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Monday, December 31, 2007

Biking to the Big Banyan

MaaNi, my friend, had suggested going biking a few days back. It had been more than a couple of months since our last trek to KalavarahaLLi. Since then, Shetty, one of the driving forces for our bike trips had flown to Canada, and it was just me and MaaNi from the original gang, that were still in Bangalore.

MaaNi called at 10 am with the plan to bike to the Big Banyan tree in RamohaLLi, about 18 km from Bangalore, on the road to Mysore. I dint think twice. Having company to bike was a reason enough, infact! And no harm in seeing the place, i decided.

An hour and half later, we left from MaaNi's place, and met up with couple of his friends - Vinay and Pradeep near Rajarajeshwari Nagar on Mysore Road. Riding onwards, we took a right turn next to Sri Rajajeshwari Dental College, beyond Kengeri. The road from here to the Big Banyan was under construction and a torture both to the bikes and the riders. Thankfully, it lasted only about 3 km, and another 6 km straight ahead on the road, we reached the Big Banyan - doDDa Alada mara.

The information board at the entrance said that the tree
was around 400 years old and spread over 3-4 acres. I ain't too good at such large-scale measurements, based on mere observation, but I am positive that the area was under 2 acres - this I surmised, coz my high school playground in Manipal which housed a big football ground, 2 basketball courts and 4 volleyball courts, I knew was 3 acres large. It was just about a decent place for half-a-day's picnic for families. Nothing too great, I personally felt. Clicked some snaps, lie down on the grass and chatted for an hour and started back at around 2 pm.

On the way back, took the route from the other side, through MaagaDi road. The road was very nice, and worth the extra km we had to ride. Had a late lunch at 3 pm in one of the restaurants on the way, and got back at about 4 30 pm, covering 70 km in the day. Short and mildly-sweet bike trip for the weekend! :-)


Friday, December 21, 2007

EQ??

More timepass...

Your EQ is 160

Two possibilities - you've either out "Dr. Phil-ed" Dr. Phil... or you're a dirty liar.

Seriously though, your whole "Don't Worry, Be Happy" philosophy is really what defines emotional intelligence.
You're warm, open, and very optimistic. You know how to act appropriately, even if you don't feel like it.

You are a good communicator, and you have little difficulty with personal relationships - even when you're dealing with difficult people.
In general, you are successful, capable, together person. You get what you want out of life.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Blame it on 'dosha'... :-)

Pure timepass!!
But, btw... decently accurate, i would say!

Your Dosha is Pitta

You have a quick mind, a gift for persuasion, and a sharp sense of humor.
You have both the drive and people skills to be a very successful leader.
Argumentative and a bit stubborn, you have been known to be a little too set in your ways.
But while you may be biased toward your own point of view, you are always honest, fair, and ethical.

With friends: You are outgoing and open to anyone who might want to talk to you

In love: You are picky but passionate

To achieve more balance: Be less judgmental of those around you, and take cool walks in the moonlight.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Tum chalo... toh hindustan chale!

A video that really stirred up the passion of being a part of the new-generation youth of India!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Movie Review: Jab we met

Name: Jab we met

Genre: Romance / comedy

Director: Imtiaz Ali

Music: Pritam

Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor

My rating: 4/5

The theme is simple – on the face of it, may even look clichéd. But the execution is brilliant! Boy and girl meet accidentally during a eventful train journey, boy and girl who despise each other initially, become intimate, as the journey progresses, girl loves another guy, about whom she isn’t sure, boy helps her get united with him, but girl later realizes that she loves the hero more than her first crush, and then – the happy ending.

Aditya Kashyap (Shahid Kapoor), the son of a wealthy Mumbai industrialist, who fails in love, and also in stepping into his deceased father’s shoes, aimlessly gets on to a train. In the train, he meets motor-mouth Geet (Kareena Kapoor) who gets on to his nerves, first by talking non-stop and then by landing herself into one trouble after another, leaving him to get her out of all of them. But along the journey, Aditya too gets infected with Geet’s living-life-by-the-heart attitude and they become great pals. But the end of this journey ushers in a change of fortunes for the two. While Aditya carries on with the newfound zeal he got from Geet, into his business and life, to become very successful, Geet is besot with the bad luck which forces her to become a recluse, living away from family and friends. Aditya comes back to revive Geet’s life, and a twist of events at the end makes him her companion for life.

The movie entirely belongs to Shahid and Kareena, who share an awesome chemistry on screen and have come out with great performances. While Shahid does full justice to his cute, chocolate boy kind of role, Kareena is annoyingly adorable as the girl who loves to talk non-stop and live life queen size! The movie is loaded with genuine humor interlaced with the romance between Aditya and Geet, which makes you roar with laughter, throughout. The editing in the first half is crisp and takes the movie at great pace, but one just wishes the second half was about 20-30 minutes shorter, which would have added an additional punch to the movie. Pritam stamps his royal class, in the music department, by coming up with a bunch of melodious tunes. All songs are superb and add to the flavor of the movie – especially Mauja mauja and yeh ishq hai (a fusion song).

