30 December, 2006

Happy Birthday to You

Today is someone special's birthday and I am using this medium to record it for a bit longer. I hope this year brings all the joys and happiness you have been waiting for and that you find contentment! And the sunny skies above - also for you..

I started reading the Catch again... the Catch, in my world, is Catch-22. For some unknown reason, I have lost count of the number of times I have read this book. I sometimes worry about why I like this book. the main character - he cannot be called the 'hero', because he is far from 'heroic' - John Yossarian is quite cool, slightly mad and subversive, very very rational and full of nonsense. I am not sure if the fact that I like this person, worse, identify with him is a good thing. He thinks a lot, he does not want to die a meaningless death, he could not care less abot his country or the war.. he does stand up for his friends and helps people and falls in love (or only lust?) but he is also egotistical* and impatient.

The book itself does not lend itself very well to chronological ordering. Each chapter is about a person and spans any length of time. Overall the story is about 2 years long and is told with 42 characters (chapters). In fact, the flow of time is stretched in numerous sentences itself, when the sentence starts in the present, and jumps into the past and then stays there for the rest of the chapter!

I read this about the Catch somewhere and it makes sense - You will either love it or hate it.

* thanks Shahid!

16 December, 2006

The Maths of loneliness

1. On an average, how many times do you reminisce about past events in a day?

a. Less than once a day
b. Once to twice a day
c. Very often
d. Almost all the time

I just got back from a short holiday with my friends. All through the trip, there were inane number of things which kept reminding me of things in my past....
Got me thinking about whether things were reminding me of stuff or that stuff was always there in the back of my head and things happening now just attached themselves to something or the other in the past.

18 October, 2006

Saurabh's blog

With a name like Saurabh, searching in Google has always been a not very exciting experience. The earliest I show up with is rank #41 with "saurabh kumar". Apologies for the blatant ego-surfing, but this is a way to experiment to see how various terms do on search engines, which by the way, is a semi-professional, semi-personal interest of mine.

Anyway, the website got a page rank sometime last week :)


23 September, 2006

Top five songs

I recently read this on a blog, when you can't think of anything, make a list.

Also, since I have lost a lot of my music a few times and have not been listening to much music for long having recently heard rumours that my Ipod also has been stolen (it was a gift, those were the days :( ), there might be old favourites which are missed out, or recent upstarts which get included in this esteemed list, but please forgive such oversights.

In no particular order, here goes:

Kashmir by Led Zeppelin

This post has taken me the longest time to write because of the decision involved:
- which song of Led Zep to take?
- Do I mention songs like Rabbi below on the same page and list as songs like Kashmir. Will such songs stay with me for as long as Led Zep has?
- Which Led Zep song to take?

In some ways, Led Zep could make up quite a few top 5 lists of mine and figure in a few more. Sometimes they dont make sense, sometimes there are just plain mad, but overall, I do not think too many people came close to the sound and the impact which they managed to generate.

Time by Pink Floyd
and then one day you find,
ten years have gotten behind you
No one told you when to run
You missed the starting gun

And you run, you run to catch up with the sun,
but it's sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death

Again, Floyd with its lyrics and the sound and the willingness to invest in long lingering melodies, which are more like a story makes me wonder about why I like music which is so different from each other...
Well for one, I like the meaning of the song much more than how it sounds. Actually, that is wrong. for me, All of is has to fall in place.
(Like the way Joe Cocker sings the Beatle cover - "With a little help from my friends". Now that is the way the song had to be sung. So what is the Beatles sang it before him). This way, I can explain the long musical jump I am going to take...

