As per my original plan, I'm supposed to leave Chennai last week itself with few of my teammates. First to Hyd to my PM's home then to pune for a big trekking and from there a good drive till Mumbai in the Pune-Mumbai high way then back to Hyd. While others leave Hyd, I stay there for 2/3 days till new year and celebrate the new year there. All cancelled. With a big face I've to go the staition and cancelled my tickets alone. So decided to stay back. Now the guys are back and telling long stories and I've missed all the fun, adventure and exp :-(
Hell with the deadlines.Today there is a code cut and I've quite a lot to complete. So I've to stay back. Now that I'm really happy because earlier what was thought that could not be completed, has been completed. This kind of happiness & work statisfaction is something that you rarely get and its worth trading for the fun and adventure I guess. Now after completing the official work, I'm blogging nearly after a month!!
Meanwhile, till this time there is no plan for the celebrations. First I've to take my bike from service. Last time when I left it for service, they called me up and said that 'Bike is ready; the amt you have to pay is xxx; you can take it'. Wow the customer care is good, but I was in a middle of a meeting. This time surprisingly I got an sms!! Thats cool. Customer care is improving in India. I'm about to leave and take my bike and go to my sis home. After that either its should be a booze party in my home/ just a dinner at my sub-juns home. Nothing decided. I'm yet to write few blogs about my past experiences in Silent Valley, Earth Quake, Tsunami etc. Will write it next year and post it. Till then Happy New Year :-)
When we were in Pondi some time back, I was telling guys, 'how about a big trip with more people during this yearend?' People, including me, thought that its hard to gather more people. But somehow we made it to wayanad as a 2 day trip. 23 people from people from Chennai, Salem, Palakkad, Bangalore & Hydrabad gathered at one place after two and a half years. Its simply funtastic.
Right from the Central Railway Station, the fun started. Everybody was teasing everyone else. We expected Srihari will be late as usual and miss the train. Luckily he came in to the train in the right moment - unfortunately to the wrong compartment :-)
When we reached Calicut, we were looking for the vehicles booked. Actually we were 16 and I booked a 18 seater. Unfortunately they couldn't get it and so they arranged for a 11 seater and a qualis for the same rate of 18 seater. We have to split up in two vehicles for from Calicut till Wayanad. No other go, so I went for it. When the driver picked up us in the station and led us to the parking lot. He said "this is the vehicle you can get it". "What!" I said. When they said 11 seater I expected a tempo traveller. What was there was a brand new Chevy Tavera with factory fitted Ac. "Wow. Thats cool!".
It took 2 hrs to reach the resort. From Pookad Lake, we have to take a different road to reach the Vythiri resort. Ok. It was not a road - just a path. The 4 kms was bad. Vythiri resort was cool. It was in the midst of natural surrondings, a small spring was running inside the resort spitting it into two halves. The only way to go to the other half was thru a hanging bridge. They have cleverly arranged the resort. In one half they had the reception, the rooms and the play ground. The other half had the restaurant, coffee shop, indoor games, swimming pool etc. So you have to go in the bridge quite a few times. I can see some kids staying there were exicted when they cross the bridge. Why kids? Even few of us were! They were so exicted & was very particular in taking photos in the bridge so that they can show it to their teammates!
One thing without which the blog wouldn't get complete is Sakthi and camp fire. He talked for around 2 hrs and everybody else was listening. He was teasing everyone in a round robin fashion. No one could talk anything against/with him. That was fantastic show and no one can even imagine doing like that. The touching punch dialog to him was 'nee ponnu parkum pothu ethum pesathada, apuram unakku kalyaname aagathu'.
The next day we went to the Pookad Lake and spent around 3 hrs up there. First we went for a walking and then we went for boating too. While walking I went to the place where I've scribbled my name on the moss. Last time when I went there with my team, it was rainy season and it was so greeny. Now all that got dried up and it was brown in color. I can see my name still. The surprising thing was there were lot of names written on that. Ha! I have lot followers :-)
On the whole the entire trip was fun. The place was good. The food was neat. We all had a great time together - that the most important point. We Chennai guys ended up travelling around 15 hrs for the destination and the Bangi guys spent just 6 hrs and hence spent less. Additionally on the way back they visited Mysore too. Next time I should select a place which is near the Chennai :-(
Ah! The power of open source :-)
Had this been a closed source, I would have to abandon the library and went for rewriting the whole thing! Now all I've to do is add 2 lines of code to generate that unique id in the way my Graphics Designer wants and build it. Of course it took me literally 4 days to do it, now much simpler to rewrite the whole thing.
I've been using display-tag for a while and didn't find any troubles with it. The sorting, pagination, decorators, styles, export - everything is perfect. Its a jsp tag, simple and neat to use. After a long time I'm using something which is supposed to be how it should be! I was wondering does it has any drawbacks? Voila! There came a new requirement.
The table that I'm displaying contained several columns (around 20). The users of the gui will not use all the columns. So my graphics designer came out with a small java script that will dynamically hide/show the selected columns. The trouble lies in the Java Script. The logic needs a unique id for every cell. But the display-tag doesn't create any ids. I tried posting to the mailing list, still no solution. So one possible solution is to hack the library, and modify it to generate the id(The good thing about open source).
I thought I'll do it today. I downloaded the source code and tried to build it. It uses Maven to build. So I downloaded and installed it and tried to build again. Its the first time and Maven was downloading all dependencies and creating a repoisitory. Its took one hour to build it. All through the process I was wondering, what if I make changes, build it and use that version of the library. Suppose in future there is a bug in my patch or another enhancement is needed over this, how are the other going to do that? Follow the same procedure? Is it really worth going for all this pain? I'm still hesitant to do it. Anyone knows any good solution?
I've been longing for a long drive in bike. Somehow we made it to Pondi, but it doesn't look at a long drive at all. Now I drove to Coimbatore. At last :-)
When I said this, the response from everyone was:'Chennai to Coimbatore? In a two wheeler? Alone? Are you crazy?'. After much scoldings/warnings/advices from everyone, I decided to go on. I started on Thrusday early morning at 6.30 from Technohut. Filled up petrol, checked air, brakes, headlights and wrrrrooooom. I decided not to cross 80 km/hr speed limit and make a compulsary stop after every 75 kms.