Verdict: Must watch… and yes, to enjoy the magic of the movie, do watch it on the big screen.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The joy of giving... NVEP @ Honeywell

The best way to be happy, is by making some one else happy... The joy and satisfaction that comes from giving, is unparalleled - especially, if the person receiving it is a truly deserving one. My moments of this ecstasy came during the Native Village Education Program, that I conducted in my native place Manipal, with the support from my company Honeywell Technology Solutions Pvt. Ltd

Background:
I have been associated with the Community Service wing of my companyfor over a year now. There are three tracks under this wing - the Medical Track the Education Track and the Native Village Adoption track. The purpose of the medical track is to provide free medical aid and facilities to those who cant avail of the same. These are carried out by conducting medical camps, blood donation camps, health and hygiene camps & special camps in the remote villages, where there is no access to medical facilities.

Under the Education track, we conduct activities ranging from scholarship programs for economically underprivileged children, donating mobile science centers, conducting teachers’ training programs, mentoring, donating computers, conducting science exhibitions and much more. Most of the times, we conduct these activities while we go the villages for the medical camps

Under the Native Village Adoption Program, an employee can make a difference in his/her native village by developing the basic amenities, infrastructure and education. Funds for the project will be shared between HTS Community Service Trust and the employee. The employee/s will be contributing 20% of the funds and rest by the CS trust, with a maximum limit of Rs 32,000. Development can be done from building the rooms of village school, tank cleaning, and bridge construction to road side tree plantation have benefited from this program.


My Native Village Education Program (NVEP):

I hail from a small village Parkala, in Udupi district of Karnataka. The district has a made a mark in the education field in Karnataka district, being one of the top three most literate districts in our state, with a literacy percentage of over 90%. But this record notwithstanding, there are several schools, where several bright students find it difficult to continue their education, due to economic constraints.

Encouraged by the support that the HTS CS wing provides the employees to help support education initiatives in our native villages, I conducted surveys, and discussions with the heads of five schools in and around my village. These are villages, and schools which have the maximum number of students coming from meager backgrounds. With the help of the heads of the schools, I identified some academically deserving students, whose families face deep financial crisis, which could threaten the future of their schooling, and conducted a merit-cum-need basis scholarship program for them, and distributed Rs 40,000 of scholarship among some talented poor students.

The schools i covered, were Manipal Pre University College, Manipal - my alma mater, where I did my high schooling and pre-uvinersity, Parkala High School, Shri ViShnumoorthy High School KoDibeTTu, U S Nayak High School, PaTla and HiriyaDka P U College. A couple of months back, when I been back to my native place to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi, I had proposed this plan to the heads of the schools, and they had enthusiastically responded, by preparing the list of deserving students from their respective schools and sending them over to me. My parents made the job infinitely simple for me, by coordinating these activities locally, while I was in Bangalore.

The program was scheduled for 11th November 2007, when I had been back on Diwali vacation. It was conducted in the auditorium of my school, Manipal P U College. All (almost :-))the students, who were selected for being awarded the scholarships had been present with their parents and guardians. In the absence of my school Principal and Vice Principal (who had cooperated magnificently, but could not make it, due to other unavoidable commitments) my old Kannada teacher, Mr. Uma Maheshwara Hegde, helped me conduct the function. His experience and full support was a major reason for the awesome success of the program.

Although I knew the importance of what I was doing, to the benefiting students, the actual impact of it hit me, during that program. In my address to the students and their parents, I had encouraged them to think big, to make their own ways, where there weren't any, and strive to excel. It was an overwhelming experience to serve as inspiration to so many talented young girls and boys. The gratitude and desire to surpass that I saw in their eyes, as I distributed the scholarships, made that day one of the most memorable days in my life.

The occasion was graced by the councilor of Manipal Shri Devendra Prabhu, and teachers from the schools, who had come to see their students in their moment of glory. Many of my friends, who are also old students of the school were present, and for me, it was a double whammy, in the form of a reunion after a long time! My sister, who could not make it to the function, had supported me with her best wishes and by paying for the refreshments served during the program.


Special thanks to Senthil Kumar, one of the leads and the pillar of our CS wing, my parents who were the back bone of this undertaking of mine, and most of all, the Community Service Wing of HTS who helped me realize my dreams...
For me?? I want to continue inspiring...

Like Winston Churchill has very aptly said "We make a living by what we get... We make a life by what we give!"

More photos:



Monday, November 5, 2007

Book review: Perry Mason - The case of the Lame Canary

Name: Perry Mason and the case of the Lame Canary

Genre: Murder Thriller

Author: Erle Stanley Gardener

Publishers: Master Mind books

Price: Rs 75/-

My rating: 3.5/5


A big fan of Perry Mason novels, I've read more than half the books in the series. I categorize these books I've read into just two categories - the top five, and the rest. This book, I can say, does not belong to the former category. :-)

A lady Rita Swaine comes to Mason with a lame canary belonging to her sister Rosalind, who is fed up with her husband and wants a divorce. The apparent divorce case turns out into a murder, when Rosalind's husband Walter Prescot is found dead. An accident on the road involving a coupe and a truck which occurs outside Prescot's house around the time of the murder adds another dimension to the murder. The other ingredients in the plot are Rosalind's boyfriend Driscoll, a snoopy neighbor looking into the house of murder Mrs. Anderson, the Weyman couple neighbors, a strange Carl Packard, Prescot's partner Wray, his secretary Rosa and Driscoll's maverick lawyer Rodney Cuff.

