Friday, December 30, 2005

Boys don't cry

Well they fight and cheat and fight and cheat and grunt too, especially when playing cricket. We used to have these cricket matches between the compound junta where I live in Nagpur and outsiders. Friends and their relations from all around had descended into the city for christmas. It was time to relive those moments that have defined the very men we are now. It was time to teach the younger ones a little bit of tradition so that they can pass it down the line. The teams were formed. As usual it was the compound against the outsiders. Rules were made as the game progressed. One run if it touches the roof out there, another one if it goes into the bush out there, no runs if it crosses this line and what about other places... well we'll decide as the game progresses. The objective is to win at any cost. You can cheat and cheat you must. If you get run out you can argue that it was actually a one run declared and that you were just running for kicks. You can ask for a third umpire decision. And you are free to choose that third umpire. You just have to use your imagination to come up with arguments and counter arguments along the way. Yelling frightens your opponents. Even if you don't have any valid argument you yell to add to the noise, while the brains of the team cook up something. Me... well I usually play without specs, which if my excuse for not being able to catch a fast moving ball. With specs there is no drastic improvement in my catching skills :-) but I usually play without specs and leave the rest to fate and my cheating teammates.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Oh Christmas tree

Reached Delhi/ Gurgaon around afternoon time. When Sonali opened the door she said I was stinking. Well I did not bathe for a week or so cause of the cold and since I was on a trek. During the trek I did not change my last set of clothes for about 3 days. What do you expect me to smell of, musk deer. Carol singing practice was going on at their place as Nikhil was tweaking their singing skills. After a royal bath I got ready for mass. Midnight mass was at a church in Gurgaon. The mass was both in Hindi and English. Nikhil sang some solo numbers. During some of the carols he played some heavy metal on the guitar :-) He also plays the violin and the synthesizer. Sonali told me that he has a grade 8 in violin. Grade 10 or so being the highest. He is very passionate about music. Reached home around 2 at night.

Hitchikers Guide to the Mountains

Day 0 - 19th Dec:
Bought the pending trek items from Delhi. Some woolens and trekking boots. The shoes are the most important thing. It needs to have a good soul :-) Almost missed the train, again. This time was at the wrong station :-) Managed to reach the other station well in advance and caught the Jammu Tawi train at night. Was travelling alone. Decided to make friends along the way. However a friends brother who I had not met before was also coming for the trek. So I would make atleast one new friend. Slept through the journey.

Day 1:Its cold, very very cold. Have to get down at Pathankot which is in Punjab. It arrived at around 8 in the morning. The buses in Pathankot had signs which warned people of unattended items which could be bombs. It also mentioned that you should look under your seat to make sure no one has left anything behind. It could be a bomb!!! Pathankot is a big military base. My mom later told me that someone told her that Pathankot is at the border where there is a lot of bombing :-) She then got all paranoid and stuff. I had switched my mobile off since it was running out of battery. She phoned a lot of my friends in bangalore who finally managed to allay her fears :-) From Pathankot I got on a bus to Dalhousie. Reached base camp around 12. Was supposed to arrive the previous day but I don't think I missed much as the actual trek had not started. Collected my sleeping bag and other essentials. Got acquainted with some of the folks at base camp. However since I arrived late I shared a room with trekkers who were to start a day after us. Met Raoul, my friends brother. Raoul is in his fifth year at BITS Pilani. At night we were forced to showcase our so called talents at the campfire. It was not an actual fire just a solitary candle burning in the middle. People sang, performed a skit, joked, made fools of themsleves and then it was my turn. Well I can't sing, can't tell jokes, can't errr... well I can dance. Oops... not alone..... I managed to pull up 4 other guys up with me, Raoul, Saurabh, Sandeep and Shobit, but since we were taking too long to decide the song we sat down :-) As I said I was not the only one, everyone was making a fool of themselves. Whatever it takes to break the ice I say, whatever it takes.

Day 2:
The sky was clear. It appeared like an artist's canvas, with subtle shades of blue and orange and yellow and purple. We packed our lunches. After a good breakfast we were off to our first destination, Kalatope. There were 50 people in our group which I felt was too large for a trek. It should be 10 max. Our group leader was a criminal lawyer practicing in Delhi. However as we moved along the group broke into smaller groups which maintained their respective paces. There were about 6 of us in our group. Raoul who is studying. Sandeep who is practicing law in Delhi. Doing stuff in IPR in addition to other fields. Saurabh from Baroda who is studying and working. Then Brahma from Hyderabad and Lakshmi from Bangalore. Both are working in IT. The first stretch was along the road which was not fun at all. So we decided to climb up the surrounding mountainside just for kicks. Lakshmi and Raoul led the pack. A few of them were a bit dangerous for me so I decided to be an observer. After our lunch break the route was more scenic without the tarred road. The path got a bit narrower where we had to go in a single file. Reached Kalatope around 3-4ish. It was to be the highest point in the trek. Well over 6000 feet above sea level which is not very high at all. Lakshmi Raoul and myself decided to take a short hike into the forest. We explored some alluring paths and came to a consensus that it would be nice if we could make the hike early morning with torches. So we made plans for the next morning and decided to go to this place where we got an amazing view of the sunset. There was also this whiff of grass in the air. It reminded me of the smell of grass you get at rock shows. Why you ask. I dunno maybe its the feeling since both made me a little high :-) The night sky was crystal clear. It was peppered with millions of shining dots. And as you looked toward the horizon you couldn't distinguish the stars from the lights sources from some houses way below. That night the temperature went below zero. It fell to about -4 at night.

Day 3:
The hike thinghy didn't happen. We and our big plans :-) Anyways after natures call in the wild and all that we were off to Khajjiar. This route was more like it. We were enveloped by thick forest cover for most of the trek. Our knees began to ache as they had to bare the brunt of the sudden uphill and downhill climbs. Along the way peoples imagination resurrected a black block of wood into a bear :-) Well we were trekking through bear land but it wasn't a bear. We broke for lunch after we crossed the first mountain. We ate along a stream in the valley. It was beautiful. Cold but wrm at the same time. One of the trekkers got bit by a scorpion. After a good lunch we were hungry for more. It was a tedious 1 1/2 hour climb uphill. We zig zagged through the never ending ascent. I began to perspire quite a bit but it felt cold. Finally panting we reached the top. Phew. The remaining path was smoother. We had another mountain to cross. At one point there was this tree which grew sideways out of the mountainside. Lakshmi was like,"Lets go". The gang carefully climbed onto the tree and I volunteered to capture their exploits. Finally we reached Khajjiar around 4ish where we descended into this huge open field, the size of 3-4 football fields. It was surrounded on all sides by tall pine trees. There were a few horses grazing in the field. And just sometime around then it started to snow. You could taste the soft flakes while they brushed against your face. It sure felt like heaven. After filling our tummies we proceeded towards the guesthouse. This time we decided to have a campfire, a real campfire. You know like with some real wood :-) I went in the woods to collect some twigs. I had the torch while the other guy carried the booty back. On the way down I missed my stepping and then clung on to a tree for dear life. Finally when I managed to put some light on the situation I realised I was just 2-3 feet above ground. But I could have sprained a few things. Two Navy guys told us about their encounter with a bear along the path. The were ahead of the pack and sometime after lunch realised that a bear was following them. It did so for about 20-30 mins. G.V. Bhushan who is a Commander in the Navy then told us about his Basic mountaineering course experience which he did when he was 19. Its a 20+ day course where at one point you are left in the jungle for 2 days. He said he was petrified as a guy of 21 years was killed by a bear sometime back during the training. A knife is more of a liability in the jungle he said. Its the fire and your survival skills that get you through it. At night there was some star gazing with a studing astronomer as a guide. The Navy guys told us that they would be leaving early next morning as they wanted to leave basecamp the same day. It was 22nd and I also wanted to be back in Delhi by 24th night for midnight mass. One by one members of our gang decided to join up with group leaving early.

Day 4:
Our small group started early in the morning. We could see the snow capped peaks in the distance. The scenery was covered in a blanket of blue mist. The path all along was downhill. We passed through a couple of villages in the mountains. There was no tree cover above us, just the rising sun. Saw some eagles at close range along the way. It was amazing to see them soar through the sky. At some places the surface had loose mud. It would not have been a path we would have taken, had it snowed. We met a lot of children in the small villages along the way. After some knee beating downhill stretches we reached Mangla. We broke for tea and then headed off to Chamba where we took a bus back to basecamp. The bus journey to Pathankot was cramped. The conductor who was sitting shot gun would go to collect the ticket money from people every now and then. At one point he had to go back by putting his footing on the seat rests. His feet didn't touch the ground :-) When we reached Pathankot we enjoyed a hearty dinner. Saurabh stayed back at Pathankot to catch another train later. The five of us then got on a train to Delhi that night.

Missed the bus

There is always a first time for everything. A time to do things for yourself. A time to do things for others. Some of them you know, some of them you don't. Some of them you like, some of them you don't. But in doing those things you know that in some magical way it will finally make you a little bit happier than before. So I guess its all about doing things for yourself.

Well there are also times in life when you know the outcome of certain actions, you would hope/wish otherwise, but you just know that if you didn't do it then at the end of the day you would regret it. And then there are times in life when you know the outcome of certain actions, but then what you would never hope or wish for happens, but you just know that if you didn't do it then at the end of the day you would regret it. You kinda get a sense of a deja-vu feeling when both happen in close proximity to each other. Not cause of the more than subtle similarities or differences, but maybe cause ultimately the feeling is the same.

