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Monday, August 24, 2009

Time for thoughts

I have got a lot of thoughts and things to be penned down as blog posts ...
 
all i need is some time for doing it !
 
And some peace of mind to get that time ...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I am feeling Lucky !! I was on TV !!

I am feeling Lucky !!

Naah … Not the google way ! It's the twitter way !!

My friend Afreen introduced me to twitter a few months ... something I wasn't really interested in

Well, over the past few months, I have become what can be called an "early-stage twitter addict":D

The last one week has been particularly "rewarding" since twitter helped me get on TV as well as win a merchandised Mug :D and hence the title 'I am feeling Lucky' …

I was on TV .. well not really … but I was !!

Barkha Dutt from NDTV 24X7 hosts the show 'We the People' which is a sort of an open discussion on latest hot issues which directly impact the common man, the 'aam junta'. She takes inputs from the readers/viewers through various channels, one of which is twitter. On one of the recent episodes where the discussion topic was the Paranoia and over-reaction by Maharashtra Govt / India on Swine Flu, I sent her my comments / tweets and forgot all about it.

In the evening, I luckily managed to reach home early (which is pretty rare these days) and caught the episode on TV. I was absolutely pleasantly surprised to see one of my tweets on the screen along with my Twitter handle 'shoOOonya':D – Well, it felt like being on TV myself :D

This went on TV –"Shutting down schools & Malls has been a definite over-reaction. Does little to contain the flu. What when the schools reopen?"

The other tweets I sent were:

· 1000 people get Swine Flu & the whole world wants to wear surgical masks, 20 million have AIDS & nobody wants to wear a Condom!

· masks also to be worn by ppl in close proximity to infected people. Visitors to hospitals and medical staff.

· Also, Masks should be worn by ALL as a protection from the Air Pollution we have in all our major cities, rather than against S'flu

· Another important aspect of the S'flu over-reaction is role of Media? Print as well as TV News channels? How much? What frequency?

Well, it was not my first appearance on TV though. I made my first during my NITIE days. It was Star News which had a report on the state of B-School placements and a couple of us had gone from NITIE to IIT Bombay where the students from NITIE and SJMSOM – the IIT B-School had gathered and were interviewed by the Star News correspondent. It was an hours wait before we got on camera and my family told me that could catch glimpses of Me standing behind the person who got a chance to speak :D ha ha ha

Now to the Mug !! Channel V is undergoing a change, a makeover these days and to promote / market this 'event', they are running a contest at http://isawthechange.com/

They change the image and people got to report what changed. Participation qualifier includes having a twitter account. I sent my entries a couple of times and today I was declared a winner (one of 10) for yesterdays change. Being an Org. Change management consultant, it might have seemed ironic if I had not won any .. hehe

You can find me here … http://isawthechange.com/winners.html ... Again its not my real name bu the twitter handle 'shoOOonya' that appears here :D

Not that these two are extremely exciting for me .. its just that these two small incidents brought some smile and sun shine in my otherwise boring existence these days :D

Thanks Barkha Dutt from NDTV and the guys from Channel V for these two small packages of pleasant surprises and smiles !!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Escapism !

The online world is my refuge ... My escape from the real world ...
 
 
The real world where i feel lonely ... the loneliness .. which i hate .. which i fear ...
 
the online world helps me escape all that ...
 
the blog, the random web surfing ... the emails (including so many forwards and subscriptions) ... twitter ... all of it ..
 
they are my sanctuary of peace ... of escape ... an attempt to forget ther reality !
 
but every now and then .. i am pulled back into reality ... !!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My laptop in COMA again !

After the Slue Screen of Death event with my laptop last month ... it recovered and was running fine.
 
Till today morning that is.
 
Today morning it gave me an "operating System could not start" eror or soemthing like that ..
 
And I have no clue what to do ....
 

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Pot calling the Kettle Black !!

Saw in the news yesterday that NRI'S (mostly from from US / Canada) are wary of visiting India due to the Swine Flue scare ...

And I am wondering what the heck ... its a nice little case of the Pot calling the Kettle black.

