CWG and corruption

Last week, I put a new status in my FB account. Here is what it read “Why did the media have to play spoilsport, and try to seal the fate of CWG even before it began? Let Kalmadi make some money too. After all, our politicians are doing it day in and day out. So long as India came out in shining colors, nothing matters. Jai ho, India!!!”. Part of it was enthusiasm after seeing the closing ceremony of CWG and part of it was righteous anger that the media tried to spoil India’s image among other countries and their athletes.

How is it going to help? Corruption is there and has always been there. Kalmadi should be punished and so should the other hundreds of MPs who sit in parliament and rule us, their name tainted with criminal records. But making a hue and cry about bad living quarters, bad infrastructure, terror threat immediately before the Common wealth games! So much so that it prompted athletes to withdraw from the games. I frankly think that was bad professionalism on the part of media. Instead of trying to promote the good things that were there, and attracting athletes to India, the media just tried to discourage them and at the same time, bring down the image of India as a country.

Well, my status update certainly sparked some discussion with 8 people giving detailed descriptions of why they liked or disliked my comment. I like that. People are concerned, people are interested, especially because the money we are paying as taxes is going to the pockets and waistlines of many corrupt politicians.

Are printers alive?

Has anybody noticed that printers are very emotional, moody beings that need to be talked to, cursed at, or even blackmailed before they print a page?
We had a small HP printer which was so emotional that we reached the point of patting the printer and talking to it before giving the print command. One bad word, and the printer would throw the printed papers all over the room. Let me list the reasons why I think printers are alive:

1. They usually play hard-to-get, and don’t print the first time you give the print command.
2. When you try to cancel a print command, they play high-handed and refuse to cancel it.
3. Sometimes, they become over-enthusiastic and print out all those copies you gave ages back, but cancelled ages back too.
4. After a lot of fuss with printing, sometimes you just need to restart the printer, and it would behave like nothing happened and print normally.
5. If you give it too many papers to print, it will try to find some fault with your command and stop obeying.
6. It loves throwing the papers it printed all over the floor instead of neatly stacking it in the allocated place.
7. If you have an urgent document to print, it will suddenly say that there is no ink or give all kinds of error messages.
8. Home printers are usually more fussy and non-professional compared to office printers.
9. If my printer happens to read this blog entry, it will never again print all its life.

So be good to your printer. Say good words, praise it liberally when a page was printed well, and don’t give it too much work. It helps to have a good relationship with your printer.

Travelogues are not my thing!!

As I mentioned in the previous post, I am reading the travelogue, “Travels with Charley” by John Steinbeck. And I hereby declare that I am not a travelogue person. I usually read a book from the preface and finish it at the very last page, without skipping anything in between.
But here, I am not compelled to return to the book. Reading that book has become more of a chore than a hobby. So it’s good-bye to travelogues, at least for the time-being.

But I am in no way underrating the author, John Steinbeck who won a Pulitzer prize for his novel “Grapes of Wrath”, and also a Nobel prize in the year 1962. John Ernst Steinbeck III is an American writer of German and Irish descent who wrote twenty seven books in all. One statement I loved in the book is ….that he is not one to compromise quantity over quality. He says that people, when they become old, they become laggard and over-cautious, thus compromising quality of life over quantity, or the number of days you would live.

Think about it… isn’t it so appropriate for every situation? When you buy lots of clothes for less money rather than one or two good clothes for more money? When you go to a restaurant and choose the low-price buffet over the a la carte? When you try and finish off a lot of work in a hurry without looking at the actual quality of work?… And so on…..

Reading….. is such fun….

It is nice to have a book, an interesting book, waiting for you when you have some spare time. I’ve always loved reading. When I was smaller, I used to dream that I could finish reading all the books in the school library or the municipal library and then brag to others that I have read it all….With age came wisdom and a realization that this is impossible.
Reading still remains the first love. In the last couple of months, I read 4 books and enjoyed it all.
Five boys – Mick Jackson.
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
The Final Diagnosis – Arthur Hailey
Travels with Charley – John Steinbeck

All four are very very different in their styles, story lines and speed. Five boys is about a small unsuspecting countryside to which a war comes quite unexpectedly. Pride and prejudice is the classic featuring love and prejudiced lovers. Final Diagnosis is the fast-paced life in a hospital with tragedies, victories, personal adventures, suspense, drama all packed into one. Travels with Charley is the first travelogue I am reading.
Have not finished reading this, and that is why I said it is nice to have an interesting book waiting for you when you have spare time.

And what joy! I have also got the next book lined up. “Twilight”, one of the four-book series from Stephenie Meyer. This one seems to be quite a rage among youngsters now. And I am yet to test and see whether I would still enjoy those books that youngsters love. Let’s wait and see….

IPL is on….

IPL 2009
IPL 2009

I am an Indian. And like all true-blooded Indians, I like cricket.
Felt sad that this time, IPL is being played in South Africa because of some terrorist threats in India. The spirit might be dampened, but I was there in front of TV watching the first ball of the series. Wow! Sanath Jayasurya of Srilanka and Sachin Tendulkar (need I say where he is from) on the crease. I could cheer for both of them. Unlike normal India vs Srilanka matches where I would not be very happy if Jayasurya scored a 4 or 6.

