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.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Migration =?= Blood Brothers =?= Prarambha =?= Positive

If =?= would mean "how is related to" what would be your answer.

Well they are abstract words, but my only aim is to compliment a few people, albeit late, but in good time for the wonderful effort they made.

And the answer would be AIDS. Yes, these movies were part of AIDS Jaago campaign last year.

The words above are the titles of four small movies directed by Mira Nair, Vishal Bharadwaj, Santosh Sivan and Farhan Akhtar in that order. I remember having read somewhere that it was the brainchild of Mira Nair. These movies were even shown on 1st December (World AIDS Day) on MTV.

Now they have been been screened free on Jaman (here). I think its no use giving brief plot of each movie, since each movies being roughly 15-20 minutes long, any takeaway from this blog would be a spoiler. But there are some thoughts on these movies that I'd like to share.

So warning here to go and watch the movies first then come back and finish reading it. Also advising you all to just go and watch the movie rather than read the sub-text before watching the movie.

Blood Brothers, was one amazing story where story's progress would be anyone's nightmare, the end everyone's heavenly relief. I think this is one movie where the real embarrassment, grief is shown in one brother and courage and spirit to fight in another.

Prarambha, to me appeared a bit pot-pourri of messages director wanted to convey but the end result was something Bollywoodish- it's a good deal if you are willing to believe the goodness of the story.

Positive, again was a movie which hammers its message slowly and you actually get to know how would you feel in this situation no matter which character you associate yourself in the movie. The son's touchy temperament, mother's patience and having made truce with situations and father's repentance and attempt to get his family back.

Migration, was another classic. I really appreciated how this movie folds itself in the last moments. In the end you have a pregnant urban mother, an HIV+ rural family.

You may claim there are enough giveaways in the movie to know who-gave-to-whom. But as the street-play portrays you never know who did the character in the movie contract it from. I think you'll appreciate the ending more if I argue that hints in the movie were not enough to blame one person so we have an open-ended movie. You just know that nearly everyone in the movie is now HIV+ and they don't know who they got it from. Just like the urban housewife might feel later, who did she get it from, his husband and she might have infected the rural worker or from the worker and she later spread it to her husband.

I believe if one understands this spread-network factor in HIV and give it a thought, once can't think of unprotected sex (at all?). Another real beauty was to portray that spread of HIV infects both rich and poor alike. I would rate this movie as the best of all (despite the fact that I hate Shiney Ahuja).

But overall, all the movies were good in spreading message of safe sex while also trying to explore how your families, friend, society and above all YOU react in these situations.

P.S. I will post EPL Vs IPL comparison-II a bit later.

Friday, February 22, 2008

EPL Vs IPL - Comparison - I

Given the recent hype IPL has been enjoying, I decided to do a small comparison here:

League: Governing, Game Format, Finances

Year of Formation20081992
No. of Franchises820 (over 40 leagues have played)
No. of Matches59380
Location of gamesNight matches on Home and away basisHome and away basis
RevenueYet To Be Seen3.7 Billion $ (2007-2008) by all clubs.
TV rights (including overseas rights)~$1 Billion for 10 yrs by Sony (addition $10-15 million by Network Ten)£45 million a year from 2007 to 2010
Prize Money5 million $ £10 million
Governed ByIPL counciloperated and jointly owned by the 20 member clubs.
Record Attendance for sports event (1,2)13,094,307 (Average: 34,459) 2006-2007 EPL 425,622 (Average: 30,401) 2006-07 Commonwealth Bank Series


Prize Money: per se is not such a big attraction in either case. EPL is owned by member clubs, so members draw their money from money pool with EPL accumulated mainly by broadcasting revenues.

In case of IPL , the revenue share model in years one to five is that 80% of the revenues from media rights are being redistributed back to the franchises, and 60% of the central sponsorship revenue gradually reducing this amount over the life of the contract.

Individual club earnings are from stadium tickets, club advertisements for both leagues. So that will be key differentiating factor in earnings of clubs just like EPL (although some difference is created at Prize Money level as well). MANU Vs Liverpool may draw record crowds so these two clubs are far ahead in the year-end earnings amongst the 20 clubs.

(P.S.:I don't know on what basis is broadcasting revenue distributed among EPL clubs and on what basis will it be distributed to IPL clubs by IPL governing council.)

Absolute fan base may not be such a big factor since TV audiences have already been covered by TV rights, where both are on nearly equal footing.

Stadium attendances will be the key differentiating factor. Average stadium attendance may be close but absolute is what is going to earn money here. So here IPL loses out and again since it is hosting much less no. of games.

EPL registers record attendances in both home and away games. Enough heat has been generated for IPL and all matches are being hosted in Indian cities (some like Kolkata which have recorded upto 100,000 in ODI matches) so here too IPL is matching upto EPL's strength.