Mason, who would have otherwise dismissed the divorce case, which he is not interested in, takes it up, because of a hunch on the lame canary, and goes on to solve the murder. The ending is dramatic and sudden - typical of Erle Stanley Gardner's style - the narrative, grasping and the solution to the puzzle, absolutely breath-taking. Add to it the knowledge about court room hearings, autopsies, forensic science, guns and others that you get - its short crisp and very gripping. Go for it!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Moonlight trek at KalavarahaLLi beTTa


My mamma says, when a plan gets interrupted too many times before it gets underway, then something will definitely go wrong with it.

Not really, I think... At least, it wasn't so with this trek of ours. I have lost count of the number of times the plan made by me and my friends, to trek the kalavarahaLLi beTTa (also known as Skandagiri) had been scrapped, before it was finally executed early in the morning on 27th of October. And despite the hiccups for over two months, during which we made and dropped the idea umpteen number of time, almost every weekend - the trek was simply superb.

Mamma's rule had another exception.

The gang of Shetty, MaaNi, bhatta, Kothari and me started off on three bikes, at 2:30 am on the 27th from MaaNi's place in Jayanagar. Shetty had been to kalavarahaLLi once before, and was the driving force behind the mission. In Physics terms, that force, was just a scalar, and not a vector. He knew where to go, but didn't have the direction!! Worse still, he didn't seem to see the need for it either, and i could instantly visualize a wild bull running amok in a jungle!

We rode 70 km through Jayanagar - Hudson Circle - Cubbon Park - Mekhri Circle - Hebbal Flyover and then on NH 7, thorough Yelahanka and DevanahaLLi, to reach ChikkabaLLapur. There's more than one way to get to the foot of the kalvarahaLLi hill. It is a hill next to Nandi Hills, and you can get there from a couple of routes to Nandi hills too. We chose the route through chikkabaLLapur for three reasons - firstly, it was straightforward. Secondly we could hope to find some people in dhabas or in the village to give us the directions, and lastly and most importantly, the four of us just did not trust Shetty, because his plan was to try and discover the path riding aimlessly on deserted roads at wee hours in the morning.

All the above reasons worked in our favor. We reached ChikkabaLLapur, took a left at a prominent Ganapathi temple, and rode straight for about 8 km to reach the Papagini matha, at the foot of kaLavarahaLLi beTTa. On the way, we took directions from some nocturnal tea shops and early village risers, and also picked up a guide to show us the way up the hill.

We started trekking at 5 am, with an aim to make it to the top to watch the sunrise. Despite the short time at hand, with the help of the guide, we made it right in time. The route was pretty simple from this end and we climbed up at a good pace, taking just a couple of breaks for five-ten minutes each, in between. It was extremely foggy and cold, but within half an hour, we had begun sweating so much, that, had it not been for the protection the jackets gave us, from the thorny shrubs on the way, we'd have taken them off right away. It was just a day before the full moon, but the moon was behind the clouds most of the time, giving us just a few fleeting glimpses here and there.


We made it to the top right at sun-break, and beyond that, it was an hour of bliss. Literally, standing above the level of the clouds, the magnificent view from atop the hill just took our breath away. Words can probably never explain that beauty, while the photos can still do some justice. With gales of winds sprinkling the moisture from the clouds on our face, you would be tempted to stand with your arms wide open on the mountain edge, forever. The clouds all around and below of the summit of the hill looked like a field with cotton strewn all around. It was a photographer's dream - picturesque and romantic!






We stayed there till around 7 30, and made our way down. It took us about an hour downhill, and we met some other trekking troops on their way up. Although the cloud cover remains till around 8 - 9 pm, they would have surely missed the grandeur of the place, going that late. We reached the place where we had parked our bikes at 9 am, grudgingly paid the guide Rs 250, as against the earlier agreed 200 bucks, and rode back. On the way, I got a chance to give a lift to couple of school going girls of the village. After breakfast in ChikkabaLLapur, we reached Bangalore at lunch time.


Some other key points to remember:

  • Don't forget to take torches (ideally, one per person) with back up batteries, if you are trekking during the night. Also carry the regular stuff like water, eatables, warm clothing etc.
  • If you are going for the first time, especially in the dark, it is better not to risk going without a guide. But beware of the guides who might try to fleece you. Ideally 200 - 250 rupees should be the max limit. They mostly start off with 500. If you can bargain for lesser, good for you!
  • The best time to go there is now - September - February. Make sure, you are on the top of the hill to watch the sunrise (and/or sunset)
  • While trekking in the night is one option, you may even trek there there previous evening, pitch your tents there, watch the sunrise the next morning, and come back. If you do this, please take tents, sleeping bags etc. Chances of making a campfire may not be bright, owing to the fog and moisture.

More photos:





Monday, October 22, 2007

Book review: Name: How to get into the top MBA programs

Name: How to get into the top MBA programs

Genre: Management education reference

Author: Richard Montauk

Publishers: Prentice Hall Pr

Price: $27.95

My rating: 4.0/5

Ok. So you have decided to pursue your MBA from a foreign university. Or you are considering that as an option for your future plans. Presenting… a complete guide to your preparation for this goal of yours.

There are plethora of books and other resources to guide you in the arduous process of applying to an MBA program. The more you research, the more sources to consider, and the more information you collect, the better it aids you. Having said that, this book is a comprehensive one-stop reference for most of the guidance you will need.

