31 October, 2007
This blog also, is going to change.
The URL here will be kept for a blog related to my line of work. There will be another which will be for me to spout the kind of random musings I seem to specialise in.
Watch this space!
24 October, 2007
12 October, 2007
Bad thing - see above.
Good thing - Nice house at a reasonable price - 3.5beds+blah+blah+blah+room with enough space for a ps2 and 10 friends
Bad thing - No neighbourhood
Good thing - Some good neighbours (read PV,AV,TG,SG)
Bad thing - A daylight robbery store called Budgens
Good thing - Clean everything
Bad thing - Wont stay for long
I also wanted to capture the whole dinner thing that I have going. I like to call people over, cook for them, feed them and send them back. My parents are horrified at this behaviour. Why do I do it - well I like cooking, for one. I like cooking when there is some company even better.
Anyway, had two such dinners this week - TG and PKnV and it goes without saying that it was great! Wonder how much of this I will be able to do in Delhi.
Delhi is a city of distances - especially if one stays in Sarita Vihar. You hardly walk to a friends house. You drive to it, and quite often, you plough through chunks of traffic to get anywhere.
I will miss that about London. Going from A to B while reading a book and looking out through the bus window. Wonder when we will have such buses in Delhi.
25 September, 2007
This website, which had been dormant for a bit and I had been facebooking for my social networking daily fix, came alive when I got in touch with ST. ST, for those who dont know me well enough or even very well, used to be my bets bud when I was about 10. We have done some of the craziest things together. One evening, we decided to pay a visit to this river which was in the neighbourhood. We cycled for about 35 minutes which was a reasonable distance for ten year olds, especially when we were not cycling but walking with the cycle, reached the river, bathed and came back. Neither of our parents noticed two slightly dirty boys going off into the woods and coming back looking somewhat cleaner.
Ledo and Bargolai and Digboi and all these smaller towns (?) were wonderfully magical places which I had the good fortune of living. You could post letter to my father, with only his name and Ledo, Assam written on it without an address. It was so small. It was nice and laid back and sleepy and tucked away in this corner of the country where there were hills and rains and rivers and more of the same all over. Now that I live in a big city, I sort off understand why people here want to head off to the hills or spend six months in Africa. I did my nature stint while growing up and never really understood its value till my city stint started (and is not going to end for a while)
Back to the original point, I got in touch with ST. And thanks to the child of connected graphs, low programming costs and cheaper internet called social networking, I got in touch with loads of others from school - RP, TD, CP, GSG and so on... It was nice. The fact that they also remember me was nicer. I always used to wonder if they would, and now I know.
It is a nice feeling to know that someone else also is witness to your life. and old parts of it.
There... have run out of time, but can end this post now.
12 August, 2007
Let us call this the rate of buildup b and the rate of decay be called d. The decay would also be proportional to the memory buildup. I can sniff a differential equation now onwards and I will keep my mouth shut on this topic now.
Anyway, there were quite a few things to write about. I visited Gurgaon, Mumbai, Delhi, Mumbai, Gurgaon, London, Chicago and New York in that order...
Gurgaon is a testbook case in how to grow very fast in the worst possible manner. From being a sleepy little town about ten years ago, it is the outsourcing and ITES hub of North India. To be fair, such growth would stretch the infrastructural muscles of any city, but it has overwhelmed Gurgaon. There are roads, but the roads exist only for cars and more cars. There is between little and no public transport, depending upon where in Gurgaon you are. As a results, cars and more cars is all you get. There is an eight lane expressway between Delhi and Gurgaon, but it has kilometre long pileups...
Mumbai is now my favourite large Indian, probably because I really enjoyed the time I spent there (which had nothing to do with the city). Anyway, my two bits about Mumbai is that the people seem nicer and are more down to earth and polite. I also get this feeling, which I absolutely love, that I am part of a Hindi movie when in Bombay. No, the movie is not about me or about anyone I know. I am more like that person in a movie, who is crossing the road in a movie where two people have just fallen in love, or the guy who gets out of the lift, while the hero gets in on his way to his office, and things like that. It is this perpetual peripheral movie feeling which I can not kick off and absolutely love. I used to think that I have not watched too many movies, but now I am of the opinion that I watched enough.
Mumbai, or rather one of its new residents, did give me a parting shot, which I will not forget for a long time.
