Cerebral Shangrila

Friday, May 28, 2004

Gangotri - At last

Its a 3 day long weekend for me and I am going to Gangotri this time.We intend to trek 20 Kms from Gangotri to Gomukh Glacier. More updates when I am back.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Is my sleep worth Rs.400 ?

I have come Casual Leaves(CL's) which are going to expire soon.Its been 4+ years since I have left Mumbai and hence thought of paying a visit to Mumbai to meet up my friends/relatives. All Trains/All classes are badly wait-listed for the next 3 weeks to Mumbai . Air India flights are a cheaper option from Delhi-Mumbai . The day flights offer 25% discount and the night flights 32.5% discount. Taking a night flight almost spoils one's entire night since the flights are scheduled close to midnight. The difference between a day flight and a night flight is Rs.400.That brings me to my title " Does AI think my night sleep is worth Rs.400 ? " :-)

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

What do I do ? - A perspective

I go to work at 2pm.I arrive back from work at Midnight.I get Dropped at home by a Qualis.So I should be working for a Call centre ! This is a popular conclusion most of my neighbors have drawn about me.All my efforts of explaining to them what I do have been met with more stranger Questions and a sense of incomprehension of IT Industry.When I tell them I work in the Storage & Enterprise Backup Team Supporting a Data Center,their understanding is further confounded.

I find it strange to keep an alarm to wake up at 8am.I see the Sunrise only during my trips on the weekends.I talk to my friends more through email/chat than through Phone.I eat food when I have time rather than when I should be.I have my Dinner at 11pm.I interact with more Americans than Indians at workplace.

In short , I am a victim of the Outsourcing Wave which has swept numerous Indians like me off their normal life.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Hits & Misses

The Drama is unfolding. The new ministers have been announced and the tantrums & power grabbing games have already begun.While Some Talented,erudite men like P.Chidambaram,Pranab Mukherjee,Kapil Sibal have been rewarded with cabinet posts , its rather surprising that none of the congress youth Brigade figures in the list (Not even as Ministers of State) .Talented young men like Jyotiraditya Scindia,Sachin Pilot,Milind Deora,Sandeep Dikshit,Jairam Ramesh (Not that young) have been overlooked. Congress has stuck to its policy of rewarding loyalty more than talent ( or a move to appease the power hungry old horses).

Monday, May 24, 2004


The Summer heat of Delhi drove us this weekend to the Hills.I had wanted to visit Dharamsala for a long time(attracted by its Buddhist influence).Six of us set off in a Scorpio.

DHARAMSALA : Dharamsala is around 500 kms from Delhi and is situated in Himachal Pradesh.Dharamsala is around 1800m above sea level and gained prominence during the late 50's when Dalai Lama made it his place of Stay.Its a quaint little town with a few Tea Gardens and an art museum.

MCLEODGANJ : We headed directly to Mcleodganj.Mcleodganj is named after David Mcleod,the Lt.Governer of Punjab.Its located 10 kms above Dharamsala.Mcleodganj houses the Residence of Dalai Lama & the Buddhist monastery. My first impression of the place was " This is not India " . Almost 60% of people we met were foreigners and the place is like a mini Tibet with most of Dalai Lama's followers settling down there.It has a rather crowded market place and finding accommodation during summers was a little tough.We Stayed farther up (almost 2 kms away) at Hotel Triund. The monastery is a modest complex consisting of the Karmachakra Temple,Buddha Statue,Residence of Dalai Lama & a Tibetian Museum.The Tibetiam Museum depicts the horror of Chinese invasion on Tibet and the massacre of millions of innocent Tibetians.We tried to seek an audience with the Dalai Lama but were politely turned down.The Karmachakra temple is a testimony to the evolution of Buddhism from Hinduism bearing close resemblance to the ancient hindu temples. We then drove down to Dal Lake ( which resembled more like a muddy swimming pool in the summer) and to Nandoo a point from where we had terrific views of the Dhauladhar Mountain range.We retired back to the Hotel in anticipation of the 13km Trek to Triund-Ilaqa which we had planned for the next day.

