Saturday, April 29, 2006

Confused about Telecom Tariff Plans?

If you have ever purchased a mobile phone connection, that makes you automatically eligible for the highest gallantry award of the nation (The Paramveer Chakra for times of war and The Ashoka Chakra for times of peace; take your pick).

If you think I am exaggerating, just think about the painful moments of labour or getting a root-canal surgery done. I would choose one of these any day, before you could even say cell-to-cell. I once heard a comic quip on a TV show as to why are Indians so good in maths. According to him, we get sufficient practice, while choosing our telephone plans! Choosing from among them is one of the most painful exercises known to the human species. Period!

Look at the process involved and you would get an idea. First step, decide technology GSM/CDMA. Then choose between companies in each section do you choose the one endorsed by the curvaceous beauty or the one endorsed by the now-out-of-team cricket star? Or is the one that lets me communicate with Berliners, Mother Teresa, Churchill and people-buried-in-cemeteries, the right one for me?

Next start the endless rounds of the friendly neighbourhood shops. Someone touts cell-to-cell calls. Another one extols the virtues of the freedom plans that promise to let you talk for as long you want, provided of course that you give them your credit card and debit card for keeps. Yeah, like thats going to happen!

Someone tells me that a particular company is giving the first two minutes of all calls free. So if I want to save some money, what am I expected to do? Call and disconnect after 1:59 ? I guess I will be busy looking at the watch rather than talking!

Do I need the free SMS plans? They could help me enter lots of contests on TV channels and vote for my favourite singer/dancer/actor/producer/spot-boy. That would be utopia, except for the fact that they are all prime rate SMSs with the micro-printed 6 Rs per SMS rates!

Do I need the free friends-and-family plan? But for that I need friends and family. And If I have a free phone and keep them calling at ungodly hours to gain maximum mileage out of my phone, they are sure to severe all ties with me for good!

Enter - Your saviour, your karnadhar, your palanhaar, your friend-in-need-is-a-friend-indeed! Tell your phone needs and get a personalised recommendation! And if you are an existing subscriber with a post-paid connection (like me), then you just upload the PDF bills that you get and voila! It not only tells you what you have been doing (calling/SMSing) butalso tells whom have you been calling. Oops! Hope the wife did not see that the girlfriend's number has the largest piece on that pie-chart!

And then it tells you which plan would suit you the most (means which saves the most money, Duh!). I uploaded 8 Airtel bills and was surprised that I could save Rs. 541 per month by changing my plan within Airtel, save Rs. 627 by changing technology from GSM to CDMA (Tata Indicom). But the real surprise was that if I changed from Airtel to Idea, I could get an average saving of Rs 767 per month! Whoa! Talk about saving money!

This is a great piece of software! Kudos to the developers. Now only, if they could help me choose the correct broadband plan, I would be in eternal debt to them!
Happy talking!

Here's a mail from the website's founder.

Season's greetings to you all. I am a 2002 batch graduate of BIT from Khalsa college. I am currently employed by Trilogy Bangalore and am involved in developing innovative services in the Telecom domain. For the past few months I have been very busy on my latest assignment in Trilogy. I have been writing the engine for a website called Your Bill Buddy. I want to introduce you to the site.

While at Pune, due to the pressing demands of calling my then-fiance-now-wife Nidhi who was in Delhi, and the high variation in the cost of calls across various plans, I used to have a great fetish towards finding the cheapest tariff plan for mobile phones given a specific requirement. So basically, I along with other friends at Trilogy presented this idea to our management and we decided to build a service for everybody to be able to find the best plan for themselves.

So, is a FREE service where you can upload your latest e-bills (PDF) and you can get a recommendation. Currently, we are supporting ALL plans in Karnataka and Delhi and ALL NATIONAL plans in all the others states.

As of now, a good 80% of the users in the trial runs have found a better plan to switch to. One guy even discovered a possible monthly savings of Rs. 800. If you have any post paid mobile connection, it is worth at least one try. So just click on , go to Register and check out the service.

For your kind information, we have no motives of calling you or using any of the information provided in your bills for purposes other than calculating the best plans for you. If you still wish to refrain from providing your bills, you can still register and use our recommendation wizard and get the recommendations. This service takes only 3 minutes flat from registeration to recommendation.

Drop in a line if you any feedback/suggestion or hopefully words of appreciation. :-)


ps: Just check it out and if you find it interesting enough, pass it on to your friends.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Career Songs

Head here for some light-hearted look at Career Songs. See it to understand what I mean by this cryptic statement.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


Here is another one that you can find floating on the net. An old one, but really cute :)

Gabbar sends Kaalia and his other two colleagues to Ramgad for collecting the 'loot-maar' software which he ordered. They reach Ramgad and start shouting:

'Abe O thakur. Baahar nikal. Kaha hai wo loot-maar software jo hamne order kiya tha?'