New York... ah New York. I loved it. I was there for about 50 hours, and I loved it. I got to watch the US open, went to the WTC memorial website, lost the camera with which I took pictures, walked on the Brooklyn Bridge, heard, spoke and ate American and so on and so forth. There were times when I felt the same peripheral movie feeling, only this time the movie was in English, but I pushed it away. There was so much to do and see. New York is a world city - there is everyone from everywhere there. No matter where you are from, you would find your neighbours from back home in New York. Such things make a city a great place to be, not only because you find your own roots there, but you get to see everyone else's also I guess. I think this is what makes Mumbai and London a cool place to be too.
[Housekeeping - My site got a PR upgrade to 2. Let us see how this helps this.]
02 June, 2007
- Strong influence of religious inspired forces in political and social issues
- Targetting of womens rights, eradication of womens education
Pakistan politics and underlying social factors have been slowly but surely heading towards this abyss of social mayhem for quite some time now. The slow deterioration of law and order is a testament to the tendency of the politics of religion.
India, sadly, is not far behind, although the flavour here is different. The minority feels threatened. Godhra did not help. The riots after that and the continued apathy of the government, the resounding victory of Narendra Modi in the next election - every thing went like one reinforcing nail after another that the majority has grown teeth. To assert our weight is fine - but denying access to livelihood and justice is not. Driving 12% of our population to desperation is not. It is just plain foolish.
I do not think that this amounts to, or has to amount to appeasement. What it does amount to is re-estabilishing the rule of law - people like this (The Gujarat ATS cop) should be made an example of. There should be tighter laws passed for mixing religion and politics - segregation, inciting people, rioting et al. Again, not appeasement, but simple Math. (Earlier, the minorities had this going, now about 84% of 1.1bn people are a target market, so tougher regulation is the need of the hour).
Hinduism and India are both essentially plural in nature. This is what has made both exist despite all odds. Hinduism is a bunch of different things to different people. For my mother, it is the bedrock of her existence and is part of her daily routine. For many of my generation, it is a way of understanding our culture and our parents without being overtly religious. What I believe to be true and ironical is this - India would not exist very well as a Hindu state, because it would end up like Yugoslavia or dozens of other such example. India exists and confounds critics no one asserts his identity as anyone - a hindu, a muslim - sometimes not even as an Indian. When that starts to be replaced by millions of people clamouring to stand apart, India as a whole falters and falls.
The outlook of a generation is shaped by the prior generation. Most of what I know and think to be right or wrong is a sum total of all that I read and talked about while growing up. If we all worked very hard on our children, they would each turn out to be like Mr. Modi or blind Anti-Modis. My point here - we could quite easily lose this good thing which have going here - democracy, rule of law, separation of state and religion, army under civil rule and so on... (the ITES miracle comes further down the list)
How bad can it get? From a few thousand terrorists/freedom flighters in Kashmir, to about 10000 Taliban causing mayhem in Afghanistan (at its peak, when they won the country), imagine a vast land with about 100 million angry and wronged citizens.
How to get to such a place from here and now - 20 years under systematic appeasement of the majority and dismantling the fabric of this country.
28 May, 2007
You can find the plot details here but nothing can prepare you for the mess that the director and the scriptwriter have concocted. The cast of the movie had its highs and lows - Amitabh Bachchan, and Sunit Dutt but also so called heroes like Suni(e)l Shetty and Tus(s)har Kapoor. The plot is based on a 14 hours shootout which happened in the early 90s in a residential suburb of bombay, where 6 goons were shot dead by the police. The story, being a real story, is real enough here too. (I like saying positive things about a movie, I need to be balanced in my approach).
Bad things about the movie -
2. Tushar Kapoor + Vivek Oberoi + the other four goons - they looked more like high school bullies from a boys only school who then get to meet women for the first time.
Overall, I am not sure about what the director was trying to achieve - Was the movie about police brutality or about how the police has had to evolve to counter the new breed of criminals? Or was it just some cash rich produced who wanted a tax writeoff? Amitabh for the whole movie was mouthing one cliche after the other, the encounter sequence had exquisitely bad screenplay, the movie had songs in the flashback and if I remember correctly, even had a dream sequence :)
Avoid this one more than plague - the plague can only kill you.
27 May, 2007
I had the super idea of checking up the weather map and heading out into that part of the country which does not have any clouds in the satellite picture.
This is what I saw.....
All hail the gloom!
17 May, 2007
We had decided to call it envigo, and then angelboy opened a blog.
was thrilled when I got the opportunity to create Envigo all over again
Below is an excerpt - This boy is really cool.
"Present is all we have. Past is lost. Future is fiction. Nobody fails. Nobody ever fails. Our plans fail. Too often we confuse our plans with our being. This confusion is the source of our frustration. When our plans fail, we start believing that we have failed."
