Day 35/ 365 – Just travel

Since change of jobs a couple of months ago, I have been following the US holiday calendar. As many of you would be aware this is the Thanksgiving week and hence I have Thursday and Friday off. Taking advantage of the extra long weekend, I am hoping to go away for the weekend. Earlier in the day, I was discussing with my mom that I wish I could leave everything and just travel the world. That would be such an awesome thing to do. Sure traveling the world requires a lot of money and there are people who save quite a bit of money before they start traveling. Earning money while traveling to different places in the world would be such a thing. I really enjoy traveling, exploring new places, new people, local culture and cuisines (vegetarian – of course). It just thrills me to imagine that one day I would be traveling to the Pyramids, enjoying the boat ride over the Nile river, and the next day exploring the romantic city of Paris. That would be one of the best things in life to do – just travel. There are so many places to explore and so little time. A career in travel industry would have been awesome. While we (me and Saurav) were trekking through the Hampta Pass, the thought did strike us. The valley was so beautiful and everything about nature was just so nice, colorful and open compared to our desk jobs. We wanted to set up shop in Manali and offer trekking tours to people. May be we will do that, maybe we wont. Unfortunately, at this stage of my life, I am not sure if I would be able to switch careers. However, I do want to travel the world. May be after I have earned enough, I would probably call it a day and just set about exploring the world. In the mean time, I guess I will make do with being a project manager and enjoying vacations once in a year.

DSC00180 DSC00213 DSC00259 IMG_3303 IMG_3627Image courtesy Saurav Roy

Day 34/ 365 – Batman vs. Ironman

The other day me and my colleague were discussing comic books and the discussion then led to super hero movies. I am a big fan of super hero movies. As mentioned in my previous post, I try and watch all super hero movies, first day first show. Anyways, the discussion led to two of my favorite super hero characters – Batman and Ironman and who is better. I am a big fan of both of these super characters. So I wasn’t sure who between the two would be actually better. They are quite a few similarities between them. They are both smart, nerds, rich but they are both human. They haven’t been bitten by any bugs or have been born on a different planet or have any super human capabilities. They are just humans who have developed special suits to help them achieve super human efforts. The key difference that I find in both these characters is that Batman is reluctant to reveal his identity and Ironman doesn’t mind the world knowing who he is. Batman as a character is introvert, but Ironman is extremely extrovert. Batman is also the world’s greatest detective, while Ironman is the world’s greatest Futurist. Batman also has physical strength, has been trained in martial arts, also has knowledge of different cultures and has experienced spirituality. Ironman is much more of a geek, good with building machines, physics, hacking into any system worldwide. I am wondering if both of them put their suits on and went head to head against each other, who would win? My guess is Batman, who do you think?


Day 33/ 365 – Poems from ZNMD

Was watching Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara today on TV. It happens to be one of my favorite movies and I am never tired watching that movie. I watch it almost every time it comes on TV. One of the best part of the movie is poems which written by Javed Akhtar and recited by Farhan Akhtar. I am posting those poems below.

  1. Ik baat honton tak hai jo aayi nahin
    Bas ankhon say hai jhaankti
    Tumse kabhi, mujhse kabhi
    Kuch lafz hain woh maangti
    Jinko pehanke honton tak aa jaaye woh
    …Aawaaz ki baahon mein baahein daalke ithlaye woh
    Lekin jo yeh ik baat hai
    Ahsas hi ahsas hai

    Khushboo si hai jaise hawa mein tairti
    Khushboo jo be-aawaaz hai
    Jiska pata tumko bhi hai
    Jiski khabar mujhko bhi hai
    Duniya se bhi chupta nahin
    Yeh jaane kaisa raaz hai

  2. Jab jab dard ka baadal chaya
    Jab ghum ka saya lehraya
    Jab aansoo palkon tak aya
    Jab yeh tanha dil ghabraya

    Humne dil ko yeh samjhaya
    …Dil aakhir tu kyun rota hai
    Duniya mein yunhi hota hai

