Friday, November 30, 2007

Party @ Country Club

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Someone said this picture would look a lot better than the ration card pic (!!!) in my blog!

 

Being the teetotaler that I am, I kept stuffing myself with chicken in the evening while the others had their fills of beer. The dance floor was a familiar tornado of people egged on by strong rhythm-powered hysteria. Twice was I dragged there, but it was faux pas for me all the way.

 

When fatigue finally overtook and the floor had a semblance of sanity and space, an in-house singer put on the karaoke and hummed a few popular songs. He wore a terribly sad and dejected look, totally jarring with the ambience to which he was expected to surrender. He sang well, but won no adulation. Perhaps experience had taught him not to expect it either.

 

Other guests kept trickling in. One group consisted of a conspicuously shy little girl (must be 5 or 6) celebrating her birthday. An overzealous guardian forced her onto the floor and danced with her. The poor child must have cringed within. The guy looked ludicrous for reasons that now defy my memory. He became the laughing stock of all the onlookers when his clumsy feet failed to keep up with his swelling exuberance and he fell...along with the birthday girl. Poor lady, what a nightmare for her! The embarrassed couple cleared the floor after that, much to the relief of everyone there.

 

Dinner wasn't bad. Vinoth & I left sooner than most to catch a bus back home. The roads are relatively deserted post 2100 hrs and our bus rattled through the way with breakneck speed I had assumed was impossible in Bangalore. The bus wasn't really destined for my preferred stop and I had to alight a long way away from home. As I headed home on foot, I reflected on having trudged the same path during a 2-day training some 70+ days ago. Those were the days Andromeda had just entered my life. My excitement knew no bounds.

 

Things have changed dramatically since then and I wish I could undo some of them.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Court of F-law

Sanjay Dutt yet again bought freedom when he was granted bail by the Supreme Court. I'm left wondering if the IPC is a commodity that can be tampered with over-the-counter by expending some wealth.

 

Should there be even a semblance of doubt that the law isn't blind to name and fame? I'm appalled when I see the outpour of sympathy among Indian masses for this larger-than-life figure - just because his on-screen heroics have fired up the imagination of our idol-worshipping (pun intended) people. Pure regressive thinking!

2 many ships

Relationships are messy and entangling. Life only gets complicated by the day because we are eternally on this crazy drive to forge relationships even when none are warranted.

 

Friendship must be the only exception. One more step and you'll be hurtling down the hole to hell!

Cognitive Dissonance

This is a very riveting account of a woman who challenged her patriarchal society. I wish there could be more of her kind. It takes a great deal of courage and cognizance to challenge social norms set by chauvinists whose only forte are ignorance and intolerance.

 

I squarely blame religion for fostering a closed disposition. I look at the world around me and realize how hard it is for us to escape the antediluvian teachings of religious texts.

 

We are born ignorant...but we don't have to stay that way.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Lapping the laptop

Microsoft's Windows Vista Blog contains this very interesting post about the DELL Vostro. It's an honour!

I feel jaded

Work has been draining the life out of me. I wish I could sit in solitude on wet-green grass, feel the cool breeze, listen to the birds singing and forget the whole worrisome world.

 

Something feels wrong...terribly wrong.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Desultory Posts

Blogging has become an intellectual and emotional challenge for most without them even realizing it. The  power to make your voice heard unhindered (generally) is often overwhelming enough to make many of us sit up and take notice...of what we have to offer.

 

Do we really have anything worthy of a web page of disclosures? I reckon the answer is in the affirmative for most, but we dare not make a clean breast of everything (well, almost everything) lest what is construed as innocuous by us be bilious for others. Autobiographies, the trophies of people who are convinced they are really important to others, have the luxury of time. Looking back in retrospect, it's easy to know how events turned up and people fared. And you generally couldn't possibly write anything that could invite the ire of those mentioned in your book - since some of them are dead, some wouldn't even know they're mentioned, some would have mellowed with age and some couldn't care less. Moreover, if you've actually found a publisher for your tell-all book, you're probably already too well known not to be pardoned for even the most shocking of revelations. Bertrand Russell meticulously mentioned in his autobiography his first kiss. It was with the house maid. He wanted to proceed further, but the maid would have none of it! Had he been a blogger, such disclosures (before attaining fame as the greatest thinker of the 20th century) would have been highly improbable.