DALHOUSIE : However the sunday morning turned out to be rainy at Mcleoganj and hence we dropped our trek plans and instead headed to Dalhousie.Dalhousie is located 120 kms to the North west of Dharamsala.We reached there by afternoon.It was a beautiful Hill station with fewer crowd and tall pine trees and cool weather. We had lunch at Dalhousie Market and started for Khajjiar.

KHAJJIAR : Khajjiar is located 22 Kms from Dalhousie.Its not for nothing they call it the "Switzerland of India".We were welcomed by a lush 1km by 1km meadow with a pond in the middle and pine trees all around.It was a marvelous sight and was worth the long travel we had undertaken.We trekked through the pine trees and wandered through the woods and spent a couple of hours there. It suddenly started raining and the place seemed absolutely romantic with raindrops falling on the green meadow.We started back to Delhi and after an exhausting 14 hours drive finally reached Delhi by Monday afternoon.

TRAVEL TIPS : The Summer is perhaps when most people travel to the Hills.I would say Dalhousie is a better choice than Dharamsala.If you are religious or are fascinated by Buddhism (Like I was), then Dharamsala would be a great place to visit .Travel by Train till Pathankot and grab a bus/taxi from there to Dalhousie (80 kms).

AFTERTHOUGHTS : Though the trip was hectic (we traveled around 2000 kms in 3 days!) , we enjoyed it thoroughly.Great gang of friends made the Trip memorable (Most of the friends this time were from IIM-L,S.P.Jain , so it was great leg-pulling and Gyaans & Fundas all the way !).

Change in Plans

Due to a last minute change in the Plan , We went to Dharamsala-Mcleodganj-Dalhousie-Khajjiar instead of Gangotri.It was a rather hectic but enjoyable trip.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Promising weekend

The weekend looks promising.I am off to Gangotri this time. We would also be trekking 18 kms from Gangotri to the Gomukh Ice Cave from where the Ganges Originates.Looks exciting. More on it when I come back on Monday .

The game has just begun ..

Everyone who is someone wants to be " THE ONE" .Laloo wants DPM & Home Ministry,Karunanidhi wouldn't mind becoming DPM, Sharad Pawar wants DPM and/or Defense.Pranab Mukerjee doesn't want Finance but will settle for nothing less than home.JMM wants the coal. Dayanidhi Maran is gunning for Industries portfolio.Paswan wants communication.RJD wants Railways.

I feel sorry for Manmohan Singh. He has a tough job in hand with so many demanding allies (most of whom are utterly incompetent to make matters worse).Manmohan would be better served if he does a crash course on handling allies from his former boss P.V.Narasimha Rao , who was an expert at it.

The act of cleansing politics is a slow process which might take decades to happen but I hope it happens one day .

Too Good to be True

I logged on to my GMAIL Account.What I saw flabbergasted me.It said " You are currently using 0MB of your 1000000 MB" .Whew ! I thought. Has Google started offering 1 TB of Mailbox size ? I couldn't believe my eyes.It was too good to be true.Did a quick googling.Realized it was a Glitch(bug) and google was trying to fix it.I know a GB is much more than you can ask for but then is there an end to human greed ?

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

The Sky is Clear

India is really Shining !! Its a proud day for India.Not because a foreign born person could not become the PM of India.But because the two top posts of the Country (PM & President) are being Occupied by Men of Great Repute,Honesty,Integrity.The President of my Country is a Ph.D Holder and a Scientist with a deep concern for Children & the poor. A man of unbelievable Simplicity and someone who has dedicated his life to Science.

My Prime Minister is a Ph.D Holder too and an economist of international repute.The father of Indian economic liberlization and an eminent professor . A man who enjoys respect across party lines. That both of them are non-Hindus in a Supposed to be Hindu Nationalist Country is an event of sheer coincidence & a fact that hardly matters to Indians.

This is the best news we can give to the world.We are a Country of Values & immense respect for Education.Education is our path to Super-powerdom and Salvation from misery.Look no yonder but at our PM & President as a testimony to it (Both being Doctrates)! Jai Hind !

