Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Indian 9/11

Beloved Bombay a.k.a. Mumbai has(I write this post as the terrorists are still at large) undergone one of the worst terror hits to have struck India.The Deccan Mujahideen(as they identify themselves) has gunned down hundreds in cold blood and wounded hundreds more in the name of religion and international exposure!Whats appalling is the calmness with which these terrorists have killed innocents employing AK-47s and grenades with such finesse that one wonders what fuels such people to go about their hatred?!Toward what?What do they want from us?

Top CEOs,millionaires,scientists and tourists from abroad and local have been holed in the two hotels(The Taj and The Trident) where this event is happening and though some brave folks have managed to contact the news channels and their families to give status updates on the terrorists, some have been killed soon after as well.As I scoured through the Times of India and BBC for live updates, it chilled me to read the stories that were printed.One that struck me in particular was that of the food critic from Times of India who was/is holed in her room in The Taj, who had communicated that she was hiding under the bed and the last SMS her husband has so far received is this 'They are in the bathroom' With that lone line hanging in the air,its frightening to think what might have happened!

Two Turkish couples who were thrown into a room along with 3 Caucasian women said today that the terrorists had asked each one of them which religion they belonged to and when the Turks said they were Muslim, it was said to them that they would be unharmed, the other 3 women were taken away and killed.How did them being a Muslim give them a passport to freedom and life while the rest were cruelly killed?Who gives anyone the right to take away a life based on religion?!Britons and Americans were also singled out to be kept as hostages so that these cowards with guns get coverage!!Isnt there an easier way to get on TV rather than killing people?

I am outraged and devastated that extremists in every religion think they can get away with whatever they want without shedding a single tear.Are these people just born cold-hearted or does their religion ask them to do so?As far as I know, no religious books gives anyone the right to kill anyone else be it based on religion or for any other reason!When will this treachery and creulty end!The whole world has sat up and looked at this event,the US is sending in the FBI for support, the Greeks have sent in planes for airlifting citizens...all this really makes me feel proud that countries stand up for each other in crisis.It is indeed a very thin silver lining for the dark clouds of gloom over Mumbai today.

I pray for all those who are dead to rest in peace and for all those still holed up in the hotels, to hope that they will come out alive.

The gory pictures say it all(courtesy BBC News,Reuters)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

(Which?) God Trumps by the New Humanist

A friend pointed out this hilarious interpretation of all religions in the world and since I am agnostic(the card that illustrates agnostic individuals pretty much mocks my belief as well ) toward all religions I wanted to save this one on my blog so I can chuckle at it for eternity.

PS:This post is surely not in mocking of any faith, it is to be interpreted only in the light of good humour.For more such articles, please read go to:

The mess that is 2008

The hottest topic over tea at work has been the financial crisis that has overthrown millions of jobs and the sanity of perfectly capable people all over the world.One opens the paper to discover that yet another company or bank has sunk and thousands of employees have been asked to leave.Companies have asked their employees to go on sabbaticals,divisions have been shut down without warning with no scope of redeployment for the unsuspecting souls that have worked hard and all they got back in return was money but no loyalty from the company toward them.
This crisis has not just affected the bottom layer of the employee structure, but even directors and top brass who are not affordable anymore.No one talks about the weather or about project worries,now the topics are only ranging from cost cuts to ‘Do I still have a job here?’ Its worrying when you hear about thousands of Indians packing up their houses in the US and returning to India.Hordes of Indians who drove around in snazzy cars have been forced to leave, their American dream never having been fully realiazed by a crisis that was not expected.Whats worse..Indians abroad,stripped of their pride,have been ending their lives unable to take the stress that this is causing them.It creeped up one fine Monday as I recall and the next thing you know, every economy around the globe has collapsed!
I was listening to Bangalore’s favorite radio channel and they were actually putting people on air with the question ‘What would your backup option be if you were laid off?’ I couldnt believe my ears,the state of panic has reached such a point that ironically all they can do is to accept the situation and come up with backup plans.And while millions place their hopes on the economy crash to lift by early next year,analysts have been grim about their forecasts, its mid 2010 no less.