 

Blogs usually don't have the luxury of time. People could be lunging at you for the silliest of reasons. Having faced the hazard, I've had to forcefully take to desultory posts just to keep off potentially awkward situations. However, that hardly leaves me with anything interesting to write...except for the tonnes of events from the distant past that have somehow survived my dismal memory. When I look within for completely unobjectionable substance, it's all hollow. That left me wondering - do we generally have something or the other to hide from others? How comfortable would I be if I were to prop my blog with personal secrets even if I were granted immunity against repercussions? Very uncomfortable! Most people, if I may think so, would feel the same way. Does that make us all imposters, pretending (at a certain level) to be what we are not?

 

What's written, isn't worth it. What isn't, mustn't. What an irony!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I remember...

...our aquariums. Dad would take utmost care of all the fish.

 

I didn't think of it then, but I feel sorry for the fish. Do we really need to imprison them just to lend some aesthetics to our living space? It's another matter that those in the wilderness are known to have a shorter life span.

 

A short and sweet life is better than a long one without freedom.

The Gum Bottle

  • Some people have slipped vision. Dad was one of them...though not by much.
  • Some people have chronic backaches. Dad was one of them.
  • Some people have sloppy memory. Dad was one of them.

 

  • I have slipped vision, though very marginal.
  • I don't have backaches yet. However, I'm in a profession that demands long hours of sitting continually, a condition that often leads to chronic backache.
  • I've inherited bad memory from Dad.

 

We had accepted Dad's unreliable memory as part of what one has to live with. However, it wasn't always easy. One particular incident was excruciatingly hilarious.

 

As school going students, Didi and I often had to use the humble gum bottle, the kind that has long been replaced by slicker types. One particular gum bottle remained with us for a very long time. Strangely enough, even after months of use, we found the volume of gum in the bottle never decreasing. Not surprisingly, though, the gum gradually got thinner and less stickier! The mystery was solved when we discovered Dad diluting the gum with tap water!

 

Dad was aware he couldn't possibly remember getting a new gum bottle from the market when the old one was exhausted. He also knew that prevention was better than cure - an adage he put to brilliant use. Each time he used the gum, he silently slipped into the kitchen to do his little trick! The enigma of our unending supply of gum was solved when suspicion fell on him for obvious reasons.

 

Didi elicited great pleasure in reciting this incident to all the guests who would care to listen while Dad could only afford a sheepish grin! But he was embarrassed enough never again to try his trick on us. 

When secrets come out...secretly

This is one of the most engrossing blogs I've ever come across. The concept is very enticing and the revelations are there for all to see.

 

On a very different note - Wordpress has been a bit of a concept blog service for long and I decided to have a look at it early this morning. I've had an account longer than my memory can stretch, but I've never bothered to actively use it since I was more than happy with the industry-leading Blogger. With Google taking it under its fold, I could rest assured that a lifetime of nonsensical posts wouldn't vanish overnight because the owners couldn't fund the upkeep of their servers. While Blogger has been cranky at times, I've had few reasons to complain.

 

Wordpress still looks too rough around the edges but remains very popular among power bloggers because of the flexibility it provides. One very interesting service it now flaunts is the ability to import posts from Blogger. I tried my luck.

 

Check the result.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Dinner Disaster

I'm not sure if it was technically a dinner. Since it was past midnight, it was early morning - and since you can't have dinner in the morning, it was probably a breakfast. What the heck, I'll call it a belated dinner!

 

2 packets of Maggi noodles constituted my so-called dinner. One of the pouches containing the masala mix was not sealed - and all its content fell out. The other pouch didn't betray me but the noodles had become completely tasteless.

 

There was more disaster waiting to strike. I was surfing the Net, listening to Lady Ella on my headphones and having dinner, all at once. The awkward hunch over Andromeda made the headphones slip onto the bowl, Ella suddenly sounded distant and cold, my reflexes made the bowl slip in turn onto the mattress, spilling some of the near-inedible content over the sacred space where I do what I do best - sleep.

 

The noodles tasted yucky.

Beethoven

I will hear in heaven!

I want to seize fate by the throat.

Recommend to your children virtue; that alone can make them happy, not gold.Image:Beethoven.jpg

I have never thought of writing for reputation and honor. What I have in my heart must come out; that is the reason why I compose.

Music is a higher revelation than philosophy.

I wish you music to help with the burdens of life ,and to help you release your happiness to others.

