My 2007!!

YEAR 2007!!
The year I turned 20!! At least I was a teen for half-the-year. So you'll allow me this kiddish pleasure of ramblin about how this year turned out to be for me...

Mast Moviez

1) Mozhi
2) Freedom Writers
3) Tare Zameen Par

Smashin' Songs
1) Jab Se Tere Naina (Saawariya)
2) Aazha Kannal (Mozhi)
3) In Dino (Life in a Metro)

Fantastic Fiction
1) Splendor of Silence (Indu Sunderesan)
2) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (J.K.Rowling)
3) Nervous Conditions (Tsitsi Dangarembga)

Mmmm Magazines
1) National Geographic (March '07) - The bit on Elephants
2) National Geographic (Nov '07) - The Memory Article
3Jean-Paul Sartre's Introduction to Frantz Eanon's Les damnes de la terre - The Wretched of the Earth - (1961)

Memorable Moments
1) My mom came on TV (Podhigai+Sun), radio(AIR) and published a book (a small supplementary in Aval Vikatan)!!!
2) My sister got into college this year - SSN!! :-D
3) This year was the first time in NUS, that a lecturer caught and told me off for cutting lectures!!

Craziest things I did this year
1) I did an intern!!!
2) I went night-cyclin' for an entire night - in heavy rain!!
3) I came back home for a weekend!! Right after Diwali too!!

Resolutions for 2007 - Reality Check
1) Academic Goal 1 - Get 5.0 in one subject at least- Satisfied
2) Academic Goal 2 - Obtain SAP of 4.50 atleast - Nearly Satisfied
3) Personal Goal 1 - Do 3 really good things that you've never done before -No. But I did make a start this year. 1/3.

People I'll remember

  • Mrs. Praveena Devarajan - She expired in an accident this year. My 9th Std Science teacher who got me interested in Biology.
  • Mrs Radha Venkatesh - Our beloved RaVe mam' lost her husband this year. I really admire her for the courage with which she handled everything! She came back to prep her Class 12 for the boards, hardly a few weeks after the incident!! There is courage.

Things I love about my new Acer TM6292:-

· It’s wonderfully light!! It is the perfect travel mate. I mean...I know laptops are meant for taking around – but this beats ‘em all!


· There’s this beautiful – what I like to call Empower Acer – toolbar which gives you a running status on the battery time left, the system uptime, the resolution and a shortcut to recovery management.


Yeah! Therez fingerprint launch!! :D And the lovely part is that it works wonderfully well! You know, when I first thought of getting my own computer I always thought it’d be cool in ways that it’d scan my retina and say ‘Access Granted’ ...kinda romantic I know, but well the fingerprint access is definitely better than typing in a password!! And the best thing is - it says “Access Granted”!! Three-Fourths dream come true!!:D :D :D

And Oh yeah!! You can launch several other stuff using your 10 fingers!! Itz the perfect gadget to show off you know – over a chat with some friends, you ask – would you like to listen to this latest song from Saawariya (which is jab se tere naina by the way – it totally rocks!! If you aren’t yet crazy about it, well you know where to find your show-off friend!! ) – and just sweep across your index finger – and lo it plays!! Hehehe...

· You know how its really troublesome when you type out technical reports – you’re always left looking for ‘Infinity’ and ‘Sigma’ and it gets so irritating that you’d rather write it out by hand – well this is a kinda mid-way solution and it ain’t too bad for Archun!! :D Its called the character map and you just hafta select the symbols (which by the way I realized includes some signs that look extremely familiar to Kannada ‘Pa’...hehe) and copy ‘em!


· Still guessing what my point is? Itz a really really beautiful screen display. I mean..yeah..I know Acer reflects – TP is anytime better that way – but its kinda stylish you know..?? Windows Vista by the way works awesomely well (I luv the graphics involved in the option that says switch between windows...sighhhhhh)! I kinda like the windows sidebar as well! And yeah, it’s got a 160GB hard disk!! I mean thatz like 4 times my last disk storage space!! The 2GB RAM though is absolutely necessary (I upgraded from 1GB) The duo core combined with the large RAM give me an ultimate performance!! Itz reeely reaaly fast!!

· Yeah!! Thatz a pic from my luvely in-built web-cam!! I mean itz sooo convenient! No wires and hassles – just one click away from conversing!! I luv that!!

· It supposedly has speech recognition! I mean..I was so excited about this initially – I really thought I could dictate stuff instead of typing and that’d be really so awesome..hmm...I’m not quite sure – cause I ‘m one of those weirdoes who likes typing...neyways,’d definitely be cool right? But it recognizes what it terms ‘British English’ alone – so yeah..I’ve gotta train it to learn my accent and voice!! I can now direct it to open programs/firefox – but yeah..thatz pretty much what it does!!! I’m not gonna let go though..keep tryin n one day itz bound to understand me!!!

· Yeah!! Sticky notes..hehe..n it has the usual windows journal and calculator and magnifier and the like!! But did you notice how I managed to get luvely shots of all the sutff I wanted to show ya?? Itz awesome eh?? Its dis reely cute tool called ‘Snipping Tool’ that allows you to take screenshots of whatever u like!! Kinda cool rite? And especially useful for those graphs you’d like to place on your report!!

I really haven’t had a chance to check out the DVD R/W yet. Will do so sometime soon I guess....cause yeah...160GB isn’t rite?? I can’t keep storing all my songs n videos in here forever...hmm...hehe.

Overall a lovely laptop!! If you’re the kinds that hasn’t tried an acer ever, well this is the one to try!! Itz quite cheap too! I got it for SGD1700. By the way, I haven’t named him yet...any suggestions??

Herez me signing off till later!!!

Congrats Mu!!!

Dearest Amu,

Thatz for you!! You're the bestest ever and I'm sooooooooo proud of you!! CONGRATS!!


(My mom's had a rocking month!! She been on Podhigai for the past 3 weeks performing in a live cookery show (n will be coming again this Friday) - Her tiny book (on 30 different podis) got published in Aval Vikatan - AND her second consecutive AIR(All-India Radio) show was aired every Saturday for the past 6 weeks!!)

Certain interesting facts about vegetarianism

Vegetarianism and World Hunger
Raising animals for food is an extremely inefficient way to feed a growing human population. The U.S. livestock population consumes enough grain and soybeans to feed more than five times the entire U.S. population! One acre of pasture produces an average of 165 pounds of beef; the same acre can produce 20,000 pounds of potatoes. If Americans reduced their meat consumption by only 10 percent, it would free 12 million tons of grain annually for human consumption. That alone would be enough to adequately feed each of the 60 million people who starve to death each year.

I love the forests. Can I save them by being vegetarian?
Certainly! Did you know that throughout the world, forests are being destroyed to support the meat-eating habits of the "developed" nations? Between 1960 and 1985 alone, nearly 40 percent of all Central American rain forests were destroyed to create pasture for beef cattle. More than four million acres of cropland are lost to erosion in the United States every year. Of this staggering topsoil loss, 85 percent is directly associated with livestock raising i.e. over-grazing!

