Friday, December 29, 2006


Officer Candidate School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, was tough. During an inspection, a fellow soldier received 30 demerits for a single penny found in his area. Ten demerits were for "valuables insecure," ten demerits because the penny wasn't shined, and ten more because Abraham Lincoln needed a shave.
- Jack Howell

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Scared of Santa

A huge man with a big potbelly, a huge face full of white hair and over-sized everything else. Who would not be scared of Santa Claus. These kids certainly were.

How to prank a telemarketer

This is really cute. How to prank a telemarketer. With the menace of loans, credit cards, restaurant memberships, resort and holiday share schemes and what not on offer on my telephone, I am strongly tempted to use this in India too.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The 10/20/30 Rule of Presentations

In continuation of my exploratin of Guy Kawasaki's blog, here is the 10/20/30 rule of presentations, which, put in a nutshell says that one should have:
  1. No more than 10 slides in a presentation
  2. No more than 20 minutes for presentation
  3. No font less than size 30 on the presentation
I agree completely. Interesting, this is essentially a repeat of what my MDI communications professor, Dr. Vasanti Srinivasan, taught me more than 10 years ago, but this is more succinctly put.

This simple mnemonic way of presenting complex data is helpful. I remember another one, which is called the 20/20/20 principle of using a computer. After every 20 minutes of using a PC, look at a thing at least 20 feet away and blink your eyes rapidly 20 times. This prevents dry eye and itching and most of the common eye problems for people who use PCs heavily.

The Top Ten Lies of Entrepreneurs

Guy Kawasaki, of Apple fame, now a venture capitalist, lists the top ten lies he keeps hearing. Have a look at the incisive list.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Of Sreesanth and India

Still recovering from India's emphatic win over SA in the first test match at Johannesberg, I have watched Sreesanth's impromptu dance in the field many times on youtube and Google videos. Have a look at them here and here.

His dance is the symbol of a strong sociological change in India. Earlier teams of India have been meek mice, especially outside India. We have never been confident of ourselves, which is a clear mark of our position in the world, economic, strategic or otherwise. With Indians flexing their muscles in various fields, we are emerging as a stronger and more confident nation and people in general. Tata's aggressive bids outside India on various tea companies, beverage companies and now steel companies is a clear case in point. Arcelor's acquisition by an Indian, and the protests against that by various Europeans, are yet another symbol of the emergence of India.

Our cricketers too are a part of the system and are not untouched by the sweeping changes. The amount of media glare and the resultant moolah has made cricket an especially strong cauldron of India's sociological maelstrom.

Sreesanth's defiant posturing, his I-will-not-bow-down-before-this-white-skin-loudmouth is pop patriotism for you. It titillates us. It makes us live vicariously about the pleasure of showing to the world that we are no less. And his on-field antics make him the darling of the newsbyte-hungry media.

Indian cricketers have generally been tame. However Sreesanth is different. He follows in the aggressive footsteps of Polly Umrigar, "Tiger" Pataudi, Salim Durrani, Bishen Singh Bedi, Kapil Dev, Srikanth, Sachin Tendulkar, Virendra Sehwag and of course Ganguly. Dada showed what he was capable of, from the Lord's Balcony. Sehwag had the audacity to hit his triple ton with a six at Multan. Sreesanth has surpassed them with his "Karara Jawab". Kudos and may he do more of this.


Once uton a pime in a corn funtry there lived a geautiful birl and her name was Rindercella. Now Rindercella lived with her two sad blisters and her mugly other. Also in this corn funtry there liv inviting all the geautiful birls from riles amound. But Rindercella gouldn't co. She had to make dancy fesses for her two sad blisters and her mugly other.

While they all went off to the bancy fall, Rindercella just cat down and shried. She was just citting there a shrying when there appeared before her - her jerry mud father! "Rindercella," she asked, "Shry do you why?" Rindercella mold her jerry mud father of her werrible tork.

Just then her jerry mud father made Rindercella a geautiful bown and took two mield fice and a tumpkin and purned them into two stighty malions and cig boach! Off to the bancy fall went Rindercella, with the warning that she must go home before the mid clock struck night.

As Rindercella entered the bancy fall the pransome hince saw her through a widden hindow and thought she gas worgeous! They danced and danced and soon they lell in fove. Suddenly, the mid clock struck night and fearing her cig boach would purn into a tumpkin, Rindercella staced down the rairs. But as she beached the rottom, she slopped her dripper.

Well the nery vext day the pransome hince searched the corn funtry for the geautiful birl who had slopped her dripper. He tried it on Rindercella's mugly other, but if fidn't dit. He tried it on her sad blisters... Then, the dripper fit only Rindercella at last.

Now the storal of the mory: If you ever go to a bancy fall to meet a pransome hince with the hopes of lalling in fove, don't forget to slop your dripper!

Good Bye Mom

I was walking through the supermarket to pick up a few things when I noticed an old lady following me around. Thinking nothing of it, I ignored her and continued on. Finally I went to the checkout line, but she got in front of me.
"Pardon me," she said, "I'm sorry if my staring at you has made you feel uncomfortable. It's just that you look like my son, who just died recently."
"I'm very sorry," I said to her, "Is there anything I can do for you?"
"Yes," she said, "As I'm leaving, can you say 'Good bye, Mom?' It would make me feel so much better."
"Sure," I said. An odd request, but no harm would come of it.
As the old woman was leaving, I called out, "Good Bye, Mom!"
As I stepped up to the checkout counter, I saw that my total was $1027.50.
"How can that be?" I asked, "I only purchased a few things!"
"Your mother said that you would pay for her," said the clerk.


An African chieftain flew to the United States to visit the president. When he arrived at the airport, a host of newsmen and television cameramen met him. One of the reporters asked the chief if he had a comfortable flight.
The chief made a series of weird noises: "Screech, scratch, honk, buzz, whistle, z-z-z-z..." Then he added in perfect English, "Yes, I had a very nice flight."
Another reporter asked, "Chief, do you plan to visit the Washington Monument while you're in the area?"
The chief made the same noises: "Screech, scratch, honk, buzz, whistle, z-z-z-z..." Then he said, "Yes, and I also plan to visit the White House and the Capitol Building."
"Where did you learn to speak such flawless English?" asked the next reporter.
The chief replied, "Screech, scratch, honk, buzz, whistle, z-z-z-z... From the short-wave radio."

Monday, December 18, 2006

Worth a snort

A suicide hotline is where they talk to you until you don't feel like killing yourself. Exactly the opposite of tele-marketing.
- Dana Snow

I laughed so much at this that I actually snorted.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Assorted Thoughts

  • God will not give you a burden you can not handle; so if you ever find yourself in a mess that is impossible to resolve, take it as a compliment. God thinks you can do it!
  • People who have what they want are fond of telling people who haven't what they want that they really don't want it.
    - Ogden Nash
  • The petty economies of the rich are just as amazing as the silly extravagances of the poor.
    - William Feather
  • If your income doesn't keep up with your outgo, then your upkeep will be your downfall.
  • Every year education gets more expensive, but ignorance costs even more.
    - Sam Ewing
  • Why do people who know the least know it the loudest?
  • If at first an idea isn't totally absurd, there's no hope for it.
    - Albert Einstein
  • I drink to your charm, your beauty, and your brains - which gives you a rough idea of how hard up I am for a drink.
    - Groucho Marx
  • He was a self-made man who owed his lack of success to nobody.
    - Joseph Heller
  • Give a jackass an education and you get a smartass.
  • A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.
    - Mark Twain
  • No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
    - Eleanor Roosevelt
  • He doesn't have an inferiority complex. He really is inferior.
  • You have a lot of funny lines - too bad they're all in your face.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

What Teachers Make?

The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life. One man, a CEO, decided to explain the problem with education. He argued, "What's a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?"

He reminded the other dinner guests what they say about teachers: "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach." To stress his point he said to another guest; "You're a teacher, Susan. Be honest. What do you make?"

Susan, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness replied, "You want to know what I make?

"I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could. I make a C+ feel like the winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor. I make kids sit through 40 minutes of study hall in absolute silence.

"You want to know what I make?

I make kids wonder.
I make them question.
I make them criticize.
I make them apologize and mean it.
I make them write
I make them read, read, read.
I make them show all their work in Math and perfect their final drafts in English.
I make them understand that if you have the brains, and follow your heart, and if
someone ever tries to judge you by what you make, you must pay no attention
because they just didn't learn."

