Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Watch Out For.....

Another blog. Yes, as if seven weren't sufficient, I have decided to start a new blog. But this one will be different from others...something that might be my USP. I will start it after going back to Kharagpur. Although I have decided all about it, I will keep the suspense. If all things go well, I should be able to start it in a couple of weeks.

So keep checking.

Blogging Disaster

इंसान ब्लौगिंग करता है तरक्की करने के लिये। (Men blog to progress).

But I had made a retrograde blunder that took me months to understand and I am still not sure about the solution. The beauty(ugliness) of the problem is that I initially considered it as a forward step. Many people who would be reading this would be definitely considering it a good progressive step even now.

The step I took is.....using RSS readers.

Still not sure why I consider it retrograde?

I decided to use RSS readers because it meant not wasting time to keep track of happenings in the blogoshpere. What I was unaware of was the hidden cost associated with it.

All RSS feeds I have come across conveniently ignore the option to allow commenting from the feed itself. There is a basic theorem in cognitive psychology that says: "Out of sight...Out of mind". While I used to comment in atleast 2 blogs daily, it dropped to only 2 comments in a week, in only those places I really wanted to write.

I consider commenting an important component of blogging. Its only through exchange of thoughts that distinguishes blogging from diary writing (using pen and paper). There was another aspect to the story. I found that many people come to my blogs for the first time by clicking on the links given in my comments. So by not commenting regularly I had effectively closed way for new audience for by blogs.

By being more alert I can definitely try to compensate, but never completely.

What do you think? Any suggestions?

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Who Is John Galt?

We all are. Well, almost 40 of us. I know you are not able to understand what I am saying at all, so I will elaborate on it.

Some time back, a guy in IIT Kharagpur sat down with friends to write an SOP for his friend. After considerable 'research', he found a good theme to write for the SOP. The theme was John Galt, the protagonist of Ayn Rand's classic 'Atlas Shrugged'. The SOP was a brilliant work that started with "Who is John Galt?" and proceeded with near perfection to elaborate on suitability of the candidate with John Galt being the ideal.

The friend in question was very happy to see such a wonderful work, and he proudly showed his SOP to his friends, some of whom asked for a copy. Soon after that, disaster struck. It was found that nearly 40 souls had started using the same SOP while applying to various places. The guy who drafted this SOP warned the one for whom this was originally drafted against using this SOP as this was no longer safe.

I wonder at how many places will there be a clash, and if it does, what will it do to the reputation of IITs. Furthermore, if such candidate are chosen for responsible jobs, the motor of the world will stop, proving that they truly are John Galt.

Friday, December 16, 2005


About one year back when I used to do ego-surfing, I used to find this link as the top one. What was more humiliating was the fact that on the top of the page there was a text that read "Do you mean Anuj Saxena". I was determined to change this. The top link, though mentioned the real 'me', wasn't there because I made it do. It was because the page was one from IIT and was shown as a relevant link just because my name appeared there.

What I planned to do is change the scenario where:

1) The top entry should be the one I create (i.e. under my full control), and
2) Remove that nagging "Anuj Saxena" from the top.

I thought that this would be very easy and decided to create a web-page of my own and wait. Unfortunately, even after making a web page of my own with more than 150 pages, there was hardly any change on the front page of the results. More disturbing was the fact that my webpage wasn't getting indexed. I tried a few hopeless stunts, but failed and gave up.

Then without meaning to do it, I did something that accomplished the first task. I started blogging. And some one month back, when I did some more ego-surfing I was happy to find that the top entry is my own self. This re-ignited the spark that wanted to accomplish the second task. I began to follow my blogs and kept on doing ego-surfing more often. Then I met with the surprise. The top link was no longer my blogger profile, but my Humour Blog. Ok....I comforted myself. Atleast it still belongs to me. This made sense too as my Humour Blog is my most read one. What I didn't knew that I was in for a greater surprise. A few days later, the top entry changed again and started to point to this blog of mine, which I believe is one of the least followed as it is getting stale because of lack of updates. What was more surprising was that the Humour Blog was nowhere to be seen and some other (irrelevant) pages are on their way up.

This does not makes sense to me considering the algorithm I feel Google follows.

Can anyone expain.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Who Am I?

Just visited Rajan's blog and feel that my problem is also similar. I am having a lot of trouble describing people what a blogger is. The trouble is many of them don't even use the internet, and even those who do feel that its no different from the usual web-surfing. I am left with telling things like ""You know, I mean... I write on the net" and many people even think of me as foolish as they comprehend that I am trying to present e-mailing in a complicated way. If anyone of you happen to come across an easy-to-explain definition of blogging/blogger, please tell me. I will be more than thankful.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Out of Business

I stepped down of the cycle-rickshaw at IIT Kharagpur Railway Station on Wednesday to go back to me home in Bhopal. I had two luggages with me. One was a backpack and the other a big suitcase. As I laboriously loaded the backpack onto my shoulder, a coolie came near me and asked whether I needed any help. A smile beamed on my face as I pulled the handle from underneath the suitcase and demonstrated the free wheeling motion of my strolley. Seeing me walk past proudly by him, he commented:

"अगर ये सब आप करने लगेंगे तो हम क्या करेंगे?"

("If you start doing all these things, what will we people do?".)

PS: I wonder why it's called strolley. Is it because it is combination of a suitcase and a trolley?

Bedtime Story

Every night as I lay down in my bed to go to sleep, I make it a point to look outside the window from its upper left corner. From the clearing of the trees, comes a bright white light. Though the size of a twentieth of a moon, the aura of the brightness equals that of the full moon. It has a special place in my heart. Just as a full moon reminds a lover of his beloved, it reminds me of my childhood love, the IITs.

The bright light that shines at the top of the tower of the Institute's Main Building has a lot of symbolic value for me. When I am lying peacefully in my bed with the lights turned off, it shines singularly in the desert of darkness. It takes me back to those days in my school life when my only aim was to clear JEE. It reminds me of the single-minded devotion I had for my studies, and even today I draw inspiration from it.

I wonder how many people have the privilege of this view and how many actually attach it so much value as I do. Fortunately for me, this privilege is not a nuisance. Just by shifting my position marginally in bed, I can go again to the state where my mind and my vision go blank, singing me a lullaby. On such occasions, I often remember the rhymes from my early school days as I go into the arms of sleep.

"This little guiding light of mine,
I'm going to let it shine.
Let it shine, let it shine,
All the time, let it shine."

Thursday, November 24, 2005

'A' for Apple

Overheard a man screaming on his cellphone:

"I......I for iPod".

Would the Apple Corp consider this as their new slogan:

'A' for Apple,
'I' for iPod.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Defect-free Wife

Everyone wants a defect free wife, and so do I.

A defect-free wife for me would be:

1) Non-alcoholic...
2) Non-smoker...
3) Non-vegetarian...

Hope you understand what I mean...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

What Kind Of Blogger Am I?

Quick and snappy.

You make your own rules and boldly go where no one
has gone before. Some may think you are
arrogant and even rude, while others admire
your keen observations. Not that you really

What kind of blogger are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Sunday, November 06, 2005

To Tell Or Not To Tell

Those who know me personally know that I am an athiest, and this in fact is true. I find it surprising how so many educated poeple still believe that there is God. But this is not the issue I want to debate now, and to avoid coflict, I respect their wish by making the 'G' capital in the word God. But there is something I have been unable to decide since long time.

My parents believe in God. They taught me a lot about God, our religion, the rites and the rituals. But over time, I grew up and realized the truth (Atleast I believe that its the truth) that there is no God. Since then, I have taken part in the religious ceremonies only for their pleasure. But I don't mind it much as being a Hindu doesn't bind one with much to do. Had I been a Muslim or Christian, I would have to go to Mosques/Churches ever so often against my wish that I would have start planning for a revolt. But for me, thankfully, it translates to a couple of Pujas in the whole year, and a few days in which I am not allowed to eat non-vegetarian food.

I don't care if my wife would be religious or an infidel like me. But anyway, for the sake of compatibility, I would prefer her to be a Hindu by birth. I am sure we would be able to find a middle path if conflicts arise. But what has been bothering me for a while is that what will I be telling my children about God. Should I tell them there is no God, or adopt the same technique used by my parents. If I choose the latter, I run the risk of being a hypocrite as I don't practise what I plan to preach. But for children's point of view, the former should be avoided.

This is because in many places, it becomes very easy for parents to answer questions if we take the help of God. Be it a question like where people go after dying or how children are born, it is very convenient to use God as a solution and many times plead ignorance by saying that we are still very small and unable to understand the working of God. Many a times, the hope that God is there keeps us going and it is essential that we encourage our children to move ahead. Though I want my children to realize the truth as I did about God, I am still unsure how to go about explaining them about God in their early childhood. Things would be easier if my wife turned out to be a religious person, but my greatest fear is that she might as well turn out to be one like me. I may be one of the very few athiest who want a theist as a wife.

