3 Reasons not to buy the i-pad

Sunday, January 31, 2010 Vishaal 0 Comments

For all the people hopeful on a good apple product, the release of the latest i-pad left a lot of people very unhappy. The shortcomings have been summed up in this very short video. Have a look :)


Will there be war?

Thursday, January 28, 2010 Vishaal 0 Comments

There is an ever increasing coverage of skirmishes along the international border between India and Pakistan. With the recent statement by the Pakistan prime minister about his nation’s inability to prevent further 26/11 like attacks on India, these skirmishes could be construed as further confirmation of that nation’s blatant disregard for peace with India. The Pakistan foreign policy has always been double faced! On one hand they speak of dialogues as the only solution for the border disputes and on the other hand they try to test India’s patience with terrorism and violation of the cease fire agreement. The entire global community notes that India is an aggrieved country vis-à-vis Pakistan, but does nothing to support New Delhi.

A country as irresponsible as Pakistan finds support in the global superpower that is the USA. The policy of appeasement of Pakistan by USA is in direct contradiction to its war against terror. The United States does agree that Pakistan is a hot bed of terrorism, yet supplies it with arms and monetary benefits. The Americans offering a peace deal to Taliban (the supposed good Taliban as opposed to the Bad Taliban? Duh!) is like feeding a snake. If the people of Afghanistan and those staying in the bordering Pakistan areas were asked, they would reply that there is no good or bad Taliban. Yet these fanatics are being offered the peace pipe, monetary benefits and also jobs in the government! Agreed that peaceful resettlement is the only solution to a healthy global environment, but peace should be an option only if all parties are level minded, the Taliban are fanatics and lunatics and only want chaos – a la the Joker in the previous Batman movie.

China is another country which has been creating problems for India. They speak of dialogue and friendship with India, yet eye us with suspicion despite our continued stand of non-aggression. They have been continuously expanding their territory through minor infractions along the vast Indo-China border. If China is really serious about its peaceful intentions with India, it should start by returning the land Pakistan ‘gifted’ it – The Aksai Chin. Also it should stop its expansionist agenda in the North-east along the Arunachal border. India has already done its part by recognizing the futility of the Dalai Lama’s call for a free Tibet and agreeing that Tibet as of today is a part of the Chinese. Further, reports of the Chinese hacking into the Indian defense computers and also the NSA computers is very disturbing and further highlights the two-facedness of Chinese policy towards India. Many Indians were beginning to perceive the Chinese as a friendly Asian nation despite the Indo-China war of 1965. However that image is now being replaced by that of a cold blooded reptile that bites the hand of friendship.

The Government of India so far hasn’t been very keen to highlight these aspects to the country as such, perhaps, still believing that these are only passing phases. But the reality as projected by the Army in recent times, is that India is very ill prepared if these countries decide to make a push against India. India also cannot rely on its usual allies any more. Russia cannot be considered a friendly state anymore, with their shift in policy these days. India hasn’t still obtained the warship it had been promised by the Russians almost 2 decades ago. The Sukhoi aircraft supplied have begun to fall apart with no word on replacement or service.


How to make your girlfriend Happy!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010 Vishaal 0 Comments

"The quest for pleasure" is timeless. It even happens in war. People want to enjoy themselves." Every girl has a fetish for things. Some have a huge collection of shoes, some like my wife have a huge crush for bangles, while some others have a thing for stuff such as handbags. For some the ultimate handbags are the Louis Vuitton handbags. Louis Vuitton handbags have a history of more than 150 years and obviously they do not come at an affordable price for most of the people on this planet.

So the next best things are Louis Vuitton replica handbags. The main advantage of replicas are that they are often much cheaper than the original product (which I have always believed are overpriced). Secondly , when we get bored of carrying the same handbag around, we will not regret the purchase. I mean if we had purchased an original Louis Vuitton handbag would we keep that in the cupboard and buy another one? Also you can save the genuine articles for formal events like weddings and parties, and dinners and dates, and use replicas on rainy days, or to go to the supermarket for milk.

So the next time you have an intense desire to buy a Louis Vuitton or a Gucci or a Coach or Chanel handbag, just remember, a replica Gucci or a replica Chanel would look just as good on you if obtained one from the right source. They are much more affordable, as beautiful (if not better) looking and to top it all, there are such good replicas, that none of your friends will find out the difference - “Luxury items on your body do the talking for you”!!

In order to communicate your wealth to the outside world Louis Vuitton, Rolex, Cartier, Gucci and so on and so forth, are essential. Replicas today according to some reports can even fool the experts! "Sometimes," says an expert on replica luxury goods , "the only difference is that some of the counterfeits are better made than originals."