14 May, 2007
Getting blogs was easy enough and so was the design and development, however, this is the first time that my team is making something which is on the website and IS customer facing. Therefore the butterflies.
I caught a really cool movie over the weekend - Life... in a Metro. According to the movie, the following are true:
- The world is very small - everything is interrelated
- Almost all married men have affairs
- Married women are less likely to have one, , compared to men, but for the right man, why not
- Men are not emotionally involved in an affair, all the involvement is to ensure the woman does not bale out on them
- Women are always emotionally involved in relationships, whether they realise it or not
- Kangana Ranaut is hot, though she can not speak English very well. (Who cares - reminds me of "Talk!!!! who wants to talk!?!"
I love Hindi movies!!!!
PS - So when you listen to "In Dino", remember where you first heard about it
13 May, 2007
Alas (and apologies for the simile), what lay beneath blew up in my face, or rather, on the phone.
If there was a square one, I passed it so fast in reverse gear that I am not even sure how far back I am in the scheme of things to be.
(I know I am speaking in riddles, but this blog, apart from entertaining millions of readers all over the world and filling them with hope and contentment, also serves as a diary, and I need to jot things of importance down in some way)
What do to I now - this very moment, today, tomorrow and for this month?
Where will I end up?
1. How bad is Global warming? Is it really happening or is it periodic/episodic?
2. Can normal people like you and me make a difference?
I guess that short answers to the questions above would be:
1. Very. Yes it is happening. Does not matter if there is something periodic. We are definitely hastening it.
I think saving power, water, gas, fuel, food all add up in a big way. I wish I had numbers to show this, but this is the example which I can think up of -
Imagine the water that flows from the tap while you brush.
It has been sucked out of the ground, filtered, treated, pumped into the mains and then onto the supply and then to the overhead tank to the tap. And I let it flow. It then heads back through sewage, pumped again to be filtered and treated on its way to the river/sea.
Each of these verbs - sucked, filtered, treated, pumped has a carbon footprint because of energy needed to do them. The energy required per litre of water might be quite small in absolute terms, and CO2 produced might sound even smaller.
However, multiply that number by 3 times day, a lifetime of 25000 days and 3bn people, who live in urban areas and the factor is not ignorable any more.
The above example is something which people fail to realise. Given the number of people and the innumerable conveniences of modern living, there is a lot of energy being used up. By being careful and smart and just a little more responsible, it all adds up.
1. Saving water (look at above) by using the sun to dry clothes, using the dishwasher only when it is completely full (or better, cleaning them in the sink). My score - 4/10.
2. Saving electricity by not keeping gadgets on standby, tubelights or LEDs instead of bulbs, climb stairs instead of a lift, motion sensitive lighting in offices. My score - 2/10
3. Eliminate waste and recycle (this is something I do not do at all and need to work at). My score 0/10.
(By the way, whats with keeping shops and offices lighted long after business hours. Have a look at here and here. This is something we as consumers should make businesses realise - that a dark carbon neutral store would shine out more. always. I am proud to work for a firm which encourages recycling at the workplace and the lights are switched off at night, I would be proud to shop at a shop which does the same.
In Delhi, long long ago, they started charging for shopping bags at the cooperative stores. That made people reuse polythene bags. The trick was to price the bags high enough for it to matter to people.)
Update - Read another post about the same, hits closer to home- about developing countries and climate change here
Unrelated comment - Life continues to be more like some light with a tunnel fast approaching!
30 April, 2007
So, I get this dream last night with characters related to the theme above. About five minutes into the dream, I realise whats going on . Instead of being greedy and quickly tweaking things to the way I would like it to be, I went on to have a conversation. I really wanted to understand what was going on the heads of the others involved, and this was just about the easiest way of doing so. It was good while it lasted but I had to get up as my friends (visiting from India) were ringing the door bell to let them in - they just got back from Amsterdam (a 12 hour bus ride).
I went back to sleep immediately after that but the dream did not come back.
I was analysing the conversation and realised that the other characters in the dream were saying things which I would have wanted them to say. In fact, it is not so cut and dried. They said things which made sense to me. Actually, they said things which did not make sense to me. But, knowing them, in a way it did. In yet another set of words, if I were to imagine myself in their place, I would have probably said the same thing.
This means that a lucid dream is the psychological equivalent of a closed system (as it should be).
I could NOT have come up with something from outside. The source of information, no matter how fantastic they seem, are coming from somewhere inside my brain itself.