    Yeh jo gehre sannate hain
    Waqt ne sabko hi baante hain
    Thoda ghum hai sabka qissa
    Thodi dhoop hai sabka hissa
    Aankh teri bekaar hi nam hai
    Har pal ek naya mausam hai
    Kyun tu aise pal khota hai
    Dil aakhir tu kyun rota hai

  3. Pighlay neelam sa behta hua yeh samaan
    Neeli neeli si khamoshiyaan
    Na kahin hai zameen
    Na kahin aasmaan
    Sarsaraati huyi tehniyaan, pattiyaan
    Keh rahi hain ki bas ek tum ho yahaan
    Sirf main hoon meri saansein hain aur meri dhadkanein
    Aisi gehraiyaan
    Aisi tanhaiyaan
    Aur main sirf main
    Apne honay pe mujhko yaqeen aa gaya
  4. Dilon mein tum apni
    Betaabiyan leke chal rahe ho
    Toh zinda ho tum
    Nazar mein khwabon ki
    Bijliyan leke chal rahe ho
    Toh zinda ho tum
    Hawa ke jhokon ke jaise
    Aazad rehno sikho
    Tum ek dariya ke jaise
    Lehron mein behna sikho
    Har ek lamhe se tum milo
    Khole apni bhaayein
    Har ek pal ek naya samha
    Dekhen yeh nigahaein
    Jo apni aankhon mein
    Hairaniyan leke chal rahe ho
    Toh zinda ho tum
    Dilon mein tum apni
    Betaabiyan leke chal rahe ho
    Toh zinda ho tum

Day 32/ 365 – Kaccha Limbu

Couple of days ago, me and a colleague were discussing about playing billiards over a cup of tea. I have played pool a couple of times, but am absolutely not good at it. I have always been confused about pool and billiards. Since I haven’t played much of either also don’t have much knowledge about it. So my colleague was explaining the key difference between the two games and how in billiards is played between two players or two teams and how he used to partner someone who was extremely good at the game in his previous organization. For his partner he used to be “Kaccha Limbu”. I had heard this term used after a very very long time and it immediately brought back floods of memories of my days as a kid.

A “Kaccha Limbu” is a term given to someone who is relatively new to the game and is allowed to have certain liberties because he does not know the game or is younger compared to the rest of the players. During my days as kid, when I used to play cricket with older players – I used to be a Kaccha Limbu. Others would bowl at me with slower pace, I was allowed to bat twice and sometimes I used to play from both the sides. It used to be fun playing with older kids and they really used to ensure that you were pampered and allowed to play but at the same time not at the expense of them losing. The best part about being Kaccha Limbu was you would get to do your favourite twice and at the same time get to learn so much. I wish this concept was applicable in our professional lives as well. If you commit a mistake, it doesn’t get held against you and you can redo the same task again. But that’s not how the real world works L and mistakes are held against you, perceptions are formed and you end up living with them throughout your tenure in the company or sometimes throughout your work life.

Day 31/ 365 – Fast Bowling at its best

I happened to catch live action of the Ashes 1st test between Australia and England which is being played at The Gabba, Brisbane, yesterday. For those of you who are wondering, didn’t we just have an Ashes series? Well we did, however, due to scheduling issues this time we have back to back Ashes series within 6 months. Last time, England won the Ashes 3-0. This time, however going by yesterday’s performance, it looks difficult for England to win in Australia. The session between lunch and tea yesterday produced one of the most entertaining and enthralling period of cricket. Mitchell Johnson produced one of the finest exhibition of fast bowling yesterday, esp. when we went around he wicket to the batsmen. He was bowling fast, hostile and straight at the body and it was really awesome to see English batsmen jumping around the crease trying to defend with everything that they got. Also the atmosphere at the stadium was simply awesome. There is no better sight than watching a fast bowler steaming in and unleashing thunderbolts one after another. At the same time, it seemed the Gabba had turned into coliseum and it seemed that the crowd was baying for blood on every ball. There were constant oooh’s when Johnson was bowling.  England lost 6 wickets for 8 runs and quite honestly, I feel they have lost the test match, unless they come up with some sort of super human effort in their 2nd innings. Overall,  it was good to watch an even contest between bat and ball after a very long time after the games in India which produced run scoring games where the bowlers were reduced to bowling machines and there was simply no contest. I hope that we get to see such displays as the series progresses. Looking forward to the test match at Perth.


