Cerebral Shangrila

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Thirukkural T-Shirts

Was reading "The Hindu" when this article caught my eye. A tirupur firm now sells Thirukkural T-shirts. Right now the couplets are emblazoned in Tamil but soon there would be a english translation too. Apparently they are already exporting these T-shirts to Italy . The firm has outlets in Chennai & Coimbatore.

I am trying to find out the location of the Chennai Outlet and get myself a T-shirt !

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Madras -- Cultural milieu

Its great to be in Madras (Chennai).Its tough to get bored in this wonderful city.There is no monotony or artificialness that I experience when I live abroad. Here is a sample of what I have been upto : Participated in the ICFAI Business Quiz and successfully lost ! Participated in the Vishnu Sahasranama and veda recitation at our Mandali,Met up with all relatives during the wedding anniversary celebrations of my chithi,Attended a wonderful carnatic music concert by T.N.Seshagopalan , Attended the "Art of living" lecture by the Art of Living Foundation .

I would be visiting Yelagiri Hill station this weekend and planning for a Bangalore trip next weekend.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Colombo Diary

I am glad that I had a 8 hour transit in colombo.The Srilankan
government gave me a 30 day on arrival visa (hassle free & free of cost! ). I hooked up with a few fellow students on the flight and we rented a car and visited the tourist spots in colombo.

On first glimpse Colombo looks like a typical town in Kerala. Cocunut trees everywhere,the same red and cream colored buses,kirana shops,Bajaj autos,Tata buses and Ashok Leyland Lorries/buses,TVS,Hero Honda two-wheelers,IOC petrol pumps.The Indian brands are ever pervasive in colombo.

We headed directly to the Fort area and visited the Galle Face green Beach. It is a Beautiful beach and the waters are just 50m from the Main road.The Old parliament house is a typical british colonial building and is just opposite to the beach. The World trade center twin towers give the Fort area a business look and feel.The WTC twin towers are the tallest building in Colombo and the adjacent Hilton,Taj hotels lend an aura to the place.

We then headed to the International convention hall which resembles a neo-chinese nanking type decor with sprawling lawns. The famous gangaram buddhist temple was closeby. The temple has a huge buddha statue (at least 20 feet) and hundreds of smaller buddha statues dedicated to the different preachings of Buddha. Interestingly, the temple also had a ganesha statue. I was intrigued and asked our cab driver about it. What he told me was unforgettable , " I am a buddhist""But If you see the pictures inside my cab , there are images of Goddess Lakshmi & Lord Ganesha apart from an image of Buddha". " All gods are same to us" .Wise words from a common man.

The Cocunut water (Ilaneer) I had was awesome. delicious taste and the amount of water inside the cocunut seemed inexhaustible ! I also bought tea bags of the famous "ceylon" Tea and returned back to the airport.

Sirlanka is a lush,beautiful country. It certainly deserves a longer trip, which I definitely intend to make sometime in the near future.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Madras -- Here I come

Mera Bharat Mahaan ! I am going to Madras (Chennai) , India on Friday. After squandering 3 weeks of my vacation in Interviews,Books & movies , I have decided to squander the rest of the 3 weeks in Singara Chennai :-)

Not sure what is the existing record for the longest and tortuous commute from Singapore to Chennai ? Sample this : Singapore to Kualalampur , 1 hour halt in KL , KL to Colombo , 8 hours halt in Colombo , Colombo to Chennai ( But then for the money I am paying wouldn't be surprised if they take me by Gaja ka thoni ! ) .

Anyways , I will be transiting at Colombo and visiting the city. My first trip to Sri Lanka . Needless to say , I am looking forward to being in India !

Monday, June 20, 2005

Personal Tag

It’s the personal Tag now. Kaps & Joey have tagged me.Seems there is a big junta out there envious of my vacation :-) Honestly, I am quite diffident to talk about personal stuff . Nevertheless bowing to their wishes, here it is .............



Fruit (Don’t ask me the origins of this name)

Mobile Encyclopedia


I look much younger than my age

I can't think of anything else :-)


I donno what to write ...


Nanganallur, Chennai

All the other cities where I have lived (Mumbai, Ahmedabad , Pune, San Jose , San Francisco , Hyderabad, Delhi , Singapore )

Tam-Bram ( There is nothing casteist about it but the truth is most of my habits stem from this reality)


Discotheques (Never been to one !)

Religious fanatics

Street dogs


My Laptop & Internet connection

A book to read

Music Player



Ara drawer (shorts)



If I knew the answer , I would have already been in one :-)

TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE (in no particular order)

I am a crazy travelholic and bibliophile

Inspite of living abroad for more than five years, never been to a Pub/Bar !

