Thursday, December 15, 2005

On my way... @HKG

Hong Kong airport is a pretty place... u can see the runway with the planes, with ships in the water behind... with mountains still behind.. all in one view!

Net access is free on the terminals they have provided, but wireless had to be paid for, a far cry from singapore airport.

Anyways.. I am sleep deprived [thanks to the economy class leg space] and busy working on my quals proposal which I have to show to Prof. in Goa.

Back to work now... keep smiling :-).

Luv and Luck,

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Yaar main India Chala!

Okay folks.. it is time for a small break.. I shall see how frequently I can blog from India, but internet access will be limited.

As promised, here is my itinerary:

Dec 15, 16 : Bombay
Dec 17, 18, 19 : Goa
Dec 20 : Air
Dec 21 - 26 : Mankapur [where my parents are, a place near Lucknow]
Dec 27 - 29 : Varanasi, where my alma mater is :-)
Dec 30 - Jan 1: Mankapur again
Jan 2 : Delhi
Jan 3 : taking off back to LA!

As I said, I would love to meet you folks when I am in India. If you are going to share the same city with me at the same time, please email me and we can meet.

Yeh thi khabrein aaj tak, intezaar kijiye kuch din baad tak!

Love and Luck,

Monday, December 12, 2005

Today's run.. and today's style

Ran 12 miles today... too tiring... finished my Gatorade in the first 3 miles... must remember to carry bigger bottle next time. As usual, here is the link.

In other news, I decided to get a new look after a long time. So here it is, my new beard style. Zack was kind enough to do a photo-shoot [those are his glasses :-)]

So.. whaddaya say?

I shall be landing in Bombay on 15th Dec evening and taking off from Delhi on 3rd Jan Afternoon. I shall soon post a detailed schedule, so that I can meet some of you when I am in India.

Already thinking of the samosas ..mmmmm..


Friday, December 09, 2005

The new.. and the old

Short post, since I am busy typing my wrist off on a paper due soon.

Go and see this video about the new meeting the old on the Indian-American scene. Hilarious. A really good job.

Thanks to Salim for the link.

back to typing...

Thursday, December 08, 2005

An eye for an eye!

[Info: The religious facts were initially told to be during a USC rapport group meeting by a Rabbi from the USC hillel center.]

Today I read this article [and many others] about the guy from Kerala who is stuck in Saudi Arabia and is sentenced to have his eye gouged out because he had a fight with a Saudi youth which resulted in the latter's eye getting hurt.

From the article:
Naushad, 33, hailing from Anchal in Kollam district, had been asked by a Shariat court in Saudi Arabia to give one eye to the person whose eye was damaged during a scuffle with him.

Now on to some discussion.

- On the surface, this seems barbaric, but this is the law in that country, isn't it? I mean we can say that death is too barbaric to someone smuggling drugs [as in Thailand], but then that is the law of the land.

- But then, one wonders, where does this law in Saudi Arabia come from? The answer is also simple, since we all have heard the oft-repeated phrase "an eye for an eye"

- And this is where it takes an interesting turn, when we read the details of the phrase.

The oral law of Judaism holds that this verse cannot be interpreted as mandating exact physical retribution. The rabbis of the Talmud ask, "How can any person be certain that the punishment they inflict is definitely no worse than the initial injury?" They answer that this is one indication that the Bible, when stating "an eye for an eye," does not refer to physical retribution. They proceed to cite several more indicators for this thesis.

The Oral Law explains, based upon the biblical verses, that the Bible mandates a sophisticated five-part monetary form of compensation, consisting of payment for "Damages, Pain, Medical Expenses, Incapacitation, and Mental Anguish" - which underlie many modern legal codes. Some rabbinic literature explains, moreover, that the expression, "An eye for an eye, etc." suggests that the perpetrator deserves to lose his own eye, but that biblical law treats him leniently. - (Paraphrased from Union of Orthodox Congregations website [1])

It should be noted that Judaism, while not allowing physical retribution for torts, does contain provisions for corporeal and capital punishment to be carried out for certain crimes under rare circumstances.

- So you see, the Jews interpret it differently, and say that God did not mean to literally remove the eye, but to provide compensation for it.

- But then, why should the Muslims in SA follow it?

- Actually, the verse comes from the Torah, which is held holy by the muslims also.

- So why is the punishment for this guy not a fine "equal in amount to the fee needed for a surgery to correct the injured youth's eye"

I wonder.. I wonder.., a nation which can boast of the highest scholars in the religion.. follows the trivial interpretation of a law written in hebrew and translated in english. [The literal translation from Hebrew means "an eye under an eye", with the word "under" interpreted in different ways]

Note that this is not a post against islam or shariyat laws, but the interpretation of this one particular law.

I would appreciate if people can shed more light on this topic.

here's hoping that things work out for the better for Naushad.

Don't even think of touching my basmati !

Slashdot has a nice reference to this article on BBC about how India is developing a database of ancient medicines to prevent stupid patents like the one on the healing powers of turmeric.

Lets hope this helps stop bio-piracy. Make sure to read the related articles mentioned on the BBC page.

P.S. Ran 7.8 miles today morning. Here is the route

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The X people are coming!

Yipee... if the trailor is anything to go by, X-III is going to be awesome.. I shall wait for it!

Here are links to the official movie site, the teaser trailor and the wikipedia entry.


P.S. Also check out hoodwinked .. a nice cute story.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Half a Marathon, and Indian Highways

Today we were supposed to run 10 miles, but thanks to Zack not realizing that the baseball field which we were supposed to see just before turning back was obscured by bushes, we ended up going a "little" over and the entire run was finally 13.1 miles! Here is a link to the path.

Now since a marathon is 26.2 miles, I think I can say that I just finished my first hald marathon! The time taken was 3 hours and 15 minutes, and I hope to improve it in time for the real marathon, but boy... it was fun! The run was along the Los Angeles river and it provided a nice atmosphere, although a bit stinky sometimes. Sad to see a river reduced to a drain.

Huge thanks to Mary Ann, who kept pushing me to keep running, and waited for me in the many times when I stopped to catch a breath. Thanks buddy!

In other news, I came across a nice article in the New York times yesterday [or today super-early morning] in the New York Times about the recent construction of the highway system in India. Read it here. If it asks for registration, use :-).

From the article
The highway itself brings change. For a nation inured to inefficiency, the improved interstate saves time - for Kailash Pandey, a milk-seller, one-third off a 90-minute commute to market; for Imtiaz Ali, 15, half off the bike ride to school; and half off the travel time for Sarjeet Singh, a trucker.

These micro gains make for macro benefit: some $1.5 billion a year in savings, by one World Bank estimate, on everything from fuel costs to faster freight delivery. More intangibly, the highway may turn India into a society in a hurry, enslaving it to the Western notion that time equals money.

Also, make sure u click on the "interactive feature" link ... nice audio commentry.

As usual, comments appreciated :-).

Friday, December 02, 2005

Postcard from Varanasi

[Info: Ran 7 miles yesterday morning. Here is the route.]

Gaurav sent me this link to a nice video about Varanasi.

Makes me nostalgic about all those years spent in ITBHU, and also about India.

Also it was interesting to see how westerners react to the Hindu way of cremation, since it is something new to them. I wonder when he will show a clip about the excellent food available in Varanasi :-).

Well, I shall be there in December.... yipee!!


Thursday, December 01, 2005

Failing ocean current raises fears of mini ice age

[submitted on slashdot just now]
New Scientist is reporting here that the warm currents that carry water north from the Gulf Stream are "stuttering", causing fears of an mini Ice Age style temperature reduction.

From the article:
Nobody is clear on what has gone wrong. Suggestions for blame include the melting of sea ice or increased flow from Siberian rivers into the Arctic. Both would load fresh water into the surface ocean, making it less dense and so preventing it from sinking, which in turn would slow the flow of tropical water from the south. And either could be triggered by man-made climate change. Some climate models predict that global warming could lead to such a shutdown later this century.

Time to get that fur coat out?


Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Guest Post: Why does it happen?

Sanjay Dani, the founder of [and a friend, philosopher, guide to me*] recently sent me his comments about a recent article in the Indian Express on the IOCL incident. This post is a reproduction of his mail [with permission]. Read on for an interesting take on the root cause of the existance of such a mafia.
* [update] The above statement has lost its validity as of Dec 2006, when he and I had a split [he choosing to call me names because I stood up to his autocracy]. The article is still good, and I ask you to read on.

Flawed policies and incentives to make billions through
illegal arbitrage and quality compromise in more civilized
countries rarely make their mafia/cartels justify murder risk.

