December 27, 2012

Migratory Birds - Survival of the Fittest!

Hi Guys,

Yesterday morning, I saw a few migratory birds flying over my head. It has been quite some time since I saw them. As soon as I saw them, my mind became so happy. It was then that I realized how much I missed watching these birds. I am not a keen bird watcher, but I enjoy seeing the flock of birds, their amazing pattern and the sheer strength displayed.

The great evolutionist Charles Darwin said that only the fittest will survive. The migration of the birds can be attributed to their survival. It is etched in their genes that they must travel in order to survive. I wonder how the evolution must have taken place. Identifying a place where they can be safe and travelling back and forth every year.
This bird (the white one) is known as the Great White Egret. It is a partial migratory bird (only a part of the species will migrate). It is commonly found in North America and it migrates to south Asia in the winter. I found this bird in a lake that was near my home. I took this photo a year back (on 25-12-11)

Many of the birds travel more than 10000 miles each year with the hope of surviving and creating their successors. The whole story is that they need to travel back another 10000 miles again. This process continues.

Over the time they have evolved in such a way the birds know exactly what they are doing in migration. Before the migration period they start conserving energy and store the food as Fat in their body. Some species of birds don’t stop in between during the migration. A bird species in New Zealand migrates to the northern Hemisphere without anywhere in between. They cover a distance of more than 6000 miles.

Most of the birds travel in a particular route all the time. These routes are genetically imprinted in the birds. They travel along a particular mountain range, coast or any other easily identifiable landmark. Most of these routes are designed in such a way that they consume less energy. Mostly we can see that their destination also remains the same. A particular butterfly in Northern America migrates from Mexico to USA and back to Mexico in a circular pattern. By the time, they complete a journey three generation of butterflies’ passes away. It is genetically programmed in such a way that when a newer set of butterflies come into life, they know exactly where to go.

Also, you must have seen the birds travelling in flocks. Most of the time they are V shaped in nature. This reduces the total energy spent by the birds in order to fly. The bird at the head directly counters the wind and it deflects the wind and the pattern is in such a way that the other birds are not affected by wind. After sometime, the head bird is replaced by some other bird. It is said that this process conserves around 15% of the energy. It increases the speed of the birds by around 3 miles/hour.

It is just mindboggling to know the amount of energy the birds spent in order to survive and pass on their genes. As I write this article, there must thousands of birds flying all around the world migrating from one place to another with the hope of surviving. At the end of the day, it is the ‘Survival of the Fittest’ and these birds are born to survive.

Happy Reading!!!

December 21, 2012

The Root Cause for Bus Footboard Accidents

Hi Guys,

A few days back there was a grave accident in Chennai where four students were killed in a bus accident. They were travelling in the footboard and a lorry crashed into them. It was a very shocking incident. It was a hot topic for one or two days and then it was forgotten.

The next day there was an article in Times of India about how the Transport Corporation operates fewer fleets due to lack of man power (2400 buses instead of 3300 available). Yet, their revenue never decreased. It is said that revenue increases when there is less availability of buses as it leads to people swapping buses after a short duration. On the day of accident, the bus had 120 passengers.

The next day High Court issued an order that schools can detain students travelling in Footboard. Most of the students don’t travel in footboard for fun. They travel as they don’t have any option. We should look into the backdrop of the problem and solve the root cause.

During my college days I have observed as to how the public buses are so crowded just before the school and college timings. General advice given is ‘Why don’t students catch the bus early?’ How early? I have seen most of the buses very busy for a long time in the morning. Yes, some problem does lie with the students for waiting till the last minute. In the afternoon very few people travel in most of the routes and yet there will be lot of buses. If you notice closely, the number of people travelling in Footboard is more in the morning than in the evening (as there is no Time Pressure).

Five days after the accident took place, I was travelling to Chennai around 8 am. It was the same route (OMR). It was a Saturday. Yet, I was able to see the bus full of passengers. There was no one standing in the footboard. But there were lot of school students and office going people. From the amount of people in the bus stops and the usual number of buses in that route, it was obvious that there was too much demand and too less supply. If it was the condition on Saturday, then what about week days when more schools and more offices are working.

The students don’t have any other option. The number of buses should be increased. Asking schools to detain those students doesn’t work practically. Will the schools accept students coming late? Never. The whole concept fails there.

The sad part is the whole issue is forgotten within a few days of the incident. It is so sad. Everyone blamed the students for the mistake and the Transport Corporation or Government officials never even bothered to look inside the case.

Hope something better is done and future accidents are avoided.

P.S: Didn’t finish with my usual style of Happy Reading. It’s not a happy one.

December 14, 2012

Travel Experiences!

Hi Guys,

A Long walk after a long time. It was a visit to a nearby township and the one and half hour walk to and fro was refreshing. It was supposed to be a 6 km walk, but a few wrong paths increased the distance. And my friend who was complaining about the distance before starting forgot it after a short distance and got immersed into the nature. It brought me lot of memories back.

Travel is something that we can’t avoid in life. We travel a lot. We travel to lot of places. We use a lot of vehicles. We walk a lot. Yet a few journeys remain fresh in our mind. Each time we get a new experience.

Two years back, I along with three of my friends was doing an In-Plant Training at a famous automobile company’s R&D centre. The company was said to be in the outskirts of Chennai. When we started on the first day, we were full of energy. By the time we reached their office we were zapped out.

Each day we would start at 5.30 am in the morning. We will reach Chennai Central by 6.10 am and catch a train at 6.15 am. The train journey to Minjur (a suburban station somewhere north of Chennai) would take 75 to 90 minutes depending on the traffic. The journey would show you the completely contrasting life in the northern parts of the city dominated by Industry Labors. After Ennore station, you would see a beautiful estuary where a Lake or River joins with the sea. You can note the effect of high and low tide clearly on different times.