Dhaniya,an old man comes out with a floppy in his hand.

Kaalia - 'Kya laye ho dhaniya?'

Dhaniya - 'Financial Accounting software hai sarkar.'

Kaalia - 'Suwar ke bacche. Ye bekar software hamare liye banaya aur woh loot - mar software kya apni beti ke baratiyon ke liye zip file mein chuppa rakha hai.'

Thakur comes out of his house with anger, saying 'Chillao mat kaalia. Jaakar gabbar se kah do ki Thakur Software walo ne paagal kutton ke liye software banana bund kar diya hai'

Kaalia- 'Bahut garmi dikha rahe ho thakur. Koi naye programmers hire kiye hain kya?'

Thakur - 'Nazar utha kar dekh Kaalia tere sar par powerbuilder chal raha hai'.

Kaalia lifts his head. He sees Viru (Dharmendra) working on a PC on one water tank and Jay (Amitabh) on another water tank. Kaalia starts laughing and says 'Haa Haa...Ye log programming karenge thakur. Haa haa.. inko toh DOS commands bhi nahin aate. Suno Ramgad ke vasiyon, thakur ne hijdon ki software company banayi hai'

Veeru shouts - 'Chup chap chala ja kaalia, ham log consultants hain, kuch bhi kar sakte hain.' Jay hits some commands on his keyboard. Then says 'Jao kaalia gabbar se kahna ki uska server down ho gaya'

Kaalia - 'Jaata hoon thakur. Agar gabbar ko pata chala ki Thakur Software services walon ne uska loot - maar software nahin banaya to woh poore network mein virus daal dega.'

At GABBAR's den

GABBAR: Kitnay bugs thay?

KALIA: Do sarkaar.

GABBAR: Woh do! Aur tum teen. Phir bhee fix nahin kar sake? Kya soch kay aaye thay? Gabbar bahut khus hoga. Naya assignment dega, kyun? Iski saja milegi. Barabar milegi!

[Snatches an X terminal from a Junior Programmer(JP)]

Kitne sessions hain iss machine mein?

JP: Chhay Sardar.

GABBAR: Session chhay aur programmer teen. Bahut nainsaafi hai.

[logout.. logout.. logout...]

Haan.. ab theek hai... Ab tera kyaa hoga kaalia?

KAALIA: Sardar, maine aapka code likha tha sarkar?

GABBAR: To aab documentation likh !!! [LOGOUT.....]

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Firewall (Deewar)

I wrote this a long time ago, the days when I used to run an IT-outsourcing venture, and had time to kill (sometimes!). This is the sceret script of an IT Film "Firewall" (Deewar).

Scene 1
Bamitabh Acchan (lead programmer) and Shift-hekar (project manager) are discussing the latest projects (Sona) that have just come from USA to India (typical aaj-rat-top-level-design-USA-se-aa-raha-hai style).
Shift-hekar: "Aaj se tum hamare liye programming karoge! Yeh lo!" Throws a thick client specifications document across the conference table.
Bamitabh Acchan: "Shift-hekar Sahab, apko yaad hoga, aaj se kai saal pehle aap NIIT ke Kalkajee center pe hacking karne jaate the, tab raaste mein hamesha ek hi jagah ruk kar apne freelance projects banwate the."
Shift-hekar: "Haan! Lekin tumhe yeh sab kaise pata hai?"
Bamitabh Acchan: "Main phenki hui client specifications aaj bhi nahin uthata hoon!"

Scene 2
Bamitabh Acchan and Kashi Shapoor are standing in the NIIT center, Okhla.
Kashi Shapoor: "Bhai tum documentation likhoge ya nahin!?"
Bamitabh Acchan: "Jaao pehle uss software ka documentation lekar aao, jisko maine delivery date se pehle, saari raat baithkar banaya. Jaao pehle uss software ka documentation lekar aao, jiska Alpha version maine Beta kehkar bhej diya. Jaao pehle uss software ka documentation lekar aao, jisko banane main mere Sun-Sparc server mein crash aa gaya. Uske baad mere bhai, tum jis software ka kahoge, main us ka documentation likh doonga. Haan mere bhai, main documentation likh doonga, lekin main sabse pehle nahin likhoonga."
Kashi Shapoor: "Doosre ke documentation nahin likhne se tumhare requirements fulfill nahin ho jaate hain."
Bamitabh Acchan: "Uff yeh tumhare SEI-CMM aur ISO ke requirements, yeh kiss kaam ke hain? Inko mila kar kya ek lead programmer ki salary bhi nikal sakti hai? Hum dono ne issi center ke bahar khade hokar code likha, hacking seekhi, programmers bane aur aaj tum kahan reh gaye aur main kahan aa gaya. Yeh vahi tum ho aur yeh vahi main hoon. Aaj mere pass Sun Sparc aur IBM ke servers hain, Oracle aur Microsoft ka pirated software hai, RJ-45 ki cabling wala LAN hai, 24 hour connnectivity hai, programmers hain, project managers hain, India mein itna bada development center hai, USA mein front end marketing office hai, NYSE aur NASDAQ per listing hai aur tumhare pass, kya hai tumhare pass??"
Kashi Shapoor : "Mere pass project hai"