Susan paused and then continued. "You want to know what I make?

“Incidentally, what do you make?"

Congratulations on getting married

Now that I am condemned to death..err...engaged to be married, there are a lot of reactions from the many people who come to know about my impending doom.
  1. A simple "Congratulations". Short, sweet and simple.
  2. "Shaadi Kab Hai? I need to make plans for that day" Mostly from over-busy friends and relatives.
  3. "Photo dikhao". Ab mere paas ho toh dikhaoon na. Waise karoge kya dekh kar? Post-match analysis karoge? [Pun intended]
  4. Shock and disbelief on face and in the voice. Mouth agape. After some time to adjust the mouth back to its normally-occluded stance, a guttural growl "How can YOU get married?" Kyun bhai, mere ko shaadi karna manaa hai kya?
  5. "You are not married? I always thought you were married." Now what I am supposed to say this simply escapes me.
  6. "My deepest sympathies are with you." This one comes from men who have been married for some time. I noticed that the strength of this greeting is inversely proportional to the amount of hair left on the greeter's head.
  7. "NAHIN.....AISA NAHIN HO SAKTA.......MAIN LUT GAYEE....MAIN BARBAAD HO GAYEEEEEE" - OK, this is more of wishful thinking but I think I may have seen a few elements of the fair gender mouthing something to this effect.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Perfect System

A loaded mini van pulled in to the only remaining campsite. Four children leaped from the vehicle and began feverishly unloading gear and setting up the tent. The boys rushed to gather firewood while the girls and their mother set up the camp stove and cooking utensils.
A nearby camper marveled to the youngsters' father, "That, sir, is some display of teamwork."
The father replied, "I have a system; no one goes to the bathroom until the camp is set up."

It's all in the spin

Hillary, an amateur genealogical researcher, discovered that her great-great uncle, Remus Rodham, a fellow lacking in character, was hanged for horse stealing and train robbery in Montana in 1889. The only known photograph of Remus shows him standing on the gallows.

On the back of the picture is this inscription: "Remus Rodham; horse thief, sent to Montana Territorial Prison 1885, escaped 1887, robbed the Montana Flyer six times. Caught by Pinkerton detectives, convicted and hanged in 1889."

In Hillary's Family History, her staff of professional image consultants, cropped Remus's picture, scanned it in as an enlarged image, and edited with image processing software so that all that's seen is a head shot.

The accompanying biographical sketch is as follows: "Remus Rodham was a famous cowboy in the Montana Territory. His business empire grew to include acquisition of valuable equestrian assets and intimate dealings with the Montana railroad. Beginning in 1883, he devoted several years of his life to service at a government facility, finally taking leave to resume his dealings with the railroad. In 1887, he was a key player in a vital investigation run by the renowned Pinkerton Detective Agency. In 1889, Remus passed away during an important civic function held in his honor when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed."

Replies and Promises

Never reply to anyone when in anger, and never make any promises when in happiness.
- Anonymous

Saturday, December 02, 2006

How to calculate the value of Pi by throwing food

For those with surplus food and time, and the inquisitiveness to find out the value of Pi, which incidentally is 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510, here is the perfect solution. Throw food to calculate Pi. Wow!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Summers Process at IIM-A

A blow-by-blow account of how summers at IIM-A are handled. Have a dekko.

The Five Most Expensive Addictions

Alcohol: Estimated annual cost: $166 billion. Binge drinking hits the unemployed harder on a per capita basis - 10.4%, vs. 8.4% of employed people. It is most prevalent in small metropolitan locales, rather than big cities or rural areas. The $18 billion spent on alcohol and drug treatment last year represented 1.3% of all health care spending.

Smoking: Estimated annual cost: $157 billion. The tab includes $75 billion in direct medical expenses, with the rest in lost productivity from ill patients missing work. Given the low-tax (or no-tax) underground cigarette economy on the Web and on Indian reservations, it's unlikely that sales and usage have dropped much over the past decade, official government statistics notwithstanding.

Drugs: Estimated annual cost: $110 billion. Like alcohol, illicit drug use is more prevalent among the unemployed. Most addicts are also heavy drinkers, though only a small minority of alcoholics are drug abusers. Crystal meth has followed marijuana, cocaine and heroin as the drug of choice among the young set.

Overeating: Estimated annual cost: $107 billion. Overeating increases the risk of many health problems, including heart attacks. Obesity causes 14% of attacks suffered by males and 20% of those suffered by females, the National Institutes for Health says, and fewer than a third of adults get regular exercise. The bulk of the $107 billion is the direct cost to treat heart disease, osteoarthritis, hypertension, gall bladder disease and cancer.

Gambling: Estimated annual cost: $40 billion. Addicted gamblers often feel compelled to chase after bad bets with more money in the hope of winning back their losses. And some who catch the fever develop the need to periodically raise the betting stakes to keep the same thrill. Also, addicts often face job loss, bankruptcy and forced home sales, and they are at greater risk to commit crimes like forgery and embezzlement.

~By Tom Van Riper, Forbes Magazine~

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Quotes from Chanakya

  • A person should not be too honest. Straight trees are cut first.
  • Even if a snake is not poisonous, it should pretend to be venomous.
  • The biggest guru-mantra is: Never share your secrets with anybody! It will destroy you.
  • There is some self-interest behind every friendship. There is no Friendship without self-interests. This is the bitter truth.
  • Before you start some work, always ask yourself three questions - Why am I doing it, What the results might be and Will I be successful. Only when you think deeply and find satisfactory answers to these questions, go ahead.
  • As soon as the fear approaches near, attack and destroy it.
  • Once you start a working on something, don't be afraid of failure and don't abandon it. People who work sincerely are the happiest.
  • The fragrance of flowers spreads only in the direction of the wind. But the goodness of a person spreads in all direction.
  • A man is great by deeds, not by birth.
  • Treat your kid like a darling for the first five years. For the next five years, scold them. By the time they turn sixteen, treat them like a friend. Your grown up children are your best friends.
  • Books are as useful to a stupid person as a mirror is useful to a blind person.
  • Education is the best friend. An educated person is respected everywhere. Education beats the beauty and the youth.
Chanakya quotes (Indian politician, strategist and writer, 350 BC-275BC)

Arundhati Roy's View on the War on Terrorism

A video that talks about Arundhati Roy's view on the War on Terrorism. It's her view, not necessarily yours; but have an open mind and watch it.

A large file, so it is better to just right click and save it before playing it.

Never Another Like Sachin

India's third consecutive defeat against SA - sharmanak haar, if you may - forces me to dust the cobwebs of my mind and recollect some happy memories of Indian cricket, from the years gone by.

An excellent article to help in that pursuit. Never Another Like Sachin.

Ahle - Dil

A beautiful song.

Ahle-Dil Yoonhi Nibha Lete Hai
Dard Seene MeiN Chupa Lete Hai

Dil Ki Mehfil Mein Ujalon Ke Liye
Yaad Ki Shamma Jala Lete Hain

Jalte MausaM MeiN Bhi Yeh Deewane
Kuch HasiN PhOOl Khila Lete Hai

Apni AankhO Ko Banakar Yeh ZubaaN
Kitne Afsaane Suna Lete Hai

Jin Ko Jeena Hai Mohabbat Ke Liye
Apni Hasti Ko Mita Dete Hai.

B-school Life, Anyone?

A slightly frustrated and therefore funny look at B-school Life in India. Have a look.

What does it mean to be serious?

Have you ever thought what it means to be serious? Is it the stopping of laughter? To have a smile on your face, would that indicate that you are not serious? To want to look at a tree and see the beauty of a tree, would that be lack of seriousness? To want to know why people look that way, what they wear, why they talk that way, would that be lack of seriousness? Or would seriousness be always having a long face, always saying: "Am I doing the right thing, am I conforming to a pattern"?
- J. Krishnamurti

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Unlike many other professionals, my parents, both mathematics professors, can’t seem to leave their work in the classroom. Recently I witnessed the following conversation.
Mom: Has my midsection gotten larger?
Dad: Yes.
Mom: Since exactly when?
Dad: I don’t know. It’s a continuous function. But it became statistically significant about six months ago.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Chinese Whispers

This is what comes out of Chinese Whispers!