Can anyone help me with this?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Another Travel Diary

I spent the past few days traveling to my Mamaji's place, both in Tatanagar and Dhanbad. The journey has a sorry start. I was supposed to board the Steel Express that arrives at 7:20 pm. So on last Friday's night, in order to reach by 7 pm, I took a rickshaw at 6:30 pm. On the way to the railway station, I noticed something odd; that no vehicles are coming from the opposite side. It was a strange feeling, but I don't know how I noticed this and actually chose to ignore this as coincidence. But I noticed the reason very soon. When I reached the railway crossing, I found that there was a train standing across the railway crossing. This was again strange as I had never seen this before. I dodn't remember any signal just after the crossing, and I would regard it a folly of the engineers if this were the case. But soon, the red-light thoery was dismissed. People started coming looking for something with torch-lights. Now I proposed a new thory.....A chain pull. But alas, even this was not true. When they zeroed in onto a place, instead of climbing the train and catching the culprit (who, if existant, must have already fled), they started seeing under the tracks. A few more people joined in. One of them came back to tell that a scooter-rider has been hit by the train and has died.

That the crossing was manned should not create stirrings in your mind. There is hardly anyone who abides by the dropped level-crossing bars by his own choice. All the vehicles, including bicycles, rickshaws, scooters, etc., use their flexibility to create a mockery of the crossing. Even I do it, though only after being triply conscious. But anyway, someone had been in hurry to have missed noticing the incoming train. From what I gained from eye-witness account (they spoke in Bangla, and I understand it in parts), the man's scooter got shut down on the crossing, and the man tried to start it instead of steering it to safety first. The man managed to get the scooter going, but the train was also quick to knock him off. I couldn't help blaming the IIT authorites who have for some mysterious reasons, kept the joint project with the railways of creating an over-bridge over the said crossing in back-burner for years.

Coming back to the story, I waited for the train to start again as it was not possible to cross the level-crossing on the rickshaw. But then people told that this is not going to finish off quick. There will be a police enquiry and only after it will the train move. This all will take close to half-an-hour. I was undecided whether to believe their speculations or not. But within a few minutes I realized that I better do something quick as time was running out. I gave a 5 rupee note to the rickshaw-wallah and crossed the crossing by going over the train. I had a few moments of panic when I was aboard the train. After managing to board the train and before I got to the other side, the train gave a whistle, prompting people to board the train from where I was supposed to get down. The big shoulder bag I had added to my misery by restricting free movement. I panicked as I knew that if the train started going, there is no chance that I can get off it before the next station, which will surely mean two things: Missing the train to Tatanagar, and a hefty penalty. Fortunately nothing happened and I crossed over to the other side without any problem (as if this was not enough). On the other side, I took another rickshaw to the railway-station, and I realized that I got it just in time as on reaching the railway station, the Steel Express entered the platform with me.

I spent the next day at Tatanagar with my eldest uncle (Mamaji) and his family. My grandmother was also bed-ridden owing to a fractured hip. After spending the Saturday and the morning of the Sunday, I took Swarnarakha Express to go to Dhanbad. On the day I was to travel, my uncle gave me a suggestion. That instead of taking the train to Dhanbad, I should get down at a station called Patherdih. The reason he gave for it was quite interesting.

Not long back, the said train travelled from Tatanagar to Dhanbad going through Patherdih and then Jharia before going to Dhanbad. Then happened the great fires of the underground that have been raging even till today. That led to a sinking of the section around Jharia as the coal under it gave way. Since then, the train has been retained to run till Dhanbad, but from Patherdih onwards it now takes an alternate route by going around Jharia. This means that the train has to change direction and now the situation is that while the journey can be completed in under 45 minutes if we take a Auto-rickshaw from Patherdih, it takes almost one and half hours to complete the journey if we continue to stay in the train. This translates to a near complete emptying of the train in Patherdih. This is a chain reaction as a more empty train means a greater chance of incidents like robbery and this prompts even more people to leave the train.

So even I unboarded the train to get into a crowded tracker (I believe its called so) to my Mamaji's place. That the tracker was crowded looks like an understatement to me. Though designed to hold eight people (including the driver), it moved with 15 people on board. And this even with the condition that the roof was so low that it was impossible to stand upright.

I spent the next few days in Dhanbad (upto 2nd November). I don't play with crackers as I have a history of smoke-related problem since the Diwali of 2000. But anyway, this never came into picture owing to the tight schedule of pujas. We had a Laxmi puja at home from 7 pm to around 8 pm. After that we took a cab to reach the shop where we had a Puja from 9 pm to around 10 pm. After that, we went to a nearby Kali temple to have a darshan and bhog and by the time we reached home, it was already midnight. I came back the next day from the usual passenger train to Adra followed by Rupashi Bangla Express to Kharagpur.

Help Me

Urgent help is needed by me.

A friend of mine is getting married. This is the first time I am planning to buy some gifts from my own side for someone's marriage as she is the first in my friends' circle to get married. Till now this was done by my parents, but now as this does not concern them, I will have to go on my own.

Had it been for friendship day, etc., things would have been easier. But I have reasons to believe that wedding gifts should be different. As I am planning to send the gift by mail (as I will not be able to attend the wedding owing to exams), the gift should be light too. My budget is upto Rs. 500/-.

Please send in your suggestions as soon as possible as I will be shopping for it the coming week. Her marriage is by the end of this month.

Me? A Spend-thrift!

My mobile says so. Over the past 2 months, I have managed to spend Rs. 1800 from my mobile and will be forced to live with Rs. 300 for the next 4 months as I have no plans to recharge before the due date.

Thanks to my over-sympathetic attitude towards my friends and family members, whom I chose to remain in contact with by calling again and again, and choosing to take incoming calls while roaming, I now face the crunch. For the first time in my life, I am feeling the guilt of being a spend-thrift. But as always, I have managed to find scape-goats. This time they are my wing-mates. And to prove my point, I have the figures too. And after calculating, I found that of that Rs. 1800, Rs 600 was spent by my wing-mates. I still haven't decided whether I should withdraw the concession I give them (A call for which I charge Rs. 2 actually costs me Rs. 2.29). Maybe I will have to if the situation doesn't change. And maybe, the situation will never change if we start believeing the Freakonomics!

Correlation and Causation

Coming back after a long time, as I went to visit my uncle place for Diwali's. And I have a few blogs to write.

Let's start from the very beginning. Before going on vaccations, news came around that the IIT Kharagpur authorities are unhappy over a piece of article that came up in the students' newsletter (Scholar's Avenue). The issue concerned contained an explosive article about the sorry state of affairs in IIT Kharagpur's Hospital (I will not link this article now as I might as well be brought into the perview of board if I dare to do so). Apparently an executive took the case as a hint of corruption against him as the article indicated rampant corruption in the hospital. The issue was taken so seriously that there were news of disciplinary actions against the students who were behind that article and even a top student representative. The blog-mirror of the magazine was made offline and the angry officials even took off the gymkhana website, the Kshitij website and Spring Fest website offline.

While the authenticity of the news was investigated, it was found that all the news (by themselves) were though correct, they were not causation of the main event. The news till taking off the blog-mirror was found to be a direct cause of the article, the rest was not a related news. Apparently, during the same time, a hacker broke into a webpage of IIT Kharagpur (maintained by students) exploiting some security vulnerabilities, and posted some anti-pakistani comments. The authorities got alert and decided to take all student managed pages offline until the possible security flaws were patched. So this wasn't a case of causation but just correlation.

P.S.: I know that this isn't correlation but coincidence. Anyway, till the message goes to the audience, I don't mind such errors.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


A post after a long while.....I was unable to post for the last few days as I went home and the modem there committed suicide!

Anyways, back in business now in Kharagpur, I have a few things to cheer about. And one of my favourites is the Monkai story.

For the uninitiated, Monkai da is R.P. Hall's fruit-seller. And in addition to the fruits, he is also supposed to sell all other edible stuff like chips, chocolates, biscuits, etc. But what is probable and plausibe for us need not be for the greater good of humanity. This exactly was his opinion about his shop. All the fruit-sellers all over the campus keep a huge variety of eatables and make enough profit. But he somehow chose the divine path.

