Sunday, November 25, 2007

Dandeli + Goa Offsite 2007

Dandeli + Goa offsite 2007 concluded last Sunday evening as we returned from Goa after an amazing time with teammates for the previous 4 days starting from Wednessday afternoon.


The trip started with a train journey from Hyderabad to Hubli (5:30 PM to 8:30 AM) the time which got spent too interestingly to ever care for the long journey. The activities included games of Antakshari, BANG, Pictionary, Uno besides lots of bakar :D all through. Dinner was the Biryani served in the train which seemed and tasted pretty decent.

As we arrived Hubli on time the chartered bus from VRL was right there to pick us up. After a quick breakfast in a nearby South Indian restaurant, we continued on our journey to Dandeli. The Journey was mostly spent playing Antakshari and by the end we were out of songs with some alphabets yep even Praj and Pooja :D

Reaching Dandeli at around 1 PM it was time for a lunch, And thats when the series of great food meals started. As planned by the Kali Adventure Camp team, we guys went on a Jungle safari in the evening which turned out to be a total disaster for most of us. As the guy already indicated before the start of the Safari, we didn't spot many animals, the Geep kept running through a very muddy road for almost 2 hrs and all we cud see were Buffaloes, Owls and at last by chance some deers :) But ignoring the disappointing part from the Safari we enjoyed some photography sessions, a nice sunset view and lots of gossip.



The evening would have been pretty boring but for the presence of Rajni as she came up with some plans to organize some nice team activities after the dinner before we were set free to sit around the camp fire with drinks and snacks and game of Dumb Charades.



The next morning was the much awaited White Water Rafting event. It was definitely one of the best activities during the offsite and people thoroughly enjoyed the 9 KM long rafting which included some Cat 2 and 3 relays, following the commands from the guide like Forward, Back pedal, Hold and Get Down, and so on. The folks on my Raft had some extra enjoyment as we sangs random songs and used the pedals to wet the nearby rafting team and some specials gesture with the pedals :)



Rafting was followed by another great meal and after some rest we left out again for a coracle ride to spot some Crocodiles and bird, which we indeed did. The ride was pretty good too. This was followed by a small trek when we walked in the pretty dense jungles (but along a proper route) for around 1 hr. The evening was pretty similar to the past one but the special event this day was the much awaited Tug-Of-War, which against the earlier plan of being a complicated team tournament was voted out to be a "Gymmers" Vs "Non Gymmers" competition. What could be stranger than the fact that such a random division criteria left the team with equal numbers on both sides :). Unfortunately this time again the rope couldn't sustain the tension :D and broke leaving the match undecided. Rajs' word were "Thanks to RMZ cafeteria".

Next day we were set for our journey to Goa. The Journey took around 6 hrs against the planned 4 hrs. It was pretty late when we reached Goa and finding Ronil Beach Resort wasted just another crucial half an hour.
We checked in quickly and following a quick "lunch" and Rushed to the beach for whatever little we could make out of the evening. We could enjoy the beach for almost an hour including playing in the waves some Frisbee game and then the one sided game of Kabbadi :D
The dinner and the following time was spent sitting in the shacks instead of going to the pub as we did last time. This was definitely a right decision. Sitting in the big group enjoying the view of the sea with some music in the background and some good food and drinks was much better than going to the pub and struggling for space.
As decide next morning only a few of us went for the water sports. This was another part of the trip which I enjoyed a lot. We enjoyed Jet Skiing, Para Sailing, Banana boat (twice :)) and the bumpy boat and it was already 12:30 in the noon and we had to rush back to hotel for lunch and the checkout followed by the flight back to Hyderabad.

For the past we few days we have been relishing the great memories of the trip seeing the photographs and remembering the events, quite sure this would continue for a long time. Thanks everyone for making it an Amazing offsite.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Bike trip to Nagarjuna Sagar

Last Sunday(28th October) the Hyderabad biker's club organized its 17th bike trip. Thanks to Ricky for inviting me to this group I was part of the trip. As usual the bikers met at the Gymkhana grounds near Secunderabad. The schedule was to depart at 5:30 AM from this point but as many bikers requested we decided to leave at 6 AM. I was among the first few who reached at the spot. I didn't even try guessing the bike count initially but as ppl started coming I knew it was a big group.