Kishore Kumar Songs
- Pal Pal Dil ke Paas
- Aana wala Pal
- Tere bina Zindagi se koi
- Honton se choolon tum

and so many more. Each song is a unique mix of hope, joy, sadness, longing - I wish I could write like this, or sing like this, or atleast knew about all such songs, some of the songs I am referring to and even some of the songs in this short list above might not even have been sung by him... even so, I am referring to this genre of Hindi film music - not too many instruments, a quick buildup, a song which said something and meant something and made you feel a bit (So soppy I sound, apologies)

Tere bin by Rabbi Shergill
I heard this song thanks to another song by him named "Bulla ki Jaana". BKJ in itself is a really nice song. It told me that some of the things I feel about myself are more common than I thought. That someone in the 16th century was also feeling a bit lost! Anyway, songs, like most other things in life, have a time and a place. BKJ did, and now it is Tere bin. The special thing about this song is the acceptance of love lost and the regret. At a deeper level, it also shows how in retrospect, regret can have all the detail and richness of the present. The words are quite simple (once you get your hands on the punjabi to hindi/english translation).

Mann ki Lagan (Paap)
Lingering melodies day it seems to be today. However, again, one's likes and dislikes are like a mirror to ones' heart I guess. Well, I have not watched the movie or seen the video - but the song just makes me stop whatever I am doing. I think the singer is Nusrat, actually I know the singer is Nusrat and his voice lends the right amount of longing to the words. It is again, quite a clear and simple song, made special by the words, the singer and the music.

Phew!!! well making this list definitely was tougher than I had anticipated...
Which songs to pick, which not to. Such decisions.. let me just go back to spending money for my employer!

08 September, 2006

To do or not to do....

I asked a friend of mine if she was as crazy and funny as she used to be, or if things were a bit more normal now. This is what she replied with -

"If I could have my way I wd be stuck for ever at the age of 24-25...with infinite possibilities and finite responsibilities..."

and now that I am trying to continue on this article, I have completely forgotten what I planned to do with it.

I found another Saurabh Kumar today. Looks to me like me, but I can not seem to remember him or when I did this.

uhmm... interesting...

Happy birthday Mrs. Shah! Hope you have a good one.

03 September, 2006

Munnabhai part deux

Short review - without the plot spoiler - Nice movie, which tugged a bit at the heart and more on the brain than usual (more on that below) - This time our hero, who is beginning to look old, falls in love with a twenty-something radio host and as usual, lies to get into her good books. After a lot of help from Circuit, his sidekick, and an apparition of his brain, is able to get the girl, sort out a few issues and also leave the audience wanting more as well as showing the way of living our lives in a better way. No, no - I am not being cynical here, the movie seemed exactly that to me.

The set of questions which came to my mind (and now there are more details about the plot, so dont tell me I did not warn you if you have not seen the movie yet) were somewhat like this.

In the movie, Munnabhai reads up about Gandhiji and starts having visions of him. (It is explained in the movie itself that Gandhiji who is talking to Munnahai is not real and a figment of his imagination - phew!).

First level, there was this discomfort of seeing Gandhiji on screen. He is someone whose picture is always there on walls behind ministers and police officers, but that is that. I was very worried about what the producer wanted to do with this character. Second, I was uncomfortable at some of the patronising which went on.

Gradually, I felt uncomfortable because of the questions which I then asked myself - Do I love my country? Do I acknowlege and respect the sacrifices which happened for a 100 years by an entire country to give me the free air I used to breathe (Irony of ironies - I live in England now)?

It is true that there is a sense of pride for being an Indian - for a feeling of belonging to and being a product of a great culture and history and sharing a heritage with some of these poeple. But then, what have I done to deserve it?

I know that I feel bad when something happens at the borders and when innocents die in Kashmir or Assam or Bombay. I know that I will give money for such a cause - be it army widows or war bonds. In some small way, when there is a crisis, I will try to help. But what about business as usual? I know that I have bribed ticket collectors and government clerks - speed money. I know that I turn a blind eye towards friends and family when they use their connections to get things done - small things and big things - be it a phone connection or a gas connection or a fake birth certificate.

What does one do, when one is not sure if one is of the system, by the system and for the system?

It is very easy for me to say that I am just one person and this is just too big for me to try and change anything.
Would I not thank God that Gandhiji, for one, did not think that?