Friday, April 21, 2006

What Does Your Birth Date Mean?

Your Birthdate: December 5

You have many talents, and you are great at sharing those talents with others.

Most people would be jealous of your clever intellect, but you're just too likeable to elicit jealousy.

Progressive and original, you're usually thinking up cutting edge ideas.

Quick witted and fast thinking, you have difficulty finding new challenges.

Your strength: Your superhuman brainpower

Your weakness: Your susceptibility to boredom

Your power color: Tangerine

Your power symbol: Ace

Your power month: May

Decided to put this in without a thought - jab meri tareef kar raha hai toh tension kya hai :)

Random Quotes

The great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.
- Walter Bagehot

It is better to wear out than to rust out.
- George Whitefield

Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.
- C. Northcote Parkinson

It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do.
- Jerome K. Jerome

Never put off until tomorrow what you can forget about entirely.
- Anonymous

If you asked me to name the three scariest threats facing the human race, I would give the same answer that most people would: nuclear war, global warming and Windows.
- Dave Barry

A debugged program is one for which you have not yet found the condtions that make it fail.
- Jerry Ogdin

A patch is a piece of software which replaces old bugs with new bugs.
- Anonymous

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Go Kiss the World

Address on July 2, 2004 by Subroto Bagchi, Chief Operating Officer, MindTree Consulting to the Class of 2006 at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore on " Defining Success."

I was the last child of a small-time government servant, in a family of five brothers. My earliest memory of my father is as that of a District employment Officer in Koraput, Orissa. It was and remains as back of beyond as you can imagine. There was no electricity; no primary school nearby and Water did not flow out of a tap. As a result, I did not go to school until the age of eight; I was home-schooled. My father used to get transferred every year. The family belongings fit into the back of a jeep - so the Family moved from place to place and, without any trouble, my Mother would set up an establishment and get us going. Raised by a widow who had come as a refugee from the then East Bengal, she was a matriculate when she married My Father. My parents set the foundation of my life and the value system which makes me what I am today and largely defines what success means to me today.

As District Employment Officer, my father was given a jeep by the Government. There was no garage in the Office, so the jeep was parked in our House. My father refused to use it to commute to the office. He told us that the jeep is an expensive resource given by the government - he reiterated to us that it was not 'his jeep' but the government's jeep. Insisting that he would use it only to tour the interiors, he would walk to his office on Normal days. He also made sure that we never sat in the government jeep - we could sit in it only when it was stationary. That was our early childhood Lesson in governance - a lesson that corporate managers learn the hard way, some never do.

The driver of the jeep was treated with respect due to any other Member of my Father's office. As small children, we were taught not to call Him by his name. We had to use the suffix 'dada' whenever we were to refer to him in public or private. When I grew up to own a car and a driver by the name of Raju was appointed - I repeated the lesson to my two small Daughters. They have, as a result, grown up to call Raju, 'Raju Uncle' - Very different from many of their friends who refer to their family drivers as 'my driver'. When I hear that term from a school- or college-going Person, I cringe. To me, the lesson was significant - you treat small people with more respect than how you treat big people. It is more important to Respect your subordinates than your superiors.

Our day used to start with the family huddling around my Mother's Chula - an earthen fire place she would build at each place of posting Where she would cook for the family. There was no gas, nor electrical Stoves. The morning routine started with tea. As the brew was served, Father Would ask us to read aloud the editorial page of The Statesman's 'muffosil' Edition - delivered one day late. We did not understand much of what we were Reading. But the ritual was meant for us to know that the world was larger Than Koraput district and the English I speak today, despite having studied In an Oriya medium school, has to do with that routine.

After reading the Newspaper aloud, we were told to fold it neatly. Father taught us a simple Lesson. He used to say, "You should leave your newspaper and your toilet, the way you expect to find it". That lesson was about showing consideration to others. Business begins and ends with that simple precept.