The book consists of four major parts – The ‘context’, which helps you decide on why you would want to do an MBA, the types of MBA programs available and how to decide which program and college would probably best suit your aspirations. The second part touches on the aspect of ‘How to best market yourself’ – the nuts and bolts of the application procedure, including tips on writing essays, preparing your resumes, arranging for letters of recommendation, and handling the interview procedure. The third part ‘On road to the B school’ covers the post-application topics like handling wait lists and rejects, arranging for financial aid etc. The fourth last part consists of a huge collection of essays written by as many as twenty applicants, from various backgrounds, while applying to the various top MBA programs, and the analyses of these essays.

Along with the general advice that Montauk gives, each topic is fortified with quotations and excerpts regarding various facets of the topic, from interviews with various directors and other staff members from the admission committees of the best b-schools. While adding to the clarity of information given, this aspect also gives the differentiating factor about these various aspects of application, from the standpoint of the different b schools.

At over 700 pages, this book could intimidate you with its size. But you do not have to read the whole book if you are in a time crunch; you can read just the sections pertinent to your case. But, if you do have the time, this book provides you with a wealth of information and will be an ideal companion in your journey to the top b-schools of the world!!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Chand sifarish... @ HTS Utsav 2006

Don't know why i never put this up before.

My experience of leading my company (Honeywell Technology Solutions Pvt Ltd - HTSL) music band, for the first time, at the company annual day.

16 Dec 2006

Singing in front of an 8000 strong crowd, at the Palace Grounds in Bangalore, it was one of the most heady, and memorable experiences in my life.

This song, Chand Sifarish (originally from the movie Fanaa, sung by Shaan) was the opening song of our twenty minute performance.

The team of performers consisted mostly of people who had never performed in front of such a big crowd ever in their life. Despite this, the confidence with which they performed, and the sheer hardwork they put into gaining that confidence, was what made the show such a huge success. The cheers of "Once more! Once more!" and crescendo of applause that greeted our show, made our efforts more than worth it

video


Looking forward to rocking HTS again, at Utsav 2007
The coutdown has begun...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The watcher in 'the' eye...


Model - Canon EOS 400D Digital (SLR)

ExposureTime - 1/250 seconds

Exposure mode - Tv-priority

FNumber - 6.30

ExposureProgram - Shutter priority

ISO - 400

Monday, September 10, 2007

Movie Review: Heyy Babyy

Name: Heyy babyy!

Genre: Comedy

Director: Sajid Khan

Music: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy

Cast: Akshay Kumar, Fardeen Khan, Ritesh Deshmukh, Vidya Balan, Boman Irani and Johaina :-)

My rating: 3.5/5

Boys will be boys. Or will they be?

A story of three boys, who grow up from being playboys, to loving fathers, with the arrival of an unexpected ‘Angel’ baby in their life, Sajid Khan - Sajid Nadiawala’s “Heyy Babyy!” is a comedy-cum-melodramatic flick, which will leave you with a sweet feeling tingling in your heart.

Aroush (Akshay Kumar), Tanmay (Ritesh Deshmukh) and Al(i) (Fardeen Khan) are three happy-go-lucky young men, living as a family in Sydney, mostly flirting and dating. Their adventurous life goes into a tizzy, when one morning, they find a few-months-old girl child on their doorstep. After the initial blame game, as to who the child’s father is, and a vain attempt, to find the child’s mother, they are left with no option, but to take care of the kid. But this task, not being their cup of tea, they lose their sleep and peace of mind, which causes them to mess up their jobs, and they get fired. Blaming the child for all their misfortunes, they decide to get rid of her, by abandoning her. But an unusual turn of circumstances, and a miracle, which saves the baby from death, changes the hearts of the young men, who make the child, the center of their lives, and bring her up as their child, ‘Angel’.

Enter Esha (Vidya Balan), the mother of the girl child, who comes as a nightmare, in their fairy tale life, and takes the kid away from the father-trio. This is when they realize, that the child belongs to Aroush, and that Esha wants to avenge his betrayal to her. Aroush tries to apologize to Esha, and expresses his desire to marry her, but she is hell bent on teaching Aroush a lesson. The rest of the story is about the ardent attempts of Aroush and his friends, to try and win the Esha’s heart and get their bundle of joy, back into their home, assisted by Esha’s father (Boman Irani)

While the first half hour makes you roll with laughter, seeing the endeavors of three men trying to handle a child, the rest of the movie tugs at your heart, watching their fervent attempts, to try and see the child in some way or the other, and to regain her from her mother. Akshay Kumar delivers a stellar performance both in the comic and sentimental parts of the movie and the rest of the characters evolve around him very well. On one hand, his superb comic timing will have you in splits and on the other, his fine acting in the sad scenes, especially the ones, in which he is separated from his child, will bring tears to your eyes. He is very well supported by Ritesh Deshmukh and Fardeen Khan who play their roles with great finesse. The way three of them gel together in all the phases of the film, make them very endearing. On the other hand, after the sweet girl-next-door kind of roles in Parineeta and Lage raho Munnabhai, Vidya Balan, who plays a hungry-for-revenge girl and mother, who is cheated by the person she loved, is a revelation in the new kind of role she plays. But the most memorable part of the movie, easily, is the babyy ‘Angel’ (Johaina), who looks so cute and adorable, that you can’t help but wish, that you had a child like her. Her expressions in the entire movie fill your heart with unbounded joy.

Music by Shankar Ehsaan and Loy is above average – the title song, and the ‘Mast Kalandar’ songs being the best in the album. But a couple of songs in the movie, which break the pace the story, by unnecessarily being in there, could surely have been done without. But the beautiful background score and the signature tunes in the movie make up for this, by adding flavor to the story. Although the movie does contain a few moments, which could embarrass a family crowd, it is a good entertainer, and definitely worth a watch.