Theatre in Delhi

Watched 2 plays recently at the IHC in New Delhi. They were presented by "The Players", the Dramatics Society of Kirori Mal College, Delhi University. I went on the invitation of one of my students, Hemant Arora, who is an ex-"Player" himself.

The first was a comedy in English, "Abducting Mallika" which is an adaption of Dario Fo's Il Ratto Della Francesca. It was a treat to watch, to say the least. A tight script and a great cast to boot, the play in its director's words "turns into a sly, political tale of the media, the market and the managers of the society." One wishes for slightly less slapstick, but I guess as long as it is under check, it too has its share in humour.

The second one, "Murdon Ka Prachar" - was an adaption in Hindustani - not Hindi, mind you - of Gregory Burke's Gagarin Way. It was a serious play, and had some "rough vocabulary" in the chastest of Hindustani. Fair enough, considering the setting of the play. Some of the cast was brilliant, but the others left a lot to desire for. The direction needs to be more taut so that the play does not sag in the middle. One dialogue captivated me, and in fact I had a bit of discussion with Hemant on that, "You can't domesticate Capitalism."

All in all, a great way to spend an evening. Thanks Hemant!!!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Phobias anyone?

What is the name for the fear of the number 666?

Fear of the number 13?

Fear of Friday the 13th?

Fear of long words [which you must be suffering from, by now, after reading the previous answers]?

Phobias are interesting. Just as you can tell a lot about a man's character by looking at what he throws away in his trash bin, you can tell a lot about a society by looking at what it fears. To me, phobias are God's way of saying, "Well, you had better be careful of these things, since I made some irrational fears built into you." They are like hard-coded bugs in our operating system, if I may.

Interesting phobias are available here, and here.


Got engaged recently. Getting married on 5th February 2007 !

My name is Bond....James Bond

James Bond Style : The character James Bond has a peculiar style of introducing himself by saying first Bond, then followed by great smile & finally James Bond. His style is absolutely killing but he doesn't know the consequences when he meets our great South Indian guy.

When Bond meets a Hyderabadi guy...

James Bond : "My name's Bond...(smiles and then says).... James Bond."
James Bond: "And you?"

Telugu Guy : "I am Sai... Venkata Sai... Siva Venkata Sai... Laxminarayana Siva Venkata Sai....Srinivasulu Laxminarayana Siva Venkata Sai... Rajasekhara Srinivasulu Laxminarayana Siva Venkata Sai..... Sitaramanjaneyulu Rajasekhara Srinivasulu Laxminarayana Siva Venkata Sai.... Bommiraju Sitaramanjaneyulu Rajasekhara Srinivasulu Laxminarayana Siva Venkata Sai....

James Bond faints!!!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Do you want it?

Jack stole the rabbi's gold watch and afterwards began to feel guilty about what he did. After a sleepless night, he went to see his rabbi.
"Rabbi, I stole a gold watch," Jack admitted sheepishly.
"But Jack, that's forbidden," replied the Rabbi. "You should return it immediately!"
"What shall I do?"
"Give it back to its owner," answered the Rabbi.
"Do you want it," asked Jack slyly.
"No, I said return it to its owner."
"But he doesn't want it," said Jack.
"In that case Jack," pronounced the Rabbi, "you can keep it."

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

MBA :)

MBAs Marte Nahin, Zinda Dafnaye Jaate Hain,
Har 3 Mahino Mein Tadpaye Jate Hain,
Kafan Khol Ke Dekho
Toh Yeh Kabr Mein Bhi Presentation Dete Hue Paaye Jaate Hain!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Refusing To Accept Failure

Sir Edmund Hillary was the first man to climb Mount Everest. On May 29, 1953 he scaled the highest mountain then known to man-29,000 feet straight up. He was knighted for his efforts. He even made American Express card commercials because of it! However, until we read his book, High Adventure, we don't understand that Hillary had to grow into this success. You see, in 1952 he attempted to climb Mount Everest, but failed. A few weeks later a group in England asked him to address its members. Hillary walked on stage to a thunderous applause. The audience was recognizing an attempt at greatness, but Edmund Hillary saw himself as a failure. He moved away from the microphone and walked to the edge of the platform. He made a fist and pointed at a picture of the mountain. He said in a loud voice, "Mount Everest, you beat me the first time, but I'll beat you the next time because you've grown all you are going to grow... but I'm still growing!"

Made me think....

Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.
-Albert Einstein

Friday, November 10, 2006


Far too many can never see where they should or could be, because they are blinded by where they are.

Men will be men!

Dear Tom,

I've never written to you before, but I really need your advice on what could be a crucial decision.

I've suspected for some time now that my wife has been cheating on me. The usual signs... phone rings but if I answer, the caller hangs up. My wife has been going out with the girls a lot recently although when I ask their names she always says, "Just some friends from work, you don't know them."

I always stay awake to look out for her taxi coming home, but she always walks down the drive. Although I can hear a car driving off, as if she has gotten out of the car round the corner. Why? Maybe she wasn't in a taxi? I once picked her cell phone up just to see what time it was and she went berserk and screamed that I should never touch her phone again and why was I checking up on her.

Anyway, I have never approached the subject with my wife. I think deep down I just didn't want to know the truth, but last night she went out again and I decided to really check on her.

I decided I was going to park my Harley Davidson motorcycle next to the garage and then hide behind it so I could get a good view of the whole street when she came home. It was at that moment, crouching behind my Harley, that I noticed that the valve covers on my engine seemed to be leaking a little oil.

Is this something I can fix myself or should I take it back to the dealer?


The Scourge from the Skies

It's here. As Nostradamus predicted, the scourge has finally struck the Earth from the skies.

Reality TV finally hit Indian Cable Television this last week, with the launch of the atrocious, obnoxious, odious, loathsome and stinking "Bigg Boss" (that's an extra g, in bold so that you don't miss it!).

Who wants to see "celebrities" doing household chores? Firstly, are they really even semi-celebrities? They are wannabes or havebeens. I don't want to watch Rakhi Sawant or Deepak Parashar or God forbid, Rahul Roy! Secondly, I certainly don't want to see them, without makeup, doing things that everyone does. I pay the cablewallah so that I can watch escapist fare, that makes me forget my life for the time I watch the telly. I have enough troubles in my life, thank you very much! I don't want to see theirs too!

When the show was announced through fairly slick promos, I had this premonition that something bad was coming out of this. And how!

Puhleez, take it off-the-air. Give us a break. Increase 10 rupees in my cable bill, but take this off now!

Doors and Towels

We got lucky when we heard the old Piedmont Hotel in Atlanta was getting a face-lift and its beautiful maple doors became available for sale as salvage items. We bought several and had them installed in our 19th-century home.

Showing a friend around the house, I pointed out, "You know, these doors are from the Piedmont Hotel."

He raised an eyebrow. "Most people just take the towels."

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Get land for free in USA

I just purchased some land in New York. Err....purchased is the wrong's more like, got it for FREE!

Get yours here!

Lola Kutty At the Movies

Lola Kutty ees nawt takeeng thees seatting pleasse. Looking at da general decline of the quality remakes of movies, she has decided to step in! Farhan Akhtar, Ram Gopal Verma and others, please take note.

Have a look!

The Elephant and the Event Horizon

What happens when you throw an elephant into a black hole? It may sound like a sick joke, but it's a question that's been weighing heavily on physicist Leonard Susskind's mind. Susskind has been trying to save that elephant for decades. Now he has finally found a way to do it, and the consequences shake the foundations of what we thought we knew about space and time. If his calculations are correct, the elephant must be in more than one place at the same time. Susskind claims that nothing is what, or rather, where it seems. All this is more than just a mind-bending curiosity. It tells us something about the fundamental workings of the universe and could even lead us to a theory of everything.

Read more.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Art of Failure

Failure is one of the most important yet underrated and misunderstood happenings in our life. Throughout life, we are told that success is important and passing the exams is more important than anything else. Yet, schools and teachers pass students to next classes, since they are unable to take the pressure of competing and studying in an environment that pushes them to the limits. Winning and losing is important, but we are told "it is the participation that matters" - sure it matters, but does it mean that winning does not matter? Or for that matter failure does not matter? The fact of the matter is that they do.

There is a new and disturbing trend of trying to protect the young ones from competition. The thinking is that they are too young to understand winning and losing. Far from true! Children, not only understand win and loss, but also appreciate the difference; because that shows a strong causal relationship between effort and reward.