Day 30/ 365 – Security (or lack of) at ATMs

Yesterday we had a horrific attack on a woman who was using an ATM in Bangalore. The woman who happens to be working in a bank was attacked by a man with machete at 7 am in the morning. While the woman is being treated and recovering from the attack, the man who attacked her is still at large. This incident has raised heckles as far as banks providing security for ATM’s is concerned. When I has just returned from the US, I was surprised to see ATMs located in AC booths and security guards posted outside. My experience in the US was entirely different, where the ATM’s where just machines in the wall and there was no one guarding it. I always used to wonder why waste so much space, especially in a city like Mumbai where space is a limited and you have to pay through exorbitant amounts to rent or buy. The security guard who is normally stationed outside, does not have a gun. I think they have a baton with them (though, not sure how it helps when someone has a machete or a gun). Most of the time, they just keep whiling away their time sitting on a chair instead of being alert and looking out for people with suspicious behavior. I believe the above incident could have been avoided if the ATM’s are brick in the transparent booths instead of shops with shutters, so that alarm can be raised in case of such incidents. We will now probably have some regulation that the RBI will pass and make it mandatory for banks to have security guards 24×7 which in turn would increase the operating margin for the banks, reduce their profitability and ultimately be passed on to the consumer in form of limited withdrawals a month for free or some charge every time you use an ATM. On the lighter note, this would be the increase in the number of people employed through security agencies. This would also spawn new security agencies who only deal with ATM security. So thanks to the attacker, we will probably see a decrease in unemployment numbers in the upcoming quarters.

Day 29/ 365 – Preparation for Mumbai Marathon Begins

Finally got my confirmation to participate in the Mumbai Marathon 2014. With less than 60 days left for the race, it is about time I start practicing for it. I ran the Vasai Virar half marathon last month and was seriously not prepared and it showed in my race performance wherein I finished in 3 hours and 17 minutes. In the last edition of Mumbai Marathon, I finished in 3 hours and 1 minute (here I was also trying to help a friend run his first marathon). However, in this edition I intend to finish the race in less than 2 hours 30 minutes. And with this goal in mind, I seriously need to start training and running. Also, we now need to finish the race within certain time limits to participate in the next year’s event and hence I really have no other option but to prepare seriously. Every year I start preparing for the marathon and then half way give up or in some instances, just don’t prepare and run and it really used to show up on my race day performance. So this year I am not going to procrastinate and ensure I practice. The good part is I have lost quite a bit of weight since I have joined my new workplace, as I have been working nights and have reduced my food in take. However, not sure how much of that is really going to help me prepare for the race. The 8 week training plan begins from today!!!


Day 28/ 365 – Song in my head

Lately have been listening to the song “Nagada Dhol Baje” from the movie Ram Leela. The song is extremely catchy with awesome garba music. I saw the video a few days back and was immediately impressed with some of the dance steps. There is something about Gujarati music which attracts me (yes I know being a gujju, I am going to say that). However, I think folks songs in any language are really soothing to hear. Unfortunately, I don’t have a ear for other languages, heard a bit of Rabindra Sangeet while I was in Kolkata and some Rajasthani folk music, since I keep visiting Rajasthan often. Other than that, I don’t really know any of the folk songs. The link for the video is below.. Enjoy.