I think I am an idiot while the others think I am an intellectual






Visit India

Watch Wimbledon

Read a novel which I just started ( By Tamil author "Devan" )


Becoming a Wildlife Photographer

Becoming a professional Quizmaster

Becoming an entrepreneur by either starting a travel/ tourism firm or a Wildlife NGO

Becoming a movie historian

Becoming a sports editor in a newspaper


Visit the Serengiti / Masai Mara Wildlife Sanctuary and witness the "migration"

Have one of my photographs/videos published or shown in National Geographic

Win the Brand Equity Quiz or Mastermind India ( Do they still show it in India ? )

Travel to all seven continents

Want to start my own firm


New Zealand








Lexus and the Olive Tree by Thomas Friedman


Ulysses by James Joyce (Never finished reading it )


Around 500


Alchemist by Paul Coelho



Mottai Boss


Sunday, June 19, 2005

Xerox -- What they could have been ...

I just finished reading the book " Dealers of Lightning -- XEROX PARC and the dawn of computer age" . Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research centre) was the hotbed of computing Innovation in the 70's and invented so many things that we take for granted today -- the World's first personal computer , Laser printer , Ethernet , GUI (Graphical user interface) , 3-D graphics chip .

Its an amazing tale of how Xerox failed to see the value of most of its innovations and how other firms ultimately profited from it ( Apple,Microsoft....) . Xerox PARC housed the best researchers in the country during the 70's , who later founded great silicon valley firms such as SGI, 3com , Adobe .

Isn't tech world full of irony ?

Friday, June 17, 2005

Quiz -- " The Indian Connection"

What do you do when you have plenty of time to kill ? You read,you watch movies and then you become a Quizmaster. Here is a Quiz , I posted in my online Quiz groups a few days ago. Take a shot at it. All questions are related to famous foreign personalities and their "Indian" connection. Hope you like the Quiz and please avoid "googling" (if possible !). Mail the answers to cogitoergosum@gmail.com . Happy Quizzing !

1. TIME magazine commented that " His radical idea that governments should spend money they don't have may have saved capitalism" . He had no patience for the conventional economic theories of Long run. "This long run is a misleading guide to current affairs," he wrote early in his career. "In the long run we are all dead." His first book was " Indian Currency and Finance " written after his stint at the India office . Who ?

2. In 1972, he hoped to visit India and study eastern spiritualism, but lacking necessary funds, went to work part-time for Atari Computers. He was able to save enough money to finance a trip to India in the summer of 1974. While there, he practiced meditation, studied eastern culture and religion, and even shaved his head. But by the fall, he became ill with dysentery and was forced to return to the United States. He also became a life long Vegan. Who ?

3. Was born in Motihari,Bengal. He served in the administration of the Indian Imperial Police from 1922 to 1927 when he resigned in part due to his growing dislike of British imperialism . In 1933 he assumed the pseudonym by which he would sign all his publications - ------ (Surname) was the name of a small river in East Anglia, and ------ (First name) was definitely a British Christian name. Who ?

4. Was born in Bombay,India. He was the first Englishman to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature . He spent his early childhood in India where an ‘aya’ took care of him and where under her influence he came in direct contact with the Indian culture and traditions. He worked as a journalist in Lahore for the Civil and Military Gazette and as an assistant editor and overseas correspondent in Allahabad for the Pioneer . His glorification of the British Empire and racial prejudices, stated in his poem "The White Man's Burden" (1899), has repelled many readers.Who ?

5. In an adventure that became a cultural pilgrimage, Mr.X and his New Zealand/ Indian team traveled up the River Ganges (in 1978) from the Bay of Bengal to its source in Himalayan snows.Their three Hamilton jet boats – Ganga, Kiwi and Air India – were met and welcomed by hundreds of thousands of people who thronged the shores of the river to see the great Mr. X , making a pilgrimage on Mother Ganga, the holy river of India. In 1985, Mr Lange appointed Mr. X as the High Commissioner to New Delhi.It was a significant symbolic gesture - Mr.X recalls that he and Richard Hadlee were "the two best-known New Zealanders" in India at that time..Who is Mr. X ?

6. At age 60, Mr. X,whose real name is Samuel Clemens, had fallen on hard times. He crafted a plan to recoup the losses doing what he did best—lecturing and writing books. The debt was vast, about $100,000, and so the plan had to be equally ambitious. He chose to circle the globe.Landing in Bombay from Colombo, he was overwhelmed by the color and the ancientness of the land.He commented "India has 2,000,000 gods, and worships them all. In religion, other countries are paupers; India is the only millionaire." Who is Mr.X ?

7. He is acknowledged as the greatest Western violinist of this century. He was born of Russian-Jewish parents whose original surname was ------. His contract with EMI, at nearly 70 years in duration, is the longest in the history of the music industry. He wrote in his autobiography " Unfinished Journey" ," Despite predisposition in India's favor, I have to acknowledge that Indian music took me by surprise. I knew neither its nature nor its richness, but here, if anywhere, I found vindication of my conviction that India was the original source " . Who ?

