Saturday, December 27, 2008

Ghajini - The second invasion

What will you do if given a second chance to start over your greatest success? You try to do it better. And that is what AR Murugadass has tried to do in Ghajini, a remake of his 2005 Tamil film which was based on the Great "Memento" Hollywood movie directed by "The Dark Knight" fame Christopher Nolan. As discussing about the Tamil version might cause sour discussions as I personally did not like the troubled revenge part of the movie, I will just compare the two attempts made with on the romance plus revenge flick.

Tamil: Surya - Perfected himself for the role of a troubled person as well as the charming rich lover boy, Surya shined all over the movie and got positive feedback from everyone.
Hindi: Aamir Khan - The master of dedication has done it once again. He has matched the terrific performance done by Surya and was not surprising as it was very much expected from him. A trivial feature common between the two heroes is their height. Or should I say shortness in height? Ha ha. But while Surya was made to appear taller in the original, Aamir's height is so apparent when he fights the goons or sings along with Asin.

Tamil & Hindi: Asin. Asin. There was no need to question considering her performance in the Original; she is apt and chosen rightly for the remake too. And she shines with her charm both in comedy and expressions in both the movies. Heartbreaking is the scene during her last moments before she gets killed. But somehow, I found her not great in the songs. Not sure if it is due to difference in the post production activities or something else.
Speaking of actresses, it is better to mention about the other female lead (should be read as drop). Nayantara in Tamil and Jiah Khan in Hindi. The pathetic feature of Nayantara was bettered by Jiah Khan though the role is still ugly and did not make any good impression.

Tamil: The movie was a toned and mixed up masala version of Memento. The important word to be noted in the previous sentence is "Masala". So you should expect more heroic action sequences and mindless scenes made up just for the heroine and unwanted damsel in distress plots to add glamour and entrance sequences for the hero. Though the flashbacks were brilliant are keep you relaxed in your seat, the actual revenge plot suffers from unwanted ideas like twin villains, a police officer on the trail just to read the first half of the flashback and then he dies.
Hindi: It might not be God's intervention. But good to think it might be Aamir's intervention, that few plots were changed to keep the movie engaged. Starting from bringing sense to the movie title by keeping Ghajini as the name of the villain and the trick by the villain to overpower the hero using his drawback of short-term memory loss makes the Hindi one a better one in terms of plot.

Tamil: Harris Jayaraj brought life to the songs in the Tamil version. Almost all the songs are top of the charts and proved essential for the success of the much hyped movie.
Hindi: This could have been not only a challenge but a chance for Rehman to prove that he is still the best. And listening to the background score, he is definitely better than Harris. But did his "Guzarish" match Harris's "Suttum Vizhi" song is a question that needs time before it can be answered.

Tamil: Peter Hain did his usual of super powered hero who can smash the villains in a single blow. People loved it. Surya looked terrific in the action sequences.
Hindi: A bettered positioning of cameras made action sequences much more violent and hard and were more believable. But will such violent hand fights please the Bollywood crowd is a big question. Actions more suited for the Hindi audience could have been a welcome. But who knows this might create a strange liking too.

The Remake is definitely better than the original in all the aspects but still remains a movie that could have been the best 2008 if the revenge plots were revisited and made much more sensible. Ghajini needs more chances to win the game. But he is back with great improvements and is worth watching more than once.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A child Prodigy

A small wonder on the news again. This time it is 9 year old M. Lavinashree from Madurai who passed MCSE while still studying her 4th standard. Looks like the child prodigy have done wonders before including reciting all the 1300 kurals at the age of 3.

All my mind recalls is the first prize I got in Thirukural competition for writing 100 kurals during my 7th or 8th standard and 1 day preparation I took for writing the Teradata Basics certification exam last week. Truly an outstanding achievement. Isn't it? I meant the child Prodigy M. Lavinashree.

More about this news at

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Vaaranam Aayiram - Tusks broken

The-songs-were-good. I-thought-that-the-movie-will-also-be-good. Lot-of-expectations. Lot-of-hype. Good-director. Good-actor. Stunning-actresses. It-should-be-a-good-movie. That-is-what-I-thought. Everyone-thought. Was-it-correct?-I-don't-know. It-was-good. Sometimes. It-was-bad. Many-times. Overall? I-don't-know. One-thing-for-sure. It-made-me-speak. It-made-me-speak-in-broken-sentences. No-emotion. No-modulation. Simply-reading-the-words. No-emotion. No-modulation. Just-talk-from-the-script. It-was-a-different-experience.

