These policies affect the life of each & every citizen. Now, if any policy goes wrong, or has an undesired effect on our life, we resort to blaming the politicians. But then, the basic question arises: Who are the politicians? We are the ones who choose them. Politicians are the representatives of the common masses.

If we go to the root of the political setup of our country, we find that at the grass-root level, it is the individual who forms the basic structure of the setup. Let us take an example of a tree… if the root of the tree is strong, exploiting the best of its environment, the tree is sure to grow the right way, developing into a healthy tree beautifying its surroundings. Similarly, we, the people are the roots of the political system in which we live. If we are strong, strengthened with political awareness & know-how, having knowledge of policies which are beneficial to the system, surely the political tree will grow the right way. The root supplies only the beneficial nutrients to the tree while filtering away the rest of the materials. Similarly, it is the individual who has the power to supply the political system with politicians who chalk out proper policies for our nation. To nurture & strengthen the political system is our prime duty as responsible citizens.

India is typically an agrarian country. After the huge success of the Green Revolution, a good amount of crops are harvested every year in our fields. However, sometimes the situation can be seen that huge quantities of food grains rot in the godowns while some people starve to death. Food is not properly distributed. What is the cause of this?

India is one of the main producers of sugarcane in the world. Due to proper cultivation techniques, we are able to have a prosperous crop of sugarcane every year. Still, much of the sugar we consume is imported from other countries. What is the reason behind this?

As we all know, the sensex is making a slow & steady climb upwards. Multinational companies have recognized the potential of the Indian market & are readily investing in India. There is also a substantial dollar flow in the economy. Inspite of all this economic progress, prices of commodities continue to soar everyday. The cost of living especially in the Indian cities is much high. What may be the possible explanation for this?

The reason for all these malfunctions taking place is a deficiency in policies. The deficiency may exist at the planning, development or the implementation stage, but definitely, there prevails a shortcoming somewhere. The responsibility for this shortcoming lies with the policymakers & the responsibility for choosing & electing the policymakers lies on our head. And over the years I believe, we have been addicted to blaming & cursing the politicians for the ill-effects faced by us. By putting the blame on their heads, we try to turn a blind eye to our faults. Ultimately, WE are to be blamed for this. The duty of finding solutions to the problems lies with the educated class.

So how long are we going to escape from our duties? Should we continue to live the way we live or should we give it a little more thought? Are we ever going to see light at the end of the long, dark tunnel? It is up to us to think & find a solution to this. IT IS DUE TO THESE REASONS THAT OUR PRIME DUTY REMAINS A MISUNDERSTOOD CONCEPT…

Thursday, March 15, 2007

It feels great !!

That's what the badge I got read: "I donated blood today....It feels great".

Today, a blood donation drive was conducted in our college by the NSS wing of our college. On last two occasions I was unable to participate in this drive, but finally today I got a chance to do a tiny little part for the society I live in.

The response for the blood donation drive was enormous and I had to wait in a long queue awaiting my turn. Finally I was called and a sample of my blood was taken for the haemoglobin test and for the Thalassaemia test. Thalassaemia major is a lesser known genetic, blood disorder which affects the child if both the parents are Thalassaemia minor. The child has to undergo blood transfussion on an average of 15 days. So along with the blood donation drive, we were also going to be tested for Thalassaemia minor.

I was very enthusiastic while I lay down on the cot, since this was the first time I was going to donate blood. The medic came and put the syringe inside me. I lay quietly and my heart went out to the 1 lakh children of India who were undergoing this hellish expeience of being a Thalassaemia major. I also remembered the victims of the bomb blasts when people all over Mumbai poured in to donate blood. And it felt nice that I could actually save lives by lying on the cot for 5-10 minutes. It gave me a great deal of satisfaction as my blood flowed out of me, ready to serve someone needing it more than I needed.

Hardly a few minutes passed and I was on my feet again, feeling no dizziness or numbness whatsoever.My friends and I sat down for a cup of coffee and biscuits. Everyone was smiling and happy for the cause they had volunteered.

And I thought, "Was this one of the selfless act I did?" My heart replied in the negative and my mind told me, "Certainly not, YOU felt nice and YOU felt satisfied. So where is the question of there being a selfless act?"

Smiling, I agreed with my mind and put on my shoes...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

...Finally I danced !!