But all the same, I wasn’t very happy when Jayasurya scored the first boundary and not Tendulkar. And overjoyed when Jayasurya got out, and Tendulkar didn’t. As I said, I am a true-blooded Indian.

Didn’t get to watch many matches after that. I have a 5-year old, pogo-and-nick-loving son at home.

Inspite of thinking that all this is such a huge waste of money, what with movie-stars spending millions, bidding for players of their choice…..and the slump in viewership since IPL is being played in South Africa…. I still like cricket and all the buzz around it:)

Terrific instructions on Chinese toy

I recently bought this F1 racing car for my son, for Rs.45/-. Though the car is not worth the money paid, the instructions at the back of the pack provided quite an entertainment. Read it here. And see the scanned version too (in case you doubt me)

This is small parts . To avoid stuffiness ,Do not put into mouth.
Some parts may sharp , please pay attention when you play .
This article are very easy to be swallowed .not suitable for children under 3 years .
Don’t play it on road & etc .
Pay attention: don’t put the finger , hair or clothes & etc in the wheel .
Don’t close your face when playing the F1 . Because of scathing hazard .
This merchandise must play it indoor . please not outdoor . because dust and rubbish may damage it .
Don’t play it on desk or floor , because danger of damage .
This plastic package is packing material , please throw away after open it .

Instructions on Chinese toy
Instructions on Chinese toy

Babies in signals never cry???!!!

If you do not live in Bangalore, you might not be familiar with this phenomenon. Women come begging near cars in traffic signals, carrrying babies and also an empty feeding bottle. I have never understood why they carry the feeding bottle, which is empty and so dirty too. The women also have unkempt hair, dirty dresses and a perpetual look of self-pity, on-the-verge-of-tears look.

What makes me write this post is, I have noticed something very strange. The babies that they are carrying never cry!!! The babies would either be sleeping or staring ahead with a dazed look. I am sure that these babies don’t belong to the ladies; the way they carry the babies is proof enough for that. I am also thinking if they drug the babies before bringing them, or borrowing them from somewhere.

Someday, I have to go after one of these ladies and see where they go, and what they do with the babies at the end of the day. My heart-felt request to everybody is – Please don’t give anything to these people. Let them not make their kids, or somebody else’s kids as means to earn money. PLEASE DON’T ENCOURAGE THIS PRACTISE.

Pondicherry visit

Had a quick 2-day visit to Pondicherry.

We the beach-deprived people from Bangalore definitely need to drive down once in a while (about 6-7 hours) to enjoy the beautiful beaches. The promenade is maintained beautifully, and the sea crashing onto the rocks is such a beautiful sight! There are other beaches too if you go along the ECR road, which connects Pondicherry to Chennai. The beaches are quite steep in some places and is not safe to go with little kids.

But there is a really flat beach near Chummanbar resorts. They call it the water sports complex, but there are very few boats there. From 60 bucks per person, they would take you on a normal boring boat to an island about 10 minutes away. That island has a very nice flattish beach, which kids would love.

Did not get time to visit the French colony and Auroville. Should go there next time:)

I adore Mavis Beacon

For those ignorant few, let me enlighten you…. Mavis Beacon is a typing tutor. It is the first one I used; and after trying few other software, Mavis Beacon still remains my favorite.

As usual, it has lessons from beginner to advanced, and also some race games where you are supposed to beat a moving object by typing fast. The program definitely is heavy, but once you get it installed, it is easy to use. An intelligent program that will track your weak spots and give exercises to correct it, Mavis Beacon is just the typing tutor you need.

And for those of you who think, you can type fast enough with two index fingers, let me tell you that I used to think the same until I learnt typing. You can not only save time, you can also show off in front of other people (mainly kids) who don’t know typing:)

So go ahead, download and get going.

Why should we read?

I like reading, fiction mostly and sometimes non-fiction books like Tipping Point or Blink. (only if they are really really interesting, and read like fiction). And I think movie-versions of famous books are not nice. Ask me why?

While reading a book, you always create a picture of it in your mind. The house of Atticus in “To kill a mockingbird”, Scout sitting on Atticus’ lap while he reads the newspaper, Jem and Scout finding the chewing gum in a hole in the tree trunk, the house of Gerald Durrell with its collection of multitudinous animals and birds ………………. we have pictures of all this in our minds, when we read those books.

Just think about the Harry Potter series, it gives meat for such vivid imaginations and pictures. You could imagine the Mandrakes with their cries that would knock one out, the phoenix of Dumbledore bursting into flames and a lot more. But the movies came and spoiled it all. Now the picture in our minds is the picture in the mind of the person who selected the locations for the movie, or the director. Too bad, all the pictures and imagination in our minds got over-written.

But movie-versions of books are good for people who don’t like to read. So if you like reading and find that one of your favorite books is coming out as a movie; don’t watch it, even for the sake of curiosity. It would just wipe out the pictures in your mind, and replace them mercilessly.