Merchandise wise anyone can guess IPL will be nowhere close to EPL. IPL franchises are still building their clubs while EPL has a legacy of 16 yrs behind it and merchandise forms a decent part of premiership club incomes.


IPL may lose out to EPL because EPL' season is longer so more matches and more money. IPL may again just lost out to EPL on per match basis as well since EPL's tickets are again overpriced (184$ for a 2006-2007 Arsenal match!!) which may not be a feasibility in India. Also IPL clubs may have negligible merchandise sales.

Click here to see 07/08 Ticket Prices for Premier League Clubs.

P.S.: I don't follow EPL so there may be inaccuracies here. Correct me if I am wrong.


Read Ganesh's comments, I think there are certain correction to contribution of merchandise sales in my post. Also I mis-understood the TV rights part. Figures for EPL are per club.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


For prelude to this post, read Timeline. It is a bit long, take your time to read it.

05th January



Sreedhar comes to take Pappu's investment cheque. I make a 20k cheque for Pappu and give it to Sree. But Sree says he can’t accept the cheque because starting this year, investments will be accepted only through cheques made from one’s own account, not even cash and Pan Card Xerox is mandatory, only PAN NO. won’t do. I realize the mission threat now because of F2, F3.


07th January



I googled for PAN card related info, even thought of filing RTI as to what has been happening to the case of my PAN card all this long. As I read more I found RTI stuff is little cumbersome given the little time I have so I thought it would be better to stick to direct measures.


I was able to uncover the application no. given while taking action on F2


08th January


UTI Office

I enquire from a lady at the counter about my PAN card. She told me that my card is hanging in abyss because DOB in my application and DOB requested do not match. Well, I smiled and explained that it was the exact reason why I applied for change of detail. Then I wrote an application and submitted birth proof.

UTI Office

She declined to give me an acknowledgement citing provision of rules. I pleaded my case because I needed an acknowledgement proof for investment. She gives me a print out of her screen which shows the status of my PAN with minimal details with a UTI stamp. Sreedhar tells me on call that it may acceptable.


09th January



I give Sreedhar a copy of the print out and 2 cheques for investment in MFs. Now these were the last leaves in the last cheque book so I put request for new cheque books. They will arrive from Mumbai so it would take around 10 days to reach me. I felt I will need these cheque books (rem the mantra?)


So I had nailed entire mission pretty soon. HRA was there and investment would be there within a few days so I had nailed it quick and I was happy. But what’s a game that doesn’t turn against you!!


10th January



Sreedhar tells me that my acknowledgment proof can't be accepted because it wasn’t the recognized format so now I dearly need PAN/PAN copy!!


I come to know that I can apply for a new PAN card with same PAN no. and it will be delivered within 10 days. UTI ppl come to Bajaj Allianz's offices for this.


11th January




I am told it will take 30-45 days for PAN card to reach me. Now, either I should invest entire money in PPF this year or take scan of someone else’s PAN and modify it to reflect my details. Latter option is not easy because of this.



My last option, I called up Krishna in Mysore and request him to manage a photo copy of the PAN from Mysore office.


On further googling I get a couple of email-ids of UTI ppl, I shoot them mails explaining my case.


12th January



There is a reply from Divya, telling me that I can e-mail birth proof to her.


13th January



I realized that I had lost my pen drive and lost all e-data so scan of my 10th mark sheet and passport are gone. Game is much more exciting now!!


15th January



I am able to find a scan of my passport which I promptly forward to Divya. Pan Card is cleared of objections 3 days later.


18th January



I realize that I had deposited the HRA cheque WITHOUT TAKING ITS PHOTOCOPY!!!! I am now anxiously waiting for cheque books.


So I am back to square one- no investments and no HRA relief as well. And to top that I don't have cheque books to make cheques

22nd January



My PAN card has been dispatched but to Infosys Mysore address because of F5. So my Pan Card would be reaching Mysore address, where I don’t know anyone now. But many thanks to Divya and now I know that govt is now a little net savvy processing application through e-mail as well.


To my great relief, Krishna called to say that he was able to get a PAN photocopy so I ask him to fax it. The print was extremely black so I asked him to courier it to me.


24th January



Called up my landlady telling her that I will deposit next month’s rent in advance for my HRA. Then I realize I don’t have enough money in my bank account to last this new expenditure. MF money is still left to be credited so there is further expenditure. I am still waiting for my new cheque books to arrive from Mumbai.


I call Karun to transfer 15k in my a/c. Month end is approaching and my salary will be credited but I don’t want to wait that long.


25th January



I receive PAN photocopies by courier. I call Sreedhar and give him the photocopies. 2 days later I get investment proofs which I "securely" put in my bag


27th January



Sreedhar gives me investment proof, two small slips which I put in my bag immediately.


