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Showing posts from 2010

Hindi Serials and Ads

The 30 min long serials that we see these days on TV, still manage many breaks in between. No wonder the story hardly moves forward. Spruce that up with some good, some bad, some pointless revenge, some multimillionare families and you can easily build a serial that lasts not just months but years. and if you can't figure out what to do, take a 20 year leap and leave everything behind.. the part that gave the serial its name as well

Anyway, this isn't to disect the serials. There is a new serial these days based on the english movies series - Twilight. The serial is called "Pyar Ki Ye Ek Kahani" and comes on Star One. This has a very peculiar tune when it has a break and for reason we keep hearing this tune very often. Seems like as if there are 4-5 breaks that happen in that 30 min time slot.

So we were watching this the other evening and I complained about these so many breaks. To this my daughter immediately retorted - 'They probably shoot the next sequence in …

New Age Customer Service

Indian market hasn't been a very strong customer focused market is something that we all know. Customer is God or never say no, aren't things that work here. It is the provider who usually has the last word.

More and more home service is something that we as consumers also seem to like. However that incident the other day made me realize that it isn't really in our best interest.

Some Sanjay/Sandeep from ICICI Direct called me the other day and wanted to set up some time to meet me. I said no. He persisted. I said that he must be having some new product to sell and I had no interest. He said, he will not sell anything, and we can just sit and chat and that I can treat him for a cup of tea !!

Now that's an intersting customer service. I host him at my home, treat him for a cup of tea and invest in something that I have no real desier, but he wants me to. Wow !! this is amazing

Flavors Executive Lunch Buffet

Flavors is a hotel close to my place and it used to have a executive lunch buffet for Rs 199. Recently they updates the cost to Rs 250. The other day we decided to try it out and in short it isn't worth the price.

The buffet included

1 veg 1 non veg soup
1 veg 1 non veg starter
3-4 salads
2 veg dishes and 1 non veg dish
dal, rice, noodles, roti and
2 items in desert

Fairly good number of items, but it was the service and the taste that killed it. The non veg dish seemed like as if cooked in tomato sauce gravy. The veg/non veg starters were very slow to refill. When we started with the soup, one of the salads had got over. 10-15 min later when I finished the soup and went to check again, the salad still hadn't been refilled.

Same issue with roties and hence we decided to start with noodles, which were a bit on spicy side.

The sweet included an ice-cream and moong dal halwa. The halwa, for a change, wasn't over cooked, as happens in most cases, but it could be easily be confused w…

Italian Kitchen

This one dates back about 9 years. It won't sound that funny now, but it sure was a real funny incident then.

I was newly married and we used to go out often for dinners. Bangalore had loads of hotels and hence we were never short of trying out new places. One evening we noticed a new place by the name "veneta cucine, the italian kitchen". It sounded very interesting we hadn't ever tried italian cuisine. We were a bit surprised by the spelling of "cucine", but thought it was probably an italian word for cuisine.

So one evening we decided to try it out and landed at this place at around 8 pm. The placed looked like it was closed and we were surprised. Anyway, there was a person inside, so we walked to it to ask him and he said - "we close at 7.30 pm, but you can still see our kitchen".

I and wife looked at each other and wondered how can be a hotel close to early and why is he offering us to see their kitchen????

As we walked in, we realized it was …

Refactoring with Visual Studio 2010

Packt Publishers recently published this book.

This book gives examples on what typically goes wrong when wrinting code and how refactoring tools in Visual Studio help follow design patterns and refector code to be aligned with them. It also covers details about which patterns can't be directly refactored by Visual Studio and require manual effort.

And the important point is that I was one of the reviewers of this book :-)

Nothing can beat this

There is no shortage of funny incidents in our lives, but i feel nothing beats this one.

We had once gone to a local exhibition. My kid typically in such journeys, takes one of her many baby dolls along and plays on the way. This occasion was no different and she was having a baby boy doll.

There is no doubt that the dolls these days are very realistic, but we realized that day just how realistic these can be.

As we got down at the exhibition, I told kid that she needs to leave the doll behind. She agreed and we left it at the back seat, got out of the car and locked it and started to walk away.

Just then the parking attendant came running our way and shouted - "Sir, you left your baby behind!!"