He decided that it will be better if he did not keep many things, kept them as shabby and old as possible and behaved badly with the students. For this purpose he chose to keep the shop open as less as possible (lest some students come in to buy something), and keep the shop as empty as possible. On entering his shop, what one can expect to find are a month old oranges, a few packets of mixture, a few biscuits of local companies and a few other 'profitable things'. These 'profitable things' include mixture, chikki, and a few types of biscuits. I choose to refer them as 'profitable things' as his perception of profit was to sell things as expensive as possible. As he had little say in goods marked with M.R.P., he chose to sell most of his goods loose at a premium price. What gets sold for Rs. 4 just anywhere else in the world, he would price at Rs. 10, sometimes even Rs. 15! But if some of my friends are to be believed, his ultimate motive was far more complex that earlier thought. There is a very famous true story in this reagrd.

Once, a friend of mine went to the shop to buy some chikki (one of the rare things that he sold that actually found buyers). This annoyed Monkai so much that he said: "What is this? Every time I bring chikki, you people come and finish it (by buying them). This won't do. I am not bringing them from this time onwards". I request any person in the whole blogoshere who understood the philosoply behind this message to please enlighten me.

Anyways, the story went on with a few twists and turns. Those one-off incidents involved a thrashing from the Warden to improve (timing and quality), and one incident in which a student stole his diary in which he kept records of dues from students. The whole story took a new turn this September when the G. Sec. (Mess) took an initiative to give him an ultimatum. He was presented with a long list of items that he had to keep in stock as well as strict timings that were to be adhered to. Everyone knew instantly that this is the end of Monkai. Although the list wasn't very extravagant (most hall's fruit shop even sell more), we knew that Monkai couldn't make it. To add to his misery, a register was kept to record any breach of the ultimatum. Not to much surprise, he faltered. Remembering the list brings into my memory another incident.

My friend Vikas Chandan once visited my hall and decided to buy a Dairy Milk Chocolate. Although Suman warned against it, he reasoned: "How bad can it be?", and went ahead for the purchase. Inside the shop, he couldn't locate any chocolate. Upon asking for it, Monkai took out a bar from an obscure corner. Vikas asked: "Why don't you keep it in display? That way it will sell more." To this he replied: "Its my shop. I will decide where to keep which thing." Vikas was silenced. And eating that was the worst thing Vikas could have done then. It was lumpy and sticky mass that was a duplicate for sure.

Coming back to the story (as well as from home), I was pleasantly surprised by a notice inviting tendors for fruit-shop and informing that a one month notice have been given to Monkai to clear the shop. The RPians couldn't have asked for a better Durga Puja gift.

Friday, October 07, 2005

What Dessert Am I?

Take the quiz: "What dessert are you"

You are a cupcake! Innocent and sweet more than every one else.
Everyone loves someone like you!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

"Women empowerment" or "Empowered by women"

Today began as an ordinary day of my life. But the only thing ordinary was the beginning. I woke up at quarter to eight as the first class was from 8:30am. But even as I stepped outside the room, Roshan (my wingmate) asked whether there is any class today.

All the sleep left in my eyes vanished by the prospect of this news. How's it possible? There isn't any declared holiday today. And it isn't either raining (let alone cats and dogs). Then why on earth will IIT take a day off. To this he told that CPI(M) cadres have gheraoed the main gate and are not allowing anyone inside. The people who had classes from 7:30am had returned without even crossing the gate. I dimly recollected that yesterday I had read an article about "Mother of all strikes" to hit India in the coming days. I didn't cared to see it was this near and that the IIT would be affected. I also remembered how some two years ago, the Trinmul cadres tried to do a similar thing but their attemts were immediately countered by the security of the IIT Kharagpur and it was a failure. Classes started as usual, though 10 minutes late. Nothing more. Period.

But this time the story is a bit different. I knew that CPI(M) is in power now, but still I didn't believed that such a thing can happen at IIT. Afterall, the IIT has its own security system. Then I noticed that even inside my hostel, I could hear the loudspeakers honking the CPI(M) tunes. After having the breakfast, I and Suman decided to go and check for ourselves whether is there any chance of the bandh lifting in near future. But even before we crossed the foyer, the returning people convinced us that there is no use going as there are hundreds of women staging a dharna at the main gate itself making it impossible to to through. Hearing this Suman chuckled. He started praising the homework the CPI(M) people have put into this strike. Based on past experience, they knew that they have to have innovative strategy to make the bandh successful. If they brought men for dharnas, they would be dealt strongly with the police. So they brought women for dharnas. The IIT police was unable to resolve this issue as it does not have the power to use force on women. They will have to wait till lady constables come from Midnapore district to set things right, and this would take time. It did, and the crowd was cleared only around 9:30am.

We had a class at 10:30am, but found that the classrooms haven't been opened yet. The same went for the afternoon class also as the department employees failed to turn up. Hence, it turned out to be a off-day, something that I hadn't seen in IIT in the last four years of my study.

Using the free time to my great advantage, I finished reading "Freakonomics" by Steven D. Lewitt. As the title suggest, it is about the freaky ideas of a rogue economist who explored the hidden side of everything (well, "some" things). The topics include "Why Do Drug Dealers Still Live with Their Moms?", "How Is the Ku Klux Klan Like a Group of Real-Estate Agents?", "Which is more dangerous: A gun or a swimming pool?", etc. I would rate the book as a must read for all who haven't read "The History of Salt". Not because this book deals with it, but because who have read it will be looking for a central theme, which this book does not have. But one question that this book leaves unanswered is that how can a begger afford a $50 headphone.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Nerdier Than I Thought

Just took the Nerd-Test.

Yes....In the middle of my Mid-semester exams.

Here are the results.....

Your(i.e. my) Score Summary

I am nerdier than 86% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Overall, you scored as follows:

14% scored higher (more nerdy), and
86% scored lower (less nerdy).

What does this mean? Your nerdiness is:

High-Level Nerd. You are definitely *IT material, apply now!!!.
(Guess what the * above means :D)

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Chicken Soup For The Vegetarian Soul

Yesterday night I was caught in a dilemma. Not a mathematical dilemma (i.e. a lemma that proves two results), but a moral one. I would have prefered to call it confusion, but its fashionable to refer things as dilemma.

Anyway, the point was that Ankit Sinha, my wingmate, had asked me to invite him for eating Maggi whenever I cook next as he was not satisfied with the Carlos' Vegetable Atta Maggi preparation. Now since I didn't reply then, it was understood that silence is accent.

But this was unacceptable for me. How can I share my beloved Atta Maggi with anyone. The pack is carefully made to satisfy the hunger and taste of just one individual. Sharing any part of it would mean deviating from salvation. So I had to find a way out.

I looked at my armory. The only hope for me was the Knorr Chicken Soup Powder, the only thing I could have made that day without having the guilt of not inviting him for a feast. For those still confused, he is a vegetarian. But I desparately wanted to eat Maggi. I came up with a solution that was the most hypocritical meal I ever ate.

In water enough to cook one pack of Vegetable Atta Maggi, I added a spoonful of the soup powder. Then I went ahead with making the preparation as I would have usually done. And to my surprise, it was a good decision. The Maggi tasted better than before. And I have decided to stick to this recipe from now on.

Ankit Sinha nikat nahi aave,
chicken soup jab maggi mein aave.

And why not, maybe later I will do reverse engineering. Again, don't go by my verbal meaning. What I mean to say is that I will add a few strands of Maggi into the chicken soup and find out if it tastes any better.

Note: One piece of advice for starters. Start with more water. I ended up drying my Maggi due to the presence of Soup powder.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

On The Double

Today, during lunch hour, Prof. H.N. Mishra came to our mess to eat food with us. Not as an act of solidarity, but to fulfil his duty as a member of H.M.C. (or by whatever name it is called now). Now he made a surprise visit to inspect the quality of food. I didn't knew why he came today sacrifising his Sunday lunch, but my best bet is knowing that R.P. Hall serves special food on Sunday lunch, it is best to inspect it then.

While testing a computer programme, we try to see if it works for the special cases. Because if it does, it must also work for the usual cases. That being a Professor in Agricultural and Food Engineering Department gives this wisdom I wasn't sure until I saw it today.

If they can make good food for special occasions, they must be successful in making it for usual occasions. But unfortunately, R.P. Hall had a different platter for him. For the past few weeks, the special meal have beed shifted to Sunday dinner instead of Sunday lunch. So he was forced to rate the R.P. Mess food on a scale different than he had initially planned.

Anyway, my eyes followed all his movements. First, he commented on the Cereal (dal) and Sambhar bowls kept on the ground. Though I couldn't hear him, he must have said that they should not be placed on the floor as it has a chance of contamination.

"Please try our mess food...Please try our mess food...", I was continuously praying. My prayers were heard. Though with a grim face, he took a bit of everything on his plate and proceeded to eat at one corner of the table with Jyotendra Pallab (I hope the spelling is correct), the General Secretary (Mess) of R.P. Hall.