The road from Chennai till Dhindivanam was really good. The entire strech of 120 kms was a four lane road and separated neatly by a divider. The road was the far better than ECR. After Dhindivanam till Ulunthupettai the road was not so great. It will be good and if you think you can stay in 80km/hr speed suddenly there will be a pit. Its a good test for maneuverability of the vehicle. I was bored with it. One good idea was to catch a speeding car and tail it from a safer distance. From its sudden brakes and turns, you can predict the road and drive accordingly. That happened for around 40-50 kms. Then till home the road was fine, except for a 15 kms strech before Palani. That was horrible. You can see pits everywhere and can't go beyond 45 kms/hr.
When I reached Trichy I took the by-pass to go to Dindugal. I was thinking whether to have lunch here/Dindugal. But then alas, I got a flat tyre. So I had a hard stop. Luckily there was a shop 10 mts away and left the bike there and went to a near by hotel for lunch. By the time I finished lunch, the bike was ready. Then the ride was smooth. Reached home by 6 PM. My trip meter showed 550 kms when I reached home.
My mom was standing before my neighbours home. When I stopped my bike near her, she thought it was someone else. She was surprised & happy to see me. She thought I came to Cbe in train and borrowed someone's bike from there. I told 'no its mine' and have to show the Chennai registration for proof. She got angry. She forgot that it not inside our home, its not even inside neighbour's home & we are standing in the road and everybody is watching us. She raised her hand to slap me. But then I've not yet removed my helmet yet and so she didn't know what to do. For a moment she starred at me and went into the house without any more words. It took a long time to convince her. I know wearing a helmet protects, but not to that extend !!!!
The return journey was also good. I started on Sunday morning by 6.30 AM. I went to Coimbatore and met my friend there in Karumathampatti. Had break fast and started there. This time the journey was via Trichy. Till Salem its NH 47 and it was again another perfectly maintained road. But from Salem to Aathur the 40 kms strech was very pathetic. I couldn't even touch 50 kms/hr. After that it was ok. When I reached home it was 6 PM again.
Unlike everyone thought its not a very wild idea. I just drove 1200 kms and that too the entire strech was national highways. If I had a CD 100 or a Splendor, I would not have thought of driving this far. Neither I preferred the trip two weeks earlier, as I would be soaked in the rain nor in the month of May where I would have half cooked in the hot-sun. The weather was simply perfect. And more important thing is I didn't drive during night. Every 20 kms I see a Police Patrol Vehicle standing and every 30 kms an Ambulance. A ride in highway is safer now. All you need is a solid bike and good mental/physical preparation.
Overall I thought the after-effects might be little trouble-some. I expected a heavy back-pain and said my PM that with most probability Monday, I might be on leave. But surprisingly not so. I could go to work on Monday. I won't say that I'm perfectly alright. There was a slight pain and felt tired on the whole day, but not that bad as I expected. Its worth for the experience.
Yesterday, one of my teammates was complaining to my PM, 'Ajit, look at this idiot. He has gone home in bike'. The reaction was bit unexpected: 'Really? hey thats good man. Some years ago, even I drove a scooter from Hydrabad to Pune. That was a good experience'. Hydrabad to Pune? That far? In a two wheeler? mmmm. Seems like a crazy idea. But then I've always have this sticked in my cube. Here's to the crazy ones.
I decided not to go home this Diwali. I know I'll missing that wonderful idly with coconut chutney and tomato kulambu for breakfast; I know I'll missing all the sweets; I know I'll be missing Gokul's excitement for all the crackers; I know I'll missing the Patti (Vetti) Mandrams in TV; I know I'll be missing all nice movies in Star & HBO, but I decided to stay back. The day before Diwali the excitement started in Office. Everyone started leaving soon after lunch. Everybody saying Happy Diwali to everyone and leaving office. I thought of staying late in the office, but somehow felt home sick and left office by 6.30. Went home, took a bath and went to the terrace. It was a wonderful show in the sky. I didn't expect it to happen on the eve of Diwali. Usually in my village, its only on Diwali - not on the Diwali's eve. (No costly fireworks like this) Here the fun started on the eve itself. There were a variety of fireworks in the sky and I was enjoying it for nearly two hours. I wished the Canon D20 was shipped to India before this Diwali, so I would have one to shoot this. At least I would have bought a Digital Rebel. mmm. Let me wait till next Diwali. Hopefully I would own a Digital SLR by that time.
The next day, Diwali, was fine. Went to my sis home in Kodambakkam. The road looked as if it was a bandth. Had good food. After Mama and my nephews went to her in-law's home in the afternoon, we both were talking about old stories. Then suddenly she said, 'you have the bike na, take me somewhere'. But 'where?'. Both of us had no idea. We thought of going to my home. On the way the destination was then changed to Spencer Plaza, and then to Adayar Beach, and then to Muttu Kadu Boating center. First we went to a beach in ECR, then to Muttu Kadu. We both sat on the benches there and enjoyed the sunset. It seems that a heavy downpour might start. So we hurried from there. We stopped at Mayajaal's Aru Suvai Arasu for a coffee. When we came out it was a heavy downpour as expected. She likes rain very much as I do. So we decided to take a drive in the rain. People were stopping and talking shelter in the restaurant for rain. And we were moving out to the bike. Everybody was giving a crazy look on us. Never mind :-) By the time when we crossed VGP, there was no sign of even a single drop of rain and we were totally wet. Again few more crazy looks; and never mind again. It was highly irritating to drive. People were bursting crackers in the road. She was very scared. Althought I love the fireworks, I hate crackers, esp. someone matches it on the road. When we went home, it was 6.30. Said a bye to mama n kids and rushed home to the terrace. Ah! the show again!!! If I'd been home, I won't have a chance to watch this. Its not worth of missing the diwali specials I mentioned first. But still worth watching it :-)
I quite often come across people whom I think are very normal, but all of a sudden they seem to have an ultimate will power & high attitude. Esp. when they are in a stress, they express themselfs in a different way than I've imagined and that simply amazes me.
Forget about Christopher Reeve and Steven Hawkins. I'm talking about the people I meet in my day-to-day life. Subramani mama - my neighbour in childhood days, one of my cousin sisters, my friend's dad and recently now my friend.