India got the swine flue from people travelling from US/canada to India ... it came to India from the west with the NRI & foren return crowd

that aside, the stats have got more to tell ...


Global figures - 89,921 cases with 382 deaths as of 3rd July (more than a month ago)

US Stats - 33,902 cases with 170 deaths as of 3rd July (more than a month ago)

India Stats - We had no deaths and about 100 cases a month ago ... around 3rd July

Even current status is that we have about 8-10 deaths and less than 1000 cases

Source : http://www.disabled-world.com/health/influenza/swine-flu/cases-statistics.php

 

 

Who should be afraid of travelling to whihc country ... You decide !!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Diet Plan … Its just not happening :(

After the near failure to follow the diet plan in July, my hopes were pinned onto Aug-Sept period.
The first 8 days of my diet plan have been even more disastrous than the entire month of July.

I consumed (and of course enjoyed) almost all conceivable things that I was supposed to keep away from. J

Pizza, Biscuits, Chocolate, Potato vegetables, ice cream, sweets like Rasmalai and Gulab Jamun, Pastry (black forest .. yummmiiiieeee), Aloo Vada, Samosa, Aloo Parathas .....  !!!

So that was a disastrous first week of my 6 weeks of hope. 5 more to go before I go home.
(My weight just touched 82 :( something is wrong with the weighing scale ... hopefully )

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Bloozle : The Startup that never was …

Bloozle : The Startup that never was …

This is the story of a startup that never was. It's a story of the entrepreneurs tryst with destiny, passion, product development, product success/failure, sleepless nights and unfulfilled dreams …

This is the story about my Journey with Nikhil (although we are just supporting actors in the star cast dominated by 'bloozle' and market realities) … the Journey which began way back in 2004 and gradually got the name and shape of 'bloozle' … the journey which is now in a paused frozen phase waiting for the stimuli of funding from some VC who can share the vision which we have … the journey of 5 years of thinking, brainstorming, evaluating, refining, dreaming, arguing, designing, changing, letting go …
This story is to remind us of the thought, effort, money and passion invested in bloozle in the past 5 years ... to remind us of this bright ray of hope it generated which would give us enough 'escape-velocity' to project us out of the corporate job's (and its high salary's) gravitational pull.

This story is to put on record (for ourselves more than anybody else) the mistakes we made and the opportunities we missed. This story is to remind us again and again that we are destined to be entrepreneurs and the day jobs we are holding (with utmost sincerety and equal passion) are but a temporary phase of life; which unfortunately seems to be going to last for yet another couple of years or more unless we are rescued by a VC or another brilliant b-plan J

And before I guide you to the story … 2 important things :D

1. The story is told in several parts. Each part looking at a different perspective, different mistakes, different factors …

2. I am NOT the author here. Nikhil is the one who can collect his thoughts well, organize and paraphrase them in a form which makes sense and even have the courage to think about publishing them (remember: we are not talking about success here after all). So the story is authored by Nikhil and the posts are on his blog. I am providing you the links to the story here.

Part I - The Story

Part II - The Concept

Part III - Product Vision Mistakes

Part V - Environmental Factors

Part VI - Conclusion

And yes ... if you are interested in having a looksie at what bloozle looked like .. here is a (almost) working prototype of the bloozle website - www.bloozle.com
So that my dear … is the story ... the story of Bloozle .. and us !

We would love to hear your comments on this story … bouquets and brickbats … words of advice as well as 'wake up you fools' notes :D

And yes … if by any chance, you are a VC reading this and are interested in having a look at our B-Plan, just let us know in comments or by email – hemantkumarjain@gmail.com , kulkarni.nikhil@gmail.com

We wait … with hope ... (and a lot of ideas buzzing in our heads :)

In the line of fire ...

A fwd'ed story below. I am posting it on the blog just so that i can read it every now and then ... as a reminder ..
 
-------------------------------
 
Vivek Pradhan was not a happy man. Even the plush comfort of the air-conditioned compartment of the Shatabdi express could not cool his frayed nerves. He was the Project Manager and still not entitled to air travel. It was not the prestige he sought, he had tried to reason with the admin person, it was the savings in time. As PM, he had so many things to do. He opened his case and took out the laptop, determined to put the time to some good use.
 