Kakabukka Karbur brshsbtrhs grerrerh brrrrrr

Phew! I am back talking normal. What a relief! The movie almost killed me with that monotonous dialogue all the time. Now let’s talk like normal people. The movie starts with a depressing state of showing older Surya vomiting blood and becoming grave ill. As I had to watch the scenes while having my lunch, I was unable to appreciate the Surya's acting. And I doubt if many others would have appreciated owing to most of the conversations that were in English. Goutham Menon wants to show how modern families have moved to conversing in English rather than their mother tongues. But he forgot that the majority of his audience does not fall under that category. 
Then the movie moves to show the younger hero in a military helicopter receiving the news of his father's demise. It’s a sad moment. 
But as I said before, no emotions were shown in the movie and Surya says ok like it was news about his broken iPod. And that is how the movie starts. The rest of the movie is shown in Flash backs narrated by the younger Surya and his younger life. 
As it more of a biography, you get to see every part of a son's life under the care of his open minded and inspiring father. Surya as both father and son had done the best in acting minus the emotions in the dialogue. Many a times, I could not relate myself in the son's life, so I was unable to appreciate them. And few scenes in which you would get involved into the movie, the emotionless speech puts you out. It was like Night Shyamalan directing a love story.

Now the best parts of the 2hrs 40 mins biography:
1. Sameera Reddy - The sparkling part of the movie was the love story of Sameera Reddy and Surya. Right from the first meet in the train till the last scene in the car, you will love her. The scene in the train though might appear crazy, the craziness Surya depicts appears how mad he is about the girl. Love brings madness in you was proved (in a lighter way). But she is also the reason I hated watching the movie for they kill her in the middle of the movie.
2. Surya's search for new life - After the tragic turn, what "Autograph" conveys in a song was shown in 30 mins of Vaaranam Aayiram. And for Surya who lost all his hope in life, his trip towards Himalayas and the encounter with the kidnappers reminds you of Christopher Nolan's "Batman Begins" and it was beautifully done. The renewed Surya comes back to put inside your mind, "Life must go on no matter what!"
3. Three love proposals - There are three love proposals in the movie, considering that there are three female leads, it sums up right. Surya proposes twice and Divya proposes once. All three are beautifully told. And Sameera's moment of accepting it is though not the biggest moment is pretty neat.
4. Adiyae Kolluthae - If there is one song that lives up to your expectation, it is "Adiyae Kolluthae". The visualization matches the Guitar strings, refreshing lyrics, city surroundings and a perfect matching pair.

So what made the movie less favorite?
1. You don’t start the movie with the death of the hero. It puts the audience off.
2. We know that English has become a normal medium in the daily talks of a modern educated family. But still it’s uncommon for the common audience. So most of the best scenes are lost in translation.
3. Krishnan's flashback - Simran says "unga appa evalavu azhaga irupaaru theriyuma!" (How beautiful your father used to be!). And then they show Surya in 70s with a big power glass. Even for the greatest fan of Surya, it would mean an insult. Not to forget how the best song of the movie, "Mundhinam Paarthenae" made me scream "Naan yen etha partheno" as it was killed by the retro look.
4. Even the father telling his son to go to US to find his love could be dismissed as a contrasting character incomparable to the typical father who wouldn’t agree spending money for was
ting bike fuel for your girl friend, the stringent VISA department wishing well to Surya for finding his love in US not only shocks you but makes you hit your head on the wall and makes you cry thinking back the rejections you saw during the US VISA interview.
5. Why do bad things always happen right after the happiest moments of the movie? How much needed it was for the story, I foresaw that Meghna is going to be killed when she admits her love
 for Surya. So when Surya tells that he will meet her by travelling in the bus while she flies to Oklahoma, I screamed "No you won’t idiot. She is going to die." 
Needless to say, I walked out for the next 15 minutes of the movie.
6. Songs visualization. If the lengthy movie was at least satisfying as a biography, you have to nod away your head with the not-even-close relation between the tune and the dance moves in the songs. Neither the retro look in the first song nor Surya's dance in painter’s costume for "Shanthi Shanthi" song is anyway sensible.
7. If all the above points doesn't affect you and your liking for Surya still makes you watch the movie, the monotonous delivery of the dialogues by the entire cast for the whole movie right from the start till the last scene would doze you off very much in the middle of this yet another could-have-been-made-better flick.