In the long run, all this culminates into a strong fear of failure. Academically, how many children pass, when they should be failing. Grace marks, compulsory passing, no-exams policies all induce various pushes in the system, which ensure that even the most incompetent students are able to beat the system. That also leads to decline in the standards of of higher education.

We should realise that life is full of failures. For every 5 efforts made in real life, only 1 succeeds. However, in our cocooned lives, we pass almost 100% of the times. And thus, when one enters the workforce, after 15 odd years of schooling and college education, we are strongly ingrained with this no-failure system; the 80% failure rate comes as a big shock to people!

Instead, we should encourage more sports or other such activities at school level, where people win and lose, so that they understand what is losing. That is when they get the life skills of coping up with failure.

Michael Jordan puts it aptly in this lovely poster!

Be thankful for your failures. They teach you 100 times more than successes!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Numbers Of The Beast

660 -- Approximate number of The Beast
-666: Negative number of the Beast
DCLXVI -- Roman numeral of The Beast
666, 1332, 1998 -- Years of the Beast
666.0000000000 -- Number of the High Precision Beast
0.666 -- Number of the Millibeast
/ 666 -- Beast Common Denominator
0.005015 -- Reciprical of the Beast.
666i -- Imaginary number of The Beast
1010011010 -- Binary number of The Beast
-0.80902 -- The Sine of the Beast
443556 -- Square of the Beast
25.807 -- Square root of the Beast
295408296 -- Cube of the Beast
0.58779 —- Cosine of the Beast
-1.37638 -- Tangent of the Beast
2.8235 -- Log of the Beast
6.5913 -- Ln Beast
1.738E289 -- Anti-log of the Beast
6.66E2 --Scientific number of the Beast
29A -- Hexadecimal number of the Beast
666! -— Factorial of the Beast
2, 3, 111 -- Factors of the Beast
665.5-666.5 -- Range of the Beast
669 -- Sexual Position of the Beast
660: Beast rounded down
670: Beast rounded up
6, uh... what was that number again? -- Number of the Blonde Beast
1-666 -- Area code of The Beast
00666 -- Zip code of The Beast -- E-mail address of the beast -- web-page of the Beast
1-900-666-0666 -- Live Beasts! One-on-one pacts! Call Now! Only $6.66/minute. Over 18 only please.
1-888-666-6666: Toll free number of the Beast
$665.95: Retail price of The Beast
$399.96 (net) $359.86 (30 days): Wholesale Price of the Beast
$55.50: Monthly cost of the Beast in twelve easy equal monthly installments $699.25: Price of The Beast plus 5% state sales tax
$769.95: Price of The Beast with all accessories and replacement soul
$656.66: WalMart price of The Beast
$646.66: Next week's WalMart price of The Beast
Phillips 666: Gasoline of The Beast
Route 666: Way of The Beast (Highway to Hell)
666 Minutes: Weekly news program about the Beast
666 F: Oven temperature for roast Beast
66.6 mHz: F.M. station of the Beast
666 kHz: A.M. Station of the Beast
664 & 668: Neighbors of the Beast
666k: Retirement plan of The Beast
666 mg: Recommended Minimum Daily Requirement of the the Beast
6.66%: 5 year CD interest rate at First Beast of Hell National Bank,
$666 minimum deposit.
999: A Beast and a half
Lotus 6-6-6: Spreadsheet of The Beast
Word 6.66: Word Processor of The Beast
i66686: CPU of The Beast
666-I: BMW of The Beast
665.99996973: Intel Pentium number of the Beast
666 Sunset Strip: Old T. V. series about the Beast soon on Nick-At-Nite
DSM-666 (revised): Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of The Beast
66.6: A Mini-Beast
Windows 666: Bill Gates' personal Beast
665.9999...: The Beast's Twin
WD-666: Spray Lubricant of the beast
IAM666: Licence Plate of the beast
333: Half brother of the Beast
Formula 666: All purpose cleaner of the Beast
666 lb CAP: Weight limit of the Beast
666(-1)1/2: Imaginary number of the Beast
6-6-6: Fertilizer of the Beast
6.6.6b6: Version of the Beast
451 ºF.: Temperature of the Beast
666-66-6666: Social Security number of the Beast
6666 6666 6666 6666 EXP 6/66: Credit card of the Beast

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Movie Seen

I don't watch horror movies as a matter of principle. I mean why should I pay someone to scare me? One look at my tax bill and my work schedule are more than enough to do that, thank you very much!

However, I chanced to see a movie called "SAW" recently. Not exactly a horror movie, it was more of a Thriller-Horror and I enjoyed it immensely. I was casually flipping through the telly the other night and somehow got stuck on Star Movies which had just started this flick. Man! It was awesome! The photography and the suspense are really nerve-tingling!

Watch it! IMDB agress with me!

Of surveys, loss of youth and heartburn

I completed 30 years of my mortal existence last December. And since then I have been plagued with a malaise that is impossible to wish away - I am over 30!

Nowhere is this more pronounced than online/offline surveys/forms that I keep filling. Till recently, I was happily placed in the range of "24-30 years" in the age column. Sometimes, someone did manage to infuriarate me with the upper limit of a preposterous "25-35 years" entry, but life was mostly happy. But with this 30th budday behind me, I am suddenly in the "30-35 years" category, or worse, "30-40 years". But the real trouble is "30 years or more"! This one assumes that everyone is the same after the Golden Age of Thirty!

I feel like not filling in the survey properly, if I get an entry like that. These marketing guys had better make better surveys or they had it! It is like the shopkeeper who knows never to to call an older woman "Auntyjee" or worse "Ammajee". He calls her "Didi" or else the woman takes her business elsewhere! :-)

Of course I am not vain about my age and do not hide it, but it does open for me, yet another window to my mind! :-)

Jaane Kahan Gaye Woh Din...........................

Saurav Ganguly and the Height of Sorriness

The new Pepsi ads by Saurav Ganguly, which have him proclaiming, "Hi! Main Hoon Saurav Ganguly." are sorry at the best. He looks old and unfit to come back in the team, let alone, be captain. And by association, Pepsi is making a fool of itself by banking on an old and decaying tiger. He may have been the Royal Bengal Tiger, the Maharaja and the the Prince of Calcootta, earlier; but is now merely a shadow of his former self.

I wonder what kind of marketing thinking and logic went into this ad. The campaign is good, what with the "Blue Billion" and the "Ooh Aah India, Aa Yaah India" etc (btw, this line reminds me more of Iodex). But Ganguly is a misfit in this. Had they had other retired oldies like Gavaskar or Kapil Dev, that would have lent grace but Ganguly only manages to backfire.

Lots of One-Liners

  • A friend in need is a pest indeed.
  • Marriage is one of the chief causes of divorce.
  • Work is fine if it doesn't take too much of your time.
  • When everything comes in your way you're in the wrong lane.
  • The light at the end of the tunnel may be an incoming train.
  • Born free - taxed to death.
  • Everyone has a photographic memory, some just don't have film.
  • Life is unsure; always eat your dessert first.
  • Smile, it makes people wonder what you are thinking.
  • If you keep your feet firmly on the ground, you'll have trouble putting on your pants.
  • It's not hard to meet expenses, they are everywhere.
  • I love being a writer... What I can't stand is the paperwork.
  • A printer consists of 3 main parts: the case, the jammed paper tray & the blinking red light.
  • The hardest part of skating is the ice.
  • My phone number is 17. We got one of the early ones.
  • The guy who invented the first wheel was an idiot. The guy who invented the other three, now he was the genius.
  • The trouble with being punctual is that no one is there to appreciate it.
  • In a country of free speech, why are there phone bills?
  • If you tell a man there are 300 billion stars in the universe, he'll believe you. But if you tell him a park bench has just been painted, he has to touch it to be sure.
  • I had a friend once. Then the rope broke and he got away.
  • If you cannot change your mind, are you sure you have one?
  • Beat the 5 O'clock rush, leave work at noon!
  • If you can't convince them, confuse them.
  • It's not the fall that kills you. It's the sudden stop at the end.
  • I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder.
  • Never underestimate the power of very stupid people in large groups.
  • The cigarette does the smoking; you are just the sucker.
  • Someday is not a day of the week.

Strong Nostalgia

I have written about Johnny Sokko and the Giant Robot here before.

Youtube is another blessing for emotional fools like me, who are in love with things past. I found two videos of this fabled Japanese series.

Have a look!