Vegan Leather!
Some vegetarians choose not to wear leather. So what can replace leather footwear and other accessories are expected in some workplaces? There are many specialist suppliers that sell belts, shoes, safety boots, jackets and briefcases that share the appearance of leather but are in fact made of synthetic materials generically known as Vegan leather. High-end fashion designer Stella McCartney is famed for her refusal to use leather, fur or other animal products in her range of clothes and accessories and is thus popular with wealthier vegetarians.

Famous Vegetarians
Leonardo Da Vinci, Charles Darwin, Socrates, Plato, Sir Isaac Newton, Thomas Edison, Drew Barrymore, Paul McCartney, Chelsea Clinton, Lisa Simpson, Hank Aaron, Bryan Adams, Alicia Silverstone, Mark Twain, Leo Tolstoy, George Bernard Shaw, Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Einstein.

Articles for ECE Newsletter - Oct 2007

(Oct 8, 2007) Own an iPod? Watch out for that fire!

What do Apple’s iPod, Dell and Lennovo’s laptops have in common? They all have a tendency to burst into flames –Airports being their favorite location!
Recently, Danny Williams, who works at the Atlanta International Airport, claimed that his two-year old iPod suddenly caught fire which lasted for about 15 seconds with the flames reaching well up to his chest. Luckily for Williams, he escaped burns – which he attributes to the glossy paper lying in his pant pocket, along with his iPod.
Apple iPods contain Lithium-ion batteries – the same kinds that have recently been in the news off-and-on, for catching fire unawares. Since Dec 2005, millions of such batteries have been recalled by various PC manufacturers including Dell and Lenovo for similar incidents.
Apple has not commented on this unfortunate incident as yet; the company has however asked Williams to send them the affected iPod for examination purposes.

(Oct 8, 2007) Google iPhone or Google Mobile Software?

Recent news making rounds, puts a full stop to all the speculation regarding a ‘Google Phone’ The Company is not after all creating a rival to Apple’s iPhone. Rather it is working on creating software to compete with Microsoft’s Windows Mobile! Google will most likely not charge phone makers any license fees for its software, unlike Microsoft.
All said, if Google is indeed leading the creation of an open source competitor to Microsoft's Windows Mobile, it makes imminent sense, as Google has always been more about software than hardware.

(Oct 3, 2007) OLEDs = Future? Read on…
With lesser power consumption and faster response times than the LCD, is OLED revolutionizing the market for flat panel displays?
On Oct 3, 2007 Toshiba announced its plans to ship an Organic Electroluminescence display – 30 inches in size - in 2009. Not soon after, Sony re-confirmed its plans to release the world’s first OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) TV -27 inches - in Dec. 2007. Two giants. Both investing huge amounts of money in this technology. Surely, that means something?
Certainly! It simply means that the OLED seems to be creating competition even before it comes to the market!
OLED, some believe, is the technology which will make current flat panel HDTVs look as old as the cathode ray tube screens. An OLED flat-panel display is made up of small lumps of organic material which glow when an electrical current is applied. This technology can produce self-luminous screens that don’t require a source of light to work. Translated into easier-to-grasp-terms, this means low power consumption. Also, manufacturers can obtain screens which are thinner as there is no backlight requirement. In addition OLEDs offer higher contrast and faster response times than LCD (liquid crystal display) screens.
That’s the upside. OLEDs are however difficult to manufacture and they degrade over time. The lifespan of this first OLED TV is around 30,000 hours (half of current LCD and Plasma HDTVs), which is enough time to watch eight hours of television per day for 10 years. Manufacturers are therefore working on ways to improve production yields and increase the lifespan of the screens.If those specs sound nothing special, you must remember that this is the very first model of a new flat panel display technology that will probably become mainstream by 2015. That’s why this first OLED TV will sell for $1,700 when it goes on sale in Japan at the end of this year!

Something Different..

Just proves how jobless I really am!!
The Iceman feature from NGM - July 07 however was totally worth the read!


Well, weekends in Singapore definitely mean one thing - movie marathon! So as usual I was browsing through the Google videos (I sorta dun like the way its posted in You Tube - you know..the movie coming in 12 or 13 parts of 10 minutes each - and terrible video quality at that! Hmmm..yeah, I should probably buy more CDs n DVDs - but if I were to do so every single weekend, I'll be bankrupt before I'm 21!!)

And I came across this movie - Provoked. I'm usually a sucker for any movie with a good message and decent enough screenplay! So when I read a review for this one, the woman chauvinist in me was roaring - and I thought, This one I gotta see!

Well, for those of you who haven't seen it yet (It was released in 2006), this is a movie based on the true life story of a Punjabi woman - Kiranjit Ahluwalia. She gets married to this man - Deepak Ahluwalia - who is her sister's, brother-in-law's friend, based in London. Though she hardly knows him, she gives up her dreams of studying,working and being independent and marries him and moves to London. He appears really caring at the beginning but soon reveals his true colours. Domestic violence, spousal rape and extra-marital affairs continue even after 10 years of having 2 children with him.

One night after a particularly unnerving experience, Kiranjit succumbs to her fears. She burns him alive and before succumbing to his burns, he accuses her of attempting to murder him. She is arrested and despite the extensive evidence of bruises on her body indicating abuse, she is found guilty of 1st degree murder - because the last incident took place a full 2 hours before she burnt him - which meant that the provocation clause was inapplicable as she killed him in cold blood.

Sentenced to life imprisonment, Kiranjit finds her freedom in the prison (This beautiful one-liner made the entire movie worth the watch!) and is happy, though her only complaints are with regards to her 2 children. Here, Southall Black Sisters, an NGO which fights for women subject to domestic abuse, aids her in her appeal and after 3 1/2 years, she reunites with her children.

The story was pretty brilliant - and to think of it as a true story of an Indian woman about 18 years back makes it super. Aishwarya Rai as Kiranjit gave a very convincing performance - which is saying something because I've never liked her acting so far, except perhaps in Guru. Nandita Das, the brilliant actress for whom I've seen many a movie, as usual chooses a very meaningful role. But her enthusiasm at certain times was too artificial and it somehow didn't portray the depth and strength of her character. Nevertheless, the movie is worth a watch - at least to appreciate and applaud the strength of women like Kiranjit Ahluwalia.

There were several subtle but powerful messages sent through the movie! For instance, in one scene a member of the NGO jokes that the Government never trusts an organization which claims to work for a cause alone and calls itself a non-profit organization! Then there is a line at the end which says that based on Kiranjit's case the 'wife-battering syndrome' and 'provocation' clauses were included in the British judicial system! And many more subtle dialogues which made me like the movie a lot! Ultimately, how Kiran gets to escape life-imprisonment and manages a 3 1/2 year punishment - was also quite ironic and sorta brilliant! Overall I guess, I really enjoyed watching this movie!