Official site: http://heyybabyy.erosentertainment.com/

Friday, September 7, 2007

Book review: Q & A

Name: Q&A

Genre: Fiction

Author: Vikas Swarup

Publishers: Doubleday

Price: Rs 395

My rating: 4.5/5 (Must read)


It starts with “I have been arrested. For winning a quiz show”

It ends with “I don’t need it anymore. Because luck comes from within”

And throughout the 300 pages in between, it keeps you riveted, and leaves you simply mesmerized. Whatever be the genre of books you naturally enjoy, this is one book, you will definitely enjoy.

This is the story of an 18 year old boy, from the slum of Dharavi in Mumbai, who goes on to win a billion rupees in a quiz game show called ‘Who will win a Billion’. The boy – Ram Mohammad Thomas – narrates the story of his life, and how he won the game show, and also found a wife, a life long friend and a sister – all this, despite being a poor, uneducated orphan.

Ram is arrested on charges of having cheated to win the game show, by the producers of the show, who cannot – and do not - believe, and feel that it is utterly preposterous, that he had won out of sheer luck. He is saved by a lawyer named Smita, to whom he reveals, how he was able to pull off that unbelievable stunt. For each question in the game show, he recounts an incident in his life, from which he gained the knowledge that helped him answer that particular question.

The story is told in a non-chronological fashion, and is sequenced, instead, according to the questions he was asked in the quiz. As such, there are some episodes of his life, which occur at further stages in his life, being presented earlier in the book. Each of the episodes is a short story in itself with a fresh starting, a problem coming in the middle and how Ram solves it heroically, or escapes by chance. This is followed by the question that he was asked in the quiz. This line of narration increases the charm of the story and will keep you interested and guessing. Towards the end, the there are several twists in the story, which increase the thrill-factor to a crescendo and finish it off with a beautiful flourish.

The author Vikas Swarup touches upon several evils in the Indian society like child abuse, exploitation, fraud, murder, prostitution, through which the hero goes through. The writing style is artistically brilliant. Vikas Swarup paints his characters, situations and events in a way akin to the screenplay of the movie. This adds so much of life to them, that you can actually “view” the story, and not just read it. It is a ready-to-make Bollywood movie story, complete with all the typical masala and one, you will thoroughly relish!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Resaturant review: Lazeez

Name of the restaurant:

Lazeez

Address:

Jyothi Nivas College Road, 3rd block Koramangala. (also on Commercial street) Ph: 4104271

Specialties

Mughalai and tandoori food, rolls

Average cost for two

Rs 200 – 250

My rating

4/5

If you love mughalai food, and want to taste some of the best rolls you’ll ever get in Bangalore, this is the place, you must just not miss, (rather “bookmark). Period.

I was suggested this place by a couple of my friends here at office. But what aroused my curiosity to try it out at the earliest, was the fact I was told by a Bengali friend of mine, that this place is run by a member of the family which runs an extremely popular restaurant in Kolkatta, called Shiraz.

The restaurant is easy to spot, in Koramangala (I haven’t yet been to the Commercial street branch), on the way to Jyothi Nivas college from the Intermediate ring road, which is a one way. It is in the basement, and you need to look carefully on the right, to spot the blue board, at the level of the road itself. Parking is on the road, on the left side.

I went there with great expectations, and Lazeez more than satisfied me. Between four friends we tried as many as 14 dishes of different varieties. The menu of Lazeez is very extensive, and it will take me, on a decent estimate, atleast ten times to try all of them. But almost all of them I tried were great – so, it’s a good guess, that the others will be delicious too. Some of them I would suggest are the Chicken Roll, the Mutton kati roll, Chicken Kati kabaab, tava chicken and Kalmi kabaab. For the vegetarians, there is biryani, and some good gobi items. Although we tried just one Gobi peshawari, going by the taste of the Chicken biryani, the veg biryani, could be another suggested item.

But something, which will remain in my memory, is the rotis they serve there – in over a hundred restaurants I have tried till date, Lazeez wins hands down for their awesome, thick and fluffy rotis. Don’t count them. Just eat your fill!

One thing I was glad when I came out, was that we went for a brunch there, in an extremely ravenous condition – it helped enormously to hog a lot. And the pleasing part was that, despite this, it cost us roughly 160 bucks per head! If you eat normally, you can be done within 100-125 rupees per head.

Now why didn’t I know about this place before!!

Monday, September 3, 2007

A go at karting!

Had a great time karting this previous weekend. It was the six of us - Arif bhai, Ranu bhabhi, Daada, Bhavin, @mmi and me. Amongst us, only Bhavin had tried his hands at it before and played 'coach' and motivator.

We biked our way to the arena - Grips Go Karting, on Mysore road, and reached there in about an hour. The few people who were already driving on the tracks gave us a glimpse of what was in store for us. It wasn't the best trailer we could see, since a trio of friends, who weren't concentrating too well on their karts, crashed right in the middle of the track, and were subsequently pulled up, and forbidden from driving thenceforth. Although they sustained very minor injuries, the sight was enough to give us a big jolt. It scared Ranu bhabhi so much, that she decided to stay out. It took Arif bhai, quite some cajoling to convince her, albeit, after arranging for a custodian there, to drive alongside her for a couple of laps, till she found her courage.

