Saturday, January 27, 2007

Back from Vacation

Ahhh... it's been a while since I wrote on this... Infact while^2 ... crap.. still can't get over my engineering... Anyways, I think I will commit myself to this blog and start writing regularly...

Monday, October 02, 2006

Bande mein tha dum

Today's 2nd October - Gandhi's birthday. While I wouldn't have normally cared about Gandhi Jayanti enough to write about it because of various reasons, I do care enough about it now that I felt the need to write. After knowing about Indian Independence in detail, I learned about Gandhi, Nehru, Bhagat Singh etc. I really liked the efforts of Bhagat Singh, and after realizing how many people died in India's independence struggle, I didn't understand why Gandhi wanted to go the peaceful way for India's independence. Little bit of compromise is always ok, right? I guess, I never learned about Gandhi as a person and his teaching well enough to understand him and his teachings. You watch movies like Gandhi, and it's essentially the same thing they teach you in India's Independence thing. I always had respect for him and his teachings, but never understood how to apply it in real life and if it was practical. And this is not just me, this is how the young generation feels about him these days.

Lage Raho Munnabhai, the part 2 of Munnabhai MBBS brings the duo of Munna and Circuit back, but this time with Munna's strange encounter with Gandhi. I heard about it before the movie was released, and I thought, must be the same kinda stuff and boring movie. Then one fine day, finally got to watch the movie.

The movie is all about Gandhi's principles and how they can be applied in the real life. In the first few scenes of the movie, you see Circuit's "social work" by helping Lucky Singh, using of force, of course. You also see how they make professors answer quiz questions. So, this movie starts with their lies etc. Later in movie, Munna "meets" Gandhi. He learns about it, he applies the principles and you understand the application.

You see Munna slapping Circuit - which was probably the most shocking part of the movie. Then Munna remembers Gandhi and apologizes from Circuit. Though it sounds easy, but probably not easy thing to do. Munna and Circuit's reunion also happened to be one of the best scenes of the movie. Also, you realize after watching Victor D'Souza, the retired teacher's case, and the panwalla problem, that Gandhigiri worked very well. You realize that Gandhi's philosophy wasn't only for the independence, but for every aspect of life. Mahatma Gandhi is back thanks to this movie. What really helped is the timely release of this movie. It brings Gandhi back, and I, along with other people, realize that Gandhigiri really worked.

I think it's time we remember Gandhi and try following his philosophy. Lage Raho Munnabhai really made us more knowledgeable about Gandhi. This movie's and Gandhi's point was that even though you might get a result using violence, but that might not be the best solution. If you follow peace and justice, the end result will be good, but that might take some time. Even though you would think what can satyagraha do to that powerful Lucky Singh. But you soon realize what a pain it becomes for Lucky Singh. We see Gandhi everyday hopefully (where??? think think... think... think... well, on Indian currency :P). But as Gandhi-ji says, rather than having his statues all over the place and pictures on all currency notes, it's better to keep him in our heart and remember him like that.

As circuit said, Gandhi didn't have a body, but a lot of daring... it takes a lot to follow the path of peace and justice even after going to jail and other problems in life. Doesn't mean that Bhagat Singh and others did wrong by not following, but this was one important part too. Let's be united and stand together... that's what we need today.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Engine on Chip (EoC)

Researchers at MIT have come up with a unique solution to make mobile and laptop batteries last longer - engine on a chip - ENGINE!!!

BBC Reports:

Gas-turbine engines more normally power whole cities but MIT's Professor Alan Epstein was determined that miniscule versions could be used to "power a person".

Ten years on from having the brainwave, Professor Epstein believes the microengine could give batteries a run for their money, offering 10 times the power of a battery of the same weight at the same price point.

The engine isn't manufactured in conventional way with compressor, combustion chamber. Etched silicon was used to make a micro-engine (micro-engine is not a word in english as of today lol). The silicon wafers were piled on top of each other and then bounded together and produces 10 watts of power - 10 WATTS - that's quite a lot!

The crossover of conventional technology and new technology is interesting. This will save people a lot of money when they won't have to replace batteries every 2-3 years.

