2010 is over. I find myself older. I want to thank God for this year.
Friday, December 31, 2010
2010 is over. I find myself older. I want to thank God for this year.
Monday, December 20, 2010
Fun Facts courtesy: Wikipedia.com and carols.org.uk
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Sean Parker: You know what's cooler than a million dollars?
Eduardo Saverin: You?
Sean Parker: A billion dollars.
So where are things heading to? Facebook is coming up with a new unified messaging product (more). @facebook.com is going to be the newest entrant in the email industry. This clearly shows that facebook is now tilting towards a tried and tested internet product, Email. It has to leverage the 500 million user base, before they get really bored with it, and has to make itself an inevitable part of its user’s life ( which its current product doesn’t seem to do; at least not for me).
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Irony, my friend.
(Photo Courtsey: AFP and AP)
Friday, November 5, 2010
Commonwealth Games 2010
Asian Games 2010
Official Estimate – US$ 2.6 billion
Unofficial Speculation – US$ 6.8 billion
Official Estimate – US$ 17 billion
272 events in 21 categories
476 events in 42 categories ( Higher than Beijing Olympics which had 302 events in 28 categories)
No. of Countries
No. of Athletes
Main Stadium – Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium. In total 12 competition venues.
53 Competition Venues
Travelled 70 nations of the commonwealth and the whole of India.
Expected to travel 21 cities in Guangdong province and 2 cities off Guangdong province.
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(Government control over the local media prevents many exposures)
Thursday, November 4, 2010
This is the debut novel of Audrey Niffenegger. This has been adapted as a movie as well. The whole book uses a beautiful alternating first person narration. It’s a story about a couple Henry DeTamble and Clare Abshire. The major theme of the story runs around the chaos and romance caused by the genetic disorder which Henry suffers from, which makes him time travel.
Most of the part of the novel is set in the last 3 decades of 20th century. The major selling point of the novel is the non linear flow of events. The author had a daunting task of making the story make sense to the reader and she succeeded in it. The story also makes references to real life incidents like the 9/11 attacks. In all, it is a love story of a young girl and an adult man and also a love story of a young man and a young lady. The catch being that the male and female were the same in both.
Henry DeTamble suffers from a rare genetic disorder which takes him into an involuntary (sometimes voluntary) time travel. The disorder showed itself up for the first time when he met with an accident in which his mother died. After this he had been time travelling over the years to known and unknown places in known and unknown times. In one of his time travels he meets his future wife in her childhood time. One major roadblock in time travelling was that whenever he time travelled and reached a destination, he would always be naked. So when he met young Clare, he asked her to get clothes for him. She fascinated him so much that he visited her often.
After a brief lull of a couple of years, Clare meets younger Detamble in a natural chronological event. The story keeps on making switches from one time to the other and narration switches from Henry to Clare but the general flow of the story matches Clare’s life.
What follows this is a chaotic love affair between Henry and Clare, marred by complications like abortions, scandals etc.
The author has succeeded in blending two completely different genre, science fiction and romance, in a graceful manner. Her take on time travel actually makes the story devoid of paradoxes which plague time travel theories. Her use of multiple first person narration gives the story two strong characters to delve upon. The story is like two threads entangled all over each other; the chords representing the life of Clare and Henry. By the end of the story, the two threads get disentangled and everything starts making sense. The success of the story lies in its narration style. It is a compelling read.
The book lacks a definite storyline. Initial part of the story is interesting till the point where reader gets to understand the concept but after that the story lacks a definite sense of direction. The love story becomes over frustrating with repeated incidents of abortions and several other things.
My RATING : 3.5/5
To learn more about the rating, refer to this.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
(Chamber of Admissions Dean, BITS Pilani. )
Enter Prof. X, Prof. Y, Prof. Z, STUDENT
Prof. Y: Tell us someone whom you consider a role model.
STUDENT: (Nervous) Pardon?
Prof. X: Who is your role model?
STUDENT: Lalu Prasad Yadav.
(Thunder strikes in the distance. Curtains dance under the influence of wind gushing in through the windows. )
Prof. Z: What?
Prof. Y: What?
Prof. X: What?
(Student scratches his head. Bites his finger. Swallows the bile juice back. Hopes to get swallowed by the earth.)