The City of Superlatives

The first time I drove down to Las Vegas,I was curious and a little apprehensive by what would pop up at the end of miles and miles of desert road.It seemed like the desert was an ocean and I had been told the wonderful oasis by the name Vegas,would pop out of nowhere and I would be blown away by the sheer grandeur of it all.So I drove on in my Impala, with the hot wind so strong, it was whistling against the windows making it almost eerie in the middle of an afternoon.
About 30 miles before Vegas,I saw a few outlet stores and gambling parlors that seemed beat but nevertheless I understood these were the first signs of the lure of this city so famous for driving people crazy(some in a good way and some driven to desperation).I was hoping something more glitzy awaited me and as I turned a curve, my jaw dropped in awe…beautiful shining architectural marvels stood all around me and I was dumbstruck!These architectural marvels were resorts,meant for people from all walks of life with any budget, all these resorts wanted you to do was to gamble away your money.The resorts were in all sorts of shapes;pyramids,eiffel tower,new york,majestic lion,palaces, the list is endless.
This is a city which can be enjoyed in absolute low budgets, if you are not a gambler(like me), all you need to spend on is for the stay and food.Everything else is free free free!All resorts are interconnected and you can walk for miles and miles through these airconditioned resorts and gape at shark aquariums at the Mandalay Bay,the breathtaking fountains that play every 20 mins at the Bellagio,the volcanic eruptions at the Mirage and many such endless shows.The adventure rides here are crazy as well, with very loopy roller coasters,skydiving and what not that is sure to scare the living daylights out of even the bravest souls around.
When you walk through The Strip, you are pretty much given out flyers sporting ‘girls’ every 1 metre and though the average Indian has every right to be shocked at the openness and tolerance of anything in this city, after a point you just stop gawking and blend in cos everything goes in this city.You walk into a snazzy restaurant, you have skimpily clad girls dancing on bars, luring you to spend money drinking/gambling.You’ve got these girls hanging and swinging from ceilings in glitzy clothes which are a delight to most ‘old’ eyes as I observed.Flaunting seems to be the keyword of this place,be it money,glitz,glamour,shows,cars….its all show and tell in Vegas.After all it didnt earn the name of Sin City for nothing!
The first time I visited Vegas, I was stunned by the superficiality(if at all there is such a word) of it all…I wanted to head back where normalcy and peace reigned.The second time I went to Vegas, I truly appreciated Vegas for what it is.A place where people could be as crazy as they wanted, a place where everything goes and you wouldnt be judged,a place that brought out every little fantasy and encouraged one to sin, a true Devil’s Paradise(the staunchly religious kindly avoid)!Every one needs a bit of crazy once in a while :)!

Class all the way

I have travelled all over the world in all sorts of sizes and shapes of airlines and last night,I decided to fly Jet Airways,I had heard a lot of oohs and aahs about this new flight out of Chennai going all the way to Brussels and this seemed like a good option to me in terms of non-transit flights.Lufthansa I hate, bcos of its overprices tickets for very such a cramped experience and no in-flight entertainment;Air France though it is a good airline as such, the transfer to a TGV to go to Brussels from Paris is just not worth the effort!
The Jet is proudly Indian and I must say this airline really boosts our country’s name by its state of the art airplane interiors(think Singapore) and staff etiquette.Comfy seats,ceiling lights that almost reminded me of a disco,very high-techo washrooms with kitbags and very courteous staff, oh and the best part, over a 100 movies to watch on the flight!And all this at a price 15K lower than on a Lufthansa or an Air France(of course this means you would have to put up with not so stylish crowd).Go figure.

Dumb and Dumber

Work life has more or less kept me entwined with Europeans and Americans and though I love to listen to and digest other cultures and appreciate them, somehow I dont see this happening on the other side.Yeah yeah, I know this topic is probably one that everyone knows about and just acknowledges that its a hopeless issue that cannot be turned around and moves on with life, but hey, at least it provides for some comic relief!And in that spirit I decided to write in a few instances of anecdotes and snippets of conversations I’ve had with the other races of this planet.
Now lets cover a paraghs on the Europeans and then one on the American views.Starting off with the former, I was having this discussion with a very learned gentleman who was planning a vacation with his family and wanted some ideas about where he could go, so I suggested he go to Kerala in India or Maldives in the Indian Ocean if he was considering Asia.As I was telling him the glories of these locales, he very embarrasedly looks at me and says “Oh I would love to go and explore such exotic places, but you know the wife wouldnt be too happy with Asia as we are taking kids along”…so I gave him a look for one whole minute trying to understand what he was trying to tell me and looked at him quizically…’You know, its the whole crowds,language and the safety….”Again I merely looked at him as if he had lost his marbles, not for a moment did I expect a learned man who had travelled throughout the globe to actually say that he thought Asian countries were threatening to foreigners!
Yet another conversation with a European on the education systems across the world.I was telling him about the fact that some of the best management universities of the world existed in India and he looks at me and says “What?I am sure you are joking!” Now people, this was a man who has been working in India for the last 2 years and one would expect him to spread the wings of his brain with respect to his environment if at all he wanted to ‘fit in’.I merely looked at him and gave him the facts, an IIM in India has repute in terms of education as well as brand equivalent to a Wharton or a Harvard and the ISB churns out students who earn the highest in the world, in comparison to any other university in the world.I could actually go on about so many other instances but its too tiresome for my brain to physically playback such ignorance of the ‘better’ races as they claim.
Im not as much in mocking of the Americans as I am of the Europeans as what I mostly dont understand about their views of India is that they think we are the land of the elephants and the snakes, the land of that brought about the very healthy yoga, and the land that started the Krishna movement(funnily a lot of druggies and crazed out people abroad are the ones that follow this cult).
Let me surprise all ye ignorant people of this planet, Asians(and more so Indians) have produced some of the most powerful and well educated people in the world,u could find a Dior here as much as you would find in New York,the landscapes in these countries are much more beautiful than even Switzerland and we possess BMWs and Audis’ as well.And we do speak in other languages apart from Hindi.