Are you from the software industry sir," the man beside him was staring appreciatively at the laptop.
 
Vivek glanced briefly and mumbled in affirmation, handling the laptop now with exaggerated care and importance as if it were an expensive car.
 
"You people have brought so much advancement to the country sir. Today everything is getting computerized. "
 
"Thanks," smiled Vivek, turning around to give the man a look.
 
He always found it difficult to resist appreciation. The man was young and stocky like a sportsman. He looked simple and strangely out of place in that little lap of luxury like a small town boy in a prep school. He probably was a railway sportsman making the most of his free traveling pass.
 
"You people always amaze me," the man continued, "You sit in an office and write something on a computer and it does so many big things outside."
 
Vivek smiled deprecatingly. Naivety demanded reasoning not anger. "It is not as simple as that my friend. It is not just a question of writing a few lines. There is a lot of process that goes behind it."
 
For a moment, he was tempted to explain the entire Software Development Lifecycle but restrained himself to a single statement. "It is complex, very complex."
 
"It has to be. No wonder you people are so highly paid," came the reply.
 
This was not turning out as Vivek had thought. A hint of belligerence came into his so far affable, persuasive tone.
 
"Everyone just sees the money. No one sees the amount of hard work we have to put in. Indians have such a narrow concept of hard work.. Just because we sit in an air-conditioned office does not mean our brows do not sweat. You exercise the muscle; we exercise the mind and believe me that is no less taxing."
 
He had the man where he wanted him and it was time to drive home the point.

"Let me give you an example. Take this train. The entire railway reservation system is computerized. You can book a train ticket between any two stations from any of the hundreds of computerized booking centres across the country. Thousands of transactions accessing a single database, at a time concurrency; data integrity, locking, data security. Do you understand the complexity in designing and coding such a system?"
 
The man was stuck with amazement, like a child at a planetarium. This was something big and beyond his imagination. "You design and code such things."
 
"I used to," Vivek paused for effect, "But now I am the Project Manager,"
"Oh!" sighed the man, as if the storm had passed over, "so your life is easy now."
 
It was like being told the fire was better than the frying pan. The man had to be given a feel of the heat.
 
"Oh come on, does life ever get easy as you go up the ladder. Responsibility only brings more work. Design and coding! That is the easier part. Now I do not do it, but I am responsible for it and believe me, that is far more stressful. My job is to get the work done in time and with the highest quality. To tell you about the pressures, there is the customer at one end always changing his requirements, the user wanting something else and your boss always expecting you to have finished it yesterday."
 
Vivek paused in his diatribe, his belligerence fading with self-realisation. What he had said, was not merely the outburst of a wronged man, it was the truth. And one need not get angry while defending the truth. "My friend," he concluded triumphantly, "you don't know what it is to be in the line of fire."
 
The man sat back in his chair, his eyes closed as if in realization. When he spoke after sometime, it was with a calm certainty that surprised Vivek.

"I know sir, I know what it is to be in the line of fire," He was staring blankly as if no passenger, no train existed, just a vast expanse of time.
 
"There were 30 of us when we were ordered to capture Point 4875 in the cover of the night. The enemy was firing from the top. There was no knowing where the next bullet was going to come from and for whom. In the morning when we finally hoisted the tricolour at the top only 4 of us were alive."
 
"You are a..."
 
"I am Subedar Sushant from the 13 J&K Rifles on duty at Peak 4875 in Kargil. They tell me I have completed my term and can opt for a land assignment. But tell me sir, can one give up duty just because it makes life easier. On the dawn of that capture, one of my colleagues lay injured in the snow, open to enemy fire while we were hiding behind a bunker. It was my job to go and fetch that soldier to safety. But my captain refused me permission and went ahead himself. He said that the first pledge he had taken as a Gentleman Cadet was to put the safety and welfare of the nation foremost followed by the safety and welfare of the men he commanded. His own personal safety came last, always and every time. He was killed as he shielded that soldier into the bunker. Every morning now, as I stand guard I can see him taking all those bullets, which were actually meant for me. I know sir, I know what it is to be in the line of fire."
 
