Friday, July 29, 2005

Can you hear us?

Amish writes

Its pity that your 'apparently a curse'
came true but even more pity is that
India is still ruled by foreigners.

When recently there were blasts in UK,
all over Indian channels and Indian
news websites there were just stories
related to the UK blasts for 3 to 4
days. Whereas just after 1 day of this
calamity in Mumbai the news are hardly
visible on foreign websites. UK first
blast killed less than 80 and second
less than 10 and rain in Mumbai seems
to have killed 400. Still they dont
care. Its not news for them. India is
left on its own.

A lot can be written, lot is written,
will be written about this truth. But
noone cares, even I dont care, another
pity. :-(


I completely agree. I am watching CNN today and what are they covering. The arrest of terrorists involved in London bombings. They are covering it live with reporters in multiple locations detailed analysis.

Today, more people have died just due to stampede caused by tsunami rumors. Did they cover that. The amount of destruction and disruption caused just by these rains is comparable to damage to life and property (life less, property more) caused by tsunami in say Indonesia. Coz we are talking Mumbai, where population worth the whole of Australia stays in. But the coverage by the media is pathetic.

There is another shootout in Kashmir and no one is giving its due. In fact, that whats happening there directly derives from the same root is totally lost on the govt and foreign media. I don't see even Indian media trying to educate everyone on this terrorism issue and how bombings in London and Kashmir violence is closely linked.

Anyway, I digress. The home is in some decent shape now. We have thrown away a whole lot of furniture, clothes, food, mattresses. Some of the stuff is now beyond repairs. Electrical sockets are getting a cleaning using soft cotton ear-buds.

We are still staying in a vacant flat on 3rd floor - with 3 clothes lines to view from our crib. The car is the only item that remains unchecked for life. But when the headlights have dirty water inside them, you ought to be careful. Food comes from friend's home. Laundry at her neighbours. Still, life hai!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Enough of the rains

God seems to have taken my advice to heart. But, I didn't want my home to go under. Well, the Gods are angry and the apocalyptic downpour is not abating. Our home is Kandivli is submerged. Mom seems to removed most of the stuff, still the furniture, mattresses etc are now floating in a massive pool that covers most of Mumbai. Fridge is now lying tilted. The bowels of the car are being washed clean.

Dad is stuck in his office, sis in her college hostel and I am here in Pune. Mumbai-Pune expressway is clogged by traffic and landslides. I have been advised not to go to Mumbai now that large parts of the city are still under water and there is no connectivity. And its still raining.

Fortunately, mom and grand-dad were able to take refuge on 3rd floor. But the situation is extremely dangerous and tense. I hope the waters recede fast. This is the second time that this has happened to us. First, when we just moved to this place in 1992. Its nothing that we can't handle. But its extreme hard work cleaning all the muck, washing all the grime, throwing away rotting stuff, rebuilding the home.

But that can only happen when the rains stop. I hope that they do.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Big Brother is watching

Well, I told you that I am doing development these days on Informatica. The big problem is that I cannot play any music.

When you are doing repititive tasks at the PC, it's easy for me to concentrate with some music on. Each phase of my professional life is defined by the music I played then (sometimes even one song). It makes me feel nostalgic and old. I elevates me from the mundane. Anyway, work is the only time, I can listen to music of my choice and so, I feel shackled with the lack of mp3 on my desktop.

You see the 'Establishment' has decided that viruses are a big threat and so we must guard against them. How? Not only do we install the most expensive anti-virus, we will also disable the floppy drives, CD roms and USB ports. Isn't that like having a life-jacket but still not venturing in a lake, coz there may be sharks out there in the sea. What the hell is the use of all the anti-virus then?

At least these guys are smart. They haven't installed CD Rom and floppy drives on desktops.Unlike in Accenture, where they had it installed and disabled irrevocably.

Cmon, don't think I have started hating this place as well. People at the top who make all these moronic policies don't know how much it hurts at the ground level. They would think - well, the helpdesk can do the installation through secured PCs. It will takes just 5 minutes. But they don't realise that we need to do this EVERYTIME. I have seen the loss of productivity coz we couldnt install a software on time. It takes days to process helpdesk requests of these manner and the bottlneck just escapes the power-drunk policy makers.

You have an anti-virus, you have state-of-the-art snooping tools. You can easily find out who's the culprit who brought the virus in the network. Warn him. Repeat offenders, inject them with Hepatitis and/or throw them to the rabid wolves without Hepatitis. But for Devil's sake, let me listen to music and work.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Lost for words

Suddenly, it's as if I have nothing to write about. I have lost my inspiration. Words don't come easy (Stop! Stop!)

I have lost my gift.
It's as if my quill is broken. As if
the organ of the imagination has dried
up. As if the proud tower of my genius
has collapsed.

Not my words (as if). Shakespeare's expressing his grief to his shrink.