The rest of us found it easier, once we were on the karts, and drove a couple of laps. Apart from a particular U - turn, which was the most menacing (and in which Daada crashed into the tyre walls twice), the rest of the track was easily manageable. By the end of the first race, everyone was confident to go for it another time, and drove at much higher speeds than the first time.

The other great part of this outing was Bhavin's Canon EOS400D SLR camera. A powerful camera and a great place to shoot is an unmatchable combo. This time, tried the zoom-past effect, where the surroundings are blurred, and the speeding object is caught static in the middle.

Used a 1/60 s shutter speed for these...





Other photos





Vital Stats:
The Place: Grips Go Karting
Address: Anchepalya, Bangalore - Mysore highway (Mysore). Approx 4 km beyond Kengeri, approx 20 km from Bannerghatta road.
Cost: Rs 100 for 7 bhp engine karts, Rs 200 for 10 bhp engine karts - six laps each
Track length: Approx 500 m
Value for money: Awesome!
Ideal place for half day outings, team outbounds etc.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Friends...

Wanna make friends with me?? :-)

You Are a Good Friend Because You're Accepting

No matter what a friend says or does, you try your best to understand it.
And your friends feel like they can tell you anything. You don't judge.

You know that friendship is a journey - with a lot of ups and downs.
If you and a friend grow apart, you get over it quickly... and leave the potential for future friendship open.

You tend to have many friends from many walks of life. Anyone you meet is could become a friend.
In fact, you are especially interested in people who are a little different than you. Seeing life from another perspective is something you cherish.

Your friends need you most when: They can't turn to anyone else with their secrets

You really can't be friends with: Dogmatic, stubborn people

Your friendship quote: "Love is blind, but friendship closes its eyes."

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What is your relationship status?

Single / Committed / Married??

Ok… half of you, who have read the title, and the first line, will have already made the connection! And the rest of you will relate to it, when I tell this word: Orkut

Rings the bell?? That question in the profile description on the most popular socializing website around?

Started a few years back as a small online community for the youth to socialize, by a genius from Stanford, it has today become a HUUUUGE rage all around the world, inspiring a plethora of other such communities in the web world, and hogging enormous amount of bandwidth – enough for almost all corporate companies to be forced into banning it at office before long… including mine:-( (those who are still lucky – enjoy!! You too would join us soon!)

And among the several things it has revolutionized, is the paradigm shift it has brought into common parlance. From adding new meanings to ordinary words in normal English, to adding new words to our slang lexicon, to being a part of a person’s identity, and changing the way they keep in touch with people... life's changed so much, since Orkut. Among the new concepts it has enlightened the hither-to ignorant common man, is a person’s relationship status.

One of the fields that get displayed with a person’s profile summary, along with, his/her profile photo, name, age and place, it has gained so much prominence, that it has become an integral part of the picture, a person draws, about another, at the sight of the latter’s profile summary.

A “Single” status – especially if you are a cute guy / girl, and have spiced up your profile – would possibly invite lot of scraps, from ‘interested’ people, who want to make ‘friends’ with you. No offense meant… although this is one of the prime purposes of such an online community, the observation made, is in the perspective of the person’s relationship status. If you are “committed”, statistically, the chances that people would be interested in making ‘friends’ with you, and add entries in your scrap book, of the likes of ‘Your profile looks nice. Can we be friends’, is definitely less.

While the “married” status is normally the poorer and insipid cousin of the first two, the response that evokes curiosity, and raises eyebrows, probably to the greatest extent, is – ‘No answer’. Apart from those young, fresh, or unaware users, who just don’t know what it means, any other user, leaving that question unanswered, would most probably belong to the category – single and mingling :-) – someone who is going around with a person, but isn’t sure of the relationship, or doesn’t want others to be conspicuous about it – yet, cannot “bear the guilt” of claiming to be ‘single’. In other words, it is the silent way of saying – I am not available.

Open marriage, and open relationship – are status messages, which are very rarely used genuinely, alteast in the sub-continent. A person seeing this on your profile, most likely, will probably think you made a mistake, or will know, from the rest of your profile, that you are either acting too smart or funny. The bottom line is that – it is almost always ignored.

Amazed by the degree to which, this question forms a part of an Orkut-user’s cognizance, I decided to put my theory to test, by changing my own status from single, to other different options. These are the conclusions I have drawn from my experiment.

  • Changing from Single, to ‘No answer’ mostly, only raises eyebrows. As if to reflect the person’s preference about answering the question, scraps, probing about it, are minimal and normally only from the most active (read jobless) orkut-user-close-acquaintances of the person.
  • Changing from Single to Committed (or vice versa) normally sees a huge influx of scraps – manifesting either as curious and congratulatory messages like “Wow!” “Congrats!!” “When? Who?”, or sincere condolences like “Oh… what happened” “Sorry for ya mate!” “Cheer up” – based on which way you change your status.
  • People who want to avoid all this attention, showered by the above two cases, normally prefer to not try to be too honest to their own conscience, and show up as Single. So, if some one isn’t too nice to your overtures of ‘friendship’, despite being ‘Single’, this might well be the reason!
  • Changing from any status to “married” is just another event, if it is the truth. Since, normally there will be a lot of hullabaloo regarding your wedding, especially in terms of the increased traffic of good wishes (and condolence :-)) scraps, the people who ask you “Oh! Wow! When?” or something similar, are usually far acquaintances of yours, whom you either forgot to invite for your wedding, or knew you once upon a time as a hi-bye friend.