Oh my God... What the hell am I yapping about. Ok I'll tell you about one incident. Well I was on my way to attend Ayush's wedding in Saharanpur. He has been my roomie for the past 4+ years in Bangalore. My sister Sonali was to join me from Delhi. I arrived at night by flight and we were to catch the train to Saharanpur early next morning. Nikhil drove us through the fog to the railway station. It was pretty cold. We checked that the train would arrive on platform 12. We parked ourselves on the platform, too cold to move. Then this huge chunk of people that were standing near us, moved away from us and this new chunk of kids and parents came towards us. Morning walk I guess to generate some heat. Good for them. The Shatabdi came into the platform. All of us got inside. It was nice and cosy as the heater was on. This group of kids were going on a field trip up north accompanied by their teachers. Parents were all around us, telling them what not to do. It was gonna be a pleasant journey, a nice loud singsong pleasant journey. 6:55am the train didn't depart. 7:00am the train still didn't depart. 7:05 am the train still didn't depart. Its cold maybe the engine takes time to heat up :-) Then these people come up to us and tell us that one of our seats is theirs. "Ooh oh". We showed them our tickets and then in that eternal second reality hit us hard. They tell us that we are sitting in the wrong Shatabdi, "Ouch!". This one was going to Amritsar, "Yikes!". Both Shatabdis were on the same platform 12, back to back. And good ol Murphy decides to play his pranks. "Nooooooooo", I let out a silent cry. As we regained our composure and woke up from our slumber, we grabbed our luggage and got off the train. The other Shatabdi left sharp at 6:55am. "Damn", I let out another silent cry. It was like one of those movies where everything goes wrong and we were starring in it. Not my usual morning cup of milk. Well our journey had just begun.

Since the next Shatabdi to Saharanpur was at 2 in the afternoon we decided to go by bus. We caught a bus outside the station to take us to the main bus stand. It was a 20 min drive through old delhi. The bus was packed to capacity. As I watched the rising sun which was still a cold yellow disk, I pondered about the evil that lay ahead. Would we manage to get a luxury bus to our destination. Nope we won't. Since I had run out of silent exclamations I was silent as we boarded the bus to Shamli. The direct bus to Saharanpur would take time. By now a couple of people had been informed of our plight. "The poor kids". "How sad". Switch the mobile off :-) We got front seats just behind the driver who kept honking his horn for no apparent reason whatsoever. Maybe its cause all the trucks put up this sign "Horn please" at the back. I then moved myself into this real uncomfortable position so that Sonali could cover her face with my jacket and sleep on my back. It was the beginning of my two week vacation and things were not looking good. The bus was getting packet to capacity when I realised that I had forgotten to pack the most important thing. An open mind and an adventurous spirit :-) Once that was done things began to look different. The misty roads, the cold cold wind, the road ahead, all added to the mysticism. The occasional honking did continue but that was ok. At one of the stops there were these kids who were selling oranges. The conductor was trying to chase them out from one end while others ran in the other end to make a quick sale. Then he would run to the other end still shouting. I smiled. Just then this girl who was seated behind me decided that she was feeling sick. I missed by a whisker as she puked out the window. I smiled again wondering what else could happen.

We boarded another bus at Shamli. Again not a luxury bus. The seats of this one were blackened with filth. Just then this travelling doc stood up and began to shout his premeditated speech. He claimed that he had this powder which would whiten even the dirtiest teeth. I bought one out of curiousity. 10 Rs and if it didn't work he promised to give you 500 Rs. He also gave you this certificate. After making a good deal of money he vanished. I don't know if people bought it out of curiousity or for the 500 bucks. When the bus started filling up to capacity this old lady came in. She wanted us to fit in 3 people in a seat that was mean't for 2. Sonali was fast asleep. After negotiating with her for quite some time I told her that she could sit on my lap. She smiled and refused the offer. If she was any younger I would definately have got beaten up :-) However she obliged when I asked her for a snap. I mean I would have offered her the seat but I was worried about pick pocketers in the crowd if I had to stand. Well I had paid for the seat and I had occupied it long before she boarded the bus, so no one could say anything. Finally chivalry got the better of me and I offered her my seat. Or maybe it was cause I knew I would blog about it and chivalry is good for ones image :-) Hmmmm.... As we moved ahead through some bumpy and dusty roads there was this huge blast. A tire had burst and our bus was tilting to one side. I smiled as I said to myself, "Lets walk". Luckily or unluckily it was the truck at the side of us. The bus then dropped us at the wrong location. So we did the final mile by tempo. Finally after 3 buses and a tempo we reached our destination. At night it was pretty cold and Ayush and Pallavi had the best seats in the house. Near the fire :-) Everyone at the marriage referred to us as the ones who missed the bus. Well contrary to popular belief it was quite an eventful journey. I actually enjoyed it.

Well there is always a first time for everything. And then there are times in life when you know the outcome of certain actions, you would hope/wish otherwise, but you just know that if you didn't do it then at the end of the day you would regret it. And then there are times in life when you know the outcome of certain actions, but then what you would never hope or wish for happens, but you just know that if you didn't do it then at the end of the day you would regret it. Maybe not just regret it, maybe your life itself will be a bit different. I guess its your perspective that matters. I guess its the open mind and adventurous spirit thinghy.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Distinguished Technology Product Company

Its nice to be recognised for the things that you do, be it at work, play or wherever. NASSCOM which is India's IT governing body awarded us with the prestigious "Distinguished Technology Product Company". I remember the first day quite vividly, when I joined Impulsesoft nearly 2 and a half years back. At that point we were a little over 40. I was briefed about the HR practices for about half an hour. Then taken to my seat in the basement of this quaint house, where I was given a chunk of hardware. I was given deadlines on the first day itself and got down and dirty with it right there and then. Vidhya told me, "The aim is to bring this thing to life. There will be a lot of new things along the way that none of us have laid our hands on. So you are totally responsible for this. We can guide you but can't spoon feed you." At first I was a little bit scared but slowly got a hold of all the device drivers, bootloaders, application stuff required to bring it to life. That was just the beginning. Worked on some real good innovative products since then. As a team we have climbed a few mountains that others thought could never be scaled. We have built stuff from scratch, including the hardware for the products which was done by our hardware team. We (I especially) have made a millions mistakes along the way. I still make a million mistakes :-) but I get to learn a lot along the way. We have come a long way, have a long way to go.

Its a fact that less than 95% of startups survive. And for product companies its even harder. First you come up with something new and innovative, then you build it including the h/w, device drivers, right to the application level stuff. You learn whatever you have to get the job done. After that you throw the product on the wall. A very few of them stick, very very few. I've seen some real innovative products that have not seen the light of day. Some cause they are ahead of their time and some cause of one tiny little loophole. But thats part of the game. You have to keep at it, keep churning out those ideas which finally metamorphise into something. Some of them make money, some don't. But some of them give you this warm fuzzy feeling.

We are now about 55 heads strong. Along the way we have been ranked amongst the top 10 startups of India, then the top 3 innovative Indian networking companies, and now this. One of the products I've worked on has also been featured as the "Gadget of the Week" by Time Magazine. It sure takes a bucket full of tears and an ocean of sweat to get a successful/innovative/trend setting product out the door. Its been a roller-coaster ride so far with its share of lows and highs. But the few highs more than compensate for the lows. I'm hungry for more :-)

Hungry kya ???
PS: I'm also known as the unofficial HR and PR person of the company :-)

Bangalore Habba

The Bangalore cultural festival was held from 2nd to 11th Dec. There was live theatre, music, art shows, traditional dance, singing, street theatre, rock shows and the likes. And to top it all all of it was free. All you had to do was get free passes from the local Cafe Coffee Day. I actually went to about 7-8 outlets around the city to get passes for all the plays :-) Some of them were good and some were like totally experimental. There was this play where this guy was moving and talking in slow motion. He moved so slowly that even if you closed your eyes for 2-3 seconds he wouldn't have moved much. Yikes. Saw a good Hindi play based on Marquez's "Erindiza and her heartless grandmother". Went with Neeti, Deepti, AJ, Bala and Deepa for various plays. I could say we were all playmates but then Neeti would kill me :-) On Saturday we went for the rock show where Strings and Indian Ocean performed for a very little while. Finally Neeti and Deepti agreed that their eye candy performers played for a longer time and ate into the slot for the rock performances. Sob sob.

God's Own Country

Jimmy was getting married in Kerala on 27th Nov, so a few of us planned to attend. The wedding was in Trichur, which is his home town. Jimmy is one big guy. Used to gym with him. Also played football with him during Cisco sports, a long long time ago. He introduced me to the Saturday charasmatic church meetings. And also to an old age home nearby. Nice chap with a big heart. The only time I have every seen him angry was during the Cisco football finals where the referee was favouring the other team. He shouted, "If you don't give a foul now, I'll beat you up!!!". The referee got scared :-) and then decided to play it straight. I mean anyone would get scared cause of his size. We were the underdogs throughout the tourney. After scoring the only goal in the finals we defended and marked our opponents like there was no tomorrow. We foiled all attempts of a comeback and I even managed to drop a couple of their players down :-) They sure had a lot of stamina. But finally we won. Yippee :-)

Anyways so I went along with some friends from Cisco, my previous company. Met a lot of other Cisco/ex-Cisco colleagues, friends and acquaintainces. Stayed at Gopa's place as he too is from Trichur. The day before the wedding we went site-seeing. Saw a lot of waterfalls. The restaurant where we broke for lunch had a bookrack. There was this one book called "Whos who of Gulf", which had the names of all the important people in the gulf. Kerala's virtual economy.