Obama - A failure in the First Year

Thursday, January 21, 2010 Vishaal 0 Comments

The Audacity of hope is fading fast. A nation that was brought together with the mantra of ‘Yes we can’ is fast getting polarized against the present Democrat government, which, is now stuck in a mire of its own making. Barack Obama by his own standards is falling. Extensive back door lobbying is bringing back images of the dark era of the Bush regime. The very same things that brought down the Bush regime are taking ground in the present administration. The recent victory of the Republican senator from a democrat stronghold – Ed Kennedy’s home- is a case in point that the people are fast losing hope in the present administration.

The foreign policy is at best a muddle. Obama promised to close down a prison, withdraw troops and stop a war. None of this is happening. The prison continues to exist well past its closing deadline, the troops are still in foreign territory and the war continues with renewed intensity. Is this what Obama’s legacy will be? Can he rise above the challenges? Did he bite of more than he can chew?


The Trip To Udupi

Monday, January 11, 2010 Vishaal 0 Comments

Entrance to the Udupi Krishna templeImage via Wikipedia
Gokul (our driver) arrived at 8 in the morning. The journey was very pleasant with good cloud cover with a cool breeze. After a long time we were traveling together, Dad, Mom and my sister Namrata and I was enjoying it. Namrata kept up a steady commentary on anything and everything which irked papa very much, but kept mom and me in splits. She got to talk to us after a long time and was making good use of the opportunity.

As always when we travel on this route, we had our breakfast at Kamath Hotel in Margao. As usual dad had his plate of Wada. I was itching to dive the car but dad did not let me.

We filled up the tank at the last petrol station in goa as petrol is cheaper by around Rs. 5 per liter compared to Karnataka.

On the way we called up Yashodha Pachchi ( Pachchi = Maternal aunt) and informed her that we will be stopping for lunch at their place but might be a bit late. The roads were in horrible condition but since the traffic was very light we were able to maintain a good average speed throughout and reachedSaligrama at 2:15 pm. On the way we stopped at byndoor so that mom could have some tender coconut water. Here I took over driving for some time, and, though dad did not think so, drove well.

We had lunch at Saligrama and stayed there upto 4:30 pm in the evening. Then set off for Udupi and Viju pachchi's home. On the way we called up Raghunath bappa, Viju Pachchi's husband regarding how to get there as the approach road to their home was under repair. We were asked to take a roundabout.... And even then were supposed to travel a short distance by foot. Hence we were provided with alternate accomodation nearby.

We decided to visit my paternal relatives in the evening and also attend the pre wedding preparations. Unfortunately they were being held elsewhere in Hebri. We went to my mhantu's place in manipal. Met almost everybody from my fathers side there. Had food there and returned to our temporary residence in Udupi. Slept by 10:30 as we had to wake up early for the wedding.

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Journey To Tirupathi - concluding - 31.10.06

Monday, January 11, 2010 Vishaal 0 Comments

The downpour made matters worse and our mood turned gloomy. We were very tired of the long and irksome journey and to add to the problem our driver did not know how to proceed. Finally we made him stop at a roadside tea-stall and got the requisite information to reach Tirumala.

The final leg of the journey began and we made the climb to the top and it was far from uneventfull. Suddenly our driver decided that he wanted to show off some skills. Mom and dad were very terrified now as he plunged into one turn after another. The bends in the road were like any other on a Ghat section, almost U-turns. He was using the steering wheel like a weapon and with total disregard for the opposite traffic just took one turn after another. We almost collided with an oncoming APSRTC bus. Any ways i did ot realise all this because my attention was drawn by the lights of The Tirumala temple which were visible on the hill top. It looked even more marvellous due to the cloud cover.

Finally we reached Tirumala at 12:25 a.m, and woke up our local contact, who i must say did not sound a bit flustered, at 12:30 a.m, an employee of the bank for which my dad works and managed to get the entry passes to the Temple complex. (We were later told by the Branch Manager that this happesall the time andthat the contact is used to the routine). The contact then directed us to the Guest house, where we would be put up for the next 2 days and left.

We finally got into the guest house and immediately sighed in relief, but we still had to wake up early and be in the temple complex by 5:30 a.m. We managed to lie down and i do not remember what happened for the next 3 hours or so.

Our driver was left to fend for himself as we were in no mood to think about anything else.


Journey to Tirupathi - Part 6 - 31/10/06

Monday, January 11, 2010 Vishaal 0 Comments

We started out for the last 80 k.m. of our journey at 9:30 p.m. sharp. The driver , Anand, was smoking when we came out of the restaurant. I personally hate smokers as I am an asthamatic, and even otherwise, I believe that smoking is for fools or the dead. So this further acted as a negative point agaisnt the guy for me.