In our group, he is one of the handsome guys and smartest. He has a very good sense of humour. He is working in HCL and got an on-site offer and went to US. He was enjoying his time there visiting many places in the country. They used to visit someplace every weekend. One weekend, when they were travelling in the high-way, the car tyre bursted and the car collapsed. Imagine the speed at which they travel there. Accidents are fatal. The car took several dives and everyone got heavily injured. He was in the back seat and got his spine damaged. Now he is in the hospital there. His lower part of the body is completely senseless and he cannot move his hands. Thanks to HCL's sponsor, his brother is with him to assist.
Whenever we face a situation like this, the first thought will be 'why me?' and next would be self-pity. I knew it because, I had it. Few years back, I met with an accident. I had a broken jaw, lost few teeth and got 6 stiches in my head. The moment I got conscious I couldn't get away from 'why me' thought. I know I'll be alright in few months. But it was tough. The thought prevailed for two weeks. His situation is different. Its practically impossible for him to become normal. After two months of treatment now he can move a hand and sense if someone touches in his legs. Last week he called me and was talking. He asked me howz life. I said 'etho poguthuda'. And I asked him the same question. He said: 'supera poguthuda. inga Chicago downtownla veedu. jammnu paduthukitte iruken. romba free time iruku, MBA ethachum corres-la padikalamnu iruken. ellam ok. enna thambi samayal than konjam kadiya irukuda'. He left me literally speechless. Its too hard to have such an attitude. Taking things in a easy way and making fun of oneself despite the troubles. And me, drawing a decent salary, staying in a metro and enjoying my weekends in Pondi and busy with my diwali purchases, said 'etho poguthuda'. I see people. Including the stupid in the mirror !!!
I'm living in the largest democratic country in the world. And this week there was an election in the powerful democratic country - US. I could see lot of people who compares US and India and says how good it is. 'Look at the roads in US, Indians should learn from it', 'Look at
Now after the polls, Bush stays back in White House. Did I say that 'if every voter starts casting his vote, we will get good leaders'? Sorry I take it back ;-)
Its been talked for a very long time that we all go a long drive in bikes. First it was proposed that we'll go to Bangalore and we all go somewhere (probably to Nandhi Hills and visit the historical place where Ravi broke his back) But then Bangi guys also wanted to join the drive and so it was rejected. Then we all decided to travel either to Gowri or Prabhakar marriage, from Kuvampatti and Bangi and then from there we all go to a picnic spot. Somehow, it didn't work out. When Guru told that Bangi guys had a plan of coming here this weekend, immediately the idea of driving to Pondy came out. Everybody seems to be interested in it. So all set. After the big chain of mails (GMail's converstaion is really too good), the most probable place was a beach resort in Chunnambar. But the rates were a little high - we thought. We decided that we go there; see the resort; if its worth then pay and stay there; if not then we'll move into some other place. We decided to go ahead whether or not it rains. All set and were eagerly waiting for the satuday.
Saturday came, Guru & Sakthi came, (surprisingly) the sun came, but not Maddy. His train arrived Central by 10.30 AM. We started a little late by 12.30 at Velachery. My Muthukarupan, Ravi's bike and Sidd's bike were selected for the drive. We went to Mahabalipuram for lunch. One guy blocked us and said that we have to pay 10 bucks to enter the city. We said then we'll go back. 'What!' He said, 'just for 10 Rs, you are not going to go back?' I said we came here just for lunch, not for visiting the temples/shore. We are not tourists'. He got confused, but he let us without paying anything :-) As none of us had breakfast, we had a hectic lunch. After lunch, we have to travel around 100 kms in the ECR and formed rules - not faster than 70, should always travel in a visible range, should change drivers etc, etc. But once we hit the road, everything changed. ECR was real good. There was a board saying that the speed limit is 80 kms, but our speedometer never touched it. It was always above it. We wanted to reach Pondy before it rained n so we went very fast. The weather was nice. It was cloudy, drizzing at many places, (but not road was not slippery) literally no traffic. The most annoying thing is the cows, goats and dogs passing by. You have to be careful, or else you might end up spending for repairing you and your vehicle. The worst thing is the whole village will be enjoying mutton and you have to pay for that :-) Another not so good thing was the curves. There were lot of curves, few dangerous, will reduce your speed and increase the possibility of accidents. Drive carefully.
When we were 15 kms away from Pondy, it started raining. We waited for sometime, and looked at the sky above the Pondy side, it was dark and cloudy. We realized its not going to stop and decided to head into that heavy downpour. We can't see whats in front of us before 100 fts. So we have to slow down to 30/40 Kms speed and move. On the way we say a board for a beach resort. I asked the guys, shall we try this? With a big Yes from everyone, we went into it. Found the rates were ok and immediately checked in. We were completely wet, so changed our clothes and came to the balcony. It was a bit big balcony and to see the rain was good. It was so dark and we couldn't believe that it was just 4.00 pm! The rest of the day went fine. We were sitting and chatting. The food was good & the prices were OK. I've decided to have pause for NV & Booze till this year end. But the env. was so nice so went for both. 4 large of Whisky made the rest of the night wonderful. The weather forecast said that the next two days it will be heavy rains in Chennai and Pondy. But the weather was clear and it was a bright and sunny day. We checked out of the hotel by 10 AM. We went to beach, Ashram, and the Auro Ville. We planned to go to Chunnambar beach, but it was far from Auro Ville. So decided to see it during next trip. We started there at 1 PM. There was a restaurant in the middle of the ECR (40 kms from Mahabalipuram) called Mid-Way. It was a decent restaurant with decent food. After that we went for a movie in Mayajaal. Then we returned to Chennai & dinner was at Lotus Pond. Vens, Sels, Gow and his wife joined us. After a lot of noisy moments, the day ended up nicely. Had a good sleep and here I'm in office today. Just like yesterday, today also, as the weather forecast predicted, it rained heavily ;-)
No, not everything was perfect. After we had lunch on Sunday, we saw a board saying that there is a Fort and beach 3 kms away. We thought we'll head in that direction. 2 more boards welcomed us stating that the fort is a protected monument. The road was really worse and it took us more than 10 mins to cross that 3 kms. Finally when we reached there, what we saw was remains of the fort's walls. Nothing else. Sidd and Viv had a fall in the sand when they are travelling @ 10 kms speed. Apart from this that was a perfect trip.
