Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hitting a trough

I don’t remember the last time I had called home and was happy. Didi called up at 11 in the morning to tell me of her latest crusade (nothing less!) to elicit the evasive Discharge Summary. The doctor and hospital authorities ganged up to show their usual humane side and refused to budge.

What finally came through (as I understood from the conversation) was a piece of paper with a quickly scribbled summary (that I’m sure doesn’t adhere to the norm) and the doctor’s attestation. Isn’t it an irony that a cardiologist can be so heartless?

I’m hoping (but not expecting) TTK’s appetite for extraneous detail is satiated and the insurance money is reimbursed. If not, I’m taking my case to the Consumer Court, come what may.

I’m waiting to learn a lesson or teach a lesson to the lesser taught.

Amul Kool Cafe

 amul Tried it. Liked it. And my money goes to people in need.

If only Amul had the marketing clout of Pepsi or Coca-Cola.

Buy here.

Docsyncer sank without a whimper

Docsyncer used to sit cozily on my system-tray and synchronize my local expense manager (which I had designed on Excel) with Google Docs. I was startled to discover yesterday that a few days into July, synchronization had ceased. I thought Docsyncer had perhaps erroneously logged out of my account, and tried to log in. No luck.

Getting curious, I Googled (technically, Yahooed) to unearth the truth. Docsyncer had wound up since they didn’t have a feasible revenue model. I was surprised they weren’t courteous enough to at least inform their customers of closing shop.

Monday, September 29, 2008

I feel nauseous

It’s now the turn of Hindusthan Health Point to harass me. While the doctor has agreed to write the Discharge Summary below the hospital letterhead according to the finicky TTK’s twisted tastes, the hospital is playing hard to get. I just don’t know what sort of morbid game is being played here but the whole ordeal is…typically Indian.

Hope is beginning to fade. Perhaps it’s time to call it quits.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The changing room

Santosh is either away or slumbering in my room. I almost always have my eyes glued to the screen as my fingers get touchy with Andromeda. This grants our cozy room a level of privacy not extended to any other in our dwelling…which makes it a hot favorite for round-the-clock male strip-teasing. Each time the bathroom is occupied, sometimes even when it isn’t, and we have visitors and someone needs to change, my room hosts a quick show…albeit without on-lookers.

By the way, I’m always awed at the dexterity with which guys change their trousers (and briefs) with a wrapped-around towel.

Around the Earth on the Glory Mission

nasa

nasadad

Every time I hitch a ride to outer space, Dad comes along. The odyssey reminds me of the innumerable trips he and I stole to the terrace to let the heavens take our breaths away.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Welcome to Sajjanpur

image

Another one wins my heart. It’s high-time I upped my expectations from Indian flicks.

Friday, September 26, 2008

ICICI ATM

The ICICI offsite ATM at the HP Petrol Pump on 15th Cross is often out of order and now I’m losing my temper. Perhaps I’ll have to redo the mail I had sent to HDFC Bank (5 years ago, in Ranchi) when I discovered, to my infinite annoyance, that an offsite ATM on Circular Road was lying as usual - defunct, when I needed some quick cash. What heighted my rage was the 2+2 kms I walked to and from another offsite ATM, which too wasn’t working.

The Circular Rd. ATM was immediately pressed back into service and an apology mail sent assuring me of unhindered access to the machine. They kept their word. Not once did I discover the ATM out of service after the incident.

It’s now time for ICICI Bank to face my wrath. More importantly, though, it’s high time I went to sleep. It’s nearly 4am!

Time 2 sleep

It’s 3:15am as I type this post.

I’ve spent a substantial part of the day communicating with Geoff over a WLMB bug. I’m amazed at the diligence with which he approached the problem and found the solution. He’s been practically over the snag round-the-clock and I’m left wondering about his time-zone!

Speaking of which, I’m wondering about mine as well!

MS & Usenet

I’ve been corresponding with the Microsoft guys today.