There are so many organizations which promote women empowerment in India today! I know for a fact that Pushpa, who helps around the domestic chores in my house, attends her Lady's Club meeting every Wednesday! They teach her to weave, stitch and a lot of other things which empower her to be independent to a certain extent! My mom always gives her Wednesday evenings off so that she can attend their meetings on time - these are small little ways in which we can help - and we all should.


Your Values Profile


You value loyalty highly.
You're completely devoted to your friends and family.
Even if they totally screw up, you're still there for them.
Just make sure they're equally loyal to you!


You don't really value honesty.
You do value getting your way, no matter what.
And if a little lying is required to do that, no problem.
A few white lies never hurt anyone (at least, that's what you tell yourself!)


You value generosity a fair amount.
You are all about giving, as long as there's some give and take.
Supportive and kind, you don't mind helping out a friend in need.
But you know when you've given too much. You have no problem saying "no"!


You value humility a fair amount.
You tend to be an easy going, humble person.
But occasionally your ego takes over.
You have a slight competitive streak - and the need to be the best.


Not only do you prefer to be around people very similar to you...
They're the only kind of people you'll tolerate.
You know what you believe in, and you don't like to deviate from that.
You don't hate people who are very different - you just don't want to be around them.

I found this The Five Factor Values Test on Blogthings and thought it was pretty accurate! :-D Just sharing it with ya..

An outing!

I did a really crazy, awesome thing 2 weeks back! I totally forgot to write about it and I really want to - at least to read and think about it later :-)
When I'm at Singapore, I never really leave the campus. If I do so, its usually a trip to the nearby supermarket to replenish my ever-depleting stock of food or a trip to 'Little-India' to have a good lunch or tiffin on a weekend or to a school here called GESS where I mentor secondary students. I'm this weird kind of creature which once comfortable, won't move out unless absolutely necessary! If I get totally bored sitting in my room, watching endless episodes of Prison Break or Heroes, on a blue moon day(hmm...I wonder if thatz how I always use it - what an oxymoron!), I'll just take an MRT to a random place to just stroll about.
Well, all that flashback was to justify my use of the word 'crazy'..hehe..
As I told you earlier, I mentor secondary students at a school called GESS. I do this through the NUS BP Mentoring programme of Rotract Club. Well, this time they decided to have a Nite Cycling outing for the mentors alone. I got a little mail early in June which said I could sign up. And I did! So unlike me - to sign up to go nite cycling -well, I hardly do any exercise! Imagine signing up for an activity that required you to pedal continuously and sit upright for nearly 8 hours - that too in the night - with a group of well - if not strangers - totally new people! The fact that still amazes me is that I went through with it, and didn't chicken out at the last moment..
And am I glad I didn't!! It was one of the most awesome outings!! Well, I took a bus to this place called the East Coast Park - As you can guess its a stretch along the Eastern coast of S'pore. And I'm so ashamed to say that I've discovered this lovely place only after 2 years of staying here!! Its a lovely long stretch of a thin beach - the sand trying to restrain the beautiful waves of the endless sea dotted by liners and ships somewhere far away...- and therez a road running along this entire stretch of beach thatz exclusively for cycling/skating!!
So we went to this place and rented out bikes - and they are pretty amazing ones too; with gears along both handles! That was totally new and I figured how to use them only later during the nite - ah..there were 14 of us and there were the first usual awkward,cautious hellos and introductions that were made. But well, we'd hardly started along, when it began drizzling. I enjoyed watching the tiny droplets splatter against the ground - but it wasn't long before there was a huge downpour! We rushed to a shelter nearby.
Here, as we waited for the rain to stop, we chatted and got comfortable in each-otherz company. The starting binder, being that it was the first ever night-cycling trip for so many of us! I was surprised to note that there were 9 girls - we were the super adventurous ones! a bit carried away there .. Soon, we were laughing, chatting and playing silly little games as we prayed that the rain should stop soon. Soon enough, well - thatz really an exagerration, becuase in all the laughing, talking, eating, and waiting-for-the-rain-to-stop, nearly 2 hours had gone by! So our trip which was to begin at 10pm instead got off to a late but much more enthusiastic and cheerful start at around 11 30.
We began riding, but the rain wasn't relenting so soon. It was still drizzling quite hard but not hard enough to dampen our spirits (omg..why am I getting the feeling that I'm going to end up writing this like one of the famous five adventures..hehe) We rode on the cycle tracks in groups of 3 or 4 shuttling back and forth to talk to different people. Soon we reached the end of the stretch and rode into the sights of proper roads with a few night-owls racing in their sleek designer cars. (Did I mention by the way that you need a nite-cycling license to ride around this way?!) Anyways, like the ghost rider says, Lets burn the roads baby!
We all sifted into a straight line and became much more disciplined. The chatting subsided and we began riding. Our first rest stop was the Kallang Stadium and we rode. The silence bore down upon us as each of us drowned in our own thoughts. The sound of wheels sliding over the wet roads, the light breeze blowing away my hair, the little water droplets clouding my glasses, the tall buildings and occasional greenery overwhelming was all perfect!
And I realized then - I love cycling! Its been so long since I've cycled like this - I used to cycle everyday to school and then when I'd be back home, I'd take out my bike and ride around the compound...occassionaly with a few friends but I loved riding alone! I've tried many a trick and have been hurt many times - but my favourite one was letting go off my hands and guiding the bike with my legs and body-weight! As the roads cleared we began riding a faster and I was now more comfortable with my bike! So I decided - why not! and lo, I let go off my hands...and it was wonderful!! I guess I am a big show-off! 'Cause when everyone stopped by the waterfront in front of the Kallang Stadium - which was looking really beautiful, lit up and all - they asked me how I did it and I was suddenly sheepishly grinning :-P
Anyways, we proceeded on to go on to Suntech City, the Merlion Park,Robinson Road(Lau Pa Sat), Orchard Road, Newton. For those of you who've been to S'pore, you'll realize that yeah..this was some serious cycling! All these were picteresque spots and cameras were clicking away crazily at each of our rest-stops. Along the way, we drove in subways and tiny streets as well as 100 ft expressways! I really discovered how beautifully all these places are connected and tried to memorize the routes..but I guess, I don't actually remember anything further than being awed by the modernization of the place around me. But finally, at Newton, we were all exhausted and decided to turn back. We came back through Geylang and reached the East coast Park again. It was just about dawn(thatz around 7 am here) and we all sat exhausted watching the sea - still undauntedly trying against the stubborn sands- and I amazed at that energy!
We then dragged our tired feet to Macs and devoured upon the food. I greedily gulped down the hot Milo. Soon it was time to return our bikes and say good-bye! I guess all of us were too tired to be sad that it was already the end of a beautiful night out! So we just trudged along and I took a bus that would take me straight back to campus. When I reached back and entered the familiar sights of things strewn about my room, my only thought before collapsing for at least another 8 hours of deep slumber was - I should do such things more often!