All the bikes lined up during a midway stop


In all we rode on 16 bikes with hardly 2 pillions riders. Making us 18 in number. The bikes included CBZ, Pulsars(150s, 200), Karizmas(mine + 1 more :)), Machismos, Avengers, Unicorn. As we started, Firdaus informed the newcomers like me about the headlights on gesture, which the group follows throughout the trip. It indeed helped us locate others during the busy traffic :)

A photo on the way


The distance to the destination is around 160 KMs, the road is great for most part, the few of us who were to check the highest speeds on their bike did have long runs at speeds in range 110-120. The best part according to me was when all of the bikes would giving that acceleration/racing sound. Imagine 16 bikes together making that sound. So was the case with the horns too. The ride was completed pretty quickly and we were at the destination in less than 3 hours even with around 20 minutes stoppage on the way. We had food at an APTDC certified restaurant and it was pretty clean and good, so thats not a major issue. The weather was very pleasant for the going part of the journey and the return weather wasn't much harsh either.
Like I said the few of us who were fast and furious after taking lot of lead had a photosession :)


The Dam is pretty dry at this part of the year, but the waterfalls which are just 11 KMs aways from the Dam remain active and attractive. The photos should speak about it. From the side of the waterfalls' lowest point we were able to see a small crocodile too, so definitely its not the water fall where you would like to take a dip or bath :) There were other small water bodies around though where ppl were enjoying themselves.
Just a glimpse of the waterfall, many more photos in the album


We were not in a mood to try the longer trek which was supposedly gonna take 2 hrs, but for trekkers it might be an interesting one. You can observe the water falls from the points where they start according to the local guide, but it would be advisable to take one of those local folks along anyways as the trek is pretty much along the forest.
Almost the whole group

The return journey took us more than 3 hrs due to the heavier traffic but it was not too bad. We were back to Hyderabad by around 5 PM . The drive in the city towards our own places took another 30-40 minutes and was certainly the most difficult one after biking for all that long. Bike trips are indeed very tiring but nonetheless very exciting and full of fun.

More Photos here: http://picasaweb.google.com/hydsundaybikerides2/Ride17NagarjunaSagar/

tips for bike trip:
1) Hand grip, Wind cheater and proper helmet(with visor) is a must.
2) Be careful about Air pressure on the tyres (specially for higher speed riding).
3) Careful about long trips, 320 was tiring enuf.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

India Vs Australia @ Hyderabad

Last Friday we witnessed the 3rd ODI between Australia and India at the Jawahar Lal Nehru stadium in Uppal. After a lot of confusion and yes/no we managed to get tickets for the same. It was a great experience despite the fact that India lost the match.

Its funny what the back of ticket actually read : Strictly Prohibited : Mobile Phones, Electronics, Plastics, Glass, Water Bottles, Musical Instruments, Matches, Lighters, Fire Crackers, Mirrors, Carry bags & any other article which may be used as missile). We have all decided to not carry phones to avoid any hassles, which caused lot of troubles in coordination between the 13 of us going in two cabs. Thanks to all the wisdom and experience ppl had, we decided to reach the stadium around 7:15-7:30 (When the match was scheduled to start at 9 AM) which did cause some of us to start as early as 6 AM.

As we arrived at the Stadium, we were to see concrete and bars instead of a well furnished structure we expected. Definitely a turn-off at first spot. While walking through the gates the people at the security check would take-away binoculars one of us carried. As we walked in I forgot all my grudges, It was one of the scenes I have only scene in TV. The stands opposite to our entry gate were already jam-packed. The stadium's under construction state was not at all obvious. (so badly I missed my camera). By 8:10 AM we were all set for watching the game start, for this I would definitely appreciate the management/execution at the entry which avoided any long queues at any stage.

In short time both the teams came to the ground for practicing. The Aus team was closer to our side but the Indian team was visible. Very soon some one noticed how aggressively the Aus team practiced as against the Indian one. The toss went in Australian favour and they chose to bat first. That was definitely what everyone didn't want. We wanted to see Indian team bat first our bowling is definitely no great to watch and stuff except from some actions we were expecting from Sreeshant :D. As the match progressed we were curious as to when the camera was on us, but the buggers didn't set the screen right for a lot of time. All we could see watch some flowers and sceneries. Purely the Hyderabadi-chalta hey attitude at play again. When you have a screen which is functional why not use it for what its meant was the question. After some time the screen started working. We could see some cricket in between lot of ads. Very soon we realized though that we were not getting covered by the camera anyways :( Wrong choice of seat location and wrong height I would say.

The Mexican waves and lot of Hyderabadi-Hindi-style comments all around made for good entertainment during the match. We tried getting some hooting in to action were not majorly successful probably the choice of stands was not the right one for that. Dyuti told had we been in 250 bucks stands we could have had lot of fun of that sort.

As India started batting post Lunch we were all waiting to show those 4s/6s boards and everything but soon we say we had three batsmen back to Pavilion and score at 13/3. Everyone was tense, disappointed and cursing. Fortunately Sachin and Yuvraj played some good cricket and brought back some action/smiles/cheers/noise in to the stadium, as we clapped, shouted and enjoyed every 10 runs on the board. (30 up, 40 up, 50 up :) :))

Yuvraj's performance (with contributions from Sachin and Dhoni at right time) definitely made us think we might be back in the game. But soon as Dhoni was gone and wickets starting falling again the match was boring again and crowd was quite. What everyone did notice was how solidly Australian team did performed fielding super, batting great and bowling super solid. The dives/chases were definitely world class. Even with almost no support from the crowd the team played like champs, sometimes we couldn't avoid commending the great game they were putting up.