The Last Lear

image

Possibly Amitabh Bachchan’s finest performance.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Nocturnal Santosh

Santosh is supposed to be home everyday by 3 in the morning. These days, however, he’s rarely home before 4. In fact, he sometimes manages to return only when I’m readying for office at 7.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Can’t hide the truth

Beneath my clothes…

I’m really nude!

Travels in many dimensions

J calls just before close of office to know of my itinerary plans for Durga Puja. I say I have none. I walk to shuttle #8. The wait isn’t long before we move.

I remember I have my earphones today, dig into my bag and plug them to my phone. Kenny Rogers and others comfort me. Regional music – more of noise emanating from the in-bus speakers - leaks into my ears, but I have learnt to tolerate. I see a patch of lush greenery and wonder when was the last time I had felt the touch of grass. I can’t remember.

My mind drifts to an era when some of my favorite possessions were in the form of music cassettes. Forwarding and rewinding were such a delight! Didi had wanted Dad to buy an expensive music deck, and remained hopeful until crowding years ebbed her enthusiasm. I shared her ebullience, but not her expectation.

The bad roads won’t let me stay afloat, I reunite with the present. The driver puts on the lights and at once bathes us in cheap blue. We are a tad annoyed but accommodate the infiltration. I look at the windscreen. A miniature God sits tight in a frame dangling from the top. Lending artistry to the tiny prison are garlands of flashing mini-bulbs. The God dare not try to escape lest he be electrocuted. Some more flashing lights adorn the hind side of the driver’s cabin. The pattern is unintelligible, at-best like a Fractal abstraction. I lose interest.

I’m reminded of Scott & Amundsen, can’t recall why. A thousand other thoughts soon hog my mindshare, all incoherent. I love the songs that made today’s trip back home less painful, though my phone is sapped. I plug it to the power cable.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

In love with Chrome

Google Chrome is now my default browser. In a few days of full-time use, not once has it crashed.

Here’s what I miss the most: Adblock Plus.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Maniz Relieved

Our house seemed empty. Satya and Suman had shifted to a new place near Marathahalli. Santosh’s work hours were very odd. Mantu had already left for Pune.

The only ones inhabiting Rakesh Nilayam after work hours were Mani and yours truly. Therein lied his excruciating. I remained aloof in my own world and Mani’s innumerable attempts at dragging me into an interesting conversation almost always failed. The ones that didn’t were short lived.

Now that Mantu is back, Mani is visibly relieved for having someone to keep himself verbally engaged. The dreadful silence is finally defeated.

Satya and Suman are staying with us today and tomorrow. We had mutton for dinner. Santosh contributed Sprite.

As I type this post, Mantu’s reciting an anecdote to his friends in the next room. There’s laughter ringing.

Filtered Culture

I’ve been out of touch with the Bengali language for the past 12 years, barring the occasional visits to Kolkata. I sought a quick-fix a few weeks ago by subscribing to Bengali feeds from YouTube.

The feeds vividly reflect our mindset: the only thing we are obsessed with is porn. My newsreader has been so inundated by graphic videos that I’ve had to use Yahoo! Pipes to filter them. Sometimes, even that isn’t enough.

Keeping exceptions aside, here’s what I feel: we are outright uncultured. I am truly ashamed.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Mantuz Bach

Yes, Mantu is back! It’s nice to have him around.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

We need a Pied Piper!

That’s the prognosis. The Airtel guy showed up at our place early morning and discovered the reason for no Net connectivity: a rat had nibbled away at the wire!

Not too long ago, our place had become a regular hangout for pesky rats. Venturing into the kitchen in the dead of night was like going out on a safari without a gun for protection. The infestation became a serious threat when the gang of troublemakers started boldly venturing into all the rooms even during evenings.