A page from my lifebook

I guess I was about 9 years old then. We were staying in Bangalore and went to a school which was about 3 km from home. Those were days when we all used to cram in a van and jingle all the way to school! That particular day, the driver had informed my mom that the van would not pick us (me n my sis) from school that evening as it had to be serviced. So it was decided that my dad would pick us up.
Well, school got over and as usual I rushed, lest my sister beat me to the gate..hehe..well, honestly that never happened - my ever social little sister would come after having a long chat with her other little friends - after having a go at the swings and see-saw(s) (wow! I can't believe I still have doubts over that particular spelling!)
When she was done, we both walked up a little beyond the gate to look for our dad. By then, the senior students were leaving as well and butterflies were beginning to hurt my stomach! Where was my dad? Wasn't it already 3 45?(Well, we weren't allowed to wear watches back then) He was supposed to be here by 3 35 when the primary and middle school students left - I decided that perhaps it was the traffic jam and let my sister - who was looking longingly at the suddenly empty swings - go (haha..yeah! I can't believe that she used to ask ME for permission back then!)
Time crept by and soon the watchman locked the front gates. I was shell shocked! How could they lock us up at school!! Anyways, he came and told us that we would have to wait at the back gate. By now I got really anxious - would we be stuck at school the whole night?! Why was Daddu taking such a long time to come? I carefully counted the coins that my mom usually gave me and dialled her office number written boldly on the front page of my diary. She calmly answered saying that my dad had left and would be there soon. I was assured again and me and my sister went back to playing a game of 'Name-Place-Animal-Thing'!
But soon we tired of it! The watchman was now grumbling saying that he could have locked up the gates and left for home, if it weren't for us! He allowed us to make another call, and this time my mother answered again saying that my dad was on the way and must be stuck at a traffic jam - I was angry with her - I'd guessed as much by now myself! I'd called for more information than this!!
With no clock to guide us, each second felt like a heavy burden to shoulder! Soon, it began drizzling and suddenly got dark. When me and my sister huddled together under the tiny shelter under the terrific gaze of the suddenly evil-looking watchman, my sister began weeping on my shoulders! She demanded that we leave this place and go back home to amu and daddu! Well, that was exactly what I wanted to do too, and tears welled up in my eyes as the thought of being stranded there all night loomed over my thoughts. I even conjured up an idea of taking an auto all by ourselves back home...
But something suddenly snapped. I thought, if I were to begin crying as well, what would happen to the little girl next to me? If I cried, wouldn't she only cry harder? I couldn't bear that thought. Moreover Amu had said Daddu was on the way. So if he turned up and we weren't there?!
And so I drew up the little courage I had and hugged her tight and somehow got out the words, Its going to be okay! Daddu's just in a traffic jam and he'll be here soon to pick us up!
To just keep her from crying, I began talking to her about her class and friends and things that she generally liked to talk about. She soon forgot everything and began chattering happily! But I was only half-listening to her. My eyes danced back and forth from the watchman to the gate - lest he lock it before my Dad came...
And Thank God! Daddu came there and smiled at us. My sister took one look at him and ran and hugged him! I guess I cried a bit then as well - more with relief than anything else! And I went and hugged him as well, a bit grudgingly I guess..I was so mad at him for having made us wait so long, but nevertheless very happy to see someone else to take care of the situation now!

Well, I suddenly remembered this incident today, mainly because, I guess, my sister has joined college! I'm missing her a lot and was thinking back upon the happy moments we've shared together - and I realized - that evening in school was the moment I truly became her elder sister! When you really love someone, you do something you never would have done before - for the 9 year old girl that I was, it meant not crying in front of her and taking charge of the situation. I guess it sounds really silly - I mean, after all, my dad was just a bit late to pick us up from school! But there it is - its a moment that I remember even now after 11 years - and so it means a lot to me!

Writing about this has also generated a sudden thought - if this miniscule incident has impressed such a deep print on my heart, imagine the thoughts of those children who are abused, or who work more than 70 hours a week in construction sites or match factoriees - or why even those children who help out around household chores in homes where their employers' sons and daughters go to school while they sweep and scrub floors! My parents have never encouraged this and I'm really proud of them. These are the little hands that are going to shape our future - We should indulge in making them strong and capable hands.

The next in-thing!


Wondering what that was all about? Well, those are extracts from the pre-view of the iPhone! As you probably know (especially if you're an iPod maniac like me) Apple pre-released its iPhone - just 4 handsets - to 4 members of the press for them to give you a peek into why you can 'actually expect' the iPhone to be a revolution. That's not saying much, because all the four reviewers are known pro-Mac/pro-Apple/pro-iPod journalists.

Nevertheless, this is the first time we are witnessing such a marketing strategy by Apple. Usually tight-mouthed about releasing details of its products, Apple has gone out of its way this time to create a huge hype about the iPhone (with nearly a million people in America booking for the iPhone a month before its release!)

What I love about Apple is its stylish simplicity! And the iPhone promises loads of such features. Like the reviewers have said, I suppose its going to take us - the normal people who don't walk around with Blackberrys (yet) - some time getting used to owning a phone without a keypad - but that's what the 'revolution' is all about I guess. With a large (and reportedly brilliant) display interface and an amazing camera, this iPod containing phone with amazing browser (again reportedly) facilities looks to be the next in-thing.

With tomorrow (29th June) being the day of its release in the States, I suppose we can expect the iPhone to be reviewed through and through before it aims for a launch back home. It is definitely going to be among the top of the list for people with the right kind of budget looking for a new, trendy 'phone'.


I was looking through some of my old emails - and as it so often happens, I rediscovered a few wonderful mails! I particularly enjoyed one such forward and thought I'd share it with you:-


Ever heard the story of the giant ship engine that failed? The ship's owners tried one expert after another, but none of them could figure out how to fix the engine.

Then they brought in an old man who had been fixing ships since he was a youngster. He carried a large bag of tools with him, and when he arrived, he immediately went to work. He inspected the engine very carefully, top to bottom. Two of the ship's owners were there, watching this man, hoping he would know what to do.

After looking things over, the old man reached into his bag and pulled out a small hammer. He gently tapped something. Instantly, the engine lurched into life. He carefully put his hammer away. The engine was fixed!

A week later, the owners received a bill from the old man for ten thousand dollars. "What?!" the owners exclaimed. "He hardly did anything!" So they wrote the old man a note saying, "Please send us an itemized bill."

The man sent a bill that read:

Tapping with a hammer ........................ $2.00
Knowing where to tap ............................ $9998.00
You may be doing something in life which many people consider trivial; but when you do what you do better than anybody else, your moment of glory will arrive! Like the very meaningful 3 words of my school's motto (PSBB) read- Knowledge is Power!

My piece came in The Hindu Metroplus (Chennai edition) on 20th June under the Voice your views column. Its actually quite childish, but nevertheless, I was elated to know that it had came in print! :-) The topic was 'Hobbies as Therapy'


Being a third year
engineering student in a
hostel far away from home
is demanding. Good
hobbies can relieve stress
and rejuvenate. A game of
tennis or just a jog around
the campus instead of
playing violent games on
your PS console or an
experimental hour or two
in the kitchen with the
iPod on instead of
watching ancient
Spartans killing each
other in fictional, historic
scenarios or reading a
story book (preferring the
hard copy over the e-text
version) will definitely
recharge your batteries!