Overall it was a great experience, though ppl would think India's losing the game made us regret about buying the tickets and spending time and effort, none of us in the group felt so. We enjoyed the game.

Tips:
1) Binoculars might be a good idea. Though against wisdom you can clearly follow the ball with naked eyes. Binoculars would help see the players better.
2) Camera and Cell-phones (sometimes for recording the crowd cheer) would be a good thing
3) Walking in/out of the stands to get food/water might be difficult and these things would cost a lot on your seat (50 bucks for a 5/10 Rs candy bar for e.g). So before the game begins you could possible stock up all these things.
4) Tickets are usually sold at UCO bank counters. News paper etc would provide more information. Tickets selling started just 5 days prior to the match in Hyd and seems like they were sold out in 2 days. (The bank fellow is expected to give just 2 tickets per buyer).

Beat!!!

That's the name of the ongoing Cultural and Sports competitions at intra-organization level in Google Hyderabad/India. The events have been running for past 3 weekends and would continue to do so for the next 2 or 3. Turns out not many ppl are willing to take pains of coming to Indian School of Business campus at Gachibowli for this and the lucky few of us therefore got chance to participate in almost all things :D.

It feels more or less like those college festival times (Felicity is the name for IIIT-H's) where you meet lot of people, participate in games, cheer some talented souls for songs or dances and have all round fun. The added bonus was the opportunity to try out some games for the first time for some of us. Tennis and Squash are in that category for me.

Talking about dances reminds of the great show people have put up last to last weekend where all five participating teams gave excellent performances. As they prepare for Semi finals, we are eager to see more of such things soon. Coming to sports, well the very few ppl showing up thing allowed me and other alike to participate in almost everything from Football, Basketball, Volleyball to Cricket. It was fun to see same ppl playing almost all games and when ppl made jokes reminding fielders in cricket that "Dude this is not football, collect the ball with hands".

Waiting to have some more fun tomorrow and for the coming weekends.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Wonderfull Rueda workshop

Last week Soul Club at Somajiguda hosted a great Rueda workshop conducted by Sachin and Deepthi from Spinn Academy over Wed-Fri (3 days). This turned out to be the best Latin dance teaching I have seen in Hyderabad as yet. I should clearly inform that I am more inclined for the Rueda dance compared to Salsa, so my opinion might be biased.
Among other things, I liked the focus on the Spanish names for each step, and also lot of focus on the steps which get the main dance going, i.e the ones like Adios and Damen La (Une, dros and tres).


Don't have the photos to post. Will see I can get them from others in the workshop.

PS: Rueda is a Cuban dance. Some call it Cuban Salsa.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Voderevu Trip




On first weekend of September we had a trip to Voderevu, a coastal village near Cherala. Voderevu is surely one of the lesser known beaches of AP which can be a good weekend destination for reasons of small traveling time/distance.


The trip started on a great note with B'day celebration for Mallik in the train. A great cake courtsey Ramya and Deli 9 :), the bumps ceremony cudn't be completed as Mallik had all kind of senti ready to avoid it. The usual chatting went as someone kept iterating Friday nights are not for sleeping, don't remember if we did actually take rest or not.


The train journey to Cherala is a short one, ideally it shud take around 6 hrs took around 8 for us. Reaching the place at a convinient 5:30 or so in the morning. We hired autos to make our way to the resort in Voderevu which turns out to be 6 KM away. The drive was as scenic as you can imagine. Loads of greenery all around, some small water bodies giving perfect reflection of tall coconut trees around them. The breeze was perfect.


Our (Sip and Dip) resort didn't turn out to be up to expectation for the decent price they charged 450 bucks for a double bed non AC (we went for pre reservations just to be sure). The only claim they cud make was the direct view of the ocean, everything else was pretty bad. Fortunately we cud find a better place by the evening and shifted to it for the next day. At little walking distance from the ocean there are decently priced and well maintained rooms, we stayed at one called Krishna Vamsi Sea cost guest house.

The beach was as good as we cud want, small warning for ppl with strong nose and allergy from smells, the beach had a non-ignoreable smell of fishes as fisheries happens to be the main occupation around here. But as you go into the water, the smell is totally gone, as you see and enjoy is some nice waves. We cud keep playing in there for almost 4-5 hrs on the first day and again for 2-3 hrs the next day.


Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner get you the authentic Andhra taste, it only more spicier than one you get in Hyderabad. The breakfast on the first day was awesome, we all ate heavily as both Dosas and Pooris were very tasty (Cudn't get the same one next day as we woke up quite late :( ). Lunch and Dinner weren't very good atleast for me, It was a rice only meal and since the ppl here mostly eat non-veg as in fishes Veg food was anyway non a great treat.