Mani and Mantu (the latter arrives tomorrow!) fortified the place with a strong netting of the windows, and it seemed to be just the solution we needed…until a few weeks ago. Apparently, diligence has paid off and the rats have succeeded in cutting through the netting. They didn’t fall for the poison either. I guess it’s only a matter of time before the entire team shows up yet again at our dwelling.

Pests!!! Yuck!!!

Google Chrome Works!

image

I was always suspicious of Zonealarm Forcefield for the problems I was facing in installing Google Chrome. By now, I must have made more than 50 attempts at the installation! I was also getting increasingly frustrated with the buggy nature of Forcefield causing Firefox (and less often, Internet Explorer) to act really weird. Though the idea behind Forcefield is fantastic, it apparently has serious shortcomings. In spite of all the troubles, however, I wasn’t willing to let go of it, especially since it was a paid-product that I got for free.

Today, I had enough of Firefox launching in yet another avatar. I promptly uninstalled Forcefield and immediately gave Chrome a try. It worked flawlessly! I played with the new browser long enough and found it rock solid – no crash or misbehavior till now. It’s definitely fast and the spartan interface will entice the minimalist. Good for us.

Proud to say this about browsers for Windows - I’ve tried them all!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Net, Travel, Santosh, Mantu and TTK

My blog posts have been reduced to a trickle of late. Part of the reason lies in there being no Net connectivity at our place yesterday. By today morning, connectivity hadn’t been restored. The other part lies in the 4 hrs I spend commuting each weekday to and from office. That leaves me with a lot of time to reflect upon the daily events; but then again, what do you expect from a guy who spends 8 hours a day in front of the PC for a living!

The world’s worst kept secret - a stealth preparation for someone’s (resident of Rakesh Nilayam, of course) birthday celebration at the stroke of midnight, got another enactment yesterday as Santosh completed yet another worthless year of existence. He performed his role of ignorance to the hilt.

Mantu is all set to return to our dwelling on Friday if everything goes according to plan. I wish his experience in Pune was better.

The TTK sequel got a sequel of its own. After my bro-in-law ran from pillar to post (he and I are caught in a crossfire of bureaucracy) to try and get me some financial relief, the doctor has decided to rewriting the so-called Discharge Summary as verbosely as possible to quell any iota of suspicion that the insurance guys may have about mom’s operation. TTK guys are heartless.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Biscuits

Thought of pampering my taste buds tonight and bought 3 items, including a packet of biscuits. The kirana shop has a large assortment and one is really spoilt for choice. After a hard time trying to decide on my pick, I chanced upon a not-so-common type.

The last time I had come across this type must have been years ago, at my maternal grandparents’ place in Kolkata during a typical summer vacation. I loved this place because of one simple reason: it was the only escape we had from studies and the restive environs of Jamshedpur.

I particularly remember the relatively large kitchen, it was like a museum with a guilt-free pass to being raided. Raid I did, especially during the afternoons when most unsuspecting souls would be snoring away to glory. The very thought of joining the slumber gang when a whole world of confectionary delight was awaiting my prowl seemed like blasphemy to me. I remained loyal to my heart.

Biscuits were a challenge though. There were too many jars on the shelves, all of the same dimensions, all opaque. This unintended obstacle made the hunt all the more interesting. Once the biscuit jar was discovered, I treated myself without any restraint whatsoever to my reward.

I relived some of the old pleasures tonight, though much of the fun was missing.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Blue Lights

I hate the blue lights in our new office. The ambience is thoroughly ruined.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Revolution

Happy

Birthday,

Andromeda!

LHC goes live!

The world's largest particle collider went live today at 1230 hrs IST on firing two beams of protons in opposite directions around a 17-mile underground ring.

Protons traveled clockwise along the full length of the 4 billion Swiss franc (US$3.8 billion) Large Hadron Collider — described as the biggest physics experiment in history. Five hours later, scientists successfully fired a beam counterclockwise.

Scientists are expected to be able to conduct collisions within a few months. The collider is designed to push the proton beam close to the speed of light, whizzing 11,000 times a second around the tunnel.