1. Floating, i.e. unsubsidising, kerosene can't fully
insure _all_ adulteratives like pentane, benzene, heptane, etc.
will be priced at par with diesel and petrol. It may reduce
the financial incentive, not eliminate fully.

2. The author should consider rephrasing her statements (double
quotes are suggested additions) in order to not give undeserved
policy cover to the oil mafia in state/central govts:

a) The profits "and a non-enforceable criminal justice
system, as evident how the CBI/state policy let the
murderers and conspirators behind Satyendra Dubey's killing
get away" make murder an acceptable risk.

b) The responsibility of the murder lies with economic
policy "and the non-functional criminal justice system
that doesn't allow honest officers and prosecutors to
convict not just the murderers of Manjunath but the entire
conspirating mafia behind, even if leading to the CM's or
PM's office".

3. Market forces can deal with adulteration, i.e. the
recent decriminalizion after the anti-adulteration
CBI cells themselves were found to be corrupt, can work
only if the oil company management starts taking explicit
responsibility to shut off supplies to offenders based
on a mandatory sampling policies instead of leaving the
honest lone rangers like Manjunath to enforce the
raids/shutdowns physically on the site.

4. Market forces can deal with quality control only if
shareholders feel the heat from customer rejection and
are incentivized to make their management enforce quality.
When the shareholder is the government, i.e. no realtime
accountability that market forces depend on, the rakshaks
have more incentive being bhakshaks. So public sector
management can have it both ways: be on the payroll of
the adulteration mafia, as is surmised based on the fact
Manjunath was a rare exception, blame the lone rangers
for not enforcing quality control, and "the govt".

Despite all the flak (am sure much deserved) given to
private oil companies like Reliance it might be worth
reflecting customers are flocking to their petrol pumps.
Guess the Ambanis have more incentive to make money
from larger market share away from competition with
better service and product quality (unfortunately
monopolizing the supply side and abusing import policies,
irrelevant here) than splitting profits with the adulteration
mafia. That is how market forces have to be made to work.

We can't continue to have the bastardized systems: a
democracy with a sold-out justice system, market
forces with unaccountable shareholders like govts, and
"pro-poor" subsidy policies made by elected decision
makers on the take from the mafia that abuses subsidies.
Sanjay Dani
San Francisco

PS. It is okay to redistribute this message as long as
attributed to the author.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Another One Bites the Dust

I guess a lot of you know by now about the basic news about the IOCL guy who was shot for standing up to the truth... but read on for some recent developments. If you are not aware of this, make sure you read on!

It started when Ram and Karthik, my roommates, told me about their school and college friend who was gunned down recently. The story took some time to sink in, and it was evident that these types of incidents are what brings shame to mera bharat mahan. Makes one wonder if it is worth to choose to not take a dollar-paying MNC job after an IIML MBA and instead work for a PSU like IOCL in a place like U.P.

Well.. enough of my talk, here is what I would like you, the reader to do :

1. Visit the site that his friends have set up in his memory. Leave a comment to show your support.

2. Sign the petition that has been created for this effort. I know it may not have a concrete result, but trust me, a show of solidarity never goes waste. The higher-ups know that there are people who care. So sign it.

3. Spread the link of the website [] to all you know. It matters.. it really does.

4. If you have a blog/website, please post about it. If you have already talked about it, re-talk about it and post the link to their website. The more people visit it, the better.

Here's to you, Machan!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

8 miles.... many more to go

Ran 8 miles [12.88km] on Sunday morning with the USC marathon team.

Here is a link to the route.

It was fun... especially since my quads were still hurting from the cross training at the swimming pool on Friday evening. I could barely walk on Saturday... and seriously doubted by prospects for the 8 mile sunday run, especially since I had run only 4 miles in the whole week.

However, thanks to the support from Pankaj, Zack and the others... [thanks to Mary Ann and Cleo too, who constantly motivated me to run more.... I just envy their ability to be able to run slowly and steadily].. I finally made it.

I cannot quite experience the feeling you get after such a run... you just have to do it for yourself.

Looking forward to more such experiences... well.. we are training to run a whole 26.2 miles finally!

Gatorade is the friend... running is the dharma!

Love and Luck,
P.S. My quads still hurt... but I still managed to attend the first practice of "Vidushak", our Indian improv comedy group :-).

Friday, November 18, 2005

Colored Bubbles

Saw this on slashdot today. An inventor [and his Indian PhD friend] have invented a technique to make bubbles with color. See here for cool pictures, but if you want to read the whole article at once, go here.

From the article:
Tim Kehoe has stained the whites of his eyes deep blue. He's also stained his face, his car, several bathtubs and a few dozen children. He's had to evacuate his family because he filled the house with noxious fumes. He's ruined every kitchen he's ever had.

In other news, IT workers have been dubbed the worst dressed corporate employees.

That's it for now folks... I am going to order by color bubbles now :D.

Love and Luck,

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Meditation Builds up the Brain

New Scientist is reporting about a study conducted recently that clearly shows the benefits of meditation. Read it here.

From the article:
They found that meditating actually increases the thickness of the cortex in areas involved in attention and sensory processing, such as the prefrontal cortex and the right anterior insula.

“You are exercising it while you meditate, and it gets bigger,” she says. The finding is in line with studies showing that accomplished musicians, athletes and linguists all have thickening in relevant areas of the cortex. It is further evidence, says Lazar, that yogis “aren’t just sitting there doing nothing".

I myself have felt a difference in attitude, if nothing else, after starting meditation. The natural path group at USC is really a nice opportunity for students to enjoy the benefits of this great technique.

Enough typing... going off to the group meditation now!

Love and Luck

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Israel Chooses Indian PSLV To Launch New Spy Satellite is reporting that Israel is going to
use the PSLV
for its new satellite.

From the article:
In a controversial break from a longstanding military space policy of strategic self-reliance, Israel has decided to launch its next spy satellite aboard India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rather than its own indigenous Shavit rocket.

Great news I say... hurrah to Antrix Corp.!


Thursday, November 10, 2005

Heated Eco-Friendly Bras to save the world

Just submitted this on slashdot, lets see if this gets accepted.

According to this story at the BBC, Triumph has announced a bra with in-built gel pads that can be easily heated in a microwave or a hot water bottle.

They say this will reduce air conditioning costs, thus saving the environment.

From the article:

The bra comes with matching shorts, but is not being offered for general sale. Instead the set is being viewed as a prototype product, the first step towards mass-producing eco-friendly clothing.

I for one welcome our hot-bra'd overladies :-).

Picture Time

Okay all,
Here are two of my latest snaps.

Snap 1: My snap from the 100 year celebration of the Viterbi School of Engg. I was among the 10 odd students among a huge number of faculty and administrators. The stand-up comic was an engineer before, and he uses a powerpoint presentation :-).

Snap 2: This is from the 4 mile run during the marathon practice on Tuesday. Thanks to Zack for the snap. We run short runs thrice in the week and do a long run on Sundays. The aim is to finish the 26.2 mile run on March 19, 2006.

That's it for now folks.. back to work now!
Luv and Luck,

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Worst Software Bugs Ever

Sorry people for not posting for a while now, but things have become too hectic, with my quals proposal taking shape.

Anyways, here goes:

Wired news has a nice article about the worst software bugs in history [here].

Here is the link to the top rated posts on slashdot.

Love and Luck,
P.S. Read this article about how two women were arrested for going topless during a protest in Sacramento, while their male friend, who was also topless, was spared. A case of inequality of the sexes?

Friday, October 28, 2005

Updates on the Baby Dumping Case

The Daily trojan has a bunch of articles today about the Holly Ashcroft case, which was covered on this blog here and here before.

- Ashcraft case affects 2-9 cafe

- Sex ed may have impacted Ashcraft

- Media use of Facebook profile sparks discussion

The lawyers claim that the baby was stillborn, and the police report says that the baby was 30-32 weeks in gestation only. I wonder why they cannot just check for inflated lungs and verify once and for all about the stillbirth, since the baby's lungs swell only when she takes her first breath, outside the mother's body.

The last two articles raise a couple of interesting questions - can a newspaper get sued for breaching copyright [of the facebook, in this case]? Does teaching an abstinence-only sex-ed really help?

Interesting are the days we live in... so much changing... so fast...


Speaker of the House has a blog now!

From this Slashdot post, the speaker of the house of representatives of the US has a blog now! Go read it!

This is interesting ... I wonder how much time it will take our very own Lok Sabha Speaker to have his own blog, and what will he write about? [silence silence.. please shaant ho jaaiye :-)]

Luv and Luck,
P.S. I have been busy with my quals proposal... hence the lull in blogging... but don't worry... the storm will return!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

BNT : Doorways

Brooke is from Illinois, brought up by a single mother, and she came to California to study on a scholarship.

