Cerebral Shangrila

Friday, September 29, 2006


PAWS (Plant and Animals welfare society) is an NGO started by youngsters in Thane near Mumbai a few years ago. I heard about them a few weeks ago and thought will highlight the good work that they are doing.

Their activities include :

Ambulance Service : PAWS responds to public calls to help sick & injured stray animals.

Sterilizations & Vaccinations: PAWS catches stray dogs & cats from different cities in Thane district and get them sterilized at Bombay’s hospital, then they release from where they are picked-up. PAWS also vaccinates against rabies to all the animals, which are sterilized.

Other activities include : First Aid & Camps,Pigeon Shelter, Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation,Helping Cattle’s in Distress,Adoptions & Rehoming.

Visit their website to know more about them / help them .

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Rainbow Quiz - Identify the personality - Week 8

Here is the next weekly "Rainbow" quiz , where I would be giving 7 clues (Hence the name Rainbow) about a personality. Try to discover the person in the least number of clues . You can either leave the answer as a comment / email me . Feedback/ suggestions welcome. Googling is not preferred but then its just for fun and so go ahead if you need to.

Here is the personaliy of the week.Several years ago, I read the book "Chappelli", an autobiography of Ian Chappell (A really good read for cricket fans) where he eulogised "X". Later I dug up more info and watched several videos of this amazing cricketer whose career was unfortunately cut short by Politics.

Clue # 1 : Rated as one of the best cricketers the world has ever produced, he unfortunately played just 4 international test matches and zero one-day matches.

clue # 2 : A criticism often levelled at X is that at times he found the game of cricket too easy and became bored.

clue # 3 : Endowed with immense natural talent, he has scored scored a century before lunch nine times in his career!

clue # 4 : His opening partnership with Gordon Greenidge in English county cricket is one of the best opening pairs the world has ever seen.

clue # 5 : His most memorable moment came in Australia in the early 70's when he scored 300+ runs in a single day against the likes of Dennis Lillee, Graham McKenzie.

clue # 6 : Sir Donald Bradman, described X as “the world’s best-ever right-handed opener”.

clue # 7 : Needless to say, Bradman chose X as one of the openers in his best ever team, published after his death.

Who is X ?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Padmini - May her soul RIP

It was sad to hear about the death of Padmini, an actress of great beauty and grace, in Chennai. I remember seeing Thillana Mohanambal several times for the wonderful on-screen chemistry between sivaji & padmini ( and of course the superb comedy of Nagesh ). After films, dance became her life and ironically she passed away within a month after relocating to Chennai from US. May her soul RIP.

Monday, September 25, 2006

If looks could kill - Tiger Posted by Picasa

I took this photo yesterday at the Malacca Zoo in Malaysia. I normally hate taking photos at the Zoos. It pains me to see these magnificent animals being trapped inside a 100 sq.m area for human pleasure.

This tiger kept staring at my camera right through while continuing its nonchalant stroll.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Singapore Mass Rapid Transit (SMRT) Posted by Picasa

Train in a reflective mood ? I took this photo on a early sunday morning using the new camera.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

National Portal of India

CIO Magazine reports that, "The Indian government’s National Informatics Center (NIC) has partnered with IBM to add new capabilities to the country’s national portal that enables it to deliver government services to Indian citizens. The redesigned portal went live over the weekend."

The website (click on the underlined words) looks very comprehensive. Its user-friendly and has a wealth of information. The biggest USP of the website is the links provided to other department / agencies website (more than 5000 according to CIO magazine) in relevant places.

I tried finding information about applying for a driving license and was pleasantly surprised to find all the details online with the relevant forms in pdf format.

A good start for the Govt's national e-governance plan !

Monday, September 18, 2006

Rainbow Quiz - Identify the personality - Week 7

Here is the next weekly "Rainbow" quiz , where I would be giving 7 clues (Hence the name Rainbow) about a personality. Try to discover the person in the least number of clues . You can either leave the answer as a comment / email me . Feedback/ suggestions welcome. Googling is not preferred but then its just for fun and so go ahead if you need to.

