Thursday, November 30, 2006

Internet in Hindi - Hinternet

This morning my sister sent me this link for a Hindi search engine, I have to admit I was not very interested but gave it go anyway. I was surprised to see there are so many sites available in Hindi these days.

I have never been very fanatical about Hindi-izing the web, (call me unpatriotic) but it does feel nice to see sites in my mother tongue. I actually consider it an addition to all the English material that I can enjoy on the web. :)

While I am able to think, communicate and express myself in English, there is still some material that is un-translatable from Hindi to English and vice versa.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams

What is an impossible dream?

Did Leonardo Da Vinci thought his dreams were impossible when he conceived the aeroplane?

Did the Wright brothers thought their dream was impossible when they tried to make an aircraft and people laughed at them?

Did people laugh at the team that started with the plan to "develop a plane that could fly faster than the speed of sound"?

When does a dream stop being impossible?

When people stop laughing at it?

or when it is obvious that it can be done?

But then it stops being a dream; it becomes a plan. That's followed by activities, then results and then something is born that awes the world!

But every plan first must be a dream. And to be a dream, it must be impossible.

A dream needs only one person to believe in it, just one person - YOU!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Photo test from oakflickrpff

I hate to log into blogger just so I can post a photo with my blog entry. Let's see if this one works.

What the hell is a "Free HUG"?

Remember how I was talking about the quality that makes us "human"? I just came across this link in someone's blog. And it touched me. I am quoting it here the full story and video is here:
Let me see if the video embed link works:
Start Quote
Sometimes, a hug is all what we need.

Free hugs is a real life controversial story of Juan Mann, A man whos sole mission was to reach out and hug a stranger to brighten up their lives.

In this age of social disconnectivity and lack of human contact, the effects of the Free Hugs campaign became phenomenal.

As this symbol of human hope spread accross the city, police and officials ordered the Free Hugs campaign BANNED. What we then witness is the true spirit of humanity come together in what can only be described as awe inspiring.

In the Spirit of the free hugs campaign, PASS THIS TO A FRIEND and HUG A STRANGER! After all, If you can reach just one person

How it all started:

I'd been living in London when my world turned upside down and I'd had to come home. By the time my plane landed back in Sydney, all I had left was a carry on bag full of clothes and a world of troubles. No one to welcome me back, no place to call home. I was a tourist in my hometown.

Standing there in the arrivals terminal, watching other passengers meeting their waiting friends and family, with open arms and smiling faces, hugging and laughing together, I wanted someone out there to be waiting for me. To be happy to see me. To smile at me. To hug me.

So I got some cardboard and a marker and made a sign. I found the busiest pedestrian intersection in the city and held that sign aloft, with the words "Free Hugs" on both sides.

And for 15 minutes, people just stared right through me. The first person who stopped, tapped me on the shoulder and told me how her dog had just died that morning. How that morning had been the one year anniversary of her only daughter dying in a car accident. How what she needed now, when she felt most alone in the world, was a hug. I got down on one knee, we put our arms around each other and when we parted, she was smiling.

Everyone has problems and for sure mine haven't compared. But to see someone who was once frowning, smile even for a moment, is worth it every time.


Nothing like rain

There's no feeling like seeing it rain outside the window, the first thing after you wake up. On the weekend, I don't mind it as much because it gives me an excuse (not really needed) to not go out and laze around inside. On the weekdays though, it does put a damper on things. Don't get me wrong, I like rain. From the inside. Through the window. I am not much to muck around in the stuff, well, not any more. I can still remember a time, a few centuries ago, when I used to rush upstairs on the open roof at the sight of the first sign of rain.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Apart from the language, grammar and slang factor, there are other things that differ in communication in different cultures. For example, in India, when you are in a group of friends and even in an official meetings, the code that prevails is "slow hands don't eat". When you get a chance to talk, or grab a chance to talk, you talk, fast, before somebody can interrupt you which inevitably happens. It is that much more true of friendly gatherings. No matter how small a group. You grab your chance, you get your point across in minimum's something like those sci-fi books where you zip-squeal the communication to the satellite at 60 to 1 speed to save on resources.
But not so in western countries...when you start speaking, you have to wait for the chance or grab the chance, people listen. You can take your time. They just look at your face and keep listening. It's nice. But sometimes I find it disconcerting when I have not marshalled all my thoughts in advance.
And then sometimes, even in India, or any country, you get a chance like that when you are talking to somebody who loves to hear you talk. Then you don't have to worry about interruption, you can say what you want, you can take your own sweet time about it and they'll just be looking at you with rapt attention, waiting for your next words...
It's a damn nice feeling!  :)