We would be getting down in Minjur by sometime around 7.30 am and next part is the tedious one. We need to catch a share auto that would leave you in the office after 30-45 minutes or sometime even after an hour. Usually we would reach the office by 8.30 am. The road it seemed was created specifically with the purpose of creating back pains and asthma problems. The road was dominated with Container Warehouses and Trucks that carried the containers to the ports. We need to do the reverse in the evening and if we were lucky we would reach the destination within three hours. This was our schedule for the next one week then.

During my first two years of Engineering, I travelled in college bus and during my fourth year, I used my motor bike to travel. In between, during my third I travelled by other means – public transportation, share autos or some days with my friends. Share Autos are yet another interesting means of travelling. Of course, you should bear in mind that anything can happen. If you inside the share auto, you might experience a few quick turns and breaks, nothing more. If you are outside the share auto, particularly travelling in a bike nearby a share auto, then the chances of you falling down are very high.

Recently we had a case in Marketing Management about overloading in Indian Autos. The case mentioned the average overloading used to around 30% I have seen worse than that. I was standing in the bus stop. A share auto came. At a place where there can be 6-7 people, the driver loaded 10 people (3 people at the back) and as soon as he released the first gear, the front wheel went up and thank god, the auto didn’t fall down.

These days, most of the share autos have been replaced by mini vans. They offer more comfort, space and safety. They are the most common means of transport around my college (the current one). People here are so adaptive and adjustable. The fare is so low. The drivers get Rs. 10 for nearly 10 kms. The people here don’t mind about the number of people. I have seen the vehicle full and still the people inside adjusting themselves for accommodating one more person. They never complain. In Chennai people will be shouting on top of their voice even if an extra person gets in.

I want to share a lot other incidents. But this post is already long. Will continue soon…

Happy Reading!!!

December 8, 2012

Is it right to demand for Spinning Pitches?

Hi Guys,

Back to Cricket after a long time. This time I am planning to write about the wayward demand made by MS Dhoni.

Dhoni wants the pitches to turn right from Day 1 and this has created a huge controversy. The logic made by Dhoni is that Home Conditions need to favor the home team. Also in Australia and England pitches seam right from the first ball. Before agreeing or disagreeing to Dhoni’s comments, we need to look into the logic.

Leaving apart the nature of the pitch, we know that a new Ball seams or swings and as the ball starts to wear it starts to Spin. It is true in most of the cases, except that the amount of seam and spin depends on the pitch. Dhoni’s comments is nearly something like Alaistar Cook saying that England pitches should support seam and bounce the same way irrespective of whether its first over or 80th over.

Also in Test matches are not touched until the end of fifth day and the pitch withers according to the nature’s wishes. So, as time goes on the pitch starts to spin more or seam more. This is one of the main reasons why chasing a score above 250 in fourth innings is tough. Asking for a turning pitch right on the first day will make things worse as the match goes on and the match gets over in three days. Dhoni’s logic of saying that there is no fun playing for five days goes against the history of 5 day matches.

Dhoni says that each country has its own Home Advantage and India doesn’t. Indians have always had their home advantage. The blazing sun along with batting and spinning pitches has made the opposition tired. Other teams have found it hard to win in India. Steve Waugh’s dream was to win a test series in India and it never happened. And home advantage does not belong to pitches only. It lies with the environment, surroundings, fans, etc.

In Australia or England all the pitches don’t behave the same way. Perth is a heaven for Pace Bowlers. Sydney always supports Spinners to some extent. Melbourne and Adelaide are completely different. The same goes with other pitches too. Clarke doesn’t say that all pitches should behave like Perth or something like sort of that. Asking for similar conditions in all pitches of India is not a right sign.

With problems aplenty in the team, asking for supportive pitches (even after which we lost) won’t help. Grooming youngsters towards Test Cricket is the right sign. We always find someone to blame with. Similarly two good matches can take a player to extreme highs. A long term solution is more important than a short term one.

Hope to see Indian team performing well.

Happy Reading!!!

November 22, 2012

As a Butterfly flutters its wings...

Hi Guys,

A lot can happen when a Butterfly flutters its wings! The Butterfly Effect or Chaos Theory – A theory that fascinates me beyond limits whenever I think about it. One main reason why it fascinates me is that it makes me believe that our whole life is a chain of events where one event lead to the next event and at the end of the day we would do something, because of something that we did years back. It makes me believe another thought that is ‘Whatever happen, happens for a reason’

Butterfly Effect states that, ‘It has been said that something as small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wing can ultimately cause a typhoon half the way around the world’. This is very real in terms of real life too where a small decision or advice could turn the events in the future. It is more like a Decision Tree where you are provided with different choices. The first point is the Butterfly Wing and the direction in which you decide to flutter can alter your whole path.

The Tamil movie Dhasavatharam would be based on this theory. A king’s Superstitous belief and idiotic behaviour leads him to throw a statue in the sea, which ultimately creates movement of Tectonic plates and Tsunami centuries later saving thousands of people from a harmful virus.

Thinking a bit in my own life, I can see how Butterfly Effect has played a role in many of the things. I still remember the day when I sent the mail to my brother about an Industrial Visit. After typing all the content, I was hovering over the To Column. I wanted to send it to two of my friends and another part of my mind said not to send. It was good that I sent and that resulted in creation of my blog.

After a few months of writing blog, I was deserted. I had no ideas and I didn’t know where I was heading. A small little dog that lost its way came to my home, a few mischievous squirrels decided to play with my mother, Nat Geo was telecasting about Seals when I switched the TV on and my brother saw a few seals in Argentina. All this lead to the creation of Animal Week post and my brother was impressed with the post and that rejuvenated a lot of passion into me and that is what keeps me writing till now.

Many of the things we consider small and insignificant can have a huge impact in the latter part of life. As the famous proverb goes

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for a want of a Horseshoe nail.