Here is the personaliy for the week.I can faintly remember reading her biography years ago.A very inspirational leader.

clue # 1 : "X" was born in the Russian empire , educated in the US and later became the Prime Minister of "Y" (Y is a country not a person).

clue # 2 : Her first official position in the independent country (Y) was as a ambassador to her place of Birth - Soviet Union.

clue # 3 : Mr."Z", the first prime minister of Y, described her as the "only man in the cabinet" .

clue # 4 : X came out of retirement in 1969 to become the first woman prime minister of her country .

clue # 5 : She was known as the "Iron lady" perhaps years before Maragaret Thatcher came to be known by that nickname.

clue # 6 : Her last name when translated into the official language of Y means " makes a light".

clue # 7 : Ingrid Bergman portrayed her in a TV movie while Anne Bancroft portrayed her in a "one woman play" in Broadway.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Teddy - Memories remain.... Posted by Picasa

It has been two years since she died. The years roll by but the memories remain .....In a world where unconditional love is rare, she taught me the meaning of it.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Wildcam Africa

One man's passion has made this miracle possible. Watch the amazing Wildcam Africa , where you can watch 24 X 7 live streaming webcam of wildlife near "Pete's Pond" in Botswana,Africa.Here are some beautiful photographs too.

Nat Geo says, " Pete Le Roux carved Pete’s Pond into the landscape as his answer to the rampant poaching and senseless killing of Africa’s wildlife, acts that bothered him from the moment he arrived in 1985 to conduct a leopard research project as a graduate student from South Africa’s University of Pretoria. Back then a consortium of conservation-minded landowners had established the 183,178-acre (74,131-hectare) range as the Northern Tuli Game Reserve. Game, however, was scarce.

Le Roux believed wildlife could repopulate the reserve if they avoided the Limpopo River, where poachers lurked. Using the remnants of an old irrigation system from the area’s failed attempts to grow cotton, he built a pond as an alternative watering source.The idea worked. Almost too well. Today some researchers are concerned that the thriving elephant and impala populations have outgrown the land. Plans are now being made to include the reserve as part of the proposed Limpopo/Shashe Transfrontier Conservation Area. This transfrontier park would expand the animals’ territory into a protected reserve in neighboring South Africa and Zimbabwe."

Monday, September 11, 2006

Rainbow Quiz - Identify the personality - Week 6

Here is the next Weekly "Rainbow" Quiz , where I would be giving 7 clues (Hence the name Rainbow) about a personality. Try to discover the person in the least number of clues . You can either leave the answer as a comment / email me . Feedback/ suggestions welcome. Googling is not preferred but then its just for fun and so go ahead if you need to.

This week its a easy one. A champion I admire not just for his sporting ablities but also for his social activism.

clue # 1 : X was awarded a tennis scholarship at UCLA in 1963.

clue # 2 : He was the first African American ever selected to the US Davis Cup team.

clue # 3 : He was denied a visa by the South African government in the late 60's, thereby keeping him out of the South African Open. He chose to use this denial to publicize South Africa's apartheid policies.

clue # 4 : After his retirement, He took on many new tasks, from writing for Time magazine to commentating for ABC Sports.

clue # 5 : He contracted HIV during the blood transfusions he had received during one of his two heart surgeries. He later became one of the champions in raising awareness about AIDS sufferers worldwide.

clue # 6 : When a fan asked " Why did God choose you to give this disease" ? He replied "The world over -- 50,000,000 children start playing tennis, 5,000,000 learn to play tennis, 500,000 learn professional tennis, 50,000 come to the circuit, 5000 reach the grand slam, 50 reach Wimbledon, 4 to semi final, 2 to the finals, When I was holding a cup I never asked GOD "Why me?". And today in pain I should not be asking GOD "Why me?"

clue # 7 : He won three grand slam titles in his career including a memorable win at the Wimbledon in mid 70's.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Seletar reservoir,Singapore @ dawnPosted by Picasa

Took this photo at the Seletar reservoir,Singapore today morning.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Nikon D70s Posted by Picasa

After months of yearning for it, I finally bought a Nikon D70s last weekend. Having used a Nikon F75 film SLR for the last 3 years, I have gradually become a Nikon loyalist. Though I used to be a hardcore film camera fan, the practical difficulties in maintaining one made me a convert to the digital world.

The camera kit includes Nikon D70s body, Nikkor 18-70mm lens, Optical filter, Rechargable battery, extra battery , battery charger, Nikon camera bag, Nikon camera safety box,2GB CF card,Picture project CD, Tripod stand, 1 year warranty, manuals,memory card holder,umbrella,45-in-1 card reader,LCD protector ( I am posting this for the benefit of those intending to buy a similar kit).I intend to use my old Nikkor 75-240mm zoom lens with this camera.

So expect (and demand) more photos from me from now on. As of now, I am raring to click,click,click..... !

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Raghuram Rajan @ Singapore

As part of the leadership series lectures of Chicago GSB,Raghuram Rajan would be speaking in Singapore on the 15th September. The topic would be "Why are poor countries financing the Rich ?"

Raghuram Rajan is the chief economist at IMF and an alumnus of IIT-D,IIM-A and MIT. He is also the author of the popular book "Saving capitalism from the capitalists".