:-) :-)

Model code of conduct - 2

I earlier wrote about model code of conduct. There is another incident that I can remember.

My daughter has a bit of health issue and falls sick frequently. With age, this has reduced though. However it isn't just illness, but small injuries also and she will all cranky and "there is too much pain" and "I can't tolerate" and all that. We keep trying to tell her to be mentally strong. Where there is will, there is a way, is what we try to keep telling her.

I played cricket at the office on a weekend with friends with the entire cricket gear. I would have played cricket after about 20 years and in general played anything after months. No surprise that after the couple of hours of fielding and batting (short innings :-)), my muscles all rebelled and the next morning, there was hardly any body part that I could move without significant effort and feeling lot of pain.

I was hence lying on the bed and had great difficulty in getting up or moving around or.. just a…

It is pouring!!

The day our local municipal corporation announced alternate day water cut, as the water level in the various dams was precariously low, it hasn't stopped raining.

It is indeed interesting how our Met department isn't able to give some real good insight into when it will rain, when it will not, where it will rain, where it will not. But the good part is that they are consistently inconsistent. At least that way you know that you need to do the opposite of what they usually tell. Life can become real difficult if they are correct sometimes and not sometimes.

The weather pattern has shifted by about 2 months, is something that we have all observed. The summer arrives a bit late, the winter arrives a bit late so why won't the rains arrive a bit late, but we were still looking at 10 June as the arrival of monsoon in pune.

Anyway the good part is that the rains seem to have finally arrived, the water level in dams is increasing and overall this is a good sign. The only challenge…

Homework

Getting my kid to sit and work with concentration is a tough nut to crack. The only thing that she does without getting distracted is watching TV :-)

When it comes to homework it is even more difficult. She will remember all the interesting episodes of school, previous evening play time incidents, what other subject work is pending than she is doing, etc. etc. It is very common that while working on question B, she will want to get question A checked and all that.

Added to that is the fact that she is in class 4 and the syllabus is getting tough by the day. So many new concepts, facts, figures and hence we can well understand that she finds it difficult to manage the homework on her own. So either I or wife has to spend lot of time with her to get things done.

Weekend mornings are usually spent in playing or watching TV. But today (saturday) we had plans to go out for some shopping and hence got her to sit and finish her homework. As wife was busy with morning routine, I ended up helpi…

Model code of conduct

Earlier I had written about how we try to teach good habits to our kids. I call that model code of conduct :-). However, we all know that things don't always work out as expected and sometimes we are put in a spot by our own code.

This one is recent. One model code of conduct that we follow with my daughter is that she should return to home before 8 pm. She is allowed to play downstairs with friends, but by 8 pm she should be back at home. A few min here or there is fine. Sometimes, we allow friends to come and play at home past 8, but usually that is the boundary. If it really extends then she has to listen to the lecture again.

Recently, a colleauge of mine had come down from USA and we (the team) went out for dinner. Needless to say that it got delayed and I got home almost by 11 pm. Wife told me the next morning that our kid was questioning as to why the code of conduct isn't applicable to me. She was asking "When papa comes late, why isn't he answerable to us? Wh…

Duronto

Late last month I was away on my yearly vacation to Ghaziabad (north of India) and this time we decided to go via the new Duronto train. It was really a great journey, given that this train takes much less time, is non-stop and has great service. They did feed us with paneer in all meals, which was a bit too much, but over all a good experience.

For a change, at the start of the journey, the taxi came more than an hour earlier. We reached the railway station well within time, but some unpleasant situation, caused a bit of anxiety and we managed to finally board the train and get to our seats with only 10 mins to spare.

The power situation is really bad in Ghaziabad and neighboring cities. Overall it seemed like the cuts last for almost 10+ hrs a day. It is hence no wonder that almost everyone has an inverter and a generator. One of the days was so bad, that the inverter got completely discharged and even the generator ran out of diesel. Given the high temperatures, this further aggrav…

Travelogue: Mahabaleshwar

Staying in Pune and not seen Mahabaleshwar is a no no!! But somehow this just wasn't happening for us. Last time we went there, we had return the next day as the weather turned bad (lot of rains and cold winds) and also my daughter fell very ill. We were left with no choice but to cut short the trip and return.