What you are, you are by accident of birth; what I am, I am by myself. There are and will be a thousand princes; there is only one Beethoven.

I think it's one of the greatest tragedies mankind has ever known - the  most revered composer of all time was deaf!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Dad

I think of Dad everyday.

Is Pakistan Anachronistic?

Pakistan is a colossal mockery of democracy...and a shameless one at that. A despot is concocting his own brand of democracy and expecting people to fall for it. He is systematically purging the vestigial government and judiciary of his critics and replacing them with loyalists. He will allow people to vote...as long as they vote for him! He has the cheek to immediately send a former prime minister into exile as soon as he set foot on his country after ending a voluntary expatriation. Yet another former prime minister has been rendered completely powerless and alienated from her people. Her freedom has been heavily curtailed and none of her movements escape scrutiny and suspicion.

 

I reckon all the endless internal strife (that is Pakistan today) will tear the fragile foundation that feebly holds the country together. Pakistan is a ticking time-bomb ready to implode. But I guess all Islamic states are intrinsically on self-obliteration mode. Some are just closer than others.

 

It's time the international community pulled up the rogue nation.

I've Wondered

For a newborn, the head-to-body ratio is 1:4. For an adult, it's 1:8. The eyes are the only organ that don't grow in size.

 

I've often wondered if growing up makes things look smaller to us. Does it? As a child, I feared my favourite possessions apparently shrinking as I continued my march towards attaining adulthood! If we compare the world around us against ourselves, then this would definitely be true. But I'm not sure if this is how we perceive real world sizes. Very intriguing.

 

Schubert streams a familiar impromptu via AOL Radio as I type this post. He often wore round glasses - just like the Mahatma. Just remembered.

 

I need to get my head checked!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Labour

I worked, worked & worked today. Didn't even have the time for news.

Monday, November 19, 2007

DELL follow-up

DELL India has received a lot of negative publicity over the past few years for its poor support. The problem has become so acute that DELL has had to shelve many of its grand expansion plans for India.

 

My experience with DELL India Support has been very much the contrary. Ever since I raised the issue of the anomalous behaviour of my USB drive, DELL has been very supportive and their regular follow-ups have pleasantly surprised me. In fact, when I informed them of my impending itinerary last week, they even took note of it and SMSed me on my return to continue with the support. My feedback (for which I was asked) has been very positive.

 

DELL has also monitored my blog as part of its effort to gauge consumer sentiment. While it's regular corporate policy to monitor blogs nowadays, this definitely doesn't take away any credit from them for taking the initiative.

 

The only trouble I've had till date was in the inordinate delay in delivering my laptop. The tracking site wasn't updated (ever since the product reached India) and I was getting more and more restless with each passing day. But I guess you can't blame the good folks for dismal logistics.

 

Good work, DELL!

First Voice Chat!!

Had my first ever voice chat session today...it was long overdue! Voice clarity over Google Talk was amazing - actually better than my phone! Hail VoIP!

 

Should have tried this a long time back!!! Wouldn't have had to suffer inflated bills!

NEW!

Trying a new colour-combi.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Leonids

The eponymous Leonids meteoric shower is on in full glory, but the caving skyline of Bangalore made it difficult to spot even Leo from beyond the obtrusive coconut trees near our terrace early this morning. I was too sleepy to wait any longer for Leo to rise.

 

I'm slightly disappointed at the sparse media coverage.

My Own Domain!

www.deepanjannag.com

I suddenly feel important!

Engaged!

Nay, don't be fooled by the title! I saw an elderly couple deeply engaged in playing a game of dice during the entire length of our trip from Howrah to Chennai (14-15 Nov). They kept a scorecard and diligently updated it with each settling of the overworked but muted dice. You could easily be fooled into believing that they were indulging in a task of profound intellectual interest had it not been for the obviousness of the 5 silly dice.

 

It was nice watching their diligence in playing a game that would normally elicit nothing but disdain from most adults. Life's treasures often lie in the little things we so easily overlook.

 

A memorable lesson learnt.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Comet 17P/Holmes

 

Comet 17P/Holmes is currently homed in Perseus. Unfortunately, since I'm not too familiar with the constellation and since light pollution is making it difficult to spot even 2nd magnitude stars, though I must have spotted the comet tonight from my terrace, I couldn't really distinguish it from the stars. Very frustrating.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Couldn't stay away from Andro!

I've got a severe cold.