Work Can be Cruel

It is 5.30 am and am Still in the office. Been here since the last 20 Hours,a routine which has become common over the last few weeks.Our Team is overburdened with work and we have been trying our best to finish it.

I suddenly feel like a Alien.Its been several weeks since I have seen TV/Listened to Music/Read a Book ( A routine so normal to me until a few weeks ago when I used to listen to at least two Cassettes/CD's a day and read a Book a day ).Work is like Season.It comes in Cycles.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Spurs Choke again

The Lakers have done it again.After being 0-2 down in the NBA Western Conference Semi-finals , they have come back to beat San Antonio Spurs 4-2.I hate to see the Spurs losing but Lakers this year have an awesome roaster of Players (Shaq,Kobe,Gary Payton,Karl Malone,Derek Fischer). It looks more like a Dream Team. Alongwith the NY Yankees,the LA Lakers symbolise the enduring Sporting Legacy of Wonderful Players,Loyal fans & unlimited fame.

The Western Conference Winners have for the last few Years been the winners of NBA Title too ( The Western Teams are so very superior to the East that the Semi-final loser in the West can beat the best East Team !).So the Shaq-Kobe Domination continues in-spite of On-field Rivalry & off-field Legal Battles(Kobe).

Saturday, May 15, 2004

A few Good Men

With the Congress set to form the next Govt there has been a lot of doubts on the Continuance & pace of economic Reforms.Many have forgotten that it was the Congress which started the economic liberalisation in 1991 ( Who can forget the Trio of Manmohan Singh-P.Chidambaram-Montek Singh Ahluwalia).

The Current Team looks even much better with Manmohan Singh-P.Chidambaram-Pranab Mukherjee-Jairam Ramesh (Who Amongst themselves are Alumni of Distinguished Schools like IIT,Harvard,Carnegie-Melon,MIT,Oxford !).Seems the Economic liberalisation would continue but would be "reforms with a Human face".Its also equally important that we get a very good HRD Minister(Primary School Education should be a key focus) , Agriculture Minister(Rural India needs to shine)and a pro-active External Affairs Minister.The next few days are going to be exciting and let us hope for the best.

New Look

Blogger has come up with a lot of cool Templates.Was fiddling around and chose this one.Most of my Customizations have been lost and got to work on it tomorrow and get them back (With my Half baked knowledge of codes its going to be a tough climb ! ).

Friday, May 14, 2004

Election Results

The people have finally spoken out.They have proved all the exit polls wrong and have ushered back an era of Gandhian Dynasty ( Shouldn't it be called Nehruvian Dynasty ?).The India Shining more than helping the BJP I guess created a backlash among the 80% electorate for whom it was not shining.Water,Electricity,Good Raods,Food became bigger issues than FDI,Global Back office and Indo-Pak Cricket.Also Local issues like Telengana,Amma's tiff with Govt employees,powerful alliances by Congress worked against the NDA.

Congress too has some bright faces in Manmohan Singh,P.Chidambaram,Natwar Singh,Pranab Mukherjee not to forget young stalwarts like Jyotiraditya Scindia,Sachin Pilot,Milind Deora.The Biggest concern would be the Left being part of the govt and hindering/slowing down the economic reforms process.The valuable lesson to be learnt at the end of the day is do not ignore the Rural common man.Only if Rural India shines , the Real India will shine.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Indian Politico Speak

The Netas have Hijacked the Media . Be it Print or Television you find them everywhere spewing out Jargons. We repeatedly keep hearing words like "Secular" , "Anti-incumbency" , " High Command" , " Political Swing" etc thrown at us. Here is a little humorous piece on what Politicians speak & what they mean :

1. Secular Front -- Whovever supports me is Secular and whoever opposes me is unsecular .

2. Anti-Incumbency -- An high profile word used to blame one's defeat due to non-performance.

3. High Command -- (Particularly in Congress) Means Sonia Gandhi. When a Congressman says the Congress High Command will make a decision he means he is awaiting Sonia's words .