8. He was born in Mexico City. On his father's side, his grandfather was a prominent liberal intellectual and one of the first authors to write a novel with an expressly Indian theme. Armed with a copy of the Gita, young Mr.X set out for India first in 1951. What awaited him in Bombay is "an unimagined reality":
"...waves of heat; huge gray and red buildings, a Victorian London growing among palm trees and banyans like a recurrent nightmare, leprous walls, wide and beautiful avenues, huge unfamiliar trees, stinking alleyways,... ...women in red, blue, yellow, deliriously colored saris, some solar, some nocturnal, dark-haired women with bracelets on their ankles and sandals made not for the burning asphalt but for fields... ...public gardens overwhelmed by the heat, monkeys in the cornices of the buildings, shit and jasmine, homeless boys...."
In 1962, Mr.X was appointed Mexican ambassador to India: an important moment in both the poet's life and work . He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature
in 1990 . Who is Mr. X ?

9. He never reached the age of Forty. He read and studied the teachings and works of Mohandas Gandhi and acknowledged him as his spiritual mentor.
He went to India as a guest of Prime Minister Nehru in efforts to study and learn more about Gandhi's philosophy and techniques of nonviolence from February 2 through March 10, 1959. Time Magazine honored him as "Man of the Year" in 1964 and he also won the Nobel peace prize in the same year. Who?

10. Multi-faceted British actor, director, humorist, social critic, television personality and author.
He was to have interviewed Prime Minister Indira Gandhi the morning she died. On Oct. 31 1984, the morning Gandhi was assassinated at her residence, 1, Safdarjung Road in New Delhi by her bodyguards, Mr.X was waiting with his television crew next door, at 1 Akbar Road, which she used for interviews, at the end of a garden path from the prime ministerial residency.
He was a two time Oscar winner (Best Actor in a Supporting Role). Who is Mr.X ?

Bonus Point : Connect Questions 2 & 3 ..

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

"Tiger" kills a deer ....

"Tiger" kills a deer and the story doesn't end there . Former Indian cricket captain "Tiger" Pataudi has been accused of killing a black buck and two hares. The Police have filed an FIR and the high court has refused to grant an interim bail.

Its despicable that educated celebrities resort to such heinous acts. Are they truly ignorant of the law or do they think they are above the law ? Given the fact that Saif Ali Khan , Pataudi's son was chargesheeted in a Black buck case earlier , I suspect its the latter.

Perhaps someone forgot to tell Pataudi that India gained independence in 1947 and the rule of nawabs are over ..

Monday, June 13, 2005

Sports - A quick roundup

Lots of Sporting action this weekend :

Cricket : Dada finally ends the drought with a century for Glamorgan.

F1 : Kimi wins at Canadian GP. Ha, after the great start the Renaults fade. Ferrari finally has some reason to cheer. Be prepared for Renault Vs Mclaren at US GP ..

NBA : Spurs are unstoppable taking a 2-0 lead. Ginobili played an amazing game.

Tennis : Federer wins at Germany and looks all set for Wimbledon.

Chess : Viswanathan Anand wins the Leon Chess Tournament in Spain.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Book Tagging

Is it the new wave sweeping blogosphere ? Thanks to kaats & krish for tagging me. Music and Books have been my best friends in my nomadic existence. Since I have been constantly on the move in the past decade , I have stopped owning books and instead seek the Public Library in whichever city I relocate to.

Total Books I own : Must be around 500 or so. As I have said earlier, I have stopped owning books these days and most of the Books that I own were accumulated years ago and lie in my bedroom in Chennai , which I rarely visit :-)

Last Few Books I bought :

1. Lonely Planet India (A Comprehensive travel guide of India)

2. Collins English - French Dictionary

Last Book(s) I was Gifted :

1. The Virtue of Selfishness by Ayn Rand & The new new thing : A silicon valley story by Michael Lewis .Btw, Thanks Carp !

Last Book I Read :

The Indispensable Calvin & Hobbes by Bill Watterson

Currently Reading :

I mostly tend to read 2-3 books at a time. I am currently reading :

1. Capitalism & Freedom by Milton Friedman

2. Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

3. Nylon Kayiru by Sujatha (Tamil)

4. Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell

Five Books that mean a lot to me :

Honestly , its tough to pick five because there are so many of them . However , let me give it a try :

1. Ponniyin Selvan by Kalki

2. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

3. 1984 by George Orwell

4. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

5. Lost Horizon by James Hilton

Tag five people and have them do this on their Blogs :

1. Ram

2. Kaps

3. Ram.C

4. Venkat

5. Twin Gemini

Long live books , authors and bibliophiles !