29 August, 2006

August and everything after

Every now and then, I feel that life has reached a turning point. Like right now.
However, when I look back, I know for sure that I have felt like this before, but I can not really put a finger on any such turns in the past, which means that there weren't really turning points.
Such turning points are like looking at very large map, and seeing jagged edges and craggy lines all over the place. But when you step back and look at it from a distance (like when you look back at life in hindsight), things almost always look and undulating.

What spurred me into action today was an old friend praising my last post - nothing cuts through the haze of inertia like motivation. Now that I have a confirmed audience (albeit of a single individual), I will strive not to disappoint it.

My parents and sister are here on holiday and I think I have spent more time with them in the past week than ever before in the last nine years, since I left school. I had done something which had disappointed them a lot just a month back, and I was worried about how things were going to be. However, things are just fine. I guess it is easiest to seek forgiveness from ones parents. It does increase the chances of hurting them again, which is not good. I hope that I will be able to be a similar parent when my turn comes.

26 July, 2006

The month end

Month ends seem to just come and go... chunks of ones life gobbled up in neat fractions of a twelfth of a year.

Just five more to go and this year in itself will move from the present to the past.

Learnings so far this year:

1. You can make friends wherever
2. As long as 1 is true, one should not be worried
3. The sincerest of intentions are sometimes not enough
4. Parents are not infallible
5. This list will keep growing
6. As long as 5 is true, one should not be worried

30 June, 2006

Letters versus otherwise

Whatever happened to the good old long letter?
Emails have ceased to excite. (In fact, there is little in life that still does. Or maybe it is just me. Anyway, that is a whole new post for sure).

How I remember when checking email was a daily ritual... Sitting in front of a mono 14" monitor, loggin on into the linux student account, checking email on PINE was almost as exciting as anything else. (PINE stands for Program for Internet News and Email aka Pine Is Not ELM - I miss recursive abbreviations! This also begs the question – WTF is ELM? ELectronic Mail?)

Even though emails directed my way were less than one day, the login screen still filled the heart with a sense of anticipation. It was the screen at the end of a carefully planned journey – the expected number of people versus the number of computers working at any point of time in the computer centre and so on. Anyway, the struggle was ok as the emails made it worth my while.

They were nice. They were not mindless. Not all of them. They were for a purpose. They were not conversation snippets. They were letters.

I remember a few of them from then* even now- Letters from a friend telling me about her breakup and the days after and long replies peppered with attempts at humour. Letters narrating first experiences in all kinds of things. Letters from foreign cousins who were thrilled that they could keep a finger on the latest in families back home through this cost effective source and much faster. Well, people were not too choosy back then. Email was a happy compromise between letters and telephone calls – almost live like a phone call and cheaper than a letter.

This was when I had this particular friend I used to write to almost every day. She was my pen friend, in an email sense. I had not met her and I am not sure how we got in touch. She was from a large city and had lots of friends – I wonder how she got the time to write to me. It went on for just under two years – we exchanged pics and treated each other to “letters” also – back in those days, if blogs existed, I am sure I would have written a similar entry cursing emails and praising letters (Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis – Latin for times change and we change with them). Hmm… wonder what she is up to these days? We grew out of it – actually she did and she let me know and I had no option. :-] I was not willing to invest that much time into it again, and overall, I had a check against the pen-pal row… She used to write wonderful letters. In fact, in the beginning, I had a sneaking suspicion that she did not exist and was a creation of my friends in college as she used to sound too similar to me. Gradually, I ruled out all my friends and then we used to talk on the phone and it was definitely not one of my friends.

Then, there was a time when everyone I know who was not studying engineering was taking post grad tests and writing SOPs and mapping their life out. Every week marked yet another twist in the long road of tests and more tests, and all such turns were duly relayed by email. Soon, we were taking our own placement tests and interviews.