However, the question is, will this be commercially available in the future, or will it just be a pure research project with no industry buyers?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Hindi movies to watch this year

Oz wrote about movies coming up this year and listed them by month. While not all movies are worth watching, here's the list of movies that I will watch for sure:
  • Shiva (Sept. 15 '06) : A Ram Gopal Verma about corrupt law and order and how a person wants to change all this himself and defeat the criminals. "When the police itself is infested with criminals / The very purpose of it is defeated / Is it right to be wrong? Or is it Wrong to be Right?"
  • Pyar ke Side Effects : Reason to watch - Rahul Bose and Mallika Sherawat!!! What a combination... Beauty & brain combo - definitely watching this one
  • Khosla ka Ghosla : Saw the trailer and looks good one - Boman Irani and Anupam Kher
  • DON : Shahrukh Khan will be the Don in this remake by Farhan 'DCH' Akhtar of 1976 Don movie. Though I am not expecting great acting by Shahrukh Khan, but I really want to see how the remake is. Also the movie's starring Priyanka Chopra and Isha Koppikar :)
  • Umrao Jaan : Again a remake, but this one won't be as exciting and there aren't a lot of reason to watch this movie except for Aishwarya Rai ;)
  • Kabul Express : Another movie that looks really good in trailers - John Abraham and Arshad Warsi going to Kabul and Pakistan - should be good
  • Eklavya : Earlier named Yagna, this movie's teaser really looks good and the story sounds interesting. It's starring Amitabh Bachhan, Sanjay Dutt and Saif Ali Khan and directed by Vidhu Vinod Chopra (maker of Munnabhai movies)
  • Dhoom 2 : Definitely watching this one : Sequel to movie Dhoom which was a decent Action/Thriller movie, and this one just continues from therewith Abhishek Bachhan and now there's Aishwarya Rai (that too with a Bikini scene!), Bipasha Basu and Hrithik Roshan. Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai are the thief/villains now and Abhishek Bachhan and Bipasha are the cops.
So, 8 movies that I am definitely going to watch. Definitely a good year for Bollywood.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

WikiBribes?

Govindraj Ethiraj talks about how WikiMapia and other Wikie services (apart of Wikipedia ofcourse) have been so innovative and helpful, and encourages people to come up with other ideas. One idea he has is to have a WikiBribe where you would know how much bribe a department asks for what work and under what circumstances etc:
It strikes me that we should look to create more Wiki concepts like Wikimapia. Except that it could be dedicated to India or specific, information-starved areas within India. For instance, a Wiki project on government departments that accept or demand bribes with details of who, when and in what circumstances.
Now this is cool - you need a driving license - just check online how much bribe you will have to pay. This might help to put down on corruption a little bit theoretically. Really good idea though... I am off to think of more Wiki ideas

NRI scientist wins top US award

Times of India is reporting that an Indian American scientist whose research helped US Defence Contractor company Lockheed Martin has been named the Scientist of the Year:
An Indian American scientist, who led a breakthrough research that helped Lockheed Martin win a key role in the US Army's Future Combat System, has been named '2006 Scientist of the Year' by the Minorities in Research Science (MIRS) organization.
A quick googling of this NRI tells me that he is Principle Research Engineer at Lockheed Martin:
ABHIJIT MAHALANOBIS is a Principal Research Engineer at Lockheed Martin, Orlando, and is currently the technical lead for the Automatic Target Recognition programs in the Research and Technology Group. He is a fellow of the SPIE and is responsible for over 100 journal and conference publications.
This means, that he must be a US citizen having lived most of his life in USA. This leads me to my next conclusion that he is NRI, but not "Non Resident Indian" but "Nahin Raha Indian" or "Never Returning Indian". So why does Times of India care about some American winning some award who just happens to be of Indian origin - he's a US citizen now living in USA and working in USA and not working in Department of Defence or ISRO in India.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

India trip - day by day

American Airlines AA 292 - 6th Aug
The Chicago (ORD) - Delhi (DEL) flight was supposed to depart at 7:05 PM CT but took off only at 7:42 pm. The flight was relaxing as I had an exit row seat :). I couldn't do anything but sleep for atleast 10 hours in the 14 hour flight. In the 4 hours that I was awake, I watched Inside Man, I had all my meals and thought about India - can't help it! What I really about AA non-stop flight is that it is non-stop and so I don't have to get off at some airport in Europe like Frankfurt, London etc and then wait until the next flight. Once you take off from Chicago, you will land only at Delhi, not somewhere in Europe! Also, they serve Indian food as a part of their vegetarian meals course... too bad they don't offer Indian non-vegetarian meals, like Butter Chicken or Tandoori Chicken :(
The flight landed at 8:30 PM IST (Indian Standard Time, not Indian Stretchable Time!). When I got out fo the airport, I didn't get the heat wave because it wasn't hot in Delhi! The IGI airport sucked as always and that made me feel like I was in India right away :). Immigration took less than 10 minutes and for the first time ever, I got my bags pretty quickly and was out of the airport in less than 1 hour :)

Arrived at home around 10:30 pm. I first checked my e-mails, had dinner (Butter Chicken :) ) , and then went to bed around 1 am. Got up at 5:30 am and the first thing I said to myself was "Damn train ko bhi abhi jaana tha" (Why did the train have to go now and wake me up), but the interesting thing is, there are no trains around here and I am back from US! It took me a second to realize that I got up because of jetlag and not the trains that didn't let me sleep for 10 weeks this summer...