So next time you look at some person’s relationship status, you’ll definitely know to take it with a pinch of salt. For all you know, it could be as much, or even more deceptive than the rest of his profile.

PS:By the way. I am ‘married’ :-) and really lucky, that my parents belong to the not-so-web-savvy generation. They definitely would not take my answer(s) to this question too lightly!! :-)

Closing statement:

Due condolences to Mr. Adnan Patrawala, one of the unfortunate preys to the ugly side of this extremely cogent online community. Please make sure, that your personal security will be your prime concern while using them. Be responsible, stay safe.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Love is...


Confidence...

"What if I love you enough…

Still I feel the need to love you more….

And what if I realized you are my life…

Still I think of you more than my life

What if you are not with me always…..

Still I feel you around here everytime…

May be I am crazy…

So what … you won’t get anyone better than me :-)"

An email that made my day... at the fag end of it...

Monday, August 6, 2007

Top 10 things about my Sunday - the 5th of August

Ten:

Deciding to take our helmets with us, all around on the hill, rather than depositing it at the counter – They came very much in handy, and saved us from being frost bitten by the cold showers and even-colder wind.


Nine:

The photo of the three of us, with helmets on – ala Paresh Rawal, Akshay Kumar and Suniel Shetty, in Herapheri – shot, while we were taking respite from the heavy downpour, on the verandah of an un-occupied guest house, just before starting back. The best souvenir of our trip.

Eight:

The bowl of hot and spicy tomato soup we had at lunch, which brought the much needed warmth into our bodies, and revived the energy in us that had been sapped by the cold on the hill station.


Seven:

Deciding to go to Nandi hills, which would have more people, and where atleast MaaNi had been to, once before, rather than the KalaivarihaLLi beTTa which, despite being our initial planned destination, would have been completely alien to us, more likely to be deserted, and a not-so-wise choice for the rainy day it was today.


Six:

The drizzle at noon, and the heavy showers in the late afternoon – both, which spread a blanket of thick fog on the hill, which truly made the experience of being there today, akin to strolling in the heavens…



Five:

Going on a bike trip after a long time – almost eight months, since my last bike trip to KemmaNNugunDi.

Four:

Escaping with almost no injuries, from the fall, at a railway crossing, on the way back, where the track was dangerously displaced from the level of the road, and worse still – was extremely slippery, coz of the rain. Had it been worse, it would have spoilt the wonderful day, we had had, until then.

Three:

The mesmerizing picturesque beauty of, and around the hill… the brilliant birds-eye-view from the various cliff edges of the hill… the intoxicating breeze which makes you want to sit there... forever, and let it speak with your soul… the paradise called Nandi hills…


Two:

Waking up at 8:30 am, deciding all at once to go biking, making an ad hoc plan, without a route or a destination… Setting out, with an always-up-for-an-adventure friend MaaNi, and a sweet-and-sporty sweetheart, @mmi… and making it another red-letter-day in life.

One:

Today being Friendship day… receiving friendship messages in the densely foggy and romantic environs atop the hill… being there with two of my closest friends, and enjoying with them… And most importantly… having some really great friends in life, who make life much more worth living, than it would otherwise be…

Happy friendship day friends!

More photos from the trip, below


Thursday, August 2, 2007

A team outing at Golden Palms

We were supposed to start at 11 am.
We finally started at 12:30 pm.

We were supposed to travel three hours max, both ways, to and fro, the Golden Palms resort.
We got stuck up in bad traffic jams both times, and ended up four and a half hours in the cab.

We were supposed to play a lot of team building games and get to know each other much better.
Time permitted us to play just one game, after an elaborate round of introduction.

Ideally, the entire team was supposed to be there.
Team members in Phoenix, Madurai and those who could not join, were present only in spirt.

Hmmm... Murphy's law ruling at large, you'd say?? On the face of it, maybe yes... But just as Murphy's law didn't say the other half of the story - what other than or after, what could go wrong, did go wrong - the above half of the story, tells only the most forgettable (and at the end of the day - insignificant) part of our team outing.

Our team - the Test Tools and Test Executive team - under Sumit, had suddenly swollen up from eight members to twenty one, within a span of three months, with the commencement of the ambitious and unprecedented Core ATE project, and the existing projects getting more people on board, to handle the burgeoning work flow. And suddenly, the small conference rooms, in which we used to have our team meetings, seated comfortably, now started looking like a BTS bus in the rush hours!! So, along with the decision to move over to bigger rooms, came the plan, to 'build' the team and become more familiar with each other (read - know about their dark secrets, so that we can pull their leg some other time!! :-D )

VJ mailed to Admin team to begin executing the plan. He got replies. Mailed again. Got more replies. Sumit too mailed. He too got replies.

Finally, we, the team, got the announcement - 31st July, 11 am to 6 pm... we were going to build :-) in the Golden Palms Resort on the outskirts of Bangalore city.



31 July 11 am... came.. and went... Everyone was so busy at their desks, that it looked liked they were struck by a bolt of amnesia. Except for VJ (and may be those, who would not be joining us :-P ). VJ played sentry, and hovered all around, looking for the all-elusive cab that was supposed to ferry us. Sumit walked around to see everyone so immersed in their desktops, that he looked partially frustrated, and i guess, partially doubtful, if he had got the date of the outbound wrong!