She has only 2 friends, her roommate Carrie, a typical LA girl, and Alex, a smart student who is 2 years senior to her and whom she loves.

BNT's Doorways is Brooke's story, told to the audience sometimes through a monologue, sometime through enacted scenes. Told on a very special occasion [see the play to find out more :-)].

It is the story of how the big city college life affects a simple, small city freshman girl for whom this is the first time among strangers. It is the story of how misunderstandings can spoil relationships. It is a love story that begins with a kiss, rather than end at it, as Brooke says in the opening act.

And I am one bowled-over audience member!

From 8 to 10pm today, Danielle Faitelson kept on speaking, sometimes alone, facing a spotlight, sometimes with others enacting a scene. The story was composed of so many flashbacks and present day things, one would expect it to crumble in front of a friday-night audience. However, Daniel Frey's writing stood up to all these tests, at times predictable, at times shocking.

When it was over, the performers were given a standing ovation [I must say I was one of the first ones to stand], and a standing ovation they deserved, for a play well executed!

The range of emotions shown by Danielle was amazing, especially considering that she did not have breaks in between, and was present in all the scenes, facing the audience in a spotlight frontstage for nearly 40% of the play. I mean how many people can come back with a straight face just after a superbly executed sentimental scene? And that too for multiple times in a 2 hours, no breaks play!

Credit is also due to Nicholas Rutherford, Amanda Klein, Winthrop Ellsworth and Jessica Perlman for their powerful performances, Daniel Frey and Natalie Miston for their wonderful direction, and Griffin Behm, Chelsea Bardellini and Andre Rosa for handling the lights and the playbill.

Great job! If you are around USC, I recommend going to this play. It is playing on saturday and sunday also. [Sunday 2pm I am told.]. Entry is FREE, although you should help these bright students out with your donations!

That's all for tonight... sleep well people!

Luv and Luck,

Friday, October 21, 2005

Touchy-Feely Engineers, Skid Row and Hunger

Abhishek sent this amazing article [alt link, alt PDF link] about an engineer's account and how apparently girls think we can be too "you know, very logical and everything... not very touchy feely".

A nice article, I would recommend all you engineers and engineer's friends ;-) to go read this.

Well, speaking of myself, I have been feeling very moved recently reading this chain of articles about the people on skid row here in LA, the dark underbelly of Los Angeles, less than 4 miles from where I live. The author talks about how people die everyday in this area from drug overdoses, and prostitution occurs in portable toilets... the list goes on and on. Remember to read from part 1 onwards. It is really worth the time.

There is also this moving article about this musician who lives there because he is ill, but gets a chance to visit the Disney Concert Hall.

Very touchy.... and people label us engineers as non-touchy!

Luv and Luck,
P.S. I and a bunch of friend are participating in the fast-a-thon today. No food or water since sunrise. I have deep respect for all muslims who fast for the whole month!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Railways allege that Bangalore Techie was at fault!

Note: Please read till the bottom and if possible, send a protest email to stir the conscience of the officials responsible. Email address after the article.

Apparently, the railways officials are alleging that Nimish, whose case was reported here earlier, was drunk while taking to the Ticket Collector and did NOT furnish his ticket!!! They say that Nimish withdrew his complaint was because he realized his mistake. The news was in TOI page 3 of Bangalore edition. [Can someone please post a link to it?] [update: here is the link, thanks to a friend who emailed it to me.]

However, according to this post on Nimish's blog, he had withdrawn his complaint after a request from DCM Anwar Hussain, so that the people responsible, who were then apologetic, did not have to suffer more.

So a decent man takes his complaint back and what does he get? Allegations that his story was false??? Not fair I say.

We all are with you Nimish. You did a good job and I am sure the next time something like this happens, the victim will not stop after listening to a verbal apology, but will take then culprits to court. Thanks for showing us all how to fight for justice and how low these guys can go.

I was chatting with Nimish some time ago and he gave me the email ID of the DCM, who should be ashamed of himself for saving his people while killing justice!

So people, I request you to send emails to Mr. Anwar at letting him know that he has shamed all of his railway official community by taking the side of the wrong-doers.

Thanks all... and Thank you Nimish for being bold through all this!

Luv and Luck,

Monday, October 17, 2005

School scores versus JEE ranks - interesting study

So apparently, students who did well in school topped classes better in the JEE schools [if they qualified JEE, that is] than the ones with just great JEE ranks and bad high school marks.

Read more here.

I guess this goes on to show the fact that learning over a long period of time is different from learning for a specific exam.

Or does it show that our education system makes the sharp-brained JEE high scorers bored with what they have to offer? I personally saw a couple people (with better JEE ranks that I) getting horrible grades in ITBHU with me, but excelling in what they liked at the same time.

I wonder ... I wonder... any gyan from you, dear reader?

In other news, I named my steed [my bike, thanks to Gaurav who donated it to me when he graduated and we ceased to be roommates].

His name is Rocinante, named after the horse of Don Quixote :-). Whaddaya say?

And for those of you who do not know, my car's name is Jean-Luc Accord, after him.

Anyways, enough for this post, now back to work!

Luv and Luck,

Sunday, October 16, 2005

USC Student had done it before also ?

Apparently, the USC student who I talked about in my previous post (the one who dumped her baby into a dumpster) was involved in something similar last year also.

I wonder what goes on in the mind of someone to do this. As I once read - "hate the behavior, not the person", but one cannot help but think about the cause of such behavior.

In other news, today was the 4th consecutive day of my daily noon swim, and I LOVE the water. I tried flippers on my feet today and it was a totally different experience - cannot believe how fast one goes with them! Lets hope I can continue doing it.

That's all for now folks.

Luv and Luck,
P.S. I went to Jaimey's last 2nd nature show last night .. :-(.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Of birth and death... and right and wrong

Today M sent me this link to an article about a couple welcoming their 16th child into this world.

Sadly, last night I saw no less than 4 media vans near the 29th street cafe near my house. Upon asking one of the mediapersons, I was told that the cops had found the girl (a USC student) who had dumped her new-born baby in a dumpster. The baby was found dead some days ago.

Read the article about it here.

The saddest part is that the girl chose to abandon the baby, although by law one can abandon a baby at any fire station [there is one very close to where the baby was found], and no questions are asked. I wonder what made her choose to kill a newborn.

One can assume that she thought that the baby will survive, but lets be reasonable... how long can a baby that small [the umbilical chord was still attached] survive in a cardboard box in a dumpster?

What do you say, dear readers? I am sure you hold a variety of views on this.

Curry and Rice girl

And now for some humor.... here is a hilarious video I came across.
Go see the curry and rice girl video!


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Happy Birthday Amitji

11th October is the birthday of Amitabh Bachhan, probably the greatest Bollywood star ever.

However, here is the take : he is not celebrating his birthday. Read this for more.

Now this is a true gentleman! Way to go Amitji!

P.S. Happy Dusshera and VijayaDashami to all.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Bangalore Update and Durga Puja Prayers for Asylum inmates

Nimish Adani, the ITBHU guy who was man-handled in Bangalore railway station recently, has a blog now. Go check it out here.

In other news, the Times of India is running an article about the ladies in Ranchi Asylum who are cured now but have been deserted by their families.

From the article:
More than 30 women are still living in the campus despite being cured because their family members have deserted them.

"When any festival is celebrated we miss our family members. This year I will pray to the goddess for going back to my home," said Rajani (name changed), a patient from Bihar. Several women echoed her sentiments.
Read the article here.

I pray for these women, in addition to the thousands who were affected by the recent south asia earthquakes.


Saturday, October 08, 2005

Bangalore News, IgNoble Awards and my Detective Work

So, my blog got 650+ hits on day 1, followed by 1200+ hits the next day after posting about the incident that happened in Bangalore!!!

The comments indicate that some good things have happened, including coverage in the Times of India, the Deccan Herald and even NDTV. I have been told that an IPS officere who is an ITBHU alumnus has taken this up with his seniors. More details will be posted on this blog as I get them. Our best wises to Nimish.

Also, this incident lead to the creation of my latest crazy idea. Go read it!

In other news [from slashdot], the 2005 IgNoble awards have been announced. My favorite one is

LITERATURE: The Internet entrepreneurs of Nigeria, for creating and then using e-mail to distribute a bold series of short stories, thus introducing millions of readers to a cast of rich characters -- General Sani Abacha, Mrs. Mariam Sanni Abacha, Barrister Jon A Mbeki Esq., and others -- each of whom requires just a small amount of expense money so as to obtain access to the great wealth to which they are entitled and which they would like to share with the kind person who assists them.
If you are not getting what I am talking about, read this page.