Day 27/ 365 – The rise and rise of food prices

Read in the newspaper yesterday, that the food inflation is now is at a all time high and prices of onion are currently 237% higher than what they were last year. Today onion, one of the most basic commodities costs anywhere Rs. 80-100 per kg, as compared to around Rs. 20-25 per kg. last year. The sad part is no one knows the reason why the prices are so high and the government, as usual, is clueless. The government blames that there is shortfall in supply, however, we keep reading that there onions have  been imported from Pakistan, China, Afghanistan, Egypt etc. But there is still shortfall. Along with the prices of onion, the prices of potatoes have also increased. Couple of weeks ago, I got potatoes for Rs. 24/ kg, a week later my mom got it for Rs. 28/ kg and then last week I got it for Rs. 35/ kg. I asked the potato vendor – whats the reason for this reason. He had no reply. He said the prices would raise in the next few days. It sounded like these guys decide amongst themselves what the prices should be and then sell it to the consumers. Probably there is some cartel sitting and deciding on the prices of onions and potatoes and other veggies.

I feel the issue is with the entire supply chain management that we have in India. There are way too many middle men involved, who need to get their share of money before the goods finally reach the consumer. Consider this, the farmer sells his produce to his local agent, who collects the produce and forwards it on to the APMC level. The wholesalers buy their stocks from the APMC and the retailers buy the stock from the wholesalers and then finally sell it to the consumers. There is money exchanged at all these places and that extra cost is passed on to the consumers. There is also a very good possibility that these agents, wholesalers create an artificial shortage of supply thus reducing the availability of the vegetables in the markets. The government does not help in the matters by making statements like prices will remain high for the next 7-10 days. Such statements further create artificial increase in demand thus raising the prices further. There are statements from the wholesalers like “If people can afford to spend Rs. 200 crore on a movie, then they can very well afford these prices”. Not sure how they decide what we can afford and what we cannot. It is strange that the government acts helpless in such scenarios. We all know what happens once the prices increases – it more or less never rolls back down. The winter months are expected to bring the prices back to normal or reduce them. Let’s see how the scenario plays out. Not too hopeful of the reduced prices though.  However, do feel confident that a lot of people will turn to Jainism if such a trend continues.


Thank You Sachin

After a successful career spanning 24 years, Sachin Tendulkar retired today. I was 7 years old when he made his debut against Pakistan in Pakistan. I don’t remember much of him then, except the time when he famously hit 3 sixes in an Abdul Qadir over and effectively bringing an end to the spinner’s career. I also read that on this tour Sachin got a bloody nose by Waqar Younis, but instead of rushing back to the dressing room, he got himself treated on the ground and continued playing. It was simply awesome a 16 year old taking on the world, at the time when Indian team was known to meekly surrender when going got tough.

I grew up watching Sachin play all these years. In some ways, I wanted to bat like Sachin – emulate his batting style, his strokes. Cricket for me was watching Sachin bat. Sachin out – TV off was the common thing in many households. What attracted me towards his batting was just the way he loved to dominate the bowlers, he was raw, intense and was willing to give a fight – not take no for an answer. He was a one man army – as long as he was out there batting – there was always hope. Hope that India could somehow pull it off, turn the impossible into possible, snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat. He taught everyone to be hopeful, that one man can make a difference.  People came to watch him because he gave them hope, gave them something to cheer about when things were not going their way. He showed them not to give up without a fight.

Sachin has turned out to be one of the finest batsmen of this generation, has achieved many accolades but at the same time has remained extremely grounded. You hear about so many sportsmen who take success to their head and become arrogant. But not Sachin. He still remains the same. There was a moment in the ongoing series – not sure if people noticed. MS Dhoni was having a word with the bowler, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, I believe at the end of one of the sessions. Sachin was walking a little ahead of them. He could have easily offered his opinion on whatever MSD was saying, but he did not. That’s the best quality about him. He does not have any airs about him. Have read about how he ensures that all new comers in the team are comfortable approaching him and if he sees that they are hesitant, he approaches them himself to make sure they are comfortable.

I know whatever I write about him is very less. There is nothing about him which isn’t already written. The chants of “Sachin Sachin” are going to be missed forever. All I can say is Thank You Sachin for the memories.