Singles Auction

It didn't go as expected. Other than that it was fine.
The problem points -
* The crowd was very interactive. Among themselves and to me. So,they interrupted a lot.
* Most of them who attended the auction seemed to belong to the same group and knew each other. I was the new one there.
* They also had figured out who wanted to date whom beforehand.
* They were not interested in comedy or jokes.
But it was not bad after all. Once I realized that I had misjudged the opportunity as a place to try out my stand-up bit, I rolled with the punches. The starting spiel that I delivered was very well received. They laughed even when I started with, "I am a vegetarian, so if you don't like my jokes please don't throw eggs". After the first auction then, I heeded the crowd's demand for auction after auction. And limited myself to making witty comments as part of the auction process. That was also fun and the reaction was good.
So, as an auctioneer I did well. My colleagues and my friends liked it.  My organizer friends liked it. The auction was successful. We made 1600GBP from just the auctions!! Yippee!!
In the end, I don't know why but I put myself on the auction, against the signal from my friend and colleague who was watching. It happened at a very bad time cos people were already leaving. But we got 35 pounds more for the kids and I got a date with a girl I liked.
So, all's well that ends in a well! LOL!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Test from FireFox

I am testing this plug-in from firefox called performancing, just to see if I can post pictures without logging into blogger. If this works, you'll be seeing more pictures in my posts in the future.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Buying shoes

So, here I am in Town Center on Friday afternoon, during lunch break, finished with the money-withdrawl that I had come for and too early to take the company bus back, looking around I see a shoe shop with big discounts - Shu-Time. I am thinking why not see if they have a decent pair for tonight's fundraiser function. I am the host for the Singles Auction and it might be a good idea to buy a pair of shoes that will match the formal trousers rather than the sports shoes that I wear for everything.
I go in, look around and find a few styles that I like. I wait for the shop-girl to come and offer her help and then I ask my standard question, "Is it genuine leather?". I don't buy leather. She assures me that the 3 pairs I like are all synthetic leather. So, I pick up the one I like the most and start trying it on. While I am pulling the shoe on, she asks if I am Jain. I tell her "No, I just don't like animals to be killed for my fashion!"
At the counter, there is another girl, she also looks Asian, it is confirmed when they start talking in Punjabi together, reverting to English everytime they talk to me. Don't I look Indian myself? Anyway, when the older one hands me the receipt and apologizes that she can't give me the credit card slip due to printer problem, I say, "Chalega!". They both look at my face and burst out laughing!
I leave the shop and find that I can't walk to the bus pick-up point, as the rain is coming down harder now. So I walk in the protection offered by shop balconies and look for an umbrella that I have neglected to buy for 3 months. My search for an umbrella takes me back past the shoe shop into Princess Square. I enter Burton's and ask a salesgirl if they carry men's umbrellas. She says yes and I am just turning around to follow her when I see the younger girl from Shu-Time, Gunjan, standing behind me, panting.
She explains that the older girl told her that the shoes I bought are actually leather. She saw me in the square again so she came running after me. If I would come with her she would exchange them. I was already wearing the shoes in rainy weather, but she said it's ok.
Both the girls apologized like a thousand times, and I assured them it's alright. They helped me pick out another pair, formal looking and cheaper. And you know what, more comfortable in walking with a thicker sole.
Now, isn't that nice of the girl to take pains to protect my principles? I had already told her it's not a religious thing, just my personal choice. She could have just shrugged and dismissed the matter from her mind with an "Oh well!", but she didn't. Sometimes people prove themselves worth the term "human".