Last Thrusday, Guru mailed me from Bangalore asking when is Maddy is coming to Chennai.I replied him that he will be here next week for our pondi trip. Minutes later, I get a call from Maddy and he said he is calling from periavedu! He said he will be coming next week also for the pondi trip. Oh man. From Hyderabad to Chennai on 2 consecutive weekends with 2 days of leave for every week. Guess his company just gives salary and not work. mmmm. Anyway we all went for a lunch at Sangeetha and then suddenly decided we'll go to some movie in Mayajaal. Ravi had work and he had to return to office. We didn't force him, we we didn't have enough vehicles (my muthukarupan got a flat tyre on that day) Bunking college and going to movies is a different thing, but here we all bunked office and then went to a movie(& G Rainbow Colony - I'll blog soon with a review). Long time we didn't have this kind of gettogether and it was fun and interesting. After the movie was over, I went to office for the dandhiya night. It was fantastic. For sometime everybody was dancing with the sticks and the movements that were taught during the training session. But it was only till some point. After that high tempo songs started playing everybody dropped the sticks and it was all dabbangutthu. I was just standing and enjoyed watching it. Somehow I realized I didn' feel like dancing. I was wondering what happened to me. Either because that I didn't have any company or beacuse I'm growing out of these things. Oh! Means I'm getting older. This hurts :-( Ok. Lets forget that for a moment. The next three days were enjoyable. We went out for roaming, shopping and another movie too. This was a second show in a theater nearby. The movie was Madura - a dabba movie, (and so no blogging on that) but ok for a Rs. 15 ticket. 4 days went just like that! After a long time, I guess I'm having a looong and enjoyable weekend. Next week planned to go to Pondi and hope to have more fun.
No, I'm not dead. I'm still alive :-) Unfortunately accessing web is not so easy as before and so am virtually dead in the net. :-( Quite a few changes. At office, I moved to a different team in a different floor in a different building and I'm in the same company. At home, we moved a home in the same location, same apartment, same block but different floor.
Apart from these there is nothing has changed much. As usual things in an as usual way. Thought of switching job, but then decided not to do at least till the end of this project. Let me see. While I was browsing I came across an interesting job ad in a forum. Everybody started teasing abt the post and the author removed it. Again, somewhere in the bottom of the discussion somebody has reposted the original ad. Check this. This is cool-n-funny. :-)
Lets go techie: I discovered a nice tool. M$ has been promising the users for a integrated search for desktop and web. Don Box is breaking his head to bring out provide it in the next version of Windows. Meanwhile, google has already come with a desktop search. Its simple awesome. It can even search into word, powerpoint, Outlook mails, AOL chats, etc. Check this.
Thinking of M$, I remember one M$ guy, who has a nice blog. He can write everything from why you have to press Start button to Shutdown Windows to cooking. He has a written a blog regarding Spam. Good one.
Let me end with a nice link on Tamil Classics. This site contains lot of work from Tholkappiyam to Kalki's work. Click here.
Donno when I'll blog again. Till then 'c ya'. Have a good day/week/month/year/decade :-)
This weekend was a nice one. On Saturday we planned for a team outing in a resort in the ECR. Around 25 of our teammates were there and the whole day was full of fun. Went home at 10 PM and as usual chattings went till 12.30. The next morning I went to a place near Kancheepuram with Sels and Varda. The original plan was to drive a Santro, but as Sels dropped out from the plan, we both went in my bike. We took a short cut. Its a road after Tambaram. For a while, we were talking and didn't notice much difference in the environment. After sometime, I could see no trace of Chennai, but only a normal rural scenes. Gals moving around in pavada-thavanis and retta jadais; bunch of people sitting in tracktor trailors, lots and lots of greeneries; etc. Within 5 kms all these changes ! The purpose of our trip was to visit a plot that we are supposed to buy. There was no water problem at all. I could see a well and in 10 feets there was water. The water tastes really good too. Overall we were satisfied with the place. While coming back I was enjoying the nice sceneries around. All till the road joins the Chengalpat highway. After that alas, the ugliness of Kuvampatti hits. Dusty roads, fast moving vehicles, crowd everywhere the humidity, , , , , . mmmm soon I want to leave the city.
OK. To end with a nice techie quote:
It is time to unmask the programming community as a Secret Society for the Creation and Preservation of Artificial Complexity.
Edsger W. Dijkstra: The next forty years (EWD 1051)
OK Now that I've got an round-about-and-illegal-way of accessing net from my desk itself, hope I'll be blogging as usual :-)
I've always separated my personal life from my offical one. So are my blogs. But then I decided to shutdown my techie blog and continue only with this one. The result, you might find some techie stuffs, which are interesting to non-techines too :-)
First is a schedule of a developer! Found it here. I like the triple durex thing ;-)
And the next is the small animation about the Sun & M$ deal. Absolutely funny. Find it here.
Things do change. After I come back, there is no net in my desktop. Only way to access net is thru the kiosk systems set up in the office. As always others will be waiting to access the kiosk systems, I can't type my posts here. These machines are not connected to the company network and so there is no way to type @ my desk and transfer it here. The only possible way is to type it @ my home pc and then go to a browsing center and upload my blogs. I've typed several blogs - the elections, the wonderful novel, an autobiography, gmail, ipod, my travel, etc, etc and then one fine day my pc crashed and I've lost my interest in blogs. Recreating them is not so easy since most of the blogs reflect my mood and they are hard to recollect. I'll try my best to restore them and update the blogs, meanwhile, cross your fingers and wait for them ....
I thought I'll be blogging more with my weird American experiences. Unfortunately, I couldn't devote much time to blog. Now I realize, only three more days left and then I'll be flying back to Kuvampatti. Now, I'm having a break in my official work, so let me quickly blog abt my experiences. Here it goes:
All about Dallas
Dallas is a typical Mexican city. Actually its one of the twin cities - Dallas & Fort Worth. In the middle of these two cities is the DFW airport. For travelers in Texas and surrounding states, its a typical Madurai. One small difference is that in Madurai u can get a connecting bus to any city in the state & nearby states. Here u get a connecting flight. U can see a lot of flights around here. The area around the airport itself became a city and is now called as Dallas-Fortworth City!
The Skeleton ...
