Thursday, January 31, 2008

Wah Kya Freshness Hai...

The last weekend, 26th Jan'08, I ventured out to Lal Bagh early morning. Since there was a flower exhibition going on in the glass house as a part of Republic Day celebrations, I was fortunate to take a few pics. Though I had seen exhibitions of this sort before, so I just wanted to capture, the water drops or the dew drops that ornament, the green environ around as well as the freshness in the air.

Stepping into the morning sun, breathing out freshness, breathing out new life, an assured welcome relief from the regular days, when the eyes are stuck in the traffic jams awaiting the traffic lights to signal to proceed, nostrils fighting against the dust, and noise and commotion all around.

Sometimes morning freshness can be equated to warmth. The mild wind on the face when one runs or walks hastily, air smelling of freshness and change, leaves falling like old hoarded comforts.


This is near the Lal Bagh lake. As few visitors were feeding these fishes, they had all foregathered near one corner of the lake. Too many fish, too little space to shake their fins with each competing for its share of food.



At present, I am reading a book titled Umrao Jan Ada by Mirza Hadi Ruswa and one of the verses from that book by Shaikh Sahib goes like this:
The heart shunned by the beauty's gaze is well:
Those goods no one can buy have quality.


Cornucopia of water droplets aka pearls of nature.



Ni, who accompanied me, also had captured some fascinating moments, that day. Thanks for your company and more pics coming along.

Keep reading and remain connected.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Simplicity refined, R.K.Laxman...

Today morning as I was following the news, just saw this on the idiot box, famous cartoonist and humorist R.K.Laxman being conferred the CNN-IBN Lifetime Achievement Award at a function in New Delhi.

Though I saw this snippet for less than two minutes, it touched me greatly. A simple man, R.K.Laxman bursting out in tears on the stage speaks about his simplicity and illustriousness. This man along with his brother, R.K.Narayan had created an epoch with the all time chef-d'oeuvre that is read and followed by both young and old across all age groups, Malgudi Days. I am a big big fan of R.K.Narayan's books and this silent brother of his who is best recognized as the creator of the Common Man, occupies an inescapable part in our lives. The Common Man, who represents the mute millions, speaks to us through the master strokes of R.K.Laxman for more than five decades now. Inadvertently many of us are connected to this maestro both in the papers and in our lives.

When I see this video, in a very child like manner, this wizard, R.K.Laxman, tells that his journey of making cartoons started since he was 5 years old.

Just think, how the simplicity of the Common Man, who never speaks has become the first thing to look for in our daily dosage of newspaper reading. Here is a character dressed in a patched kurta, holding a hapless umbrella, with round glasses appearing perpetually confused yet has conveyed to us each and every snippet of social, political, economics and for that matter every fabric of life. His Common Man, is a speechless chap who never speaks in the cartoons, but has managed to this day to raise important issues affecting the country with aplomb, all with a generous dose of humor.

Definitely R.K.Laxman, is a genius who has covered each and every color and flavor of life through his Common Man. What is marvelous in this whole affair is the endurance of the Common Man who has survived to this day despite his commonness, not as a straw man but as a Must Check attribute in our lives in the mornings. I stress on the word 'commonness' as this is rare trait that one can find easily in people these days. Laxman's cartoons bring to light on a softer note, the political hypocrisy and equivocation with wit, insight and irony.

This old man was once denied admission to the JJ School of Arts of Mumbai in his youth and heydays. The lack of talent was cited as the reason for not granting him admission to one of the best Fine Arts institution in India. Time passed and things fell in place and this humble soul later became the creator of few icons that adorn the print and the visual media even today. The famous Gattu of the Asian Paints ad which I have been watching since my childhood is Laxman's conception. With an idea to brand his airline, Air Deccan as the common man's airline, Gopinath has even used The Common Man as the logo of his airline.

It was indeed a great pleasure to see this man, R. K. Laxman on the stage, sans the regular ones such as the Murthys, Premjis, Birlas, Ambanis, and Tatas who invariably share the stage in most of these sorts of functions.

Keep reading and remain connected.

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Djokovic and his onstage didoes...