It was one of those few moments when I could hear myself speak; when suddenly my mouth was no longer under my control. The interview was for selection of top 20 candidates for applying in the prestigious Aditya Birla Scholarship (the interview was conducted due to the ambiguity of status of ranking of board toppers in the application process). Here in front of me were some of the most reputed professors of the institute and I had to justify in the next few seconds as to why I considered Lalu as my role model. I took a deep breath and conjured an answer. I told them about seeing a documentary on Lalu which showed how he rose from being the son of a farmer to becoming the railway minister of India. This reply did keep them from probing me further; however I had stumped myself for sure. No offence Lalu, but you are not good enough to be my role model. That day marked the beginning of my silent leisurely quest on finding a role model.
Over the past few years nobody seemed to fill that spot. I had nightmares of being asked the same question again in some interview. However, over the past few days, I found my answer in the form of Dr. Manmohan Singh.
Till a little time back I used to consider him Sonia’s side-kick. A puppet Prime Minister. I had heard about his stint in the finance ministry in the early 90s however it never caught my attention much. However my recent penchant for knowledge, soul searching and random wikiing during my practice school semester made me stumble across the Wikipedia entry on economic crisis which India faced in the early 90s and the start of liberalization.
Just before Manmohan Singh took charge of country’s wallet, Republic of India was on the brink of bankruptcy. The fiscal deficit was as high as 12.7% of the GDP. Our foreign reserves were barely enough to pay for 3 weeks’ worth of imports. A timely intervention of IMF (in lieu of gold) saved our neck. In return for 67 tons(!!!!) of gold, we received a loan of $2.2 billion. The then government, led by Chandrashekhar, which took the loans and sold everything we had, lost its power in the center within few months. The elections took place in the month of May and June 1991 which was marred by the death of Rajiv Gandhi after the first round of polling. The congress won the elections and Narsimha Rao was brought back in the party from a near retirement. He became the Prime Minister of India amidst the death of Rajiv Gandhi and a crippled economy.
This was the point where Narsimha Rao took a brave decision of keeping the seat of finance minister out of the hand of any political big shot. He requested IG Patel, ex-governer of RBI and the then director of London School of Economics and Political Science to take over the finance ministry. But he declined. He chose Dr. Manmohan Singh as his next option. When he offered this post to Dr. Singh, he was surprised and confused at the same time. His colleagues tried convincing him that the prime minister is looking for a future scapegoat. In an interview he once said:
“I'd held all the top civil service jobs, but here was an opportunity to play a political role, and there was an odd chance that we would make a success of it, in which case I would have a footnote in India's history. If I fail, that's of no great consequence. And who fails if India wins?”
He took over as the finance minister of India on 21 June 1991. He had a task of a surgeon who had to treat a patient’s abdomen which had been messed up by a novice intern. However he took it up as a challenge and an excuse for change.
He initiated a shift in the economy from a Nehruvian Socialism to a Pro Capitalist philosophy. License Raj was given a pink slip. The government decided to gradually move out from businesses where it was unnecessarily existent. It paved way for a red tape free Foreign Direct Investment in many sectors. The impact of this was such that the FDI increased from US$132 million in 1991–92 to $5.3 billion in 1995–96. We made our markets open for the global game. Urbanization was put on a fast track. The unprecedented growth of tier 2 cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune etc was a side effect of this treatment.
He has been accused of not repeating the magic in his tenure as PM. This might be partially true. However the way in which he fought for the Nuclear Bill has proved once again that no matter how mild he might sound, here is one man, who likes to play rough.
The thing which makes him adorable is his humility. He neither has the haughty air of a premier of a country nor does he have a know-it-all attitude of a scholar. He is one person who excelled in what he did. Be it education, teaching or the government, he was a source of inspiration to all. Recently he was among the most powerful people of 2010 list of Forbes. He was also listed as “The Leader other leaders love” in their list of 10 respected world leaders by Newsweek.
I don’t consider myself his ardent fan. I might not agree to his political opinion. However, I admire him for his willingness to move out of his comfort zone and venturing into an unsafe zone (the political jungle). I am also fond of his serene smile.