The infrastructure is very good. No dogged-up roads, no water problem, no drainage problems, no power cuts, nothing. When all those primary needs are satisfied well, people here can relaxily worry about the flea on their cats or the prescription for their dogs for weight loss or the lawn is not so greeny as their neighbor's or sue the coffee shop for not saying that the coffee is hot. They get everything at a lower cost. I can't still figure the equation of how this works. Whether its a cup of coffee or a can of milk or a can of water or a gallon of petrol - all costs the same. May be I'm very bad in maths :-(
The weather ...
Unlike India, here the season changes are more visible. When I came here, it was the end of the Winter. I didn't see much of greenery. Then the whole place changed in Spring. I open the window, I could see Tulips smiling. The same roads I travel regularly, is now surrounded with more greeny grass with lots of flowers blossomming between. The trees look good now. The weather is highly unpredictable. One day it rains heavily and the next morning, its a bright and sunny day as if nothing happened last night. The best part is u can't find the signs of the downpour anywhere. Had it been our Kuvampatti, the muddy roads reminds u the rain at least for a week. People are so obsessed with the weather changes, that there is a separate channel for weather forecasts !
Where there is a H1B ...
Compared with other states, Texas has the climates comparable with our Indian climate. Further things are cheap here. One can easily own a house here there in any other state. So you can find lot of Indians and Goltis here - don't scare at me, I've blogged exactly the same words of a Golti without any change! Well, Goltis and Indians are not alone. Lot of Mexican can be found here, mostly illegal immigrants. They share the biggest part of the Non-American population. Where ever u go, u can see the usage of Spanish. Next biggest share is by Chinese people, Chinkus - as they call. Mostly of them came here and settled down 2 generations back. Next biggest share is our Goltis and then comes Indians :-) These fellows are mostly H1B fellows and very few are Green card holders. This proves the Newton's third law of US Immigration - "Where there is a H1B, there are at least three goltis".
The problem with America is ...
In the movie 'Brave Heart', the emperor would say 'The problem with Scotland is, its full of Scotish people'. 'What else u can expect in Scotland?' - I thought. After coming here, I see that its completely other way around. 'The problem with America is its full of Non-Americans!'. I take a Cab to go to office everyday. Everyday, I find a different national - Nigerian, Chinese, Sudanian, Afgan, Paki. Finally I settled down with a Palestinian. Everyday I go in his cab. If he is busy, when I call, he used to send some of his friends to give me a drop. He is always against America and Americans. (In fact the unofficial national anthem is composed by an immigrant!) He dislikes these fellows killing women and children in Afganisthan. He start with M.F. and start using all possible combinations of the F. word against America. One day when he was in good mood, I asked him how long u've been here in this country. He said 23 years ! Our man is very orthodox. When I asked him to take me to a strip club one weekend, he said, 'No, my friend, that place is evil, and I won't take u there. If I take u then I also share the evil.' Then I've to use another cab, a friend of his, to go to Strip Clubs.
Strictly censored :-|
The People ...
This is a land of crazy people. Oru pana soothuku, oru sooru patham. I'll explain one experience. One of my teammates checked in the same hotel on a noon. Evening, I came to the hotel and asked his room number in the reception. She said, 'Sorry Sir, I can't give u the room number'.(privacy) Then she said, but 'u can talk to him. Pick up the phone, I'll transfer u to his room'. I went to the phone in the corner of the same room and picked up the receiver. She said 'now dial 0'. I did. Now she picked up the phone in her desk and looked at me and said talked to me over the phone ' Good evening Sir. How can I help you?'. Then I've to say I need to talk to my friend and then she transfered the call ! Quite a few experiences like this :-)
Podungaiya vootu ...
... namma sothu katchiya pathu. Food is something I enjoyed here as well as hated here. Breakfast is complementary in our hotel. I tasted the doughnuts and cereals for 2/3 days, but soon my habit of skipping breakfast took over. For lunch I used to go around the places visiting new restaurants everyday and tasting different food. Mostly Mexican restaurants, but I tasted Greek, Pakistan, Italian, Chinese, Indian and of course American food. I preferred Chicken, because mostly the other choices are Pepperoni and Beef. No Fanta/Miranda :-( So I had to go for Sprite/7Up. We cooked dinner in the room, if I happen to return to room before 9 or I had it in the office itself @ company's expense - which occurs mostly.
The coffee you get here is the original Columbian Coffee, which is pure and not adulterated with Chicory. Having tasted the coffee with chicory for more than two decades (Oh, I'm getting older), this coffee sucks. But now I used to this. U go to a coffee shop, you always get a black coffee. You need to mix Sweetener and Whitener (sugar and milk) yourself. There are lot of choices for both. Low-calorie, low-fat, normal, etc, etc,. These fellows care so much about health! During the dinner time in the office, every other day there is a big debate on the methods of carb cutting. (I'm a silent observer and after everything is over surely somebody will turn and look at me as if I'm a different animal from a whole new planet) You see a lot of alergy medicines, low-fat eatables, loose-40-pounds-in-30-days ads, etc, etc in the Tv.
Good. Nice movies, some times nice serials. I enjoy them. They don't have any cultural restrictions and there are few documentaries that I really enjoy ;;-) Some time back, I saw a documentary on HBO. It started with an American lady arrested in China. They will suspect her as a terrorist. Reason? the car that she rented for her friend had few grains of TNT in the boot. Its evident to the viewer that she is really innocent. But the Chinese guy is not ready to give the benefit of doubt to her. He will torture her both verbally and physically. They officials will not answer properly to the American ambassador. I was wondering how come Americans got the guts to tease Chinese like this. It went on like this for the first 10 minutes. Then came the twist. The scene changes. An Afgan guy will be arrested in America. The scenes are repeated again. But this time with new actors. The Americans do the same thing to that poor guy, for signing in a rental car form. Then they toggle between both the scenes with same dialogs and different actors. At the end the message is displayed. Its something like: "The first scene never happened, but the other happens very often. Its because of our in-secure feeling, we are putting lot of innocent people in trouble. Doing so will only increase the potential threats against our nation. Clear international policies are the only solution." Good HBO. You really got the guts and way of saying things. But I hope, still after viewing this 75% of Americans will want that Saddam to be executed because he is directly connected with 9/11 and a potential threat to the America's security.