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The cowards never started and weaklings died on the way

The cowards never started and weaklings died on the way.
- Robert A. Heinlein, (in his book Number of the Beast)
That is so true and so inspiring. What do we have if we don't have courage. There is a kind of mental sickness where the patient is so scared of the world that he withdraws unto himself and assumes the foetal position. So, supposedly, everything we do in this world, once we gain consciousness, takes courage to do. And the people who achieve more are the ones who dared more. Dared to live, dared to dream, dared to try even in the face of risk of failure.
I want to be one them!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Is there really no End?

After crossing the big Three-Oh line, I have lost some of that fear of old age, I mean real old age around 80 or so. But my thought process last evening was running something like this - going to US used to be a target, that is almost complete I can go anytime I want. Traveling the world on a work visa doesn't seem very difficult if I so choose.
Then what?
My own company? Yes.
And then? Making it bigger and bigger...
...and bigger until it's big enough to swallow Microsoft like a small fish.
Suppose I do that also, and I can, then what? I never want to retire, addicted as I am to fun and games...I do actually want to keep working till the last day of my life. So what is the next target? World domination? When I was younger, I always wanted to be all-mighty, as a world leader, but I have seen Bruce Almighty, who wants to rule over and take care of 5 billion morons?
But I am sure I'll find something to do, some small niche where I can make a difference, help out humanity, find a way to make a child smile...most of all, don't leave a vacuum behind me..prepare people who can continue improving the world making a small difference in their own place, one step at a time...there is really no end...
Am I deluded? Are these delusions of grandeur? Or just impossibly high dreams?

Friday, November 10, 2006


Na jaane kaun se jazbe ki yuuN tas_qeen hoti hai,
Ba_zaahir to tumhare khat jalakar kuchh nahiN milta.

English Childhood

Living in England reminds me of my childhood. No, I was not born in England neither did I ever come here before. I started reading English stories and novels, when I was a child and continued the habit into boyhood. Mostly they were those interesting stories by Enid Blyton featuring a bunch of adventurous, nosey kids and a number of thrilling experiences. These stories were all set in England and now that I see those things, hear those same terms I am very vividly reminded of my own childhood with those wonderful books.
Another reason is the pronounciation and spelling of English words that we learnt in school was essentially British as India has inherited the language from Britain not America. In the meantime, working in America and with Americans, I had to change a lot of those pronounciations and my fingers are so used to the American spelling of words, it's like a reflex. And now I have to correct all those mistakes, mistakes as they are in British English...anytime I erase "color" to write "colour" I am reminded of school days. Ah, wonderful days!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Time to go wireless

Finally...after 2 years of wait they finally came out with headphones that don't need wires to stream music to my ears. Needless to say I bought them as soon as they became available.
This thing is very easy to use and looks stylish too. I can play audio or video on my pocket pc and listen to it on the wireless stero headset. Or hear TomTom's directions mingled with the music.

Generally, when I start from office, I turn on my bluetooth GPS receiver. Then start music on my pocket pc. And then start TomTom Navigator on the pocket pc since TomTom just takes over the whole screen. So, I can enjoy music over the wireless headphones and from time to time the lady from TomTom tells me to "go through the round-about 3rd exit on the left" which of course, I don't have to do as I am not driving the bus. I just enjoy the music and read my book until she starts using the word "destination" in her instructions. Then it's time for me to shut the book, press the "STOP" button for the bus and get ready to get down. No wonder, I am enjoying my life.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The lost art of making friends

"Hi, my name is Sunil, what's yours? Will you be my friend?"
That was all it took to make a new friend in primary school. Simple, fast and efficient. But, sigh, not any more. Somewhere, somewhen, we cross that line which separates the age of spontaneity, fun-focused frolic mindset from the mind-numbing, boring, work-focused existence we called adulthood.
New country, new city, new culture, no friends!
But can't say I am not having fun!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

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