If even other news, I was instrumental in the recovery of a duffle bag full of stolen stuff next to my house last night, not to mention the apprehension of the culprit. I shall soon be sent summons and will be a witness in court! Life gets exciting here in downtown Los Angeles! Wish me luck.. I intend to uphold the truth :-) !

That's all for today folks... now go and watch the first 9 minutes of Serenity for free here .. and then go watch the real movie :-).

Monday, October 03, 2005

Nexus between railways officials and fraudsters in Bangalore!!

Hi all,
A fellow ITBHU alumnus sent this today. I was extremely moved by what happened to him, and deeply respect him for the courage shown. Please read on and help him in his effort, by letting your friends know about this, if nothing more.

And yes.. this is NOT a hoax letter. I know this person.


I would like to bring to notice a certain injustice that I have subjected to at the Bangalore Railway Station (Majestic). On September 30 (Friday), 2005, I had been to the station to see off my fiance and her mother. They took the Karnataka Express (Train #2627) to Jhansi at 6:30 pm.

On my way out I was asked to present my platform ticket by a railway official. On producing the same, the TT turned around and told me "What if I say that you haven't given me the ticket?" Before I could react, he along with his colleague pushed me into the adjacent enquiry cabin and physically manhandled me. I was slapped several times, my spectacles were grabbed and deliberately crushed by foot, and my phone was flung away from me. The RPF comprising of one RPF and four constables, appeared on the scene. The surrounding public was whisked away. None of the railway police officials cared to listen to me and they started hitting me indiscriminately with lathis. They dragged me out, and all the 4 constables continued hitting me with lathis from Platform 1 to Platform 3/5, till we reached the station master's cabin. Racist abuses and threats were made on the way. At the station master's cabin, I was told that I have been charged with a non-ba! ilable offence and would be behind bars for 15 days.

Not for a single moment was I allowed to speak. All of a sudden a stranger came to the scene and he claimed that he was there to help me. Having lost all my physical strength and mental senses, I was happy to see some sort of help. He, claiming to be V Srinivas from Infosys, talked to the officials and the railway police in Kannada. He told me that the only way I was to get out was if I was willing to pay my way through. Being in no state to make a rational choice, I gave him my ATM card and pin. He took one of the RPF chaps along with him and said he would clear the matter. He returned some time later saying that everything was okay now.

I was asked to sign a statement which said that I hit the police and TT in a drunken state. I refused. Finally, they pressurized me to write that I did not produce a platform ticket when asked. I wrote the same and then V Srinivas took me out of the station. He joined me in an auto and took me to the ICICI ATM at Anand Rao circle. He withdrew Rs. 15000 from my ATM and got back. he took the cash under the pretext that while helping me he had left his wallet in the train he had left behind and that he would return the same through his ICICI Internet account. Having broken down mentally I did not realise that I was being cheated. He then took me to a Samsung showroom and tried purchasing a cellphone worth Rs. 18500 with my card. It was only then that I realised what was happening. I grabbed my card back, caught him by the collar, snatched my cash that lay in his pocket, and got into a running auto.

I have now realized that all of this was a plan. There is a strong nexus between the railway officials, the railway police and the fraudster. The railway officials identify a victim who they think is well-to-do, the RPF beat that individual till he has no physical or mental well-being. Then this fraud chap comes on to the scene, takes advantage of the situation, and takes all your cash away. Also, this series of events generally occurs on the last day of the month as they know that the salary gets credited on this day. (This strikes me now because the self-proclaimed Infy employee, V Srinivas, clearly asked me whether I had received my salary. He said that he just wanted to find out if there was cash enough to tackle the case.)

Now three days hence, I have tried to run from pillar to post. I have been forced to miss office hours in my effort to get justice. But I don't want to give up the fight midway. If any of you are in the media, or have friends/relatives who are in the industry, I'd like to speak with them about this in greater detail. I can be reached on 09886179319 or 08030933067. I believe it would catalyze my efforts.

Also, please pass this email to all the people who reside in Bangalore, so that they don't fall into the same trap.

Nimish V Adani
IIML Batch of 2003
ITBHU Batch of 2001

Friday, September 30, 2005

Nifty things to pep up your windows

Hey all,
I know a lot of you still use windows [how else do I get voice chat on Yahoo!IM]... but there is hope....

Slashdot today had a post about pepping up your windows machine with open source software.. a must read I must say. [repetition intended :-) ]

Here are the top rated slashdot comments on the post, for more gyan!

And I got my first 5 moderator points on slashdot 2 days ago.. :-).

That's it for now... bye

Luv and Luck,

Coming soon: An Indian's tale of "differences" seen in America... guess whose ;-)

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Two movies to watch out for

Came across the following two movie trailers today:

North Country

The Greatest Game Ever Played

Nice movie ideas... I would love to watch them and get to know more about these wonderful people.

It is nice to know that the Indian guys are also making movies about national heros... after Mangal Pandey, I hear that a movie is being made on Rani Lakshmibai by Sushmita Sen.

Luv and Luck,
P.S. the AIS Garba is coming up this weekend... way to go!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Someone Loves Me :-)

I got my TA feedback for Spring 2005 back today. Nice to know that the students liked my teaching - the biggest negative point: I speak too fast :P.

The best part was the image below.... well.. I love you too [just as I love all my students]! :-)

Cute... what do you think?

In other news, I saw this page about vintage bollywood posters on boingboing today. Really cool!


Thursday, September 15, 2005

Sea Lions causing havoc in harbor

I read an article in my free paper-copy of the LA Times today [simply love the "paper" feel... after reading so much stuff online] about how Sea Lions have sunk boats in Newport Harbor. Here it is.

Apparently, they are also causing Noise pollution.

From the article:
"A barking dog doesn't hold a candle to this. It's like 40 barking dogs — in SurroundSound"

Interesting... lets see how this works out.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Marry me : I love your sibling!

Got this story from various sources about how a 19 year old girl entered into a contract marriage with her lover's elder brother since the guy was not of age [he is 19 while in India, guys need to be 21 to get married].

Good one. A smart move - or is it? The girl's mom has expressed concern as to what if the current husband does not divorce the girl and/or the guy does not want to marry the girl. Given that a lot of "love" that happens at this age is not really long-lasting, I can only pray for this couple [I mean the one that wants to get married, not the one which is married on paper].

This brings me to the next point, about how a good friend of mine, a grad student at USC, has been thinking of entering into a similar "contract marriage" with some grad student girl so that he can get the cheaper and better USC family housing. If someone in Gujarat can do this, why cannot someone in LA ??

P.S. Found this cool CD of "Rishi Kapoor" songs... amazing... also found a CD of "Shammi Kapoor" songs today.. life is good.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

More on the new JEE pattern

It is official now, the pattern of the IIT-JEE has changed effective Monday Sep. 12, 2005. [more reports on the same]

We talked about it before on this blog, and here are the final changes: [link to full text of official press release]

1. You must have at least 60% in class XII.
2. You can appear only twice - once in the year when you are taking your class XII exam and once in the next year.
3. The JEE would include short write-ups on various topics followed by objective questions based on the write-up.
4. No screening.. only one exam.
5. Those choosing to take a seat for the first time cannot reapprear the next year.

I really like point 3 - makes it kinda like reading comprehension of GRE and other tests. I am waiting to see some questions like that.

These rules look kinda nice... I mean 60% is not too unachievable a score.

The only controversial thing I see here is the "take-JEE-only-twice" limit. You can see that this is basically meant to discourage coaching institutions, but is it fair?

And what about point 5 - is it fair or a bit too much?

As always, I [and other readers] shall wait for your comments. Please don't forget to leave your name and other details while commenting.

Ph.D Student, Univ. of Southern California

Thursday, September 08, 2005

New Orleans vs Mumbai - a new look

I got the following the other day in email... from a variety of sources, and felt strongly about it. My comments follow the contents of the email

[click here to skip this and jump to my comments]

[begin email content]

New Orleans vs. Mumbai

I couldnt' stop forwarding you this comparison...

Inches of rain in new orleans due to hurricane katrina... 18”
Inches of rain in mumbai (July 27th).... 37.1”

population of new orleans... 484,674
population of mumbai.... 12,622,500

deaths in new orleans within 48 hours of katrina...100
deaths in mumbai within 48hours of rain.. 37.

number of people to be evacuated in new orleans... entire city..wohh
number of people evacuated in mumbai...10,000

Cases of shooting and violence in new orleans...Countless
Cases of shooting and violence in mumbai.. NONE

Time taken for US army to reach new orleans... 48hours
Time taken for Indian army and navy to reach mumbai...12hours

status 48hours Orleans is still waiting for relief, army and electricity
status 48hours later. Mumbai is back on its feet and is business is as usual's most developed nation
India...third world country..