Small, the next big thing
Yes, I bought an iPod. Will blog all about it later :-)
Got settled down here. I'm living at Irving, its a county in Dallas. In fact, Dallas is 15 miles away from this place. My office is in another county, Grapevine, a historical place known for wines. My company has several offices in Dallas, around 20. And I guess this is the worst building. Its actually a warehouse converted into an office building. They primarily have this as a disaster recovery center with 200 people working around here. One advantage of being outside the city, is you don't feel the traffic. Normally people stay away from the city and come into the city for work. I stay in the city and travel out for office. So the traffic is always in the opposite direction. Apart from that u don't have anything special about this place. You have to travel at least 5 miles for a restaurant. The place looks more Mexican than American. There is a big mattu panni and a kuthirai laayam around. People drive big trucks to office. The food is more spicy & hot. All Mexican stuffs. The normal working hours of the office is 8-5. But in our team most of the people come in by 10 am and leave by 10 pm. So I wake up only at 8 and go to office at 9.30-10. Will be there till 10 PM and come back. Catch a cab everyday. These fellows are very strict in time. When they say, 9.23, they are @ the doors at 9.23. Discovered that no good places to visit here. I have to travel long to visit places and see the real America, if only I had enough time :-(
Here everything is big. I can't see a monitor less than 21". The Nissan Titan, is bigger than our Tata 407. The minimum quantity of the coffee is thrice as much as a coffee you would get in Saravana bhavan. When comparing the sizes, the word "small" is equal to the word "medium" in India. Be it be a size of the pizza or the size of the bra, its true. I forgot my belt in Kuvampatti, so thought I will buy one in Walmart. The smallest size available was 30" and only 3 were in that size. When I asked the sales gal for a 28", she laughed at me and said, "search in the boys section". That was was full of kids belts. Certainly I can't use them for office. So came back to mens section and selected one of the 30 :-( I was wondering why. When I look at the Lays pack or the pepsi cup, I got the answer. No wonder u frequently see the "loose 15 pounds in 5 days" kind-of-ads here. Crazy people. Only in America you can see people ordering a double cheese pizza with a diet coke. :-)
I was lucky enough to get a window seat in both my flights. When the lufthansa landed in Dallas, I could immediately felt the Texas smell. People with cowboy hats driving the vehicles in the airport, the mud on the vehicles, the dry sun, etc. Checking out was smooth. All the tags that were tied to "unambiguously identify" my suitcase were not necessary. It was pretty easier to find my baggage. No hassles in security clearances. Finger prints, photographs, mmmmm, these fellows will never learn. Preemptive attacks for the non-existent weapons of mass destruction will not help preventing another 9/11. Rather its the other way. Its not that America is invulnerable. Its already proved in 9/11 that to bring down the two of the tallest buildings in the most powerful nation, all it needs is a perfect plan, few angry minded people and 2 knifes. No weapons of mass destruction is needed. Oops! Diverted from the topic. Then we came out and my teammates friend had come to pick us. Big sized cars, broader roads, a relatively clean environment, yes, I'm not at home. Finally reached the hotel. Some Latin-American lady speaking English with a different ascent was there in the reception. Somehow, I don't like staying in the ground floor. Esp the feeling of somebody walking outside can see my room thru the window doesn't make me comfortable. So I asked which floor is the room. She replied its in the first floor. Happily said OK. Then to my surprise the room indeed was in the ground floor. I was puzzled and asked my teammate, he replied back. Well, here first floor means our ground floor. Oh! So got bit but the cultural differences bug. Can't help :-( The suite was neat. Equipped with hair drier to iron box. Alarm clock, TV, radio, fridge, oven, etc, etc. Good. Went out to a near-by desi shop for shopping. Everything is different, the switches were upside down(or downside up?); no flames in the stove - electric heater; the same vegetables looks odd; the rice tastes different; everything is different. Cooked some rice & sambar and had dinner. Set the temperature in the AC/heater and went to bed. No fan. Without the feeling of the air movements, again it was odd. No sound too. It was dead silent. Then I heard a sssooooooiiiiiiiiiiiing sound of a mosquito in my ears. Ha! Felt home :-) Pulled up my blanket and slept.
After a loooong time & crossing all the passport-troubles, finally I'm in Dallas now :-) This was my first flight experience and so anxiously waiting in the long queue for getting the boarding pass. The lady in the counter first weighed my suitcase and then she asked me to keep my hand luggage for checking the weight. I kept my bag and she didn't respond for few seconds. She looked at me and asked ' that's it?' I was having a small bag - better to call it a pouch, and nothing else. I said, 'yes'. She laughed into smiles and said, 'perfect. You don't have to weigh this'. Travel light :-)
It was midnight when the flight took off. When the flight started moving in the land, the G-Force increases and blood starts flowing into the brain. I thought, how good it will be my Pulsar had this pickup & speed! When the flight took off, I could see Chennai, from the bird's eye view. All of a sudden, Chennai was beautiful. Singara Chennai is no more an oxymoron. But in the night, the flight was crossing many other cities and I found that not only Chennai, but most of the other cities are also beautiful, if looked from the sky. CPM buses will have better seats than the economy class seats in Boeing. Its ok for short trips, but for going half way across the globe, its certainly uncomfortable. I certainly didn't expect that the cute lady from German will be serving me kicked, oothampam and chutney as breakfast in Luftansa!!! They even had Tamil songs played in the Radio and TV in the flight. I landed Frankfurt next morning. It was fully covered with snow. The connecting flight was delayed by an hour. The flight from Frankfurt to Dallas, was bit better than the earlier one. When it was flying above Greenland, there was turbulence. Although I've heard about air turbulence earlier, I never expected that it will shook the flight that heavily! I looked out of the window. From the 35000 feet, what I could see was snow, snow and snow alone. Rarely I could see the tip of rocks. If something goes wrong, certainly u can't survive. I'm not afraid of death, but I don't want to die like this. The turbulence lasted for few minutes and then the rest of the journey was smooth. Reminded of nice quote:"Why don't they make the whole plane out of that blackbox stuff?".
By evening I landed Dallas-Fort Worth airport. At last I'm in Dallas :-)
Nothing much interesting to blog this week except for some nice links:
(*) First is about the Archive tool, that I discovered. It provides almost all the features of winzip. One good thing I like is the tree view of the files, which I've been longing for in winzip. More importantly its a free tool !. Click here to know more.
(*) Next is a different kind of search engine. All I have to say is its nice idea and try it yourself to see what it is.
(*) Found a good site.