Friday, December 12, 2008

There is always a wrong time

It is always on the wrong times you try to do the right things. And it is always the insignificant and the most immaterial tasks that get in your mind when the whole world is waiting for you to press the launch button. For example, consider this. I had been idle in the blogging world for about a month when so many things happened around me that deserve lot more reasons to speak out but I went on to be silent not even showing a sign of my presence. And here I am writing a post when I have nothing to say. Is this a defect inside my brain that always restricts me from being useful? Is it a special character of me that whenever I find something important and urgent to be taken care of, my mind becomes agitated and works hard to find something irrelevant and irresponsible that can wait forever but would flip the priority plugs in my brain to take up the unimportant one. Even when I want to change myself and do something useful, my thoughts points me to find reasons why I am not doing what I wanted to do in the first place and thereby makes me lose the precious time and I end up thinking of things I could have thought but not thought because of the thought I was thinking. I think I am still thinking of the same thought.
So to make anything fruitful to get out of this post, I will list down the thoughts that never got penned down or never got completed to enter my blog.

  1. “I am a Mac and a PC” – True to Apple’s ads, the practical proof that installing windows in a Macbook is a cakewalk. Equipped with my roommate’s new Macbook, I installed Microsoft XP Professional as a secondary operating system in 2 hours. “Windows in Mac?” you might ask. And guess what? I even saw the blue installation screen of windows on the cute Macbook. It was an odd experience.
  2. Mumbai under attack – The most terrifying event that shook the country for three days and left 180 dead and several injured. Not to forget the horrifying thought of 10 terrorists armed with automatic submachine guns and a huge backpack full of ammo and grenades could enter the country through the sea so easily and no intelligence agency had a clue of the terrorist strike. While saluting the bravery of the Indian Police and Army Commandoes who fought and many of those who gave their lives to save thousands in the fight, it was shameful and questionable on the preparedness of India against terror attacks which it has seen many times in the near past. 10 hours delay for the army to reach the spot leaving the Police with Lee Enfield rifles and pistols battle the terrorists firing with AK-47 and three days for the army commandos and ATS unit to end the battle angers and question the efficiency of the Indian civil and military protection forces.
  3. Mission XOV – Ironic it might seem, it is hundred times difficult to install XP as a secondary operating system over VISTA than installing XP over Mac OS X. When I was able to achieve the latter in simple steps, the thought of installing XP in Vista-invaded Gateway Laptop sprang in my mind and the mission XP Over Vista(XOV) went over 4 days trying to find the XP drivers for all components to keep my laptop usable. Even with the help of similar minded people who had gone through the same exercise in the past, the mission ending successfully but the objective remained unclear as the laptop gets overheated fast and was hanging very often. You can learn more from my tweets are
  4. Rolling the cubicle dice – The last few months at work deserves a long post owing to the varied experiences on the new development project from handling the pesky offshore to the overriding manager who doesn’t understand the root cause of the problems but believes the wrong answer to be the right solution and talking with the political peer putting you in struggle for words and always demands carefully crafted sentences to avoid getting blames on things that are not really your fault. With all the tough tasks and adding my laziness and craziness there was no surprise but shock and despair that this year’s appraisal was a disaster.
  5. Shopping on Thanksgiving – The festival of gratitude turned out to be a shopper’s arena as usual and for the first time, I became part of it. With the economy digging deep towards the earth’s core, the stores of the whole US Nation stood up and struggled to make money with the biggest sale event of the year. Still not effective due to the slump sales on the Thanksgiving Day, the single day sale got extended for a week with attractive prices in everything that you can imagine. Though I could not stand out with the crowd in the night, I was lucky enough to steal some deals online including $400 off of a Sony laptop, a hard disk and few more computer accessories and clothes that thinned my credit cards by at least $1500. There is still Christmas coming up and the retail stores are trying their best to make some sales. Never to be feared when I am here.
Lot more to come but I have to stop it here as it is starting to make sense and my mind doesn’t like it at all.