I got to know about it only when my sister called and told me about it. She made what I must admit is one of the best compliments I've ever received! She said, I love it because you've written very honestly!
Its maybe 'cause my sister knows me so well. Way back in 8th Std, I used to strive so hard to get my pieces published in the Gokulam, that I always wrote in a style that I thought other people expected and appreciated - I used to dream for days about presenting my thoughts in a particular manner but then at the last minute give it up for want of seeing my name in print.
I guess blogging has helped me overcome that. I've realized that what really matters is the quality of the thoughts presented in a language that everyone can relate to!
This reminds me of a conversation I was having with a close friend. We were talking about blogs (Does that sound like I'm a totally jobless person? I guess I am... :-) )and she told me of an instance where this friend of hers started blogging - but the blog seemed as though it was written by a completely different person! Sophisticated language, very noble thoughts and the like.. And I realized, yeah..there are people who project themselves very differently on their blogs and in person seem totally different people. I don't really know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. For one, I'm not a really outgoing person. I'm slightly reserved, very awkward and cautious till I get to know people (And once I'm comfortable in their company, I'm like this chatterbox that can never shut up..) and yet, here I am pouring out some of my deepest thoughts for some stranger in some spot of the world to read! Does that make me a 'double agent' kind of person? I really wonder... But on the brighter side, even if it does, at least its considered 'kewll' right? :-)
I guess this is what they really mean by 'random ramblings'


During one my numerous wanderings in a vast jungle called the world wide web, I came across this first ever printed strip of Garfield!! And what a time I chose to find it - This first strip appeared on 19th June 1978!!

So this being Garfield's 29th birthday, here's my small dedication to wonderfully lazy and hungry friend!! Firstly, Thank you! You were the reason I recongized the existence of something called the newspaper :-P I guess I loved reading Garfield because I shared so many things with him!! His hating mondays, his cute plump self refusing to do what's usually 'to be done' - like chasing mice and yeah..obviously his love for food and his unusual style of expressing his love to Odie and John.

Yeah..Garfield had a makeover and so did John (Thank Goodness for these little things in life :-) ) I rather love the new Garfield look - he somehow seems cutuely plump and even more adorable! Hurrah to this brilliant cartoonist and long live Garfield!! Here's drinking to even lazier days!!!

Just attaching a few random strips that I enjoyed :-)

Garfield Strip from 17. January 1979

Garfield Strip from 24. December 1984

Wonderful June is here!!

Dedicated to my school - PSBB, my wonderful teachers there and my friends and schoolmates: Thanks a ton for making my school years special enough to generate memories pleasant enough for me to blog about it all!

Ah! June is here again...June for me has always meant the wonderful smell of new Bata canvas shoes, brand new and neatly ironed uniforms - with a resolve of not outgrowing them, at least horizontally, before the year was done - a new backpack (which emanates an odour like everything new usually does - a smell that I actually hate .. but love in this context) filled with a new text books and several notebooks covered neatly in brown wrappers with prominent mickeys and Donalds waving out to me with my name plastered next to their tiny figures :-D June meant the beginning of another new year at school, meeting up with friends and classmates -who seem to dissolve to another world during the vacations - and of course the important first steps - creating a good impression on the new class teacher, getting a desk that wasn't too far away from the board to alarm the teacher's 'naughtiness' antennae but at the same time not too close to smell the perfumes the teacher used (or rather didn't :-) ) June almost always began with the usual - "I can't believe the vacation is already over" - attitude on the outside, while inwardly wondering what ever makes us the way we are - praying for holidays during the term time and for classes during the vacations! June..ah!! Wonderous June!!

But now, at twenty (and a month) I'm supposedly 'enjoying' a life-long vacation from school! Uni life is definitely fun - you have a certain independence, a new purpose in life and you're in the process of making a lot of exciting new discoveries that people usually make in young adulthood - but I'm already wishing that my school years could come back! I really miss the belonging - to your section, to your batch, to your school - basically because none of it is actually here! I mean, yeah..NUS is awesome - I love my course and I am here because all these efforts are going to generate certain returns later on in life - but with your class of around 400 students - not all of them taking all the subjects you are - with your lecturers hardly recognizing your face, forget remembering your name! - school life definitely seems something worth much much more than I'd have even realized back then!!

So, those of you still in school, enjoy your years ahead! They're going to be your among your most treasured memories! Those in uni like me, well, I suppose in a few years' time, we'll all again be cribbing about how good uni was and how bad work is :-D So lets make our stay here, memories worth remembering! And, those of you who are already definitely have enough money by now to purchase a ticket to a movie - So go ahead and enjoy some exaggerated drama about youth that'll push you to remember and cherish all those crazy little things that made your youth worth it all!! :-P

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Cheeni Kum...

Bottom line: Not totally worth all the ravishing reviews - but definitely refreshing and bold!
Worth the watch: Amitabh, Tabu,Zohra Segal,Swini Khara
Wasted: Paresh Rawal
Storyline: A 34 year old woman, with a 58 year old father, finds her man in the gruff, egoistic 64 year old London chef, who has a wonderful 99 year old mother and a 'sexy' girlfriend in his 8 year old neighbour who suffers from leukaemia.

Definitely a different movie for the typical Bollywood lapping average fan. With a bold story portrayed by the charismatic Amitabh Bachan and the graceful Tabu, this movie was bound to create ripples at the box office. While the first half of the movie was really amazing - what with the unexpected boldness displayed in Tabu's character, the beautiful nuances and expressions of the 64 year old character beautifully painted by Amitabh and the subtle and good-taste humour of the debutant director - Balki - creeping in, the second half was really disappointing. Paresh Rawal's character was totally wasted on repetitive humour which after a while, got onto the nerves, just when one was beginning to believe that this was a really classy movie. Thankfully, the petite and charming Zohra Segal, saved the show, while the 8-year old 'girlfriend'- Swini Khara - stole away the viewer's hearts with her beautiful performance. Worth a one-time watch - for the brilliant performers, the scenic London setting, the title tune (originally from Mouna Ragam ) and the bold storyline - which was presented awesomely well in the first half.

Jana Gana Mana or Vande Mataram?