Opening Credits

Johnny Meets the Robot

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Information Please

When I was very young, my father had one of the first telephones in our neighborhood. I remember well, the polished old case fastened to the wall and the shiny receiver on the side of the box. I was too little to reach the telephone but used to listen with fascination when my mother would talk to it.

Then I discovered that somewhere inside the wonderful device lived an amazing person and her name was "Information Please"and there was nothing she did not know.

"Information Please" could supply anybody's number and the correct time.

My first personal experience with this genie-in-a-bottle came one day while my mother was visiting a neighbor. Amusing myself at the tool bench in the basement, I whacked my finger with a hammer. The pain was terrible but there didn't seem to be any reason in crying because there was no one home to give me sympathy. I walked around the house sucking my throbbing finger, finally arriving at the stairway. The telephone! Quickly, I ran for the footstool in the parlor and held it to my ear.

"Information Please," I said into the mouthpiece just above my head. A click or two and a small clear voice spoke into my ear.
"I hurt my finger," I wailed into the phone. The tears came readily enough now that I had an audience.
"Isn't your mother home?" came the question.
"Nobody's home but me," I blubbered.
"Are you bleeding?" the voice asked.
"No," I replied. "I hit my finger with a hammer and it hurts."
"Can you open your icebox?" she asked. I said I could.
"Then chip off a piece of ice and hold it to your finger," said the voice.
After that, I called "Information Please" for everything.

I asked her for help with my geography and she told me where Philadelphia was. She helped me with my math. She told me that my pet chipmunk, which I had caught in the park just the day before, would eat fruit and nuts.

Then there was the time Petey, our pet canary died. I called"Information Please" and told her the sad story.
She listened, then said the usual thing grown ups say to soothe a child. But, I was inconsolable.
I asked her, "Why is it that birds should sing so beautifully and bring joy to all families, only to end up as a heap of feathers on the bottom of a cage?"
She must have sensed my deep concern, for she said quietly, "You must remember that there are other worlds to sing in."
Somehow, I felt better.

Another day I was on the telephone. "Information Please."
"Information," said the now familiar voice.
"How do you spell fix?" I asked.

All this took place in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. When I was nine years old, we moved across the country to Boston. I missed my friend very much. "Information Please" belonged in that old wooden box back home and somehow I never thought of trying the tall, new shiny phone that sat on the table in the hall.

As I grew into my teens, the memories of those childhood conversations never really left me. Often in moments of doubt and perplexity, I would recall the serene sense of security I had then.

I appreciated now how patient, understanding, and kind she was to have spent her time on a little boy.

A few years later, on my way west to college, my plane put down in Seattle. I had about half-an-hour or so between planes. I spent 15 minutes or so on the phone with my sister who lived there now.

Then, without thinking about what I was doing, I dialed my hometown operator and said, "Information Please."
Miraculously, I heard the small clear voice I knew so well.
I hadn't planned this, but I heard myself saying, "Could you please tell me how to spell fix?"
There was a long pause.
Then came the soft spoken answer, "I guess your finger must be healed by now."
I laughed, "So it's really still you," I said. "I wonder if you have any idea how much you meant to me during that time?"
"I wonder," she said, "if you know how much your calls meant to me. I never had any children and I used to look forward to your calls."

I told her how often I had thought of her over the years and asked if I could call her again when I came back to visit my sister.
"Please do," she said. "Just ask for Sally."
Three months later, I was back in Seattle.
A different voice answered, "Information." I asked for Sally.
"Are you a friend?" she said.
"Yes, a very old friend," I answered.
"I'm sorry to have to tell you this," she said. "Sally had been working part time in the last few years because she was sick.
She died five weeks ago."
Before I could hang up she said, "Wait a minute. Are you Paul?"
"Well, Sally left a message for you. She wrote it down in case you called when she was too sick to work.
Let me read it to you." The note said,
"Tell him I still say there are other worlds to sing in.He'll know what I mean."

I thanked her and hung up. I knew what Sally meant. Never underestimate the impression you make on others.

~Author Unknown~

Meaningful Misconceptions

Abdicate--v., to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

Carcinoma--n., a valley in California, notable for its heavy smog.

Esplanade--v., to attempt an explanation while drunk.

Willy-nilly--adj., impotent.

Flabbergasted--adj., appalled over how much weight you have gained.

Negligent--adj., describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightie.

Lymph--v., to walk with a lisp.

Gargoyle--n., an olive-flavored mouthwash.

Bustard--n., a very rude Metrobus driver.

Coffee--n., a person who is coughed upon.

Flatulence--n., the emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.

Balderdash--n., a rapidly receding hairline.

Testicle--n., a humorous question on an exam.

Semantics--n., pranks conducted by young men studying for the priesthood, including such things as gluing the pages of the priest's prayer book together just before vespers.

Rectitude--n., the formal, dignified demeanor assumed by a proctologist immediately before he examines you.

Marionettes--n., residents of Washington who have been jerked around by Mayor Barry.

Oyster--n., a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddish expressions.

Circumvent--n., the opening in the front of boxer shorts.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Married couple households outnumbered by unmarried ones in USA

In a fairly revealing article, New York Times, says that married couple households are now outnumbered by unmarried ones. Demographic changes such as these are primarily triggered by an all-time high divorce rate, which prompts live-in as a sort of a "test-drive" before "purchasing the car"!

The article says, and I quote :
“Cohabitating is our choice, and we have no intention to be married,” Ms. Lynch said. “There is little difference between what we do and what married people do. We love each other, exist together, all of our decisions are based upon each other. Everyone we care about knows this.” If anything, she added, “not having the false security of wedding rings makes us work even a little harder.”

Read it here!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Earth witout human beings

An absolutely smashing article, discusses at length, what-if human beings (all 6.5 billion) of us were to disappear suddenly? How long would the earth have traces of our being here. Will a future alien race or a future species of earth based animals, provided they are intelligent enough, be able to discover traces of us? If yes, what?
The last few lines of the article aptly sum it up:

"Finally a brief, century-long pulse of radio waves will forever radiate out across the galaxy and beyond, proof - for anything that cares and is able to listen - that we once had something to say and a way to say it. But these will be flimsy souvenirs, almost pathetic reminders of a civilisation that once thought itself the pinnacle of achievement. Within a few million years, erosion and possibly another ice age or two will have obliterated most of even these faint traces. If another intelligent species ever evolves on the Earth - and that is by no means certain, given how long life flourished before we came along - it may well have no inkling that we were ever here save for a few peculiar fossils and ossified relics. The humbling - and perversely comforting - reality is that the Earth will forget us remarkably quickly."

A thought provoking article, to say the least! Rarely am I so mesmerised by an article. Kudos! Read it here!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Will the real Lola Kutty please stand up?

For those of you who are big fans of Lola Kutty, here is something to enjoy!

First - Lola Kutty on Orkut - The description is simply fabulous -
"May I haouve your yedention pleez?", The Real Lola Kutty stands up in this space..One Man's Terrorist is another Man's Freedom fighter and One man’s beard is another man’s Velcro, So if u dig Lola like Alex digs his nose, come on in and "Yenjoooy" If ur not a Mallu, thats ok, Nobody is Perfect.."

Second - This is a lovely video.

Winning a cricket match in 2 balls?

Err...umm.....looking for the definition of the word farce? Head here, and capture international cricket matches being won in 2 legitimate deliveries!

India pricing itself out of the global market

In an incisive article, Janmejaya Sinha analyses the cost angle to India's leadership in the global services market, and how spiralling costs are going to hurt this, if it is not checked in time. I agree with him broadly, however, do feel that talent can be attracted at salaries that are commensurate with the price of the talent, and in the race for humanware-dominated industries' leadership, the price may have to be paid by companies. Plus any fixed-pricing regime will backfire, leading to babudom and blackmarketing, leading to disincentive for private industry to grow.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Good game

A standard shooting game, that is attractive for two reasons; Robin Hood and the associated marketing gimmickry of the Ye-Olde-English-Countryside-Rustic-Charm-And-Daredevilry and of course that the game is hard to win!

