Saturday, December 27, 2008

Life List

At fifteen, he sat down and made a list. At such a young age he jotted down all that he wished to do in his life. The list included things like; exploring the Nile, Colorado and more, learn about the primitive civilizations of Congo, Brazil and more, climb the Mt. Everest, Mt Fuji and many more, photograph Iguacu Falls, Niagara Falls and more, explore the underwater coral reefs of Florida and The Great Barrier Reef, Australia, Visit places like the Taj Mahal, Leaning tower of Pisa and others, write a book, make a telescope, publish an article in National Geographic Magazine, light a match with a .22 rifle, go to the moon and plenty of others. Puff! And that is just some of the items from his list that had 127 items in all.
He called it "My Life List".
Today, he has ticked off 111 items from the list. Some of the items still not ticked are; go to the moon, visit every country in the world (he has 30 to go) and feature in a Tarzan movie. Ha.
John Goddard is an explorer, adventurer, author and lecturer. Check his complete "Life List" . You will be bulldozed to amazement. I promise.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The best goodbye ever ...

What would you do if you came to know you have only a couple of months to live? Amar Kaul, the character played by Vinay Pathak in 'DASVIDANIYA' makes a list of things he wishes to do before he dies. He has three months to live. And is successful in ticking off all the items in the list before he says his goodbyes.

His journey through the last months of his life is not only moving but inspiring and an education. Its one of the movies that makes you introspective.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Illusion of Wealth and a Fraud.

When Lehman Brothers evaporated and the official anouncement of recession started to do the headlines, I started to search for answers. I was lost. I had little or more correctly no understanding of the stock market then. And my understanding of economics did not go beyond the demand and suppy curve. So, for the next couple of weeks I read and reread a lot of material on the internet. Became, for a change, a listener in discussions that broke out at office over coffee and lunch. The frequency and duration of coffee breaks increased and I was educated.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Finding sense ...

I collate here some of the comments and excerpts from articles that I read after the Mumbai terror episode. Maybe, just maybe, as a group, these thoughts will make some sense amidst the confusion, anger, hopelessness and hate that has gripped the nation.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

India’s 9/11? Not Exactly by Amitav Ghosh

With debates on the possibility and effectiveness of miliatary action on Pakistan doing the rounds these days the following article by Amitav Ghosh in the New York Times makes for a fantastic read and I share that with you here.

India’s 9/11? Not Exactly

SINCE the terrorist assaults began in Mumbai last week, the metaphor of the World Trade Center attacks has been repeatedly invoked. From New Delhi to New York, pundits and TV commentators have insisted that “this is India’s 9/11” and should be treated as such. Nearly every newspaper in India has put “9/11” into its post-massacre headlines. The secretary general of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the leading Hindu nationalist political faction, has not only likened the Mumbai attack to those on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, but has insisted that “our response must be close to what the American response was.”

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

News, or is it?

I followed NDTV and IBN CNN for close to four hours last evening. The fears that I expressed in my last post seemed to have come to pass. There was almost no mention of the Assam blast for the complete period that I followed the news.

The 24/7 media had so much in hand that they forgot to give enough news time to the incidence in Assam. Yet found enough time to interview film stars and other celebrities for their reaction to Mumbai episode. I am not least bit surprised.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Blast in Assam

Another bomb blast. This time in Assam.

Militants belonging to Karbi Longri National Liberation Front (KLNLF) are suspected to be behind tha blast. The blast went of inside coach number 8209 of 901 Lumding-Tinsukia passenger train, exploded around 8 am as it entered Diphu railway station. Almost 30 people are suspected to be dead as of now. Read More ...

I am waiting to see how India responds to this. Will the anger rise or will it make the country resigned to the idea that life of terror is now the norm and inevitable.

Will the country discriminate between terror based on who is responsible for it or on the basis of which part of the country is attacked?

Government is listening?

This country has seen worse incidences of terror and destruction. The Kosi River killed much more than a lot of terror incidences. It was a calamity for which nature was not wholly responsible. Rather the reasons were man made. Definite negligence from political leadership and government officials. The same reasons that made last week incidence possible.

So what makes the TAJ incidence so unique that the people of the country have woken up and have become vocal? I think the people of this country have always been vocal of their plight. Only this time the ones who are vocal are the people that matter. These are the country’s elite and for some reason have more say in the functioning of the world. When a helpless villager in far away interior Bihar expresses his tragedy of losing his family to the floods, it makes for a good fifteen minutes of news time. Nothing more.

Monday, December 01, 2008

India challenged....

With the visuals of the final hour assault by the NSG at Taj, I start my day. Within a couple of minutes into the commentary one could see the fire beginning to engulf the ground floor and the first floor of what is undoubtedly one of the most majestic pieces of architecture facing the west coast. Guns shot reminds of the some bloody Hollywood war movie. But the location is not some forest in another country. War zone is closer home.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

We Wear the Mask by Paul Laurence Dunbar

We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.

Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.

We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Obama: The Next President of US

Barack Obama is elected as the 44th President of United States of America. And its an apropriate time to go back and enjoy one of the most celebrated and famous speeches given in the history of Mankind.

I Have a Dream - Address at March on Washington
August 28, 1963. Washington, D.C.

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation. [Applause]

Friday, October 31, 2008

Why to Start a Startup in Bad Economy By Paul Graham.

The following article I found while general surfing and found it interesting and more importantly pleasant amids the gloom of economic slowdown. The article is written by Paul Graham. Paul Graham is an essayist, programmer, and programming language designer. In 1995 he developed with Robert Morris the first web-based application, Viaweb, which was acquired by Yahoo in 1998. In 2002 he described a simple statistical spam filter that inspired most current filters. He's currently working on a new programming language called Arc, a new book on startups, and is one of the partners in Y Combinator.