We got into the car and drove out. Mom and dad muttered something about reaching by 11 p.m. The driver asked them whether he was driving carefully and whether they were worried that he was driving very fast for their liking. I had to stiffle a laugh. Dad replied that he was okay with the driving and that our driver back home drives faster. This shut Anand up and he became all the more unco-operative.

In a way this was when i guess all of us became unhappy by his attitude and became mentally antipathic to him. The roads were damn good as i have mentioned earlier and we should have made good speed,but for the fact that anand is too scared to drive more than 70kmph on an open stretch of highway. But as mentioed earlier , a little bit of traffic and he would dash in and out.

Just outside Tirupathi i had a view of the Tirumala hills, with the path towards the temple lit up. It was cloudy near the top and this added to the beauty. I feel very sad that i could not capture this beautiful scene as the cam was in the luggage. And just as we reached Tirupathi it started to pour. The time was 11:30 p.m.


Journey to Tirupathi - Part 5 - 31/10/06

Monday, January 11, 2010 Vishaal 0 Comments

As always i get the front seat in the car beside the driver. The car was an indica diesel and in good condition. On asking the driver told us that it belonged to him and that he was waiting for us at the airport since an hour.

He also said that his family deity is Lord Venkateswara of Tirupati. So we thought that he knew how to get there and relaxed. My parents and sister in the back seats just dozed of. I next to the driver had no option but to keep awake , lest our charioteer might dose off too.

Just out of bangalore it began to rain heavily. This made me more alert. I have always liked a drizzle while travelling but not heavy rain. The highway from Bangalore to Tirupati is absolutely marvellous and one can drive at a damn good speed if one so wishes. Our Driver on tha other hand had different ideas. Wonder whether he was inexperienced or just plain lazy but he never crossed 70Kmph at any time.
If the road were full of traffic I would not have been annoyed, but it was just plain empty and smooth as Hema Malini's cheeks ! !.

Anyways at 9:00 we stopped at Chittoor in A.P. for dinner. Had Andhra style meals at a Way side Restaraunt the name of which i have forgotten. Food was good and we were served on a banana leaves and banana's to eat in the end.

Tirupati was now 80 K.M an we expected to be there by 11 p.m. atleast. (originally we had thought of having dinner there at 10:15 p.m. ).
Our driver had other plans though.


Journey to Tirupathi - Part 4 - 31/10/06

Monday, January 11, 2010 Vishaal 0 Comments

Dad completely missed the guy and strolled away... luckily my sister picked him up with a placard with my dad's name on it... otherwise we could have lost a few minutes there...

My first impression of this guy was mixed... He looked sort of lazy but sharp. Anyways we picked up our luggage and deposited into the taxi (an indica). We started out from bangalore at exactly 5:30 p.m. and he assured usthat we will be reaching our destination in approximately 5 hours...

Tirupathi is about 300 K.M from bangalore and i thought 5 hours is a bit too much for that distance but kept quiet. Why hurry this fellow and why spoil the journey.


Journey To Tirupathi - Part 3 - 31/10/06

Monday, January 11, 2010 Vishaal 0 Comments

Our pilot was a female and it showed. The landing was very smoothly done and in my flying experiences this was one of the best i encountered. The atmosphere outside was very pleasant. We proceeded to the baggage claims area. Here as we waited for our baggage to arrive, my parents asked me to enquire about the scissors ... If it were left to myself i would have let it go... but parents !! Anyways, i went around and found a guy who looked quite authoritative...

On enquiring he told me that it was not possible for my scissors to arrive that way..!! I persisted and told him that the lady at the security check in goa assured me that i will be able to get them in Bangalore on arrival... He went into the cabin crew area looking very unhappy with my persistence and after a few moments when we had finished collecting our bags he arrived with my precious .......

Finally we exited the airport complex and went in search of the taxi driver who we had hired over the telephone to take us to Tirupathi... The time was 5:20 p.m.


Journey To Tirupathi - Part 2 - 31/10/06

Monday, January 11, 2010 Vishaal 0 Comments

We waited in the lounge for sometime and then proceeded through the security check-in. I had two pairs of scissors in my baggage.. one was a tiny one and the other slightly larger..

Due to the heightened security measures i was asked to leave the larger one behind or place it with my cargo baggage.. Luckily the security personnel sent it along with the cabin crew. We had to wait another 30 minutes before our flight finally landed for Pune.