Friday, June 10, 2005

Brands that are "So Indian"

I have never found out the root of this fallacy. But for a long time (until during my college life) , I thought that these brands were Indian. I had grown up with them , lived with them and they were so inherently part of my life that I presumed they were Indian.

1. Hindustan Lever Ltd : Their brands are there everywhere . For as long as we knew we had used Hamam ( Earlier a TOMCO product later HLL bought it) , Rin,Surf,Bru ( Plus add a lot more...) .Btw, Unilever set up its first Indian subsidiary in 1931 and HLL was formed by merger of 3 subsidiaries in 1956.

2. Bata : Shoes meant Bata . Period. The fact that Bata started in Czechslovakia almost a century ago was news to me :-)

3. HMV : My world of Rafi,Kishore,Mukesh,Lata,Asha centered on my huge collection of HMV Cassettes. In fact , I thought HMV stood for " Hindustan Music Video" until I discovered the EMI Connection and " His Master's Voice" . Though the Indian subsidiary was later bought over by RPG group (in 1985) , the golden age of Hindi film music (50's to 70's ) was courtesy it beng EMI,UK subsidiary.

4. Colgate : I have been a staunch loyalist and should qualify for some air miles awards or something :-) Colgate India was incorporated in 1937 .

All these firms were early entrants to India , localized themselves very well , respected the indian consumer and gave them what they wanted and contributed to the society. So its no surprise that they consistently figure in the Annual top 10 Indian brands .

So, is there a lesson here for all those foreign firms wanting to enter India ?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

3rd Trimester MBA Results

My 3rd trimester MBA results were out today. I got 3 A's & 2 B's (Total of 5 subjects). Predictably I have got A's in subjects for which I worked very hard during the trimester.This leaves with me just 4 more subjects and a trimester ahead of me.Somehow this time since I am in the midst of an intern/job hunt, the results didn't seem that important a news to me.

But the day of results is always a "buzzing " day. I had couple of SMS's and a few offline messages & emails (from classmates) announcing that the results have just been declared. The few seconds you spend connecting to the "online Results" website , leaves with you fleeting memory of the Profs ,your Class participation and written exam. Then you open the webpage and there you go. The countless hours of discussion,reading,arguments,written assignments,PPT presentations all get assigned an Alphabetic letter ranging from A to F.

Education isn't just an Alphabetic Letter , it lies beyond it.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Alliances of Convenience

As the trite saying goes , "
There Are No Permanent Allies, No Permanent Enemies Only Permanent Interests" . Suddenly lots of events seem to support this Cliche.

1. Advani praises M.A.Jinnah as a " Secular" leader and follows it up with the resignation as BJP Chief following the Uproar.
2. Microsoft & Sun agree to work together to create Single Sign-on (SSO) Web Access
3. Apple ditches IBM for Intel , a move which has garnered both cheers & jeers.

So What next , ADMK - DMK Alliance in TN :-) ?

Bloggers Meet and Interviews

Thanks to Kaps for organizing the Desi Bloggers meet at Singapore. It was wonderful to meet the folks behind the interesting Blogs. The "talk of the town" was about the Blogosphere & India Vs China.

Its a small world. On seeing my photos on Kaps's website, quite a few of my (long lost) school and college friends have emailed me ! Cheers to the power of blogging.

Had an Interview today at one of the " Big 5" Auditing firms (for their Technology Consulting Practice). The challenge for me is to convince them about my commitment since I have another 5 months more to complete my MBA. Will hear from them by next week.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Sun's Big Bet

Sun is acquiring Storage specialist company StorageTek in a deal worth US$4.1 Billion. Considering that Sun hasn't been doing too well in the recent years, this might be a crucial bet for the company's future.

Having worked in Enterprise Backup and Storage arena in my last Job, I have seen the market exploding and demand for storage professionals rising in the recent past. The Industry has also witnessed a lot of mergers ( EMC's acquisition of Legato , Veritas - Symantec Merger) and I wouldn't be surprised If Microsoft decides to enter this segment in a big way soon.

The natural and man made disasters of the past have sent firms fleeing the path of Business Continuity Planning and Disaster Recovery.The world of backups,tape libraries,Robots looks promising ..

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Ayn Rand -- A 100 Years

Is Ayn Rand my favorite author ? I don't have an answer to that Question ( For the fear of hurting George Orwell, P.G.Wodehouse & Kalki !) . But I have a deep admiration for Ayn Rand and her heroes . I am not a Howard Roark or a John Galt , but deep in my psyche , thatz what I want to be. It is this idealism which has made Ayn Rand a favorite among the youth.

The year of 2005 marks the birth centenary of Rand. I happened to read a nice article on " The appeal of Ayn Rand" . Having read her The Fountainhead , Atlas Shrugged , Anthem & The Virtue of Selfishness , I wish I had imbibed at least some "objectivism" in my daily life. I haven't yet, but hopefully someday I will .