As soon as he sat, he realized he had no spoon. Noticing this, Pallab waved to Gopal da. Never before had I seen him run. Reminded me of the person he must have been in his early twenties. After making a running stroll across the mess, he presented the professor with a spoon.

He took a bit of curd on his spoon and tasted it with sufficient alert as he was having the job of a poison taster. He tried other dishes as well, but the gloom on his face didn't fade. He took some rice and was marvelled on how lumpy could rice be made. He tried it also but was not humoured. He called for roti and again Gopal da ran into the kitchen to fetch a roti. Maybe for water, Pratap da had to run. Here again, I must admit, that I had never seen him run. He called the assistant mess manager and told him his observations which he noted on his pad. He shook his head many times pointing to the various dishes he ate. Then he stood up and began to leave. He hadn't sat to eat for even 5 minutes and even for 3 minutes out of that, he was talking to either Pallab or the asst. mess manager.

Now the funny part. Even as he was leaving, I saw him (yes, Prof. Mishra) walk pretty fast (almost running). No offence to him but I feel that he had to reach home soon to tell his wife to make some lunch.

"Kuchh bhi banao. R.P. se accha hi hoga.(Make anything. It will be better than R.P. food)", I imagined him telling his wife and couldn't resist the smile. It is rare that I smile from the bottom of my heart while eating something like this. I knew I had to blog it.

बातें भूल जाती हैं।
यादें याद आती हैं।

"Baatein bhool jaati hain....
Yaadein, yaad aati hain...."

Caught in the Act

This morning I decided to sell the pile of old newspapers to the junk-seller (raddiwalla) that came doing rounds asking for "Purana Paper". Before going on with the routine measurement, I enquired the prevalent rate in the market. He said, "Rs. 4.50". I wondered how he was able to offer such high rate when I remember the one going on in my hometown varies from Rs. 3~3.50. As it is better, I decided not to bargain.

"Take the pile and go ahead with the weighing", I ordered.

He took the massive pile out of my room, which must have been 8 kilograms atleast. Then he took out his pan balance and a 500 gm weight. I asked him why he didn't carry a 1 kg weight. He told that his carry bag would tear apart on being subjected to 1 kg weight. But I knew the answer. They always go for smaller weights because they can put more paper on the other pan to show "just balanced" and then use that greater weight with the dead-weight already present to maximixe their profits. But this much cheating is allowed for them. I knew that if I went on to measure the actual weight of the dead-weight, it would be more than 500 gm. But I comforted myself on the plight of the poor man and chose to ignore.

The guy proceeded with the weighings. First he showed me his balance without any weights balanced and hence confirming a non-rigged balance. Then he proceeded to put the dead-weight in one and judiciously selecting a pile that was under 500 gms. He then took a little more newspaper into the pan to show almost exact balance. The pile looked like almost 800 gms, and it grew suspicion in my mind. Then I realized that when holding the rope, he was resting the side on his arm on the side of the scale to force it to look equal. I immediately understood his trick. But before I could say anything, he took off the newspapers off the pan.

"Stop! Stop!", I cried. "Take the measurement again". He though alarmed, kept wearing his innocent face and put the pile back on. "Why are you resting the side of your palm on the pan balance beam?", I enquired. A smile grew on his face and he put down his balance. After thinking a little, he said "Will you take Rs.30 for this pile?". I knew he had done his numbers.

"Why don't you measure it?", I enquired. He said, "I can't. Its not economically feasible for me to pay Rs. 4.50 per kg if I weigh."

"But I didn't fix the rate, you did", was my reply. "Its not possible....I won't weigh it....so how much would you pay for it", he continued.

"I am not selling if you won't weigh it. You may go.", I was quick to reply.

We argued for a while till he was hopeless. As he started packing his stuff, I put forward my final step: "So what's your final amount?"

I must say he had to think a lot. Being in the same business for atleast 5 years, he knew his mathematics pretty well. "Rs. 40", he called.

"Ok. Take it.", I replied.

He started taking it but the expression was not of any joy.

I knew I could have got a better deal by pressing further or going for some other raddiwalla, but harassing the poor had never been my idea of fun. Though I never give alms to the poor(?) beggers, I bargain less with the vegetable seller. I put a question mark after the word 'poor' because the tragedy of India is that an average begger earns more than a hard-working labourer in a construction site or a vegetable seller. As I can't do on to show my solidarity with the construction workers, I do it with the hard-working vegetable sellers. I know that even many of them resort to malpractices, I show compassion to only those whom I go regularly to buy and know as bona-fide merchants. I don't mind if someone says I am a poor bargainer because I knew I could have. And the sellers also sometimes show happiness by pushing a little dhania/adrak in addition to the vegetables free of cost, even without asking.

Long live humanity.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Test Blog

If you can read this, I have successfully blogged using the New Plug-in for Microsoft Word.

I don’t have much to write as I have already blogged a minute back.

Keep blogging.

Smart Talk

The day before yesterday, I was shaken out of ignorance by my next-door-neighbour. He informed me that Google has recently launched its messaging client, Google Talk. Looked like a fancy name to me. Why say talk when what you actually do is type. Anyway, being a Google-worshipper, it was my responsibility to download anything with the word Google in it. I opened the site to find the installation ready to be downloaded. I chose to ignore the blah-bhah written on the upper part of the page. I found that the installation file was 900kB. I didn't expect any better, but here was it. I knew downloading this file would take a lot of time (the condition in which I was in, every second counted and hence, 10 minute download would have killed me). Just then I remembered the mighty old DC++. I knew if I had found it, so would have many more people who are geeker and freaker than me. I turned on the client to find the download ready to be started. I pressed the PANIC button. The download didn't even take a second. The installation was a breeze. But the interface disappointed me. I wanted it to be flashier. But anyway, it was in working condition. The first thing I did was inviting everyone in my message list who had GMail ID. Then, to chat with my next-door-neighbour, I clicked his name's tab. A window appeared that said: Calling so-and-so....What the hell, Yahoo! was better in that, it need not attempt to call in order to start chatting. It was then I realized that using Google Talk, I could actually talk to people apart from regular chatting. The talk window appeared as I had clicked the right corner of the rectangle. And it was lot better than Skype. The best thing was the quality of sound. This software had an amazing feature of background noise reduction that was a lot better than others, if at all existed in them. I became a fan of it. For the next one day I saw the bubble growing as big as the Earth itself. Almost 30 people had been added to my list itself. And the funniest part was the plight of Yahoo! Messenger.

Almost 70 percent of those online on Yahoo! Messenger were advertising for Google Talk. Many of them had their GMail ID as well posted as status message. And I found out that same was the case with most people's message list. In one day I was aware of the features and drawbacks of the software. Here's what I had assimilated.

One of the key features missing in Google Talk is Emoticons support. I don't think that will be a big problem at all. The client can identify most of the common emoticons and displays them as Blue coloured bold-face text.

The second thing missing is attractive theme. At its current Vanilla theme, it is not at all pleasing to the eyes. Also, I feel that the message archive facility is not too good (I am not satisfied with the way it shows all past information in each of the chat windows). A categorized and separate view like Yahoo! Messenger would cerainly have helped. And why call it Google when you can't search for anything in your past history message records. Hopefully Google will sort out this problem soon.

When I was thinking about it, a new idea came to my mind. If they can archive text message, why not voice chat? As the voice chat works smoothly over the net, it must be consuming less than 2~3KBPS. With the practically free storage we have, I don't think anyone will mind the feature. Of course if you don't want it, you may turn it off. Sounds are something a man/woman cherishes more than text. Wouldn't it be better to be able to hear your last talk with your girlfriend or the directions your friend gave for reaching the party venue? I suppose it would.

I heard many people complain that it doesn't support sending SMSs to mobile phones or calling phone numbers as other providers do. I believe its just a matter of time before this thing gets added to the client.

When I was browsing through various critic's blogs on Google Talk, I was marvelled to find people explaining their theory on Google products yet to launch. These include Google OS (a distributed computing based OS more powerful than Windows and as bug free as Linux), Google Video Search (archive of old TV serials), Google acquiring miles of hi-speed cables, the Wi-fi's, etc. The good thing about rumours is that only time can tell whether they are correct or not. But I pray that they are. I pray for Google's success. Because it had a big hand in shaping what I am. And as one of our Professors pointed out:"You people should give a part of your salary to Google, for without it, you could not manage to pass out as engineers."

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Bottomline

I Am Lazy

The seriousness of this bottomline made me write it on the top, to always remind me of it.