An issue that has rocked the Indian intellectual community - since the popular email forward - "Vande Mataram" for National Anthem - tunneled its way into our mail boxes. Though many people accept the popular notion that Tagore the wrote the poem in praise of the Almighty, there are many who still feel that the poem, written just before the coronation of King George V, is not 'indigenous' enough to be recognized as our National Anthem.
Here's a quote from the Indian Express (1968): "He (Tagore) got up very early in the morning and wrote a very beautiful poem.... When he came down, he said to one of us, 'Here is a poem which I have written. It is addressed to God, but give it to Congress people. It will please them."
Personally, I'm biased in favour of Vande Mataram. Here, I feel it is important for me to state my stand on Jana Gana Mana, before I start my ramblings. It is a very beautiful song as well. I'm recently into Rabindranath Tagore's works (and that's how this blog came about) and I realized the beauty of this song while studying an English translation (how ironic!) of this poem. It is our National Anthem, and I will always take the words with the respect it deserves. I will always sing it, in praise of India.
In short, I love Jana Gana Mana too, but somehow, 'Vande Mataram' gives me a very simple way to relate to my country - the one which I know and love! From when I was a III std kid, I've heard Vande Mataram every morning on DD Metro!! And yes, it being one of the first ever poems I've read and appreciated (because of Anandmath - the book in which this poem was first published - being one of my all time favourites) I'm inclined to be a little emotional about this issue!
Most importantly though, Vande Mataram was, has and will always be sung in praise of India and India alone. No imprints of a colonial rule. The 2 words that will always remind us that we are a free and proud country. A song that hails our Motherland's beauty and bounty!
Our Country has recognized Vande Mataram as our National song. Infact, I think we are one of the very few countries in the world to make a distinction between 'national song' and 'national anthem'
What I'm advocating is for Vande Mataram also to be sung at our National festivals - for it to be recognized on par with Jana Gana Mana.

Visual DNA

I was just going through my friend's blog (The Avenger) and I saw an interesting title - which said "Visual DNA". I liked it and so I tried it out too!! Here are my results!

A lesson learnt from my younger sister!

Just yesterday, I was talking to my sister. It was just when she was saying that CBSE still hadn't announced the dates for the release of relults when I saw a flash illuminate my LCD monitor on the CBSE results webpage! We were both elated to learn that her Board Exam results would be released this Wednesday! The sudden excitement discharge into the atmosphere (extending over several hundrend kilometers from Chennai to Singapore - thanks to Gtalk :-D) got my heart thudding at a racy pace! (Its really wonderful how you really conncect with people through common experiences!)
Anyways, what really amazed me was what she did immediately after! She called up her Physics teacher and informed him that the results would be released on 23rd May at 8 am - and where would he be at that time? In school or at home?! (so that she could personally convey her results to him)
The thing is - I had the same Physics teacher - Sunderesan sir! And he is, very frankly speaking, the best teacher I've ever had! Despite the enormous regard I had/have for him, I could never connect with him very well on a personal level. Maybe that's just me - really awkward on all fronts! With me, it always has to be you, who must initiate the conversation! I remember how much I wanted to go and tell him my results and thank him very much for the strong physics basis (on which I'm currently pursing my Engineering degree) - but how I was really hesistant to be one of the first to go - or to be the only one to be gawked at by several juniors - or to even make a phone call...and, well several other reasons! Anyways, I did finally tell him what I wanted to, but I did it with my friends - as they say - 'kumbal ooda Govinda!'
Yeah..It was good enough for me, then, - but I realized that the least a teacher, who puts his heart and soul into making you understand, what is very trivial to him, expects, is for you to be upfront in acknowledging his contribution. And that made me very proud of my sister. No pretence. Just plain, straightforward gratitude.
Perhaps, to you, this is just another lame post - but that's beacause you are already a straightforward person with no 'complexity' or 'shyness' issues. Yesterday's incident has however, made my resolve stronger - to be courageous enough to tackle and face challenges instead of hiding behind a facade of 'I'll get hurt' attitude - in short to be able someday, to do what my sister did spontaneously yesterday!

Ab Hindi mein!!

बहुत ख़ूब!! अरे वाह! अब से हिंदी में भी पोस्ट कर सकती हूँ! धन्यावाध ब्लॉगर!
मेरा पहला वाक्य- जैसे राकेश शर्मा ने पहली बार स्पस जाके कहा था - सारे जहाँ से अच्चा , हिन्दुस्तान हमारा!

"The Gardener"

In the morning I cast my net into the sea.
I dragged up from the dark abyss things of strange aspect and strange beauty - some shone like a smile, and some glistened like tears, and some were flushed like the cheeks of a bride.
When with the day's burden I went home, my love was sitting in the garden, idly tearing the leaves of a flower.
I hesitated for a moment, and then placed at her feet all that I had dragged up, and stood silent.
She glanced at them and said, 'What strange things are these? I know not of what use they are!'
I bowed my head in shame and thought, 'I have not fought for these, I did not buy them in the market; they are not fit gifts for her.'
Then the whole night through I flung them one by one into the street.
In the morning travelers came; they picked them up and carried them into far countries.

- Quoted from "The Gardener" by Rabindranath Tagore

A really beautiful piece don't you think?! Very craftily stating that ever so often, we give away 'opportunities' that are within our grasp! Somehow, ever so often, we are so influenced by the people around us that we rarely stop and wonder if we should at all be doubting our intuitions!

Pasi konda neram....Thalikum Oosai
Santhosha sangeetham...
Eloooo Ppl! :-D yep...that's two of my favourite lines from the song - poo pookum oosai ! Was feeling really hungry just before lunch - thus the 'quote'!! Enjoy the song!!

Postman Uncle!

You know how we talk about freedom fighters, the 1857 revolt and the like. Things that were great, things that we are proud of, but things that belong to the past.With the advent of emails/SMS we no longer use what is now popularly known as 'snail mail.' And so, it seems that POs and Postmen have slipped into that category - at least in our minds.
A postman - Whenever I hear that word, the one thing that comes to my mind is an R.K.Narayan story - a lesson in my English text book from high school (Sorry! Unfortunately I don't remember the title..Please help me out here if you know it - leave me a comment! To be of some help,I remember that the girl's name was Kamakshi...) It described the postman as a friendly tatha (grandfather) who was loved and respected by all in the village. It was so obviously a fictional potrayal. Born and brought up in a city, the postman was never held in very high esteem in my neighbourhood.
Though, one postman uncle will always hold a special place in my heart. Back in those days (at the dawn of the new century .. :-P) I used to be this cute, chubby 8th Standard girl who used to write cute little verses for a magazine called 'Gokulam.' You see, the thing was that whenever your piece got 'published' you would receive a 'money order' (of Rs 20) in your name!! And everytime the doorbell rang and the postman uncle came - he'd give me a smile and say -"Ms Archana yar ma? Avangaluku money order vandiruku" and I'd give him a huge smile and proudly ask him "Enga sign pannanum uncle?" Even a thousand dollar paycheck today doesn't give me the pleasure and joy that those 2 tattered Rs 10 notes, which the postman gave me, gave.
Anyways, there are always beautiful memories from the past to reminisence from. So let's get back to why I suddenly wrote this blog! I was,as usual, just browsing through the newspaper when I came across this article about what POs are doing today - in a world where its been ages since you received a letter via normal mail. And it made a great reading. And so I wanted you guys to read it too! It just shows how much you can do when you want to - The only other direction where efforts must be put in, I think, is advertising and publicity. What do you think?