The Saturday evening Mallik proposed watching a telugu movie in the local theatre to get a feel of it. We watched YamaDonga. Amongst the 7 only Mallik and Ram knew Telugu comfortably well and Ram cudn't avoid taking a dose in the movie so we were left with only Mallik to tell all the other 5 whats going on :D The movie was good too. The cinema hall had some non-familiar concepts like FCFS seating arrangement. The time we came back after dinner it was already too late for the proposed bonfire, went to the sea for a night walk and with a plan to spend some time there but the crabs and smell all over made us change our mind.

Next day was full of similar activities and lot more funs and photographs at the beach. Lots of gossip in the room and it was already time to leave back to cherala and back to Hyderabad. Looking forward for the next trip :)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Picnic @ Pragathi Resorts

Pragathi Resorts(http://pragathiresorts.com) was the venue for the latest Team Picnic on the 23rd. It was taken as a second choice after Lahari Resorts (which was booked by its owner for the whole week) was not possible.






The Picnic turned out to be great despite the heavy rains the whole city witnessed that day. I would say the light thunder showers and non sunny weather was infact favourable for the venue. The resort despite whatever it boasts to be basically provides only a single major ride. The (swimming) pool is rather shallow for any kind of swimming. The thing ppl like most was the big mass of water falling from approx 30 ft overhead. (What is the name for that ?)


As far as water sports are concerned you can only play volleyball, which turned out to be good fun too, specially the "splashing the culprit" part after anyone makes a mistake without sounds of "Yahi hey, Yahin hey" etc [:D]. We also played Frisbee in the water.


Post lunch activities started with Musical Chairs, which was fun to see, as ppl ran/raced and did all sorts of thing to keep the chair. Krishna and Antara's run for the chairs was particularly hilarous. The next thing after musical chairs was difficult to decide. Ppl weren't enthu enough to dance and it there were mild showers outside forcing ppl to do things like playing Bang or Antakshari. A few of us like minded ppl however decided to go out and play rain football. I didn't know it would be so much fun. Everyone remembered old days at school or college when they played football and it was definitely worth getting drenched. By the end of the game we all decided to look forward for any opportunities to play the same again. (We did start looking for grassy grounds available for the weekends for the same),



Tips for trips to this resorts:
1) Carry a good swimming costume (the rental/ buying ones are very light quality)
2) Carry Frisbee and Basketball (We got football from them and they also have cricket kits)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A Sensible speech on 15th August (Indian Independece Day)

Waking up early this 15th August turned out to be a great reward. Unaware of what the reward was I just managed to make it to IIIT campus early morning(8:15 is early for me) to witness the flag hosting and participate in the National Anthem singing.
To my surprise Dr. A P J Kalam was the chief guest for the occasion. What a pleasant surprise. The usually low profile 15th August celebration turned out to be a big event. With Police, photographers, Fire brigade and a big Pandal etc in place. I have been used to watch the event every year attended by some 100 students from all batches sitting on the small ground next to main building. This time it was on the main grounds with certainly 300+ ppl attending it. Faculty strength was also overwhelming.

As Dr. Kalam spoke, I realized it was not one of the usual 15th August speeches we have been hearing all these times. Most speeches I have heard in the past have been on the theme "Have we really achieved anything to be proud of, Have we solved problem of poverty, unemployment etc." All concluding that we are really in a screwed up situation rt now and blah blah. Some others are again on similar topics of "How much we want India to be poverty free and propserous, but without any ideas or suggestion on how to achieve these far fetched goals". Dr Kalams speech was (were) different. He talked about science, technology and ways of transforming the society with the help of these. It motivated students to think about what little/large we can contribute to make India developed by 2020. It had some firm ideas and suggestions instead of just usual cry over the current situation.

It was specially great to see how much technically advance and aware a person at that post is when he said about writing emails to him at his personal email address and then told if you miss any point or want to revise the speech you can visit his website(http://www.abdulkalam.com) moments later to see the transcript of the speech. In his thought provoking speech he clearly showed the students the reasons for which the much hated Jeevan Vidhya or moral science lessons were very important. The link for the two speeches he delivered there are: http://abdulkalam.com/kalam/jsp/display_content.jsp?menuid=28&menuname=Speeches%20/%20Lectures&linkid=68&linkname=Recent%20&content=475&columnno=0&starts=0&menu_image=-
http://abdulkalam.com/kalam/jsp/display_content.jsp?menuid=28&menuname=Speeches%20/%20Lectures&linkid=68&linkname=Recent%20&content=476&columnno=0&starts=0&menu_image=-

Would be great if someone can upload the video to Youtube so others can watch him speak.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Matheran Trip

Matheran trip turned out to be a great one, far beyond what I could have imagined when I registered for the same. The situation was that I hardly knew anyone in the whole group except for Gowtham and Malik whom I have met quite often in the office.
The trip started with us taking an early leave from office on the Friday. We took a cab to Begumpeth Railway station (during which we guys started making new friends). On the station the group strength was clearly visible we were around 70 in numbers. All ppl had doubts about what the trip of such a big group was going to turn up into.