Monday, November 10, 2008

One more from iPhone apps

The world is getting smaller and more activities are coming inside the grasp of my hands. The above statement is not a metaphor as more day to day activities are done inside my palm these days, thanks to the free apps for my iPhone. From browsing on the go, finding routes in the fly to the Internet banking and recent tweeting features have made the iPhone a true companion. And here it is, the blogging application "Blog Writer lite" to keep my fingers busy with more posts for the blog. Another excuse for not blogging regularly is gone! Hope this keeps me attached to blogs for long.

Trivia: Do you know what is the next applicaion I wish to see in iPhone? ALICE - Artificial Linguistic Intelligent Computer Entity. The AI companion or simply a robot who can chat with you any time you need. Any iPhone software developers hearing me??????

Sent through "Blog writer lite" from iPhone.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

iPhone - Gloves insensitive phone

If you are one of those trying to find a reason not to buy the iPhone and neither the 70USD minimum monthly charge by AT&T nor the buzz of Google's Android is helping you, hear this out. As stupid or as trivial this might sound, it is still an important factor when you want your mobile to be handy in all weather conditions especially in the coming cold winter months. Yes. The touch sensitive screen of iPhone is incompatible with your woolen or leather gloves. So if you are walking on the street in the cold weather and your girl friend calls you, chances are very high that you cannot slide the answer button in the screen without hurting your fingers exposing them to the subzero. Though the Apple crazy lovers believe it to be a security feature that blocks unauthorized use of the iPhone by requiring the fingerprints on the screen, not everyone is ready to buy that. So here you go. Now you can be a fox reasoning that you did not eat the grapes because they are sour. All the best iPhone-haters.

As for me, I will be smart enough to use the earphones to attend the call while on the road.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Radiance of Love

What is Love? Is it an emotion? Is it a feeling? Is it an expression to show your affection to someone? Or is it just the overflow of hormones in the body? Each person defines it in their own way they see it. It is universal and known to every life being on the earth or at least that is what we limit to believe. Who knows if love extends beyond this material earth? Quite possible too. But still we have not defined Love. There is no single answer. Even science, the religion of all questioning could not find answer. It could neither prove nor deny its existence. It appears that Love seems to be peculiar that it can be expressed in both scientifically and through faith and therefore could not be answered as one. That makes it dual in nature. There are one another that exist in this way, viz Light. Light exhibits a duality in nature that wonders everyone. It is proved both as a wave and particle. Depending on the circumstance, it exhibits either of the characteristics that are still not understood by the scientists. For a human mind, which knows "Right" and "Wrong" as two distinct opposites, it still tries to figure out the dual nature of light.
Similar to Light, Love as a wave is not substantiated by weight. It acts as an emotion or feeling making an inner presence that cannot be quantified. It is a disturbance in the mind that affects everything and everyone around it. It makes you feel its presence by sheer vibrations in the heart. The heart of each person vibrates in a particular frequency that when met by a similar wave exhibiting the same vibration causes resonation to occur. Like a coherent wave, it matches the other keeping the tune synchronous with each other and plays music to the inner soul that is only felt between the two. It is not known but only understood. It traverses through obstacles reflecting and refracting through the universe reaching its destination. It is an emotion that cannot be answered why. It is expressed to be everlasting in nature and cannot be destroyed. 
On the other hand, a very arguable but apparent nature of Love is its existence as a particle. People who have accepted the wave theory as the truth find it hard to believe and deny this and few of those who have not realized the touch of Love on them doubt it. But against all disbeliefs and concerns, Love is also particle in nature. Though wave nature of Love could sustain its existence, the creation of Love and the continuity of it need a solid presence of showing itself to others. Sometimes, Love has to be quantified to prove its presence. When the waves could not create the bond between two beings at the first sight, it requires its particle nature to show the affection between them. And here, Love is not based on emotion but on an understanding. This does not make it any less than the former. It still has its radiance spreading in all directions but the source is a particle or a reason. In the motion picture, "Dan in Real Life", the author speaks of love as an "Ability". Love is an ability that you have to see if you can spread it to others. And it is not based on unexplainable feelings. It is the question of "Can you love someone?” To prove this statement, let us revisit the intrigued question of the whole world on the custom followed in India also known as "Arranged marriage". Though this is a debatable topic of its purposefulness or the closed culture or the human rights violation woos or the easy method to find a girl as argued by some others, the success of its practice and the happy families that are formed out of it raises our eyebrows that is it not the proof that Love is an ability and is based on our understanding and not on emotion? You decide upon your life based upon the decision already made before you have shared Love. If you could shower a person with care and true Love on facts and reasons, there exists the truth which beats the most widely considered belief of its wave nature. Though the wave nature may hold on to your long last first love keeping it felt forever, the particle nature teaches you that Love is an ability and it exists as long as you capable of showing it to others.
And again, similar to light, Love needs to exist as both wave and substantial quantum together all the time. It cannot sustain as one nature alone. The emotional love needs the particle nature to balance it from losing the logic of the worldly existence and the particle half must appreciate its wave half to keep it alive and truthful in the heart. Loss of one of its characteristic means loss of everything.