Looking back, I see that the last worth-while blog I had written was way back on 6th August, about my birthday extravaganza. Since then, many new developments have taken place in my life. And I have been lazy enough to not document anything in my sweet personal diary. Before anything, let me count all the reasons I feel are quotable for my laziness.

1) My love for blogging.
Okay, this needs an explaination. I am addicted to a crazy phenomenon called blogging. And I am crazy about it. I have added some 30 odd blogs to my Sage list and read them throughout the day. I had decided that every day I will spend two hours blogging. And reading these alone (with creative inputs and redirects from various other blogs) takes about three hours of my daily schedule. This way, I am left with no time to spend with my diary.

2) My Professors
All of a sudden, the whole department seems to have realized that the fourth years haven't been getting any homework. So all of the Professors I take lectures from have started giving outrageously many assignments, volumes that will even make Hermione crying for mercy.

3) My extra-curriculars
As this is a story in itself, I will write a detailed description of it.
In the beginning of the semester, I was sure to carry on the fame I have accumulated on my swimming skills. But soon I realized it was not to be. Attributing to a host of factors including those mentioned above, for the first two weeks I managed to get my feet wet only twice. I knew the writing on the wall and decided not to renew my subscription. Suman had other plans and is currently cursing his wisdom. But since I cannot let my body laze around, I decided to run. Not like Forrest Gump, but in a more civilized way around the Scholar's Avenue. And since I am even more civilized than the rest of the civilization, I decided that I would rather jog. I found a wingmate (Nasir) and we decided to share the madness.

Again attributing to the factors that prevented me from swimming, and a few more pointless arguements, I sit here writing with having gone jogging only twice in the past week.

This hasn't been the only development in my life. I had a few memories worth remembering on this Raksha-Bandhan. Far away from being a Hallmark Holiday, it isn't even a holiday in IIT Kharagpur. I didn't get any Rakhi till the D-day, and got one only on the same day. It was my from Shipra Didi. I took it with me to the class as I planned to visit SN Hall after the Lab class. Even in the lab I tied Rakhi to Atanu and Aditya (Ok, tightened; not tied). Jena had already got me to tie one on him.

After the Lab, I went to SN Hall to get the Rakhi tied from Pallavi. She also tied one of hers on me. After the routine blessing, I went back. I had to catch the next day's train to Dhanbad, the Assansol Passenger which departed at 4:45 am. So I had to put an alarm of 3:30 am to reach on time.

Upon reaching the station, I enquired about the train timing, and was frustrated to know that the train actually leaves at 5:35 am, costing me an hour of sleep. But this brought me another worry. The information of the train timings were briefed to me by my Mamaji, who also told that I would be getting a connecting train from Adra to Bhaga. If he had done his arithematic based on the fact that the train starts at 4:45 am, I was sure to miss it. Fortunately, he didn't use any such methods to calculate it, and was sure of the arrival timing of the train at Bhaga. I reached Bhaga at around 11:30 am and home at around 12 noon.

Before going further, I want to document the reason for my visit. One fine day I get a call from my sisters, Nidhi and Iti, that they have bought Rakhis for me. But they aren't mailing it. If I want them, I should personally come over to Dhanbad and get them. This was blackmail, but I couldn't complain.

We spent days together doing nothing but masti. We (I and Ankur) returned by the Monday's Passenger to Adra followed by Rupashi Bangla Express. Fortunately for us, there wasn't any rush in the Express train that I had to bear while I was coming back last time.

There were more events. I designed the website for my Department's Society. And tried to make it as functional as possible. But since I am not too bright, Prof. C.S. Kumar said, "This definitely can be made better." And as a tribute to my effort, I put in the logo I had myself created as the official logo.(See left) As the official logo hasn't been finalized yet, all are welcome to come with suggestions of MES logo. But NO GEARS OR ROBOTS please!

Another event that happened was the freshers' intoduction of the department by MES. As I and Atanu are the only active members, we had to share almost all the responsibilities. Although it stated as a damp squib due to torrential rains, it was a success eventually. I will not go into the details as they I am saving them for the MES blog. We are planning many more events, and hopefully they will be organized well.

This seems enough for a single post. But in this I have proved one thing. Blogging this much is not a thing a lazy person can do. And hence,

I Am Not Lazy, I Am Just A Spoilt Youngster.

And this is the bottomline.

(N.B.: Incidently, this is my 50th post in my personal blogs section. i.e. leaving aside 193 posts in Humour blog and 68 posts in Serious blog.)

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Doomed for Hell

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you (Ambuj Saxena) to the Sixth Level of Hell - The City of Dis!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Low
Level 2 (Lustful)Very Low
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Low
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)High
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Very High
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very High
Level 7 (Violent)High
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Moderate
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Low

Take the Dante's Inferno Hell Test

Get ready for Blitzkreik...I have been compared to Hitler

As you read this, I am setting up the Fourth Reich in my wing. I have got another Hitler as my next door neighbour and I suspect there are more.

What Famous Leader Are You?
personality tests by similarminds.com

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Birthday Buoy

August the 2nd was my birthday. And it will continue to remain so until they do something creepy with the Gregorian Calendar. After that I may have to celebrate it in July or September depending on which way they shift. But I am not going to worry about it until I am forced to. At this moment, I am forced to worry about bigger issues like whether I should be studying or blogging. Apparently I have found a solution. But I won't tell you.

I remember my birthdays used to be very routine till I was in school. Only the faces who turned up and sung : "Happy Birthday To You..." changed but everything else including the menu of the birthday would remain same. I know that my mother will kill me for this as she makes sure that the menu is different everytime, but anyway, since the choice of birthday dishes is limited to 8 dishes with 3 dishes being cooked everytime, repititions are bound to occur every third year. Given the fact that I have a poor memory and I remember very less about my birthdays, and I can't recall any differnce among them. Of all the places I lived, I remember just one birthday celebrated there.

When things become routine, we crave for a change. so when in the first year in IIT Kharagpur, I wasn't hounded for by birthday by anyone, it was a welcome change. I was feeling a lot more human on that day. Though I didn't think much about it, in my sub-conscious mind, it was written in bold print that I love being human on my birthday. That I was no party boy made it simple for me to save myself from being hounded by people to give treats and GPLs.

For those not into any Indian Colleges, GPL refers to the phenomenon of kicking the butt of a person using all the force you can gather, doing it in a group big enough so that by the time you are finished giving GPLs, the guy on the receiving side (howsoever sturdy and with cushoined buttocks) is also finished.

I have never been able to keep terms with either GPLs or treats. The people who "ask" for treat and "declare" to wield GPL are usually the same, and I find them mentally ill. While there is no harm in giving treats, asking for them should never be practiced. Treats are usually asked when a person gets success in doing something big, which usually amounts to money. So no sooner does the person gets the money, he is hounded to part with it by giving lavish treats at the place the receiving group finds suitable. So the happiness comes at a cost.

On similar lines, GPLs are given to people when they are ecstatic. And no sooner than a person has got a reason to be happy, is he reduced to a limpig and weaning lump. This aptly looks to me as the pull down mentality of the masses. If you don't get success, scare the others from success by punishing them for it.

Coming back to my birthday stuff. Now my birthday was without any stuff for the next 3 years. In the second year, I was out to JBNSTS seminar where they presented me with a big chocolate cake and again sung the routine "Happy Birthday" song. There are two things I want to remind everyone are:
1) I hate cakes. One of the reasons I hate birthdays.
2) "Happy Birthday" song is routine. People should invent some other parallel song that can help breaking the monotony.

While these were not the reasons that gave me happiness, it was the fact that they remembered was plaudible (Note that they use softwares for reminding). Even more heartening was the fact that they sent another cake for Ankur. A very interesting thing also happened. To those not inside my friends circle, I should tell that another JBNSTS scholar was Anita V, who because of a few unfortunate events that took place in the first year was mad at my brother Ankur. And she used some law that looked to me like the Principle of Mathematical Indcution from the Cretaceous Era into proving that I am the Ankur. Neither did she sung out of compulsion, she even refused to eat the birthday cake for some vague reason. I wasn't humoured by this. While we were returning back, I made her hold Ankur's cake for a while when I loaded the other baggage in the taxi. She gave me a look of disgust similar to what Mukta gave when she spotted her Lizzy. A small difference that Anita wasn't exactly afraid of the cake.

In the third year again, I managed to escape the public eye by keeping a low profile. Somehow, even very less friends and family members called me. The only thing I remember about that birthday is that I had a mini-treat in which I took along Suman and Hrishikesh and we had Chicken Biryani at Billoo's Restaurant.