Government houses seldom came with fences. Mother and I collected Twigs and built a small fence. After lunch, my Mother would never sleep. She would take her kitchen utensils and with those she and I would dig the Rocky, white ant infested surrounding. We planted flowering bushes. The White ants destroyed them. My mother brought ash from her chulha and mixed it in the earth and we planted the seedlings all over again. This time, they bloomed. At that time, my father's transfer order came. A few neighbors told my mother why she was taking so much pain to beautify a government house, why she was planting seeds that would only benefit the next occupant. My Mother replied that it did not matter to her that she would not see the Flowers in full bloom. She said, "I have to create a bloom in a desert and whenever I am given a new place, I must leave it more beautiful than what I had inherited". That was my first lesson in success. It is not about what you create for yourself, it is what you leave behind that defines success.

My mother began developing a cataract in her eyes when I was very small. At that time, the eldest among my brothers got a teaching job at the University in Bhubaneswar and had to prepare for the civil services examination. So, it was decided that my Mother would move to cook for him and, as her appendage, I had to move too. For the first time in my life, I saw electricity in homes and water coming out of a tap. It was around 1965 and the country was going to war with Pakistan. My mother was having problems reading and in any case, being Bengali, she did not know the Oriya script. So, in addition to my daily chores, my job was to read her the local newspaper - end to end. That created in me a sense of connectedness with a larger world.

I began taking interest in many different things. While reading out news about the war, I felt that I was fighting the war myself. She and I discussed the daily news and built a bond with the larger universe. In it, we became part of a larger reality. Till date, I measure my success in terms of that sense of larger connectedness. Meanwhile, the war raged and India was fighting on both fronts. Lal Bahadur Shastri, the then Prime Minster, coined the term "Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan" and galvanized the nation in to patriotic fervor. Other than reading out the newspaper to my mother, I had no clue about how I could be part of the action. So, after reading her the newspaper, every day I would land up near the University's water tank, which served the community. I would spend hours under it, imagining that there could be spies who would come to poison the water and I had to watch for them. I would daydream about catching one and how the next day, I would be featured in the newspaper. Unfortunately for me, the spies at war ignored the sleepy town of Bhubaneswar and I never got a chance to catch one in action. Yet, that act unlocked my imagination. Imagination is everything. If we can imagine a future, we can create it, if we can create that future, others will live in it. That is the essence of success.

Over the next few years, my mother's eyesight dimmed but in me she created a larger vision, a vision with which I continue to see the world and, I sense, through my eyes, she was seeing too. As the next few years unfolded, her vision deteriorated and she was operated for cataract. I remember, when she returned after her operation and she saw my face clearly for the first time, she was astonished. She said, "Oh my God, I did not know you were so fair". I remain mighty pleased with that adulation even till date. Within weeks of getting her sight back, she developed a corneal ulcer and, overnight, became blind in both eyes. That was 1969. She died in 2002. In all those 32 years of living with blindness, she never complained about her fate even once. Curious to know what she saw with blind eyes, I asked her once if she sees darkness. She replied, "No, I do not see darkness. I only see light even with my eyes closed". Until she was eighty years of age, she did her morning yoga everyday, swept her own room and washed her own clothes. To me, success is about the sense of independence; it is about not seeing the world but seeing the light.

Over the many intervening years, I grew up, studied, joined the industry and began to carve my life's own journey. I began my life as a clerk in a government office, went on to become a Management Trainee with the DCM group and eventually found my life's calling with the IT industry when fourth generation computers came to India in 1981. Life took me places - I worked with outstanding people, challenging assignments and traveled all over the world. In 1992, while I was posted in the US, I learnt that my father, living a retired life with my eldest brother, had suffered a third degree burn injury and as admitted in the Safderjung Hospital in Delhi. I flew back to attend to him - he remained for a few days in critical stage, bandaged from neck to toe. The Safderjung Hospital is a cockroach infested, dirty, inhuman place. The overworked, under-resourced sisters in the burn ward are both victims and perpetrators of dehumanized life at its worst. One morning, while attending to my Father, I realized that the blood bottle was empty and fearing that air would go into his vein, I asked the attending nurse to change it. She bluntly told me to do it myself. In that horrible theatre of death, I was in pain and frustration and anger. Finally when she relented and came, my Father opened his eyes and murmured to her, "Why have you not gone home yet?" Here was a man on his deathbed but more concerned about the overworked nurse than his own state. I was stunned at his stoic self. There I learnt that there is no limit to how concerned you can be for another human being and what is the limit of inclusion you can create. My father died the next day. He was a man whose success was defined by his principles, his frugality, his universalism and his sense of inclusion. Above all, he taught me that success is your ability to rise above your discomfort, whatever may be your current state. You can, if you want, raise your consciousness above your immediate surroundings. Success is not about building material comforts. His success was about the legacy he left, the mimetic continuity of his ideals that grew beyond the smallness of a ill-paid, unrecognized government servant's world.