7th Aug
So I got up at 5:30 am, and had nothing to do until around 1 pm. I went to Gurgaon to meet Abhijit around Metropolitan Mall area at 2 pm. We then went to his home, had lunch together, talked about studies, our boredom etc etc. Then we went to DT Mega Mall. It was kinda deserted because not many people come to this place, which is probably because it is not on the main "Mall Road". It was good structure, nicely built and overall a decent place to hangout. We just bought a frappe and sat in the food court just talking etc. We watched the movie Cars, the 5:25 PM show at DT Mega Mall cinema Audi #2. We had aisle seats in the 2nd row from the back, and tickets were Rs 175 ($3.8). The cinema was good, spacious etc (Compare this to $8 cinemas in US which are more like gaon ke cinema). We then went back to his place and did what we are expert at - nothing - just kill time doing random things ;) . Weather was good - not too hot, maybe lower 30s C (upper 80s F) and it rained for a while. That was basically the end of day. Had a good time.

8th Aug
Nothing special about today, just at home. No plans... just relax at home and talk to friends etc. Well, I watched V for Vendetta and that's about it. Bad time bad time

9th Aug
Had plans with a few friends to meet around PVR Anupam Saket or PVR Priya area. However, today's Rakhi and high traffic is expected... so we had to cancel our plans for today :( - Damn Rakhi or Damn Traffic? Not sure yet. So one more day of doing nothing. Not so good times.
Planned with a few friends to meet tomorrow sometime - not sure as of 11 pm what to do and when - tentative plan to meet at PVR Saket at 11 AM and then go to Palika, but Aman's not sure about it, so we don't know yet- that's how things are for us all the time.

10th Aug
9:30 AM and we still weren't sure if we were going to meet at PVR Saket at 11 am or not. I checked my mobile and had a SMS from Aman confirming that he's ok with 11 am. Called up Abhijit to tell him I was going to be at PVR at 11 AM. He was still not ready, so we planned on meeting at 11:30, and I called up aman to update him. I am out, not really on my way to Saket (first getting other things done, like meet Doctor etc), and Aman's at PVR at 11:25 am. I told him I was gonna be there in 10 minutes (Doctor's place to Saket = 15 mins actually, but it's ok). I got at PVR Saket at 11:45 am (I wasn't late, I was on IST - Indian Stretchable/Standard Time), and we still don't know where Ashi is. Called him up, and he claims to be stuck in traffic. We are just waiting and roaming around and talking. It was good to see aman again after almost 7 months. Ashi arrives at 12:30 pm, and we are trying to decide if we want to go to Palika Bazaar (Wikipedia description: Palika Bazaar is an underground, air-conditioned market located below the inner circle of Connaught Place, Delhi, India) or not. We did. We took DTC 500 from Saket to Palika. Took about 45 minutes, and it was fun - specially because we got a seat. DTC ride was fun - took one after 2-3 years. Got there and had fun in Palika and then once we got done there (in about 1 hour), we went to Inner Circle shops. It was very humid and we were sweating like never before. Temperatures were not that bad, being "only" 104 F (40 C) with about 70% relative humidity, so tried not wasting time etc. We planned on going to CCD but couldn't find one in Inner Circle - one of the most shocking things ever! When we couldn't find a CCD around, we decided to go back to PVR Saket as me and Aman were thinking of watching Pirates of the Carribean 2 - the 4:20 pm show. (Yes, we still haven't watched it) We took an auto at 3 pm from CP and got there at 3:30 PM. However, we being what we are, we weren't sure until 4:15 pm if we wanted to watch the movie or not, and at 4:16 PM decided to watch it tomorrow - maybe an excuse to meet up :D - Ashi left at 4:30 PM and then I went to Aman's house where we just killed time, playing games etc. FUN FUN FUN DAY - Had a good time.

11th Aug
Friday, but unlike in USA, it's just another day, after all life's interesting on other days too. Had plan to meet Aman at PVR Saket (basically now a central place for everyone in South Delhi) at 2 PM and then watch Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Man's Chest at 4 PM. However, we are what we are, and at 12:30 or 1 PM decided to meet at 3 PM - unless by 2:59 PM we decide to post pone it even further. So we decided to meet at 3 PM IST and got there at 3:20 PM (IST!). Then nothing much, just talking and chilling until the movie started. We went to McD and Indian McD are definitely better compared to the US ones - efficiency and service! Watched the movie, and surprisingly it was almost house full - probably people who thought of watching KANK couldn't get tickets - we had plans for POTC, so didn't have to care about it - we don't watch crap movies like KANK, atleast not unless someone pays us to watch it ;) . (POTC2 = Good one). Then just chilling around in the scorchy and sticky weather and just doing nothing. We definitely had a good time.