Here are more details about the event. The registration fee is US$20. I want to attend this lecture very much (if time permits). Thanks to bala for fwding the info !

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Genting Highlands -- Travelogue

Known as the Las Vegas of Malaysia , Genting is a cool hill station with casinoes, theme parks and scenic views. Called the "city of entertainment" of malaysia, it boasts of huge hotels,modest casinoes and adventurous theme parks.Enjoy all this amidst cool weather.

LOCATION : Situated at 6000 ft above sea level,Genting is located in Malaysia and is one hour drive from KL (Kualalampur) on the karak highway. There are regular buses to Genting from KL, Singapore.Most of the buses from Singapore start at Golden Mile Complex in Beach road.There are also plenty of taxis from KL.The nearest airport is KL.

CLIMATE : The weather in Genting is quite cool.Annual temperatures range from 15c - 20c.It can get foggy very often and hence bring in some thick jackets for protection.

Budget Hotels : First World Hotel, Theme park hotel
Mid end : Resort Hotel
High End : Genting hotel,highlands hotel,Awana golf and country resort.

FOOD :Most of the popular food chains such as Mcdonald's, KFC, Pizza hut have a presence inside the Casino complex. Vegetarians have fewer choices . Pizza hut is the best bet for veggies. It serves a delicious Veggie lovers Pizza, some pasta varities,garlic bread and yummy soup.

Casino de Genting : The largest legal casino in Malaysia that offers the usual games such as slot machines, poker and roulette. Its open 24 hours a day. Admission strictly only to those above 21 years. Dress code is pretty strict and prohibits round-necked T-shirts,sandals and shorts.

Outdoor Themepark : It is a disney style theme park with excellent adventure rides. Some rides might need separate tickets but the general entry ticket guarantees admission to most rides.The best rides are Space shot, corkscrew, cyclone, Grand Prix fun kart,flume ride, flying coaster (need to pay extra).

Ripley's "believe it or not" museum: Located inside the complex , it is worth a visit.

Mysteria "magic" show : Based on the egyptian theme and spearheaded by illusionist Tim kole, this "believe the impossible" show features magic,acrobats,dance and crossbow acts. The show is grandiose though a bit too lengthy. Might be a better idea to pre-book the tickets at singapore (from where its a little cheap).

Skyway : This cable car takes you on a scenic ride from the 5th level of the Casino complex on a 20 min ride across the lush rainforest. The view from the cable car is amazing.

PERSONAL EXPERIENCES : The first thing that struck me was the lushness and misty weather of the place. The first world hotel where we stayed was a world unto itself and was a huge monolith with 6300 rooms ( Supposed to be the largest hotel in the world).The indoor themepark inside the complex, has a replica of Statue of Liberty and other thematic attractions that try to recreate the "Vegas feel".

TRAVEL TIPS : The best time to travel is anytime except the monsoons.Please bring in Cameras & Binoculars and a woolen shawl/sweater . Genting is worth a visit and a nice "timepass", far away from the bustle of city life.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Rainbow Quiz - Identify the personality - Week 5

Here is the next Weekly Sunday "Rainbow" Quiz , where I would be giving 7 clues (Hence the name Rainbow) about a personality. Try to discover the person in the least number of clues . You can either leave the answer as a comment / email me . Feedback/ suggestions welcome. Googling is not preferred but then its just for fun and so go ahead if you need to.

clue # 1 : "X" was conceived in 1911 in Chatrapur, India. He was later born in London.

clue # 2 : A child prodigy, he displayed an early affinity for numbers & puzzles and at an young age of sixteen, X encountered Albert Einstein's work; not only did he grasp it, but he extrapolated Einstein's questioning of Newton's laws of motion .

clue # 3 : One of the most famous cryptographers, his work in breaking the Nazi secret codes was a great help to the allies in WW2 (World War 2) and he was awarded the OBE by the British Govt for his work.

clue # 4 : At Cambridge University, he developed the proof which states that automatic computation cannot solve all mathematical problems. This concept, also known as the "X" Machine, is considered the basis for the modern theory of computation.

clue # 5 : A few years after the end of WW2, he was arrested for 'indecency' ( being an homosexual) and was subjected to harmonal injections to make him normal.In the early 50's, he was found dead in his house, an apparent suicide.

Clue # 6 : He died of cyanide poisoning, apparently from a cyanide-laced apple he left half-eaten.The rainbow Apple logo (of Apple Computer Inc) with a bite taken out of it ,is supposed to be an homage to "X".

clue # 7 : "X" is often considered to be the father of modern computer science.

P.S : A genius beyond compare whom the world lost for trivial reasons.