[end email content]

This is what I feel on this
I think the author of this email [and people who are forwarding this gleefully] are forgetting one very interesting and important statistic:

Number of Levees broken in Mumbai : 0
Number of Levees broken in New Orleans : 1

Please do not forget that the crisis in New Orleans is not due to rainfall, but due to the breaking of the levees that protected this low lying city from the waters of the adjoining lake. That is what caused the submerging of the city and the need for evacuating all its inhabitants.

I shudder to think what would have happened to Mumbai if 80% or more of the city would have gotten under 8 feet or more of water. Add to that the fact that New Orleans is situated under sea level and the water will not just flow out.

People, credit should be given when it is due [like this post on the Indian voting machines doing a better job compared to the American ones] , but not every opportunity should be used to promote the cause of how India is so much better.

I wish that this article reaches the guys happily forwarding this email - and they see the point, or the lack theirof, in this action.

Also, I request all of you to come forward and help out with the relief efforts going on for the people affected by the hurricane. And yes, please stop forwarding that email.


Saturday, September 03, 2005

A moving article from the LA times about the situation in New Orleans

I read the following article in my copy of the LA times today.

A Rescue Team Reaches Only Despair

This, along with other articles about the situation in New Orleans, where 80% of the city is inundated currently and rescuers are being fired at by angry people.

One wonders why someone would shoot rescuers, but then what do you expect from a man who sees his mother dying while he can see ambulances taking people away. A really sad situation.

Another thing that this whole issue has made me feel about is the Mumbai Rains recently... are situations worse in New Orleans? Can one even speak of better or worse in such calamities?

I _so_ wish I did not have obligations here in LA, so that I could go and help out there [both New Orleans and Mumbai]. My friends from Mumbai tell me that what is needed in Mumbai now is people, since the money is coming, but the number of volunteers is less. I am sure similar situations are going to arise in New Orleans also soon.

Vidhya and I decided to include the people affected by this hurricane in our 9pm meditation prayer.

I gave a small amount today to the Red Cross box kept in the department office. I intend to fast for a day and pray for the people there. Also to give the money I save by fasting that day [$20 ?] to the Red Cross... can you also do something like that ... please?

P.S. Just read this article about how the superdome may be emptied by tonight. My prayers go to all those affected by this great tragedy.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Major changes in the JEE proposed - but will they be any good?

The Times of India is reporting about the proposed changes in the JEE in this article.

The 4 main changes proposed by the committee headed by Dr. C.N.R. Rao are:

1. The syllabus should be of the level of class XII
2. Have only one exam instead of two [this process lasted until 1999, when I took the exam, after which the two-stage process was introduced.]
3. Make it a purely objective test.
4. You must have 60% in the XII exam to qualify.

Some questions come to my mind... and I do not have answers to them.. maybe you - my learned readers can comment and shed some light.

1. With the exam being completely objective, how will students get to show that they "almost" know.. something that was possible with partial grading in the long form ?

2. How are they going to check the 60% in the XII rule... if students have just appeared for their XII boards and the results are not out? Or do they want only people who are one year beyond their class XII to take the JEE. What happens if someone is the victim of bad grading in the board exams... as is rampant all over.

3. The syllabus will be of class XII level, but which board? The article says that this will help the "poor students", but then what about the poor students in the villages who have access only to the state boards, which may not cover the same topics?

Welll.. this is my list... I am all in for the objectives [get rid of the coachings, make it non-finance dependent while maintaining the standards], but somehow the recommendations do not make sense to me.

what say you.. my learned audience?

Please post comments, and leave behind your association with the JEE, if any, and your present status.

JEE 1999
PhD Student, Univ. of Southern California.

Saturday, August 20, 2005


Yesterday was Rakhi!

So, Neha sent me a Rakhi, which reached me on time, I mean at least the envelop and the letter, since USPS decided to rip off the Rakhi in transit.

I got a rakhi from the Indian store near USC and Vidhya tied it to me. We had Karachi Halwa as the sweet :-).

Happy Rakhi to all my sisters! Miss you all!!!


Friday, August 19, 2005

E = mc^2

The famous mass to energy conversion equation is now 100 years old!

Nova has a bunch of audios and videos on the topic.

The Slashdot comments are here. Read the chicken crossing the road one.. hilarious!

P.S. Happy Rakhi to all of you... all you guys.. beware... do not go to meet your crush on this day :-)... and all the bhais... take care of your sisters!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Kenyan Porcupines, Problem or food ?

M sent an article about Porcupines causing problems in Kenya which is a nice read.

Read the comment about Shikari Shambhu :-).

P.S. Go to the AIS Blog for the snaps of our I-day flag hoisting at USC!
P.P.S. My review of Mangal Pandey is taking shape, but I recommend you to watch it while you wait for my review :D

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Adi Godrej: Middle class billionaire

M sent me the link to this nice article about how Adi Godrej, the CMD of the Godrej Group, is a middle class billionaire.

From the article:
[He] says he uses products made by his companies only, as they give value for money.

Cute.. isn't it?

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Trailer of Munnabhai meets Mahatma Gandhi! has a nice trailer of MunnaBhai M.M.G. M.M.G bole toh - meets Mahatma Gandhi!

Apparently, this movie has Munna, Circuit and the Father of the Nation as the protagonist!

Lets see if Vidhu Vinod Chopra is able to create the magic again!


Sunday, August 07, 2005

Nothing is as big as your first love :-)

Saw the trailer of Little Manhattan today.

Cute... very cute.

Go check it out!
P.S. also see the trailer of Fun with Dick and Jane, hilarious. [What else can you expect from Jim Carrey]

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Catch a stray cow... get INR2000

This is a fictional scene... in view of this news about stray cow rewards, sent to me by M.

[on the street.. A finds a cow..]
A - hrrrrr... tak tak taka..... hrrrrrr hrrrr.....

[Cow kicks A....]

[in the municipal office]
A - Sir, I could not get the cow.. but if u make a fake case for me, I
shall split the money 50/50
Clerk [with paan] - Baat ta aap theekey kar rahe hain.. waise bhi
sasur subah se koi gai nahi aayi hai.... [fills form] .. yahaan
angootha laga do!


Rent : Seasons of Love

I came across this wonderful trailer of the movie rent today. Go and listen to it.

Read the lyrics too.

Simply wonderful... cute :-).


Wednesday, August 03, 2005


Varun has written a nice piece about the Mumbai rains. Go on and read the Washup..

Sad to know about so much devastation. We prayed tonight for all the affected people after our meditation.


Tuesday, August 02, 2005

National Awards for Indian Movies

Very late reporting [news of July], but I just came across an article about the national awards this year. I wonder how many of you were knowing about the results.

Bunch of nice movies... I wonder why "Black" did not get anything.

So what do you think.. which movies will win next year?

Monday, August 01, 2005

Detailed account of Mumbai rains

I got this in email. Amazing details. Credits are due to the author [I don't know who, please let me know if you know].

Here is the almost hour-to-hour account of Mumbai rains:

Monday 10.00 pm: Heavy rain lash city. Mumbai sleeps. BMC sleeps.

Tuesday 6.00 am: Heavy rain lash city. Mumbai wakes up. BMC continues sleeping.

Tuesday 11.00 am: Rain continues. Office goer continues. BMC continues (sleeping).

Tuesday 12.00 noon: Rain carries on. People carry on with their routine, enjoying the clogged water up to knee level, remembering the last time they had gone to the sea at Juhu and Chowpatty and had such enjoyment. Unfortunaltely, they don't know it is the same sea water (mixed with rainwater) that they are getting in the streets, as BMC carries on with sleep and allows sea water to come in at high tide instead of flushing rainwater out at low tide.

Tuesday 3.00 pm: BMC wakes up, but yawns. Municipal commissioner Joseph says thngs are not bad. And since they have done a good job of "Naale ki saphaai" before monsoon, there is no cause to worry. But the average Mumbaikar is blessed with a brilliant sense of intuition thanks to Siddhivinayak, and he openly tells tv channels who interview that this rain seems "unusual", and the BMC or Joseph cannot be trusted.

Tuesday 4.00 pm: The average office-going Mumbaikar realizes his hunch was right after all and drops whatever he was doing at the office to get on the way to home. But it's too late. An areal view from a helicopter of star TV confirms the historic fact that Mumbai indeed was made up of 7 islands!