My father was a fervent believer in the British Raj. He sincerely doubted the capability of the post- independence Indian political parties to govern the country. To him, the lowering of the Union Jack was a sad event. My Mother was the exact opposite. When Subhash Bose quit the Indian National Congress and came to Dacca, my mother, then a schoolgirl, garlanded him. She learnt to spin khadi and joined an underground movement that trained her in using daggers and swords. Consequently, our household saw diversity in the political outlook of the two. On major issues concerning the world, the Old Man and the Old Lady had differing opinions. In them, we learnt the power of disagreements, of dialogue and the essence of living with diversity in thinking. Success is not about the ability to create a definitive dogmatic end state; it is about the unfolding of thought processes, of dialogue and continuum.

Two years back, at the age of eighty-two, Mother had a paralytic stroke and was lying in a government hospital in Bhubaneswar. I flew down from the US where I was serving my second stint, to see her. I spent two weeks with her in the hospital as she remained in a paralytic state. She was neither getting better nor moving on. Eventually I had to return to work. While leaving her behind, I kissed her face. In that paralytic state and a garbled voice, she said, "Why are you kissing me, go kiss the world." Her river was nearing its journey, at the confluence of life and death, this woman who came to India as a refugee, raised by a widowed Mother, no more educated than high school, married to an anonymous government servant whose last salary was Rupees Three Hundred, robbed of her eyesight by fate and crowned by adversity - was telling me to go and kiss the world!

Success to me is about Vision. It is the ability to rise above the immediacy of pain. It is about imagination. It is about sensitivity to small people. It is about building inclusion. It is about connectedness to a larger world existence. It is about personal tenacity. It is about giving back more to life than you take out of it. It is about creating extra-ordinary success with ordinary lives. Thank you very much; I wish you good luck and Godspeed....... Go, kiss the world. May God Almighty Bless You With Health, Happiness and Prosperity Always

Film Nonsense!

If you have some time to kill, have a look at this website. It is named after Bob Christo, the white baddie from the Bolllywood of 80s. He always spoke with an affected English accent.

India wins over Pakistan

I am fresh from India's victory over Pakistan at Abu Dhabi. Every Indian has his superstitions about cricket, favourite clothes, favourite seating position etc. to help India win the match!

I have two, both used against Pakistan :-)

One is to play the song "Aaj Hum Apni Duaon Ka Asar Dekhnge; Teer-E-Nazar Dekhenge, Zakhm-E-Jigar Dekhenge" from Pakeeza. I can guarantee that if I play this song, a Pakistani wicket is sure to fall!

And the second is even more ludicrous. If the first trick fails for some reason, I have to eat an orange. As I eat an orange, a Pakistani wicket will fall. Never failed me :)

The first one worked today and made India win the match. At least that is my theory ;-). I was too lazy to get up and do it yesterday, otherwise we would have won yesterday's match too!

The second one, I used in that famous quarter-final in World Cup 96 (remember Jadeja hitting Waqar for 40 runs in 2 overs, and the infamous Amir Sohail - Venkatesh Prasad spat!!)

Ah! The stupid joys of watching a cricket match!!

Didi's comedy show

Searching for something else and somehow landed up on this. Didi's comedy show - oh the laugh riot! I have mentioned this show earlier in my blog here.

The files there are in RAR format, a format similar to ZIP format. For these you will need winrar.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Sketching by Amit Morya

Amit Morya, a student of mine, drew these. Sketching is one of his hobbies. Really nice work; the allure of the eyes is really captivating!

If you want larger (original size) pics of the same, click here. Warning: Large sized images; may take time to load.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Appraisal Season

In the appraisal season, I don't want to look like a smiling monkey.
- Ashish Dwivedi

Dol Dol

Dol Dol from Yuva, is one of the songs that I really enjoy. The unrestrained energy of the song, the wild abandon of AB's dance and the sheer tempo is really cool.

Not many people have seen me dance, but I do dance with such wild favourite remains "Mehbooba Mehbooba" from Sholay....I am thinking of changing my favourite to this one now!

Here's to Lallan :-D

Download the song here.

10,000 Year Old Family Tree

Have a look here.