I tried on the traditional dress for men in Kerala. Its called the 'Mundu', where a white cloth is wrapped around the waist. The full mundu version is worn as a sign of respect for elders. There is also a half mundu version where my hairy legs were exposed. I looked more like a bouncer at a roadside toddy shop so I decided to wear my original attire for the wedding.

That night we had this sudden urge to watch a Malayalam movie. Gopa told us of this new actress, forgot her name, so we were all game to watch this movie in a language we did not understand. We reached about 5 mins late and bought tickets for the movie. When we entered we discovered that it was free seating. The theatre was peppered with a few unoccupied free single seats. Since we could not sit together we decided to go outside and get some help from the 'ticket dude'. Gopa and the dude exchanged some words in Malayalam. Or maybe expletives. Well whatever it was it sure made the dude a bit touchy. He said something and then looked at us as if we did not understand his language. Well technically I didn't but we all grasped the gist of it. We decided to leave and maybe catch another movie. Since I didn't understand the langauge it didn't matter what we saw :-) Besides we were out numbered and didn't want to attend the wedding with a few black eyes. We finally saw some other movie at another theatre. I asked Gopa what he had asked the dude. He said he asked him why the theatre didn't have seat numbers and the dude was offended. The dude said that thats the way it has been and thats the way it will be, so help us God. "Mind it. Wokay!!"...

It seems that all the theatres in Kerala have free seating. The second theatre guy was more polite and tried to give us a rational explanation for the current state of affairs. According to legend, a long long time ago there used to be seat numbers. Then someone discovered that the seat he was sitting in did not have good enough fan coverage. So he demanded that he get better fan coverage. When the likes of the dudes could not satiate his innermost desires he cried foul and decided to park his belongings someplace else. Then a fight broke out. And alas seat numbers were abolished in the whole of Kerala. Sigh... Hmmmm....

Monday, November 14, 2005

2005 A dog's love story

We have a German Shepherd at home. When I was moving out my Dad looked at me and said,"You're going... We need a dog now". So we got a dog and I christened him Scamper. When he was about 4 months old he entered an all India dog competition and won in his category. His grandfather and father had also participated and won in their respective categories. So it was kinda a family affair. A couple of years have passed since then and he has grown to become a very handsome mutt. He is single coated and has a very muscular frame. I mentioned this to my little sis Janelle and she was like,"yeah you have shoulders just like him". I don't know whether to take it as a compliment or not, being compared to my dog, but it was yet another oppurtunity to mess her up. Even my mom calls him all 'my' pet names when she has to make him eat :-) His daily diet consists of about half a kg of meat, 1 litre of milk and other stuff. My mom gives him carrots for good eyesight. He wakes up by 5am and then protocol demands that my dad take him for a walk. There are these cats that like to tease him. They walk along the roof of our neighbours house and he goes into a frenzy. Barking and running around. The cat daintily walks by, pauses, gives him the look and then moves on.

His life was moving along peacefully and then the birds began to sing. My cousin Charlene and her cousin Tina had arrived in town. Both of them love animals, especially dogs. I remember sometime back when I was out with Charlene there was this guy who was kicking a calf to move it off the road. Charlene pounced on him and beat the crap out of him. Also when I wanted to shoo away this cat she was like,"I'll beat you up if you do that". Anyways one look at Scamper and it was love at first sight. Actually it was kinda a love triangle. Both the girls would cuddle and tickle and hang out with Scamper trying to woo him. They would kiss him... yup kiss him... there would be these blue marks on their hands and legs after playing with him. After they left, he was like deeply hurt, mentally bruised and visually scared. His eyes were all droopy and stuff and he would just sit and wait for them. Sigh!!!!! Then the cat came back.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Four weddings and a 'holy communion'

I had taken the week off and was headed homewards to attend my sis, Sonali's wedding. Well her name is Sonali cause she was born in Sonali hospital. Nikhil, my brother in law, is from Kolkata. We know him from small when they used to come down for holidays. Nikhil's aunt Jocelyn is my mom's sister-in-law. Sonali and Nikhil met again at a wedding and exchanged phone numbers and Airtel's profits doubled. After some months they realised that they liked each other. I had been for the engagement which was held at Kolkata. He currently works in Delhi. I carried a lot of extra baggage with me since my mom feels that masalas from the south and better than masalas from the north. Anyways the free space in the baggage is always filled up on my way back so I never complain :-) I arrived on saturday, just in time for all the revelries and after all the preparations had been done.

Day 1: Nov 5th - The Bachelorette party
We started with some prayers. Then Sonali and the two bridesmaids, Charlene and Janelle, prepared themselves physically and mentally, to be embellished with rosewater. We decided not to use haldi since it sometimes gets messy. Not for the 3 of them but for others. I've seen it happen :-) Anyways I also was to sit with them cause I was one of the 'best men', but I somehow escaped, which is a good thing. The initial few ppl stuck to protocol and applyed rose water in a decent manner. When it was my turn I and a few others smashed some eggs on their heads. Then someone poured water on them. It was pretty cold and we were partying outside the house. After that some home made wine was poured on them. They drank some and the remaining was used as conditioner. But they were still looking decent so someone painted them with atta (flour) :-) My dad got it all on 8mm. Finally we were contented with our efforts and allowed them to get cleaned up. After that there was this naughty game... Aunty Sandra came up with it. Nice :-) Nikhil and a few of his friends dropped in. Then there was dancing and dancing and a lot more dancing. I mean a whole genre of dancing!!!! There was the jive, the shake, the gajre re types dancing, the item number types dancing, the decent dancing and the mellowed form of dirty dancing. Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey could take a few tips from us. I mean it was technically a bachelorette party. We danced way into the wee hours of the morning.

Day 2: Nov 6th - Rest day
The next day was supposed to be rest day cause of all our exploits. However there was a parish fete so we went for it. Won some prizes or maybe its cause we bought all the coupons to ensure that we win :-) We did this at various stalls. However some of them we actually won. I tried my luck at this football game where we were to kick the ball through a tyre. My very first shot was an all star shot. I kicked the ball straight into the volunteer who was running the show. It was definately an all star shot. Ouch!!! I took solace in the fact that I've not touched a football for quite some time. I decided that it was wise to let the volunteer contemplate on the recent turn of events, like the turning of the ball, as if a premonition. The volunteer at the next stall was ... err... luckier. I tried my hand at this wire game where you were to move another loop through this length of bent wire without touching it. The trick here is to use your second hand as a vibration dampener and to assist in maneuvering the sharp curves. Bingo!!! We decided to stay on for some jam session that they were having afterwards but it was getting late. So we decided to gate crash the bachelor party that was on our way back. The ambience had sobered down by the time we arrived. We hung out there for some time then headed home, only to realise that we had missed a lot of fun. Aunty Sandra what was that....

Day 3: Nov 7th - Wedding day
I took out some snaps of Sonali as soon as she woke up. All puffy and groggy. I then followed her around as she applied some cream to remove her moustache :-) I mean I'm the brother ain't I!!! I then decided to make myself useful and carried out some wedding errands. When we got the cut cake we realised that the slices were too tiny. On apprising the baker about our concerns, she was like, "You'll are lucky... I have another order and I still have to cut that cake." Ok so then what about their concerns!!! I then went to check out the hall and church decorations. Nikhil was practising with the choir, polishing certain pieces. After that I headed home to rest and then get ready.

The colour theme was blue so the bridesmaids and best men and flower girls and page boy's attire had a dabble of blue. My mom had this flower on the side of her head. Nice :-) The bridesmaids also had this flower thinghy on one hand. Sonali was looking gorgeous. I reminded her that its just the makeup and showed her the morning snaps. Hey I'm the brother ain't I :-) Once everyone was ready it was time for the blessings and then we were off to church. My dad led Sonali up the aile. The page boy was Kevin and the flower girl was Ruby. They walked infront. I walked with Charlene. Janelle the other bridesmaid walked with Nikhil's brother, Anil. Nikhil played the violin along with a friend. He then sang 'You raise me up' backed by the choir and the laptop which gave it a gospel song type feeling. Aunty Rhonda did the first reading. Nikhil's sister Diamay did the second. After the sermon there was the exchange of vows. Uncle Vincent and Jackie stood as witnesses. UB sang the 'Our Father'. Anil and our neighbour Sheena also sang. I did the reading for the offerings. Before the mass ended Nikhil sang 'Beautiful in my eyes'. Charlene was like, "I'm gonna cry". Well it was the song... I didn't step on her foot.. trust me!!! After a brief photo session we walked out of church where the couple were mobbed by family and friends.

After the wedding we were to go to the studio to take out some snaps. Before that we went to my aunt's place where Nikhil's parents and relations were. We made Nikhil carry Sonali inside. I took a lot of snaps and also tested his endurance :-) They had a short prayer service which was called 'The welcoming of the bride ceremony'. Midway through the ceremony Sonali was like, "Is something burning". Oh my gawd!!! Her veil was on fire. Nikhil and Janelle doused the fire with their hands and got some minor burns. Seems her got too close to the candles behind her as there were a lot of ppl in the room. I called it 'The burning of the bride ceremony'. Maybe its cause we never spoke about dowry :-) They then cut the veil from the sides and did some kind of overlapping and covered the evidence. However I caught the veil cutting act on camera.

