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Moonstone: The Incredible One Hour

This is the title of my first non-fiction humor book that is just about to be released to the market. A short snippet of the book, that you will find on the back cover also is “Performing Arts Festival (PAF) is an inter hostel competition at IIT Powai, where a pair of hostels present an hour long skit. The paired hostels completely own the performance, right from script writing, to dramatization, sets, sound, lights, music, and publicity to attract people to come and watch the show. This story, a laughter riot, is about the PAF presented by H6 and H9 in 1991. With an amazing story line, some never before seen incredible special effects, amazing light and sound effects, great actors, musicians, and dancers, in short with an abundance of talent, Moonstone was headed for a definite victory. Did they succeed?
You can pre-order a copy from here. It has taken substantial effort over multiple years (there were unavoidable gaps in between) to get this book done, but I am proud to say that the…

Is Justice Done

December 16, 2012 to September 13, 2013, was the time when the country waited with baited breath for the fast track court to give its verdict in what was one of the most brutal of rapes reported in the country. I say reported, because I have no doubt that similar or more heinous crimes happen that go unreported. I had earlier shared my views on this hereand now once the verdict is done, I have some more thoughts.

In a country where its Prime Minister gets murdered in cold blood (31 October 1984) and it takes 5 years for the verdict and where terrorist like Ajmal Kasab openly holds fire (26 November 2008) and kills hundreds of fellow citizens and it takes 4 years for verdict, this was definitely fast track especially when it involved a common person off the street. Given that it was closed within 9 months, the time it takes for a new life to be born... Should we treat this as symbolic that new justice system has been born and that things will be speedy like this in future?
The parents …

Getting my Passport reissued

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It was time to renew my passport and I was feeling scared. I have read many articles in the paper about how people aren’t getting appointments at the Passport Seva Kendra (PSKs) and that those who got, many a times had to come back due to some document issue or the other. Here’s sharing my experience so far

To start with I decided to first understand the process of how to apply for renewal of passport. So I visited the passport website and noticed that they recommend e-filing option. The details of this process are here and I just went about following this. The first step was to download and fill the e-Form, which is a PDF file, so you would need Adobe on your machine for this purpose. After filling the form and validating and generating the XML, the next step was to register online and upload the form, which is done here. Till Step 5 was easy and now came the dreaded scheduling of appointment and yes, I faced the issue of getting the appointment. For Pune the appointment slot opens a…

Travelogue; Relaxing weekend at Radisson Blu, Alibaug

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This was our second trip to Alibaug and unlike the earlier one, was intended to be a pure relaxation weekend. One of the best places to stay there is Radisson Blu and this is where I got the booking, with a great deal which had all meals inclusive. It worked best for us since our intention was to get away from routine work and have weekend where we will just relax and eat and sleep. The last few months had been busy (trip to our native and then home renovation work) and hence the interest of a work free weekend and also enjoy a weekend before kid's school would reopen.
We spent the weekend of 7th June 2013 there. The monsoon arrived a few days earlier, so this weekend ended up with a rainy spell, but it did mean that we had a lovely drive to Alibaug and nice stay at the hotel.
We had left from home around 1 pm and drove down in our Mahindra XUV. Since the time I had bought XUV, this was first time I got to take it on the Pune Mumbai expressway and it sure was a pleasure. I did mana…

Then and Now

When my 11 years old daughter was doing her English letter writing homework, I got to explaining to her that we used to write inland letters (recall those 35 paise blue papers, which later became 50 paise and were probably around 75 paise or Rs 1 when I eventually stopped using them) and that it used to typically take 3-4 days for it to reach its destination. The receiving person may or may not reply immediately, so it was easily at least 10-15 days or even a month before we would get to hear from the other side. She asked innocently “Papa, why didn’t you just send them an email or if it was urgent why not just call them on their mobile phone?” It is difficult for my daughter to imagine a life without these technologies and devices and I could not help but smile. It also took me back many many years and comparisons with our lives today just started to happen. In comparison to today, those days seem so simple and relaxed. I capture here a few of those thoughts. Inland letters for longer…

My experience with Reliance Call Center

Date 14th May. Time 7.45 pm. My reliance broadband connection stopped working suddenly. This had happened multiple times in the last few days, so finally I decided to call the Reliance Help desk. I dialed their helpline number and went through the painfully long IVR messages. IVR: Welcome to Reliance Broadnet Internet services. To continue in English… blah… blah…

I picked the English option.