Vivek looked at him in disbelief not sure of his reply. Abruptly he switched off the laptop. It seemed trivial, even insulting to edit a word document in the presence of a man for whom valour and duty was a daily part of life; a valour and sense of duty which he had so far
attributed only to epical heroes.
 
The train slowed down as it pulled into the station and Subedar Sushant picked up his bags to alight.
 
"It was nice meeting you sir."
 
Vivek fumbled with the handshake. This hand had climbed mountains, pressed the trigger, and hoisted the Tri-colour. Suddenly as if by impulse, he stood at attention and his right hand went up in an impromptu salute. It was the least he felt he could do for the country.
 
PS: The incident he narrates during the capture of Peak 4875 is a true-life incident during the Kargil war. Capt. Batra sacrificed his life while trying to save one of the men he commanded, as victory was within sight. For this and his various other acts of bravery he was awarded the Param Vir Chakra the nation's highest military award.
 
 

Monday, August 03, 2009

Reading Update ...

Well well...
 
Finished reading "Tell Me Your Dreams" by Sidney Sheldon ... it was a receomendation by my best friend and i enjoyed it ...
 
Godfather by Puzo is still in progress ... the print is small and i am reading it for loke 10 minutes a day so the progress is slow ...
 
Nice to be reading 'regularly' again ... i missed it much in past few years when my reading had gone down significantly ...
 
Purchased 2 more books from a bookstore recently ... they are up next ...

I don’t want to … but ...

Character 1 – You know I …

Character 2 – Yeah … I know … You never want to hurt anybody …

(And after a short pause ... adds … ) But you do !

 
Nothing more said. C2 walks past C1. Eyes wet, almost about to overflow.

An intensely emotional scene going on in one Hollywood movie "Alphie"

 
And I feel the heart wrenching pain inside … as I realize ... I am just like 'Character 1' of the scene !
 
I don't want to … but I end up doing exactly that ...
 

Sunday, August 02, 2009

The Reality of Reality TV

 In his widely accaliamed article, `Behind the Curtain of TV Voyeurism, journalist and author Neal Gabler suggests that at the core of this 'entertainment' is conflict -- whether internal or external -- in the protagonist. If this is not intrinsic to the script or the format, it is provoked because otherwise the show cannot hold viewer interest. This is not so much a function of effective programming as of human nature.

The above lines picked up from an article by Ayaz Memon in DNA. You can read the whole article, titled "Is reality TV all that bad?" here
Whether it is Rakhi ka Swayamvar or Iss Jungle se Mujhe Bachao or the ones like Big Boss or all those Singing talent shows ... bring in conflict and you have a money spinner !

Blissful Experience

I recently discovered www.VolunterInDubai.com a site where people can volunteer themselves for different activities. You can have a look at the kind of activities here.

I nominated myself for 2 activities. One happened this Saturday and it was blissful. I volunteered to spend time with 'children with special needs' at the Beach. I got some help from another volunteer Shrimal to reach the venue in time. More than 20 volunteers turned up to play and oversee the 14 children who came with their caretakers from the institute.

The site VolunteerInDubai.com is indeed a very good initiative (by Lola Lopez), providing people a chance to take time out from their lives and contribute to doing some good. It also encourages other people to organize such events which would not have been possible without the volunteers. Kudos to Lola for starting the initiative / website (the site itself is just a few months old).

Personally, it was a very blissful experience for me. It felt good deep inside. Thanks to Lola as well as Shrimal for making this possible J I am gonna be a regular now for these events. Rather than watching the stupid idiot box, now I have something 'good' to do over the weekends. And yes, it also gives me opportunity to meet new people and make some friends out here in Dubai; something that I haven't done in past one year in Dubai.

P.S. It also gave me a chance to soak myself up in sea water once again this year. Last I was in sea, was during my Alibaug Trip with Nikhil, Shubham and Arijeet in June. (Ooops … I haven't yet blogged about that one .. me too lazy :) I haven't even uploaded the Alibaug pics to my online Picasa web album. One task pending on my to-do list for quite some time L