We then went to the studio to idle away some time before the reception. When we entered the reception hall we walked around before the cutting of the cake. Then Jocelyn said a few words on the couple as she knows both of them from small. Then Nikhil spoke. Instead of singing the bridal special first, Nikhil sang 'Through the years' for the couples parents. He then sang 'Amazed' for the bridal special. This was followed by the grand march and the wishing of the bride and groom. After that there was a lot of dancing. Nikhil played some heavy metal on the guitar accompanied with his friend. Janelle also sang. Then my cousin Adrian who is a percussionist, played a little Jazz. Uncle Ralph joined him on the synthesizer. They played pretty well together. I played err... I played ... the fool and danced too :-)

After the carrying of the bride and groom which was an energy sapper there was the throwing of the bouquet and shoe. Tina got the bouquet and I got the boot.. err the shoe. Then it was time for our item number. We danced with a lot of jhatkas and matkas.... Then Tina tried to hit me with the bouquet and the flowers came off, the stalk still firmly held in her hand. Being in a challenging situation, my survival instincts kicked in and so I picked up my weapon.... err the flowers and we fought... Zorro style.... Then there was another photo session before we called it a day... a wedding day...

Day 4: Nov 8th - Dinner.
We had a dinner for family and friends in the compound outside our house. It had become pretty cold so we started a fire. This time I made sure there was no 'Burning of the etc etc ceremony'. Nikhil's dad, Uncle Danny the organised a game.

There were 3 other weddings that week. Then there were also some 'holy communion' ceremonies too. Tiring :-) After the dust had settled down, Sonu and Nikhil packed their bags and were all set to head off to Shimla and then Delhi. We also had this guest book thinghy, where people could write some message for the couple. Since most of us were partying hard on the wedding day we did not get a chance to write in it. Finally when I sat down and was trying to marry words together I remembered this saying which I had read in the Readers digest eons ago. It goes something like this, "Falling in love is not about finding the perfect person. Its about learning to see an imperfect person perfectly." After jotting that down I put down my addendum, "But thats just falling in love. Love is whats left when all the falling in love part dries up".

When I was back in bangalore a friend of mine told me he was soon to get engaged. He had seen this girl at his brother's wedding. His parents spoke to the girl and her parents and felt that she was a good match, so thats that. He had not spoken to her yet. I asked him if there was eye contact. You know like one eye or two eyes. Or first two eyes then one eye :-) When we subtly asked him about the 'haven't spoken to her yet' thingy, he pointed out, "What comes out in half-an-hour exchanges are niceties about a person which may not be a true reflection of self... just like personality contests." Hmmm. Yeah I guess love is whats left long after the personality contest is over. The gestation period may range from half-an-hour, to a few months, to a few years.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Tricks up his sleeve

My Dad is known to always have a few tricks up his sleeve. Like when he came to work in Nagpur he was living opposite my mom's house. He was upto his tricks even then. He like winked at her and stuff and put her under his magic spell. When we were small, sometimes we used to wake up early on weekends and escape into these nice magical sceneries. My mom would be praying (overtime) at home so that snakes don't bite us. He also had this small bag filled with various magic tricks. He has always had this thing with children. Dada retired sometime after I moved out to earn my own bread and butter and cheese and jam. I then heard that pops was upto his tricks again... err magic tricks.. just to make things clear :-) I heard that he had been performing for a lot of children, big and small. Children of all backgrounds... some with no backgrounds.

I had reached home for my sis's wedding just after all the preparations and stuff had been done. My cousin Luke and his family had come down from hyderabad. His little girl Ruby was like really shy. She wasn't talking to anyone. Dada showed her a rope trick and some other magic tricks and she became very pally with him.

The next day some kids had come home to give us their 'holy communion' invitation cards. A little boy had come with his 2 little brothers. Since I didn't know them I smiled and bent down and asked one of them his name. It was sometime around that very moment that I saw stars. The little fellow punched me in my face!!! In slow motion I unfolded myself and grew to my usual size, my shadow growing on the little fellow, finally enveloping him. As he gaped at the silhouette that had metamorphosed right in front of him, I contemplated about what fate had in store for the little chap. I mean I could have taken him out right there... but etiquette prevailed and I beat him up... just kidding... Ok just for the record I may have been 10 times his size but I wasn't afraid either of him or his 2 little brothers. I mean I could have had a go at all 3 of them.. that too at the same time... but you know me :-)... hmmm.... so as I was saying the 3 brothers came ahead of their parents, so that they could get some extra time at Uncle Melville's place. Pretty mischievous. Finally the eldest guy decided that it was ok if I know their names. He then whacked his brother on the head as if pointing to him when he mentioned his name. Then he pulled his other brother and hit him on the head before mentioning his name. Hmmm nice introduction... I smiled. As they stood there like 3 penguins on an african savannah they started to twitch, then squiggle and squirm in their place with their mouth shut.... then the eldest one exhaled,"MAGIC". And all their eyes lit up, as if they had achieved what they had set out to do.... then my dad appears and takes out this huge box and shows them some tricks.

However come to think of it, when my mom misplaces the keys she has to resort to praying before she finds it. Now thats one magic trick my dad hasn't figured out yet.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Runaway train

Runaway train never comin' back
Runaway train on a washed away track
Runaway train, another dead, its just a name
Runaway but it always feels the same

My phone rang. There was a hint of winter in the air or maybe it was just the north wind. I glanced at the number. "Unknown", I said to myself. I picked it up and the lady's voice on the other end seemed a bit shaky. "Err is this Alistair". She was making an effort to maintain her composure but there were cracks in the cover. I responded in the affirmative giving her my complete attention since I knew something was wrong. "I'm Apurva's mother. Do you know which train he is coming in. He phoned me up before he left Bangalore and said that he would reach Secunderabad and would catch a connecting train at 7am for Nagpur. His mobile seems to be off."

The south of India had been at the receiving end from nature. It was pouring everywhere due to the low pressure in the region. Roads were washed away. Localities and homes were flooded. In Bangalore some lakes overflowed and caused floods in the surrounding areas. Ayush used to carry his mattress and change of clothes etc in his car just incase his place got flooded as there was a lake nearby. The railway service between Bangalore and Chennai was stopped temporarily. AJ and Ashu were off to spend the coming Diwali week at home in Nagpur. They left on Friday. But then for reasons unfathomable to the soothsayers from amongst the populace, the support system of the tracks at one point were weakened. Eventually being washed away, by the excess water due to the heavy rains. This manifested itself in the form of a train accident near Secunderabad at about 5am types.

I assured AJ's mom that I would call her back. Thats all I could do at that point in time. I surfed through the channels on the TV. Time seemed to have slowed to a crawl as the signals from remote took their own sweet time to reach the TV. I saw some glimpses of the train compartments that were crushed. It looked pretty bad. I knew the train name which they were travelling in. The channels did not mention the name/number of the train. Maybe they did but I didn't see it. I then decided to surf the net and found that my friends were travelling by a different train. I called up AJ's mom and apprised her of the situation. The shakyness in her voice seemed to fade away as we continued our conversation. Parents are same everywhere :-) Someone once said that you don't need to tell your parents that you love them, they already know. Well someone else said, that the someone who said that was probably not a parent :-)

As daylight faded, I heard the news about the 3 bomb blasts in Delhi. The next day I was discussing with Sridhar about the events of the previous day. Sridhar was of the opinion that in India human life is not valued. Agreed that we couldn't do much about the bomb blasts but maybe the train accident could have been avoided. Trains could have been diverted since it was a known fact that the area was under a heavy lashing of rain. In India, we come up with technology for others but don't use it ourselves. I had worked on a compact high processing device that could do a lot of things. It had wireless capability in addition to other stuff. Ppl in another country were contemplating using it for remotely monitoring railway tracks and informing authorities about possible hazards. The key word here is 'another' country.

Maybe a few lives have to be lost for others to even start thinking about improving the quality of life. There is this email floating around where they say that you should be proud to be an Indian cause our ancestors invented/discovered so and so thing thousands of years before the rest of the world did. Applause please. Yeah right does past glory really matter now. My roots are from Goa and I may have a bit of Portuguese blood running in my veins. Well I can't speak Portuguese but I can speak Hindi. But you know what I really don't care cause it doesn't matter if you are proud of your ancestors or not. What matters is if your ancestors can be proud of you.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Addi's Engagement

Aditya Kulkarni aka Addi. We got thru engineering college together. He now works for a startup that builds high computing scalable computers with parallel processing, that they have positioned as a replacement for costly supercomputers. He was part of my gang of few friends that I would hang out with. The good thing about him is that he talks a lot and enjoys it when ppl pull his leg. Exam time he would call me up, "Ally... How much have you completed!!!". I would lie and tell him that I am nearly done, then he would get all hyper and stuff,"Gawd... Mera kya hoga... I'm gonna get real low marks this time"... sob sob etc etc.... However he would always manage to be amongst the top in the class. And then we also had Apurva Jadhav aka AJ who is a master at a lot of things, one being pulling Addi's leg. People say that AJ reaches his prime in leg pulling when Addi is around. We have a lot of stories.