Tuesday 7.00 pm: Reports start coming in that all roads are clogged with water from knee-deep to 12 feet, traffic jams on all the arterial roads of the city from Eastern Express Highway to LBS Marg to Western Express Highway to SV Road, with traffic cops either drowned or deserted. Air strip is flooded with water 6 feet high, and domestic and international airports are closed until further notice. CNN announces for its viewers that both domestic and international runways are closed for traffic. Apparently they do not know we have only one landing strip. Indians can fool ALL the people ALL the time!

Tuesday 8.00 pm: On one hand, Police commissioner AN Roy, municipal commissioner Johnny Joseph (son of a very foresighted parents if they could name him "Johnny" 55 years ago), and chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh try to reassure the city that efforts are being made to extend all help to commuters. On the other hand all radio jockeys and TV channels urged commuters to either go back to office or stay where they are but NOT to try to advance. Luckily, the people in trouble KNEW whom to trust, and most of them went back to office.

Tuesday, 9 pm: All telephone networks got jammed, landline as well as mobile. Reliance Infocomm yet again confirmed that it is the worst telephone service ( I have a reliance, so this is first hand info). Among mobiles, Orange and BPL at least honestly died on the spot—No network. But Reliance wasted a zillion man-hours of people who kept on dialing in the hope that if the network bar is showing FULL signal strength, how come the calls are not going through? (That at least settled the question as to who is the smarter Ambani. It's clearly Mukesh who started the Infocomm and slyly palmed it off to his brother Anil when they split.)

Tuesday, 10 pm: Vilasrao Deshmukh announced Wednesday as holiday, asking people to stay wherever they were until the situation improved.

Tuesday, 11.30 pm: Nearly 2 and half lakh vehicles (with nearly 1 million people stranded in them) started resigning to their fate. First they blew horns, then cursed the traffic cops and the rain, then came out and tried looking into the distance, then some of them abandoned their cars while others switched of the lights and went to doze off in the vehicle.

Tuesday, 12.00 midnight: Entire suburbs power went off, another Reliance company adding to the woes of the public. Interestingly, another company given to Anil Ambani by Mukesh.

Wednesday, 5.30 am: All TV channels once again proved that keep on chasing stories and story angles of all the other channels all the time. "Breaking news" was SAME all through the night, visuals were better on Star TV and NDTV 24/7, the Sabse Tez channel Aaj Tak was Sabse Lousy! Their ad breaks were really getting on nerves! Who will tell Aaj Tak that their Bhaiyya reporters (like Poonya Prasoon Vajpayee, Prabal Pratap Singh et al) are a real pain for the Mumbaikars to watch? This once-upon-a-time leading news channel is SURELY going to the dogs! At least for the Mumbai viewers, ads and the Bhaiyyas are big put offs.

Wednesday, 7.00 am: Shockingly, NOT A SINGLE TV CHANNEL reported more than two deaths in Mumbai until the 7.00 am news. And today they are putting the figure at 200+ for humans and 1,500 for buffaloes. By the way, 300 buffaloes faced tragic death in Kama Estate in Goregaon East, when water level in their stable suddenly rose. The tragic part was that buffaloes, if left to themselves, can easily swim/float in water, but these helpless creatures died because they were TIED BY A CHAIN IN THEIR STABLES AND THERE WAS NO ONE TO LET THEM FREE. (I instantly made a decision to add an extra peg to my regular quota in the evening to mourn the death of my old neighbours in such large number.)

Wednesday, 8.30 am: The channels reported that the Indian Navy was asked for help to send in boats from Mahim causeway to rescue people stranded in Kurla where the water level was rising alarmingly. The entire nation took in the news normally with their breakfast, but the Mumbaikars skipped a heartbeat. Mahim to Kurla in a boat? Never heard of that! But areal pics from planes confirmed that it was no joke. Mahim to Kurla by water route was the only reality.

Wednesday, 10 am: Johnny, AN Roy and Vilas (looked like he spent the night with "Gilaas") were interviewed by every news channel. They squarely blamed it onto rain gods by saying that this was the greatest rainfall in 24 hours in the recorded history, so all systems failed. They looked secretly happy that the name of Cherapunji in Assam will now be erased from the geography books and replaced with Mumbai. They almost boasted Mumbai registered 944 mm of rain in one day as compared to Cherapunji whose record was only 840 mm. But by that time, no one was really watching these dumbasses. All eyes were on the bottom strip on every TV channel which carried messages from people missing and people looking for them. This was perhaps the greatest service by the channels. (Curiously, star TV made a fool of themselves when they found parents of a young girl lodging a missing complaint at the police station, and offered to find their daughter for them. The whole search operation, tracing the girl and making numerous calls, was filmed live until finally they were able to locate the girl. Ironically, the girl from Kandivali was found enjoying life with her boyfriend in a flat at Washi. It then transpired that she had left with him on Monday itself (when there was no rain) on the pretext of "looking for a job in Bandra Kurla complex with her friend Manoj". The parents were then hurriedly asked to "thank Star TV" for their help in operation "bichhade hue phir mile", and the official comment from the channel said "the girl had gone to her "would-be" in laws' place in Washi with her "would-be" husband." They forgot to add that she might have returned to her parents with a "would-be" child.)

Wednesday, evening: News of gloom, gloom and only gloom. The death toll all over the state started mounting up to 700 as reports from Raigad and other parts of Konkan came in. Landslides, drowning deaths, stampede due to rumours, electrocution, people being blown away by water were some of the causes. The worst news came when it was discovered that a bus with 16 passengers was wading its way through knee deep water in Kalina when suddenly the adjacent nullah overflowed breaking the wall, and all 16 passengers were drowned in a minute, leaving them no chance to even look for the exit door.

Wednesday, night 9.00 pm: The state government announced the next day, Thursday, also as holiday. The meteorological department had issued a warning that heavy rains would continue for the next 36 hours and people should refrain from leaving home for office, and ironically, leaving office for home too. When I heard it, my joy knew no bounds. I kissed my wife who was setting the table for dinner, told my daughter to set alarm for her college at 6 in the morning and called my sports editor at Mid Day NOT to cancel the meeting scheduled for the next day. "Are you mad," he shouted over the wire, "you must be drunk!" "No," I replied, "the weather bureau says the rain will continue, and looking at their record, this could be our only hope that things will return to normal," I said.

P.S. No need to mention I was dead right. The rain vanished, the sun returned, and life was restored to normal on Thursday.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Amazing adult[?] video!

The guys at badmash have posted this trailer of their latest video. With a title like "Girls Gone Badmash", I am sure a this will find a lot of takers..

so go on ... see it ... and let me know how you liked it :-).


Thursday, July 28, 2005

A revolution in India education

M sent me this article about a revolution in Indian education, from

It is really nice to know about these things. I hope things get better with this new addition.

Back to work now!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Highest-ever rain in India's history

M sent me this article about the highest-ever rain in India's history, which happened in Mumbai recently.

Pictures here.

My heart goes to all Mumbaikars and all others affected by these rains. I shall pray for them.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Nice Game

Anupam sent this very interesting puzzle.

Zack and I solved it in 10 minutes. Lets see what you do! Remember to post your solutions in the comments section.

"Mr. A chooses a digit and Mr. B puts it anywhere in place of one of these 8 dashes -

_ _ _ _ - _ _ _ _

(So these are actually two 4 digit numbers, one being subtracted from the other )

Now Mr. A repeatedly keeps on the choosing a digit and giving it to Mr. B and Mr. B keeps on putting it in somewhere in place of the dashes, till all the dashes fill up.

Now the game is that Mr.A is trying to maximize the final difference (which will be obtained after finally subtracting these two numbers), and Mr. B is trying to minimize it.

What difference will be obtained if both players play their best in the game :-)"

Answers to FAQs:
- Numbers from 0 to 9, repetition allowed. The "difference" we are talking about here is algebraic, so negative numbers are smaller than positive numbers.


Saturday, July 23, 2005

Google maps go hybrid

This had to happen.
Today I was looking at google maps to plan a hike, and I see a new button next to the "satellite" and "maps" button. I click on "hybrid" and viola! I can now see street names superimposed on satellite maps!

see for yourself

Too cool... The hike planning went well... lets see what happens tomorrow!


Thursday, July 21, 2005

The day of the teacher

Guru Gobind dou khade
Kake lage pamv
Balihari Guru apno
jin Gobind diyo batai
-- [Bhojpuri couplet/doha written by Kabir]

If Guru and Govinda [the Supreme Consciousness] appear simultaneously, you
have to pay your obeisance to Guru only, because the Guru made you realize

Today [July 20, 2005] is Guru Purnima, the day hindus thanks their gurus for the knowledge they have imparted them.