There is a movie known as The Butterfly Effect which is based on this theory. I have already written about the movie and also a few things about the theory two years back. To see the post, ClickHere.

Happy Reading!!!

November 17, 2012

If its not Forever, its not Love - Durjoy Datta and Nikita Singh

Hi Guys,

A short Book Review for a Small book. The small book is ‘If it’s not forever, it’s not Love’ by Durjoy Datta and Nikita Singh. If you want to read a story book just for time pass and want to finish it within a day (or even shorter), then it’s a perfect book for you.

What will happen if you get stuck in a bomb blast on your way to office? For most of us, Bomb Blasts are just news of what happens some hundreds of kilometres away. The author has tried to relate to what happens to the people in the scene. The basic plot reminded me of the Tamil Movie Engeyum Eppothum, which dealt with the lives of people getting stuck in a bus accident.

Deb is the main character and one fine morning when he goes to office, a bomb blasts and he gets stuck. Though nothing happens to him, he gets disturbed by the scenes around him. After some days of shock, he tries to recover. He goes to the blast site and finds a diary at the site of a blast.

He reads the story and gets engrossed with the story of the dead man and his romantic life. The diary is burnt at the ends and hence the ending is not known. So, he sets out to find the story along with his girlfriend, friend and his crazy girlfriend.

The journey makes them travel all across India and in the process, they learn a lot about Human Characteristics and Behaviour. What they find about the so called dead man and his life forms the rest of the story.

The writing style appeared to be very crazy in nature. All the characters were portrayed as crazy beings who never cared about life and the only thing they wanted was enjoyment. There were a bit of serious thoughts among them now and then. It was like, they were not completely crazy, but had some insight.

I think the author was so engrossed with the word ‘Indirect Expenses’ from his MBA and so he kept using that one throughout. The story plot was good. A bit of more serious characterization would have made the story much better.

A good time pass, provided you don’t have any other works.

Happy Reading!!!

November 9, 2012

IRCTC - Is its Performance really poor?

Hi Guys,

Do you know which India’s largest e-commerce website is? It is IRCTC. Yesterday, IRCTC was trending in Twitter. I guess there would be no one, who has used IRCTC and ended up without booking a ticket. One of the tweets went on to say that IRCTC stands for ‘I Refuse to provide Connectivity to the Customer’
I myself was suffering from the connectivity problem last week, when I had to book tickets for my parents and it took me two days to book a ticket. The worst case scenario can be when the money gets debited and yet the ticket doesn’t get booked.

When I checked about IRCTC online, I learnt some interesting facts. IRCTC which actually stands for Indian Railway’s Catering and Tourism Corporation is a subsidiary of Indian Railways. Started in August 2002, when the Internet Spread in India was very low, IRCTC has grown big way. With a transaction of 1500-2000 per minute, the number of tickets booking per day is 4.5 Lakhs. In 2011, the total number of tickets booked was 9.69 Crore with a total value of Rs. 8000 Crore. There are totally 52 servers. IRCTC deposits Rs. 50 Lakh everyday to the Indian Railways as an advance to buy tickets.

One of the main complaints is that booking Tatkal tickets in IRCTC is a big headache. It is not IRCTC who has made it as a headache, but the sheer number of users trying to book tickets during the timeframe. On an average 8 Lakh a users (which is nearly double the number of ticket booking per day) try to book tickets in the first ten minutes of the Tatkal timeframe. Of that only 50000 people come out of the website with tickets.

One suggestion many people give is that IRCTC should increase the servers. If the number of servers is increased then probably more people can login. But, the number of people who will go unsatisfied will increase from the current 7.5 Lakh, as tickets are limited.

What is happening today is there is too much demand and too less supply. The optimum solution is to increase the number of trains and we can’t blame IRCTC. There are two reasons why people prefer trains – comfort and cost. Indian Railways has not increased the cost of tickets (thanks to our society oriented politicians) and are not in a condition to improve the infrastructure. The fares in buses have skyrocketed in the mean time.

Though these stats make me feel sympathetic towards IRCTC for the Tatkal tickets, the poor performance of the site in non peak times frustrates me. Even if you try to book a ticket for a normal day on a normal day, the website is slow. IRCTC must improve these types of performances, where it is absolutely possible to provide hassle free service.

Comparing with many of the Government Websites, IRCTC’s performance is very good. We need to understand the root cause of the problem and not blame the website.

Happy Reading!!!

October 31, 2012

Mechanical Engineering Memories: Assumptions and Designs!

Hi Guys,

After a very long time, I have been quite inactive. This is only the second post I’m writing in October (might extend to November by a few hours when I finish). Life is always interesting. The days I think I’ll be busy, I’m free and the days I think I’ll be free, I get caught up in some work or the other. I had lot of things in my mind to write, but I want to write about a thing I have been thinking of for a long time and that is Assumptions.

Assumptions have become part of my life these days, since we have to reasonably assume in order to solve many of the case studies. But Assumptions have been part of my life even before this. The post is about the Assumptions we had in Mechanical Engineering or in particular Design subjects.

If I remember properly, it started in July 2010 and ended some 10 months later. Two subjects ‘Design of Machine Elements’ and ‘Design of Transmission Systems’. Both the subjects were handled by a single professor, who seemed to be very unfriendly in the beginning and in the end he happened to be a very good guide to many of us.

We had to carry a hefty Design Data Book to the class. Though there was a provision to keep it in the faculty’s desk and take it back, I don’t know why I never preferred it to do it that way. I used to take it back home each day, though it served no purpose other than increasing my bag weight by half kg or so.

There were totally 10 chapters across the two subjects and they had three things in common. 1. Design. 2. Steps and 3. Assumptions. We had to design something like a V Belt, Flat Belt, Shaft, Gear or Gear Box. The questions would be very blunt with lot of data missing. The Design data book is a book that would contain lot of data for various types of situations.