Head to the BBC site for some adrenalin pumping!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Two Jokes

A property manager of single-family residence was showing a unit to prospective tenants and asking the usual questions.
"Professionally employed?" he asked.
"We're a military family," the wife answered.
"Oh, yes, ages nine and twelve," she answered proudly.
"Oh, no," she said earnestly. "They're very well behaved."
Two fellows stopped into an English pub for a drink. They called the proprietor over and asked him to settle an argument.
"Are there two pints in a quart or four?" asked one.
"There be two pints in a quart," confirmed the proprietor.
They moved back along the bar and soon the barmaid asked for their order.
"Two pints please, miss, and the bartender offered to buy them for us."
The barmaid doubted that her boss would be so generous, so one of the fellows called out to the proprietor at the other end of the bar, "You did say two pints, didn't you?"
"That's right," he called back, "two pints."

Things I Hate - Contd..

Just realised that this thing falls in two categories; things I hate as well as things about which I really feel sorry for others!

WWF Wrestling. I mean come on, gimme a break. Can't you see it's fake. If you can't then I feel sorry for your powers of perception. And if you can and still watch it, then I feel sorry for your life that you have nothing better to do!

These are the good old days

These are the good old days.

That’s a phrase I repeat to myself often. It makes me realizethat whatever I am going through, whatever kind of day I’m having, that someday I am going to look back on this time of my life and remember it as a special, important time.

I thought of it again this morning. My 19-year-old daughter and I were both up in the wee hours of the morning, getting ready for work. We had a nice conversation, and I told myself, “These are the good old days,” because someday she won’t be here. She’ll get married and have a family of her own; and I’ll look back on today and say, “I remember the good old days.”

Just like I remember doing the morning show at a radio station back in the 80s. I would be up at 4 a.m. and here would come that same daughter, in her little footed pajamas. I could have told her to “Get back in bed!” Instead, I would take the time, fix her a bowl of cereal, and there we sat, father and daughter, at our little table in our little apartment, while mom slept unaware of the sugar I was pumping into her baby’s body.

Today is the day! Soak it up and live it for all it’s worth. Feel the life in every moment and thank God for it.

We have a little family of Cardinal birds that have nested right next to a window at our office here. It’s so cool. You can see right into the nest. First they were eggs. Then they were little fuzzy babies. Little kids like Abby and Isabel come in and are fascinated by the birds, just an inch or two from the window.

I thought of a line from Psalm 119 that says, “I will meditate on Your wonders.”

Yesterday was the National Day of Prayer so I spent a lot oftime in prayer. I went to the Senate chambers and prayed as the Senators discussed and voted on bill after bill. I went to the House. I watched the lobbyists, the aides and everyone in their power suits rushing here and there. Then I went to the top of the capitol building and quietly pondered the panoramic view of Tallahassee. FSU. Florida A & M. The Supreme Court. Apalachee Parkway. The civic center. Jets flying by. Thousands of people jamming the highways.

I pondered and prayed and soaked it up. Governor Bush took time out of his busy schedule to join us in prayer. I observed all the nameless volunteers who helped with the nitty-gritty of the prayer event. I watched hundreds of tiny children parade past with their “prayer passports” and wondered about each of their little lives, their daddies and mommies and their own little footed pajamas. All of them are loved by God.

Later I sat down exhausted, thankful for my little sandwich and bag of chips, on a concrete ledge in the shade. And I watched the ants marching with order and discipline, making strategic plans for my oatmeal cookie.

What a big and busy world. “I will meditate on Your wonders.”

Why get hung up on the past? Why worry about the future? There is so much to life today. Grab hold of it! Notice it, don’t rush past it.

I like this old phrase, “Wherever you are, be there.”

That means, participate in this moment. Don’t have your mind off somewhere else. Don’t miss the joys of the day just because you weren’t paying attention. Remember, “These are the good old days.”

~A MountainWings Original by Doug Apple, Tallahassee, FL~

I really like the above article for two reasons.

Firstly, it reaffirms my belief in what I do. "Carpe Diem" has been my cry too. Too many people are too hung up on the past and that hampers their performance and happiness in the present. Worry about the past will not change it. Or they are too worried about the future. I once read that worry about the future is interest accrued on troubles one is yet to encounter! I couldn' t have put it better myself. However, Carpe Diem does not mean that one cannot learn from the past or plan for the future. Au contraire, one should do both. But that should not prevent one from living in the present.

Secondly, this article makes me realise that there are millions of things around me that I will cherish 10 years or 20 years from now. Writing a blog at leisure, listening to RD Burman songs, dancing in an office party while suffering from Dengue (probably!!), making tea with neembu and tulsi from our kitchen garden, sharing that cuppa tea with my mom, while talking about Diwali preparations, talking over the phone with my 4-yr old nephew and 3-yr old niece, enjoying a good joke, reading scraps , emails and SMSs from students/friends concerned about my health are just some of the things that I can think of, which I enjoyed immensely in the last 24 hours. It is not there are no troubles in today's life, but how can I let them overshadow the good things in my life?

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Open Office

An intiative - now supported by Google - to liberate the world from Microsoft Office, Open Office is worth a download and a try. It was originally called Star Office from Sun Microsystems. In its new avatar at less than 100 MB, it is not bloatware and since it is definitely freeware, you are also free from exhorbitant prices of software monopolies or the sin/crime of piracy!

Read more here and download here.

Mast Video

This is hilarious :D - A fantastic spoof on Beedi Jalayee Le Jigar Se Piya!

Watch it!

Gabbar and Samba - Updated

Gabbar: Kitne admi they?
Sambha: Sardar 2
Gabbar: Mujhe ginti nahin aati, 2 kitne hote hain?
Samba: Sardar 2, 1 ke baad aata hai
Gabbar: Aur 2 ke pehle?
Samba: 2 k pehle 1 aata hai.
Gabbar: To beech mein kaun ata hai?
Samba: Beech mein koi nahi aata>
Gabbar:: To phir dono ek saath kyun nahin aate?
Samba: 1 k baad hi 2 aa sakta hai, kyun ki 2, 1 se bada hai.
Gabar: 2, 1 se kitna bada hai?
Samba: 2, 1 se 1 bada hai.
Gabbar: Agar 2, 1 se 1 bada hai to 1, 1 se kitna bada hai?
Samnba: Sardar maine aapka namak khaya hai, mujhe goli maar do

Saturday, October 07, 2006


I think I am too good for my ownself. Always having been taught to be good to others, do unto others as you want others to do to you, I think I lost somewhere the basic human instinct of self-preservation and self-interest. It has been repeatedly diagnosed by various people as lack of assertiveness and aggression.

I myself thought about this earlier too, in this blog entry, where I said "It's not that I have given up on "Angry Ganeshan" - I still admire him and his unique antics, his choleric and wrathful outbursts, his unique perspective on most things, and his shameless avarice and self-promotion. I am not looking for a complete role-model, but sometimes admire the brazen and bold manner in which he puts across his point, something that I sometimes feel, I need to develop more."

My choice of Langda Tyagi, Don etc. as Orkut avatars, also indicates tendencies in that direction. Have I started to admire their chracters' personalities completely? No. Thankfully I can recognise this on my own. And thus the remedy is easy to find. I should become more assertive in life, so that people do not tread on my toes and my pent-up frustrations do not get expressed as Orkut Avatars!

Time to take out my dust-covered copy of "How to say no when you don't want to say Yes!"

Buy your own Warne or Muralidharan

With the perfect bowling machine being created, match practice is no longer child's play. Read the details here.

Solar alchemy turns fumes back into fuels

I am sure you have seen fuels turn to fumes (and the money in the wallet go kaput!) . What if you could reverse this and turn the fumes back to usable fuel, of course with a little help from the sun!

Read about this interesting development.

D-Company Strikes!

D-Company Strikes! Not the Dawood one, but the Dengue one, which is supposed to be deadlier. I may have it, I may not have it. That is not for sure and will be clear after more blood tests (the first ones were too early and therefore inconclusive), but in the meanwhile, I am on bed-rest with limited access to the internet!

MSN Live Search better than Google for Searching?

If you want to search for a search engine, and trust that google is the best; think again. Google thinks MSN is better than their own search engine. At least that is what the theory is, if you believe this link.

Read complete article.

Oetzi - The 5000 year old Ice-man

When he last walked, the Pyramids had not yet been built. Such is the age of the Oetzi, the legendary Iceman, whose almost perfectly preserved body was found in 1991 in the icy Alps. It offers a fantastic peek into the life and times of a man, who died in 3300 BC.

The net is full of good websites that offer accurate information about him. A good place to start exploring about him would be here.