Thank you all! All the way from kindergarten to grad school... teachers have taught me a lot. Thanks also to all those from whom I have learnt the ways of life, most importantly my parents!

P.S. For some more dohas of Kabir, go here

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Oil meant for Indian Army replaced with water!

Many sources are reporting on how Oil is being siphoned off from tankers to Ladakh meant for the Indian Army!

This is sad. I believe that such crimes [that harm the defense system] should be more severely punished.

In other news... go and see Google Moon


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Hiking at Temescal Canyon

This is my snap during the hike at Temescal Canyon on Saturday.

You can see my latest gear, the backpack, the sunglasses, the hat and the hiking sticks! Boy those sticks make hiking so much easier!

Anyways... back to work now.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Please don't go near the Gorilla!

I recently read New this article on NewScientist about how humans are passing infetions like influenza to Gorillas in wildlife preserves.

So if you love animals, go and visit them... in the wild.. where they are free.. but please do not go so near that your germs can harm them.


Saturday, July 16, 2005

Music of Mangal Pandey: The Rising

Maggie asked me to check out the music of Mangal Pandey: The Rising today and boy, is it GOOD!

Rehman has done a nice job. I especially like the "Main Vari Vari" song.

So go on and listen to it. I am sure it will be on Desi Radio soon.


P.S. Saw the trailor of The Warrior, felt proud that an Indian movie got so many awards and is on I wonder why such movies do not get publicity on the Indian Media [like TOI for example]

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Baby Pandas... very cute :-)

I came across this site about baby Pandas while searching for some panda pics. Very nice.

Remember to scroll down all the way for more pics. Please leave your comments.

Also, from the links below the page, this article is very cute... also has a video.

so, are _you_ also in love with Pandas?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


Hi all,
Slashdot finally accepted my article.
Read it here!

Me happy :-).

The visit count already shows 88 views... Welcome slashdotters!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Study on time wasted at work

[just submitted this to slashdot.. lets see.. Thanks to Maggie for sending this]

C|Net News has this article about a survey of people's goofing off habits.

The article says
"It's interesting to note that the Internet was cited as the leading time-wasting activity. It goes to show how integrated it has become to the daily functions of our personal and professional lives," Samara Jaffe, a director at America Online, said in a statement. "Today, there are so many useful tools and Web sites on the Internet that have enabled people to become more efficient with accomplishing multiple tasks in a shorter amount of time."

They forgot to talk about the useless ones :-).

So, what fraction of time do you spend loitering around on the world wide web?

Monday, July 11, 2005

Long time no post..

Hi all,
Have not been able to post for some days now... keeping very busy with the coursework and research work!

Anyways, saw this new blog today. It is of Cecilia, the geek girl from the PhD Comics. I read the comincs regularly... pretty cute :-).

Enjoy the comics.. while I get back to work!

Monday, July 04, 2005

Mahabharat Movie.. A trilogy

Samip sent me a link to an article about a Mahabharat Movie Trilogy being made with SRK, Aamir and Rani.

"The trilogy will capture the battles, intrigues, spiritual complexity and cultural aesthetics of India, 4,000 years ago. This will be my big project for the next three years," says Bedi, adding that he discovered the power of the Mahabharata's storyline after reading Girish Karnad's script for Agnivarsha.

Read the article for character insights. Mani Ratnam is said to direct this one.

Good... I always believed that the Indian Epics have great potential as mega movies... lets hope it gets made properly.

What do you people think?


Sunday, July 03, 2005

Real Life Hero...

Rahul sent me this story about a real life hero from India, who saved his wife and kid and 70 other people during the recent flood-stranded-train incident.

Pretty cool. Goes on to show what can be done with determination.

The best part was [from the article]

"If a single man could successfully enter the waters and rescue people, why could the administration not do it with all the facilities at its disposal,"

Do you also want to post an article online but do not have the time/enthu/madness to maintain a regular blog? Send the link to me and maybe I will post it on my blog [with your homepage url in the credits, of course]. Please note that this method will not be 100% reliable, so don't flame me if your suggestion does not get posted.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

What on earth is this???

Google goes guns again!
Rishi send me a link to Google Earth, the next big thing from them. Check it out!

Slashdot also has an article on this, with some intersting links and comments, as usual.

And yes, I have not forgotten about the extended review of Parineeta, just getting over the tiring visit to Vegas... will post soon.

take care, all you wonderful people!

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Google Sat maps go global

Google has added sat map facility to the whole world now.
Just go to and zoom out.. then scroll and change to sat view.

My fav view is the following:,82.995529&spn=0.095100,0.125313&t=k&hl=en
Anyone know what this is?



Paheli - Short review!

Hi all,
Just back from watching Paheli at Naz8 near LA.

Since I am busy preparing for the paper-presentation I have to make in a conference in Vegas, I shall keep it short.. the longer one will follow!

So here's my review:

Do your eyes a favor: WATCH THE MOVIE!!

The visuals are simply amazing ... I am sure many Americans will get tickets to go visit Rajasthan upon watching this one [hell, "I" am going to visit Rajasthan now :-) ].

I know a lot of people will NOT like the movie... but please don't try to look for a lot of logic and story etc. in the movie. It is based on a folk tale.. and Amol Palekar has done a great job bringing this Amar Chitra Katha tale back to life :-).

Longer version coming up in some time.. once I am back from the "Sin City" :-)


Saturday, June 25, 2005

Another room to escape from

Hi all,
In my [and my friends'] quest for more room based games, I found this...

Escape: The Room[]

A nice game... not very tough but cool timepass..

only one hint... to "use" something... click and drag it on to the place where you want to use it.

Tell me how you liked it...


Thursday, June 23, 2005

Robo babies with curiosity

New Scientist is running a story about how researchers at Sony have made Aibo pups that have in-built curiosity. They seem to want to explore their surroundings and know more about it.

From the article
After several hours, however, the bots started kicking their toys and even trying to interact with conventional Aibo dogs. A short video (Windows Media Video 7.8MB), available from the researchers' web site, shows an Aibo pup that has learnt to play with its toys and bark at another robot nearby.

Fascinating.... does this mean we are moving closer to the worlds depicted in sci-fi novels and movies?

How long before Skynet becomes self aware and Judgement Day occurs?


Tuesday, June 21, 2005

No begging please, we are Indians

Rediff has an article about how the UP government is working to rehabilitate beggars.

A nice effort. However, I remember how when we have tried to get beggars to work at our homes [actually offered that very seriously], they have refused, maybe because a lot of them do not mind their state of being.

What do "you" think, my learned readers?

Get out of this room!!!

I found a couple of intersting games today... really nice.

1. Crimson Room [play from this link and use 1994 as code... the main site file does not work]
2. Viridan Room
3. Blue Chamber

The above games increase in hardness... if/when you get tired... google for some hints and solutions.

Best of luck!!


Sunday, June 19, 2005

Blogging, Plane Crashes and Credit Card thefts!

Hi dear readers,
Arpit sent me these links which he thought were worth sharing with you all on this blog.

1. Steve Job's speech at Stanford. A very good one. A tru rags to riches story... I esp like the bit about death.

2. Bloggers in India to be treated as Journos!. Cool... so when do I get my press badge?

3. 50 tools to help writers!. Very nice for bloggers and non-bloggers alike! I am going to use them in me research papers :-).

Thanks Arpit... these were nice.
And you all... feel free to send me links that you want me to post and although I may or may not post them [you can be assured that I will certainly "read" them :-) ].

However, the most important news for me was the following:

Plane crashes in southern califoria freeway []


40 million credit card details stolen! []

I guess they are important since they are much closer home... anyways.

In other news, I saw Star Wars episode III last night... nice movie... [Natalie Portman is sooooo pretty in it.. and Master Yoda is so knowledgable]. They have done a nice job of filling in all the gaps so that episode IV is now properly placed.

Happy father's day to all you father-figures out there! [Sunday June 18].


Friday, June 17, 2005

Marry me, I am [HIV] positive.

Gulf Daily News has an article about how HIV positive men are finding wives.

From the article:
HIV-positive men who placed matrimonial advertisements in newspapers in western India say they have received proposals from uninfected women who want to marry them for financial security or companionship.

It is a very nice development. What do you think? Would you marry [your GF/BF] if it was discovered that [he/she] had HIV. What would you do if you were diagnosed and your beloved did not have it?


In other news:
Interesting comments in Solaris Code
Earthquake in Southern California [yes.. that includes LA!] [use bugmenot if LA Times asks for account.]

Friday, June 10, 2005

Happy Re-Birthday

June 9, 2002 , France

Jab Axay Sharma, Ashish Chandra, Rahul Kapoor aur Animesh Pathak - hum 4 bande saath mein South-of-France road trip kar rahe thhey.