Anyway, lots of things happening. Am now working on Informatica, much beloved ETL tool. Looks quite silly. But, that's just the first impression. Soon, I will discover that it is sillier.

But it's true and I don't know why, I don't have sufficient things to write about these days. Hope something angers me soon enough for me to vent it out here.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Gay Abandon

Loads of work yesterday. Had to cancel the Prabalgad trek. I am trying to cram as much fun before the E-day. But, it's too late isnt it :-)

How can we be sure that the most important decision we take in life is correct. All the nit-picking analysis, all the weighings, all the consultations is just meaningless. Because, finally, you don't know. Coz we are talking of human behaviour. There's nothing objective about it. Whole lot of design and millions worth of development (new products, new interfaces, new services, new websites -IT case in point obviously) go down the drain because, humans prefer to do things a certain way, not the most correct/easiest/best way.

How a person is to you is so much dependent on how you are to that person. That requires a disregard for any negative first impressions, any doubts that you may harness. You just go ahead and accept the person as your friend, colleague, boss, partner, wife.

I think it is easiest to let things be. Not think too much about it. Not pre-judge.

Just let go and the ride would be great!

Verse not bad

Two updates (or should I say updations)

My verse won the Free Verse contest on company intranet. I don't know how many submitted their entries. But guess, I didn't do bad.

Accenture got back after 2 weeks delay with a generally vague response (according to my friends), and doesn't satisfy me completely as well. Prithvi Shergill tells me that my complaint has triggered multiple reviews. But I don't want Accenture to improve. I am no longer an Accenturion!!. The only concession that they made was that I was given the IDC Special Award installment due for May (though I quit 3 days before EOM) as a policy exception.

I will upload the response soon.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Not on the right track

When did we start exporting train collisions to Pakistan.

And what happened to the plan of giving Lalu and Bihar to Pakistan in return for peace in Kashmir?

Excursions around Pune

A good list of places to visit around Pune is here.

Someone please add more and revert back

Thanks Shanya for the forward

Thursday, July 07, 2005


Scene: A flood affected area of Vadodara, Gujrat

Cast: Joint Commissioner of Police, K. Kumaraswamy, riding on the shoulders of a Constable to save his feet and trousers from Flood Water!!!

Source: The Indian Express, July 2

Why doesnt someone tie a boulder to K. Kumaraswamy's legs and drown him?

Tuesday, July 05, 2005


A link to Dcubed, to understand why one rupee is too much.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Life still hai

Earlier, I hadn't mentioned the underpreparedness of some of us in facing the elements - three of us were without wind-cheaters. I had a rug sack with spare clothes and bedsheet wrapped in plastic. But all the pelting rain had made it soggy and heavy. I tried to control the amount of wetness with my umbrella, but not much help, was it?
During our brunch break, it was special to see the towering Lohagad fort face broken by miniature waterfalls during the downpour and once the rain subsided, so did the falls. On the way up to Visapur, we decided to take the shorter water route. Basically, it was a gurgling water stream flowing down and we had to climb to the fort up the stream. It wasn't too difficult again, except we found a lot of trekkers on their way down (Infoscions galore looking for 'cheap' thrills ;). So again, in about 30 min we were on the top of the fort. Vishwa rushed under a waterfall, trying to do a Mandakini without the white saree (but with his other clothes on). I tried the same (imagine!), but you couldnt stay long as the water was just too cold. Again the wind was mighty strong splitting the smaller falls, so that the water just sprayed back on the hills. Again difficult to gauge the exact boundaries of the fort coz of the instense fog.

'Life Hai, Life Hai, Life Hai, Life Hai' just became a slogan for the group, something to shout to express the delirious fun we were having. Vishwa the originator. But just because we came back safely doesn't take away what could have been a long ordeal.

We went to a slightly higher grounds just to see what was there. But this time, the wind has just picked up speed and you had to stand with feet wide apart just to be able to hold to the ground. A slight jump and you would land at least a feet away. Some team members were lost and found. Since the conditions started getting extreme, it was time to pack up and climb down. We just wanted to go back the same route we came, but in spite of encircling the whole place twice, we couldn't find it. Visibility was about 10 feet and I needed wiper on my glasses. An old man (later I found his name was Narendra) came rushing at us asking for directions. Sorry Sir, same boat. Soon his companions (Sheshadri and Viji) joined. They had been stranded for more than an hour and had made up their minds to stay the rest of the day and night at the top. They just wanted to go to the Hanuman Mandir, so they could spend the night there. Their guide, Ashok a local guy, himself was lost. A local guy, lost! People were scared.

We decided now to take the longer route, which possibly would be risky, but at least we knew where it was. This was no time for investigation and bravado. Forming a human chain, battling the thunderstorms, we moved to the exit. It was a proper stepped route at the start, but now overrun by gushing water. We started our journey down.