The train journey started, very soon all my doubts were cleared. A few of us sitting in same compartment started talking and soon we became such good friends that we decided to keep awake the whole the night gossiping. The idea came from Somu who kept iterating it was rather senseless to sleep for a such duration everytime some one thought about it. Ultimately everyone did decide to go for sleeping only that it was hardly 1/2 hr to 1 hr we could. Of course the gossip that went on the whole night played a serious part in giving the whole trip a great start.
We got down from the train at Kalyan station, and from there took a local train to Neral station . followed by a Car drive to Dasturi point. Which is the last point for vehicles. From this point we walked mostly along the toy-train track (Toy-trains are not functional during the Monsoon season). The way was pretty difficult mostly because it was raining hard and very few ppl were actually prepared for that though most of us had rain cheaters but the rain was too heavy for that. Most of us were totally drenched by the time we reached the resort the "Brightlands resort".



The bigger trouble was yet to be witnessed, the rain water had soaked in into the bags and all the clothes were wet. The situation was the same with almost al l :)
As decided during the breakfast we left for Trekking right after the breakfast. We trekked towards the Echo point and got drifted off the way many times for there were many beautiful tracks on the way, including a big lonely Bangalow like ones seen in ghost movies. We moved on and reached Echo Point, it was wonderfull. I would leave the photos to speak about it. The best effect was that of the waterfall's water thrown upwards by the wind. The echo didn't really work though [:D]




As is got late we decided to walk back for Lunch, which was a long long run as we had no idea where to go back and had to retrack the way so many times (thanks to Luqman for his great intuitions :))







Post lunch a much larger group lead by Zubin walked to Charlotte lake. The lake was not the most beautiful thing, the whole trek was. Had a great run from the monkeys while eating Corn("Bhutta") and drinking tea on the way. The Corn was too tasty and the tea made lot of sense in the nice rainly weather.

The evening was concluded with an hour or so of Disc which was obviously great fun. The next morning we left from the resort came back to Dasturi point on horse. Where Kiran showed her horse riding skills. The reverse journey got over very soon as we gossiped a lot and made plans for future outings.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Releasing PicasaWeb Uploader for KDE/Linux

I am pleased to announce the first release of the PicasaWeb Exporter/Uploader for KDE/Linux. To be precise for the photo management applications supporting kipi-plugins, including Digikam, PhotoAlbum, Gwenview and so on. Here is a blog post by Caulier Gilles about it.

For those who currently miss this plugin in their host applications like digikam, the fast option is to get the kipi-plugins from the KDE SVN.

This effort has been part of my 20% project time at Google, but the software in under GPL and all the disclaimer regarding the responsibility and guarantee holds. I will keep on improving the software and patches are welcome. (Some of the code comes from cut/paste of my previous plugin flickr export and some cleanup would be done soon)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Always Game with my new bike Hero Honda's Karizma R

After a lot of confusions on which bike I would be going for, My bike is finally here. Its Karizma R. I found it the best offering for a sports bike in India (as of now and under price I was willing to pay for it, the Honda and Kawasakis 600+CC would be coming soon I heard). The bike is a 225 CC bike with the closest to the fancy Sports bikes looks.
Pulsar 220CC was a choice candidate too, the blue color is definitely an eye catcher and a big plus for P220 and that's what caused some confusion, but Karizma still beats it in looks.

Okay here is how my bike looks like: (photo courtsey Sachin)

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

A Fantabulous trip to Kulcharam Ji courtsey YJI

Last Sunday turned out to be a great day of great fun. Thanks to Rajat, I came to know about the group named YJI (acroynym for Young Jains of India) and was able to join a trip to this temple nearby called Kulcharam Ji.



It looked odd in the beginning that I would be waking up at 5:30 in the morning and getting ready for this trip but the fact that I have been postponing my temple visits for a long time and also that this was more of a fun trip ala gathering, I decided to give up a little on my weekend sleep schedule :)




It was around 2 hrs journey after we picked up ppl from almost all parts of the cities starting from Gachibowli followed by Madhapur, Liberty circle, Paradise and soon. As more and more people kept joining in the enthu was growing, by the end of pickup schedule we were 26 in numbers. During the introduction round, Guidelines for which were set by Pranjal(HR :)), we came to know about all the people and also learned almost everyones names (Kudos to Pranjal, nice game). The group include ppl from almost all parts of the country and also representing lots of IT companies. From the statistics it turns out the Majority of Jains come from MP and specifically regions around Indore :D



The priests at the temple were very helpful to let some of us do the "abhishek" while some others sat praying and others did the 108 parikramas. I am a kinda novice in terms of religious knowledge and lingo so I would avoid writting to much about it right now.

