Thursday, February 26, 2009

Jaiho Bikes

How about "Jaiho Bikes".Came up with this name as I passed a Freedom Parked by the Roadside. What caught my attention was the name "FREEDOM" cast into the handle bar assembly. I am not sure if thats the norm for all the Bikes. My Hero Honda CD-100 does'nt have any such inscriptions.

So, why not Jaiho - a catchy name especially if targetted at the 30k segment. I mean the lower end.

Cant imagine a 175 or 250 cc "Jaiho" Bike - doesn't seem to gel. What do you think?

If I were a college kid living on my Dad's money probably I would like to ride the latest craze. Besides,I might not mind being identified with the Slumdog Millionaires.

Plus , For All the aspiring Slumdog Millionaires this could work like a lucky charm.

What say Guys?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Service Tax back at 10%

Image : taken from The Hindu

Good Sense prevailed or let be an Election Sweetner.

Service Tax has been reduced to 10%. Thats Good News.

You might wonder whats the Big deal about a puny cut of 1.8% ( effective ).

It isn't all that small. For instance on a 1 Lakh bill the service tax will work out to 1800/=(equal to one months mobile bill).

As an aftermath to this announcement S&P is considering to lower India's Credit rating to Junk.

Monday, February 23, 2009


So the Slumdog walked away with 8 oscars. Some intellectuals felt that all 8 may not have been deserved. Perhaps they were right.

But hey man !! Its not about the numbers - India got featured right up there on the Global stage. Any actor of reckoning aspires someday to hold that statuette.

Happy!! Happy and proud of all those kids from slums who walked this exalted stage so coolly. What self assurance. I guess that must have been one of the reasons they got got them the role. But what confidence. They would have put the best Private School Kids to shame.

AR Rehman is in a different league all together. I guess if anybody was expected to make it to that list it was him. So no surprises there. This post says it best.
Ella Pughazhum Iraivanukke.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pondicherry Saturday

Recently I went to Pondichery thanks to a Marathon at Auroville. Had almost a complete day at hand roaming around alone, so did the best that came to me and that was snap away at the sights afforded by a sleepy town.

Pondicherry is known for its French connections and quite unique in that respect. It is quite low on traffic and meticulously planned. The roads intersect each other at right angles. This was only my second trip and that after over a 10 year period hence this sight intersecting roads took some time to sink in.

I just shot away with my camera whenever I reached an intersection. It was not only the meeting but also the distances to which you could see down the road - must be easily half a kilometer. But this was only near the beach area.

As you moved away it wore the look of a typical town in TN.

Got down from the Garib Rath at around 11:00 , came out of the station studiously avoiding the clamour of Autodrivers though they werent as bad as in Chennai. Walked a few steps and took a few shots of the garishly painted Sacred Heart Church.


The Next hour or so was spent in search of a Room as all the rooms were taken up - it being valentines day.

One doesn'nt come across such signs in Chennai.

Finally checked in at Devi's Garden on the Beach Road. This seems to be a new joint and is very well maintained. Had a good stay. If you are planning a trip to Pondi check this place out.Rents are reasonable ( 1000-1500 ). What takes the cake( or Biriyani ) is the restaurant - Anjappar . Food is fantastic - try out the Country chicken Biriyani.As I type away my mouth has started to water. Infact that was my preparatory meal for the evening prior to the 1/2 Marathon.
Well, after a quick check in, and bath , changed and headed for the beach and pointed my camera at whatever quaint sights that came my way :

The Beach with rows of Benches

Doesnt get straighter than this

Monday, February 16, 2009

Auroville Marathon

You can't have a better experience running a Marathon than you would at Auroville.I can vouch for that.
Had a mind blowing experience yesterday running in this mini forest at Auroville.