Here's that article which appeared in The MetroPlus supplement of The Hindu (on 15th
May, Chennai edition) The link to the actual article is below as well. Enjoy!

Dekho ek dakiya aaya
Thaila ek haath mein laya
Pehna hai woh khaki kapde
Hath mein dheron chitti pakde
Add to the description a rickety bicycle and you resurrect a childhood memory of a postman. Naturally then, a recent promo on TV of a private telecom operator featuring village kids making paper boats out of inland letter cards (signifying their red undancy) infuriates your sense of a precious past. So much so it prods you to find out whether in the age of ‘e-volution’, the postal department and the postman, part of our daily life those days, have really gone out of work. But quite interestingly, you find that the little red mailbox just got bigger, not long after you penned your last letter. And quite silently so.
As the number of personal letters began to decline heavily (50-60 per cent currently, according to the Department of Posts’ Book of Information 2004-2005) due to the advent of technology (read SMS, e-mails), our postal service looked inwards for a way out and came up with a bank of new services. And none seems to be anywhere near the term ‘snail mail’. Citizen service centre
Rather, the day is perhaps not far when you would use your area post office as a full-fledged tech-savvy citizen service centre. For already, you can use your PO to pay electricity bills, mobile bills, traffic chalans, property and income tax, electronically transfer money not just to the last village but also to 185 other countries, dispatch e-mails and e-greetings to places with no Internet access, apply for a passport, post letters through the PC, send bulk mails to your clients and even paste ads on postal stationery. Also, you can now buy stamps with fragrances and might be able to use your photo as a stamp one day!
A senior postal official says, “Every year, we deliver prasadam from Tirupati in bulk to many places in the North and the Ganga water to the South. All you have to do is place your order at the nearest post office.” Talk ing about possibilities of moving anything movable, the official talks of a popular Japanese pickle brand ordered only through post. “Just the other day, a company asked us to despatch shirts in bulk. We not only delivered them but did the packing too. There is a lot of possibility,” he says. But the biggest hitch for the department seems its long-established image of a letter pusher.
“Perception is reality and that has not changed, sadly,” admits another senior official from the department. The department had invested in six advertisements but has not been able to make much of a dent.
“But what has worked for us is the trust people have in the system. Private courier services don’t have the reliability of an established network like ours. When it comes to doing the last mile, our postmen are dependable,” he says.Long serving record
Yet another point to note is the long-serving record of its employees. And because of these pluses, the officials emphasise, many courier companies worldwide have now been sold to postal departments. Take TNT, now owned by Netherlands Post, or say, Deutsche Post, which has huge shares in DHL.
Some courier companies are in touch with the Department of Posts to work together, particularly in the rural areas. That all its software is being developed in-house adds to its cost-effectiveness.
“We are continuously training people at our training centres. Our software is world class. Take Meghdoot. It is used in 40 countries.”
Even as you add this to your list, you hear that soon, railway tickets can also be bought at the PO.
And, talks are on with airline companies to sell tickets at the PO.

Have a sporty attitude!

I recently read a post on Arthy's blog [Check out my blog roll to visit her blog]. It was about indulging in sports.
I could relate very much to that particular post - Maybe because I'm obssesed with being overweight and am looking for ways to shed a few (no actually several) pounds - Or Maybe because I'm usually this reserved, self-keeping person and its when I play that I unconsciously become normal with an ability to communicate healthily ( infact I've made nearly all my friends during the course of a friendly chat over a game badminton!)- Or Maybe because I feel really fresh after I enjoy a good game of tennis/badminton. After an hour of relaxation, I am , you may say, ready to take on the world! - Or maybe because its just something that I really enjoy doing!
Well whatever the reasons may be I'm also saying the same thing - If you aren't playing, you are missing out on something major in life!

A crackdown on music piracy

A recent article on the web caught my attention – “Music piracy crackdown nets college kids.”1
The article recounts the music downloading experiences of Sarah Barg, an advertising major in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She was one of the many students who was caught illegally downloading music by the Recording Industry Association of America and was required to pay an exorbitant fine of USD 3000 (USD 750 as fines and USD 7.5 for each song she downloaded using the school’s computer from a p2p sharing platform called Ares) to escape being sued.
Today, with high bandwidth connectivity and an even larger range of piracy websites and file sharing programs, illegal downloads are commonplace enough. Especially among statistically shrewd youngsters, who estimate that the probability of their being caught illegally downloading songs/videos is extremely low. So instead of rightfully investing in mp3s/CDs/DVDs they risk the chance of being caught; ignoring the small sized disclaimers which appear in almost every piracy website/file sharing program.
When caught however, they learn their lesson – in an expensive way. To quote Sarah Barg, “Technically, I'm guilty. I just think it's ridiculous, the way they're going about it.”Most would agree that such steps, however harsh they may seem, are required. The fines that are imposed more than anything else advertise the fact that illegal downloading is indeed against the law and is punishable. Despite this, many students still have a lax attitude. To quote the article again, Johnson, a freshman, doesn't think the threats from the recording industry group are going to solve the problem. His friends who got into trouble still share music online. "People are still going to do it until they get caught, and they can't catch everyone," Johnson said.
So what can be done to solve this problem? The online iTunes store introduced by Apple, which sold songs online – allowing individual songs to be sold instead of the entire package, did reduce online music piracy – but its hard to resist the temptation when these songs are available for free elsewhere on the web. So should there be a change in the legal policy to accommodate this new technology? Or is this an opportunity for a technopreneur to design a meter to keep record of when and how many files of the mp3/wma/rm… formats have been downloaded by the system? Only time will tell.

1) Music piracy crackdown nets college kids - By Anna Jo Bratton (Associated Press), ET May 13, 2007

I'm a proud Indian today!