This was followed by a nice Lunch at the venue of Daal Baati and Churma. A game of housie (Tambola) and Antakshari followed. The evening pakodas and tea were tasty too. Preeti and Nitin concluded with few words about YJI (not mentioning them here).



For more photos please check the gallery at http://picasaweb.google.com/yji.hyd

Friday, June 22, 2007

President of India Election Drama [update]

[update] Dr Kalam seems to have given up. Probably NDA and others will be forced to support the UPA candidate. If I understand correctly the special qualifications for this candidate's nomination (and therefore for this person to be our next president) are:
1) She is a lady (and we should have some lady as President since we haven't had it till now :Congress' reason)
2) She is Maharastrian (Reason for Shiv Sena's support for her)
3) Shivraj Patil is not very competant for the post (Communist's complaint, well what is the meaning of competence here ?)
WOW, great work Indian politicians. Next time we should also consider the Caste, Race, minimum age of 55 years and some disabilities before we nominate ppl for such posts.

The presidents' election drama has become little more interesting after current president Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam agreed to reconsider standing for the post. The comments from Political leaders from UPA government not only shows their attitude towards what one would think of a post of great honour and responsibility.
The current presidential candidate, who is most likely to win just because of numbers supporting her is Pratibha Patil, A name most ppl would not have heard of and for which I had to do a Google search to know abt. Some interesting things described by wikipedia article on her.

Election to be held on 19 July 2007.[15]. She emerged as a compromise candidate after the Left parties would not agree to the nomination of present Home Minister Shivraj Patil, who is widely viewed as bordering on incompetence in this important post. At that point, Sonia Gandhi proposed Pratibha Patil's name.

This makes her most likely to become the first female President of India. UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi described her nomination as a "historic occasion" in India'a 60th year of independence.

Seems like she got the nomination for lack of any better candidate and the fact that she will be the first female president of the contry. The article also describes her "innocent" remark about the Purdah system, I could only ROFL after reading that one. This can only be an indication on what great knowledge and thoughts this lady would have on more current things of concernt to the country like Software Technology, self reliance and other aspects on which Dr Kalam was praised throughout the world for his views.

Whats more interesting is the kind of remarks UPA leader have against the current President, who by all means is the best person to take up the post. Some of them say he should exit gracefully. Some like Laalu are suggesting him to Retire. What a shame to all this leaders.

The educated folks would clearly see what problems UPA has with a president who has in past returned some stupid bills (The president in India any way has small control on these bills) including the Office of Profit one. His views of advancing the country are certainly one most policians won't be able to digest much. Lets see what more get to witness on this Drama.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Hyderabad's Traffic's basic rule: Just Horn and Overtake

Somethings are so integral part of the system that everyone learns them irrespective of whether they are correct or not. I am talking about traffic in Hyderabad (may be in other cities too, not sure).

I had heard stories about how act of blowing horn was called as "Honking" in US and that it wasn't needed to do it at any time other than pointing someone their gross mistake. It was hard for me to believe so until I got a chance to drive in California.

As you drive the car the first temptation is to blow the horn as soon as you see some one near to your vehicle, at each an every corner of the road and also when you just want to rush past some one (overtake them). Over time I realized it was much easy to not bother thinking about "Honking" someone at any place. The traffic just moves without anyone 'signalling' anything with his vehicle's horn.

Come back to Hyderabad, the first few drives you just can't avoid cursing someone when he horns you just because he 'thinks' he need to inform you about his presence and to make sure you don't come on his way all of a sudden. The mindset is to think about what mistake you commited that some one is 'honking you'

Now even after we have lanes and directions marked on them, ppl hardly bother to go in the lane and try overtaking by shifting lanes appropriately. They just blow horn and want you to get aside from their way. This situation simply allows ppl to halt anywhere on the road and assume "kisi ko problem hogi to horn bajayega and then we will think about moving". Reminds me of how one of my colleage visiting from Mountain View was shocked to see cows walking on the road. Aren't we so used to the horn and go behaviour that a cow is nothing different/difficult for us to handle on the road. :)

It isn't hard to see why there is always a mess at the Hitech city Chauraha, every one just believes in horning and finding their way even when traffic signals ask them to stop. My colleage tells me that traffic is much more organized in Bangalore and Chennai compared to Hyderabad. May be its time traffic police gets little serious about issuing tickets (yes, they have started following the ticketing system of sending the challan to ur home, rather than asking instant payment).

Monday, June 04, 2007

New 7 Wonders voting crap

Many ppl have been forwarding mesg's about voting Taj Mahal in top 7 wonders of the world. First there was a Online Petition, then sending SMS to indiainfo.com and lately we get a URL dedicated for this purpose www.new7wonders.com.

Isn't it interesting as to who is the authority to judge such an important 'competition'. From wikipedia, I came to know about this For-profit corporation called NOWC who supposedly is the authority.