Without Light, life ceases to exist. 
Without Love, there is no point for the life to exist.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Double the surprise on a birthday!

There are lots of various surprises you can throw at a birthday party. You could invite someone that the b'day star does not expect; gift with something from their wish list; write a poem (only for your girl/boy friend); or even take them out to a place that they like the most. But these are to know how good you are. It is like writing a proof to say you are a 'nice' guy or 'lovely' girl. There is another category of bringing surprises which actually would shock the b’day star. And that could be "make them bath on rotten eggs and tomatoes; beat them to hell in the name of birthday bumps or make them sing in front of everyone knowing that a donkey can sing better. If I am given the power to throw one of these two extreme types of surprise, I would definitely want them to experience the second type. But yeah, my good heart mostly wins over the evil mind and would make me do something good which many of you might have experienced. I just want to let you know my intentions on your birthdays were spoiled by my good heart.
Now, coming to the event which is already overdue by 2 to 3 weeks in my blog, this is the birthday celebration of Satman. Getting to know about the birth date only a day before, I could not order a custom cake probably with my evil mind's work on it. But still, I wanted something to be different on the day. Being the main guys to trouble him in this town, it would be pretty obvious that there would be a birthday cake and all his friends would be invited. So after much thought, we finally decided upon the surprise to make sure that there will be no surprise and sent an IM message saying "If you don’t have any plans tonight, we will plan for your surprise party". And so on the night of October the 3rd, we consulted with him on whom to invite and what cake to order which turned out to be cheesecake. "Yuck!" said Vinayak and "I want chocolate cake" shouted back Srikanth. So when we went to our usual "Coldstone creamery" where people have started to identify us easily owing to the previous two birthday cakes we ordered in the past one month, we had tough time choosing the flavor. I sometimes wonder if Vinayak hates the word "cheese" more than the real cheese. And as everyone knows, Srikanth is a pretty tough guy (in a good way) once he decides on what he wants. With my good heart asking for Satman's favorite Cheesecake and Srikanth's thick stomach longing for the chocolate, we ended up doing what we have never done before. Also, we did the stupidest act in buying candles on the way back home. Before you can be all judgmental, please be assured that my good heart tried hard not to accept Srikanth's crazy ideas on both cake and the candles. My evil mind was all in glory and laughing happily when we reached home and prepared for the birthday party.
As if surprise never forgets to surprise, Satman was surprised with his two cakes on his 116th birthday which as per Srikanth should be read as twenty-six.

Click here to find the surprise

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Apple and Orange - I am available for chat only

This is what happens when Apple who has lot of work to do but do not have the mood do anything useful finds the poor Orange online who can be the perfect punch bag to pass time.

Orange comes online in Gtalk with the status message "I am available"
Apple: You liar! YOU ARE MARRIED!
Orange: what?
Apple: you are not available. Are you?
Orange: what????
Apple: I will have to tell your wife about this unacceptable behaviour
Orange: !! what are you talking about?
Apple: your gtalk status "I am available"
Orange: hmmmm
I am available for chat
Apple: but you didnt mention that clearly

Orange changes his status to "I am available for chat"

Orange: Happy now?
Apple: Still! you did not add "Only". Looks like you are available for more than chat.
Orange: that fine
Apple: that is not fine!
Apple: you must put "I am married and not available"
Orange: r u Apple?
Apple: yeah. I had tuna today.
Orange: then Apple

Orange changes the status to "I am available for chat only"

Orange: now fine??
Apple: thats better.
Apple: But if you are "online" then people know you are available for chat
Apple: why do you keep these stupid messages?

Orange removes the status message and returns back to the default "Available" status.