There were no further hiccups and we took off at 4:00 p.m. sharp from goa... the takeoff was smooth.. the cabin crew was quite good.. and co-passengers were nice.. I as usual had to sit apart from my family as is the norm...

The food was decent and we landed in Bangalore at 5:00 p.m...


Journey To Tirupathi - Part 1 31/10/06

Monday, January 11, 2010 Vishaal 0 Comments

Well... In my previous post i mentioned that i would be off to Tirupathi
for a few days with my parents and sister.

We left Goa for the same via Bangalore. Left home at 1:00 p.m on 25th, so that we could be at the airport atleast an hour before the scheduled departure of our Flight to Bangalore at 3:00 p.m.. As happens with most travel plans and flight departures we were way too early and the flight delayed. The car trip to Dabholim airport was a very quiet one as even my sister was not her usual chatty self for some reason. It was a warm afternoon and i enjoyed my self taking in the scenery of Goa on the way.

We reached the airport at 2:00 P.M.. After a minor hiccup in locating the entrance (I was here for the first time) for our airlines, we managed to check in by 2:15 p.m. for our Indian (formerly Indian Airlines) Flight. Then started the long wait for the plane to arrive from Pune. Dad had told us the flight was scheduled for 3:00 p.m... but actually it was scheduled for 3:30...


Tirupathi - 23/10/06

Monday, January 11, 2010 Vishaal 0 Comments

I am at home now thinking what it will be like a few years from now? Will I have a post graduate degree or am i destined to have a general practitioner's life?

Contemplating about these things makes me feel very vulnerable. This Diwali was not very special. Ya i was with my parents and sister but still there was a lot of insecurity within me. Basically i am very scared of continuing like this. I know i am good enough to achieve my dreams. But my procrastination makes me insecure.

Will be going to Tirupathi on 25th. Hope the blessings of Lord Balaji of tirumala will help me realise my full potential.


The 54 Hour Journey - Part 3

Monday, January 11, 2010 Vishaal 0 Comments

At around 6:30 am the next morning I woke up with a start as the train had come to a halt. the exact name of the place i forget,but, I recollect Tunda in my mind. (there is a Tunda in Ghaziabad district, so i guess that is the place). I still remember the place like yesterday. Lots of office goers and the platform choc-a-bloc with the waiting masses washing their faces and frothing at the mouth from the tooth-paste they were using on the platform. there were a lot of unshaven and unkempt faces reminding me of the many Bollywood movies I have watched.

The train was stationary at this place for what seemed like ages (actually for about an hour !!) and even then we could not place our exact location on earth as we did not have a map. all we came to know was that we were somewhere in western U.P. The summer sun had already climbed up and was beating down mercilessly even at that early hour.

finally when we started moving we came to know the true meaning of the term ' at snail's pace'. We would travel at 10-15 mph for about 30 minutes and then come to a halt for 15-20 minutes. all around us there was dry land with only a few stray cattle to give us company. Usually we would have been halfway to Belgaum,but, on that day all thoughts of fun had melted away due to the hot summer sun. We were clueless as to where we were and how much more of traveling was to be completed.

Taking pity on us a fellow passenger informed us that we had still to reach Agra. we did not believe this person at all and thought that he was trying to be funny! After what seemed like ages we reached Agra at 3:00 pm. all of us let out a huge collective groan evoking a startled response from our co-Passengers. We were very much surprised and dismayed at this development and the fellow passenger gave us an I-told-You-So look.

We had thought that we were further south and should have had reached Agra at 6, the previous evening. We realized that having traveled for 18 hours we had covered only around 100 Kms. The rest of the journey was uneventful and we lost another hour before reaching Belgaum 54 hours after departing from New Delhi. we alighted at Belgaum at 9:30 pm on 12th May.

what irked us further was that some of our friends who had taken the next day's train reached 4 hours later after enjoying an extra day touring Delhi. They also informed us that at 8:00 pm on the day of our departure the tracks had been cleared and normal railway traffic restored.


The 54 Hour Journey - Part 2

Monday, January 11, 2010 Vishaal 0 Comments

The next afternoon was when we had booked our return tickets. as it happened, though we started from Rajendra nagar with ample time, we had problems with the transport and had to hurry a bit in the end to make it by 3:30 pm. We were a bit worried, but, managed to board the train with minutes to spare. We were very much relieved but when the train refused even after the scheduled departure time we started wondering whether we had boarded the right train. At 4:00 pm the train had not yet started and we started wondering what the problem was.

Announcements were being made that a goods train had derailed near Palwal (A halt on the outskirts of Delhi) and was the reason for the delay in our departure. At 4:30 we finally began moving,but, in the opposite direction. There were no announcements or explanations as to what was happening. trust the Indian Railways not to explain anything to its passengers.