So Addi was gonna get engaged and some of us from bangalore were heading towards Pune over the weekend. I was to travel with Ashu by train and on the way back AJ was to join us back by flight. The train journey was comfortable. Ashu gave me company. There were some vendors who were selling bottled water. The wrapper claimed it had 300% more oxygen. Yeah H2O4. H2O2 is hydrogen peroxide which is used especially as an oxidizing and bleaching agent and as an antiseptic. H2O3 is a shorthand for maleic anhydride which is toxic. H2O4 is the shorthand for oxalic acid. Yikes!!!!

Anyways we chatted with some ppl whose children are also engineers. These days everyone wants to get into engineering :-) At night they realised that the chains to support the bedrest for the middle berth were not of equal length. I then suggested that they twist one of the chains till the lengths are similar and it worked. They smiled and were like,"hmmmm... you're an engineer". Well I've said before that engineering is all about solving problems. All you gotta do is think. Sometimes think different. If you are a computer science engineer then its not about knowing languages like C, C++, Java etc. Its more about logic and applying that logic in a systematic manner. I remeber on another journey there were some ppl who had put a click lock on the zips of one of their bag. The bag had a double zip which was bonded by the lock and the key was left inside the bag. They tried to fit their finger into the bag by pulling the zips as far apart as possible but it gave them just about 1 inch of space. Above that the bag was filled to capacity. Then they started discussing how they should break the lock. The path of the zips formed 3 sides of a rectangle. So I moved the zips to one of the corners. Juggled the stuff inside a bit to make some space and then tried to make the sides parallel to each other. I then moved the zips (still bonded by the click lock) along the parallel tracks, away from the corner. Now your full hand could be put inside, infact you could put in two hands. They found the key and smiled and were like,"hmmmm... engineer right".

Arrived in Pune sometime around 3-4ish and headed to the place where we were to meet Addi. AJ was in mumbai on some work and was coming along with Gaurav. Met Addi's dad who is also high on the list of ppl that enjoy pulling Addi's leg. His sister also enjoys it. I mean everyone does it. His fiancee Richa has also started enjoying it. We rested a bit and then it was engagement time. Addi was to receive a sherwani from his inlaws which he was to change into. Clicked some snaps of him changing :-) to get the before and after effect. A lot of his other friends turned up in the room and on the way out someone left the key inside and shut the door. Afterwards when we realised it we had to start a background process to retrieve the key as the hotel ppl didn't have a spare???? One of the bell boys jumped in from some window from behind and finally opened the door.

Meanwhile Addi was upto his stunts on stage. His inlaws gave him some laddoos and he was putting the full thing in. Had to get him water to make it all go down. Caught the moment on camera :-) After the ring ceremony the pujari told him to give a laddoo to Richa. Don't know what he heard but he ended up eating the laddoo himself :-) The ceremony went off well. I was entertained. Caught up with a lot of friends.

The next day we moved into Addi's flat. For a bachelor it is set up very well. I must say I was impressed. AJ has bought a flat in the same complex which overlooks Agakhan palace. In the afternoon we ate some good maharasthran food. I stuffed myself. When we were back I decided to climb to the topmost point of the building and get a panoramic view of Pune. Richa joined us for dinner, where she revealed what all Addi had told her about his hobbies. Said that he claims that photography is one of his hobbies and that he showed her a snap of a monkey. There was a lot of poking after that :-) Back at Addi's place the discussion continued till the wee hours of the morning... Slept around 4:30 types.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Cook Book

Why Engineers and Scientists Don't Write Cook Books

Chocolate Chip Cookies


1) 532.35 cm3 gluten
2) 4.9 cm3 NaHCO3
3) 4.9 cm3 refined halite
4) 236.6 cm3 partially hydrogenated tallow triglyceride
5) 177.45 cm3 crystalline C12H22O11
6) 177.45 cm3 unrefined C12H22O11
7) 4.9 cm3 methyl ether of protocatechuic aldehyde
8) Two calcium carbonate encapsulated avian albumin coated protein
9) 473.2 cm3 theobroma cacao
10) 236.6 cm3 de-encapsulated legume meats (sieve size #10)

To a 2-L jacketed round reactor vessel (reactor #1) with an overall heat transfer coefficient of about 100 BTU/F-ft2-hr, add ingredients one, two and three with constant agitation. In a second 2-L reactor vessel with a radical flow impeller operating at 100 rpm, add ingredients four, five, six and seven until the mixture is homogenous.

To reactor #2, add ingredient eight, followed by three equal volumes of the homogenous mixture in reactor #1. Additionally, add ingredients nine and ten slowly, with constant agitation. Care must be taken at this point in the reaction to control any temperature rise that may be the result of an exothermic reaction.

Using a screw extrude attached to a #4 nodulizer, place the mixture piece-meal on a 316SS sheet (300 X 600 mm). Heat in a 460K oven for a period of time that is in agreement with Frank & Johnson's first order rate expression (see JACOS, 21, 55), or until golden brown. Once the reaction is complete, place the sheet on a 25C heat-transfer table, allowing the product to come to equilibrium.

Monday, October 17, 2005

A star is almost born

Sequel to 'its' prequel "Almost famous". For the prequel take a look at 'Almost Famous' at The second part (i.e. 'it') was never released cause 'it' didn't get through the censor board.

Introducing the Orangy Nagpurians Dipti Kothari and Sachin Bedare.... and sidekicks.
Special appearance: some sidekicks
Guest appearance: more sidekicks...
Sermon on the mount (on the terrace): Shekar.. the chairman...
Special Item number: Jaya Kawale... however it did not get through the censor board....
Duration: Impulsesoft was shown for 5 mins during the show where they also showed some biotech stuff going on in bangalore.
Production house: BBC 'Click online'...
The program was aired on BBC during the BBC India week. You can download the video from the web. Check out a sublink from the link below...

The program on BBC's Click Online was aired on Saturday. Couldn't catch it as I was busy with other imp stuff :-) My mom saw it and said that they showed me in the meeting scene trying to give gyan to Dipti.... However my face was partly covered by some flowers :-) Hey I don't remember any flowers being used in the scene. Maybe it was digitally enhanced... Damn.... a star was almost born!!!!!!!

An article on the program.

If she was not working in technology, Dipti says: "I might have started a restaurant of my own, since I love food so much. I could get seafood every day."

Seafood?? ok some Jains eat non veg too.... but I have never seen you eating non-veg... Well it turned out that free food was translated to sea food :-)

check out the Windows Media web based version of it @ the BBC site..

I come for 6 secs :-) Out of which my face is covered by flowers for about 3 secs :-) They play a lot of punjabi music in the background. They should have asked me to choreograph.!!!!! They show our bell, the swing... and the spacious restrooms. Not too much of tech stuff though. More about the lifestyles etc..

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Resurrection Man

I must say I'm pretty impressed with the fighting spirit of Steve Jobs. Well I don't know him personally so I can't comment on his interpersonal skills but one thing is sure, he is someone who stands out from the crowd.

built Apple... sacked from his job... built NeXT which was acquired by Apple... built Pixar then back as Apple's CEO.... brush with death (cancer) somewhere inbetween... This resurrection man is freakingly creative....

Lets start at the very beginning.

Jim Collins always said creativity plus implementation equals innovation...

'You've got to find what you love,' Jobs says

the rest follows.....

1 million iPod Nanos sold in 17 days !!!!!!!!!!!

Its a video iPod

Apple makes history, breaks all its records in Q4

Charlie and the chikki factory

I work in a quaint house. We have around 55 ppl in our company currently. When I was quitting Cisco with the intention of joining this place I didn't tell my parents that I would be working in a house :-) cause they were still trying to digest the news that I was gonna leave the No 1 networking giant for a tiny, unknown startup. My employee id out here is 65. In Cisco it was 110xxx. Baskar is a co-founder of the company. He is employee no 1 and also the CTO. The company was first based at his rented home in Malleshwaram, Bangalore. In those days, during conference calls, sometimes the mooing of cows just outside his place could be heard over the phone :-) He once told us that during the initial days he not only had to convince ppl to join but also their parents, if they were fresh out of college :-)

Anyways the house that we work in now, is owned by a chikki walla. Yup.. the guy has a small chikki factory. He decided to send us some of his chikki yesterday. Each one of us got a packet of assorted chikkies. Yum. Why didn't he think of starting a chocolate factory!!!!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Angels: Fully Throttled

I was downloading my mails and found the following in my inbox.

Mission Impossible: A job worthy of the master detective Sherlock Holmes. But u can do it.

The briefing:
Hi xxxxx's angels ;)

Your brief is to find out the gory details about Mr Xxxxxx Xxxxx :-)
He is an alumni of XXX and currently works in Xxxxxx. Get me any dope you can get on him.

Thanks in advance.
p.s. please.

Well had gone out with some friends for a movie the previous night. On the way back one of my friend got a call from his friend asking him to do a background check on a guy who works in Bangalore in some IT company. My friend's friend's sister is to be engaged to this guy. My other friend then told us about a cousin of his who was to be married when he was small. The guy who she was to marry was a doctor. So his side sent two people posing as patients in that hospital to get friendly with the other ppl around and get out info on him :-)

Come to think of it do you really get to know the other person. Acquaintances.. friends... close friends/spouses... Before marriage??? Even after marriage??? It takes time... and time is relative. I mean I'm still trying to figure myself out let alone others. And then we change too. I'm definately a lot diff from when I stepped out of engineering college. My thought process has changed a bit. For the better??? Thats what I would like to believe but time will tell. Well all the world's a stage and we are but just mere performers. Hmmmm... Are we ??? Will I ever get an Oscar...