Orange: now fine???????????????
Apple: You are soooooo typical. Don't you have anything to say about yourself.
Orange: I AM FINE!

Apple gets relieved by passing the tensions to Orange and goes back to work happily.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Esnips music downloader

If Esnips restriction on only streaming and not allowing to download MP3 songs from their website is bothering you in getting all your favorite songs off the site, you need not be worried anymore.

Follow the steps mentioned in Esnips link generator and you are ready to download all songs.

Reading through Zuhaib (The original author)'s post on how he actually did it, the trick can be reproduced very easily.
  1. Take the link to your song in Esnips. It will be of the format, name
  2. Take only the long code present between "/doc/" and "/song  name".
  3. Put it instead of SONG_CODE in the below URL.
  4. Paste this URL in the browser or download manager to download your songs.
As the below trick is not a legitimate one, I have to put a disclaimer which I am not sure no one is going to care about. But still here it goes.

This can be used only to retrieve your own music creations which you uploaded to ensips in the past without "download" link. But now, your hard disk crashed and you lost all the songs leaving your ensips account the only source also for which you have forgotten the password before you could change the settings to get the download link. The author of this post does not encourage using the trick for any other purpose.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Beginning of Death

I waited for him in the hall. An uninvited guest, as I am all the time; disliked by everyone on the earth though it is very likely that they all will meet me at the end. Of course, I do not come in person for everyone. I have my minions at my disposal that would have their fun doing the work for me. And I make my presence only for those who are "worthy" enough to stay alive but still have to go. As "fate" calls it, it was God’s will. They get cheated by "fate" all the time. Yet they believe it. What an irony! Especially, this person here, Mark as he is rightly called is my Mark. I marked him. He is not like others. He is a special person and it is time for him to move on to his next destiny even though his destiny in this life will go unfulfilled. Destiny like time will not wait for anyone; though unlike time it can be chased on. But his chase is over now and he soon will lose. As I told before, his time is up and he have to go. Even Duke has to go. But not me.
I am getting tired of this. It has been an earthly hour and he is still away planning for something that is never going to happen. When they find out of him tomorrow morning, things will change. There will be war. And I will reap the harvest. No. Wait. I will send my minions instead. After another hour of restlessness, I sensed him walking towards his room unaware of who awaits his appearance. I walked to the door to greet him with my scythe. Raised above my head, I waited for him to come and face "Death". The knob turned with a click as he entered and I swung my Scythe.
And then it happened. Before, I could tear the soul out of his flesh, a sword clashed my blade producing a spark that lighted the whole place and pushed me back inside. I was moved few feet behind and I held guard for the first time waiting to see my challenger. Still shining in bright light, my rival stood there holding a long sword that I very well recognized as the Solarbringer forged in the molten iron river of the primitive earth. It is believed to be forged by the Gods and yielded by the Guardians of Existence during the Earliest of the wars to defeat the Undefeatable. And here it is in the hands of my adversary who is challenging he does not understand. I am impressed at myself. The work of God is needed to meet me face to face. Still sharp with his eyes, he jumped on me with the Sword raised above his head. The blades again met and a lightning crashed on the ground. I pushed him back and swung my scythe as he dodged with ease and dived back and took guard. I smirked and ran towards him revolving myself into a spin with the blade ready to cut anything that comes in contact. He dived again avoiding his end again. As I rested my spin, he yielded the Solarbringer and started bashing as much as he could while I deflected every attack while still happy about watching a worthy Guardian after a long time.
Every living creature has a bond between soul and the body that keeps them together against harm from casual dangers and deadly minions, that is me. Depends upon the will to sustain life and the Karma he have lived for, the bond generates energy that makes life stronger and difficult for me to finish my job. For most creatures, the bond generates passive shield that can withstand only weak forces of darkness and easily get succumbed soon. But for creatures with high Karma and grace, the bond produces an active spirit called "The Guardian". The Guardian is destined to protect the bond till it lasts. But as "fate" terms it, everything that has a beginning, has an end. So the Guardian protects the bond till it end comes and there by brings the end to the life it guards too. And it happens mostly in my generals’ hands or in special case like Mark, has to be mine.
