Thursday, October 02, 2008

"Smoke Free" India or Smoke "Free India" ??

Ok, in order to put a funny caption, I admit the caption might be a little PJish but I think it will be an instance I will remember 2nd October for having changed the life of majority in a better way, if till now we remember it for Gandhi's b'day. I for one can not but admire Health Minister's courage to take on the tobacco lobby with govt's latest directive to ban smoking in what I can loosely term as public places.

I being a non-smoker very much welcome this change for various reasons. And for this post let's suspend our judgment of Mr. Ramadoss was in AIIMS controversy.

In past, often any move against smoking has been discouraged with the argument that govt. is hypocritical in the sense that they don't ban tobacco products because they can't survive without those revenues. Although it can't be directly established the effect of such ban on sale of toabcco products (I heard in news reports that world wide with such bans, the sales dipped by mere 2-3%), but accd to me it is a step in right direction.

For those who oppose this ban arguing freedom of choice, inconvenience in hotels, pubs etc, here is a question, How many times before lighting up a cigarette, have you asked bystanders, colleagues, relatives, "Do you mind if I light the cigarette here" or as a judgment call stepped aside to smoke somewhere else? I guess, passive smoking as a concept is now at least 2-3 years old in India, however despite that awareness I don't have any recollection of any smoker putting that question to me. Every Indian has been guaranteed freedom of speech and expression, but in this instance, no smoker exercised freedom of speech although everyone of them did exercise freedom of expression, to light a ciggie and blow circles in air without caring how many they are inconveniencing. So now when this small section is in spotlight, why cry fowl!!

The way I look at it is that till now, choice was always in the hands of smokers, whereas now it is being shifted into hands of non-smokers, who undoubtedly are in majority and would be benefitted greatly.

And this article will tell you that India is not first country to introduce ban on smoking in public place.

Yes, admittedly there are still grey areas and implementation issues here, but I have realised this change, after smoking was banned in public places, I have seen instances where group of people have asked fellow bus passengers to stub it out when in my childhood I remember people freely smoking and blowing it in people's faces. The backing of the law has actually given confidence to those voices.

I believe with time, implementation concerns will be sorted out. It will be interesting to see, how a postman or teacher is able to fine a smoker or exactly which places are open for smoking and which are not. But I am happy with the fact that most of the places frequented by general public has been covered. But lets not ambiguity be a reason to deny majority of the Indians right to live in a smoke free environment.

P.S. Image from

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Really mein Jaago Re

It took one ad on TV to make me write about something I have been thinking about writing.

It's funny to realize this. I probably remember a couple of our past governments and what all they did. But Congress' would be the first government, when I lived and felt first hand what they made and what they broke in the country. So I recall the time of anti-reservation tide and the time of nuclear energy debate.

So now when election time is real, I realize one thing. I, as Indian citizen, never participated in choosing the government that is now. Yes, I didn't vote!! So now when they make policies, some of which I admire, some I am okay with, some I hate, I really shouldn't be having full freedom to criticize. Because I never voted!!

Although my recent experiences were not so encouraging. When Karnataka elections were about to set in, I thought why not start exercising my voting rights right away and ran to nearest election card issuing camp. I filled up the forms but till date didn't receive my voter id card. However, recent advertisements saying Agar election ke din aap vote nahin kar rahe hain to aap so rahe hain, made me sit up and sort of rekindle the old fire. So I have decided to run to offices and obtain a voters id card for myself. It might take some effort but its worth it. I believe it.

So having realized, how important it is to vote. I am urging all of you to vote. If you are a software engineer, airline pilot, student, businessman, consultant or any other citizen, please vote this time. So next time when we sit together and criticize govt. over reservations or other such policies all of us should have been a party to choosing the current govt.

First Step would be to obtain voters id card and once you've done this, everything else is just cakewalk. Since it would take time to obtain voters id card, start now and but think of this time and effort like an investment, which will come back as returns to you. So surf internet a bit, collect information, go prepared to election commission office in your city, if needed use RTI to grab your voters id card.

So you can visit any of the below websites for more information to a future of our choice:

And without bothering who said to whom, I quote this to you, This time if Congress loses by even if one vote, I want it to be one of yours.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Sweet Surprises

Surprises have their own way to amuse you and please you. And as I write this post on two experiences I realize sometimes bad surprises too have an element of sweetness in them

The first surprise I got was not planned by anyone just happened by chance and a small one.

So I have been doing late nights at office for quite a while. Being a bachelor, I solely depend on the mercy of my cook (to cook some good good) and my room mates.

Now by the time I would come back from office, the food often would be very cold. Now, my state of bachelorhood has taught me one thing, to love food and not the state of the food. So I am pretty ok with cold food, never bother to warm daal, sabji or rotis. Anyway, I used to be so hungry that anything would be delicacy for me.