12th Aug
Did nothing important... at home playing Max Payne for the most part.

13th Aug
Had plans to go to bookvallas in Darya Ganj with Aman, but realized that because of I-Day security, it would be closed, so didn't go. Instead went to family friend's place to have lunch etc.

14th Aug
There was some hope of doing something interesting, meeting Aman. But didn't do anything. Played Max Payne instead. Went out with family - good South Indian dinner.

15th Aug
Independence Day of India. Played Max Payne. Done with it :)

16th Aug
Met Siddharth, Aman and his friend at Mocha at 12:30 PM. More people were supposed to show up, but they didn't. Siddharth called up his friend and we had a good time together. Talked about good old days when we used to have fun in school and realized all 5 of us were in the same league - Singles with no luck. Aman and his friend had to leave at 3:15 or so and the rest of us decided to go out somewhere for lunch. We decided to go to Culinaire but that wasn't open yet so we ended up eating at Anupam. Came back at 5. Then went to Temple in the evening for Janmashtami. Good time.

17th Aug
At home, just chilling etc.

18th Aug
Same thing, went out for sometime - had to get some work done. Then went out with family for dinner.

19th Aug
Stayed at home for the most part. Not feeling too well - cough and cold, and some weakness. Went out to some family friend's place for dinner.

20th Aug
Went to Darya Ganj with Abhijit. He bought a lot of books. I didn't want to buy a novel and didn't find any other interesting book, so didn't buy anything. We got there at about 1:30 and left at 3:30 or so. I just wasn't feeling well - had fever as I realized later - 103 d.F. So the rest of day was just rest etc. Had some family friends at home for dinner. Still not sure why I get fever a few days before travelling.

21st Aug
At home - can't do much - resting as i gotta get well before going back...

22nd Aug, 23rd Aug
At home...

24th Aug
Went to Gurgaon to meet Ashi at Metropolitan Mall. We watched movie called Click. I bought the tickets and had to wait for him so we could go to watch the movie. It was a 2:05 PM show, and we got in at 2:10 or so, missing first 5 minutes or so - we were not late, we were by IST... the stupid PVR guy started the movie early ;) . We then went to Coco Palms in DT to eat lunch. It's a good and reasonably priced South Indian Restaurant. We then went back to his place and did nothing. Some time later I went back home. It was a great day...

25th Aug
Best day of the trip. Was in CP to meet a friend when the medical students and doctors were protesting the quota bill. Saw the protest and we both had a lot of fun seeing all that. This was the first time I actually saw a protest. There was curfew in place, but the medical students didn't care about it and protested. The quota bill was deferred until winter session of the Parliament, and the protest and strikes really did their work. It was amazing to see so many people protesting and all the news channels were there to cover the story. It was just amazing to see it live and not just from the TV - it is just too different on TV. That was the best day!

26th Aug
Last day... packing and all, and at airport. Airport was a chaos. Getting in took like 25 minutes and then checking, immigration, security and boarding lines - chaos at the airport.

27th Aug
The flight took off at 12:47 AM IST and landed in Chicago at 5:18 AM CT. The food quantity is getting worse...

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Starbucks coming to India

Good news for Starbucks' lovers, Starbucks has announced that it will be starting operations in India within the next 18 months :) :
Coffee connoisseurs can look forward to a new brew in their cups soon, with US-based coffee retail giant Starbucks Corporation set to open its outlets in India in 2007.

Starbucks is currently in talks with a number of potential joint venture partners and is in the process of finalising the locations for opening its retail outlets in the country.
I love CCD in India, but there should be a starbucks too:
1. Starbucks is also good
2. We need a revolution in Coffee retail market - Starbucks has been around for a while in the global markets, and they can really give CCD and Barista some competition... Good for everyone :)

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Upcoming India trip

India trip coming up in two days... Gonna be fun again :)

Things I am excited about and what I plan on doing:
  1. Spend time with Family
  2. Meeting friends
  3. Home cooked Desi food - OF COURSE!!!
  4. No doing your own laundry etc HAHAHA :)
  5. Chilling in Delhi's hot weather ;)
  6. Excessive usage of Hinglish - Now mazaa aaying ;)
  7. Movies at dirt cheap prices in good multiplexes - About Rs. 150 ($3)
  8. Hopefully, Delhi Metro ride - something I always wanted to do, but never got time
  9. Something interesting, like going around the city etc
  10. Looking forward to some changes at the IGI Airport now that GMR-Fraport has taken over - OK, that's too much to expect
  11. Will get to see random people more often in public places
  12. .
  13. .
  14. .
And the list goes on....
This is probably my last post until I go back home, and I might not post while I am at home. But I do plan on writing about my trip, like what I did etc. once I am back - Ahh crap, even the thought of it makes me feel bad.