The Oak Island Mystery

A lonely island, a pit in the ground, a putative treasure, a 211 year old history. All the ingredients of a successful legend! I first read about Oak Island in a book in college and have followed up my interest on the net. It is too good a story to pass up.

Read more about the Oak Island here.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Chinese Name confusion

Caller: Hello, can I speak to Annie Wan?
Operator: Yes, you can speak to me.
Caller: No, I want to speak to Annie Wan!
Operator: Yes I understand you want to speak to anyone. You can speak to me. Who is this?
Caller: I'm Sam Wan. And I need to talk to Annie Wan! It's urgent.
Operator: I know you are someone and you want to talk to anyone! But what's this urgent matter about?
Caller: Well... just tell my sister Annie Wan that our brother Noe Wan was involved in an accident. Noe Wan got injured and now Noe Wan is being sent to the hospital. Right now, Avery Wan is on his way to the hospital.
Operator: Look, if no one was injured and no one was sent to the hospital, then the accident isn't an urgent matter! You may find this hilarious but I don't have time for this!
Caller: You are so rude! Who are you?
Operator: I'm Saw Ree.
Caller: Yes! You should be sorry. Now give me your name!

Lucrative store locations pinpointed by new mathematical model

The old mantra about the three most important factors for a shop's success - location, location and location - has been borne out by a new mathematical model. It could help retailers pinpoint lucrative sites for their stores.

Interesting work; seems like a simple application of factor analysis to me! Read more here.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Trains - Interesting Logic

A group of children were playing near two railway tracks, one still in use while the other disused. Only one child played on the disused track, the rest on the operational track. The train came, and you were just beside the track interchange. You could make the train change its course to the disused track and saved most of the kids. However, that would also mean the lone child playing by the disused track would be sacrificed. Or would you rather let the train go its way?

Let's take a pause to think what kind of decision we could make.

Go on, think well and make a good decision.

Most people might choose to divert the course of the train, and sacrifice only one child. You might think the same way, I guess. Exactly, I thought the same way initially because to save most of the children at the expense of only one child was rational decision most people would make, morally and emotionally.

But, have you ever thought that the child choosing to play on the disused track had in fact made the right decision to play at a safe place?

Nevertheless, he had to be sacrificed because of his ignorant friends who chose to play where the danger was. This kind of dilemma happens around us everyday. In the office, community, in politics and especially in a democratic society, the minority is often sacrificed for the interest of the majority, no matter how foolish or ignorant the majority are, and how farsighted and knowledgeable the minority are.

The child who chose not to play with the rest on the operational track was sidelined. And in the case he was sacrificed, no one would shed a tear for him. The person who wrote the story said he would not try to change the course of the train because he believed that the kids playing on the operational track should have known very well that track was still in use, and that they should have run away if they heard the train's sirens.

If the train was diverted, that lone child would definitely die because he never thought the train could come over to that track! Moreover, that track was not in use probably because it was not safe. If the train was diverted to the track, we could put the lives of all passengers on board at stake!

And in your attempt to save a few kids by sacrificing one child, you might end up sacrificing hundreds of people to save these few kids.

While we are all aware that life is full of tough decisions that need to be made, we may not realize that hasty decisions may not always be the right one.

"Remember that what's right isn't always popular... and what's popular isn't always right."

Everybody makes mistakes; that's why they put erasers on pencils.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Hilarious Review of Indian Superman

You got to read this. An abso-smashing-lutely review of a movie which stars Puneet Issar as the Indian Superman. The review is good, but the footage and the stills are even better!

Hanste Hanste Pet Mein Bal Pad Gaye!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Invisible drones

Can a surveillance drone be made virtually invisible? A US company thinks so, and their patent application explains how. "Persistence of vision" turns the fast-moving rotors of any helicopter into a near-transparent blur, while the slow-moving body looks solid. So why not make the entire aircraft spin as it flies, turning it into a single faint blur in the sky?

Details here.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Mumbai Housewife invited for guest lecture at IIMs

Why? She achieved a turnaround for her son in his studies, that's why! Read the details here. ;-)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Bachpan Ki Yaadein

Looking at a photo on the orkut album of Anish Kila, I was reminded of my bachpan! Phantom Waali, Laal Dibbi Wali, Meethi Cigarettes!! Have a look at this photo to relive those days!

Hai Hai! Kitne paagal hote the! Baar-baar flick kar-kar ke imaginary raakh phenkte the, imaginary dhuaan udate the! Asli toh kabhi bhi nahin pee, par yeh waali bahut pee dali!

Tomorrow's agenda - Get a packet and finish it off :D

Things I hate

In an update to this post, I realised today that I absolutely hate car-perfumes. They have this sickly sweet smell that is worse than any perfumes many girls wear. If I sit in a car that has these so called perfume bottles, I feel like throwing up. I wonder about people who spend ridiculous amounts of money on things like these.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

How to identify a place in India?

Scenario 1
Two guys are fighting and a third guy comes along, then a fourth and they start arguing about who's right.
You are in Kolkata

Scenario 2
Two guys are fighting and a third guy comes along, sees them and walks on.
That's Mumbai

Scenario 3
Two guys are fighting and a third guy comes along & tries to make peace.The first two get together & beat him up.
That's Delhi

Scenario 4
Two guys are fighting. A crowd gathers to watch. A guy comes along And quietly opens a chai-stall
That's Ahmedabad.

Scenario 5
Two guys are fighting and a third guy comes he writes a software program to stop the fight. But the fight doesn't stop b'cos of a bug in the program.
That's Bangalore

Scenario 6
Two guys are fighting. A crowd gathers to watch. A guy comes along and quietly says that "AMMA" doesn't like all this nonsense. Peace comes in.
That's Chennai.

Scenario 7
Two guys are fighting. Third guy comes along with a carton of beer. All sit together drinking beer and abusing each other and all go home being friends.
You are in Goa

Scenario 8
Two guys are fighting. Both of them take time out and call their friends on mobile. Now 50 guys are fighting.
You are DEFINITELY IN Punjab!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

MRTPC move to benefit many students

A very pertinent topic, that is a bone of contention for a large number of students every year!

In a judgment that can benefit a large number of students who change educational institutes during competitive exams such as Common Admission Test (CAT), the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission has told Mumbai-based S P Jain Institute of Management and Research to return Rs 1.4 lakh (Rs 140,000) to an applicant who later took admission in IIM-Lucknow.

"We find that the respondent (SPJIMR) has indulged in unfair trade practices and also brought about additional cost on the applicant by forfeiting the entire amount," MRTPC acting-chairman M M Sardana said. He asked the institute to refund Rs 1.4 lakh to one Varun Gupta within six weeks.

The commission held that the scheme of changing from an institution to the other by a student was "inherent to the entire system" and slammed the premier management institute for making "undue gains." "It (the institute) is not expected to make undue gains particularly in a situation where the system allows the candidate to change their institution before the commencement of the course," Sardana said.

Gupta, a resident of New Delhi, had appeared in Common Admission Test for management institutes in 2002. On the basis of his score, SPJIMR sent an admission letter in April 2002. The institute had mentioned that Gupta would have to deposit a sum of Rs 1.4 lakh, which was non-refundable. As per instructions, Gupta took admission by submitting Rs 1.4 lakh.

Later, he got a confirmed call from IIM Lucknow and took admission there. He also informed SPJIMR and sought refund. But, SPJIMR refused to return the fees paid as per the terms of admission, forcing the candidate to approach MRTPC against the institute for indulging in unfair trade practices. Gupta argued that this forfeiture clause was to apply only when the seat vacated by him remained unfilled.

"There was sufficient time to fill-up the seat vacated by candidates of waiting list since the course was to begin on June 11," he contended.

In his petition, Gupta said, SPJIMR's action amounted to restricting the competition, leaving no scope for candidates to exercise options with their CAT score and would burden them with additional cost. SPJIMR countered Gupta's contention and said the institution suffers loss if an admission is cancelled.

"We have to plan the budgets and expenses accordingly. If every student seeks cancellation after the admission process is over and asks for refund of fees, it would be difficult for the institute to run," SPJIMR argued. However, the commission rejected this contention and observed that Gupta had informed SPJIMR within a week. At that time a waiting list of candidates was available and the institute could have filled the seat.

MRTPC compared the admission cancellation process of other institutes such as Indian Institutes of Management and MDI, Gurgaon, and found that in most cases only a part of tuition fee is deducted and substantial fee is returned. The commission felt that the institute's action amounted to "restricting the choice of candidates."

