Friday, July 31, 2009

Moi Want to Fly

"According to a 2001 National Transportation Safety Board study, 69 percent of passengers who completed the survey did not watch the entire safety briefing"
As part of its "Nothing to Hide" marketing campaign, which highlights the carrier's lack of fees compared with its so-called low-cost airline competition, the airline professionally body-painted five naked airline employees to perform the safety video with a pinch of cheeky humor, literally.

OK thats it. I am flying Air-New Zealand next

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Live Life :)

Check this youtube video. (Can't embedd)

JK Wedding Entrance Dance

I think these guyz are just discovering what we always knew...

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Corporation

Let me assume a hypothetical scenario 20 years from now and let my imagination fly wild for a while.

The year is 2029. Google, now a conglomerate giant with huge presence in all domains is looking to work closely with the Andra Pradesh state government in India. Google has diversified in clean energy,sun power,mechanical industry,defense,manufacturing and what have you.

It signs up an MOU with AP state government to set up a shop in Vijaywada. But there's also a clause in it's contract. That Google has the right to create it's own private army, and if attacked by Naxalites, who are against Google's presence in India, strike back at them.

Much to the dislike of AP's people the government allows Google to build it's own private army to protect itself and it's employees. Soon Google sets up it's shop in Vijaywada.

In the meantime Google realizes that it can now venture into building Army which is turning out to be a profitable business itself. It can outsource it's army to different state governments who are dealing with their own set of armed conflicts.

So now Google ties up with all and sundry and provides state-of-the-art Armed forces with awesome weaponry and all. Google's army is now more powerful and effective than Indian State's army. Seeing this Google's parent country, USA, smells blood. It can now leverage this company's presence to brow beat Indians into buying American stuff.

In the meantime Google contact's Chelsea Clinton, the first female President of the United States and asks her to talk to United Kingdom to change certain monopoly laws of the nation. UK's tough laws had blocked Google Search engines as it wasn't adhering to it. After much arm-twisting from USA, UK under duress from Chelsea allows free search engines of Google. The entire UK IT work force is upset.

But that's not enough. Now Google also wants it's bete noire China to fall in line. China has blocked all Google searches in it's country owing to some controversy in the year 2025. This is seriously hitting Google's revenue in the Mandarin region. USA, takes advantage of a contract it had signed with China, and claims China is dishonoring it's deal. USA threatens of an all out Economic Blockade if China does not budge, and both are almost at war with each other.

If you've read so far, I am sure either of the two things have happened. You think I am on pot or that writing crazy fictional accounts is my new weekend hobby.

This surely sounds crazy, no? Can such a company ever exist? Can a Corporation be so powerful so as to influence four Big nations and their governments?

But then what if there existed that kind of Corporation. What if that Corporation through it's policies influenced lives of all the exact same nations I mentioned. What if that Corporation during it's 275 years of presence changed the world order?

Yes, it did. It was called East India Company; a company that ruled over the global fortunes for good part of it's 275 years of history. We have had empires wrap up in shorter times than East India Company's run.

East India Company (EIC)had it's own private army. It used to have strategic alliances with various Kingdoms in India who would outsource the management of their armed conflicts to it (Ray's Shatranj Ke Khiladi has a great scene about this particular part). EIC, of course had a far superior man power and weaponry. Slowly East India Company expanded into good part of the country, and on seeing the profit in armed conflicts in India, the Queen jumped in. The company came first; the Raj came next.

After the Battle of Plassey, East India Company made huge losses, and to compensate, it asked Great Britain (The Brits were the colonists) to dump all Tea into the US as that Company faced financial crisis post the battle (similar to my fictional story where Google asks USA to change UK laws). This led to the Boston Tea Party as free Tea angered the local population. That was the tipping point.

EIC also forced Britain to go to war with China as China had angered it with all curbs (This was just a pretext that Britain used against China, similar to my crazy story). It was called the Anglo-China opium war.

So in a strange way during that rough period, USA,India and China shared a common enemy. That enemy was East India Company.

We have seen giants like GE,GM,IBM, Micro-soft,Google etc in our lifetime. None of these even remotely compare as far as influence of power of EIC is concerned. And look at it's duration!! 275 years. That is mammoth; Massive by any standards.

I don't have a specific point about writing this post. But something was remarkable about East India Company; that I never fully comprehended before this book I read on the 'Greatest Corporations ever to rule the world'.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

No Kiddin

This for real.. no kidding. My favorite part is.. "We does ayarn and house kiping"

(Thanks Shrini, for forwarding this)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Images : India

There's work around for everything, ain't it! No fuss, No sweat! Thaz my India :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Hitavada

Nagpur is the 3rd biggest city in Maharashtra, and I have not checked the latest census, but I am sure it's in top 15 cities of India by population. It is also officially the 'second' capital of Maharashtra (whatever that means).

And yet for all this, it does not have a decent local newspaper to cater to it's populace. It has 'The Hitavada' of course and it 'had' something called as 'Nagpur Times' sometime back; but that's about it, I guess.

First of all the Name. I mean what in hell does that name mean! Who comes up with such names for a Newspaper- 'The Hitavada'??