Friday, April 14, 2006

My take on reservations for educational institutes

As a person who is in close contact with the educational system of the country, I believe I can provide a viewpoint that is rooted more in fact than just hearsay. Let me put forth my points:

  1. Affirmative action is important, necessary and even critical. I say this because of several factors. Firstly, all human beings are created equal and it is we ourselves who create these boundations of caste, gender, religion etc. Secondly, a fair society that encourages everyone to come forward and march together is a society that is likely to survive and not disintegrate. Poor social conditions or poor economic conditions lead to social tensions; that is why governments all over the world try to bridge the gaps between the various sections of the society. These gaps are inevitable, as a result of the Capitalism. Capitalism is the best socio-economic system, as is evidenced in its continued success; and the repeated failures of various other systems. So gaps are inevitable, and plugging them is important. Gaps are the reason that the crime rate is likely to increase when the people of a country are divided sharply in their income strata or caste status. Thirdly, affirmative action is important for creating conditions that encourage economic growth. It helps foster an environment of co-operation. Better educated people are more productive resources of the country. This is why reservations, in principle, are fine.
  2. However, the fault lies in the application of this principle to the real world. Note that no one of us shouts about parliament reservations of 33% for women, but all the political parties have lacked the direct will to do this and most of them actively work against it to ensure it does not get tabled/passed in the parliament. And we are shouting about educational institutes, but the politicians are moving ahead with this. The one who is affected, is the one who shouts. At the end of the day, we also suffer from the same 'what's-in-it-for-me' syndrome.
  3. Another issues is that the constitution envisages an egalitarian society, a noble but slightly utopian goal. If we want that, reservations are a fairly good way to achieve that. Reservations when originally envisaged, were planned for 10 years for SC/ST etc. It is now nearly 59 years since independence and a clear 56 years since the constitution was adopted. But they continue since removing them is akin to political harakiri. OBC reservations were envisaged in 1980, by BP Mandal Commission and implemented partly in 1990 for the government jobs and the second part is happening now in educational institutes. If we have time bound reservations, may be that will serve the purpose better.
  4. Other checks and balances like one reservation in one life time - be it college, job or some entrance exam; one-reservation-per-family - so if father got it for job, then no more for son/daughter etc; creamy layer exclusion; reservations for all poor people are some solutions that are needed.
  5. Another way is to encourage SC/ST/OBC to be given more chances/more coaching etc. Merit should not be replaced by caste. Would you like to be treated by a doctor who got in a medical college based on 0 marks out of 500 in medical entrance exam, just because he was from a reserved category. Or for that matter, travel on a flyover made by an engineer who entered PWD after getting a job/admission based on caste than merit. These are true cases, not fabricated cases.
  6. Reservations are good and important, provided they are done well. They can be voluntary, e.g. USA has voluntary affirmative action for black rights, even in the private sector; otherwise it would be difficult for others to enter and break the stranglehold of the upper castes / rich people on the whole system. To take a case, during the past 80% of all IAS officers were brahmins, whereas they formed only 4% of the population. While this is also because brahmins have better education, the need is not really for SC/ST/OBCs to be given more jobs, it is just that they should be given equal opportunities. The case of brahmins is interesting; a large percentage of IT engineering firms are launched and run by brahmins, not because of any caste-conspiracy, but because these guys are, in general, educated better. Take Jains / Marwaris etc. They are stronger in finance and money related companies, simply because there is a strong culture of learning finance and money related concepts, early on. No one can demand that more SC/ST/OBC be given more jobs in this sector based on their caste.
  7. The debate is long. We need to recognize that the step is correct in principle, but wrong in its implementation. The war-cry should be for better and fairer implementation, not removal of a good principle.

That's it!

Cynical Humour

I love dry wit. I have realised that for some reason I like characters that have a slightly stinging, biting and droll sense of humour. Examples include Hobbes in "Calvin and Hobbes", "The Far Side", "Non-Sequitur", Richard in "Caroline in the City", "Seinfeld" etc...wonder what this tells about my psychological makeup - that I an over-optimistic and see a balancing force in this type of humour; or that I am cynical and look for role-models in these characters? I guess the former :-D

Calvin and Hobbes

Here are two of the most beautiful collections of C&H, that amazing and the greatest ever comic!

Ask Dad
Snowman Show

One of my future plans is to buy all the C&H, all the Asterix, all the Tintin, all the "The Far Side" - the ones I see on - all hardbound in leather, all lovely artpaper, excellent printing!

Other plans include buying all the DVD/CD collections of Seinfeld and "Caroline in the City". And buying "Kachhi Dhoop", "Chanakya", "Bharat Ek Khoj", "Yatra" and a few others from India will not be a bad idea.