Bye, Swapna!

Today was Swapna’s last day in our Hyderabad office. I drafted an on-demand farewell mail for her.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

From PostSecret

Life’s a sorry tale of compromises!

DELL Shocks

I’m in a state of shock. And I’m not speaking metaphorically.

I’ve been receiving electric shocks occasionally of late from the keyboard and even the optical drive. Problem is, we don’t have a 3rd wire. The monsoon has made things worse. Our learned landlord felt the need to save on costs is more important than salvaging someone’s life. You should meet him. He’s so humble, he’s firmly grounded…and thought so were we.

If you see my hair standing on end, don’t be surprised.

Friday, September 05, 2008

The TTK Saga Continues

Life's surely a joke at TTK.

After a month of spitting fire at TTK and receiving nothing but utter disdain, my only hopes to restore normalcy in my life was to personally visit the hallowed HO. Prior to the visit, I had barked so hard and so long over the phone at the folks from TTK, the window panes in my house rattled! I can't even begin to describe how my queries were answered. A bunny would have responded better.

The auto ride was long and bumpy. The driver and I spoke languages that had nothing in common. The fare was Rs.125, which turned out not to be that fair after all. My appointment was between 2 & 3 in the afternoon, and in keeping with my tradition, reached before time. Killed the buffer time taking lunch at a Kerala restaurant.

The rendezvous at the HO was like a sword meeting the shield. To put it tamely, I was ready to grant someone frequent flier miles to Hell. Someone calling himself "Mr.Arun" [sic] had to bear my brunt, and he bore it well. I put my bro-in-law on the line cause he understood the nuances much better than me. Here's what transpired: we've got to contact the hospital and ask for a discharge summary. Knowing well how hospitable hospitals are, I'm not too certain they'll entertain us. I'm just hoping for a miracle or a secret hymn whose chanting will awaken the morally dead folks at Hindusthan Health Point.

I thought of taking the bus back home. Being illiterate to the local language, and most buses proudly flaunting their routes only in Kannada (a subtle overtone of hostility towards any non-native...again typical of the Indian psyche), my futile wait at the stand was a foregone conclusion. I took an auto after half-an-hour, this time the fare being only Rs.95.

I don't know if the visit was any use.

John Q. Walker: Re-creating great performances

Musical genius meets modern technology

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

A date with calendars

I love calendars, especially the desktop ones.

image I tried Windows Calendar yesterday. Works flawlessly and looks stunning. I imported my Google (iCal compliant) Calendar flawlessly. The only problem: calendars have the equivalent of POP, but nothing akin to SMTP. Consequently, changes I make to my desktop aren’t reflected on Google Calendar, which is rather sad.

image My next stop was the adorable Mozilla Sunbird. It’s sluggish, ugly and has a problem with caching. However, like Windows Calendar, it flawlessly imported my Google Calendar. But the real winner lies in an extension, that, like magic, allows 2-way communication between Sunbird and Google Calendar.

I hope to play with the two for the next few days before deciding on loyalty.

Chromatic Aberration

Reviews of Google Chrome have been rave in general. If the world could look at how many failed attempts Andromeda made at adopting the Chrome, I suspect perception of the newborn would turn very hostile.

I must have tried installing Chrome at least 20 times by now. These are two of the massages I’ve received during various stages of sinking into insanity:

image

image

Only once did the product work…and even that joyride came to an end when I closed the browser window.

Scouring through forums, I’ve found that few people have experienced the same problem. I just hope this snag is taken care of before long.

Chrome seems to have put a lot of attention into Javascript. Benchmarks clearly prove Chrome faster than other browsers in rendering Javascript–heavy pages. But I personally feel Javascript is generally only a tiny part of a webpage. Most pages won’t see significant benefits. As one gentleman picturesquely put it, if you have a toilet that flushes 10x faster, how much you actually benefit from it depends on how often you worship the porcelain temple!

Google Chrome

Comic Book