The New Seven Wonders of the World is a proposed revision of the Seven Wonders of the World, organized by a Swiss-based, for-profit corporation called New Open World Corporation (NOWC). The selection is being made by free and paid votes, through telephone or online. The first vote is free to registered members and additional votes may be purchased through a payment to NOWC. In addition to the sale of votes, NOWC relies on private donations, the sale of merchandise such as shirts and cups, and revenue from selling broadcasting rights
Isn't it awesome, create some kind of online polling system, Ask ppl to vote for their favourites and also allow rich ppl to vote extra number of times.

Why should someone even care if Taj Mahal makes it so such a senseless, crappy list compiled by selling the positions to who pays heavier.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Salsa and Other Latin Dances In Hyderabad

Unlike the usual misconception Salsa dance does exist in Hyderabad. I came to know about some interesting dance parties from the blog by Jeremy.
1) BnC's Cuban Nights:
Afro-Cuban/Latin Rythms from 7pm - 10pm, Open floor
Salsa Workshop 8pm - 9.30pm
April 22 - May 20, Sunday nights
Bottles and Chimney, Begumpet, Hyderabad
(Across the road from the airport)
2) Latino Nights at Ahala (feat. Tony from Goa):
Salsa Workshop 8pm - 9.30pm
Starting April 27, Friday nights
The Taj Krishna, Banjara Hills, Rd. 1, Hyderabad

There is also a mention of the class at Studio9. Look at the blog for detail. There are some other options too I guess, just they are not very popular. Do check out some good videos for these dances at Google Video, specially ones from "Addicted to Salsa".

There are Salsa + other latin dance lessons at Cyber Pearls by Chandra and his colleagues. A very good option for ppl in and around Madhapur.

Currently there doesn't seem to be great interest/awareness for Rueda (Cuban) dance around here, we will be trying to start it soon probably in the Cyber Pearls lessons (after the class hours). Do let Chandra or me know if you want to join in.

With many ppl getting access to Salsa lessons and workshops social dancing is poised to become popular like Bangalore and Bombay.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The most troubling part for the US trip: Immigration @ India (Hyderabad)

Yes, you read it right. Problems at immigration at US stands no where close to the problems at immigrating back to your own country.
For the presence of some electronic items in my cabin baggage, they marked the baggage and I had to "verify" at the Red Channel.
The person (No, I can't call him officer) at the Red Channel won't agree to the fact that my belongings were within the limit of 25,000 + 1 laptop. He wouldn't care for that. The fact that I had some electronic items and laptop suggests to him that I should pay him some money (not using the right word here but its obvious).
There were other ppl who were stopped there and everyone seemed to end up giving some money else this person would start arguing uselessly for e.g I heard him saying to a person that all you clothes and etc also count in that limit of 25000, Our Indian economy is affected when u bring this item to India (so pay me some money to let u in).
Calling the higher officer didn't help. He would say in low voice, "you are violating the law by bringing two laptop doesn't matter if one is you company's owned". Basically saying I can't say anything you have to pay him money.
The form for immigration clearly leaves the terms to be read and interpreted and abused by these buggers as they want. It says "One laptop is allowed". Doesn't talk about the allowed laptop to be the one that was bought in US. The laptop you carried from India can be counted in that too. He would want to detain my personal laptop and also frighten me of putting some complaints about my not helping me in his tasks or "mis-declaring". Would pretend that I lost my customs slip (when he had it with him).

I am sure many ppl go through this pain (atleast 5-10 went thru in front of me). When the whole office is working together how can you escape ?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Stanford Campus Visit

It was just a random decision to go to StanFord's campus when we wanted to have some way to spend the Sunday afternoon, after a great lunch at Mayuri Restuarant in Santa Clara along with Sumanth and Priyam (my friends from UCSC).

It turned out of be great luck as it was the Community Day in campus (which we were told happens once in 2 years). The only regret was that we made it little late. We got a chance to visit and the famous Hoover tower which on its 14th floor gives a very nice view of the whole campus.

The campus is certainly a very cool place to see, I could see many ppl cycling all around in cycles of different types some ppl skating, many ppl were jogging around. Then there were various grounds which were again occupied by ppl playing variety of games including Basket ball and soccer (or shall I say football).

Wandering around we landed up in front of a library, having heard a lot about the size of these libraries I decided to go inside and check how much ever we could see as visitors. To a pleasant surprise, we just had a small registration process and we were right in to the library. It turned out to be one of Social sciences (very frankly I don't even know what all it covers). The number of news paper and journals in the library were just beyond any imagination. I could see newspaper from almost all countries I have heard the name of (and many more ). The approximate number of journals would be around 12000 (yeah !). This was enough of social sciences for us and we decided to get out of the library.

As we were coming out we came to know there were like 12 or so more libraries. We decided to go to Computer Science and Mathematics library. The library was certainly not as big as the Social science one. It looked very reasonably sized one. Again the journals section was very big here.