Another plan is to have an excellent library of all the good hindi movies of all times. An indicative list below, called "The 100 Hindi movies that you should see" is the first place to start; of course I will buy more than these!

The 100 Hindi movies that you should definitley see

1942 A Love Story
Amar Akbar Anthony
Ardh Satya
Bandit Queen
Chalti Ki Naam Gaadi
Devdas - New
Devdas - Old
Dharam Veer
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge
Do Bigha Zameen
Ek Dujje Ke Liye
Gunga Jumna
Hum Aapke Hain Kaun
Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam
Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron
Jab Jab Phool Khile
Jewel Thief
Kaagaz Ke Phool
Kabhi Kabhie
Kala Patthar
Khamoshi The Musical
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
Mera Naam Joker
Mission Kashmir
Mother India
Mr. India
Mughal E Azam
Muqaddar Ka Sikandar
Prem Rog
Purab Aur Paschim
Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak
Ram Aur Shyam
Roti Kapada Aur Makaan
Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam
Seeta Aur Geeta
Shatranj Ke Khiladi
Shree 420
Teen Deewarein
Teesri Manzil
Umrao Jaan

This list, for some reason has only 95 movies listed. Where are the rest 5 ? :-)
Abhi dhoondhte hain!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Just 3 Words

There are many things that you can do to strengthen your relationships. Often the most effective thing you can do involves saying just three words. When spoken sincerely, these statements often have the power to develop new friendships, deepen old ones and even bring healing to relationships that have soured. The following three-word phrases can be tools to help develop every relationship.

1. Let me help
Good friends see a need and then try to fill it. When they see a hurt they do what they can to heal it. Without being asked, they jump in and help out.

2. I understand you
People become closer and enjoy each other more when the other person accepts and understands them. Letting your spouse know - in so many little ways - that you understand them, is one of the most powerful tools for healing your relationship. And this can apply to any relationship.

3. I respect you
Respect is another way of showing love. Respect demonstrates that another person is a true equal. If you talk to your children as if they were adults you will strengthen the bonds and become closer friends. This
applies to all interpersonal relationships.

4. I miss you
Perhaps more marriages could be saved and strengthened if couples simply and sincerely said to each other "I miss you." This powerful affirmation tells partners they are wanted, needed, desired and loved. Consider how important you would feel, if you received an unexpected phone call from your spouse in the middle of your workday, just to say "I miss you."

5. Maybe you're right
This phrase is very effective in diffusing an argument. The implication when you say "maybe you're right" is the humility of admitting, "maybe I'm wrong". Let's face it. When you have an argument with someone, all you normally do is solidify the other person's point of view. They, or you, will not likely change their position and you run the risk of seriously damaging the relationship between you. Saying "maybe you're right" can open the door to explore the subject more. You may then have the opportunity to express your view in a way that is understandable to the other person.

6. Please forgive me
Many broken relationships could be restored and healed if people would admit their mistakes and ask for forgiveness. All of us are vulnerable to faults, foibles and failures. A man should never be ashamed to own up that he has been in the wrong, which is saying, in other words, that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.

7. I thank you
Gratitude is an exquisite form of courtesy. People who enjoy the companionship of good, close friends are those who don't take daily courtesies for granted. They are quick to thank their friends for their many expressions of kindness. On the other hand, people whose circle of friends is severely constricted often do not have the attitude of gratitude.

8. Count on me
A friend is one who walks in when others walk out. Loyalty is an essential ingredient for true friendship. It is the emotional glue that bonds people. Those that are rich in their relationships tend to be steady and true friends. When troubles come, a good friend is there indicating "you can count on me."

9. I'll be there
If you have ever had to call a friend in the middle of the night, to take a sick child to hospital, or when your car has broken down some miles from home, you will know how good it feels to hear the phrase "I'll be there." Being there for another person is the greatest gift we can give. When we are truly present for other people, important things happen to them and us. We are renewed in love and friendship. We are restored emotionally and spiritually. Being there is at the very core of civility.

10. Go for it
We are all unique individuals. Don't try to get your friends to conform to your ideals. Support them in pursuing their interests, no matter how far out they seem to you. God has given everyone dreams, dreams that are unique to that person only. Support and encourage your friends to follow their dreams. Tell them to "go for it."

B o n u s : 11. I love you
Perhaps the most important three words that you can say. Telling someone that you truly love them satisfies a person's deepest emotional needs. The need to belong, to feel appreciated and to be wanted. Your spouse, your children, your friends and you, all need to hear those three little words: "I love you." Love is a choice. You can love even when the feeling is gone.