Yesterday is the last Valentine's Day that I enjoy as a bachelor - hopefully !
Morning, as usual went to office. Surfed the net and then chat with my friends. Then I went to CHES. I was very much impressed by the work of Dr. Manorama. Immediately, I decided to help. But donno in what way should I help. I've posted a request to Imaigal, hope to get positive replies from other members. I've posted mail to many of my friends too. Here is some info abt CHES:
(*) There are around 100 children in that org, who are HIV +
(*) They keep the children in the hospital and also they have a ashramam (which I didn't visit) in a separate building
(*) The owner of the building doesn't know that its going to be used for this, and he is strongly against this. He has gone to the court and won the case. Now they have appealed in high court and the case is going. So they are immediately in need of a new place and they can give a rent of 10k - 15 k per month
(*) They do get funds from govt/international orgs, but they are very limited. Rs. 20 for food/child/day which is not enough for obvious reasons
(*) They are having lot of other expenses too - they have started sending few children to school (Only the principal knows the fact that these children are HIV+ and no one else knows about this) They need money for this
(*) Recently they have started finding out foster parents to adopt the children. The foster parents are poor and they too have children. CHES has given them money for this child as well as for their own children
(*) They have more plans, but money is a primary need
If you are interested in helping them in some way or the other, you can mail me.
(1) The CHES in Chennai. Read it here.
(2) An add for the M$ Frontpage:
Looks fine? But "the brilliance of M$ @ Line No: 28" was exposed by the bloggers :-)
(3) How to move data from Access to Excel. Check this.
(4) Quote: "The late Walt Disney built his empire with a mouse. The same can be said about Steve Jobs." Check this.
(5) I Know you are going to hate this.
Few hours back Sakthi asked me what is a blog? Well, I've been reading other's blogs and blogging here for the past two months and this question made me think. I tried to get the meaning from the online dictionary and this is what I got and I tried the Thesaurus and got this. :-( I told him that "its something like a online diary, only difference between a diary and blog is that a diary is generally not read by others and this blogs are written for others to read". I guess I've given a satisfactory explanation :-)
Actually he asked me this question because in one of my spam mails I sent a link on the blogs of Opportunity and Spirit. Somehow I got interest in this space mission and was surfing the website for this. There are a few interesting facts to note.
* The launch was postponed few times due to weather (Florida is the lightning capital of the US), techincal problems (well, after all software is an integral part of it) and a fisherman (check the videos 4 more details) !
* The navigators must hit the target of 5 kms wide from millions of mile away !
* The EDL part is the most crucial part. It has to slow down the craft from 12,000 miles/hour to zero - in just 6 minutes ! Infact this is known as the 'six minutes of terror'. Don't miss this video.
I bought this book almost 3 months back and have not read it till now. Somehow the size of the book made me to keep it away and reduced its priority. Here and there read few malargal (that is how the items are named as) but didn't have a attai-to-attai read. Finally while going for Arasu's marriage in Coimbatore, I took it. (This time the luggage is less). Read most of it when I was @ home and thought I would complete the rest in the train journey and our man, Varda, took the book and couldn't read it. Then yesterday I was off to office and so made this opportunity to completed it.
The book may not be worth of 500 bucks, but is quite good. He has taken a 100 sutras out of 1610 and explained them. Mostly every malar contains a small story with which the sutra is explained. The illustrations by Maniam Selvam perfects every malar. Each malar is given with a suitable introduction and a clean interpretation. May be if every Tamil teacher in schools were like Karunanithi no one could say 'mella tamil ini saagum'.
Many a time, negative criticism will give a big boost to a movie's publicity. This movie also enjoys such a publicity for the controversial (initial) name itself. This movie was supposed to created communal violence - as Krishnasamy said and opposed the name 'Sandiar'. After strong opposition from him and good 'aasi' from our 'amma' this movie is named as Virumandi.
The initial Jallikattu scenes are picturized in a wonderful way. Kamal should be certainly praised for it. The story line is pretty neat, but the screenplay should have been shaped in a better way. At times, the story is not moving and I felt boring. In Anbe Sivam the message delivered was very clear. But this movie tries to defend against law for sentences against death. In the climax Kamal speaks a dialog 'jail is meant to be a place where criminals can realize their mistake and change themselves. But in practical it is not so' - and tries to back-up the message. mmmhum. Its not so strong. Virumandi is shown as an innocent man, who is sentenced to death, for the crimes he has not committed. But I wonder whether law permits sentence of death to a person, who is accused of creating communal violence and, kidnapping and raping a woman. May be some more background work should have been done.
Everybody fits into their characters well. Especially, the villian. Pasupathy has lived as that character. Another one to be mentioned is Nepolian. The heroine is , hey its Abirami ! Without any makeup and talking in the typical Tirunelveli tamil, she has don a good job as Annalaxmi. Rohini has a re-entry in this film. Rajesh appears in a scene. It seems that after the story line is discussed and the screenplay is created, Kamal realized that Naasar is not in the movie. 'What is a movie without him?' Kamal should have thought and added a character for him. Music is our Mottai. 'Kombula poova soothi' is a typical Raja song. I read that most of the shooting took place in sets in Chennai, due to Krishnasamy's troubles. But I could not any difference between the sets and the real village. Good art direction.
Kamal should learn how to show violence in movies from Sankar. In the movie Indian, the Indian thatha kills many people; there is a mass suicide, but still the entire movie can be viewed with children. Even in Hollywood, they try to make a movie as an entertainer for all ages - take 'The Mummy' for instance. But this movie has an over-dose of unnecessary violence. Esp, in the climax, the villian-vatham is reaaaaly cruel. Next to Anbe Sivam, this movie would have become another classic one, but for the over-dose violence and for not-so-strong-message, this stands to be a very normal movie.
Two weeks back, when I was talking to Sudhir, he was mentioning about a photograph, he has seen n a magazine. It was taken somewhere in North India. It was a photo of an STD booth and its poor owner in rugged clothes. In the background stands a big fort. I was wondering whats there, after all it should be just an another photo. But then he revealed that the owner was actually a descendant of the kings , who ruled that place and owned the fort two centuries back ! To keep his daily bread on his table, this fellow is running an STD booth and the major customers are the tourists, who come to see the fort. Time changes everything.