Dance !!! Another one of the many expressions of art... And art has been an inherent part of me. Throughout my life of past 20 years, I have been exposed to various forms of art...painting, floral arrangements, Indian classical music... all thanks to my mom. Having learnt to play the Tabla for 6 years during my schooling, rhythm flows through my veins.. it has become an inseperable part of me. So, it was very natural that i explore new ways of expressing this rhythm apart from what I have learnt. I thought, "Hey! I haven't tried dancing anytime..." I remembered my school days; the school orchestra, the dramas, etc. But never had I participated in dance. I don't have any such reason, but the fact remained that i never explored my dancing skills. But now slowly I wanted to try it out. The recent dance competitions on television acted as catalysts to my thought and finally I made up my mind to give dancing a shot. And our college's Annual Cultural Festival came at the right time.

In my vacations starting December 2006, I had learnt Red Hot Salsa practising it by watching an instructional video. My dance partner Sneha and I decided to give it a try during the festival. We gave the auditions, got selected... me getting selected for the Group dance too. I was enthusiastic of my new venture.

Came March and the practice for the dance started. But I got a shock on the 1st day of practice when Sneha came to me and told that she would not be able to dance. I was disheartened but nevertheless tried to overlook it and concentrate on the group dance. But then something happened that brought a cheer to my heart. A girl in the dance group, Ruchita happened to know Salsa and it so happened that we two decided to give it a try in the Couple Dance competition...

With hardly a week to go, the first two days of practice had me struggling to grasp the steps... both in group dance and couple dance. But gradually I picked up and tried to bring finesse to the dance. Since we had selected the theme 'Salsa and Jive' for couple dance, I had to learn to do most of the 'guiding the girl' part of the dance. It took us about a couple of days to achieve a good comfort level with each other. And when finally we did, we practised on many different steps and yes....'locks and lifts'!!Now, I knew that I had to try to be as flexible as possible and expressive; since without expressions and proper gestures, the dance won't pull off well. But gradually I managed that, and Ruchita was also acquiring the grace in the steps with each passing day. Managing between group dance and couple dance was very difficult, but with whatever little practice we did, I eagerly awaited the day of 9th March.. the day of Couple dance competition!!

I wore a shimmering full sleeve red shirt apt for salsa with black trousers and she wore a red top and a black knee-length skirt. The competition started and we were going to be the first couple to perform. I was eager as well as tensed.. as anyone giving his first ever dance performance on the stage would be. I just prayed to God to help me pull off the dance well and the next moment the curtains opened.A loud cheer from the audience came instantaneously when we started the dance. The music, the rhythm and the cheering boosted my spirits further more and I felt like being in some sort of a trance.. We performed our locks, lifts and again a wave of cheer and shouts.. I was so engrossed in dancing that I didn't know how time fleeted by. The performance ended again with cheers from the audience. We came back to the Green Room and I was in a very excited mood. I thanked Ruchita for giving a good performance and Shashwat, my friend who had choreographed our entire dance sequence. And so finally I did what I wanted to do for such a long time.... Finally I danced !!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Reminescences of D-day

This is a poem I composed, the inspiration of which is the wonderfully made movie 'Saving Private Ryan'. The poem describes a first-person witness of the D-day landing of Allied forces at Ohama beach, Normandy. And what followed was one of the gruesome battles of WW-2.

Reminiscences of D-day

The guns boom all over the seas of Ohama
The monstrous splash of a shell drenching me all over
The saline seas appear tainted and accursed
And the thunderous waves appearing ominous.

As a commander, dauntless I ought to be
But I can't help as I feel my hands freeze
They tremble as I take a sip of brandy
Blurred as my vision gets, holocaust of the world I see.

I look at my men, they look at me
Without a word, their void expression speaks to me
The superficial grit and war cries, inaudible to our hearts
Some throw up, others grip the Cross, letting prayers do their part.

I take out my wallet, clearing the droplets away
That damp photo of my family providing me warmth
The memories gush into me like a quiver of arrows
A smile escapes my cracked lips, hoping it won't be the last

I keep the memories back in their place
And think of the dark coast that lies ahead
The final moments of prayer and a final check of weapons
A final pep-talk and into the jaws of death.