This year there was a completely different story. I decided to go to sleep at 11:30 pm. But I was shaken out of the sub-conscious state I had reached by a call from Sarika at 12 midnight. Prateek called at 12:30 and I got an SMS from Chinmay Joshi at quarter to one. So I couldn't sleep before 1 am. And I woke up at six, giving me only five hours of sleep. Note that usually I sleep for about 7~8 hours everyday. I was pleasantly surprised by a note pasted on my door that said "Many Happy Returns Of The Day". It was though anonymous. Usually I would have teared such thing off in a second. But the fact that it was anonymous made me wait. I felt that until I acknowledge to the writer, I should not be tearing it. I left it dangling there.

Throughout the whole day, I kept on receiving calls and messages on orkut. I feel that orkut had a lot to do with such response that day as it keeps reminding of the birthdays and all. Eventhough I had no plans of it beforehand, I decided to give the whole wing a treat. I also decided to invite Addy to it. Here comes the differnce I talked about before in this post. Eventhough I decided to pay the bill all by myself, 4 more wing-mates suggested that they share the bill as they were unable to give any birthday treat owing to vaccations. It was eventually decided that I and Amiruddin share the amount between us. We had a great time during the treat at Little Sisters Restaurant. By mid-night, I had received over 40 birthday wishes. I realized that if such enriching and novel experience is what the birthday offers, I can start celebrating them again.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Supporting a cause

Steve Broback at the Blog Business Summit is doing an experiment on inbound links. So here is my link to his post on the Palace Hotel.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Rain Rain Go Away....And Come Agin After I Get My Umberella

Just back after a long weekend. Hoped it would never end. But bad times go and good time come. So tomorrow I will have to compulsarily wake up in the morning, have breakfast, bath and head for my classes.

Would any one of you believe that I wished that my last semester's result go bad! Surprising isn't it. But makes some sense to me. In the whole last semester, I had studied very little. Ask any friend of mine and surely they would say that whenever they came to visit me, I would be engrossed in my game of Pocket Tanks (a computer game for kids 3~10, but I am nuts about it). So with this, I expected to get a bad grade, open my eyes to reality and start studying again. But now, with such good grades, who wants to study more. Equipped with my knowledge of "Law of Diminishing Returns" (courtesy the 3rd semester Economics course), I know that studying any harder won't help much. So I am off to chasing my dream hobbies. But this semester, I find its Blogging (both reading and writing). I have just spent the last 4 hours reading the blogs and now, I am off writing mine (currently busy so : Do Not Disturb).

What surprises me most is that Pocket Tanks is no longer my game. I swear I tried it this semester also, but things won't just work the way they did the last semester. I find it hard even to play a single game, while the last semester wouldn't stop me from playing a dozen before saying:"Now this one's my last".

What more happened today is that I have started to go for swimming. And I am exactly where I was. Shaunak gave me a few more tips, but I assume that he assumed that I already knew swimming and I find myself incapable of even achieving the posture suggested, let alone the strokes.

And what happened more is that I have misplaced (I feel ashamed to admit that I might have lost!) my umbrella. And God isn't as much kind to me as Murphy is. You all guessed right. It rained while I was going to swimming. I and Suman decided to stop under a tree and wait for it to stop. But our guts had a different feeling - that it won't stop soon. And anyway, the angle of the rains was so oblique that the tree was no good. If you are surprised to find that eventually going to swim, so why care, I would admit that your worries are not unfounded, but given the past I sit upon I knew the better decision. Last year I did as you might be thinking and it wasn't much problem till I came out of the pool, dried myself and tried to wore that T-shirt.

For the first time in my life, I hated my own smell. The dried sweat when combines with a complete soaking doesn't cater to any olefactory whims. Anyway, a lesson learned the hard way.

So here was I again after my hopeless stint all set to wear that T-shirt. And well, psychology helps. Being prepared for much worse, I realized that it didn't smell that much and that I haven't sweated it in the first hand. So I came back home and had to immediately switch over to a back-up dress since I was programmed to do so by my parents.

Time came to go to the market. And to tell you, Dr. Murphy is very mean. It rained again and I had a hard time recollecting where I could have lost my pretty old umbrella. What was the last time I saw it.....hmm, looks like it was the Thermodynamics lab where I put it on the chair and then forgot about it.Well, let's check my theories tomorrow. I am more eager to see this theory through than any other theory I ever wrote in any exam.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Trip to Indore

A bit bored with the usual routine of life, I and Ankur decided to go to Indore for a couple of days. It was decided that we go on 11th morning and return on 12th night. As Akshat was busy with his training at Lupin Chemicals, he expressed his inability to come.

We set off at around 8 am and reached by about 1pm. We went directly to Kashyap's house to stay there. After spending considerable time there, we called up Shaunak and decided to go to his place. After bhatting for some more time, we went to Supriya's residence, from where we were escorted to SGSITS College. I had seen the college just once before in my life, so the escort was necessary. There we met many more people. They included Shainesh Baheti, Babu Priyavrat, etc. We intended to meet Mohil Khare and Sulabh Jain also, but they weren't there. Ankur surprised Baachu by calling him from his sister's (Deepti Jain) mobile phone. But as he was sleeping, the dose wasn't that strong.

Then we went to Buddy's Cafe where we also met Charles and Aadil. Later we went back to Kashyap's place to sleep. The next day, we decided to go to a movie but as there wasn't any worth watching as well as unwatched by everyone else, the idea was dropped. We went to Chhappan Dukan with Kashyap and Shaunak and had our lunch there. After that we planned to go back to Bhopal. But Ankur also had plans to meet Urvashi before leaving. So, on way to the Bus Stand, we stopped at Celebrations to have coffee with her. Then we took another bus to get back home.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Just another day at JFWTC

This is how I would describe my typical day during my stay at Bangalore, a description of a weekday at work.

I woke up at 8am and got ready for going to JFWTC (GE). By the time I left, Vikas was already up, though sleepy-eyed. I reached the Whitefield bus stop by 8:45am and had to wait for approximately 5 minutes for a bus to Agrahara Gate, skipping 2 buses (a bus and a mini-bus) which were going to Kadagudi. I got on just in time as there were only 3 seats available and I was the second one to board the bus. The journey cost me 4 rupees. I had to walk from Agrahara Gate to ITPL Back Gate, a distance of approximately 200 metres. There again I had to wait for 5 minutes to get another bus to Vydehi Circle. This journey costs 2 rupees. I reached GE at about 9:15 am and had Masala Dosa for breakfast. It was necessary for me to eat as I desperately needed to get change of my Rs. 100 note.

Reaching my desk, I spent the next half an hour checking my mails. In the meanwhile I cursed IITKGP webmail for displaying those unnecessary "Disk Space Usage" that served no good and just made the process slow. There was a mail from Suman regarding his proposed Bangalore visit and about those boring gossip parties that he had to attend. Maintenance Systems had sent a mail that mentioned not working of e-mail sever during some time period in Sunday.

Then I started to do my work. As I had already finished my literature survey and made a word document with all the things added, I was just selecting the relevent portions to be added to the presentation. This went on till lunch time when at around 12:45pm the group decided to go for lunch. The food was like any other day's. All the four caterers, i.e. Griddle - I, Griddle - III, Harsha and Harsha - I served south indian dishes. Out of about a dozen dishes, I had no idea what 8 of them meant. The ones I knew included Plain Rice, Nimbu Pani, Dal Makhani and wow.....Chana Masala in Griddle - III.......lets eat there today.

After the lunch, we went back to our desks and re-checked our mailboxes. After another similar session and a few Calvin & Hobbes comic strips, I opened my work yet again. At around quarter to three, our manager, Mr. D. Uma Maheshwar came and told that he is planning to give me a slot of half an hour in the Friday's team meeting to present my work.

As soon as he left to his desk, I decided to go and play billiards in the recreation room. I had to wait for about 10 minutes before I could join a table. I played doubles with a GE employee and the opponents were IITM guys. "These guys don't seem to have any work. Whenever you visit the recreation room, you will find the lot there", I thought. I had moderate luck today. I won three of the four games played, but was unsatisfied as I missed a couple of easy shots as the stick I had was a lighter one.

I returned back to my desk at around 4pm. I continued the decoration of the presentation and things went on quite eventlessly till 6pm when we went for snacks. I preferrered Veg. Sandwich for snacks over Bonda Soup.

After snacks, I went back to my desk and started my journey back to Whitefield at around 6:45pm. Vivek and Sauvik told that they plan to stay back as Vivek had to go to the gym and Sauvik had to do documentation work. As I was coming back, I could see the clouds gathering that meant another rainfall in the coming one hour.