After various attempts since then we finally managed to make it this last weekend. Interestingly as we landed there and sat in the hotel garden enjoying the evening cup of tea, we say lots of black clouds gathering above and soon it started to drizzle a bit and there were strong winds. Me and wife looked at each other, thinking the same thoughts - "Oh no! Not again!"

Fortunately the weather subsided the next morning and we had a great day. Did the trip to various points in old Mahabaleshwar and boating in Venna Lake and swimming in hotel's pool. Overall it was a really great day.

One interesting thing about one of the points is that the guide took us to poi…

Where are my teachers?

The other day, we were watching "Jab we met" at home. Not that we hadn't watched it earlier, but just that for lack of anything else to do, we all sat and watched it. Towards the later half, Shahid Kapoor goes back to Manali in search of Kareen Kapoor and after finding her, insists that she leave with him right away.

At this scene, my wife commented, "How can she just run away like that? She is a teacher in the school. Doesn't she have to inform anyone there?". To this my kid added a rejoinder - "Mummy, our teachers at CIS also run away like that!" :-)

It so happens, that many teachers have suddenly left CIS in past and no wonder my kid feels that way :-). BTW my kid no longer studies at CIS.

Do you believe in Stars?

A few weeks back some of us from office were on the way to Mumbai to attend a day long summit organized by Microsoft on their latest cloud offerings. Since we had left early in the morning, we took our customary stop at Lonavala for a quick bite. A colleague bought a newspaper and immediately skipped to the section on day's future.

We all asked if she really believed in stars/future and she said that she didn't, but what's the harm in checking out and if she could prevent something from happening, why not? We had a bit of back and forth on could or could you not prevent something from happening, if you really knew it would happen. Anyway her future for the day said something like be careful of where you tread and don't wear coloured glasses. I guess it meant something like don't see the world from coloured glasses.

Anyway, post the summit, we walked towards the sea shore. It was like our mannat come true, that we were next to Mannat (yes, that's SRK's home)…

Working Hours

These days many companies have policy for working hours of some sorts. These could be on a per day basis or per week or per month. We have a policy at my office as well and sometimes that can cause funny incidents.

The other day my daughter was talking about something and the discussion ended up with her marriage, as always. If you have seen "Jab We Met", then my daughter is pretty much like Kareena, who would say - "Mujhe bachpan se hi shadi karne ka bahut shauk tha".

So anyway, my daughter commented that Papa (i.e. I) is so particular of completing his working hours that even on my day of marriage he will first go to office to complete his working hours and only then join for the marriage :-)

Newspaper

In this era of connected world, internet, online websites, emails, sms, social networking etc etc, news can be accessed from almost anywhere. However the physical newspaper still has attraction, possibly because that experience of holding the paper in hand and skimming through the pages is still very engaging.

I have seen people desperate on getting their hands on the newspaper, so much so that their day doesn't really start till they get it. I recall, in hostel, my brother and another friend of his used to have a run for the paper, though it was more because whoever would get it will finish solving the crossword for the day.

The best example of desperation, however I saw the other day. There was this person riding his bike at fairly good speed and reading the paper while driving, and unlike those who have talk on mobile when they drive and have at least one hand on the handle, this person was holding the paper with both hands. I hope he was able to read all the news before he hims…

Prestige Cooker

Many years back there was an ad about prestige cooker. A couple enters a shop and asks for cooker. The shopkeepers asks the husband how much he loves his wife and they are taken aback. Eventually the idea was that "jo biwi se sachmuch karte pyaar, woh prestige se kaise kare inkaar" (those who really love their wife will never say no to prestige".

So, I was at this friend's house for lunch and he was into his initial months of marriage. While eating, this ad was playing on the TV and as it finished, he retorted "let's buy Hawkins!". Hawkins by the way is a rival brand to prestige cookers.

This was said while his wife also sat there. Need I say more?? :-)

What is the value of life?

The other day while driving I noticed a person on the wrong side of the road and causing traffic disruption due to this. This is a sight pretty common these days and makes me wonder, why do people do that? Driving on wrong side of road or zipping past in full speed, is surely not safe and so don't they value their life?