4. Political Swing -- A Geographical phenomenon created by Bogus voting,Booth-capturing and bribing the voters .

5. Stability -- An agreement to be fooled for a long period of time between the Parties and the Voters.

6. India is Shining -- The Urban areas are full of BPO's,Malls fully lit even during night whereas Rural India is languishing in Dark.

7. We will Cross the Bridge when it comes -- We will indulge in Horse Trading after the results are announced.

8. Post Poll Alliance -- I am ready to fall at anyone's feet for power.

9. In the Nation's interest -- In my personal/party's interests .....

10. Jai Hind -- God save the Country

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Hectic Work

I am amazed that I have been able to blog regularly the last two weeks because work has been quite hectic for me at office.I am spending an average of 80 Hours a week at work ( Its crazy , I feel like a Lawyer from one of those Grisham's Novels !) since we have some tight deadlines to catch ( At work, we are always fighting against unrealistic deadlines).

My personal life has gone for a toss since I am at work from 9 am to midnight almost every day .

Monday, May 10, 2004

F1 - Watched my first Race

My Knowledge of F1 (Formula One)is almost close to zero. However , I do have a lot of friends who are crazy about F1.Vijai, a friend of me invited me to watch the Spanish Grand Prix at a Pub on Full Screen . Though I haven't watched much F1 , I have played a lot of Motor Racing games on Sony PS-2 and hence found the race to be extremely interesting yesterday.It was Schumi again and a 1-2 for Ferrari .

Found F1 to be a pretty interesting sport and intend to follow it much more closely in the future.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Politicians - Up Close

I was at the NDTV last weekend for " We the People" program. Got to see our Netas fighting it out over the mikes. No one arrived on time. Amar Singh arrived 45 minutes late and had the audacity to ask " Main tho chota aadmi hun , main aa gaya , aur log kidar hai ? ( Isn't false modesty a big vice in Urban India ? ) The Topic was " Has Brand Atal lost its sheen ? " . But the discussion meandered so far away from the topic , I was wondering how many politicians would get selected in a B-school GD if they attend one !

The most misused word in Indian politics is "Secular" . Congress projected the secular card and called all NDA Constituents non-secular . ( ADMK which is in NDA suddenly becomes unsecular because it has aligned with BJP , whereas when they were earlier with the congress they were secular ) . In the next elections when they join back with Congress they would become secular again. Does the Congress think its like Ganges , whoever dips in them becomes pure and Secular ( What crap ! ) . Why are the politicians fooling the poor minorities?

Politics is all about Money & power. Where are the ideals ? What Happened to great politicians like Kamaraj,Lal Bahadur Sastri ( The former a king maker and the latter resigned for a train accident) . Except for a few, the others won't resign even if sent to prison. Good people should not shy away from politics , because on politics rests our country's future.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Elections - The great Indian Tamasha

In a week's time the elections results would be out and that would end weeks of Tamasha . As the world's largest democracy , we also have the most festive/colorful elections in the world. From Glitzy filmstars to flamboyant businessmen to Criminals behind the bars to seasoned politicians to dynasty progenies to underworld dons to sportspersons -- you name it and they are there in the fray .

Sorry to sound cliched , but most of our politicians are hopeless . Once in a Blue Moon you find a Abdul Kalaam / Arun Shourie / A.K.Antony / Manmohan singh . Its a bane of the country that good / educated people rarely enter politics ( Not that literates make good politicians ..There have been numerous exceptions like Kamaraj ) , but at least there should be a minimum bar set . Accusations , sleazy songs , mud-slinging are all part of the election process.

Non-issues become issues. Onion prices & sugar prices which fluctuated just before the elections( Onions last time , sugar this time) became major issues pushing down factors like Development & unemployment. Mandir & Masjid are still issues and in TN since there have been good rains since last week , Jayalalitha is being hailed as a Rain God ( The funda is that ADMK symbol is two leaves which needs/promotes Rain , whereas DMK's symbol is Sun which wards off the Rain ! -- fundoo logic ) .