I got connecting buses from Vydehi to O-Form to Whitefield and was in my room by about 5 minutes past 7. I rested till 8pm when I went for dinner at Mayuri Sagar. I had Egg Curry with 5 Rotis. By the time I was done, the rain had started. All the others were back at around 10:15pm after having their dinner. I always went to eat earlier as at 8pm, I had choice of more dishes as well the serving was quick. If I were to go at 10pm, most of the good dishes will get finished and I would have to fill my stomach with what's available. Also it would take a lot more time.

I went to sleep at around 11:30pm after having another Bhaat session with the group.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Trip back home

I started my journey back to home on 25th June, Saturday. I reached the airport at approximately 2 pm and the Jet Airways flight I had to catch was from 3:45 pm. But reaching there I found that the flight has got even more delayed and will now be leaving at 4:45. I nad no choice but to wait for the flight. The flight eventually took off at 5 pm and I was apprehensive that I might miss the connecting flight from Mumbai. The whole journey was tensed and every minute that went past made me feel more uneasy. Only one thing was in favour of me that I had booked my tickets and luggage as connecting to the next flight and had even got my next flight's boarding pass. When the flight eventually arrived in Mumbai, it was already 5 minutes past the time of departure of the previous flight. My hart sank. But there was a surprise waiting. An on-flight announcement said that all the passengers who are on board and going to Ahmedabad, Bhopal and Indore should report to the ground staff on getting down.

YES! I knew I will be saved. On getting down, I found that a Jet official is anxiously looking for passengers asking "Ahmedabad? Bhopal?". I told him "Bhopal" and he made me stand aside while the others unboarded the flight. As soon as everyone was out, he started searching for a vehicle to get us on board. He got a bus emptied and the five of us were taken to the next flight. As I had not been security checked, my Boarding pass did not had a security stamp. An official just made a vague seal with pen that said "Security Check". I boarded the next flight after being just 5 minutes on ground.

The next journey went quite eventlessly except for the fact that the food was worse than I had ever eaten on Jet. It looked as though they have changed the caterer to Indian Airlines one. The gentleman sitting next to me had already got his son sitting in the window seat that acually belonged to me. I gladly accepted the aisle seat as I felt that the kid appreciated the window seat more than I would. I reached Bhopal at dot 8 pm, just 3 hours after taking off from Bangalore.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Photos In JFWTC

With buddy Puneet and Vivek
The Cafeteria
Again Myself

The Whole Group
With Vivek And Sauvik
A Beautiful Flower (courtesy Aditee)
The Garden Besides Phase III

Elfun Tour

On the 18th of June (Saturday), GE organized an Elfun Tour (Elfun: Electrical Funds; a voluntary organization of GE employees) for the summer interns. I went with Vivek and Sauvik. Vikas and Prashant didn't come, as they were busy with preparing slides for their presentations. Navjot, as usual, was missing in action.

I reached early and played pool till the journey commenced. One batch (ours) went to a primary school, while the other went to a blind home. We took a GE bus and reached the spot, which incidently was on the shortcut, we take while walking to GE by foot.

The school was a very small one with classes up to 7th standard. We split into groups and distributed sweets and bananas to the children. Then we visited a site where the Elfun volunteers had previously planted trees. Too bad the cows ate them all up as they were not protected with fences.

After this we returned to JFWTC to spend the rest of the day by our own wish.

Monday, June 13, 2005

All's Well That Ends Well

The weekend of 11th and 12th June was again very exciting. On 11th we planned to go to the movie "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" with Animesh, Dipayan and others. But from our group, we could only convince Sauvik and Navjot to come. The rest decided to go to GE. So we all decided that we would go and attend the 4pm show. As we still had lot of time before the show starts, we all went to GE. On our way, we met an IITD guy doing internship at GE itself. On asking why he was coming on Saturday, he told that he came to watch movies. On enquiring further, he told that he saw streaming videos form musicmazaa.com. He also gave a proxy from which we could also check our GMail accounts. Before going to movie, I spent the time playing billiards.

We left at about 3 to Innovative Multiplex. Reaching there, we found that the rest of the people haven't arrived. On trying to contact Animesh, we found that he had switched off his mobile. There wasn't enough time to contact Dipayan. So we three decided to go in when just 5 minutes were remaining for the movie. The hall was overall good with 4 screens, but the screens were smaller than usual. The movie was a good action-comedy and was worth the Silver Class Ticket we bought for Rs. 100/-. Neither of the two other people turned up for the movie.

The movie got over at about 6pm, and then we decided to go back to GE. There we found that Vivek and Co. had already left. While Sauvik sweated out his Documentation Work, I took pains! to transfer all the good jokes from my GMail account to my Humour Blog. We started our journey back at around 9:30pm, but took a lot of time to get back as the buses were infrequent.

Reaching back home, we found none of the others in. Upon calling we came to know that they (Vivek and Vikas) went to Forum for window-shopping, while Thakur and Navjot went to meet their seniors at IIM and won't be back for the day.

The next day, myself, Vikas and Vivek decided to go to Bannerghatta National Park with Navjot and Prashant to join us on reaching there. Since it was a long journey and we had other plans after that, we decided to take Bus Passes. One such pass costs Rs.25/- and is valid throughout the day in all State Transport Buses. We decided to take a bus to Majestic and change for Bannerghatta. But on the Majestic Bus Stand we found that the bus is infrequent and none had come for the past one hour. Fortunately a bus came and people jumped in to fill it in seconds. Only I managed to get a seat while the Vikas and Vixy had to stand. They go a seat after approximately one hour. We reached Bannerghatta to find that it is a lot crowded place. We first decided to have lunch at a restaurant called "Mayuri Vanashree Restaurant". The service there was very poor and the order took a lot of time to be delivered. We also came to know that Navjot and Prashant would not be joining us as that place is very far away from where they were. We wasted 1 hour there and only after 3pm were we able to actually venture into the Park. There was a Lion and Tiger Safari for Rs. 80/- and one with Bear, Zoo and others inclusive for Rs. 110/-. We decided to go for the later, i.e. Grand Safari. But on reaching the ticket counter, we found that the ticket sale is already closed, as there is a lot of crowd there. Two people, who spoke only Kannada, approached us and apparently were trying to black market the tickets to the usual safari trip (the Rs. 80/- one). We thought that it is better to take the tickets if offered at some reasonable rates. We asked for the tickets, and they showed them. I saw that they had three tickets; each of them was for two people. I was caught in a dilemma whether it is justified to pay 100% more for the tickets. With a lot of apprehension, I asked them the price. They said: "300 total". I was ready to jump for the offer, when Vivek said, "But each ticket is Rs. 80/- one, so it should be Rs. 240/-". I said to myself, "Come on Vivek, they are blacking the tickets. What do you expect?” But to my surprise, they agreed. Now I was wondering whether they were Black Marketers at all!

We paid them the money and started to get in. But the security guard at the gate stopped us. He started arguing that these tickets are not valid, as the sale had already stopped. Now I knew what soup we are in and how we were duped. But again I was wrong. To my surprise, the people from whom we got the tickets came forward (instead of running away) and argued with the security guard, saying what looked like meant that they have exchanged (!) tickets. The security guard was not convinced and he fetched a lady officer. She was also not impressed by the tickets and I got ready to nab them if they try to flee. Eventually she turned us out and we got back our money from them. Not being able to go to Safari was a big setback for us after traveling 3 hours and a big let down. We got the usual Zoo tickets and got inside the zoo. We talked to the same lady officer and she told that the sale of tickets had been stopped, as there seems to be already enough people to last for the day. She convinced us that if we came back at around 4pm, she would herself search for the possibility of any more tickets being issued if the crowds subsided. We went about the zoo, though in a very bad mood, but still with a little hope. The zoo wasn't very well maintained and the animals seemed very distressed with their situation.

We reached the gates at around 4pm to look for her and found her standing outside the zoo. As the entry to the Safari was from inside the zoo, it looked a foolish idea to go out and talk to her. Soon she went out of sight in the crowd and we found her out standing at a lot more distance far from which it was not possible to call her. After spending 10 minutes thinking what to do, we decided to go out and meet her. She listened to us and again went to the last bus to enquire whether any seats are empty. Then she talked to many other people and finally got us three tickets for the Safari ride. We were delighted beyond our expression powers.

Inside the bus, we managed to find just three places and took our seats. The Safari went well with our viewing Deer, Bison, Bears, Lions, Tigers and White tigers, all roaming about our vehicle. In the apparently last stop, the White Tiger Safari, we stopped by a pond to see the tigers play in water, just near the bus. Then, as we decided to move out, we found that the bus won't start owing to problems in the Self. The guide informed us that it might take another one hour, as an empty bus has to be summoned to let us out. In the meanwhile, they tried many ways to start the bus. First they asked another bus to push it. But the Grills (meant for protection of the vehicle from attack of wild animals) were a deterrent. The grills collided first and it meant that they would yield first, followed by glasses before the bus actually gets going. Then a few people decided to get down and push the bus, but the risk involved was very much and this was also abandoned. After about half an hour after the beginning of the ordeal, an empty bus arrived on the spot. I knew it was safe to go out in the open (in full view of the wild beasts) as a few forest guards were coming to us, smiling and probably unarmed. We changed buses and left for the starting ground on full speed.