Generally or each question asked, there would be some 10-16 steps. And in most of the steps you would have to make some assumptions. For instance, to design a belt, the diameter would be given, but the material won’t be given. Sometimes, it can be as blunt that the question would be to design a 14 Speed Gearbox. You can take any of the standard dimensions or data from the book. So, actually what happens will be the first decision taken would impact the next decision and so on. The End result would be that everyone in the class would get a different answer and the beauty is that no answer is wrong, if proper assumptions are taken.

It is too difficult to go through each of the assumptions and so as a result, if you know the number of steps to be followed in a problem along with the Formulae (which is quite a trouble, as each step would have a formula and the formulae would be quite lengthy), you will score good marks.

It is actually a very interesting subject which should help a Mechanical Engineer to design the objects he studies in class in an industry. But, sadly our Education system makes it in such a way that the students assumes things in order to get the solution and they never think whether the assumptions would help them in arriving at the final product.

An Interesting subject and nice memories!!!

Happy Reading!!!

October 16, 2012

The Dark State of Power in Tamil Nadu

Hi Guys,

The power situation in Tamil Nadu has gone crazy.

I was speaking with my friend Vimal and he was asking whether I’m planning to write any more posts on the same as I have already written four posts. He said that each time I say power shedding is bad, it becomes worse.
One of the pictures published in The Hindu Newspaper
 The last time I wrote was on April 21, 2012. It was titled Frustration at its Peak – 10 hours of Power cut per day! I finished the post optimistically writing that the power situation can’t worsen and I hope not to write about 12 or 14 hour power cut. But, sadly I have to write about 14 hour power shedding.

Last week I was in Madurai and the way power shedding is done is absurd. There is no schedule, no announcement and you don’t know when power is there and when power is not there. The inventors don’t enough power to get charged up. This is the situation of all the cities in Tamil Nadu, except Chennai.

Government has been largely ineffective. This government blames the previous government. Then, they blamed the previous government (which is the current one). They said that there were no steps taken from early 2000s and they never took any steps to build power stations and neither is Government taking any steps to rectify the situation. And no one knows why Chennai is excluded from this list and faces just 1 hour power cut. With the huge power consumption, an increase by another 1 hour could relieve the state in some way.

It has people in all walks of life. With the monsoon approaching and mosquito menace increasing, sleep is completely lost with the alternate 1 hour power shedding in night. All the businesses are completely affected. People don’t know what to do. Small scale businesses can’t afford for generators. Students are affected and they are not able to study.

Everyone is complaining. Media is covering to certain extent. They are too tired of writing the same thing for 4-5 years with increasing time duration of power shedding (me too!!!). The number of sarcastic comedies in Facebook about the power situation has been on a rise. And Government is with an attitude of ‘Who Cares?.

What is the Solution? Will the situation reverse? God only knows.

Happy Reading!!!

September 16, 2012

Interesting People - 2

Hi Guys,

After the good response I received for the post Interesting People, I felt that I should revive back many such moments. So, here I again present of the moments when I had come across Interesting People.

Who are the important persons for running a Public Transport Corporation Bus? Of course, Driver and Conductor. Have you ever travelled in a Public Transport bus without a conductor? I have. This interesting incident happened just two months back. I and my cousin started to Express Avenue Mall. We got into a bus at Koyambedu. The bus started in 5 minutes. There were only 10 people in the bus and we were only people sitting in the back end.

After the bus started, my cousin asked me, ‘Where is the conductor?’ I said he must be somewhere in the front. Only after some 2 minutes, everyone started looking back and forth. We realized there was no conductor in the bus. The driver was alarmed and he stopped the bus. I thought that the driver might take a turn to the bus stand and got down. The driver was not even bothered about the incident. After some five minutes, the conductor arrived in another bus. As soon as he got down, a big fight started between the driver and conductor. The driver was abusing the conductor that he missed the time and conductor was blaming the driver for his irresponsible behaviour.

Whenever I see the ICICI Bank nearby Koyambedu Bus stand, this incident comes to my mind. This is where the incident took place. Isn’t it the driver’s responsibility to start the bus only after verifying with conductor?

Sometimes, you come across people who ask you genuine questions unexpectedly and you stand still not knowing what to answer. I and two of my friends were doing a project in a Manufacturing Industry a few months back. During the initial few days we were getting to know the working of the unit. There was a friendly worker in the furnace division. He was a contract labour and he was working there for the past two years. After explaining the working of the furnace, he asked us what we were doing.

 When we said we were doing Mechanical Engineering, he said that we people had a very high education. We said its nothing like that. Before we could say anything, he came up with the next question, ‘Your job is to remove our job. Isn’t it? You people automate things and decrease the Human work force’ He asked it directly in a soft tone and we were paralyzed not knowing what to answer. It seems that they were automating a process and hence from the next month they required only one worker instead of three. Whose mistake is that? Management? Mechanical Engineer? Worker? I don’t know.

That’s it for now.

Happy Reading!!!

September 5, 2012

Advantage Nokia?

Hi Guys,

It looked as if all the roads were closed for Nokia. From the days of being a very dominating player, they were pushed to an ordinary player whose smart phones were terribly failing in the market. Their unwillingness to switch to a different OS seemed perilous. When Apple came out with innovations and Samsung followed the path with comparatively cheaper phones, Nokia’s comeback strategy looked difficult.

Do you India’s most trustable brand? It’s Nokia. It has been in the number One place for quite some time. Nokia has been my favourite brand for a long time. It was the market leader in India’s mobile segment till last year. Even now, it has a dominating power among the lower income group. The stable and reliable lower price phones were the supporting factors. But when it came to higher end mobile, Nokia lacked market space and Samsung conquered it.