So next time when someone asks me who my role model is, I would reply – Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of my country who took the energy problem of my country by its horn, a finance minister who took my country out of global shame, an economist who left the comfort of best universities of the world to come back to India to serve the Indian academia and then the government machinery, a student who studied under a lamp, lost his mother early in his life, bore the pains of relocation due to partition, walked kilometers for water and still had the audacity to pursue education at the centers of excellence and a man who is humble enough to still own a Maruti 800.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
There was this weekend few boring weekends ago when me and my friends decided to check out the motherland of CCD - Chickmaglur. The day was Friday and we all were looking forward to the trip. On a scale of 0 to 5 my enthusiasm for the trip was approaching 0 from the negative side and anvi went into the imaginary scale to repsect the maximum limit of the scale her enthu was at 5 + 1000i. The cab driver was expected to pick abhinav at around 0030 hours from the streets of BTM and was supposed to pick the rest of us by 0100 hours. However, I probably wouldnt have written this post if there wasn't a but (/bhat/butt) in the story. And it goes like this - "But, the driver never turned up". After waiting till 0300 hours on the chilling secluded street with an auto wallah to give him company, Abhinav hung his boots, switched off his cell phone and eventually fell off into deep slumber, leaving the rest of us in the wind tunnel road apartment to handle the 5 + 1000i worth of enthu turned into anger. After a walk outside and some justdial calling, we decided that we would head to ShivaSamudram the next morning.
We left for Shivasamudram at 0700 hours in the morning. The ride on the most part was beautiful. After having a breakfast somewhere on the way, we reached the first fall, gaganchukki by around 11 in the afternoon. Let me pause here to give a bit of info. Shivasamsudram falls is located in the blah blah blah. Did I mention how awesome our driver was. He had a camera phone, could drive the car at 40 kmh while talking on phone and stopped at every random place, encouraging us to take pictures. This guy did another good thing. He took us to the dargah entry of the fall. This was the place where a 25 year old software engineer died (as according to a caution board on the other entry where the losers who dont have such an awesome driver go).
Gaganchukki falls is apparently the second highest fall in the country. The moment you reach close to the water and stand next to the mighty fall, a sense of belittlement captures you. My jaws dropped when I stood on the spot from where it was almost a 50m fall. After keeping our legs in water (exactly like how we used to do when we were little girls) for a while, we left in search for food. Fish was the only thing that was available however the ambience killed the hunger. We unanimously agreed to survive on packaged food.
After this we left for Bharachukki falls and reached there at around 1430 hours. After climbing down a few steps (it looked like steps, wonder what its called), we witnessed this beautiful sight. There was a boat ride. 100 bucks for a boat. Even a communist hypocrite would have agreed to pay for that. The boatman took the coracle almost under the fall and we were drenched in the mist rising from the water to water impact. If this was not enough to raise our spirits, the boat guy started rotating our boat, the flimsy piece of hemispherical container, crossing the threshold angular velocity for awesomeness.
We then crossed a small stream of water to reach a spot where there were dozens of uncles, aunties, wannabies and monkeys dipping their skins in water .For me the best point of our trip was standing directly under the falling water. I opened my mouth to growl, only to be silenced by the serene thunder of the fall.
After spending sometime there we started our return at around 1600 hours. The return was uneventful, except for some bladder issues. We were famished, wet and sleepy. So much so that when we reached Gramin for dinner, I was eating and sleeping at bursts (much like the I/O burst - CPU burst alternation). Okay now I dont remember what happened next. I guess I came back and slept off.
Things to remember while on a trip to Shivasamudram:
- · Take a driver who loves Kishore Kumar.
- · Check your blood for alcohol before leaving. While standing on top of the gaganchukki falls, the mind plays "I'm six feet from the edge and I'm thinking..." more than once.
- · Fish is the staple food of people of Shivasamudram. If you belong to McAloo Tiki generation then get your lunch prepared. There is a Barista outlet and a CCD outlet on the way.
- · Don't go on a rainy day. You don’t want to stand and watch the falls from far.
- · Take some lessons on Defense against Monkey violence ( I hear Arindham Chaudhari is coming up with a book for the same, to be added in IIPM's curriculum). Monkeys are fond of Haldiram's, even more than you.
- · Wear a pair of shorts. I am still not able to get my dirty jeans clean.