Monday, October 03, 2005

Friends and Family Day

We had our friends and family day yesterday where we showcased technology and gadgets that we work on. In the morning half we had a lot of heads of corporates. The afternoon half was for friends and family. We had been preparing for the whole show over the past few weeks. I along with some other colleagues did some modelling for posters for the demos :-)

I was incharge of games.. came up with a game for taglines of companies... we were also thinking of having a treasure hunt type of game but couldn't blend it into the flow of things... finally I decided to write a poem on the various demos for clues... the clues have to be matched with the demos and then we would give them more lines of the poem in random order which they would use to complete the poem.... When I came up with the poem idea everyone was like, "hey nice!!!". But 'hey nice' is one thing and putting pen to paper is another. Was trying for a few days to write a poem to blend with the flow of the whole show... couldn't think of anything till friday night when I just gave up... finally woke up at 1 am and wrote it till 3am.... :-)

Was also trying to get this particular wireless watch demo into the show since it was one of the products I worked on :-) It didn't fit into the theme of the show which was 'Music's in the air'. However I then came up with this gadget man demo idea :-) Some of the gadgets were related to music and the watch was a gadget so it was slipped into the demo :-) Gadget man would be this guy would have a lot of gadgets on him... all the gadgets are connected wirelessly... You have the wireless watch connected to the phone to get call alerts, smses, reject calls, alarms, alerts etc... the phone is also connected to a wireless headset so that you can take calls via it... the wireless headset is also connected to the iPod via a wireless transmitter so you can listen to wireless music.... so when a call comes in the music automatically stops and the headset switches to the phone... you also get indications on the can redial missed calls from the watch... the iPod and phone is hidden in your backpack or something...

As I already mentioned the theme of the show was 'Music's in the air'.

Here is a summary of the demos which showcased various gadgets/technology/protocols that 'we' have made:

1.In flight - Noise Cancellation Demo
We simulated an aeroplane seating area. Engine noise was being played over some hidden speakers. The passengers could listen to music played from some source, which is connected to noise cancellation headset over Bluetooth. The engine noise could be suppressed using a button provided in the headset, so that only music is heard.

2.In car GMCP
GMCP stands for Generic Media Control Protocol. It is an open standard proposed by Impulsesoft. Currently a lot of car manufactures are adopting it for in car entertainment where you just plug in your music player such as an iPod into the adapter in the car and listen to music over your car stereos. You can also control the music player through your car audio system over bluetooth.
Check out this GMCP article in Automotive DesignLine - by Impulsesoft;jsessionid=VWM3MKY2SDL5QQSNDBESKHA?articleID=171202662

3.Dual music streams
In Car, we listen to music of our individual preferences. I modelled for the posters for this demo.

Ppl in cars can listen to music of their choice over wireless headphones. In a car you can stream FM and CD music simultaneously over bluetooth. Two music streams can be sent to two different headphones or single stream can be sent to two headphones. The user can decide what type of music they want to listen to.

4.Switchover Demo
The user does not miss a call while listening to their favorite music.

The user has a Bluetooth mobile phone, Bluetooth headphone and Bluetooth enabled music source (iPod with adapter). Music is streaming from the iPod to your headphone wirelessly. When a phone call arrives the music suspends and user can pick up the call. When call ends the music automatically starts on the headphone.

5.Voice Recognition for in car entertainment
User gives voice commands (play/pause/previous/next etc.) to the car kit which are executed by iPod adapter and music streams to car speakers connected to car kit.

6.Living room/home demo
There are multiple music/audio sources in the home like TV, Audio System, flash based player etc. Impulsesoft's 'Hippo (iWish-xxxx) and Headset' is a line-in bluetooth adaptor which fits into your TV, audio system, iPod etc... the music streams over bluetooth to your headphones. demo
Hippo usage in office scenario
Laptop has a bluetooth USB adaptor. Hippo (iWish-xxxx) is used to listen to music, chat online over bluetooth. This is ideal for employees on the move.

8.Gadget man demo
Already explained this demo above.

As I had mentioned I wrote a poem on the various demos for clues... the clues have to be matched with the demos and then we would give ppl more lines of the poem in random order which they would use to complete the poem.... I poem also had hints from posters that we had made. The basic theme of the day was 'Music's in the air'. The complete poem is below.

Music's in the air

I wish I could move at the speed of life,
Comforted by technology that cuts out the strife.

I wish I could breathe the hills come alive,
Each one their own, on a very long drive.

I wish I could cruise without ever stalling,
It listens to me, I can commune by calling.

I wish I could surf, set the waves a scorching,
Head-bang and dance like no one's watching.

I wish I could listen without any hitch,
Music to call, why can't they just switch.

I wish at work, to get into the groove,
The perfect aid for the employee on the move.

I wish I could walk on air with poise,
One with the world, just cut out the noise.

I wish I would use my gadgets everywhere,
Watch it all talk, like I just don't care.

Free as a bird, my soul I bare,
My wish for all, music's in the air.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

The emperor's new clothes

Moved house on saturday. Was planning to do it next week but then suddenly Ayush called me up and we moved. It was damn tiring. I had slept at 3am that day cause I was writing a poem (for a game) for our friends and family day to be held on Sunday. And to add to it my maid woke me up at 6:30. so basically I gymed, set up stuff for the demos the next day, made releases for work and shifted house. As I already mentioned it was damn tiring.

Then suddenly I decided to do some shopping. Don't know why :-) As I said I went shopping at 'Bangalore Central' since I was in the vicinity. I had gone to HSBC for some work but the bank was closed and so I went shopping or more like window shopping. So I'm like looking around for jeans and one of the sales guy comes up to help me. I tell him that I'm just looking around and that I don't need his help. Then this sales girl comes up to help me and I tell her the same thing. So I'm finally picking up jeans to try out. I'm just picking up colors I like. The sales guy comes back. I tell him to give me sizes 32 and 34. He looks thru the stuff and picks it up for me. I take about 4 jeans and go to try them on. I'm in the changing room trying out stuff wondering why the things don't fit that well. It was a bit loose at the sides too. One was some comfort fit and another a boot cut fit. Hmmm I just looked for colors and forgot about the fit and stuff. Well I was tired. I tried on the other ones and they seemed to fit a bit better. Decided to come out and looked in the bigger mirror. There were some ppl waiting to enter to try out stuff. including a girl.. then I go back in and decide and I don't want to buy them....

Finally I look at one of the label on the jeans where it says its a 'girls' comfort fit... "Damn that sales guy gave me a girls's jeans!!!".... I look at the other labels... all were girls jeans... "Ooooh my God!!!!" now I'm like cursing myself.... I go out and take the stuff to keep it back....the ppl were still waiting to go into the changing room. I start to wonder if they noticed the label. I go to the rack when I picked up the stuff and I look up.... Damn it was the girls section.... I didn't even notice that. The guys section was like just next to it... so I sheepishly look around and drop the jeans and walk (tried to run) away totally embarrased... Gawd :-)..... The sales ppl must have had a good laugh... so looking at the bright side maybe I made some ppl laugh yesterday...

Monday, September 26, 2005

Souls: Lost and Found

There is this really nice book I read sometime last year. Its called 'Soul of a new machine'. It won the pulitzer prize in 1980 but the feelings, thought process and emotions in it are relevant even today. If you want to understand the spirit of engineering, startups, the enterpreneurial spirit, why ppl leave big companies for high risk startups etc etc this one gives you a feel of it. The falling flat on you face, the lifting up, the eureka moments.... When there are problems and you can't figure it out you start wondering if the problem is in h/w of s/w or yourself. They also talk about h/w sometimes taking a trip to never never land :-) You don't need to have any engineering background to appreciate it. Its a true account about the amazing efforts of a manager called 'West' and his team of engineers, the 'Hardy boys' and the 'Microkids'. It follows the engineering project life cycle at a company called 'Data General', where this team set out on a task to build a minicomputer, code-named 'Eagle'. Its not just about super humans who overcame obstacle after obstacle to reach their goals but about real people and their lives and how they brought meaning to their lives by following their dreams. I felt a bit sad at the end but its a story thats food for the soul.

So I say
Thank you for the music, the songs I'm singing
Thanks for all the joy they're bringing
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty
What would life be?
Without a song or a dance what are we?
So I say thank you for the music
For giving it to me

A friend sent me this site which mentions the whereabouts of the 'Eagle' team in 2000.

This site on Apple's original days is also a good read. It gives you an insight into the lives of the original Macintosh developers, including the ressurection man, 'Steve Jobs'.

If you stop before you start

If you stop before you start
You will never know how far
That you can go
If you do not give your all
You will never know how far
That you can throw

If you do not stand tall
You will never know how high
That you can reach
If you do not speak your mind
You will never know just who
That you can teach

If you do not leave your house
You will never know if you can
Reach the stars above
If you do not give your heart
You will never know how much
That you can love

By Joseph Rohrbach

Saturday, September 24, 2005

The garage projects

"When was the last time you fought with your manager to get the product right?"