Good while it lasted.
26 April, 2007
(For me, thinking of something to write about is quite a task. I try to be spontaneous, but since most of my waking time is spent in office, I can not do much about it there. The other problem with personal bursts of spontaneity is that many of these thoughts, are exactly that. Just one interesting thought. Blogging has generated quite a bit of respect in me for writers....)
I could describe my friends, but that will be a long winded post and I am feeling super lazy, today being a Friday.
For me, friends are a storehouse of memories as well as a preview of the future. Each one of them has a box full of common times from the past - the fun and the games, but also the heartbreak and the agony; long hours of debating right and wrong and black and white but also innumerable moments of unquestioned support and understanding. There are times when we ruled the world together in our own little corner, but also times when we felt that everyone was against us... the times we learnt the good and the bad and also the times when we discovered the madness in each other and in our own selves. Some of the oldest memories I have are of time spent by my oldest friend in my house in Jamshedpur - breaking toys, running after one another and just being happy. Playing football and Khokho (yes!) in front of Carmel School, hours spent talking on the terrace on top of second wing at DPS, discussing the country and everything that is happening every day after playing football in front of the main road in Sarita Vihar, playing "बीस साल बाद" on the final block terrace, sitting in side the fountain in front of the main block at Suratkal, long walks in the staff area at Ahmedabad, listening to music and watching movies just talking and not moving while everyone else was running "very hard to stay at the same place" at Ahmedabad, staying awake the whole night to try and attend the first lecture and falling asleep just after breakfast, chasing waterfalls and scaring in Scotland, partying hard all over London, shivering on the top of the Eiffel Tower, driving a car through the mustard fields near Neemrana, playing cards in Florence or getting drunk on Californian wine on the terrace at Dock street on my birthday, questioning life and laughing at nothing at Maresfield Gardens - so many millions of things and if I did not have friends, I would have missed out on each of them.
Unconditional happiness and an unhurried sense of time - that is what I am trying to put across here.
The future... well I see how each one of them is and I can also steal glimpses of their future, and in some way, of my future. I see hardwork and success, and I also see wasted opportunity. I see mindblowing brilliance and I see mediocrity.
What I like to see is contentment and resilience. I like to see strength of purpose and character.
These are the things that I need for the future. I know where to find them.
Sorry. Blame it on the song in the post below?
तू ख़्वाब सजा, तू जीले ज़रा...
है तुझे भी इजाज़त
करले तू भी मोहब्बत
है तुझे भी इजाज़त
करले तू भी मोहब्बत
बेरंग सी है बड़ी ज़िंदगी , कुछ रंग तो भरो
मै अपनी तन्हाई के वास्ते, अब कुछ तो करो ..... (२)
जब मिलें थोड़ी फुरसत (2)
खुद से कर ले मोहब्बत
है तुझे भी इजाज़त,
करले तू भी मोहब्बत
The hindi keyboard is painful for some words, but overall an 8 on 10*.
These days, my heart keeps telling me
to Dream a little,
to Live a little...
That I too am allowed,
To fall in Love...
That I too am allowed,
To fall in Love...
31 March, 2007
About the movie - I think it was very well made. Though I am not Bengali, the characters seemed very real to me. I also do not remember the book very well, but I think that the movie did an ok job in giving it life. The story reminded me of a simpler time, back in India and also here. It reminded of me as a person who had just come here - quite a fool I was then (No claims to the contrary for now!).
I wish I could write a better review which would do justice to how good I think the movie is, but some of the things I felt are intensely personal and I would rather let you find your own joys and sorrows while watching this one.
On an unrelated issue, the rank is #8 now, on google.com. I think that regular posts should help take this up a bit more. I would like to make a point about quality of rankings there as well - rank#1 is a dead link and has been a dead link for the past 6 months. WTF is going on!?!?!
26 March, 2007
There was no such thing as Google* then, so such information was not easy to find. In fact, I did not know what to look for to search for such information. Imagine my surprise when I found out that it was quite a common thing (I used to think I was like the superman of dreams), that there is aterm for it - Lucid Dreaming, and sure enough, there is a lot of research and investigation done in this field.
Interestingly enough, there were common themes to such research (the wiki page linked above has a good summary of some of that research) and my investigations. I was broadly concerned about three things - How to have only such dreams, how to restart a dream in case you got too involved and it was no longer a dream and more of a day dream and if such dreams could be used to look into the future (yes, I am like this only!).