Everyone talks of a 10% growth and superpowerdom in 2020 , but no one wants to make an effort to clean the political rot . When a bill was hoping to be passed in parliament last year banning criminals from contesting elections , all the parties opposed it . Indian electorate is also stoic and believes its in their destiny to have such politicians .

Probably the biggest hindrance for our future growth is our politics . Unless we make a conscious effort to reform it , we would like a slimy earthworm climbing a wall. For very two steps forward we take , we would fall back by a step. God bless India !

Offshoring - How is India handling the Backlash

Was reading this article in CNET on how India is Handling the Offshoring Backlash.At the Bottom of the page you would also find plenty of articles doing a mini SWOT Analysis of Outsourcing & Offshoring. Makes an absorbing read.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Van Gogh - The Irony of a Genius

Read this harmless piece of news yesterday " Picasso's 1905 Masterpiece Garcon a la pipe set a new world record when it was auctioned for $104 million overtaking the previous record of Vincent Van Gogh whose Portrait of Dr.Gachet sold for $82.5 million a few years back " .

I love reading Biographies & Autobiographies. One of the best biographies I have read has been the Biography of Vincent Van Gogh. Hailed today as one of the Greatest painters , his life was a tragic one. Here are some glimpses from his life :

1. With No one to support him except his Brother (towards the end of his life ) he was a loner most of his life.

2. Cuts off his ear in disgust after a Fallout with a fellow painter .

3. Gets admitted to a mental asylum since the locals consider him a madman.

4. Sold his only painting during his lifetime, for 400 francs.

5. Shoots himself , takes 2 days to die, alone in his little bedroom. (at the age of 37)

Could there be more irony than someone's painting selling for 82 million dollars when all he got during his lifetime was just 400 Francs ! Life is strange , ironical and sometimes cruel .

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Quotable Quotes

Some Amusing Quotable Quotes :

1. I just got lost in thought. It wasn't familiar territory.
2. 99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.
3. Support bacteria. They're the only culture some people have.
4. Monday is an awful way to spend 1/7 of your week.
5. Get a new car for your spouse. It'll be a great trade!
6. Light travels faster than sound. That is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak
7. Everyone has a photographic memory. Some just don't have film.
8. When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.
9. If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.

IITans - A perspective

Reading the book IITans set my thoughts rolling about my IIT friends and roommates. During my School/college days lots of IITans were part of the QFI (Quiz Foundation of India ) of which I was a member of. Incredibly talented guys.

I have had lots of IITans as room-mates and close firends too . Its very difficult to categorize them. My earlier roommate ( an IITan) left his job after calling his manager stupid and slapping him .

But if there is one Character that is common to all of them , then its self-belief . There were three of us who were very close friends at my earlier company. Except me the other two were from IITs. We used to spend hours and hours talking about everything under the sun and I was always amazed by their perspective towards life which stemmed from a very high self-belief. If there is something the world ought to learn from them then its definitely this.

Monday, May 03, 2004


Just finished reading the book " IITans" over the weekend . I was lucky to grab a copy autographed by Sandipan Deb ( The author of the book , Alumnus of IIT-Kgp,IIM-C) from a friend. The book talks about the incredible institution that IIT's are and discusses among other things how IIT's were formed,Successful IITans,The future for IIT's,The college culture (Midnight puri parties,ragging,inter-hostel rivalry),Absence of research and the Characteristics of IITans.

Sandipan has a very light,lucid style of writing which makes an interesting read. The Book covers a wide canvass and the author has tried to do justice to them all . Though some familiar names like Vinod Khosla,Vinod Gupta,Rajat Gupta,Nandan Nilekani keep cropping up throughout the book the author does have some interesting obscure IITans profiled.

Most of us would have had IIT Dreams during our childhood and some of us never made it to those meccas of Techincal education . Probably there is a tinge of regret one might feel after reading this book , wishing one had put in a little more effort during those school days ( To have entered IIT ! ) . Its indeed a marvel that a nation which has millions of illiterate people has churned out the most brilliant minds in technology too .