"If you have been doing any pet projects in your garage or in your work table when there's no one around, now's the time to come clean."

"If you identify with any of the above, then you would enjoy what comes next."

We had some posters put around office some weeks back. No one knew who was putting them up.

Well finally it was revealed that we were having a kinda pet project in the garage contest. We were given time in advance to think of ideas but were expected to do the implementation only on the final day. Ayush and myself were together... We didn't finalise on the idea till the contest started... :-) It was a nice experience never the less.... It kinda reiterated the fact that engineering is all about solving problems....

On the day of the event our huge open hall was filled with computers. About 30+ folks participated. You could see ppl discussing, hacking away at their PCs. Ppl were trying all kinds of stuff in order to complete their respective projects. Learn new tools, design the architecture, learn some user interface tools, come up with innovative ideas. Well we didn't see any teams going for each others necks but that would have been a nice sight :-)

I was amazed by some of the projects that people had come up with. There were one very useful h/w contraption that one team had put together. Many had used bluetooth in their projects. At the end of the day many teams put together complete working products. It was a nice way to re-charge the spirit of creativity and innovation that is so very important for a young company like us.

oh yeah.. And we got free t-shirts and free pizza too :-)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Almost famous

We were told that the show 'Click Online' which airs on BBC was coming to Impulsesoft to capture what we do. Their program showcases the latest technology and cool gadgets across the world. I've seen it on BBC and its really cool... We were told that the 2 ppl were chosen internally by a draw of lots.... The two people were Dipti and Sachin. Damn I was almost famous!!!!!

However I could always try to hang out somewhere near her place.... Or near the hardware guys place where I can talk about piezoelectric effects and groundbounce or run in with a h/w board yelling, "My ground is floating" :-) So if you see some guy smiling his heart out in the background... thats me...

How they came across us... well they asked some ppl about Indian companies that are working on cool gadgets and cutting edge technologies and our name came up :-)

9:30am - Live update
Heard Shekar (the chairman) telling Dan Simmons about the reasons behind choosing the quaint house for an office.... the typical startup types of story... 6-7 ppl working out of a house abt 5 yrs back... then we needed a bigger place and came here... also we wanted something inbetween... not a typical office type of setup..

Right now they are shooting Dipti and Sachin coming into the office on bikes... from all angles and stuff... man I want to make a movie now !!!!! I just want to direct something.... maybe I can direct the ads for some products :-)

10:30am - The realisation
Our customers (for the team I am in) had asked us not to reveal anything to BBC abt them. So they won't even enter our room... When will the real product developers be asked to please stand up. Maybe our team was also not included in the draw of lots ... sob sob... Damn... I'm moving shop to the cafeteria...

More updates!!!! LIVE!!!

I mucked into a meeting which Dipti was supposed to be having with her colleagues. Well two of her actual colleagues had not come in yet.... good for me :-) Dan said that they won't play the voice so we just had to talk about something..... So we had this very psychological discussion on beeps and leds and user indication/intuition :-) Man... I 've never enjoyed a conf call so much. After that we had to move out of the room one by one.... we did it about 5-6 times.

maybe they will have a dance sequence next I thought to myself :-) I can choreograph....

Yet some more updates!!!! LIVE!!!!

well the dance sequence didn't happen.... sob sob....
But they shot me playing some TT while 3 others had some discussion in the background... the camera man was very impressed with the ball... he also took out a shot with the camera lens parallel to the board like the one I took out lying flat on the road (its there in my motocycling diaries).... but this time there were no vehicles coming head on from behind the curve!!!..... anyways he took a lot of shots of the ball just rolling, waxing and waning thru its path. When it fell he asked me to keep quite.. And then he filmed the noise of the bouncing till it died out... he smiled to himself as if listening to his best music...

They also took out stuff of them working at their desks playing around with some naked h/w boards... at Sachin's (the h/w guy) place it was more like ER with the doc diagnosing his patient.... I (well the marketing manager too) had set up this understanding with Dipti when I was to call/sms her to get our Dick Tracy watch demo into the flow of the program :-) The guy was like,"James Bond watch..... Now I'm too confused". I do not want to rearrange events to make my case look stronger but I guess he was tired... cause he had just been hit with some other bluetooth demos before that...

Then came volleyball.... They said they would take some shots of us beating the crap out of Sachin.... A lot of extras came :-).... They were still shooting interviews of Dipti and Sachin... The ball went over the fence twice and into nala.... The first time it cost us 5 bucks... the second time well the kid had just figured out the art of negotiating.... 15 bucks... damn.. We waited some more but they didn't turn up.... Dipti why do you talk so much?????!!!!!!

Back at office the camera man seemed to be amused with our bronze bell... we ring it whenever we get any sales deal.... music to our ears.... he was shooting this yawning thing where Sachin was to stretch his hand up as if trying to ring the bell .. then actually show that the intention was actiually to stretch out and yawn and walk away... he was just fooling around...

they shot about 4 hours which they said would boil down to about 4-5 mins.... I wonder what my boiling point is and if I would vaporise in the process... it would be aired about 2-3 weeks from now....

Bangalore se Dan Simmons ke saath, Alistair D'souza. Aaj tak.

btw ... didn't do any work :-) shushhhhhh!!!!!!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Jazz.. The real thing.

I have been listening to some Jazz music of late. Sridhar once asked me to try and listen to the drum beats and count the number of unique beats that were being repeated. Usually you find that in rock music the beats would be about 4-5 or so. But the Jazz music that I was listening to had about 10 beats. The beats were very light and very fast. Amazing. Jazz music has been growing on me in the past few months.

So when I heard that there was this Jazz and Rock concert being organised by Intel I decided to go. Err... there was no Jazz... no freaking Jazz at all. The army band was supposed to play Jazz which was 'NOT' Jazz. Then there was this band called 'The Unknowns' who were introduced as the best band in Bangalore :-) Well I've heard better!!!! Anyways we danced away to glory till my legs ached. Had a jolly good time. The place to hear some good enough live Jazz is 'Java City'. They have a live band playing on Sunday in the evenings. Have been there twice and enjoyed it both times. However the drummer hits the drums a bit too hard. There is this pretty old uncle who plays the Saxaphone. Jazz over a cup of coffee and some chatting. Nice combo :-)

Monday, September 12, 2005

Yeh hai India meri Jaan

We were contemplating going rafting to Bheemeshwari for some time now. Its about 100 kms from Bangalore. The grade is about 1-2 which is easy. I informed everyone by email that they don't need to know how to swim cause they would give us life jackets. Duh!!! Remembered to put a disclaimer that if they don't function properly then its not my fault :-) And each raft would have a trained guide. The last time I went we had an ex lawyer called Sridhar, who was at that time running an adventure company. We had gone for the 4 hour trip. I enjoyed it quite a bit. We were thrown into the water where it was safe. So that those who didn't know how to swim would feel more comfortable with the life jackets. Towards the end we jumped into the rapid and went down with the flow. The guide told us to put our feet forward. Due to the aerated water I went in and out of the water but it was fun.

Anyways we were thinking of leaving Sunday morning... then raft on the Cauvery... The plan was to be back by evening a little bit tanned and stuff but thats ok. We could also trek in the nearby area if we get time. The last time I went some elephants had rampaged thru some villages. So I warned junta that they should not talk to the elephants!!!!

Sunday Morning: 5:30am.
People started dropping out as usual. The number boiled down to 6 till the night before. I phoned Ankit in the morning to wake him up but he just fell off to sleep. Ok that makes it 5 of us. Finally when we left by about 6:30 types the number boiled down to 4. Maybe its cause I told them about the elephants. Hey I was joking!!!!!! There are no talking elephants !!!!! So Saurabh and Namita were taking turns driving while Dhruv and myself lay prostrate in the back. In case you are new to this blog, well Saurabh's van doesn't have back seats, courtesy IITM. Its replaced with a nice mattress, cushions... the works. ZZZZzzzzz.

We arrived at Cauvery fishing camp by about 9ish. Booked our places for the rafting. We couldn't get the morning slot but managed to get the afternoon one. We then had a very heavy breakfast which was proportional to the price. Since we had time on our hands we decided to go on a little excursion. Someone told us that we could go to the watch tower. Hello the watch tower was like 100 feet from the camp!!! You call that an excursion. We don't look that old do we.... do we???? So we strolled along the banks of the river. Climbed some trees... with some help of course :-) The coming down part looked tougher. When we decided to head back, somebody got this brilliant idea not to follow the same path back. I think it was me but since my mind denies coming up with any such thoughts, I have decided to give myself the benefit of the doubt. Hey.. I'm an understanding and lenient person. Someone also said that the road should be parallel to the river and just a little ahead. Hey!! lets not get into the blaming game ppl. So we then climbed a pretty steep hill. Had to hold on to grass for dear life. It itched. We thought we would get to the road and walk back along it but we just kept going up and up. When we looked back it was too steep to turn back so we again started going up and up. Finally reached the top where there was a watch tower. See... we found the other watch tower. I knew those ppl wern't lying :-) The view from the top was amazing. Well worth the climb. We had a birds eyeview of the river and the hills around us. There was another marked path to get back. Finally when we reached the road there was a board pointing in the direction we just came from. It had some pictures of bears and something was written in Kannada. Maybe it was a warning that we should not talk to any bears.