Why to Start a Startup in Bad Economy By Paul Graham.

The economic situation is apparently so grim that some experts fear we may be in for a stretch as bad as the mid seventies.

When Microsoft and Apple were founded.

As those examples suggest, a recession may not be such a bad time to start a startup. I'm not claiming it's a particularly good time either. The truth is more boring: the state of the economy doesn't matter much either way.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Paul Krugman wins the Nobel

Paul Krugman, a Professor and columnist has won the nobel for Economics this year for his work on 'analysis of trade patterns and location of economic activity'.

Aged 55, he writes a column for New York Times pretty much like the one Swaminathan S. Aiyer writes for The Time of India titled Swaminomics. Where he explains different economic issues in the language of the layman.

Simplifying a subject matter, without compromising with the content, has been my interest for a long time.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Midnight Musing ...

A week back I got myself wired to the world. It took the service provider two months to bring in the broadband connection to my home. The last couple of months have been a lousy ride as a customer, marked by plenty of rude exchanges with the agent and customer care executives. Unfortunately, no other service provider has the broadband infrastructure in my colony. So, I had no other option but to bear with the poor service provided.

With the world just a click away, I find my T.V consuming less energy these days. And thats just one of the things. It has, substantially, changed the way I spend my time at home. Earlier, I would flip over a book if I found it difficult to go to bed. Today they gather dust on my self. But now, I log in and surf the net. Or, type in a post for my blog. Which is what I am doing now.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Black Humour

The Times of India shares some of the SMSs doing the rounds these days. I found them funny enough to share it with you all.

Here are among the best samples of Black Humour. Enjoy!!!!!!!!
The stock Market is the biggest weapon of mass
destruction, and bloodless.
If a cheque bounces and the reason is 'insufficient funds', I'm not sure if it's my account or the bank itself.
There are two sides to a balance sheet. Liabilities on the left side, assets on the right. Now, on the left side there is nothing right. On the right side,
there is nothing left.

Monday, August 25, 2008

China vs India

China touches fifty. So does India.

For China, it was their best Olympics. India too, never had it better.

And for the first time, I can understand why people talk about China and India being competitors for world domination.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Fight for Life.

Niketa and Haresh Mehta were told by their gynaecologist that the fetus Niketa has been carrying for 25 weeks has complete heart blockage and malpositioned arteries that could require a pacemaker implantation soon after birth.

The couple had to make a choice.

Go on with the pregnancy and deliver the child. What follows is a life that will consist of the three people coming in and going out of hospitals. Mounting financial pressures and mean world to face. Which gets meaner if it smells a weakness in your life. There is no denying the fact that with a child like that you are faced with taunting relatives, a oblivious government and not so understanding society.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Day 22-07-2008

At five in the evening the parliament will witness the trust vote. It is difficult to guess, even after following the news rather religiously for a week, how our political 'leaders' or 'representatives' will vote. It would have been easier to predict if they stood for individual or party ideologies. But, thats ridiculous expectation from our esteemed topi walas. Right? To see our politicians in their elements is a rude reminder of whats all wrong with this country.

Mendis is being touted as the main threat as the Indians take on Sri Lanka today in the inaugural test match of the series. History tells us that almost all spinners have been tamed by the indian batting line up that have not been as formidable as the present line up. I can foresee that ten years down the line when I will be watching the matches of today from the archives, and see Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman, Sehwag and Ganguly in the same team, I will be wondering how this team didn't win more matches than they actually did. As far as Mendis goes, I think he is over-rated at the moment. He certainly performed well in the just concluded Asia cup. But, against a batting line-up that had players yet to be tested by the higher form of the game where one is tested on temperament and technique. Having said that, if these five actually don't decode Mendis then Murlitharan should feel proud that one genius is waiting to fill his shoes.

Monday, March 17, 2008

I am a lucky guy after all...

I was a tad nervous before meeting her for the first time. As I had feared, it didn’t go as well as I had planned. Just as the guard at the apartment had informed me, she knocked my door that afternoon.

I hate bargaining. But I still do it because I hate more when I feel cheated. So once I mentioned what I expect from her, the bargaining ordeal began. She quoted four hundred. For a single man, who leaves in a one room flat, I thought that amount was astronomical. We had a few exchanges. It so happens that I either turn rude or I turn meek when any bargain process turns lengthy. To her dismay I turned rude. But to my satisfaction I sealed the deal for rupees two hundred and fifty.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Hepatitis E

It amazing how a healthy body takes a lot of things for granted. The golgappas from the road side vendor, along with the mouth watering ‘pani’ is taken for granted that they are germs free. Unfortunately, the one that I had during the weekend prior to Diwali wasn’t. The virus took a week to announce it’s presence in my body.

Jayant and his wife Vandana had invited me for dinner on the occasion of Diwali. I was served mutton. To my surprise, I didn’t get excited at the salivating prospect of having a non-vegetarian meal. On the contrary I felt nauseated. My reaction should not reflect Vandana’s cooking abilities. In fact, after having lot of meals prepared by Vandana my verdict is that she a fantastic cook. That made me realize that there was nothing wrong with the meal itself but with me. I ate very little and preferred the vegetarian items on the menu. I got up the next day with constipation and fatigue. Alarmingly, my urine had a dark yellow color to it. I still wonder why I ignored these unusual happenings and carried on for a couple of days. Then, after staying constipated for close to seventy two hours, I vomited after a meal. I threw up periodically for close to two hours. The next day I visited the doctor. He made me go through the Liver Function Test (LFT) to ascertain if I was suffering from the condition-Hepatitis (commonly called jaundice). If the result was positive, according to the doctor, I was to undergo another series of tests to find out which type of hepatitis I had.