Today when I was reading Kumutham, I came across Vairamuthu's 'Konjam theaneer, niraya vaanam' column, he started the kavithai stating 'the woman selling buttermilk near the Kallannai dam, could have been the grand, grand daughter of the Karikalan, the king who built the dam'. I was immediately reminded of that photograph. The next few lines were few other examples like the above. I was thinking how he is going to end it. Quoting those examples, he says that no one can predict the future or can trace about all our fore-fathers. So dear parents don't force your child to be like yourself. Let them to be themselves. Teach them how to handle the troubles, let them go in their own ways to find their happiness. That was a nice point. Many a times, I could see that people forcing their children to get involved in things that they would like. Last week, I saw the nice animation movie 'Finding Nemo'. It was also putting forth a similar message. Let your child to be free and leave him to learn things on their own. I was wondering what would have happened, if I was allowed to go on my own decision? With most probability, I would have gone into my ever-time favourite profession - photography. By this time, I might have ended up being a photographer, or would have been a cameraman for some movie, or would have been working with National geographic and exploring places, or may be I would have been working with a newspaper and shooting pictures of those latthi charges against the mobs, etc, etc. I should have missed my 3 wonder years in UG and another 3 enjoyable years in PG; I would have missed working in a hi-tech environment; I might not have been earning as I do now, but still, I would have been myself. Myself, and no one else.
Betting is a bad habit. Really bad. Ok. I do agree it. As long as it is a 'habit' and done so intensively, it could be bad. If you could make a duck-out where you can score a double-century, its a really bad. But is it OK to have occasionaly betting? To me its perfectly alright, just because I do it ;-)
Varda is a very, very serious guy, when it comes to betting. He would do simply anything to win a bet. Do you bet with me that he won't? Ok here is an instance. Once when we were in college, some of our guys decied to tease his betting habit and decided to play a game. Around 10 of us were ready to contribute the bet amout, if he wons. The amount came above 50 lakhs. We "rounded" it to one crore and asked whether he was ready for the bet. Bet? We pointed a gal and said that somehow he should marry her. We were simply kidding. But after a long and deep thought he said, "I can't marry her, but can go till engagement". Do you accept my statement that he would simply do anything to win a bet? OK then I won the bet with you :-)
I too accepts bets often, but not to this level, and more importantly I don't have the killer instinct to win the bet nor the ability to get the bet amount if I won a bet. Once, on a valentine's day, I had a bet with Sreeram: I should propose to a gal he shows, and I did it and won the bet, (luckily, even after I did that, her footwear was still in its place) but till the treat in Residency is pending :-(
When going to Coorg, Varda was saying that if Karthi makes the dinner a treat for his bro's marriage, he'll make the next-day lunch a treat, for serving as a module-leader to his project. Karthi was refusing it. After some time, I went and said Varda that if he makes Karthi to give a treat, I would give him Rs. 100. Without a second thought, he accepted the bet. That night he contributed a considerable share to the dinner and 'told' that it was a treat by Karthi and announced that he won the bet. OK. I agreed it and paid the money (of couse, after a delay of one day). As he promised he also gave money for the next day's lunch. (Added up with the ambience and, the taste and quality of the food, that was the best food in our Coorg trip). Finally to won a 100 bucks bet, he has spent some where near 1000 bucks !
Betting is a bad habit. Really bad habit. Ok. I do agree it. As long as it is a 'habit'.
After a long time our classmates decided to have a gettogether along with the new-year celebrations. We planned to go somewhere on the new year's eve. But somehow the dates got preponed to x-mas weekend. After a small discussion, Karthi proposed Coorg. Looking at some tourism websites, which described it as the heaven-on-the-earth, we all decided it as the destination. 10 of us started here in chennai on x-mas eve and reached Bangalore in the morning. We scheduled to depart Bangalore @ 8 AM. But it was almost 11.30 when we crossed Honeywell. We stopped @ Srirangapatnam for lunch. Everybody was going into the small hotel there. Ganni, pointed a non-vegetarian hotel near-by for chicken briyani lovers. So six of us went there and sat. It looked like an abandoned placed and seems that we were the only customers! When we first asked for chicken briyani, the server cum cleaner cum owner cum cook said that its not available and after a momentary thought said its available. We ordered it. It was actually chicken pulav served in the name of the chicken briyani. Despite the bad taste, Karthi praised that the chicken was fresh, but I didn't touch it as I reminded of vivek's kaka briyani joke in the movie 'Run'. After looooong journey, we reached there in the evening. We just had enough time to take bath and dressup for dinner - no site-seeing. The next day we went to some places and started our downwards journey in the evening. Two best places was worth mentioning. The first was Abbey falls. We have to take a 10 minutes walk from the parking lot thru the woods. Slowly you would be hearing the sound of the falls and suddendly in one turning, the falls come to eye sight. We were said that this year due to good rainfall, the water level was high. The second place was a river bed, where you have to cross the river in the boat to see an elephant camp. The place was looking very good and breeze was creating a nice atmosphere. As it was not so deep and there were lot of rocks in the surface of the river, we decided to cross the river by walk. We were walking carefully and slowly, and two little gals from that place said, "Uncle, give us way", and were running on the rocks. Several of us fell down in the water and got completely wet. But those two were simply running and jumping on the rocks and crossing the river - experience does matters :-(
Few noteworthy things in Coorg:
* We thought Coorg is name of the city, but hey, its a name given to the hilly area, and its the name of the district. We stayed in Madikeri, the capital of Coorg
* Most of the coffee estates are owned by Tamil Chettiars from the southern-districts of Tamil Nadu. Around 100 years back they considered investing in the real estates here would yield profit and they are right!
* As its a hill station, I thought it would be very chilling there. But Coorg's just 1500 feet above MSL and it was the first hill-station, where I had to switch on the fan to sleep :-)
* Food was pretty decent there in Coorg. It didn't cost much. 15 of us, had a good dinner and the bill was less than 1k.
* We thought that, as its a well-known tourist place and so we'll have lot of ATMs and didn't take much cash. To our surprise there was only two ATMs one is SBI, which will not accept other bank cards and luckily the other one, Corporation Bank ATM, accepts any VISA cards.
* When having breakfast in a near-by hotel, they were charging a penalty of Rs. 5, if you waste any food that you have ordered
* As the web-sites described, its not a great place. May be if we had gone for some trekking kind of activities, it would have been true, but in general, its just an another hill station.