Unfortunately the trip was to end as we were already very late. If you are just visiting the campus it would be a good idea to start pretty early, the campus is too large to roam around. Having a host in the campus would be great but otherwise you can take up campus maps from some information centers and also do explore the option of student guided tours (we didn't get time to try that).

[Mostly used my friends' camera so will have to wait before I can post some photos]

Friday, April 13, 2007

Wondering about being tagged by someone ?

Recently I have been seeing a flood of mails saying you have been tagged, blah, blah. I sent mail back to a friend from whom I received such a mail to know he didn't intentionally "tag" me.

Looks like this site http://www.tag__ged.com is another http://gaz__zag.com (__ to avoid giving them unnecessary incoming links advantage) like site which takes users login name for Gmail and Yahoo and invite all their contact book addresses by sending a mail which claims to be a invitation from the real user.

I am not sure about this part by someone also informed me that sometimes they just try to use the password you choose for these website to access you gmail or yahoo accounts(without informing you) and are quite successful in that as many ppl do use common password for many websites. Can some real victim just confirm this ?

This post is meant to create some awareness about such junk sites and TRY getting such spam mails reduced in numbers for everyone. Please be careful when you do try some social networking websites if someone just asks for your Yahoo or Gmail password they might be doing something fishy.

Monday, March 05, 2007

San Francisco and Santa Cruz visit

Another well spent weekend. Saturday we guys (Mukesh, Nirnimesh, Suruchi and myself (Vardhman)) went to San Francisco city for visiting some of the tourist spots. We targetted going to Fisherman's Wharf, Pier 33, Ghirardelli square and Crookedest street.

The trip goes through CA-101 which is now quite familiar to us and CA-80(the one we would always wan't to avoid, Mukesh, Nir ? :)) and later goes on to merge to Embarcadero street which goes parallel to the Pacific ocean shore. The piers appear on the right hand side while driving North.
Pier 39 is the Famous pier named Fisherman's Wharf. The place had a lot more things to offer than we knew of and took a lot of time. Two major attractions are "Aquarium of the Bay" and the Sea Lions' Cafe. Besides that are some good shops to shop around. Many ppl prefer renting a cycle and visiting around this places, some ppl do skating too, we didn't want to try them there.

Following this we moved on to Lombard Street, known as the Crookedest street in the world and believe me it was so. Its like the one shown in Fast And Furious 2, Tokyo drift but much larger drifting. We attempted reaching North beach but missed it somewhere and finally decided to trace back to Mountain View. Dinner was at Chaat Paradise, which is a good place for eating North Indian food here.

Sunday morning(? :)) we left for Santa Cruz. A reading of WikiTravel.org helped us in planning out visiting the famous Santa Cruz Beach Broadwalk ammusement park, which we didn't know existed at all, the good thing about the park is the options of payment, you can pay for full day or pay by rides. We opted the second and felt the decision was good. The rides to enjoy here are Fireball, Typhoon, Giant Dipper and to a small extent Cyclone (its indeed a cyclonic experience). After this we went to the beaches nearby (unknowingly followed a 30-40 minutes drive to land back at almost same parking slot as earlier and walking all the way back to very near to the beach broadwalk). There was a place where ppl danced Salsa and I cudn't stop but joined them. It was fun. Walk on the beach was also good including the experience of a chilling pacific ocean water and followed by a small Beach volleyball game with some Mexican folks.

(Photos quick link http://picasaweb.google.com/nirnimesh.1/SanFrancisco, http://picasaweb.google.com/nirnimesh.1/SantaCruz) detailed inlining later.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Los Angeles Trip

Last weekend we had a trip to the Hollywood city, Los Angeles. It was great as expected. We started early morning (around 5:30) for LA and hit 6 Flags Magic Mountain by around 11:30 AM, that left us pretty much lot of time to enjoy almost all the rides in the famous amusement park.
From LATrip





My personal favourite turned out to be Riddler's Revenge which is ride in which u are in almost standing posture. Was lucky to get two rides for the same (as did Praj too).
Some tips if u plans for the same: 1) Do an online registration (saves a lot of money). 2) Go as early as possible. 3) If u like a ride, you can stand on the exit waiting if one of the seats remain free for the next ride and jump in (since many ppl want to go in groups of 2-4 depending on the seating capacity some seats do remain free).

After Six Flags we moved on to LA. To get charged for the next day.


From LATrip

The second day was dedicated to a Universal Studio Visit. Univ Studio is definitely one of the highly recommended places to visit in LA. The Studio is packed with a good number of rides and shows to take a full day exploring it. The shrek 4D, Back to Future, Fire Simulation and Terminator 3D were the top in my list. The Univ Studio tour which takes place at the end is also a good one, I specially loved the show of Cars being controlled by robotic arms and performing some good stunts. (last video in the album).

From LATrip



From LATrip


From LATrip


From LATrip

It was a great trip. Looking forward for further trips.
Some other pics from the trip are located in my Los Angeles trip album.