I have heard names with Times,Express,Daily,Tele in it. But this must be the most unique name for a newspaper ever. On a related topic that I won't go into too much now, I have a feeling Nagpur brings up these random names which I can never make sense of. Specially some names of it's localities or *suburbs*, if you will. (Sample this - Jaripatka, Bhamti Parsodi, GaddiGudam.. and of course SitaBuldi, smack at center of the town)

So coming back to 'The Hitavada', I tried to look up for it's website. And Bingo! I got it. They have an online version of it. And the quality is just terrific.

For instance if you click on the Editorial link, you are taken to a page that will give you some local news. One such news item is hilarious.. Another fake currency circulation detected, it's by a Staff Reporter. This newspaper has turned the notion of Editorial on it's head. Makes you wonder what the Staff Reporter is reporting on the Editorial section.

I find this snippet hilarious..
According to Police, Dr Murtuja, a resident of Bajrang Square and his driver Ankush Rajaram Pal (27), a resident of Jai Hind Nagar, Mankapur were coming from Kalmeshwar to Gittikhadan in a Mahindra pick-up van (MH-31/CQ-3831).
Why so much of information! Like for example the number plate of the pickup van. Why would you do that? Unless you expect people to go their DMVs / RTOs and check who the guy with white van and that number plate is? "Oh, so it's HIM"?

Also in the Editorial Section there are stories like.. "Girls more dedicated, hard workers than boys:" ..., "Orange City’s own Santa Claus"... etc. All are funny.

Well, what can you say. Nagpur *is* funny.

Also most people there have an air of arrogance about them. It's a mystery though, "for what and why"?. PuLa Deshpande nailed it in his brilliant essay .."Mumbaikar,Punekar ani Nagpurkar". He brings out the perfect, loud and pompous character of a Nagpurkar. The way he depicts it all, is just stupendous.

Keeping in tune with that Nagpuri smugness, I am sure every Nagpurkar worth his salt thinks of Hitavada as no less than their own NYTimes. ... I wouldn't be surprised if I ever hear this.."Are tumhara New York Times kya hai ho!... apna Hitvad koi kum hai kya..?"

And the person who says this would say it with such mega confidence you would be speechless. There's no rejoinder you can ever have for that! You cannot make a comeback. Period. After all The Hitavada is "ours" and it's spectacularly Nagpuri :)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Weekend Twits

- So even after gulping a few beers in our Agile Scrum room, we could not come up with a name for our new team. Looks like we need more Beer-Fridays@work.

- Called up my good'ol' college friend 'S' in Nashik. Little did I know I would be connected to 6 others via conference. Chiwda galore and I was laughing till my throat dried.

- A new Desi theatre has come right next door in our Burbs. With "Bombay Chat House" adjacent to it, this place is fast turning into an Indian Katta.

- Saw Quantum of Solace on DVD. Why are these people hell bent on destroying the Bond Franchise?

- I got sucked into debate, my two co-workers were having over (you won't believe) - Lord of the Rings. I finally added it to my netflix list; The extended versions of that. I hear it's painfully long.

- A guy in the car front of me on the light was busy picking on his nose and was in intense 'tandri'. I finally had to honk him... It was hilarious and gross at same time.

- It's been a while since I got hooked to anything on Cable. The last thing was Sopranos. Even HBO sucks big time. (At least the ones we have)


Friday, July 17, 2009

No go Amigo

You can't get out of it! Nopes. Once you are in, you are in. I am talking of Vonage phone service that, in my wisdom, I took up 2 years back, hardly ever used it and now I wanted to get rid of it.

I might have made not more than 10 calls on that line in total in 2 years and I was paying monthly bill of around 20$. (Naturally it was auto-debit, as is most of my other bills).

A cursory glance at my statement made me realize why the heck am I even paying these folks.

And then my ordeal began. First of all, you cannot call them on weekends. No. Whoa, Whoa, Whoa.. you just can't. It's too much of a pain for them to 'serve' on the weekends. Of course you *can* buy or renew your contract even at 00:00 hrs in night on Sunday. But you cannot, would not cancel your service.

So you put an alert in your phone to call them on weekday and as Murphy's Law would have it, the alert matches your time of a random office meeting. So you skip it thinking you'd call in lunch.

Many lunches later, you have still not called and again a new statement makes you aware of the 'call of duty'

And finally One day, you connect. Boy! that feeling of 'connection'. You wait for about 4 minutes on the line, keeping your speaker phone and your patience ON. And she shows up. The goddess who's finally going to relieve you of your pain. But she's not going to make it easy to let go. You know it. She knows it.

It's a mind game. "Sir, why do you want to discontinue"; "We can give you 2 months free"; "You know we have a loyalty membership program".

By the 5th question your sugar level is high. You are now 2 inches close to barking! But you know, you want to restrain. You want to first get off the hook somehow. In a strange way these call center guys have too much power.

The Abhimanyu needs a way off the Chakravyuha..

And your patience pays off. You've honored your 2 year contract and now there's no penalty for 'gettin out'... and it feels good. You paid them for 2 years, you din't use much of it, and it actually feels good to get rid of that service that you never used.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sears .. nah Willis

Damn! that name Willis is so Brit. So anyways, Sears , the iconic tower of Chicago is being officially renamed - Willis Tower.