28th January



I receive cheque books from courier so this time I make the cheque and keep photocopy ready so that I don’t forget at a later date. I also make some more cheques for other investments.


29th January



I received money from Karun. I deposit the rent in my landlady’s a/c next day.


04th February



I think of keeping the documents ready to submit it next day. After an hour of searching I realised that I did what I am best at... screwing things!! Because I am not able to find there anywhere. So I decide that I will have to call Sreedhar and ask for duplicate proofs. It was only later when I went to petrol bunk that I realised the proofs were perched in my wallet.


05th February



Mission successful. I submit all the investments proofs and HRA


Lesson learnt:

Sometimes there is scope for 59th minute escape in an 11th hour action.


At the time of writing this post:

My PAN CARD is still with Infosys Mysore, I am trying to get it from them.

ICICI Cheque Book arrived 2 weeks late. But now I know whom to trust in 11th Hour action.

Friday, February 08, 2008


Mission Started: 14th January 2008.

Mission Deadline: 05th February 2008

Mission Objectives: To successfully(?) invest in Mutual Funds for 2007-2008 and submit 1) investment and 2) HRA proofs by the deadline at office.

Warfront Locations:

Qwest Bangalore – company I work for

My house

UTI Main office – Ulsoor, Bangalore

Bajaj Capital – UTI folks frequent its offices to accept Pan Card applications.

(action at MG Road and Koramangala branches)

Mission Comrades:

Me – no songs here but only action. Some spy games for me.

Krishna – My tax consultant in Mysore. He did the processing of Pan Card details change.

Sreedhar – A MF agent I and my room mates Pappu and Karun happen to know.

Divya – UTI lady with whom I was in touch through e-mail and who sped up my case pretty quick. Thanks!



Strength: Excellent efficiency in 11th hour actions. Mantra for 11th hour action: Don’t take anything granted at all. Be as cynical as you can be. Trust you gut-feeling nothing else.

Weakness: Loses motivation very quickly

Opportunities: Test if strength is still there and if weakness is gone. May be an adventure

Threat: Failure to comply may result in 5 figure amount landing up in govt coffers. It may be the last that you see of it for 2-3 years.

Full Mission timeline very soon …. At worst the account of it is funny at best exciting and nail-biting.


Facts of the case prior to start of the mission:

F1 -
PAN Card is with UTI Mysore local office for the last 14 months for correction of DOB. No idea till mission start time what happened to PAN Card

F2 - I only remembered Pan Card no., took 15 copies and scan of pan card before submitting but lost them in good faith (?). Didn’t even have acknowledgment for submitting Pan Card. So I don’t have PAN card or its photocopy or its scan which is taken while investing into mutual funds (MF). I can invest in PPF but I don’t want to do that. So mission starts because of this

F3 - Had already decided 2-3 MFs to invest in for the year

F4 - HRA needs photocopy of bank cheque made in the name of landlady with quarterly rent receipts. I had already deposited the cheque for rent to my landlady's account on 1st January, 2008.

F5 - Infosys Mysore was my last company where I got my PAN card made and I had put Infosys Mysore address while applying for PAN card.

F6 - I hold Axis and ICICI bank accounts.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Confessions of a dying blog

Lately I have been dumped just like one slumps down after a high from few drinks. I was born out of confusion (now that doesn’t mean – in an antisocial or immoral way). Normally things arise, take form and are born with a certain idea but I was born out of the wedlock of my owner and yes, confusion. And I was christened in the same spirit, “Trying to understand…. Life”. It’s ironical to say this but yes I was born so that my parents’ may end up getting divorced and I may be credited for it.

I was stuffed with articles, from political to lame poems, stories and even some pastime researched compilations on topics people may simply brush aside as ludicrous.

My timid father sought me to speak out against reservation, lame govt policies, criticize intellectuals from PC Chidambaram to Narayan Murthy. I was so happy back then, I felt myself equal to social activist, in the most ideal sense, trying and fighting hard to bring a change.

But lately I feel as if my parents’ matrimony is far from divorce, in fact its so strong that I think they may as well celebrate their silver jubilee anniversary. The only grouse is since I couldn’t help the divorce, I was dumped by my parents as if I don’t belong to them.

My father is nowadays a drunk addict only reduced to reading other’s blogs but when it comes to voice his own ideas and confusion, he dumps the idea thinking that it ‘s a cliché idea and it doesn’t have any substance to be talked about. Well yes, as if the blog on “Poor Jokes” had a lot of substance in it. And talk about substance, seems the next blog here may appear when my father becomes a modern day Carl Sagan.

Only a miracle can save me and my alcoholic father now.