I guess the mobile phone killed the email which had killed the letter. In the beginning, it was the SMS. Text messages became longer and emails became shorter. Later, talk rates crashed for both national and international dialing. It was easier to call or text than email. I guess with emails, one wrote only when one had a few things to say. With the mobile, such things were relayed as and when they were formed. There is little or no time for any kind of a 'thought' inventory to form – which might be a good or a bad thing. I think it is a bad thing – but that’s only me.

I guess this was all part of the big changes in technology and media which we have seen over the years. The audience has shrunk and is now an active part of creating the content also. Blogs for example. In fact, take a look at this, which is like a newspaper operating entirely with no paid reporter.

The other thing – we grew up and suddenly had less time to do anything – even though all we do now is one job, which is also something which sucks.

[* This was the time India was taking its first steps in public internet access. Student access was cheap but anyone who had seen the normal internet craved for that. Corporate internet ids were shared and used - it was the Wild West as far the internet was concerned. Passwords were hacked and accounts were bankrupted of their access. I can think up of many people who did not pay for years and years of internet access – all TCP/IP of course. TCP/IP was the name given to the browser based internet access, which was for Rs. 15000 for 500 hours]

Then there was the 24th of November 2000 thingie :) but that is not for this blog.

28 June, 2006


Can someone tell me how to ensure that the Title of the post stays exactly as long as intended, all my posts seem to steal a few words from the first line of the post.
(It is an HTML thing and I am a computer engineer, but at least I am humble!)

07 June, 2006

Something is cooking!

Have not been able to get back to blogging for a long time. Had intended this article to be about cooking, but let us see.
Happened across an email with a video from my college. Felt really nice to see images - some things have changed a lot and some have not at all. Realised from the video that there should be many more, and found this and this! A little more digging and I came up with a thriving blogging community, present residents of the strange beast called NITK now, KREC then... it was surprisingly easy to relate to some of the things. You can find it here.

Some things, though, were completely new.
- Insame amounts of technology - Laptops, wifi, you name it
- New departments - IS(?), IT(?) and the like
- Many more women, or maybe a small increase in numbers, topped up by a larger increase in their involvement/presence/noise created
- New hostel blocks - there are a total of ten now (7 for boys and 3 for girls!!)

The rains, the buildings, the madness, the heat, the sweat and the bad food seem to have persisted. I know that Krishna (the cigarette and chai shop near the gate number 2 still exists, and I am sure the people at the final block gate still cook roaring delicacies. God I want to go back!
I have always wanted to go back and today has been a definite fillip in planning for that.

The previous weeks have been spent planning for a trip to the fatherland and doing the necessary documentation for the visa. I always end up angry with myself - misplaced papers, more than requried xeroxes, last minute panic attacks and checking of papers. This time, thanks to a printer which was printing on both sides, I ended up with three copies of my bank statement, because every copy seemed incomplete. Anyway, every stress attack was worthwhile as I managed to get a ten year permit.

I am off to Newcastle this weekend. I will meet friends - some old and some new and hope to have some good fun and old fashioned spending the day on the beach for both the days. To save on the fare, I am travelling early afternoon and coming back late on Sunday night. This reminds me of news articles about the Utilities here in UK and how they earn so much money. I know they should, but so much!?!.

Last year, Royal Mail did more than a million sterling a day. Another example is Thames Water, who increased prices by 25% last year, has innumerable leaks all over the city and still pays over £6 mn each to its CEO and CFO. Its profits, just under a million sterling a day, stood at £347 million for 2005. Sometimes, I wonder if salaries in the wired world have grown as fast as those in the Utility industry. In 1995, the head honcho at Thames Water was taking home £260K. The office has not done bad for itself, fattening its paycheck by about 50 times in 10 years. I am sure the the London Underground will have a similar love affair between profits, salaries and sure enough, consumer prices.
The issue at stake is this and I do not have an opinion yet - Private ownership of utilities does inspire cost cutting and overall efficiencies, but would not the line between "economic rates of return" and above-normal profits be an easy one to cross. The Regulator needs to be clued onto all that is going on - but surely they could have done something...some cleaning up after smelling a fish, a large one at that.