Socha tha duniya ki laga denge.

Apni lag gayi!

Indeed... the conversation went like this.

Animesh [in navigator seat of a Renault Twingo] : Abey Rahul... it has rained badly last night.. reduce speed
Rahul [in the drivers seat] : Don't worry man... I have driven this track [Marseilles to Nice] before.

[they see a sharp right turn ahead, a minivan is coming from the other side, the Twingo's turn would not be able to be sharp enough]

Animesh: Shit [cannot hear others]

[collision of car with side of van... then to inner wall of the tunnel]

[some time passes.... dunno how much]

Animesh [wakes up with his head in a deflating airbag]: huh...

[thinks he is dead.. then realises he is not.. thinks others are dead.. realises they are not]

The car only has two doors.. one of which is not jammed. All 4 slowly come out of the car through the single door.

..... continuing in first person.. this narrative style is tiring.

So, thankfully.. the other car people [Husband, Wife and 2 kids] were all safe and not very angry. They flagged down a cyclist and used his cellphone to call emergency.

Soon the police and the paramedics were there... they offered us medical help but we were all fine [and wanting to get away from it all ASAP] so we politely refused, following which they made us sign a declaration that we declined medical help! Something weird to us Indians who are used to people (mostly) not-helping out when accidents happen.

My french came to the rescue while explaining to the policeman what happened.. and why he should let us go :-).

Then we caught a train back to Grenoble.. then to Paris, since the car was smashed completely.

Akshay is running his own company in Delhi now [after graduating from IITD]. Ashish is working in U.K. I don't know where Rahul is ... and I am here.

All I know is that if it was not for the seat belts and the airbags [and a lot of good wishes from our well wishers], I would not have been typing this today.

Happy re-birthday folks!!

If any of u three are reading this.. definitely leave your comments!


Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Die! Die for stealing my cyber-sabre!

Reuters is reporting on a rather strange story about a man stabbing another for a cyber-sabre.

The stabbing was done in the real world, but the sabre belongs to the virtual one.

From the article
Qiu Chengwei, 41, stabbed competitor Zhu Caoyuan in the chest after he was told Zhu had sold his "dragon saber," used in the popular online game, "Legend of Mir 3," the China Daily said.

Does this mean we are getting closer and closer to something like the thirteenth floor?


Sunday, June 05, 2005

Bunty aur Babli review

[Edit on June 6, 2005, 6:30pm PDT - approx. 130 views of this post till now, a new record for my blog... I am touched :-) ]

Finally I saw it, went to Naz yesternight and caught the 9-12 show. Yes, I am talking about the movie Bunty aur Babli, about which I had blogged previously. The plan was to watch it last week with Gaurav, but had to meet Sanjay, Anshuman and Jagadish for some stuff... so postponed the plan.

The movie is a nice timepass movie... light-hearted and full of fun. I strongly recommend watching it [and then coming back to my blog to read the review :-)].

Another interesting part was the subtitles. They converted "chaat pakora" to "pizza" and things like that.. and the song lyric conversion was hilarious [adding to the overall fun score of the movie]

Okay then... on to the review.

Spoiler Alert:
This review will go in a lot of details, so if you have not watched the movie, you better watch it before you read on.

Content Warning: This content is rated PG-13 by me, some topics may be unsuitable for kids. Please be careful

[skip summary]
The movie is about Bunty a.k.a Rakesh Trivedi and Babli a.k.a Vimmi Saluja [Abhishek Bachchan and Rani Mukherjee], who are from small towns and have big dreams. They bump into each other at the lucknow railway station after having fled from their respective homes in search of a more eventful life.

However, they realise that hard work and honesty is not going to pay and turn to conning people. Once they start liking their job, there is no stopping them. They also give away a lot of money they make to the poor.

They do a lot of very brainy [and amusing] heists, you have to see it to believe it.

However, there is a police officer [Amitabh Bachchan] who is on their tail.. and finally he does catch them, when they have promised to reform themselves! The last part of the story is also interesting when he finally frees them and then recruits them as anti-conning experts [a la catch me if you can].

And now, on to my comments...
The movie started at my weak point, with scenes of Banaras, [you all know why that place is so dear to me]. Seeing the ghats, ramnagar fort, the sand on the other side of Ganga etc. made me nostalgic... I am so waiting to visit Banaras again.

The first half of the movie has a nice bunch of capers by the duo, each bigger and better than the previous one. The songs were mostly well placed [except for the nach baliye one] and the scenes of Ladakh in "Chhup Chhup ke" simply blew me away. I am putting that place in my to-visit list :-).

Rani and Abhishek share a very nice screen chemistry, which is evident in the first half in their conversations. The scenes between them showing the development of the romantic relationship fills one up with mush... as is expected from something from the Yash Raj banner. *sigh*

The second half largely belongs to the senior 'B', who amuses with his load of "UP ishtyle" dialogue delivery [not to forget that junior 'B' also refers to himself as "hum" instead of "main", a truly UP/Bihar trait]. It was nice to see them both on screen together. There were some obvious dialogues ["kahaan se ho? allahabad se.. shakal se hi lagte ho"] and the "Kajraare Kajraare" song and the scene before that bring out the father-son duo's talents.

The capers were also very witty... I liked them all... esp the Taj one... hilarious!

A lot has been said about the song, about hot hot aish looks in it, but I beg to differ. I found her more attractive in "Ishq Kamina" than in this number, indeed I found her looking cheap and sleazy in this number. If this is how a bar dancer in UP is supposed to look like, then she did a good job :-).

The ending was also very nice ["agar maine ek bhi baar aam ka achaar aur banaya to main mar jaaoongi!!" :-) ]. I am sure they will have a sequal coming [like Dhoom], but more than that, I think this can be exploited more and be made into a TV serial, with Bunty and Babli fighting crime in their special way in each episode... what do you say??

The songs were nicely picturized. Did you notice Shiamak Davar in the "Nach Baliye" song? Also, I think Big B's rap song in the end was cute :-).

Acting wise I think the main characters did very well. I wonder why I still have this feeling that Amitabh could have done better. [loved the "makkha makkhi" joke :-) ]. Junior B was nice. Rani was also good. I am slowly moving towards making her my fav. actress in the current batch, having seen Hum Tum, Black, Veer Zaara and now BnB.

A nice point of the film was the presence of some good character actors in small roles [Raj Babbar, Kiran Juneja, Puneet Issar, Rameshwari, Prem Chopra, Ranjeet, Ravi Vaswani, the lady from WBHH, the guy from lagaan, Apple Singh, ...]. This made sure that even small scenes came out well. That said, the acting in some portions did leave a lot to be desired. The girl who talked to Vimmi [babli] at the Miss India content was simply horrible. But mostly it was nice.

Now, on to some controversies:
Firstly, I read somewhere that some sikhs had complained about the fact that vimmi, a sikh, is shown taking drugs! I think they were talking about the first con scene with apple singh, in which Rani is shown smoking. If these people cannot differentiate between drugs and a fancy brand cigarette, they need to do a little more homework before making allegations. Also, Rani is shown opposing junior B's cigarette habits later, which the protestors cleverly chose to ignore.

That said, I think this movie could have done with a little less alcohol and tobacco. In this time, movie stars should try not to glorify their use to the people.. because the youth "does" get influenced.

Secondly, some people have objected to the "hot" scenes between B and B just before the interval, with all the kissing and cuddling going on. My take on this is that although I agree that you may feel a little uncomfortable seeing that with parents etc, it was shown in a very artistic way. After all, they try to highlight the "love" angle of sex. This is a hundred times better than the ads of the continuous stream of sleazy movies coming out of bollywood presently. I whole heartedly welcome the sensitive show of love between husband and wife in movies.

Incidentally, just after that song, they showed a trailer of "Bachke Rehna re Baaba", the Mallika Sherawat/ Rekha version of "heartbreakers", and Mallika alone managed to show more skin in that 3 minute trailer than Rani could manage in a 5 minute song!

Finally, as an ending comment, Yash Chopra sure knows how to make his leading ladies look good :-) . Rani looked very sexy in the movie, except the disco song in which she looks like a prostitute. The dress designer has done wonders with her clothes, especially the kurtas worn in the first song - they give her the young-and-innocent-yet-sexy-in-a-nice-way look. I think they will be next "in" thing in fashion in India [and I will miss it all since I am here in the US :-( ]

Goes on to show that you do not need to take off your clothes to look sexy [a la Mallika and others currently].

Thanks for reading uptil now. I hope you enjoyed reading this review.
Please post a comment and let me know your views about the movie or my reading of it. I am sure a lot of you have different points of view than mine.