12:30 pm. Cab apparated (refer Harry Potter!) in front of office building. 13 out of 21 from the team, after some cajoling, boarded the cab. Anamika, from the HR team joined in. The spirits of the unavailable 8 members, floated in through the windows :-) We drove off.

How about Dumb Charades, called VJ and Rama. Yeahhhhhhh... hooted the others. Start Dumb C. Everyone got a chance to mime (and the rest, to laugh at them, and guess the answers!) Sumit delved into the huge list of movies he'd watched, and came out with some real toughies... Ashish got frustrated miming the movie 360 degrees. Manu found it difficult to be dumb!! (How dumb!! he he) Lot of movies got mimed and guessed in between. And before we knew, we'd travelled a hour and half, and reached the resort.

Camera... click... click!!
Thank you!!

Tummies growled loudly. None of them spoke much. Everyone headed for the dining hall in the resort, without worrying too much about other things around, driven by hunger.

Food was good. Time was short. All ate well. I mostly talked.
Saranya ate pulav, Shenba devoured rotis, Manu had chaats... i ended up only telling stories.
Time up! called Sumit. Ashish, followed by VJ came to gag me and carry me out.

Tummies full. Smiles all around. All looking smug! The thought definitely crossed all our minds, for a moment... that we wouldn't mind getting a good fluffy bed, for an afternoon siesta.

We'd expected to be playing some games, being close to nature... may be in a lawn or garden. Instead, we were shown to a conference room, whose big deep chairs refused to lean back! Probably they expect people to doze off during conferences, if such comfortable chairs are provided, and have steered clear of taking that responsibility!!

We began with some 'Animal talk'... I mean... Anamika suggested that we identify an animal / bird / reptile / any living creature other than human, which we felt resembled us the most. Not many were ready for this, with the lights in the upper chamber of the head gone out, after the wonderful meal!! I got ragged into going first, after desperate attempts all around to make the others, the first bakra!

"Chamaleon", I said... It took a moment to sink... Why? echoed voices all around... Coz i change my colors often (what the hell was I blabbering, a voice in my brain asked me) - and before I realized, loud applause and hooting from friends, passed this resolution unanimously... I maintained a dumb silence.

Prashant went next with 'Elephant'. Everyone gasped. You need to eat thrice what you eat now for that, suggested Sumit. 'It is for the calm demeanour... i meant' Prashant continued... hmmm... we all agreed... It sure does take quite an effort to unsettle him!! :-)

Then there were the sleepy polar bear, the focussed hawk, the free-to-roam whale, the calm-until-provoked bear, the industrious ant, the sturdy horse, the kingly lion.... a tweety bird... a Superman-monkey (no guesses who that is!! )... Wow!! felt like in a zoo, with talking animals and birds!!!

A tea-break later, I was again ragged - This time, to sing a song. I obliged with 'Nothing's gonna change my love for you' and i actually got an applause for it!! And then... i did not mind having been ragged!!

Next.. it was time for a formal intro, with a rider - to tell something what no one else in the room, knew about oneself... Skeletons came tumbling out of the closet... and so did, some hidden talents, some deep desires, and some great achievements too... There was someone who had proposed to a teacher (wohhhh!), some one who could write on grains of rice, some great players of hockey and cricket, some one born in Angola (woohhhhh!) some leaders of clubs... And all of a sudden... it felt like sitting inside a talent power-house... with a pack of extemely gifted and unique individuals... A super team we are, we all realized...

The only game we played, was the one in which we had to build a pyramid with paper cups,
split into three teams. The cups had to be picked up with a lasso having multiple threads tied to a rubber band, and which needed to be pulled and released to emulate the holding action.

Strategies made. Practice done. Contest started. Prashant's team was well organized, and built an awesome pyramid. VJ's team was almost there. Our team thought out-of-the-box and came out with an innovative ploy - pulled out a loophole out of the rules, built a huge base using glass cups from the conference tables
, and made a big pyramid. VJ's pyramid got blown off, Prashant's pyramid held on, and got hailed... Ours... ?? tch tch... not everyone values "different" ideas!! :-P how sad!!

We all discussed what we learnt out of the game... Resource planning, co-ordination, leadership, strategy, knowledge of constraints, etc etc... WOW!! I never knew common sense had so many synonyms!! And then there were some other observations, which were derived by relating to life at office... but, ahem... ahem... can't reveal them here... coz they belong to the the category 'Those-which-must-not-be-named' and 'You-know-what' !!

After all this, Anamika and Amal left early, while the rest of us killed some time playing some snooker and carrom, and started back at around 6 pm. Somewhere on the way out of the resort, we all got "heady" and got this...

But the true team building and fun, was on the way back... After another round of songs I sang, we switched to Antakshari... An hour later we got tired of that... And then came the brilliant idea of singing songs, simultaneously, in two languages... While the Tamil buddies sung some of the most popular songs in Tamil, the rest of us, went in harmony, with the Hindi version of the same - Roja, Saathiya (Alaipayutha), Jeans, Hindustani (Indian),.... Unity in diversity, team building any one?? See HERE... See HERE!!

The rain came down hard and fast, outside... the cab crawled back through the evening traffic on the flooded roads... and the mood and songs inside... reached a crescendo, and stayed like that, until we got back into the campus.

8:30 pm. The curtains came down, on one of the best Tuesdays in my two years here at Honeywell. We sure were had grown into a closer knit team over that span of 8 hours... Now, if that was the end objective... it had, for certain, got an E - exceeding expectations...