Willis Group Holdings, is a London based Insurance Broker.

I have a small personal connection to Sears. My office desk was bang opposite it on the other side of the road, in 2005-06, when we were on South Wacker.

I am not on Facebook yet, and have been resisting to join it for a while, but looks like it has a Group of folks who have come up to save the name. Not sure if this would push me to join. Nevertheless, this is my own little protest, on my blog, which is read by...arrrr.... a grand sum of 3 people, give or take one.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Suicide Clinic?

"British conductor Edward Downes, a longtime stalwart at the Royal Opera and maestro of the first-ever performance at Sydney’s iconic Opera House, has died with his wife at an assisted suicide clinic in Switzerland"

I am a supporter of euthanasia where the condition for patient/individual is unbearably painful; however inhuman/immoral this may sound to 'people of Christ' out there.

I wasn't aware that there were 'Suicide Clinics' though. By calling it such, they are not doing justice to the dying patient. The term suicide rings a negative bell.

I think #3 here makes sense. "People should not be forced to stay alive".

In India a ton of saints have taken samadhis, although it's not the same, in essence these people detached themselves from pain.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Hayward 2k ,Gold Flake & 48 Rupees

What's the best way to spend Rupees 48? What's the worth of 48 Rupees?

Well, I can't buy a New York Times with that money today. But sometime back, during our college days (yeah right... those days!) it could buy us everything. Everything we wanted, that is!

Imagine this. You hop on a Maharashtra State Transport Bus, the awesome red colored monster with Dolby stereo sound effects under your seat, pay a grand total of 2 Indian Rupees to the dead-stone-faced conductor who was least interested in anything life has to offer. You get down at the college town's "downtown", and head straight towards a shady Bar & Restaurant called Golden; and there's nothing 'golden' about it. You order a Hayward's 2000 and Masala Baigan plate with Tandoori Roti; trying to see the face of the waiter through the fog of cigarette smoke and then you ignite that ultimate Cigarette man ever made - Gold Flake. What a killer combination!

Masala Baigan, Haywards2000 and Gold Flake. Try to top that, and you get a free ticket to Vegas.

I have to tell you this. There's no cigarette like Gold Flake. None. It's the epitome of cigarette-ness; if there ever was. It's ITC's gift to mankind.

And then add to that, the absolutely shoddy and cheap beer called Hayward 2000 and you are "Golden".

So if I have to paraphrase this whole thing...

Bus ride to city square and back - 4 Rupees.
One Hayward 2000 - 32 Rupees
One Baigan Masala plate - 8 Rupees
Tandoori Rotis - 4 Rupees

The memory of all this; a decade too late : Priceless

What can I say; visiting Jannat cost us just 48 Indian rupees. End to End.

[P.S: I quit smoking few years back.]

Quote of the day

The quote of the day comes from Economist Bibek Debroy -
"If con is antithesis of pro, Congress is antithesis of Progress"
You see I never told you I was in a bad company :)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Its West. Its Wild

Some quick notes I made on our weekend trip to the Colorados (//todo : update with pictures)

- Our B&B is awesome. It's like a very old Victorian mansion; and I am glad paying through our noses for this wasn't such a bad idea.

- Built in late 1800s we got a quick tour of it's history even as we settled inside.

- We can see the Pike Peaks right from our backyard where we have our breakfast.

- Its cool to have someone personally serve you breakfast in this country. The owners are pleasant!

- There's a whole wedding party in our company here @B&B. Although can't figure out who the groom and bride is. My better half seems particularly interested. (Women, I tell you)

- Royal Gorge is super duper hype. If you are not interested in engineering of bridges this Patel Point can be avoided.

- Loved our trip to the Peaks at 14,000+ feet above sea level.

- It suddenly became extremely foggy at the top even as our Train reached the summit.

- Trivia This : The Pike Peak is the 2nd most visited mountain after Mt. Fuji.

- Had small talk with tour guide. I like to do that. She was smart and chirpy.

- We have cris-crossed around 300 miles of CO state. It doesn't get more Wilder and Western than this. I always get a feeling that Cohen bros are shooting somewhere on the next junction of state highway.

- What's with the obsession of horses in this state? There's a stable at every nook and corner.

- Rocky Mountains is more touristy than Glaciers in Montana.

- Damn! we got blocked again on the highway by someone taking pictures of Elk Bull.

- Things to do: Take a bike and take a hike. Do some rafting.

- Tip : Spend more time in Rocky Mountains. Choose spring time if possible.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Beauty over ranking..

Wimbldon folks have admitted that they prefer beauty over ranking..

[..] Wimbledon has become the first Grand Slam to admit that they do consider looks over ranking when deciding on who should play on Centre Court. They don't call it sex appeal but box office appeal.[..]
As a lover of sports I am appalled. But lez be honest guyz; I have to add that as a Man (from Mars) I am not ;-).

I would have to quote Chandler from Friends here - "I tried to look up for Billie Jean King, but no one posted one!"