You could call it a one of a kind experience. Away from anything to do with the city life. Running almost entirely amongst trees of different kinds, on tracks which were totally dug out at certain stretches and at some they were just or maybe less than a foot wide.
The trees or shrubs almost brushed your head as you ran.
The whole event was well organized. I had made a visit the previous evening to collect the number and Bibs. Since there is no organized transport here one depends on the good will of the Auroville residents, which, generally overflows in abundance.
On the event day,though, I did not want to test the Good will too much , so played safe by taking an Auto.
Reached the venue at 5:45 AM sharp. Hung around for a while, answered to the roll call, stretched a bit - peed and was ready.
At around 6:05 we were off. The route was well marked so no problems with that,absolutely.
All one had to do was put the head down and jog. 10 kms per hour must qualify as a jog. A marathon Jog. By the 3 km mark each was on his own.
I followed someone who wore only socks.I did that for quite some distance assuming him to be good runner if can do a long distance run without shoes.
After a while, felt I could loosen a bit and overtook him. From then on I was on my own for long stretches. I went past some and some runners overtook me. My guess about the sox runner came right as he overtook me, about five kms before finish line, at a mighty good clip.
I was enjoying myself running, listening to the birds - I could make out at least 4 different varieties. Even heard a peacock(what sound does a peacock make?).
Around the 6 km mark there was a good bit of revelry in the form of Drum beating a la Pune-Marathon.
Till around the 12-13 kms mark there were no problems. At that point I was feeling fit for another 20. But the pain started building up just around that time.
Tried walking for sometime as my legs felt heavy and a couple of times I had banged against stones jutting out - losing my balance in the process.
On a 1km stretch which was particularly trackless I decided to walk it. As I walked quite a few runners went past.
Well, that kind of re-motivated me to start running again. Which I did- again putting my head down and just looking at my shoes.
It was quite satisfying to see the ground move under my feet. Otherwise, when you looked up you saw the next closest guy was a good 300 meters ahead of you , well that can be demoralizing.
Around 3 kms from finish a pretty lady in a cycle egged me on telling me it was very close adding that there were only beautiful paths ahead.
Soon enough the path became very narrow and enclosed with low hanging branches - at times I was running between the bambooed fences on the backyards of tiny huts.
Further down it opened out into a field and I was onto a metalled road and I knew it was close.
I just made a dash for it.

Next year I am sure to be there.

Planning on bringing the entire family along.

Recently added a video of the event

Image courtesy - Ram Viswanathan

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A simple Life

On the Eliots Beach Chennai.

Took this snap of sparks flying out from the coal stove used to roast butta.A saleswoman stood next to the stove turning over the corns on the flames.

The value of an ear of Corn or whatever its called is 5-10Rs. this lady might be selling a 100 such corns in a day. Her cost would the cost of fuel Mostly coal.
At the end of day she might take home a 50 or 100 Rs.

Without getting into the economics of it dont you think its a pretty uncomplicated and simple life.

Just a thought.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Abortion - Parental Say

The priest yesterday during sermon touched on the topic of abortion. Mentioning quite vehemently that it was a devilish practice.

He went on to add, that people were killing children in the name of medical expedience, stating reasons like chances of physical or mental handicap.

Did'nt quite agree with him, since, I feel this is a decision that is best left to parents. After all it is their responsibility to bring up the child and expecting that their the child would grow upto be a healthy and normal human being would be every parents dream.

Going on those lines the knowledge that a baby is not properly developing should be a perfectly legitimate reason to discontinue a pregnancy if the medical situation warranted such a course.

One must remember that it is the advancement in medical technology which has enabled us to save many such infants who otherwise would not have been able to survive.But, their are instances wherein the deformity might be such as to leave the infant with either very little chances of survival or put the parents under tremendous financial burden attending to the cure. In such a situation should it not be the parents call what decision to take.

Last year the Nikheta Mehta case in brought this issue to the fore.

Wikipedia - Abortion Law


Friday, February 6, 2009

Valentines Day - the True Story

In spite of what you have been told by everyone, the truth is that
Valentine's Day originated hundreds of years ago, in India , and to top
it all, in the state of Gujarat !!!

It is a well known fact that Gujarati men, specially the Patels,
continually mistreat and disrespect their wives (Patelianis). One fine
day, it happened to be the 14th day of February, one brave Patelani,
having had enough "torture" by her husband, finally chose to rebel by
beating him up with a Velan (rolling pin to make chapattis).
Yes....the same Velan which she used daily, to make chapattis for
him.... only this time, instead of the dough, it was the husband who
was flattened.

This was a momentous occasion for all Gujarati women and a revolt soon
spread, like wild fire, with thousands of housewives beating up their
husbands with the Velan. There was an outburst of moaning
"chapatti-ed" husbands all over Anand and Amdavad.

The Patel men-folk quickly learnt their lesson and started to behave
more respectfully with their Patelanis.

Thereafter, on 14th February every year, the womenfolk of Gujarat
would beat up their husbands, to commemorate that eventful day - the
wives having the satisfaction of beating up their husbands with the

Velan and the men having the supreme joy of submitting to the will of
the women they loved.