How does it sound, when the action on the field is peppered with some histrionic gestures to entertain people? I remember those days when I was in my school, Andre Agassi was rocking in the tennis arena. When this lad had embarked his career, he was a duckie among his female fans. The only sonny boy with neon-colored clothing, a face with untrimmed beard, ear rings dangling from pierced ears, and long blonde hair. He was one of those players who had a flair for apparels of outlandish colors, contrary to the prototype 'white guy in white shorts' tennis player. But with time, this chap matured and ruled the game for a long while.

Now those of you have been following this year's Australian Open, would have definitely enjoyed the Serb, Djokovic's gimmicks on stage after his solid victory over Benjamin Becker in the first round. Upon a request from a television commentator, Djokovic aged 20 and seeded third in today’s World rankings, got into his acting shoes and mimicked, Maria Sharapova much to the fancy of the spectatators. There were few female fans who had gone ga ga with this act and the crowd gave him a standing ovation.

In portraying the Russian cover girl leggy, he primps before serving, hitching up his baggy shorts and imitates her habit of gently brushing her long, blond hair behind each ear. This expression is comical and risible.

But then just to make sure that people and the crowd do not interpret this otherwise, Djokovic says this.
"I didn't (want to do an impersonation) because there was a lot of talk in the last couple months about me doing these impersonations," he told reporters. "I wasn't really trying to make fun of anybody or offend anybody. I'm not trying to be different; just trying to enjoy. That's all." I didn't want to get more of these (negative) comments by doing again the impersonations. People made me do it, so...

"It's good that I just did Maria. I didn't want to do any of the other tennis players. She doesn't mind -- she'd okay with it."
Djokovic is well known for his mimicry, and has done impersonations of others like Rafael Nadal, Andy Roddick and Roger Federer. This chap is brilliant and he mixes the game with some dosages of funny acts, as I can make out, it's more from an entertainment perspective, with no intention to hurt, traduce or malign someone.

But this girl Sharapova is really a good sport and didn't add too much of mirch masala to all these merriment and took it in the right spirit.
Sharapova then called the Djokovic act "kinda boring," adding: "He's got his own little thing going on. So let him do it, I'm sure you guys are going to get bored of it. But it's fun any time you can get some entertainers out there."
Then in the true ishtyle, this dame trounced everything on her way. "Champions take chances, and pressure is a privilege," Billie Jean King had written in a text message that Sharapova saw when she woke up, the day before she entered the court for the Australian Open final. In the end, this lass beat fourth seed Ana Ivanovic, 7-5, 6-3, on Saturday for her third Grand Slam title.

Oyee Djokovic, tu meri mazaak udda raha tha na, dekh mere paas aab kya hai :).

Keep reading and remain connected.

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Friday, January 18, 2008

Rush Rush to Head Start...

The Indian economy is on an upturn mode and there is lot of action and acceleration in various industries across varied segments. On a personal front, what I like is there are many people, at least the number is exploding who want to shake up the world of business and technology, driving away from serving in companies and starting something on their own. So if you are one such person or even otherwise someone who likes technology, business, ideas and innovation, make sure that you don't miss this Big Bang event Head Start happening from the 18th-20th Jan'08 at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. Well if you are taking the auto rickshaw, to reach this place, tell the autowala Tata Institute as that's how this Mecca of research and technology is known to the common people.

Head Start is a showcase of most exciting products and technology in India, of course with a new color, goal, and impact and definitely has a broader goal and vision.

So what is that what makes this event exceptional and prodigious? In most of the existing showcase events, we often end up meeting people with ideas, VCs and entrepreneurs. That's definitely an Olympian concept. But at, Head Start, it has all these and also covers the entire innovation lifecycle in one place and under one umbrella. This means the participation is holistic from all the players in the innovation lifecycle: academicians, researchers, entrepreneurs, solution architects, marketers, large companies, technology geeks, venture capitalists and customers, etc. The synergy among all these discrete communities to discuss and debate is one of the focal spark points to accelerate the pace of innovation in India. There are many topics to be discussed across domains such as:

• Consumer Services
• Mobility & Communications
• Silicon & Embedded Systems
• Enterprise Applications and Development Tools

The Agenda tab on the main page of the site is a good place to get a bird's eye view. Do have a look and participate in this exhilarating event.

Have fun.

Keep reading and remain connected.

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Friday, January 11, 2008

A quiet annotation...