For the past few months, Nokia has been trying to innovate and come out with a new product. The initial Lumia models were quite average and didn’t perform as expected. 808 Pureview was promoted with Camera as the main product and that worked to some extent for Nokia. Camera crazy guys started to adore the Pureview.

But, Nokia needed something big to be back. So did Windows Phone OS. For both the players, the new product is nearly a ‘Do or Die’ product. After a series of hypes, the introduction ceremony took place today and the whole Twitter was trending with the tagline #switchtolumia

Nokia has succeeded to create the initial impact among the customer’s mindset. With Apple lacking innovations and Samsung caught in the copycat scandal, it is the best time for Nokia to breakthrough. Nokia seems to promote the product with the tag of Wireless Charging. Basically, you don’t need to plug in and charge but if you keep the phone on the charge pad it will get charged. How innovative is this? The technology is innovative, but the flexibility it will create depends on the convenience factor.

Also, the first phone with Windows Phone 8 OS creates some hype. After failures, there is a hope that Microsoft will come out with a better OS as it is very critical for the future of the mobile OS of Microsoft. Also the addition of Pureview seems to be an attractive feature as it promises better Camera than other smart phones.

The initial hype is great. With Apple phones getting stereotyped and Samsung facing troubles, the wind is blowing towards Nokia. Now it depends on how strong Nokia’s sail is. It’s Make or Break situation for Nokia.

Let us wait and see how customers respond.

Happy Reading!!!

September 1, 2012

Interesting People!

Hi guys,

Long time since I wrote. It is interesting how life turns out. When you are free, you don’t get any ideas to write about and when you are busy with loads of works piled on you, lot of ideas generate in your brain. I am experiencing it now and I have experienced it before too.

I don’t know why, but I was thinking about people and I started wondering how people are so different from each other. If you start observing you can get so much experience of how people react to situations.

A few days ago, I met a young boy who was 5-6 years old. There was a big cut in his face nearly like a line in between. I asked him what happened. In all my imaginations I didn’t expect the answer. He told me that he tried to take the eggs of a crow from its nest and the crow attacked him. After answering he ran away. I was wondering how a 5 year old boy was able to reach a crow’s nest and take its egg.

Sleep is one thing that always amuses me. The reason is quite simple that I can’t sleep for a very long time and I can’t sleep for a very short time too. So, when I find someone who sleeps always or a person who doesn’t sleep at all, I wonder how they do that. During my Engineering college days, there was this friend of mine who used to sleep often. He used to get into the college bus. Everyone will start conversing and he will start sleeping. I used to go to his house now and then. He will be sleeping and his mother will wake him up. If you ask him what you are going to do after going home, he will answer in one word ‘Sleep’. I don’t know how he manages to sleep so long.

And then there are few people who are so interested in calling others and enquiring. Again a friend of mine in my Engineering college days. Whenever exam comes he used to start calling us. He used to call some 4-5 friends and speak with each of us for at least half an hour. He will ask what to study, what not to study. He will discuss how idiotic the syllabus is, how poorly the subject was taken or how complex the things are. He will keep the phone, study for some time, then repeat the process. I used to feel that he should better become a professor and then analyze everything. The good thing he is already in the first step towards that.

And then there are few people who can’t stop giving suggestions. Once I had to travel from Nagercoil to Chennai in Train and then there was this guy travelling along. He was working in a leading newspaper and every minute he wanted to show off that he works in a newspaper. Whenever anyone started some topic, he used to jump in and say ‘You know, when we did survey we found out this’ or ‘there is lot of scope in this area. People don’t work’ It was turning unbearable.

And then there was an old man in the same compartment and he was going on talking with press guy. I was wondering how he managed to do that. At the end the old man asked ‘Can you give me your phone number?’ I knew why the whole conversation took place. The press guy gave his number and said, ‘If you have any problem call me. I know this person here, this person there……. I can sort out anything in the city’ I just wanted to ask him, ‘Then why the hell are there so many problems in the city, if you can sort out anything’ Anyway the best thing to do with these sort of people is to be unfocussed.

Looking back at what I have written, everything looks negative. Am I pessimistic? No, I won’t say so. But anyway these sort of things register quickly in your mind. I will follow this with a set of optimistic people whom I have met.

To be continued…

Happy Reading!!!

August 15, 2012

Soak No More Corruption!

Hi Guys,

Wish you all a very Happy Independence day!

It has been 65 years since our country got Independence. Our history has been quite phenomenal. We were a rich country, looted by foreigners and then after independence, we have bounced back again in a quick span.

I was quite confused of what to write for the Independence Day. Indiblogger came to my help with the  Soak No More contest  and suddenly the caption ‘Soak No More Corruption’ came into my mind.

India is one of the most corrupted countries in the world and this corruption is a big obstacle for our growth in the global market. I was checking some of the stats in Transparency International website. India is ranked 95/183 countries with a base score of 3.1/10 (where 10 is least corrupt). Control of corruption is 36 percentile (in negative scale of -2.5 to +2.5). The good thing is that we are ranked 51/142 countries in judicial (which means the court is free to certain extent). Voice and accountability is 59 percentile with positive scale.

54% of people accept paying bribe and 64% of people consider government’s effect to abolish corruption as ineffective, but 74% feels that government is taking some effort. The most corrupt institutions in our country are said to be Political Parties (4.2/5), Parliament and Legislature (4/5) and Police (4.1/5).

These are the three important institutions for the growth of a country. If a political party is corrupt, then think about the future leaders of the country. I think entering into a political party and fighting against the internal politics is a very big task and that’s why many youngsters hate politics. We are very much aware about the corruption in the next two things. MPs and ministers have acquired a new hobby, a hobby of getting caught for doing a scam. All the scams are hot for a week, the ministers get arrested and in two months, they are out of jail, preparing for their next jail visit. How many scams did we face in the two years? 2G, coal, Adarsh, CWG, S Band Spectrum and many others – for some scams, some initial actions were taken and for some no actions were taken.