19 May, 2006

Rant - the Loss of Meaning

"I was like, good gracious, ass is bodacious
I'm flirtacious, tryin' to show patience...
I see you drive sports car, ain't hittin' the throttle
And I'll be down, I'll do 100, top down and goggles"

While I support the efforts of the hip-hop community to display more skin and less clothes, and admire the Kaizen (constant improvement) in this field, I find myself desiring more from the music.

Try this for size...

"Do Naina, ek kahani.
Thoda sa badal, thoda sa paani,
Aur ik kahani..."


"Pyar mein sar jhukana padta hai
Dard me muskurana padta hai..."

Well, this post was supposed to be about painful music, the hindi songs are to accentuate the contrast. For the past week now, I have been trying to write things.

However, very recent events redirect my attention towards pain, which is what this one is about. Yes, and this is my disclaimer right here, so I will not entertain cribs about the post being painful. That is what is intended.

Right. Well what is most painful - actually there is this need to distinguish between various levels of pain. Each level would have different immediate effects and gestation period.

Four categories - Prick in the finger, pain in the neck, stone on the heart and death are my four categories.

The first one, is more of sudden unexpected discomfort than anything else. It is quick, unforeseen, and is usually over before you realise it is happening and then the pain stays but only for a while. Like when you say things without meaning it and regret afterwards, or just let go of something and the immediate regret pokes bites your tongue.

The second is less sudden in the build up and in dying down. Dull and throbbing, such pain comes from meeting sad people with sadder lives.

The third one is in bit more serious territory. Depends again on quite a few things..
You have trouble in breathing, sometimes you don’t want to breathe. To me, it does feel like a stone heaving down on my heart.(I read this somewhere long back, or perhaps I made it up and dont remember, but it seems falling in love also makes you understand poetry. Probably true only for me given my emotionally challenged growth)

Well, death is death.
(with due deference to Sid Sinha, for those who know what I am talking about).

17 May, 2006

An exercise in Memory

I read a post recently about the links between the power of smell and memory. It is known that the areas of the brain which receives information about smell, links directly with the section which controls emotional reactions and the hippocampus, which controls the collection of memories. So, smells, in a very literal sense are closest to memories.

The post set me thinking about my earliest memories. My earliest memories are specific incidents, random events which have stubbornly refused to fade away, while more interesting or important events have been erased, and I know about them only as second-hand memories passed on to me by my parents.
I remember my Nani like the light of day - asking her for money to buy sweets and complaining about my mother. I remember my father telling me stories and falling asleep because he used to be tired. (I remember how Ramayan was the only story he told me, which was ambitious given that he had put in 10 hours at work and then taken my mother and I out to the club.)

I wanted to see the Hailey's comet and wanted to wake up early in the morning to see it. I used to set the alarm every night, when it was here (in 1985?). I could not ever wake up, and wondered if I will be alive next time it came around (I like to think of myself as an inquisitive child, not a geek).

I remember going to see my sister for the first time. For some reason, I do not remember my mother growing fatter before that. I was late to school that day and was anxious about it. Missionary schools have inspired much dread in me. Always.

When in Assam, for a period of four years and then some, I used to go to a school in Digboi, some 30 kilometres away from home. There was a company car, which took me and a few others to school and back. Back in those days, there was not much traffic and the journey was singular at its best. (Later, there was some excitement when central rule was declared by Narasimha Rao, and we used to see Army columns and wave at them.) Anyway, I realised that I had gone up and down the same road so many times that I should remember the whole journey. I tried it both ways and realised that I remembered it more on the way to school than on the way back. I guess that had something to do with the fact that my mind is usually blank in the morning and hence, more receptive. This also implied that I should study early in the morning (not tested yet).

There is one more thing which I ponder about - when we look back at life and remember only patches of it - are we not shortening our lives? As in, if I do not remember various things about my own life, does it really matter that I lived it. I know it does and this is a very selfish/individualistic stand, but I sometimes get worried about this. I do not want to look back at life, say after 30 years, and know only as a mathematical fact, that I have lived for 60 years.