"It (the institute) would naturally be making financial gains at the cost of students while it is not making any financial loss correspondingly," the commission observed and directed the institute to return Rs 1.4 lakh to Gupta within six weeks.


American Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Worsens Terror Threat

A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.
An unsurprising report, if there was one!

Read complete article. (Free login required)

Friday, September 22, 2006

Recently read books

Recently finished reading:
  1. False Impression - Jeffrey Archer's new novel did not impress me. It can easily be classified as the worst JA I have ever read. JA should write as JA does. Trying to copy Dan Brown's story does not work. JA neither remains JA nor becomes DB. And therein lies the rub - he is the latest Trishanku on the block!
  2. The Namesake - Jhumpa Lahiri's second novel is impressive. Strong insights into human psychology make her simple narrative captivating. The struggle of Gogol to come to terms with his strange name, his lineage as an ABCD (American Born Confused Desi) and the ways these two dilemmas are essentially the same are well-written and well-woven. A must read!
  3. Artemis Fowl - A simple fiction for young adults, it was impressive for its ability to vividly describe the imaginary world of fairies (a misnomer for magical people) and how their problems are the same as ours!
  4. The Talkative Man - Had missed reading this simple novella by RK Narayan and made up for it recently. Very simple, in his characteristic narrative style. Interesting for its plot of a philanderer on the prowl in small-town India. Very small novel (as the author himself confesses; "Only 116 pages") and left me with a sense of having eaten an incomplete meal!
  5. Nirmala - Premchand's saga of a young-girl-marries-much-older-man never fails to move me, inspite of repeat readings! Wow!
  6. Currently reading Freakonomics for the second time, and trying to read up Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe (Unabridged). The first is easy enough and the second is difficult enough to consider abandoing!

Writing a book

I am writing a book. Part of it is already complete. I have written down all the page numbers!

Pajama Party in Shanghai

How many Shanghaites wear pajamas outside their homes? More importantly why? I wonder what will be the result of such a survey in India where everyone wears pajamas outside their home!

Even more importantly, why is this question important?

I guess someone is trying to co-relate sociology and anthropology too much! Decide yourself.

Cheating in business and business schools

Cheating in business and cheating in business students. Are they cause-effect, effect-cause or does there exist a duality in this relationship?

That you decide on your own; read this article on cheating by business students, in the meanwhile.

Sleep to get more marks

Something that I have known for a long time, just confirmed by research!

You should sleep to get more marks in exams!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Warning: PJ Ahead

A sci-fi cartoon strip, S-1019 by Brian Codagnone, takes place in the far future aboard the starship S-1019. In this three frame episode, one of the non-human crew members is typing as another one, Keon, an energy cloud, is watching over his shoulder. The dialog is as follows:

Keon: "What are you doing, Znaxl?"
Znaxl: "Writing a book!"
Keon: "What's it about?"
Znaxl: "It's a thriller. The hero is a paraplegic chameleon!"
Keon: "I'm going to deeply regret asking this... What's it called?"
Znaxl: " 'You Can Hide, But You Can't Run'!"

What My Mother Taught Me

This is an old forward, but I really like the tounge-in-cheek approach in this!

1. My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE.
"If you're going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning."

2. My mother taught me RELIGION .
"You better pray that will come out of the carpet."

3. My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL.
"If you don't straighten up, I'm going to knock you into the middle of next week!"

4. My mother taught me LOGIC.
" Because I said so, that's why."

5. My mother taught me MORE LOGIC.
"If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you're not going to the store with me."

6. My mother taught me FORESIGHT.
"Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident."

7. My mother taught me IRONY.
"Keep crying, and I'll give you something to cry about."

8. My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS.
"Shut your mouth and eat your supper."

9. My mother taught me about CONTORTIONIST.
"Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!"

10. My mother taught me about STAMINA.
"You'll sit there until all that spinach is gone."

11. My mother taught me about WEATHER.
"This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it."

12.. My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY.
"If I told you once, I've told you a million times. Don't exaggerate!"

13. My mother taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE.
"I brought you into this world, and I can take you out."

14. My mother taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION .
"Stop acting like your father!"

15. My mother taught me about ENVY.
"There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don't have wonderful parents like you do."

16. My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.
"Just wait until we get home."

17. My mother taught me about RECEIVING .
"You are going to get it when you get home!"

18. My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.
"If you don't stop crossing your eyes, they are going to get stuck that way."

19. My mother taught me ESP.
"Put your sweater on; don't you think I know when you are cold?"

20. My mother taught me HUMOR.
"When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don't come running to me."

21. My mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT .
"If you don't eat your vegetables, you'll never grow up."

22. My mother taught me GENETICS.
"You're just like your father."

23. My mother taught me about my ROOTS.
"Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?"

24. My mother taught me WISDOM .
"When you get to be my age, you'll understand."

And my favorite:

25. My mother taught me about JUSTICE.
"One day you'll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you"

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Yeh Soch Ke Baithi Hoon, Ik Raah Toh Woh Hogi, Tum Tak Jo Pahunchti Hai, Iss Mod Se Jaati Hai

Kya Combination Tha!
Movie - Aandhi
Lead - Suchitra Sen, Sanjeev Kumar
Lyrics - Gulzar
Music - Rahul Dev Burman
Singers - Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar

Kya Song Hai!

Iss Mod Se Jaate Hain,
Iss Mod Se Jaate Hain,
Kuch Sust Kadam Raste,
Kuch Tez Kadam Rahein,

Iss Mod Se Jaate Hain,
Kuch Sust Kadam Raste,
Kuch Tez Kadam Rahein,

Patthar Ki Haveli Ko,
Sheeshe Ke Gharondon Mein,
Tinkon Ke Nash-e-man Tak,
Iss Mod Se Jaate Hain,

Iss Mod Se Jaate Hain.

Aandhi Ki Tarah Udd Kar,
Ik Raah Gujarti Hai,
Aandhi Ki Tarah Udd Kar,
Ik Raah Gujarti Hai,
Sharmati Hui Koi,
Kadmon Se Utarti Hai,
In Reshmi Raahon Mein,
Ik Raah Toh Woh Hogi,
Tum Tak Jo Pahunchi Hai,
Iss Mod Se Jaati Hai
Iss Mod Se Jaate Hain.

Ik Dur Se Aati Hai,
Paas Aake Palat Ti Hai,
Ik Dur Se Aati Hai,
Paas Aake Palat Ti Hai,
Ik Raah Akeli Si,
Rukti Hai Na Chalti Hai,

Yeh Soch Ke Baithi Hoon,
Ik Raah Toh Woh Hogi,
Tum Tak Pahunchti Hai,
Iss Mod Se Jaati Hai

Iss Mod Se Jaate Hain,
Kuch Sust Kadam Raste,
Kuch Tez Kadam Rahein,

Patthar Ki Haveli Ko,
Sheeshe Ke Gharondon Mein,
Tinkon Ke Nash-e-man Tak,
Iss Mod Se Jaate Hain.

Iss Mod Se Jaate Hain.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Poem on Cricket

Ask Steven, my favourite cricket haunt, recently ran an unusal question.

And finally, a plea that I can't answer, can anyone else help? from Tony Woodward in Canada:
"I'm trying to complete a humorous verse I heard decades ago, which used cricketing terms. I've remembered most of it, but I am missing a couple of lines in the middle. Can anyone fill in the missing lines?"

With my arms around her Boundary
I said "Will you be mine?"

As I admired her two Fine Legs

And splendid Bodyline.
[Darn, I've forgotten the next two lines and I can't find them anywhere!]
"Did you bowl the Maiden Over?"

"No, she belted me for Six!"

This was last week. Today, in the next weekly edition, the following answers have been run by the column!

There have been a few responses to last week's appeal for the missing words for Tony Woodward's poem:
Mike Staveley from Canada suggests:
I wondered how she'd look without her Extra Cover,

And how she would respond if I tried my Leg Break tricks ...
While Tony McGowan attempted:
Did she spot your googly coming,
Or your other fancy tricks?
And Farrukh Aziz from Pakistan tried:
Wanting to drive Through the covers, I just got a nick,
I heard the Third Man saying "Oh what a nice flick".
But possibly the best one came from Chandramouli in India:
I thought she would be a good catch,
And we would make a perfect match.