64% of people say that government’s effort to stop corruption is futile. Having a deep thought, one would understand that the main reason behind is fact is the people. When it comes to corruption, people have two opinions. 1. Myself. 2. Others. When it comes to themselves, people don’t even worry about corruption. Remember the events in which people give bribe even when not required.

Whenever I go to Railway station to board a train, then for sure I can see people going behind the TTE and asking him to do something and give him some money even when he is not asking. I remember an incident that occurred in a Passport Office. It happened two years back when I applied for passport. I was getting my documents verified and in the nearby counter, there was a middle aged man getting his documents verified. The officer said that some documents were missing and said him to come again. The man started to ask, whether the verification can be finished if something was given and he was nearly forcing the officer to get something. Whose mistake is this?

Whereas when it comes to others, people start blaming others as if they are very legal and they have never given a bribe. As a society we have to change and the change applies to us too.

A few days back when one of my professors was speaking about corruption, he said that in India, the most educated are the most corrupted too. To a certain extent, this is true. Education has created new pathways for the people to corrupt the society and there are a few instances in which education has become a source of corruption.

I have seen few students who prepare seriously for getting into government jobs and the two primary reasons they give are that you can get high salary without doing any job and you can get something more apart from your salary.

The attitude of the people must change. We have been soaked in corruption for the past so many years. It is high time that we come out and make sure that we are soaked no more.

Ponder over the future of the country and your role in the country’s growth for sometime today. Don’t consider the day as yet another holiday. It is a day to reflect on the past and ponder over the future. The freedom that was achieved after so much struggle and it we should make sure that we respect their struggle by progressing forward.

Again wish you all a very Happy Independence day!

Happy Reading!!!
This post is written for Soak No More contest at Indiblogger
Indiblogger users, click this link to vote for my post.


August 12, 2012

3 and growing!!! Thank you once again!!!

Hi Guys,

3 Years – 181 posts – 85000+ hits - This is what my blog has received after it came to life.

3 years is something special. An age when a child starts going to school. An age at which some responsibility is pushed upon the kid. An age that means the kid has survived more than 1000 days. All this creates a sense of responsibility in me. My blog has crossed this stage. I should be more meaningful and provide a better sense to my readers.

Thanks to each and every one of you who believed in me and came to my blog and keep coming to my blog. Hope, I’m not disappointing my readers.

The credit of whatever I have done in my blog goes to three people. I have already said it during the first and second anniversary. I will keep saying it as long as I write. The first two persons, who inspired me and motivated me to write a blog – Vijay Dinesh and Nataraj Gandhi – a big thanks to you! These days we chat very rarely – our career and life has pulled us in its own streams. Hope to see you people soon!

The third person is my brother Narayanan – I think he must have read my blog more than anyone else. I still remember the days when he I used to send him posts and he used to correct them before I post. He was in Uruguay back then. Communicating from there was difficult and still he spent a lot of time with me to improve my blog.  Thanks bro! This year, I promise to write a post about you or your cute little daughter or if possible both. Also, I have to thank my sister in law too. She has helped me a lot by publicizing my photographs. Sometimes she exaggerates too much and sometimes the opposite happens. Apart from this,  thanks for the good food you prepare for me all the time I come to your home.

The other two persons, I have to thank – my dad and mom. My mom reads every post of mine as soon as I post. She enquires with me about what I am writing, what I had written and what my thought process is often. The only time she gets angry is whenever I write something about her (a good lesson for me – that’s why I generally avoid writing about known people). Dad reads some posts in my blog based on references. My mom handpicks some of my best posts and asks my dad to read. Sometimes, if the post is good (or if he feels so), he asks me for a hardcopy. My dad has been a great marketer for my blog. Whenever he introduces me to someone, he will introduce my blog too. Personally apart from dad and mom, I avoid discussing about my blog with anyone (I always stick to my blog, twitter, facebook and mail for my blog). It’s a very great feeling from when your family considers your work as a good one. Thanks Dad and Mom.

I must also thank my blogger friends. Arti, who keeps visiting my blog and encourage me to write better. She started writing blog a little late than me and now she has reached the pinnacle and I’m still in the base compared with her. A blogger who I respect the most. Also, thanks to the wonderful photographers Team G Square who frequently visits my blog and comment. Thanks to Abhishek Bhardwaj – my first reader and a great blogging friend – hope to see you in the blogging world soon.

Another two sincere readers and supporters of my blog –  Lakshmanan Periappa(my father’s brother ) and my cousin Anand anna. From the time they knew that I am blogging, they started supporting me and appreciated my work. Whenever I write a good post, my cousin sends me a mail and that’s when I realize I have written quite well. Thanks periappa and anna! Also Nana, my cousin despite his busy schedules preparing for CA reads my blogs and enquires about that now and then. It’s wonderful to have such readers!

Another person who is a big fan of my blog – my dear friend Vimal Raj. He has the same taste like me in books and movies. I discuss a lot of general stuffs with him. Hope you have wonderful days ahead! Also thanks to Santhosh, Jhaya Krishnan, Saravana Kumar, Ram Prasad (I won’t forget the way you started your blog – my facebook post and how you stopped later), Jothi Kameswaran, Jothi Vasanthan, Vijay Anguraj, Varatha Rajan, Ganesh, Siddiq, Dhasthaheer (remember the Sleepy Technology classes post) and all others who have been regular visitors of my blog.

Finally it’s time to thank my newer set of friends who knew about my blogging habit and started to appreciate straightaway. It’s always encouraging when someone comes to you and asks about the way you write. Many of you assume I spent lot of time writing. The truth is I spent very little time. Thanks to Santhosh, Vikas (thanks for marketing my blog), Tejas, Vijay, Saheel, Om, Nirav, Tarun, Bhavesh, Insha (I will write more posts about snakes), Alekhya, Shilpha, Anrav, Ankur (finally I got time to post this one) and many others (sorry if your name is not here – I don’t remember everyone who enquired me).