My way of trying to have only such dreams was to try not to dream dreams in which I was not aware. However, therein lies a contradiction - if you are not aware that you are dreaming, how do you control/reduce such dreams? The other way of approximating this was to ensure that any lucid dreams, once identified, were strongly encouraged. And that is whatpoint two was about. My way of lengthening such dreams was to go back to sleep to try and continue the dream. However, I read very recently about how rubbing hands in a dream would help lengthen such dreams. The side effect of rubbing hands together is that particular areas of the brain which helps such dreams.
A lucid dream is a cool place to be. But it is a delicate balance - one has to be cautious enough not to stop dreaming and aware enough not to forget that one is dreaming. If ever you also are a fellowlucid dreamer, try looking in a mirror or a watch and funny things happen. Another fun thing to do is to try and read a newspaper. This is something I have been doing and have not yet been able to make sense of what I read... I blame it on the intense media messaging which hits us in this day and age.
And by the way, the title of this post, literally means Dream Sailor-ing.
* There I go about Google again. By the way, this blog got a page rank update and am now on the first page for the search phrase Saurabh Kumar. Yay!
17 March, 2007
I am currently going through a phase where there is absolutely nothing happening in my life other than work. The sad thing is that this is not because there is too much work. There is work, but it is a very 9 to 7 variety.
Should my managers be happy? Yes and No I guess. They should be because there is nothing to distract me and that I can only but work. No because not having a distraction can soon become the biggest distraction of all.
Hence this post. How quickly does time pass? A perfectly correct but completely useless answer could be "At the rate of one second every second." It does, but that is just a definition, a measurement of something we feel and count. Even if we did not have a definition, it would still pass. The answer I am looking for has more to do with how does a person register time and its passage. Is it the same for every one? It does seem to pass faster and slower depending on all kinds of things - but does it pass or feel to pass at the same speed, ceteris paribus? Also, if humans could not sense the passage of time, would it matter if time passed? And, do humans sense the passage of time only because we are mortal? In other words, if humans were immortal, would the passage of time be immaterial?
I have realised that I think about strange things when I am not happy. I am not happy. In fact, I want to share exactly why I am not happy, but can not. So I try to think up of other things to write about – and strange things are pulled out from the attic upstairs.
I was watching a documentary about the last days of Birtish rule in
PS: I dont even know if ever anyone reads any of my blogs, simply because there are no comments. Please leave some if you can, just so I know whether I need to shift all this to my hard drive instead of blogger.
05 February, 2007
I had an exciting conversation with angel-boy*. As always, it is great fun talking to him and
there is never a dull moment. It is about the coming of the organised retail sector in India.
I have always felt that I missed the Y2K excitement because I was still in college. In a more direct manner, I missed out on an entry into the online travel circus which has started in India about a year back. I have always felt that there have been great many waves and I have never ridden one.
The next big one, actually an ongoing one - especially in India - Biotech - and I do not think anyone here would give me the time of day in this field.
So the next big thing - Organised retail in India.
Here is my version of what we think will happen -
- Immediate talent shortage in an already heated market will mean that people in sectors like hospitality, retail finance and FMCG sales will have the world of jobs and salaries to chose from. So many of my friends in these sectors - rejoice!
- Retail will not work in a vaccuum. All kinds of support and peripheral industries will rise and take shape. Cold storage chains, food processing units, RFID providers, SCM specialists, procurement companies - anyone already existing in such fields will grow about 2000 fold in the next 2-3 years.
(Much similar to the way auto component manufacturing is now well established in India - It all started more than two decades ago, when Maruti was set up. Back in those days, even the keyring sold with the car was imported!)
All these are going to be rich pickings for entrepreneurs - old and new. However, in my mind, the truer and larger opportunity exists elsewhere. The thing is that with organised retail, the market is growing, but at the hindu rate of growth. There are x million people who buy food. Five years from now, the same people and their children will be buying food, it is just that more and more of them will be buying it in an airconditioned shop with labelled prices and not from Guptaji.
I think that the real opportunity lies in the fact that with organised retail, the villages will become more integrated with the cities. Farmers will (I hope) have access to prices which will be closer to market prices. This is where the opportunity actually exists. Like for example, setting up "e-choupals" right next to where farmers get money. Selling crop insurance, commodity futures, even farm produce from elsewhere (farming regions will become more specialised) - this is a market which has not existed (Ever) in this country.
This is the opportunity I want to ride on.
Let us see when.
(* - His name actually tranlates to Angel. The day was also brilliant - Big breakfast, followed by three hours of rest, then a giant burger and beer followed by an excellent dinner after a few hours of sleep. I love Sundays)