Finally we went rafting. The rafting was nice. The final rapid was a grade 3 but I enjoyed the trekking more. That was a like a grade 6... The type which only lunatics take :-) Hey later in the evening we even landed up in the lunatic asylum but thats a different story... Well read on for more.

We packed up by 6 and were on our way back. I dozzed off again at the back dreaming of the nice hot bath and the bed at home. When we neared Bangalore, we found a hit and run case lying on the road with a lot of ppl around him. Sometimes ppl like to look at others in pain. They would be afraid to help cause it would be a police case but they would just stand and look. Half asleep I suddenly hear Saurabh saying to clear the place in the back as we were taking the guy to hospital. If I were alone I don't know if I would help. I mean I would actually have to be in that situation to tell you what I would have done. Anyways, so we carried the guy into the van. None of the other onlookers decided to come to the hospital with us. I was sitting in the back with Dhruv. We found the guys phone but it seemed to be out of balance. So Dhruv used his phone to try and call some numbers from the guys phone. Couldn't get thru to anyone who could recognise who the guy with us was. Tried calling the police too, to let them know that we are talking the guy to hospital but couldn't get through. The first hospital we reached told us to take the guy to Nimhans govt hospital for a CT scan as there didn't seem to be any external injuries except for blood that kept oozing out from his mouth. We informed a nearby policeman about what we were upto and headed towards Nimhans which would take about 30 mins. Saurabh offered to drop off anyone who wanted to get off at this point as we didn't know what we would get into next. Everyone stayed :-)

Blood kept oozing from the guys mouth all the time and he was making involuntary noises. Namita covered her ears... I was beside him in the back with Dhruv who was still trying to get intouch with some relation/friend of the guy.... Didn't know if he would die in front of me. One of his eye was open and the blood was frothy. I thought I was afraid of blood but I was ok. I was wondering if the noises were due to the guy choking on his own blood but then he moved one hand. "Ok make more sounds"... Cause as long as he made sounds I knew he was alive. whenever he stopped I thought that was it but then he would make some sounds again.

Finally when we arrived at Nimhans we told them that it was a hit and run case. Nimhans is the government mental hospital. We took him there to get a CT scan done. I expected people to come out running with a stretcher but I guess that happens only in the movies. So I went in to search for a stretcher but couldn't find any. Found a wheel chair and decided that that would do. The guy was heavy to lift. None of the hospital guards offered to help to lift him up and so I put all these years of gyming into use, along with Dhruv of course. Pretty heavy to carry. He kept on sliding off from the wheelchair. Must have been 60 kgs types but he felt really heavy. A little while before this we had also realised that the guy was drunk. We decided that we would call up Neeti if the law tried to turn things onto us. By this time the police arrived and took over. There were no problems. The doctors said that he was not in danger.

After the episode we were discussing that maybe we just wasted our time on a drunkard. Which may have been the cause of the accident in the first place. But then again hindsight is always accurate. I was also thinking of the incident later and the fact that I had missed Sunday church. Some of the sermons are about helping ppl in need to which I would internally nod my head. But theory is so much diff from practicals. Later on when I felt he was out of danger and a bit drunk too my thoughts of helping him further were biased by the fact that he was drunk and probably a riff raff type of person... Maybe I'm just a Sunday Christian. Well it was still Sunday :-)

We decided not to call it a day yet. We then went to a karoake lounge called Opus to get our minds onto something else. Anouksha, the viva singer and channel [V] VJ happened to be there and sang some numbers. There was also this guy called Karthik Iyer who was singing in Tamil. He sang 'Beat it' and another number in Tamil just to prove that Michael had been to Chennai :-) Barry, one of Saurabh's friend also sang. Namita too.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

The Other side of History

The play 'The other side of History' was about a couple who read about the suicide of an acquaintance in the paper. They don't know too much about this other person. They know of two incidences in this persons life and use their imagination to fill in the gap and come out with a story, as they are the literary inclined types. Each of them have their own version. Their versions are drastically different from the dead man's version, which unfolds in the climax. Which actually led me to think of 'the other side of history' of the another incident.

Apurva aka AJ and I were house hunting. We landed up in Koramangala and decided to check out Jaya and Meghana's place, to get an idea of the size to rent equation. It turned out that they were celebrating one of their friend's birthdays out there, so we got some free lunch.
But thats a different story. Happy b'day Anshu.

Anyways met a guy at their place whose name I shall not reveal as a matter of anonymity. You will realise why later :-) Lets just call him Mr X. So Mr X tells us that there is a place for rent he had just seen in the parallel lane. Since we were in the neighbourhood we found no harm in the offer and decided to take a look. We landed up at the door which was not locked. Mr X tells us to just push the door open and go in. So our brain thinks that no one is living there and Mr X knows that since he had been here before. Maybe some brokers are inside. So AJ pushes the door a few inches and realises that someone is still staying there. Not because we saw anyone but by the arrangement of furniture and stuff on it. So we decide to ring the bell, which felt like the decent thing to do at the time.

Then after a few moments out came this giant. 7 feet 9 inches. She had this look in her eye, of a woman scorned. There was also this twist in her mouth and she was frowning in a sulking manner. All she wanted to do was wring our necks. Yikes!!! What a waste of oxygen. Wait!!!! perhaps I am imagining that, my view being biased due to what took place later. Perhaps.

So this average height girl comes out and looks at us. She is about to blurt out something but then decided to lift one hand higher and rest it on the door frame. Maybe she wanted to give the impression that she was taller, her animal instincts working overtime, to protect herself from this pack of hyenas. She took a deep breath and then the words started to flow. It sounded like she had practised the dialogue before but maybe for someone else. "How can you just enter without knocking!!!!!". She yelled a bit more!
Her voice was not as forceful as her words. She lacked the intensity. Well something was just missing I thought to myself. As AJ was in the direct line of fire he decided to speak, "Err... but we didn't enter and we did ring the bell". "Who do you think you are to just come here and disturb ppl. And why did you open the door!!!!!!". The yelling continued. "Ok something is definately missing. Breathe in. Breathe out", I say although my words don't reach her. Well who told us that we can open the door... AJ then points to Mr X and says, "Cause he... err". I think AJ wanted to beat up Mr X at that point but decided it was not the decent thing to do at the time. Well Mr X did come there before and he knew they were ppl staying there. We decided to guard our tongues and apologised, but for what we don't know. After a moment of silence, "So can we still see the house". Steam rises as we see red. SLAM!!! Ok thats more like it, I tell her. We walked away like a pack of hyenas alright. Yeah a pack of laughing hyenas :-)

I was recently telling a friend about how
ppl already decide the outcome of an argument even before it starts, biased by events from before or their way of looking at things. The other side of history. Maybe she just had a fight with her boyfriend and thats why the hatred for the other sex. Or maybe her landlord was pestering her to vacate or something. Or maybe she was not prepared for a similar incident a little while back. Or maybe she was typing an email and the sound of the bell startled her and she did a reply all instead of just a reply :-) Well whatever the reason she just wanted to let it out on someone. See... we did our good deed for the day by helping her to get intouch with her emotions :-) Ok ok... we were just hit.... Hard! Lets just leave it at that.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Kaun Banega Crorepati - Goan Style !!

Haven't heard the 'ah-voice', 'what re', '* maen', 'shanna bugger', 'arree baba', 'goenchi pao' etc for a long time :-)

Well here is how the story goes:
Our friend from Benaulim, Anton Sebastiao, appeared on Kaun Banega Crorepati, the famous 'Amitabh Bachchan' hosted show.

Anton had miraculously reached the end of the rounds by saying all his Rosaries and Novenas and had already won Rs.1 crore.

"You've done very well so far," said Amitabh "but for Rs 2 crore you've only got one lifeline left - Phone a Friend.
Everything is riding on this question...will you go for it?"
"Sure," said Anton.
"Aou (I will) ek last chance marta!"

"OK..... The question is.... Which of the following birds does NOT build its own nest?
(a) Robin
(b) Sparrow
(c) Cuckoo or
(d) Crow"

"Mai-cza-gho... I not knowing dat," said Anton, "so better use my last lifeline and phone to my friend Benny Coelho from Mumbai. He is Goenkar, but he is Bandra boy and born and brought up in Mumbai so he's too smart, real shaana bugger."

Anton called up his friend in Mumbai, told him the circumstances and repeated the question to him.
"Arree Baba Anton!" cried Benny, "Sarko Endo Mure Tu, Simple it is... it's a cuckoo."
"Ah-voice, sure maen Benny?" asked Anton.
"Arrre baba hundred percent sure maen! Pakka!"

Anton hung up the phone and told Amitabh Bachan, "I tell Cookoo."
"Is that your final answer?" asked Amitabh Bachan.
"Sarkem Sure, Sir!"
There was a long, long pause, then Amitabh Bachan screamed,
"Cuckoo is the correct answer! Anton, you've just won Rs.Two Crores!!!"

The next night, Anton threw a big party for all the people from Benaulim at the Benaulim Club. Benny was specially flown in from Mumbai as the Chief Guest.

Time for speeches... Anton takes the mike and asks Benny, "Saang mure, Benny? Foo told you? How you know cookoo is not building its own nest? Otherwise you are sarkem bondo and you know nothing about birds....Your Fadder or chicher (teacher) taught you ah-what???"

"C'mon yaaar! Bas kya! What yor saying?" laughed Benny. "You Goan Paos are sometimes such daffars men.... Everybody knows a cuckoo lives in a clock."