The opinion page article which appeared in "The Hindu" (A leading national daily in India) today made me feel very proud (more than usual) to say that I'm an Indian! [scroll down to read it]
You know how some stories catch your eye - well, this was one of them. I had been following the happenings in UP over nearly a week and yes, I must say, I was given a pleasant jolt when the ECI cleverly asked the BJP to openly condemn the contents of the controversial CD. Playing well within its legal and unofficially accepted lines, the ECI strategized in a manner which ensured fairness while at the same time settling the controversial issue without any riots breaking out - And yes, that is indeed a laudable effort!
Turkey, marching and rallying for secularism, should indeed be an example to all of us. In a culturally rich and economically booming India, religious harmony would indeed propel us further onto the world stage, faster.
Just on a side note - India is going places!! Am I one of the last to realize it? Anyways, as they say :- better late than never! I was just looking through Wikipedia and one article that caught my eye was Dr. Manmohan Singh [on a side,side note :-D its literal translation is Charming! I knew that but never thought of the name in that manner!] Anyways, the line that really made me smile wide was "He is the most educated prime minister in Indian history!" I knew that too, but what I realized when reading the article was that the world is increasingly looking up to us!! And what can we do? As a first step, I have decided to follow our country's motto - Satyameva Jayate (Truth alone triumphs)
Okay, here's the editorial from the the Hindu that inspired me to write this blog - Its from (May 14th,2007)
Well done, Election Commission
The Election Commission of India's strategy on the Bharatiya Janata Party's defiant communal ism has succeeded brilliantly. The ECI needed to pick up the gauntlet when the saffron party challenged it and the electoral law with a venomous CD at the start of the campaign for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. In asking the party to condemn the contents of the production while reserving the right to derecognise the party, it acted with firmness and reasonableness. In the end, the BJP, whose leaders quibbled and equivocated about the CD's contents and status right through the election campaign, was left with no choice but to come out with an unequivocal condemnation. The Commission did the sensible thing in turning down the plea that its powers should be used to derecognise the BJP as a national party. Invoking Paragraph 16(A) of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order 1968 — which empowers the Commission to "suspend or withdraw recognition of a recognised political party for its failure to observe [the] Model Code of Conduct" — would have set a dubious precedent with uncertain legal and risky political implications. As the Commission itself has conceded, its power to derecognise a party has not yet been judicially tested.
The condemnation wrested from the BJP has come on the back of defeat in an Assembly election that was fair and wondrously free from the predicted violence and anarchy. This was a tremendous achievement in a State that has a voter base of more than 110 million, 113,000 polling stations, 403 Assembly constituencies, and an unenviable history of bogus voting. It was accomplished by a thorough verification and cleaning up of the voter list, tight control of the polling process, and 100 per cent coverage of the polling stations with central paramilitary forces. Such an achievement would not have been possible without a cohesive, well-knit, and independent ECI. There is nothing wrong in criticising the Commission, for example, when it overdoes campaigning restrictions or seeks to `ban' opinion and exit polls. But what must be deplored is the attempt by the BJP to undermine the institutional integrity of the body through a self-damaging campaign against Election Commissioner Navin Chawla for alleged bias towards the Congress. For the sake of even-handedness, it needs to be pointed out that before N. Gopalaswami — L. K. Advani's chosen Home Secretary who was appointed Election Commissioner by the National Democratic Alliance government — took over as Chief Election Commissioner, there was a whispering campaign about his political inclinations. In both cases, the branding has been shown to be baseless and irresponsible. The elections of the past two years — in Bihar, West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Punjab, and now U.P. — have borne no evidence of any refereeing bias. It is ironic that during the campaign Mulayam Singh accused the Commission of being an agent of both the Congress and the BJP, and post-election he has blamed the ECI for his defeat. For argument's sake, it must also be pointed out that constitutional functionaries — be they judges, speakers, governors, or presidents — may come from different social and even political backgrounds and have their firm ideas and connections. The critical thing is that they must function with integrity, independence, and impartiality in high office. The three members of the ECI have certainly done that to the acclaim of democratic India.

You are the indulgence I'd love to have in every moment of my life

-Dedicated to my loving mother,caring father and my beautiful sister!

This being my first weekend after a long first week at my first ever internship, I was on the lookout for the perfect quote to describe my feelings - and I realized that this fit the bill perfectly!
Moment's Indulgence 
I ask for a moment's indulgence to sit by thy side. The works
that I have in hand I will finish afterwards.
Away from the sight of thy face my heart knows no rest nor respite,
and my work becomes an endless toil in a shoreless sea of toil.
Today the summer has come at my window with its sighs and murmurs; and
the bees are plying their minstrelsy at the court of the flowering grove.
Now it is time to sit quite, face to face with thee, and to sing
dedication of life in this silent and overflowing leisure.

- Quoted from Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore

Its called ture love when you wish that your someone special were at your side to share such precious little moments of joy that make life worth living.

My first post for the year

Would you like to listen to this article?? Click here!
Hey! I know its a bit late to be penning this down, but wish all of you a great and successful new year! The reason for this really late blog is that I wanted my first one for this year to be a reflection of some serious introspection. And well, I've found the perfect topic for the post.
Perhaps most of you have read this popular email forward - 5 Great Lessons in Life (If not, navigate down to the text in italics to read it - It's a wonderful one.) It took me so long to realize that this very very popular email forward had at once been a simple blog! And deriving from this inspiration, here's my blog - Incidences which altered my perspectives of life.

I was having a casual conversation with my father on the drive down to his office. Only later did I realize the impact this casual conversation had on my actions and thoughts. We were discussing the option of actually considering entrepreneurship as a career choice. My father was telling me about how fruitful and successful an option this could turn out to be if we went about the right way - keeping abreast of latest developments, looking into a problem and trying to come up with a business level solution to it. I was all ears, this coming not just from my father, who had my best interests in heart, but also from a senior executive of a leading firm in India. But I was also seriously considering the risk option. After all, I had read that only 1% of first movers were actually successful and that technical soundness guaranteed only that much success and said so. My father replied saying statistics could only tell you so much. He told me about a person he knew - currently a respected guest lecturer in IIT-Bombay - who was a nuclear power specialist. This professor came up with a entrepreneurial level solution that was ultimately adopted only in the nuclear reactors of India. So according to statistics, his success would be deemed partial. But my dad said "Do you know how happy he is? He has a very comfortable income, has seen his passion materialize and take a form that approved by the community and is now a lecturer. He is so proud that his invention has been accepted and that he has contributed in someway, to the furthering of mankind." I was at a loss for words. I realized that in learning what my technopreneurship modules aimed to impart, I had learnt to define and measure success only in terms of financial returns! So often in life, we don't get the larger picture! So every time you begin thinking of money and success on the same platform, be sure to think again!

I read this email once, a long long time ago. It is also a blog, I suppose. It is about an Indian, who responded to a call by Gandhiji to observe a fast of one meal every week till India could supply food to the US. He broke his fast only after India dropped air food packets for the survivors of the Katrina! It taught me so many things - perseverence, honouring someone we respect by adhering to their principles and patriotism.

Great Lessons

1 - First Important Lesson - Cleaning Lady.

During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions until I read the last one:

"What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?"

Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name?

I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade.

"Absolutely," said the professor. "In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say "hello."

I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.

2. - Second Important Lesson - Pickup in the Rain

One night, at 11:30 p.m., an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rainstorm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s. The MN took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab.

She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached..

It read: "Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband's bedside just before he passed away... God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others."


Mrs. Nat King Cole.

3 - Third Important Lesson - Always remember those who serve.

In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a
10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him.

"How much is an ice cream sundae?" he asked. "Fifty cents," replied the waitress. The little boy pulled is hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it.

"Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?" he inquired.

By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient.

"Thirty-five cents," she brusquely replied

The little boy again counted his coins.

"I'll have the plain ice cream," he said.

The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left. When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies..

You see, he couldn't have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.

4 - Fourth Important Lesson. - The obstacle in Our Path.

In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.

Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand!

Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.

5 - Fifth Important Lesson - Giving When it Counts...

Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister.

I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, "Yes I'll do it, if it will save her." As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded.

He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away?"

Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.

"Work like you don't need the money, Love like you've never been hurt, and dance like you do when no body's watching."