I really hope there is more to it than a subtraction.

15 May, 2006

Transcendental numbers

The first time I came across this kind of number was in a book called Contact, by Carl Sagan. It said that pi, which is quite familiar to all of us, was from a class of numbers called Transcendental numbers. I did a bit of digging and came across the fact that there are infinitely more transcendental numbers than there are integers, or even rational numbers. The same place told me that e too, is one of them. Also, the natural log of any positive rational number other than one. What is funny, is that, it is not known whether π+e is one.

There are many definitions of these numbers, but the coolest one, again from the book itself, was that there is no expression which is of finite length, which can accurately express such a number.
Waitaminute, so what about 22/7? Well , that goes out of the window. 22/7 actually is wrong after the first couple of decimals. It is used proabably because it is a good approximation and is easy to remember. For an accurate formula, try this one -

Or this...

I remember how I used to cringe every time the 7 remained in the denominator, but in retrospect, given the bad boys above, 22/7 has been a blessing all these years. (All these formulae are from here, btw, Wiki rocks!)

Two things amazed me while reading these pages on Wikipedia - one, by the level of detail and breadth of knowledge and the various problems, both solved and unsolved. (Look at the Wiki link for a list of such problems);Reminded me of Fermat's last theorem - which Fermat mentioned as a note in the margin, and also added that he had a very elegant proof in mind, but the space there (in the margin) was not enough. That added to the mystique of the theorem, especially as no one could solve it for over 350 years. It was solved in 1995 (357 years later) and the size of the proof - 200 pages - slightly more voluminous than as hinted by Fermat.

The second thing was the Wiki - Almost all things I have looked up, I have found very rich and well researched information on the Wiki. It truly is a modern miracle. Over 4 million pages and 55 million edits, it is the 17th most visited website as measured by Alexa.

Not so much an oddity anymore, but pretty much a mainstream website.

More ramblings soon...

05 May, 2006

Have not been able to post because I am in India on work. Came across an interesting article about new products being launched by Indian software professionals -
In a way, such things prove that the dream of the great Indian software product are coming true. More bluntly, it points to the maturity and confidence of the Indians in this space. The three people running this company - RHR networks are all software professionals with a couple of decades of experience in all. They have entered the web-enabled product space with a slew of products - a job search aggregator, a social image sharing website and a classified website (inspired by craigslist).

Each of the products has a clean interface and great functionality. All that they need now is volumes to increase the quality of content on these websites. As more and more Indians get online, they will be pleasantly surprised to see such websites - by Indians and for Indians but with a global appeal.

26 April, 2006

The next post will be about Job hunting. However, I found something quite interesting on the internet -
"Mozilla built us a wonderful tool. Google gave us a carrot. Now take the stick and beat IE's ass." A bunch of people who do not like IE and also remember how they used to not like seeing buttons like - "This website is best viewed on IE5.0" have now figured out a way to get back at them. More details are available here and the reasons to shift are given here. For now, both the websites are available on IE, and now that I write it out, I realise it is a smart thing to do and now something I can point out and you can smirk at.
And if you have an ad-sense account, you can make some money out of it too.

St. Ives.

I do not think that I like any other part of England more than Cornwall, and even within Cornwall, the two villages of St. Ives and Carbis bay are my favourites by far. I can not really put my finger on what it is about these two places - they abound in the charm offered by small English towns and villages - picture perfect houses, winding lanes, lush greenery and maybe not very common even with the rural landscape, a blue-green body of transparent water which stretches as far as the eye can see.

I had a lot of fun here on my first trip, it was tantalisingly close to being perfect. The cool thing was that this time when I went back there, every thing about the trip changed - the people I came with, the things we did, the places we went to, and even the weather. Even so, I think I did not mind too much. I still thought about the first time around, but I had much-o fun nonetheless.