The wind was there but as meek as a mouse, while I sat there. It blew mildly past the enclosed wagon, as I sat with my head snoozed against the glass window of the Metro train. The weather was cold and dry and around me were people of all colors, as the train advanced towards Versailles, a small place on the outskirts of Paris. My legs were aching, the muscles were numb with exertion, but there was something in the air that meliorated the mood.

The sun was terpsichoring between the clouds, the faint morning rays kissing my body intermittently. After a short travel, on reaching my destination, as I came out, the dryness outside received me. I looked up at the sun which by then had risen by a couple of degrees. Feeling lazy, I lifted my arms up, palms open and facing the sky to the east, was just looking around.

My dry fingers clicked a snap of the cold dry surroundings. With the freshness in the air, my temper sparked like the damp firewood. Inside my mind, a quiet annotation got registered, 'let's check later if at all the dryness was perfectly snapped'.

Keep reading and remain connected.

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Monday, January 07, 2008

An Unsung Hero : Girish Bharadwaj...

In India, when we browse the newspapers these days, we read volumes about the story of 'digital divide' and how many of the telecom vendors and other entities are attempting to bridge this gap. To me, to be connected with the outside world, comes in the second level of requirement, after the core essentials for the proper functioning of a developing society are met.

The luxuriant Western Ghats kissing the borders of Karnataka and Kerala are a fascinating series of greenery dotted with hills and valleys, simple people, countless rivers and loads of freshness. Traveling across this stretch in the Indian Railways is the best way to soak oneself with the flourishing vegetation. To an occasional visitor, all these appear charming, a perfect way to break free from the randomness of city life. But come rainy season, this region is completely cut from the outside world, a place where people use boats or coracles in their daily lives to commute and to transport kids to the schools across the water bodies.

Living in cities and towns, we are tuned to getting all the facilities to reach our offices, schools, banks or for that matter any destination at any time of the day. Now think of a scenario in a village where the boats are the only savoir, and with the overflowing river during the monsoons, most boatmen are reluctant to ferry their boats. Life would come to a standstill, kids can't go to schools in time, pregnant ladies needing medication in the middle of the night can't be transported to the nearby hospitals and the problem list becomes endless.

But there is this unsung hero who with his engineering skills and humanistic activities has brought smiles and cheer in the faces of many people. This is Girish Bharadwaj, who hails from a small village Arambur, in Aletty district near Sullia town on the western slopes of Kodagu. Born in Mangalore in 1950, this virtuoso received his formal education from P.E.S. College of Engineering in Mandya near Bangalore. He learnt the classical techniques in Mechanical Engineering, during the 1970's, a time when not much stress was laid on experimentation but rather on the application part of it. During those days, getting a job was considered a remarkable achievement, and Girish took up a part time job while running Ayas Shilpa (sculpture in steel), a small fabrication unit in Sullia town.

It was in 1988, that Girish's career took a dramatic turn, when few people from his native approached him and requested him to build a bridge. Girish replied that since he was Mechanical Engineer and was not at all adept in Civil Engineering and construction related designs, he was not qualified for the assignment. But persistence, tenacity and the people's faith in him, triggered an unusual fire within him and he started studying about bridges. He consulted the technical faculty at two of the top technical institutions in India, National Institute of Technology, Surathkal and Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai and thus started his journey.

Today at the age of 58, Girish is the proud architect and constructor of close to 68 bridges in the deep hinterland, the average length of most bridges being 70 to 80 meters. The skeptics who had the impression that bridges, cannot stand without the pillars in difficult terrain, are speechless today with his marvelous creations, the suspension bridges.


I know Girish for a while now and after interacting with him, he shared with me few other facets of his artistry.

Initially big trees were used as pylons, if those were available at the right place as in case of Kodagu district. The trees were the perfect fits, when the bridges stretched from 10 to 30 meters. Concrete pylons are now preferred for longer stretches because of their assured long life. The hanging floor element is quite stable supported by anchors and transoms. On both sides of the bridge, PVC coated chain-link fencing is erected till waist level. Over the years, the bridges have seen many conceptions and engineering innovations.

Girish is supported in his work by a team of 36 members, of which 18 perform the core design and implementation tasks. Since there is no other organized body in India, which is consistently building hanging bridges at a low cost, with uncompromising importance to safety and quality, Girish has to yield to pressures now and then. I learnt that very recently he has got invitations from Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir and Bhavnagar in Gujarat to undertake some new initiatives in those lands.