Im a gadget freak, that doesnt mean it needs to necessarily be just gadgets, but I keep a watch on whats hot and happening in the web app field as well.I came across a few technologies that blew me away and a brief on each of them is listed below, try them out all ye readers!
This is one great mobile platform for a number of smartphones.Its just 721 KB and has a number of widgets that you can customize according to your needs.The two features that caught my attention the most was the user interface(very sophisticated, very apple-like) and the speed.My current widgets that run with my Go version are Yahoo Mail,Local news,Showtimes,Weather,Stocks and Celebrity Watch.The one I like in particular is the Showtimes widget as it picks out the top movies running in your city,shows the theatres they are playing in along with showtimes and the theatre contact number and shows the location of the theatre from where you are on a map!Its a wish come true!
I absolutely love what the burrp! team brings to users in terms of food reviews, local happenings and blogrolls.I’ve always wanted a TV guide for india that I can carry around on my cell phone and burrp! TV is just that!They customize the TV guide,show listings based on your channel and genre preference and you can view the same on your mobile too.This app also lets you have SMS reminders as and when your favorite show is about to start.Cool aint it!
(3)Mozilla Add-Ons
I love Mozilla.Period.IE and Netscape never did it to me and I highly doubt the Google Chrome is going to win me over either.And with their very cool add-ons life just becomes very smooth on the web.Some of my favorite add-ons are LOOP(converts webpages,docs and even combines multiple pages into one big pdf.),Foxclocks for those who need international timezones at your browsertips and ReaditLater which is a tagging facility for reading webpages at a later time at your convenience.I can ramble on about a lot more but hey, that would take years..

When it comes to Apple,I need a new word for hate!

So I was one of those geeks who picked up an iphone 6 months back, cracked the 1.1.4 using Ziphone in about 4 minutes and went on gleefully with life.Of course that doesnt mean I liked the iphone.After using the E61 for 2 years, the functionality element of the iphone fails miserably!This is a phone I can best describe as ‘The dumb blonde’….beauty minus brains.Plus I hate the fact that Apple has tightly controlled this phone which just makes me want to tear my hair!
Now having said that, I accidentally upgraded the software from 1.1.4 to 2.0 , lo and behold I have taken 6 whole days to jailbreak the bloody phone…Largely thanks to modmyifone and iLiberty+.So here go the steps for people looking to recover their precious phones.
I primarily downgraded my phone from 2.0 to 1.1.4 using the following steps:
(1)Uninstall iTunes 7.7, clean the registry completely
(3)Install iTunes 7.5
(4)DFU mode (Hold down the sleep and home buttons together and release sleep after exactly 10 has to be exact!)
(5)Shift + restore -> 1.1.4 restore firmware IPSW
(6)Error 1015(This is good…proceed)
(7)Recovery mode
(8)Shift + restore -> 1.1.4 restore firmware IPSW(You get error 1015 here again…just say ok)
(9)Ziphone/iLiberty+ -> click “jump out of recovery mode”
(10)Run KiPhone with Debug Boot and iErase options checked. (Leave the box for downgrade UNCHECKED)
(11)Plug phone into iTunes
(12)Manually put it to recovery mode
(13)Shift + restore -> 1.1.4 restore firmware IPSW
Now at this point I jailbroke my phone with ZiPhone and I got an unlocked phone without carrier unlocked.So I would advise against using Ziphone at this step.Instead use iLiberty+ to activate/unlock whatever you want to do and you should get your phone back in action.

I heart NYC

I love New York City but I’ve never been there.I have travelled far and wide around the globe and yet somehow this fascinating city that I’ve read about,that I see on shows, that I long to step foot on has somehow remained elusive to me in reality.Why do I love this place so much?I have no idea, i just do!
I love Sex and the City, I would shout off rooftops even if the average Indian woman would shy away from admitting that…after all shush, I live in a conservative country.I watch s&c everyday when I get some time before bed and the city and its people fascinate me.Yes the show is possibly something that focuses only on the upper strata of the society but hey, it talks about women in relationships and that holds true for any woman alive.And just looking at the Manolo Blahniks and Jimmy Choos and the ultra chic fashion that is bootstrapped into the 4 women could make me ever so happy in a jiffy!
I have a love-hate relationship with the characters in this show,the one I love perhaps would be Samantha,her boldness and her spunk to stand up for anything she does just cause she can,its an ideal character that appeals to the common woman just cause she embraces everything thats taboo.I loathe Carrie simply for her whiny and dependent ways, Im very neutral about prissy Charlotte and I absolutely have hated Miranda for her feministic attitude.And much to my agony(and a sneaking suspicion I always had)I took the S&C quiz on the net one day and I turned out to be a Miranda!I almost weeped as I knew that that was exactly who I was…the same ambitiousness, the same unwillingness to let anyone too close to me, the same holier-than-thou attitude.
Well I do not know why I wanted to write about this when I have always written about more serious issues of the world or happenings around me,but I guess today I just wanted to write about something I enjoyed and somthing that I have always been a hypocrite about as I would be too ashamed to admit that I watched a girly show like S&C.This has brought me one step closer to the city I love, and I hope to live their lives one day in NYC.