The sirens go off and we rush out of the boats
Amidst the blind barrage of machine-guns, we crawl ahead
The first few moments and half of my men dead
Some groan aloud while blood oozes out of their heads

A deafening sound and a blinding flash
A shell explodes chopping soldiers to pieces
I duck down and wait for what's coming next
And the gore of my comrade smears my sand-plastered face

I trudge along, as soldiers are meant to
Dodging bullets and splinters amidst the hellish firepower
With the stench of blood and smoke piercing my soul
Firing randomly as my mind ceases to think

I lose count of time, the battle drawing to eternity
Faceless corpses lying on the beach with fishes for company
The nauseatic feeling engulfing that Doomsday
Man kills man...for what?...why? questions unanswered till today.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

From a train's window

Recently in January 2007, the IEEE members of our college had been on an Industrial visit to Mysore-Ooty-Bangalore. It was almost a 24 hour journey by Udyan express. In the afternoon, as I sat by the window-side, I happened to pen down these thoughts...
As I sit in the train to Bangalore, enjoying the afternoon breeze by the window-side, I see the countryside fleeting away. This view of the countryside is an absolute refreshment for a person like me, so used to the mechanical and concrete life of Mumbai. The fresh breeze, which is nothing short of a luxury gushes in, fills my mind and soul with a new energy. The greenery of the fields and the trees is a bliss, reminding me of my roots which lie well concealed deep inside my outer form. My eyes behold the flora of all sizes, colours and appearance; the trees which have weathered many a storm over the years, the shrubs springing up from the mother earth and blades of grass which are looking as fresh as the morning dew.
Someone like me can’t help but contemplate on the vision outside the compartment. While my friends are playing, some sleeping, others listening to their MP3 players, I am listening to the sound of breeze as it blows across my face. The view tenderly coaxes me to think about the life I have lived, am living and will live. The flora reminds me of the various kinds of people in life. Some of them old, the thick rugged bark of trees reminding me of their wrinkled hands and face. These people are like the pole star, constant and guiding, just like the solitary tree I am seeing on a distant horizon. The shrubs remind me of my teenage life, in which I see my reflections of a boy wanting to grow, expand and flourish; but at the same time, very close to his alma mater. The twigs and the thin stem reminding it everytime that it has a long way to go before it can independently stand on its feet. But the sight that fills the heart and eyes with that happy smile is that of the tender blade of grass, eager and curious to see the world around it. The blade which bends in the breeze and can easily be trampled upon ! It is a manifestation of my childhood; innocent, a blank slate, with people around writing the letters of life and blessings on it. The mind was unbiased and carefree, away from evils of the world and tensions of life. I can’t help but smile again. I extend my hand to touch that blade of grass, but alas ! Its only in memories and photo albums.
As I turn my eyes away from the grass, I again see the distant, solitary tree… far, far away. And then I trace the uneven terrain between this grass and that distant tree. My mind and soul, in unison ask me, “Isn’t that the stretch of life?” Sometimes flat, sometimes uneven. Barren somewhere and greenery elsewhere. Rocky at some places and muddy at the other…
The train meanwhile halts at some station and far away, I see cattle grazing to their hearts’ content. Aren’t these the people who are or have been a part of my life at some stage or the other? Known or unknown to me, these were the people who have shared a give and take relationship with me. There would have been moments when I acted irresponsibly and these people were the one’s whom it affected ! Such a simple scene: that of cattle grazing in a field – but it speaks volumes on human relations.
I close my eyes to capture these fleeting images. A moment later, I hear the train whistle as if to add a bottom line to my thoughts. It resounds the fact that life is short, and so much to be thought, realized and acted upon. The train halts at a junction and a shrill cry of “Chai Chai” jolts me back to where I was !

4th Jan 2007

Yet another blogger !!

Hey !! It feels good to be a part of the blogger community...
By nature, i like to share thoughts with people around me. I like to listen to their viewpoints, their take on the subject. Sometimes it really helps you getting a totally new spotlight on the subject. I enjoy being in a company that is lively and likes to talk.
When it comes to writing, there's no forcing me to write. I write only when my mind tells me to pick up the 'pencil'.... and then words flow naturally.
In order to share this flow of words from my mind with other netizens, I finally decided to blog.. share my everyday experiences and events that inspire me, appeal to me. And to discuss about topics and get feedback from other bloggers. I hope this blogging experience turns out to be a great one !!