But for past 2 weeks whenever I would come back sometimes there would not be enough food left .I would see other plates, where extra food has been left to waste and cringe and deliberate about , what am I working so much for, what am I living for and if it is worth it? But as usual I uwed to take whatever food is left and sit in front of TV late night, I would forget about everything else, eat quickly, watch TV for an hour and then go to sleep. Not that I don't bother. I told my room-mates over weekend to get some more food cooked but it sort of never happened.

So that day, when I came back, my room-mates were still up watching Euro Cup. I proceeded to kitchen, expecting what is in store for me. So there was pressure cooker, giving hint of some daal, covered kadahi giving hint of some vegetable and two thalis again covered.

So as I proceeded with my thali, uncovering each vessel by turn, I got the first very sweet surprise. There was bhindi, that too in good amount. There was a bit of surprise because of the amount but also since none of my room mates like bhindi, they never get bhindi made at home except only when I raise a big stink about it.

Next was pressure cooker, daal was there, just ok. Anyway I am not a big daal fan. Next in line were rotis. Today rotis were good enough in no. and in good consumable state.

Then I got the biggest surprise in the next plate. The plate was full of salad, cucumber, lemon (my favorite), chilies, tomatoes. Trust me, by the very look of it I felt elated. And that day I didn't think of any of those philosophies, just enjoyed my food and TV.

It was a fulfilling meal and although not the best of the food that I have ever had but the satisfaction after having it still lingers on.

As I finish writing this I was amused remembering a different surprise.

The difference was that the food that day was extremely crappy. I was in Mysore that time and a tiffinwallah used to deliver the tiffin for me at home. So that night I was late again, opened the tiffin to see the extremely crappy food. As I stared to evaluate consumable-ness of the food items, I left out the sabji, leaving me with some roti, rice and daal and watery curd. As I saw the food I began to realize that the experience would be a repeat of what I used to have in my college hostel. Ah, that boiled daal, that unidentifiable sabji.

Since the food was hostel-type, streategy had to be similar, I mix rice, daal and curd (all time savior for hostellers) to make a paste of it, then used paste as a sabji with roti.As I was eating it, I remembered of the jokes that me and my frnds used to crack over lunch about food, the ingredients, strategies to digest it and then stories of horrible things being found in daal. And slowly I began to enjoy the food, not the taste of it but the repository of old jokes. Again food was crappy experience was not.

Surprises Ah! so who doesn't like them, especially if they are good. But I think we should give even bad surprises a chance, who knows we may be pleasantly surprised. :)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

No Research is Enough

They say sometimes even research is not enough.

I am planning to buy a laptop and somehow I'm hooked to DELL XPS laptop. I then researched a couple of websites (deals2buy and dell website) and did some comparison between 5 models of laptop and came up with the excel sheet below.

DELL XPS LAPTOP Laptop 1 Laptop 2 Laptop 3 Laptop 4 Laptop 5
Model M1530 M1330 M1330 M1330 M1530
Processor T7500 T5500 T5500 T7250 T7250
GHz 2.2 1.83 1.83 2 2
RAM(GB) 3 4 4 3 3
HDD(GB) 320 250 320 250 250
SCREEN(") 15.4 15.4 13.3 13.3 15.4
Bluetooth(802.11) b/g b/g/n a/b/g/n b/g b/g
Webcam 2 MP 2 MP 2 MP 2 MP 2 MP
Graphics Card 128 MB NVIDIA 128 MB NVIDIA

Travel Mouse Biometric Biometric Biometric
Weight(Kgs) 2-3 2-3 <2 <2 2-3

Price($) 1058 1002 1003 1049 1049

Now I am confused between these 5 models as well. So I throw it open to you, what do you think would be better or rather as I intend to choose, best. Now the first question that you'll throw at me is what are my needs.

तो अब एक software engineer की कितनी जरूरतें होंगी, थोड़ा सा programming, थोडी सी movies, थोडी मस्ती, बस और क्या। Just that I don't want to end up with a slow or a very heavy laptop , to me they are as good as pieces of junk. हांलांकि मैं विस्टा नहीं लेना चाहता लेकिन मेरे पास कोई विकल्प उपलब्ध नहीं हैं।

आपको क्या लगता है कौन सा लैपटॉप सर्वश्रेष्ठ है (Which laptop do you think is the best)?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Inspiration or Conspiration

watch these two videos....

and now this video....

by now most of you may be knowing that inspiring IPL ad was "inspired" from Yankees ad on Fox TV sports commercial.

The only question is is there something like an inspiration in the field of advertising?

I can imagine it in movies. I can watch Memento and then get inspired and then write an entirely new script (suiting local audience) and make Rajini and someone else can get inspired and make Ghajini. In the end they are all different products. If I take Leon the professional, copy frame by frame and dialogue by dialogue and make Bichchhu that is not inspiration, that's conspiration (pardon the bad joke) or simply copying.

Now I just thought, in advertising the main art would be "how" to convey your message across. The word "how" can encompass a whole lot of details, but the word is the mootpoint. But if you get inspired by this "how" it surely won't come across as inspiration in the final cut!!

P.S. I am still searching who wrote those lines in IPL ad, they are really awesome.