 

I'm supposed to pack my luggage for my trip tomorrow, but somehow that didn't sound half as appealing as flirting one last time with my digital better-half.

 

It's strange the way pseudosciences never die. Far from it, newer manifestations keep mushrooming everywhere. My vexation grows deeper when even corporates extend a helping hand to such spurious instruments of insight. I was appalled today when I found techies lined up for handwriting analysis, a novelty of a hoax that even has a name for itself - Graphology.

 

The craving to understand oneself is so severe and emotionally paralyzing that people will fall for anything. No wonder we have so many businesses thriving on our innate desperation to become conscious of our 'real' selves. But if being stuck within your own body 24hrs-a-day couldn't help you know yourself, how on earth can a stranger know any better by 'analysing'  your handwriting?

 

What can we expect next? Font analysis!! Just wait for someone to hit upon the bright idea and even manage to make a living out of it. The world is surely not short of fools to fall prey to it.

 

Windows Live went 'live' today and I readily upgraded from the beta installations.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Dell, Microsoft, Andromeda, Vodafone...

Dell did revert with a suggestion to update my BIOS and notebook system software. I complied. No change in the anomalous behavior.

 

Microsoft replied as well...very cordially. The clarification I sought about OEM software came forth and futility in addressing my problem was expressed. I understand, you can't blame Microsoft for all the minnows being indifferent to the needs of Vista.

 

I was planning on turning up the heat on my blogging drive from November. Seems there'll be a delay. My next rendezvous with Andromeda will be possible only after 15th...when I return from my jaunt to Kolkata.

 

I was attending a tele-conference with our Italian counterparts in office today when came the deadly message from Vodafone stating that I had crossed 80% of my credit limit and that to ensure smooth continuation of services I was advised to clear the unbilled amount! The figure was staggering and I just couldn't imagine that a reticent guy like yours truly could ever have to foot such a hefty bill. Anyway, a hard decision was taken to avoid a repetition. I now have yet another reason to HATE the phone.

 

Domestic bills too have spiraled out of control (thanks partly to the extraneous souls seeking refuge at our dwelling all too often), especially  due to the hidden costs that remain unaccountable, unwarranted and shrouded behind a veil of endless numerals. The charity must stop.

 

A day of immense austerity.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Saturday, November 03, 2007

A BIG Surprise

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That Windows Vista has issues with external devices is common knowledge by now. Many equipment manufacturers have failed to cooperate with Microsoft to create device drivers for Vista and the result is there for all to see.

 

Microsoft has an problem with my USB drive (this is a known issue). Awaking my Vista from sleep to active mode with the drive docked to port will inevitably hang the system within seconds. Microsoft has no patch for my particular thumb-drive (UMAX Apus Skate 2GB) yet.

 

That set me on my path to a startling discovery. Since mine is an OEM version of Vista, my POC (point-of-contact) apparently has to be DELL, not Microsoft! In fact, there's no way I can make Microsoft officially look up and take notice of me! This came as a BIG surprise to me.

 

As long as I hadn't come to this conclusion, I kept making futile attempts to getting in touch with the Redmond giant for support. I must say their Help and Support page is pathetic. IE7 offers the user the choice of either manually entering the Product ID (same as Firefox) or automatically downloading a software that send the ID back to Microsoft (exclusive to IE).

 

I tried both avenues and each time the sickening message that was sent to me was - The product ID number you entered is not valid or is not in the correct format. Please enter a valid product ID number and try again. Make sure the product ID number is of the form: 12345-XXX-7654321-98765.

 

Holy crap! Instead of making the end-user doubt the integrity of the OEM, couldn't Microsoft simply state that since it was an OEM copy of Windows, support would be provided only by the manufacturer? Though the support page does mention this somewhat obliquely, it looks more like a humble suggestion or an alternative rather than a stern direction.

 

Addendum: My suspicion has been vindicated as I was writing this post. A kind gentleman answered my query to finally quell any semblance of doubt. Microsoft needs to be more prudent with subtleties.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A day with email

Today was spent in romancing the vintage technology of emailing. Gmail's IMAP needs getting used to before the uninitiated can feel reasonably comfortable with its complexities and intricacies.

Windows Live Mail is a bit cranky in its own right while Google's self-confession on some issues being in the works also adds to the initial labor of setting up the system. And if you're fussy like me, you'll probably spend a lot of time tinkering before being reasonably happy with the mail client working in tandem with the mail server!