Because of various reasons such as distance to commute from Karnataka and to adjust in these new lands with different climatic conditions, lack of a skilled team to backup his core team members who are getting old, Girish is more than willing to share his knowledge and know-how's to interested people. He told me that all he needed were a dedicated engineer and a bunch of smart working boys and he would accompany and guide them till the completion of two or three bridges in a new region. Thereafter, the new team can carry on this task all by itself.

Girish, a father himself never pressurized his own children to carry on this tradition, and he is scouting for people interested to perfect the craft and utilize this workmanship for the benefit of the people and society. Although Girish, has not been advertised in the print and the online media much, he has found himself admirers from far and wide like Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Cambodia, etc.

Girish's people-based approach towards his work has always attracted considerable local support and it is very practical. When construction is in progress, his entire team, lives in small tents constructed on the river bed. They share the work and the food, concentrating till the project gets over. Girish recently completed a project in the naxalite terror afflicted, Warangal district in a placed called Laknawaram in Andhra Pradesh. He told me that, at night the common villagers used to come and share the tent with his entire team, providing the much needed security more out of thankfulness and appreciation, rather than his personal petition.

Trifle makes perfection but perfection is not a trifle, these words of wisdom apply to this master artisan who has lived his life bringing goodwill to millions of hearts. A rare individual to find in this bribe hungry bureaucratic world, not bothered about the felicitations, and all that drives him in his selfless endeavor is the gratitude and the warm blessings of the people.

Girish Bharadwaj's story is informative for those uninformed of India's social dynamics and wish to bring about a change by engaging in action-less dialogues and debates in television channels. Much of the exclusive economic growth and development is centered around urban areas and most of us in these concrete jungles, do not have enough time and energy for making a change in the bowels of India. But that hasn't stopped few humble folks from exploring ideas and gathering a core of dedicated people around their passion. Isn't that a miracle ?

Keep reading and remain connected.

(Note: Incase any reader is interested to interact with Girish and wish to learn more about his work, do drop me an email, (its there on my profile) to collect the contact and email details. Doing this to avoid misuse of the contact number and email account with unwanted calls and spam mails.)

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Saturday, January 05, 2008


A few months ago, I was passing through one of the busy streets of the city, when suddenly my eyes roosted on a make shift shop on the road side. This person, GS had come all the way from Rajasthan and it was his first trip to the city, to showcase and sell his artifacts to the city folks. This was the first time, GS had crossed the borders of Rajasthan, spent close to one and a half day in train to be in the new city.

New city, fast life and such pure culture shock had definitely left an inerasable impression, which I could make once I started a conversation with him. GS's attractively skewed vision of his visit, with males and females glued to each other on bikes as if advertising for the Fevicol AD, and the slow moving traffic near junctions similar to earthworms moving tardily, thus became backbone of his interaction with me.

To me, this was a story about a happy collision of views, and the celebration of native talent, trying to explore new waters and his standpoints of the city life. Can he sustain the city life or will he be lost in the gleam of the neon lights.

I feel he can hold upto the chaaka chaun of city life, atleast his eyes flashed sparks of immense confidence.

Picture 389
Keep reading and remain connected.

(Thanks to GS, for this perfect pose for my pic :))

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year...

The arrival of the New Year is a time to reflect on the year gone by. I am fortunate that in the last year again as in previous years, I met many fantastic and interesting people through my blogs right here. Thanks a lot about that, and I promise that in the coming year, will try to make more poignant posts.

Since I am not great at penning those New Year messages, I just make my content as simple as I can.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year. Enjoy, smile, shine on in life, and just be yourself and in-case, you have made any resolutions for this year, tell me later at the end of 31622400 seconds, how far you succeeded in living up to those resolutions.

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Here is a wunnerful post to mark the New Year, but read this post with a soupçon of Tabasco, as says Indiequill. Hehehehe :)
I have here a couple of recipes that are guaranteed to engender a false sense of euphoria and send you vomiting into the nearest toilet bowl at your metabolism’s leisure. In the interests of full disclosure, I should tell you that my bartending experience is... well, nil. So, er, you’ve been warned. Enjoy!
Keep reading and remain connected.

(Note, the pic was taken in a small florist shop)

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