The guardian raised the Solarbringer that looked majestic with its 40 inches blade and extra ordinary 10 inch hilt that forces one to hold the sword with two hands and yet confuse the opponent for a double edged sword that can strike even on the handle side. He swung the blade and it clashed again with mine. The blade remaining against each other, he pushed it hard trying to push it over me. "Do you know what you are fighting for, Guardian?" I laughed at him. "I am death! I cannot be defeated, you blind man" I growled and pushed his sword away. He remained silent and moved in circle waiting for his moment to watch me lost stance. I have seen these pathetic Guardians doing the same again and again as they are told. Their entire life has been written as a Haiku with only words meaning "Fight till Death conquers you". As I lowered my arms a bit, he moved in and struck with his sword towards my left. It met the Scythe and he backed again. I must admit that this is a worthy fight that I have been waiting for so long that I forgot how long it has been since I have to watch the rival’s eyes to determine when his next attack is going to be. The eyes speak before your own arms get the message for action. His eyes spoke swift and hard that it made an impact inside me with every action. Could he be the one to bring the change? Is it time for Duke to go? Is this the beginning of a new era?
The fight continued on as the clashes produced more destruction and thunder as it deafened everything around. With fight aggravating for heavenly hours with both of the players incapable of giving up, the clash moved across seas and oceans and on to the deep forests and finally to the Almighty’s feet at the edge of the river of Void. Fighting harder and harder I wished for the first time, that this should get over soon and found his eyes blinking for a second and before I could interpret its meaning, the sword came to my left and hit the handle taking it away from my grasp. The next bash almost sliced my arm as I dived away to leave the blade untouched. I grabbed the weapon from the ground and moved with a spin on him as he went on moving behind deflecting each attack with the Solarbringer. And with the final attack, I struck hard the blade over his head but he moved away in the final split second.
As the scythe hit the ground, he kicked it taking it away from my grasp once again. And this time, he was lucky enough to wound my arm with his blade and I fell on my back rolling away from the sharp edges reaching out to my weapon. Like a true soldier, he stood there waiting from me to gain ground. "You have no idea what you are doing?" I shouted at him. He really has no idea. "Why do you not understand that death can never be conquered?" There is no win in this fight. "You arrogant slayers never try to realize the simple truth" I was aloud trying to make him understand the inevitable. He never spoke. His eyes were blind yet fixed on me. "Fools!" I laughed. "Victory is not your destiny. You can never stop fighting. I am just trying to offer my help to end this torture." Like drumming on the deaf ears, he stood still with guard. "Okay! If you want it that way, so be it." I decided it is time for the ultimate test. It is time to leave the destiny in the hands of the "fate". I raised my weapon for one final clash. The storm rose high and the clouds gathered together breaking the silence with thunder. It started to rain. He held his hands tight on the sword and raised his arms ready for the strike. The final blow will tell us who would succeed. Whatever the end is, you will not survive. "The Gods play the dice. Let us play with Strength." I ran towards the Guardian with the scythe in front, he too followed unaware of what lay ahead. As the thunders roared as we came close to each other, we swung the blades finishing the fight as we crossed our path slowing down the run at the other end. He turned around still holding the Solarbringer firm in his hands but lowered towards the ground. He knew his opponent could not hold the weapon after the blade has sliced across the torso. I dropped the scythe. My hands would not obey my will. And my legs failed too. I let down myself on the ground. "Well done, Guardian. Well done. You have finally done what most of your kind is not even worth to think of". I let out a loud laugh. Like the only keeper of the secret, I laughed at his ignorance. "Your will to succeed have made you lose your destiny. " I looked at his proud yet confused eyes with full of questions. Of all the questions that haunted him, it is not ‘what next?’ that troubled him but the question why no one told the end of his destiny that frightened him. "You still do not understand. Do you?" I laughed for one last time under Duke’s skin. "It is time for Duke to go and you to embrace death".
And as the last word echoed, I revealed him the truth. "When you conquer death, you become ‘Death’. And I remain forever." As he moved behind realizing his stupidity, the Solarbringer disappeared and the scythe replaced its place in his hands. As the remains of Duke were blown by the winds, his face grew darker and the cloak covered the body that was once protected by Golden armor. The destiny rewritten, the Guardian of the light reincarnated as the Reaper of souls bidden to the commands of the Gods. And the Gods have spoken his first task in his new destiny. "The soul of Mark".