Remember....................The Days

Receieved this recently!

Gone are the days!!!

When the school reopened in June,
And we settled in our new desks and benches!
When we queued up in book depot,
And got our new books and notes!

When we wanted two Sundays and no Mondays, yet
managed to line up daily for the morning prayers.
We learnt writing with slates and pencils, and
Progressed To fountain pens and ball pens and then Micro tips!

When we began drawing with crayons and evolved to
Color pencils and finally sketch pens!

When we started calculating first with tables and then with
Clarke's tables and advanced to Calculators and computers!

When we chased one another in the corridors in Intervals,
and returned to the classrooms drenched in sweat!

When we had lunch in classrooms, corridors, Playgrounds,
under the trees and even in cycle sheds!

When all the colors in the world,
Decorated the campus on the Second Saturdays!

When a single P.T. period in the week's Time Table,
Was awaited more eagerly than the monsoons!

When cricket was played with writing pads as bats,
And Neckties and socks rolled into balls!

When few played "kabadi" and "Kho-Kho"
in the scorching sun,
While others simply played "book cricket"
in the confines of the classroom!

Of fights but no conspiracies,
Of Competitions but seldom jealousy!

When we used to watch Live Cricket telecast,
In the opposite house in Intervals and Lunch breaks!

When few rushed at 3:45 to
"Conquer" window seats in our School bus!
While few others had "Big Fun", "peppermint",
"kulfi", " milk ice !" and "sharbat !" at 4o Clock!

Gone are the days
Of Sports Day,
and the annual School Day , orchestra
And the one-month long
preparations for them.

Gone are the days
Of the stressful Quarterly,
Half Yearly and Annual Exams, And the most
enjoyed holidays after them!

Gone are the days
Of tenth and twelfth standards, when
We Spent almost the whole year writing revision tests!
We learnt,
We enjoyed,
We played,
We won,
We lost,
We laughed,
We cried,
We fought,
We thought.
With so much fun in them, so many friends,
So much experience, all this and more!

Gone are the days
When we used
to talk for hours with our friends!
Now we don't have time to say a 'Hi'!

Gone are the days
When we played games on the road!
Now we look at the dirt on the road which can infect a wound

Gone are the days
When we saw stars
Shining at Night!
Now we see stars when our Treatment doesn't Work!

Gone are the days
When we sat to chat with Friends on grounds!
Now we chat in chat rooms.....!

Gone are the days
Where we studied just to pass!
Now we study to save our job!

Gone are the days
Where we had no money in our pockets and still fun filled on our hearts!!
Now we have the atm as well as credit card but with an empty heart!!

Gone are the days
Where we shouted on the road!
Now we don't shout even at home

Gone are the days
Where we got lectures from all!
Now we give lectures to all... like the one I'm doing now....!!

Gone are the days
But not the memories, which will be
Lingering in our hearts for ever and ever and
Ever and ever and ever .....

Gone are the Days....
But still there are lot more Days to come in our Life !!


Saturday, April 08, 2006

Friday, April 07, 2006


Shreshth, one of my students, has decided to chuck DMS@IIT-D in favour of a job at C-DOT, to take another shot at some of the better institutes.

He, Pranay Gupta, Manish Vidhani, Pawan and Akash Aggarwal take the crown of the most-counseled-students of this year. Last year this title was for Pawan, Rashi Goyal and Nitika Nagpal. I really enjoy talking to all students equally, so this list is not of any favourite students. Just that these souls have had more doubts than others :)

Counseling a student is a really tough job. A person's expectations are very difficult to manage, since sometimes he may have the incorrect notion that a counselor is a panacea for his troubles. On the other hand, the reality is that one can only listen to the problems and hope to guide the person on the right path. Finding the solution is the person's job, my job ends with showing the probable paths to the solution. It is his responsibility to ensure that he walks on those paths.

A counselor is in a dificult position, since many-a-times, he has the difficult responsibility to shoulder, that of being the student's only hope for a solution. It is not an enviable position to be in!

What I hate about counseling is the shopping-mentality some students have these days; with an I-paid-for-it-so-I-need-to-have-it attitude towards counseling. They will come with a strong chip in their shoulders, of being a know-all, of challenging one to find answers to their questions, giving the impression that they are in a great tearing hurry and they want to fill up their grocery bags before they leave the shop. They come with an almost bargaining attitude that really puts me off. I tend to feel irritated with these chaps. Earlier when I was faced with someone like these, I would try to soften the person; however with passage of time, I have become more brusque and tend to brush them off, instead of letting my irritation get the better of me.

Such are the joys of counseling!