There are numerous people who I have not mentioned here. Thanks to every other reader whose name is not mentioned here!

Happy Reading!!!

July 25, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises (2012) - Movie Review

Hi Guys,

A movie review after a very long time. And that too a review of a newly released movie after a very very long time. I generally don’t risk reviewing a new movie as I’m not a very good reviewer. Let me try something this time.

Christopher Nolan – My most favourite director. He designs his movies very intricately. After the amazing success of The Dark Knight and the Inception, I was wondering how he is going to meet with the expectations. But he has made the movie in such a way that our expectations increase further for his future movies.

The Dark Knight Rises – the concluding part of the Batman Trilogy. The setting is perfect. Batman is considered to be a criminal in Gotham. The Joker is dead and Harvey Dent is celebrated as hero. So, we are pretty clear that the movie can’t continue without new characters and Nolan has filled the space with some interesting characters.

A new masked man enters the scene. He is Bane (Tom Hardy). His main aim is to destroy the city with his aides. Meanwhile, there is this Cat Woman (Anne Hathaway) who is a small time burglar. She helps Bane by taking Wayne’s fingerprint and demolishing his wealth.

There is also Blake (Joesph Gordon-Lewitt) who is a patrol officer and deep believer of Batman. He discovers that Batman is Wayne. He grew up by means of orphanage funded by Wayne (Christian Bale). Meanwhile Comissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) is unable to reveal the truth of Batman and Harvey Dent.

Wayne locks himself in his house and after all the years, when Bane comes to the city, the city needs him. Gordon is shot down by Bane and is in hospital. He promotes Blake to Detective. Wayne is not as strong as he was. He loses his power in the company. He makes sure that the nuclear power is not used for the wrong purpose, but Bane attains control. Meanwhile, Fox designs a new flying vehicle for Batman.

Wayne meets Bane due to the tricky works of Cat Woman. The Cat Woman realises her mistake by then. He takes Batman to a prison from which escape is nearly impossible. Bane plans to destroy the city soon. He brings out Gordon’s secret notes and hands over power to prisoners, whom he calls the people of Gotham.

How Batman comes back strong? Who is Bane? Why does he want to destroy the city? How does Batman prevent that? Watch the movie!

You can find lot of Nolan’s signatures in the movie. There is one scene is the concluding part where good becomes bad and bad becomes good and the motive is explained. Nolan likes have his previous cast members in the new movie. Tom Hardy and Marion Cotillard are also main actors in Inception. Needless to say, most of the crew is same as The Dark Knight. There are many other signatures which Nolan fans would recognize.

Background Score is one the biggest advantages of the movie. Hans Zimmer is splendid with the background as usual.

The first two series were mostly filmed in Chicago. In order to avoid repetitions, this time they moved to Pittsburgh. Some of the scenes have been taken in Jodhpur (easy to find out).

Chris Nolan wasn’t interested in doing this part and he accepted to do this only after some hesitation. And he has created yet another Masterpiece.

This makes me wonder how Nolan will bear all the pressure to produce a similar movie next time. As far as now, sit back and enjoy the movie.

Happy Reading!!!

July 17, 2012

Is Flipkart losing its path?

Hi Guys,

Two or three days back, there were many angry views on Flipkart in Twitter. The reason was Flipkart increased the minimum price for Free Home Delivery from Rs. 200 to Rs. 300. There were already a few murmurs here and there and this announcement made e-shoppers fuming.

I still remember my first purchase on Flipkart. How I came to know about the site was far more interesting. It was nearly three years back or might be a little less than that. My dad was searching for a book that was a detailed city map of Chennai. He was not able to get it at most of the shops. A few days before this incident I read one of the Chetan Bhagat’s books and went to his website to see more details about him. That’s when I saw the link for Online Purchase. And so when my dad was searching, I thought why not try it online.

Of the two or three sites (that were actually referring to Chetan Bhagat’s books) Flipkart had the book my dad wanted and that was the first purchase. Its value was Rs.240. No discount was given for the book. Anyway we were impressed with the packing and my dad was not able to believe the service.

Days went by and I bought quite a lot of books at Flipkart. I started referring the site to my friends too (Flipkart was not advertising then). My classmates turned out to be a big customer for Flipkart in the following time (particularly during the Placement season). The free home delivery price was Rs. 100 then.

Next story is How I moved out of Flipkart. I can’t say I moved out completely, but then I detached myself from Flipkart Books service. The reasons were simple. I was able to find books at a cheaper price in some other sites. Sites such as Junglee, provided a comparison and gave the best offer. There were sites which gave Free Home Delivery for literally everything they sold.

Still, I made my brother buy his mobile phone through Flipkart and recently I too got it via Flipkart. In terms of mobile phones or electronic gadgets, I think Flipkart is still a very competitive one.

But in terms of books, which was their starting point, I think they are slowly losing their path. Most of the books cost below Rs. 300, so who will buy the books from Flipkart. The price might be cheaper than the book at a bookstore, but still to a customer, Rs. 30 seems to be a big value. And most of the other e-stores offer at a very less price.

And there has been many other complaints too. Some of the goods, they display as In Stock are actually Out of Stock. After making the order, someone calls you after a week and say that it is unavailable. How terrible will it be? It is happening particularly in the case of highly expensive low moving products. This makes the higher end customers move out.

On the whole, it seems like the biggest online store of India, that set example for many others is slowly losing its path. With competition coming in from various other sites in many parameters, if Flipkart doesn’t respond there is a huge chance of the company being overtaken by some other e-store.

Happy Reading!!!

July 10, 2012

Roger Federer - Back in the Top!