It was important for us to move away from the water-stream, because as we climbed down, the stream was increasing in force and volume rapidly. But there was no way. It was difficult to find a foothold. You didn't know how deep the water was and if your foot would land in the right place. At places, I was waist deep in water, my rug sack dipping in and coming back 1.5 times heavier. At the end of it, I had actually lost my sense of balance (not mental), coz that monkey on my back was weighing about 15 kgs (when I landed in Pune, I just couldn't lift it).

The sides were dense vegetation or slippery red mud, so you had to be in the stream all the time. At one point, we had to cross to the other side. It was were the water jumped 10 feet below and quick. Pankaj managed to find a perfect place to land one's foot on, and guided everyone to the other side. With some effort (damn bag!), I managed to cross. We were close to the foothills and Malavali looked close. But still it was about 45 min that we actually reached the village. The whole ordeal took about 2 hours.

All the while, Pankaj and Vinita, the pro-trekkers were ahed of the lot, but I was surprised that Narendra, age 55, managed to climb down without putting a foot wrong. And he was fast too. Turned out he is an old hand (or should I say leg) in trekking.
He and his companions luckily were on their way to Pune (rest of my gang to Mumbai), so I got a well deserved lift. Byes were bade and we took off. We stopped on the way for some great onion bhajias, Poha, tea, vada pav and a recounting. Narendra took my number, to basically be updated about any new treks!

I live to trek another day.

Life Hai, Life Hai, Life Hai, Life Hai

Saturday was the most terrific and terrifying trek I have ever been too. Not that I have been to many. Its is a sad leitmotif that accompanies my life - Not done enough treks. It's almost like I am playing catch-up and desperately want to scale as many mountains and forts as possible, before I am over the hill. Important decisions in life are also being made, post which, treks generally become a thing of the past.
It turned out that there were two treks in the pipeline - Lohagad on Saturday and Rajgad on Sunday, by two separate teams. My fitness is decent these days thanks to the daily jog and in my greed to make the most of this time, I decided to enlist for both. I didn't know what was in store at Lohagad and Visapur (combined trek)
Anyway, we decided to leave on Friday night (Pandharpur - Mumbai Passenger 11.05 pm Pune). Pankaj, the veteran trekker joined me at Khadki. The rest of the guys would arrive from Mumbai. We reached Lonavla at about 1 am. And back to Malavali by the Mumbai-Pandharpur down train. There met all of the star trek crew - Vinita, the leader, Vishwa, my interlocutor, Surinder Suniel Shetty, Shabbir and Prem. This was the first time that I had met these people and what a lively group it turned to be. Actually, Mumbaikars in general are a pretty cool lot , very animated and it's difficult not to bond immediately.
The plan was to catch a few winks till break of day, but with cold night rains, that was difficult. We were able just able to rest a while, and it was 6 am. Time to move. Reached Baaja, a tiny hamlet at the foothills of Lohagad and Visapur. Had a light breakfast and marched on for the trek. Surinder and Vishwa wanted to frolic under the first waterfall that they saw. But, most disagreed, so we kept on. The starting patch to Lohagad is almost a motorable road. At times, when the fog cleared you could get a glimpse of the towering Lohagad fort. From Lohawadi, it is a proper trek with steps. Soon we were at the top. The main entrance is just too spectacular. Gives almost a 270 degree view of the surrounding. All the fortress walls are intact. Even the straight steps at Ganesh Darwaaza, that lead up to the fort from there have an air of royalty. You have the normal essentials like hidden entrance with wavy walls (making it uncomfortable to use a ram on the door), chor darwaza, hidden spaces for mavlas to attach the enemy, double tatbandi (fort walls). Here is an excellent site about Lohagad. It was difficult to make out the entire structure because of the intense fog, but still you know that it is not a small fort. On the top, you had at least two water sources (a well the size of a pond, which we dared not go to). There was a Shiv temple and a dargah at the top which was the only protection against the rain. On the top, the rain was pelting like thousand needles from all directions except the top. The wind was a swirling mass, pushing the rain upwards and sideways, it was as if we were in a wind tunnel on an overdrive. It was nature at its bestial. The craziest water ride, still would be no match for what we experienced at the Shiv temple.
We decided we wanted to go back alive, so lugged our bags and were back on our way down. At the foothills (Lohawadi?) we had extended eating brunch gorging on besan-heavy onion bhajjis, poha, tea, coffee (spectacular), bread and biscuits. It was 12.00 pm and the other groups were just starting their climb up. Worked great for us coz we had lesser crowds at the top of the fort as well as at the tapari. Call was taken if we wanted to go to Visapur, Junta had doubts as the weather was still vicious. Still most of the people were game (Shabbir remarked that it was game over for him, but he was joking too).
We didnt know how dangerous our decision to go Visapur way would be.