What is there to do in Cornwall? If travelling from London, the killer way to save money is to travel in groups of four and then buy tickets at Paddington. This way, you can get a super saver ticket, which is basically a 50% discount, enabling you to travel 6 hours each way by train for £35. Probably the best way to spend time in Cornwall is to divide time between spending time at the beach and travelling to other beaches and spending time there. I am not joking, but the way to do it is to spend like a day or something on one of the many beaches in and around St. Ives - Carbis bay being one of the best for just lying around. The second day can be used to travel to the many other beaches in the areas - Sennen's cove, Land's end, Porthocurno and also to see Minack Theatre. A special note about Minack's theatre - it is an open air theatre, with the Atlantic as the background in most of the sets - mindblowing. Such beach-hopping can end at Penzance, from where the train can get you back to London.

Another not to be missed spot is the Porthminister Cafe - memories of a curried lamb and some excellent starters still warm the heart and comfort the soul. It is one of the better places to dine at, in St. Ives. It has views of the ocean and is a nice place to be for sunset. Do book in advance.

My next post will be about job hunting in London.

20 April, 2006

I have been travelling past few weeks - a weekend trip to a place called St. Ives and then a longer weekend trip to Prague. Here is a picture from Prague. Prague, in some ways, is like a older, cooler version of Paris. The picture here, for instance, has the Presidential palace in the backdrop (I am not sure of the correct name, but it is a palace and the Czech preseident stays in it). The foreground is the Vltava river, which meanders through the city and has to be crossed a few times no matter where one is headed. The ride from the airport into the city is a ride of architectural variations - in period, structure,design,colour. The Airport is a slick building, complete with granite floors and expensive stores. It fades into long facades of Soviet looking flats (you will know when you see them) and then the old city suddenly bursts into view. The old city has spires and churches and grottos and various other constructions which are quite medieval in appearance. I have read quite a few stories about kingdoms and castles and revolts and the true heir laying low before staking a claim by ringing the church bell and if any one was making a movie on any such story, Prague would be a very custom built locale to shoot such a movie. The other thing which struck me in Prague was the way the Czech were promoting their country - "Hope you have a good time in the Czech Republic" came second only to "Give me a Pilsner!" as the most commonly spoken English phrase. (By the way, I had two Pilsner breakfasts but thats another story) Back in India, it is easy to find instances where one laughs at tourists when they are taken for a ride. If they were stupid enough to come to India, then they should also bear the consequences. In Prague, it did not matter if I was shopping, taking a hair cut (1/4th of UK prices, but language issues can lead to unpredictable results), drinking beer, meeting friends of my Czech friend, it was a concern which bordered on an obsession - I won't be surprised if this country which is the size of Haryana earns about the same from tourism as India does.

The next post will be about St. Ives, which in my opinion, is one of the most underrated beaches in Europe (which is again is a good thing)
I have been reading blogs every now and then when someone forwards articles and decided to take the plunge myself.

God, the first line in itself is so full of cliches, am not really sure how bad a beginning this really is.

Anyway, hope that I have something more interesting to say as time passes by. Got a new laptop today, it is a widescreen Toshiba Satellite laptop, really like the feel of this machine, even though the click pads could have been a bit bigger, the keys themselves could have had more space.

The inbuilt software also leaves a lot to be asking for, but inspite of all that, it seems to be a good machine which I asked a friend to get from the US at a very decent price.

Other than that, life is the same. I work for a company called ebookers but no one should hold that against me. It is a reasonably old travel company based in the UK, dealing with standard travel arragements like flight tickets, hotel bookings, car rentals and packaged holidays. It is not that I do not like the company I work for, but I am aware that there are quite a few times when customers have a bad experience.

The thing is this - overall a company might appear to be blundering and indifferent to an individual. However, the strange thing is that individuals within the company are equally frustrated when something goes wrong. Some of you might disagree, but I have seen this happen more than once.

Blogging and me will really need to see what all we can do to make this work.