We got into a bus going to Kormangala. We changed over to another bus to Majestic in Adugodi and decided to go to Cubbon Park. On reaching there we found that the park is already closed for the day, as it was very late (nearly 7:30). We took a few photographs of the lightings in Vidhan Saudha. Then we proceeded towards the High Court opposite to it. In a nearby lane, we found that it was a small eat-out place. It was very quite and not very crowded making it ideal for enjoyment. We first took Sugarcane Juice and found it very good and took another serving. Then we had corncobs. We found a park nearby and walked in it blissfully for an hour.

Then we got in a bus to Shivaji Nagar. This bus stop was a lot better than Majestic as there was order and a lot of information displayed, in addition to an enquiry counter. We took a bus to Marathalli and there we changed another to Whitefield. We had our dinner at Bengali Mess (Mayuri was closed by then), and the food was very poor quality. Then we came back and slept, as we had to go to office the next day.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

A Weekend Worth Mentioning

The weekend of 4th and 5th of June was another one worth mentioning. We had a late start to the day with all of us waking at times that suited us best. Nobody was sure what to do that day, as there was a rift between whether we will stay in Bangalore and explore, or go out. Finally, I decided that I better go to meet Apoorva, whom I had promised to meet, but dared not call, as I couldn't find a way to meet her. So I called her and it was decided that we would meet in M.G. Road. The others decided to go to GE instead.

I left at around 4:30pm after considerable delay, as I waited at wrong place for the bus. I remember missing two buses due to this. After approximately half and hour, I realized my mistake and took the right bus (320F) to M.G. Road. It dropped me on the nearby road from where I crossed over to M.G. Road and waited for Apoorva. I had to wait for nearly 30 minutes before she came.

We first had coffee at Cafe Coffee Day and later pizza at Pizza Corner. Although the prices were insanely high at both places, the Coffees (at Rs. 30/-) were more value for money as they gave a very rich feeling. The pizza we had was a normal Non-vegetarian one but it cost us Rs.185/- for a regular sized one. The service was also very poor. We had to wait a lot for first giving the orders, then getting our order and later even to pay the bill. I began my return journey by 8:30pm.

On reaching back I found the rest of the guys have still not come. They came back very late by around 11 to 11:30pm. I found out that they dropped in the Mirchi Restaurant for their dinner and ate aplenty. Some of them also drank Vodka, as it was very cheap there.

The next day, Sauvik found that he has an upset stomach owing to his obscenely unhealthy diet. So he was grounded for the day. This crashed all the plans of visit to places like movie, Forum, etc. As Dipayan also had visitors, the trip to his place was also ruled out for this weekend. So at the end of lunch, everything was astray. I decided that today also I would have to manage by myself. I called Amogh and asked whether I can come to his place today. He was affirmative. So I quickly got dressed and left for Kormangala. I changed bus at Marathalli and reached Silk Board, which is near Kormangala. Amogh came on his two-wheeler and picked me up.

On reaching his home, I was greeted by his parents and his younger brother, Ashwin. They were very hospitable. Even though I said "No" for almost everything, the managed to feed me mangoes, salted nuts and Dosas before I went shopping with them across the city.

There also, they fed me ice creams, and after shopping for a while, we had our dinner at a place called "Halli Mane", which literally means "Village Restaurant". Although the place was full and packed to capacity, they decided to eat at that place only, and the reason was evident soon. The place had excellect food. For Rs. 25/-, we took a thali that had Cream of Tomato Soup, Chhole, Pulao, 2 Tandoori Rotis, Papad Chips, Salads, Curd Rice and a sweet. The quality was exceptionally good for such a mass scale production. After the food they dropped me at M.G. Road and I left it at the same time I did the day before. Reaching back, I found that they had no story to share as they all spent the time sleeping.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Mysore Revisited

After spending quite a lot of indistinguishably boring days at GE, Mummy and Papa visited me on 26th May (Friday) and they stayed for a weekend. They reached on Friday morning via a Jet Airways flight, but took more than an hour to reach Whitefield from Airport owing to a particularly rush traffic and a poor Taxi-driver. The journey to Whitefield cost them Rs. 200/-. After keeping their belongings in my room, they left for the market (M.G. Road) while I left for my office. But they were very much disappointed as well as frustrated by Bangalore weather as that day saw one of the most torrential rains of the seasons and that too during day time. And with the Traffic Jams accompanying this, it took them the whole day to get back home. I got them a room in Kothari Complex itself for Rs. 200/- per day, as they were very tired to go and search for another.

The next day we visited GE in the morning. I had a lot of problem getting them in as the security men wanted a confirmation from the reporting manager, who wasn't there. Later, we went to Mysore, with the bus leaving at 4pm. The journey cost us Rs. 103 per head. The journey was peaceful but took more than 4 hours. We were late for almost everything and had to call it a day. We took a hotel room in a hotel called "Rajdhani Group Of Hotels", which had very poor furnishing but insanely high prices as compared to the room's worth. But my parents thought it worth as they told it was better than the others visited.

The next morning we hired an Auto-rickshaw for Rs. 170 that was supposed to make a trip up to Chamundeshwari Hills and back, and drop us on the Palace. The hill was very steep up. The hill is considered one of the 8 holiest peaks in South India. On top is a temple of Chamundeshwari Devi. There were two ways of visiting the temple; one was free entry, and the other was a Rs. 10/- "Special Darshan Ticket". We took the special ticket to avoid wastage of time, but were disappointed to find equally long line there. The line didn't move for the first 20 minutes as the gates were closed. Then it opened for 10 minutes when a lot of people ahead of us were admitted but our turn didn't come. For another 30 minutes, we were waiting in vain. Then we became frustrated and decided to leave. But as soon as the decision was taken, the gates opened and we went ahead. After returning from the temple after yet another 20 minutes, we had an argument with the Driver as he expected us to be back in 30 minutes and we took one and half hour. We argued back telling him the ordeal. Then we briefly visited the Nandi temple and then went for the palace. It was a magnificent architecture and viewing it all took almost one and half hour more. After taking lunch, we went back to the hotel room to pack for our travel back.

We took a bus similar to the one already traveled in during the first journey and the bus left at approximately at 2:20pm. We reached Majestic Bus Stop by 6:30pm and fortunately got a bus for Whitefield within 10 minutes.

When we reached near HAL, it started raining heavily. The rains continued till we reached Satya Sai General Hospital and then miraculously, it stopped. We went to Chetan Lodge where we rented a Triple Room for Rs. 450/-. While we came back to eat at Mayuri Sagar, I took my official stuffs to Chetan Lodge so I can go directly to GE the next day.

Monday, May 16, 2005

This Is Heaven

One of best things I liked about living in Whitefield is the food here. Here I, along with many of my friends have done a mess contract with a restaurant named "Mayuri Sagar" which is located just around the Whitefield Main Bus Stop. Here are the details of the arrangements.

We have to pay Rs. 600/- advance for 30 meals. As it is 30 meals not thirty days, we may wish to eat anywhere else without any money getting lost. Taking an average, it is quite easy to see that it takes Rs. 20 per meal, which is very cheap as compared to Bangalore rates.

In the food, we have one sabji, a cup of dal (cereals) and the following options to choose from:

1) 5 Rotis
2) 3 Rotis and a bowl full of Rice
3) 3 Parathas
4) Veg Fried Rice
5) Egg Fried Rice
6) Chicken Fried Rice

The food we eat is chosen daily by us from the menu card of the restaurant; hence we are never forced to eat anything we don't want. Our selection range is the whole menu card sans two vegetarian dishes whose cost is shown to be Rs. 25/-. The ones we can choose are all vegetarian dishes (approximately 15 choices) that are shown to cost Rs. 15/- or Rs. 20/-. Also, we can take all egg dishes (all of them cost under Rs. 20/-) and two chicken dishes (although chicken is allowed once in two days).

Also the food is North Indian with excellent preparations. As we eat in the restaurant, we get to eat fresh and warm food every time.

The only problem we feel is that as we eat in the restaurant, we have to wait for approximately half an hour for the preparations. Also, we first had problem with the food being too spicy in the beginning, but now as he knows us, he makes less spicy food.

To me it feels,