Soon The Gujju men realised that in order to avoid this ordeal they
need to present gifts to their wives..they brought flowers and
sweets. This is how the tradition - Velan time - began.

As Gujarat fell under the influence of Western culture, the ritual
soon spread to Britain and many other Western countries, specifically,
the catch words 'Velan time' !!! In course of time, their foreign
tongues, this got anglisized to 'Velantime' and then to 'Valentine'.

And thereafter, 14th of February, came to be known as Valentine's Day
and now you know the true story of Valentine's day.

Some more losing ....

Continuing the take aways from Richard Bransons Losing My.. here is one from chapter 21.

"The sky was pitch-dark all around us.I scarcely looked out of the capsule but concentrated on the instruments. As I sat there with Per Lying comatose at the bottom of the Capsule, it seemed clear that we were going to die.With just three fuel tanks we would run out of fuel some thousand miles off the American Coast and have to ditch in the sea.We would have to fly this balloon for another 30 hours if we were going to live.I knew that the only chance of us living was for me to fly the balloon right to in the core of the jet stream.I put all thoughts of death out of my head and for the next 10 hours concentrated intently on the dials.

I do not believe in God, but as I sat there in the damaged capsule, hopelessly vulnerable to the slightest shift in weather or mechanical fault, I could not believe my eyes.It was as if a spirit had entered the capsule and was helping us along. as I watched the instruments and calculated our ground speed, it became clear that we were begining to fly very fast, close to the necessary miles an hour.Before we had dropped the fuel tanks we were flying at 80 miles an hour, which had been very good progress.Now we needed a miracle.
I slapped myself across the face to make sure that I wasn't hallucinating but each fifteen minutes the speeds grew faster: 160mph,180 mph, 200mph and even 240mph. The increase was astounding....

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Are you Not Afraid ?

Came across this Question on the QA section of Linkedin - "Are you not Afraid".

The question was posted on the Staffing and Recruiting section so meant to elicit responses from the Recruitment industry professionals.

Some very good responses came up and one of them I really liked - that was " - The only thing that we need to fear is fear itself. "

Most answers revolved around the point of being " Not Afraid ". It obviously sounded like a self conscious effort to sound brave.

If your mandates are down to 10% of what they were 6 months ago. If your clients who were hiring in Bulk are now letting go people - you have pared down your billing targets by 2/3rd - What do you do?

Well you will do more Business Development try to reach out to more clients , harden yourself to listen to greater number of "NO"s from prospective clients , reduce costs.

Yes, that is what needs to be done - but wont there be some fear too . I mean , isnt it fear that drives up survival instincts and forces us to reach out into the unknown. Fear has to be there so why why be in denial. It is fear which drives us and throwing us into a high gear.

Question is are we willing to Face our Fear or are we going to turn from this fear and run. This is where the earlier answer makes it so meaningful - " The only thing that we need to fear is Fear itself"

Somebody said - "Fear and Courage are Brothers". What is courage if there is nothing to fear. Infarct one can say that there is no courage without fear.

The general assumption is that a courageous person does not experience fear.

Offcourse he does. But he is willing to let go of the familiar and willing to plunge into the unknown - that is why he is courageous.

Uncertainty can instil a very deep fear that strikes us and leaves some people unable to respond in a rational manner. At that point we are lost.

But some of us have that something which picks us up and carries us.

It is Fear’s counterpart Courage. Where you find one, you will find the other.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Where did the Money Go?

Great presentation on The Guardian

Click here

A strange contrast to the Satyam case.

Private Virtue - Public Vice

This is attributed to Keynes - in the context that excessive thrift on the part of you and me will only help in prolonging the downturn.

Harish Damodran in the article " How Rational Behavior Begets recessions " on Business Line touches on this very Topic.

The question is when people around us are losing their jobs (returning Newly bought cars ) and livelihoods , would you be interested in going out and Buying a Flat even if the prices are rock bottom and even if there is a Mercedes thrown in with the flat. You get the drift - its not likely to happen.

So the current policy of the Government here and elsewhere to decrease interest rates might not see any immediate revival in spending. People are scared , they were exuberant 6 months ago now they are scared - fearing for their jobs - so the medicine will take sometime taking effect - if it really does.

The other option for the government to increase public spending - which is investing on infrastructure projects in a Big way - is a stronger medicine. But, for this medicine to work the our system should be efficient. Which it isn,t. Much of Government spending tends to land in private pools.

So what are the options?