IVR: Please dial your subscriber ID or blah… blah… and press # I did

IVR: In case of issues with your broadband connection press 1 I did

IVR: In case you’re broadband connection is not working press 1 What? I just pressed 1 already for it. But it is an IVR system. Cannot argue. So I pressed 1 again.

IVR: All our customer service representatives are busy attending other calls. Someone will attend to you shortly. Note that you may be serviced in Hindi also. Hindi? Why? Why did you ask for my language of preference then? Anyway, I wait for maybe about 30-40 seconds with the music and message.

Agent: Hi I a…

Where do I stay?

Bachelors not allowed Is a sign that greets you at the entry of many societies in Pune, especially in areas like Aundh, Pimple Saudagar etc. that are closer to the IT Hub in the city – Hinjewadi. Isn’t this like stereotyping an entire set of people? And I used to believe that stereotyping isn’t a good idea. One must not have a prejudice against anyone and must allow the other person to prove himself/herself.
If not here, then Where do I stay? It is unfortunate that some of our bachelor friends are forced to ask this question every now and then.
The various industries (mostly IT) in Hinjewadi area today employ upwards of 1 lac people. This is the floating population that comes in to work daily and returns home in the evening. They do create traffic problems, but this isn’t about the traffic issues. It would be safe to assume that about 30% of this population are bachelors (given the average age of the IT organizations) and many of them have come from out station to create a livelihood …

We are the Best

This is something that I have observed in many of the conversations around me that gives a sense that of the three generations including our parents, ourselves and our kids, we are the best.

While talking about our childhood and how our parents managed us, the usual statements that I hear are – We were good kids. We would listen. Our parents didn’t have much trouble due to us. If they told us no once, we would not ask again. We understood the importance of studies.
And when talking in reference of our current parenthood and our kids, it is – Today’s kids are jet age kids. They are so very fast and very aggressive. It is very difficult to manage them. We keep telling them, but they just won’t listen. We faced such a challenge in bringing them up. Our kids are nothing like us, we were so well mannered.
You feel the same?

What's in a Name?

The other day while washing utensils at home, wife asked me to use Pril. Yes, I do help wash sometimes, especially when it is about our special expensive utensils. Can’t let these to be handled by the maid. Anyway, but to washing and Pril. I reminded her that we didn’t bring Pril this time as there was a scheme at Big Bazar and we had instead picked up Vim liquid soap instead. We did realize that Vim liquid wasn’t as effective as Pril liquid soap was. We got talking about how some of these schemes are on items that aren’t that effective in use and wife stated, “Yes, like that Clean Mate Harpic. That isn’t also very effective and doesn’t clean well”.
In a moment we realized what she said and we both had a good laugh. But this made me realize that there certain products/company names that have become the words of daily usage and replaced their functional names itself like Harpic gets used more than toilet cleaner. Few more that come to mind are
Xerox Dettol, though with Savlon also around…

Travelogue: Ganapati and Sai baba Darshan @ Shirgaon

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Every time I was on the Pune Mumbai Expressway, I would notice the huge Ganesha Idol and make a point in mind to visit it, but such points don’t always convert to reality easily. Finally last weekend, for lack of anything else to do and after a failed attempt to find ourselves a place to stay at any hotel/resort for a night, we decided to revisit open points in our todo list and picked the Ganesh temple.

It is a short drive from my home, given that I am close to Hinjewadi, Pune, so I was quickly only to the express way by-pass and the passed the expressway and went on ahead to join old Pune Mumbai highway (NH4). The idol pretty big and hence there is no way you can miss it, but even then you need not worry till you hit the toll plaza near Shirgaon. You need to cross the toll plaza. I wonder if that was intentional to have made the toll plaza just before Shirgaon? Anyway a return toll is for Rs. 39 and having paid this we crossed the toll plaza and took the immediate left. The road her…