In this specific incident, there is road construction work happening outside a society. People coming out of it could usually cross the road from the road divider right outside and go on. But due to this work, they now need to drive about half a km extra, take a U turn and then come back. So net is about 1 km extra. This person, in order to avoid this, went in the direction opposite to the traffic as the road divider there was much closer.

So is the life really worth just that 1 km that the person saved? Or given a 10km/l average, and Rs 48/l petrol cost, that's just about Rs 5 saving. Is that the value of life? Or is it roughly the 5 min (depending on the traf…

Happy Holi!

Yes, it is that time of the year, when you find people all around you really colorful. But in recent times, it hasn't really been happy holi, but more to run away from. The colors that people use these days and in the extended celebration, people getting violent... all this spoils the festival spirit.

I recall a few incidents from my hostel life about holi. The first year in the hostel and I got caught right outside my room and there was gulaal, there was bucket full of water and there was even a hose pipe with running water supply. I probably hadn't got so much my entire life as much as I got wet that day.

Our hostel had a fountain right at its entrance. So the next year, I went and sat in it before anyone could get me wet and somehow that killed everyone’s spirits and I was spared. It was like the fun part of forcing something on someone was suddenly taken away. Similar policy we had applied many times at our dinner tables to protect the sweet from prying hands. If you wante…

Is it wrong to have expectations?

The other day a close friend asked me this. The technical architect in me immediately wanted to blurt out “There is no silver bullet”, but had I said this, I am sure this would have caused a GP fault and similar to NT blue screen, I would have ended up with a blue eye. So instead I donned my philosopher’s hat and tried to put forth some points on this.

Expectations are probably like sweets. You like to have lot of them, but the more you have, the chances of your health suffering are higher. The lesser you have, the better it is for you. What I am trying to say is having some expectations is probably fine, but when it starts to cause you sleepless nights, it is best to start to ignore them and try to move on.

Just like fundamental rights and responsibilities go hand in hand, typically love and expectations also go hand in hand. When you love someone or a lighter version of that, when you like someone, there are expectations that start to grow in your mind. But then is that really likin…

Valentine's day

I was reading this blog of Shalini and could not help go back in my own memory.

Valentine's day isn't something that I ever really liked to celebrate. Main reason being I could not really understand why would I need a specific day to go to someone and say I like you or I love you or whatever they say on that day :-).

Anyway, things change after marriage, so after mine, I decided to gift something to my wife on our first valentine's day. My memory fails me of what exactly I got (my wife can surely tell even now :-)), but I did get a greeting card. During the day a friend came home and the card happened to be lying around and he picked it up and read it and then asked me - "hey, you never celebrated valentine's day before".

And I said "yeah, so did you expect me to celebrate it with you earlier?"

Socially acceptable again !

Never before has any film caused so much of peer pressure, not even the phenomenally successful Avatar. But if you hadn't watched "3 idiots", people looked at you as if you were the 4th idiot.

So finally, we have done it. This last weekend, we managed to watch it and we are back into our social circle and can move around with our heads held high. Watching it, made us realize why everyone was so upbeat about it and what we had been missing.

Finally, we can also say now "Bhaia, aaall is well". phew!!

What do you want to be when you grow up?

During the growing age everyone has changing desires on what they want to be when they grow up. The standard list includes things like teacher, doctor, actor etc. My kid also has had her share of these.

The other day however she said something so very unique that we sat up to take notice and realized how much we are engrossed our busy work life that we sometimes end up neglecting spending time with family. The question isn't really time at home, but what we all usually talk about - quality time at home.

I have been given a blackberry from office, with the obvious intention that I am reachable all the time both on call and on mail. Usually I try to avoid checking mails regularly at home on weekends, but there are occasions when I do this very often and when am doing this, I switch off from everyone around me. My kid obviously felt disconnected and hence said that when she grows up she wants to be a mobile. This way she can be closer to me for longer and also I would pay attention t…

Truth hurts

Like I talked about sharing earlier, teaching kids to talk truth and nothing but the truth is also important aspect of their growth.

But then, things can go wrong at funny places. The other day, a weekend, I had a function at office in which families were invited. This was fixed for many weeks. My kid's school, a true believer in Murphy, informed the kids on a day before that there will be parent teacher's meeting on this particular day.