After a slow chug we reached New Delhi railway station at around 5:15 pm and again the train came to a halt. We were still thinking that we would be parked here for the time being so that the congestion at Hazrat Nizamuddin could be eased. We believed that in an hour or so we would be leaving. We had snacks on the platform and decided that the Pantry on the Goa express was better . We spent almost an hour and a half and almost gave up on the train leaving Delhi the same day. (Unknown to us the Sampark Kranti Karnataka Express had left at 5:30 pm, its normal time.)

We should have been in Agra by 6:30 pm but on that day it was not to be. Finally at 7:00 pm we started moving,but, again int the opposite direction. there was still no information about the delay and the direction our journey was taking us. As we traveled further North by North-East we passed the vast slums that form the boundary separating Delhi form Ghaziabad. and then we came across Delhi's largest sewer - The Yamuna. One look at it made me wonder why it is still called a river.

It was almost 8 pm by the time we crossed into U.P. and i was tired. So after dinner i bunked down and fell into a deep slumber. The night was uneventful.


The 54 hour Journey - Part 1

Monday, January 11, 2010 Vishaal 0 Comments

This trip i took three years ago. I was in a rut and nothing seemed to be getting me out of it. Was struggling with the various post-graduate entrance examinations.

On 6th May 2004, I left Belgaum for New Delhi to attempt the AIIMS Post graduation entrance examinations. This was my third attempt here and already I was a bit weary of the traveling. [I do like to travel, but, for leisure and not for work :-P)].

The journey to Delhi was uneventful except for the fact that Dr.Herekar, a colleague and dear friend of mine, was traveling on someone else's ticket on a false identity. Generally knowing that students make their 6 monthly pilgrimage to the holy grail of all Post graduate examinations during this period, the Railway ticket Checking squads are very active. Since most of the students book tickets at the last moment and some drop out, a lot of them travel on some one else's identity, making it a field day for the squad.

Luckily for Herekar, since only two of us were booked together, the TTE's did not notice us and unfortunately pounced on a larger group traveling in the block next to ours. They were some of our colleagues and two of them were traveling on others' tickets. After much haggling and threats they coughed up a hefty sum and vowed that not again would they travel under false names.

We reached Delhi on the morning of 8th May on time and straightaway put up at the Saraswath Mandir , New Rajendra nagar.

The examination on 9th went away as usual and considering that I had not prepared at all went quite well. after the examination we had an entire day to ourselves, and decided to do some shopping. The only place close by I knew was the Karol Bagh area, so off we went. Herekar was in the forefront as usual with a long list of electronic gadgetry he wanted to purchase of the cheap flea market there.  In the end he did not purchase anything.

While returning we bought a pair of trousers for ourselves, after i had bought one which i fell in love with on first sight.


The Day before the Trip

Monday, January 11, 2010 Vishaal 0 Comments

Train passing Salem JunctionImage via Wikipedia
The day before the trip was frustrating as mom made a lot of fuss about carrying food and water and stuff like that.When I was in Belgaum with friends, I never gave a thought to all these things.We would just concentrate on studying and would worry about the food and water along the way.

My ticket was not yet confirmed and mom was very much worried about that. When you know people in High places in the Railways in India, you can get many things done. One of my Uncles (Some distant relative of my mothers) is one such person. He is a divisional superintendent or some such thing, one call to him, and i had jumped from being waitlisted to a confirmed status within minutes.

If I had been in Belgaum, I would'nt have given a thought to the waitlisted status and woul have gotten on to the train anyways, adjusting with my friends. Though I have never had to face such a situation.

I was then made to pack up my bag and was forced to stuff a lot of eatables and some other stuff I would never have thought of carrying along.
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My Delhi Trip - Part 1

Monday, January 11, 2010 Vishaal 2 Comments

Yet another trip to delhi for my post-graduate entrance examinations. This time was different from all my previous trips as i was travelling alone, rather than with friends, as all of them had gone throught the grind and obtained a seat. Travelling with friends i had some good memories. Hence i was downcast this time around.

Two days prior to the trip, I got it confirmed that I would be staying at the GSB Sanskriti Bhavan, New Rajendra Nagar. We had stayed in Delhi for two years, when dad had got transferred there. Our house was at Old Rajendra Nagar , a 10 minute walk from the Sanskriti bhavan. My parents had done some service for the community when thay were there and so it was not a problem for me to get accomodation for a day there.

I had booked Railway tickets about a month and a half prior to my travelling date, yet i was waitlisted for the journey. My Ticket had been booked from Udupi and i had to get it changed so that i could board at Thivim, Goa.