Hi Guys,

It was an interesting Sunday evening. Being in a lecture hall, seeking for different channels on net to see the Wimbledon finals live and then finding out a foreign channel whose language was unidentifiable. Then we had the rain stoppage and a nice interaction with a professor at 10 pm and then finally watching the match with English commentary. Roger Federer was back in form and back in the top.

The first set was a very tight one till 4-4 and then Federer lost his serve game poorly and it allowed Murray to conquer the first set easily. The second set was just superb. I thought it was heading for the tie breaker when the scores were 5-6 and Murray was 30-0 in his last game. Federer made a wonderful comeback and the way he took the set from 30-30 to 50-30 was just amazing.

Rain spoiled the play in the third set and as it has been happening in this Wimbledon, the rain stoppage went advantageous to Federer who won both the third and fourth sets very easily.

So, Federer won his 17th Grandslam and has become the Number 1 player once again setting into his 285th week as the top ranked player, just short of his hero Pete Samprass. He is all set to create record in the next few weeks.

It was a magnanimous effort from Federer, particularly after suffering from the back pain in the early stages of the tournament. After that the last three matches were just fantastic. He crushed all the opponents. Nadal’s exit was also an important factor. Many may wonder what it is between Nadal’s exit in second round and Federer’s win. Might be if Nadal had stayed and if it was Federer vs Nadal in the finals, the game could have been different. Nadal always had the psychological edge over Federer.

Looking ahead, the season looks to be interesting. Rafael bowed out in the second round. It was a shock defeat, but then you can’t say he is in bad form. He just won his favourite French Open. Djokovic is not as good as he was in the previous season, but still he is in the top. Murray has been a wonderful player, but the sad thing is he hasn’t got any luck and buckles in the finals.

We need to wait ahead to see if Federer is really back in his great old form. Anyway it is great achievement to bounce back and claim the number one spot after quite a long time.

We have two interesting tournaments ahead. The Olympic Tennis which is again at Wimbledon and then the US open. Let’s see how the matches progress and who is really in form.

Happy Reading!!!

June 25, 2012

Thirparappu Waterfalls!

Hi Guys,

At the starting of this month, I went to Nagercoil for a friend's marriage (actually this blog's inspirer and motivator Vijay Dinesh was getting married - wish him a very Happy married life). So I went to Kanyakumari and nearby places with my parents the previous day. Initially I thought of blogging, but later left the idea as I was quite busy after that. My mother was asking why I didn't write about that trip and so I decided to write about a part of the trip that was Thirparapu Waterfalls.

Whole view of the falls
We started from Nagercoil from around 8 am and though the distance was less, the path was not as good. The journey through the bumpy road took around 2 hours. The monsoon season had just started there and it started to rain on the way. Thank God, it stopped raining when we got there. The journey was quite interesting as it was scenic around. There were lot of rubber estates, jack ftuit trees and many other mountainous trees. The lifestyle of the people was different. It was much like a blended style between Tamil Nadu and Kerela. After two hours we got there and the entrance ticket was around Rs. 5 (I guess – don’t remember exactly).

Water falling
The water fall is about 300 ft in length and has Rocky River beds. It falls from a height of 50 ft and looks to be artificially constructed one. The falls is located downstream and you have to climb down some steps to get to the falls. The facilities were quite good. A good looking park was set up and apart from that there were Children’s play area and a swimming pool dedicated for Children.

Children's Swimming pool and play area
There were quite a good number of people that day. Some were interested in bathing, some were interested in just enjoying the scenery and some like me were involved in taking photographs. So, I explored the area.

Decoration in the park!
The river bed or the place where people stand and bath was quite slippery in nature, but it was not very risky (there were some interesting falls, but no one was injured). The water after flowing from the falls flows continues its journey and the place was quite risky. On the outside it appears as if there are steps leading you down (as it is cut at 90 degrees), but it is just a plain cut and leads you to a 10 feet trap that is so rocky.

Adjacent to the waterfalls, or actually adjacent to the river upstream there is a temple known as Mahadevar Temple, which is said to be one of the twelve shivalayas in the area. The temple is built completely in Kerela style, which was quite amazing to me. A circular shape structure with a conical doom. Lord Shiva was looking so good in the temple, very intricately designed. I would say it was one of the best idols I have seen. No one was there at the temple, except two or three devotees, so it was very peaceful and I like peaceful temples.

The Mahadevar Temple from the outside
Outside the temple, the scene was beautiful. The stream was flowing smoothly and some people took bath there. The temperature was so good as it was cloudy and it was not raining.

Outside the temple
Outside the temple - the other side
On the way back, we had to catch a bus to Kulasekaram, a nearby town. The bus was interesting. A large space was allotted to keep luggage (as seen below) and the number of seats for people were less. I think it is designed so as to transport goods from the estates around. I sat in the luggage rack for the 15-20 minute journey and it was not comfortable, but enjoyable. From there we took a bus to Nagercoil and this time the journey was more tedious as more roundabout route was followed. All together the trip was unforgettable!

The luggage raft in the Bus - on the way back
Scenic Beauty on the way back!
The Waterfalls is located in Kanyakumari district very near to the borders of Kerela. It is approximately 45 kms from Nagercoil, 55 kms from Thiruvananthapuram and 65 kms from Kanyakumari. The water fall is located in a river named Kothaiyar and is located at about 13 kms from Pechiparai Dam. The waterfall is active for seven months in a year (I'm not exactly sure - but guess it would be June - January). Boat facility is available at the other side of the temple.

Route from Nagercoil and Thiruvanthapuram - B is the location of Thirparappu Falls
There are lots of tourist spots around. Interested people can check for information in the web. The tourism website of Kanyakumari gives all the information. If you go there in your own vehicle or if you book a cab, you can enjoy nature to the core!

Happy Reading!