Normally we don't miss any of these, but it also so happened that my wife had had an elaborate discussion (almost like a verbal duel) with almost all teachers at the school a week prior to this. To top it, this meeting was scheduled at 7.45 am on a weekend. Getting up early is part of our life daily, but we want to keep our weekends relaxed and this function at office was about at 11 am. Given all facts so far, we had decided to skip this meeting and go only to the office function.

All is well that ends well. However the next working day a…

Styles of Teaching

They say that just by knowing it all you cannot be a good teacher. Teaching requires specific skill set and good teachers are those who constantly innovate and keep modernizing their styles.

There are two styles in particular at my kid's school that I find particularly amusing.

1. Who says you should only teach in English? You could teach in Hindi, Sanskrit etc, but obviously if you are teaching languages. Surprisingly, however an English teacher for my kid, teaches in Marathi :-)

2. All unit tests for my kid actually start with oral exam and then later written papers. Oral exam, I guess is to figure out speaking abilities, body language, expression etc for the students, which is good. But they have at least one oral exam which is actually a written test :-). The teacher reads out the questions and the students all write answers and give the paper to her. What a novel way to take oral exam!!!!

Paranormal Activity

Watched this film this weekend and my personal experience has been so so. Didn't find it as chilling as general comments out there seem to suggest. Maybe watching it at home didn't had the theatrical effects and also with my kid walking by every now and then, we kept the audio to low and possibly lost on some screams in the movie.

Also found some confusion about 2007 or 2009 release, but it seems the movie is the same. It was made in 2007 but got a world wide release only towards late 2009 and has been filmed with multiple different endings.

The film has a style of having shot from home video camera and that possibly scared some, but I found that to actually play against the movie. To me it seemed like some home video prank and hence I wasn't ever really engrossed in the movie. Also the shaking and lack of steady audio level, probably put me off.

All said and done, it is definitely worth watching once.

Mhow, the Bard!

This one dates back many years...

I and few friends were out having dinner. Along with us was Mhow, our friend with great talent towards singing and guitaring. As we were enjoying the dinner, a person walks towards us and addresses Mhow

Person: "Hi, Mhow the bard !"
Mhow: "Hi!"
Person: "How are you doing?"
Mhow: "Am good. How about you?"
Person: "Am good. How are things?"
Mhow: "Good. You tell me?"
Person: "All is well... blah blah.."
Mhow: "blah.. blah.."

This cross talk went on for some more time, and the person and Mhow behaved as if they were long lost friends. Me and others on the table were silent observers with a mild smile on our face. Finally the conversation came to an end

Person: "Bye Mhow. See you again soon"
Mhow: "Bye, take care"

At this time Mhow turns to me and says "Who was he?"

Bricklayer's Accident Report

As i was digging into my mail archives, I happened upon this truely amazing accident report dated almost a decade back. I feel sad for the bricklayer, but am sure you also won't be able to stop laughing as you read this :-).

Share or not to share!

This is one question that keeps nagging parents. Do I teach me kid to share or not to share? Obviously, sharing is good, but there are equally obvious situations when you can't share, like during exams.

The other day my kid came back from her school and quizzed us this aspect. The situation she encountered was something like this:

She had her unit tests going on and having finished her test paper, she handed it over to the teacher. The teacher had said that the students who had done their papers, could do what ever they liked without disturbing. Knowing very well that post the school, she will have an oral exam from her mother about the paper, she decided to pen down some of the answers in her rough copy.

Another student thought to make better of this and tried to steal some glances from what she was writing and being the good student that she was, she gave him a stern look and covered her copy. The teacher noticed some activity and came over to check out. My kid explained the matt…

Hello World !

These are probably the most abused two words, at least in the software industry. It is like a binding legal rule, that any new language/technology you learn, you have to write a program that displays "Hello World!" when run. Needless to say that with my so many years in this industry, i can't but help use the same two words, so ingrained in me now, to put as title of my first blog here. I have also seen a few people with an extra dose of imagination using another set of two words - "goodbye world" and I hope to use them only when i run into a roadblock and am not able to figure out what to write about next.

Anyway, the purpose of this is to just announce myself and i will soon start sharing some interesting anecdotes from my life. So hang on there !!