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Soccer Weekend

Thanks to Srikanth for the new HD projector and Satman's love for Soccer and my passion for video games, we were able to set up a big screen Soccer Arena this weekend. Though the last time I played real football was during my high school days, (I lost every game) and if you do not consider the tiny guys hitting the plastic ball in our office diner (Foosball), this is a huge advancement in my sports interest. And the game play of "Winning Eleven 9" also known as "Pro Evolution Soccer" is very exciting and way better than the weak and "more-for-looks" EA FIFA titles. Not only did I hit my first goal in my first game, I won 5 games so far even against Satman who have mastered the game for years. Now, will it make this any less if I say that I won all the games through penalty shootouts? Who cares? I won. Didn't I?
I have decided to put some effort on training lessons to improve my skills. Satman, be prepared to be challenged soon!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Best "buy" from Best Buy

I know that I told a lot about being a desi. But before I begin, please be clear that I did not pull a "desi" though Satman and Srikanth can be categorized as one. This started a week back when Satman called one evening and asked for my home address and verified whether I have a cable connection at home. Though I had a doubt whether he is going to gift us a free cable connection even though my birthday is very far away, I put away that thought knowing that I might be forced to buy a new TV if we get a cable connection. When Me and Srikanth met him in Best Buy, one of America's largest electronics store chain who have absolutely no idea of what they are selling and might even say 250GB hard drive computer is faster than 160GB computer, he was acting secretive and behaved like a secret agent making unfocussed eye contacts and speaking in a low voice as if we are "watched". He was not ready to disclose his intentions even after asking him. His face appeared as if he have stolen a 55" HDTV and was wondering how to hide it in the pocket. Not able to understand what it was all about, we just waited for an hour and finally found that he pulled a "desi". The unintelligent BestBuy guys have priced a Gateway laptop at 520 which is actually sold at 800 bucks in their online store. Now getting the news from his friend, Satman had made a hush-hush purchase of the laptop and came out victorious. Now this is not the entire news. BestBuy also has an offer of $100 off on your laptop if you get a broadband connection from them. And this is where the "Desi" mind came to act. The 520 dollars laptop became just 420 when bought with an Internet connection. And guess what. You can terminate the Broadband connection as soon as billing completes. And that is what I call a "Desi buy".
Hearing the amazing deal, Srikanth too pulled a "Desi" and came out with a laptop for his own on the same day.
One must understand that no laws or rules were crossed in this deal. The wrong pricing was a mistake by the Best Buy store and they had no intention of correcting it even though the mistake was pointed directly on their website by some users. And even the broadband connection was terminated legally by the helpdesk.
So after watching this for a week and when the news reached that the price was corrected in the store but in the wrong direction from 520 to 440 dollars, I too had no hesitation in pulling off the deal. But as I mentioned in the start, I did not pull it in "Desi style" for my mind could not find any justifiable reason for taking the broadband connection and canceling it just to benefit from the offer. But still 480 (incl. taxes) for a laptop with configuration Intel Core 2 Duo 5750 2GHz processor, 4GB RAM and ATI HD2600 512MB graphics card is not a deal but a steal.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

How to capture "Team Work"?

Our department comes up with interesting idea once in a while. And now it has put up a Photography contest and the choice of topics are "Company Values" and "Team Work". Now the main rule is that I have to take photos especially for this contest and can not use the already taken ones. So I can not use our Treat photos to show our team work in finishing off the Birthday boy's wallet. My evil mind is having troubles in thinking of creative ways to show case "Team work" other than planning to trip down the project manager by a rope. So I request you all, my beloved readers who rarely (never) comment for my posts to break the silence and help me with good ideas for the contest. If commenting on the blog is not comfortable with you, please send me a mail or leave an offline message in the IM or send a SMS or call to my mobile if you know the phone number.

Prizes if won will obviously be shared with those who help me out. Of course, the percentage of your share will be decided later after I receive the prize.

UPDATE: The contest is extended till 26th September 2008. So keep pouring your ideas.

Monday, September 15, 2008

2.6 Million people named Desi

The term Desi is a common way of referring to the emigrants from the Indian Sub continent living in US and UK either temporarily or permanently for many generations. Primarily not an offensive term and is more used by the Desis only, the word has starting representing a culture of its own. The culture that it has established represents many aspects of a daily desi life and the life styles followed by a typical Indian immigrant. The love of spicy food at any time of the day is a classic characteristic of a Desi. Been in UK for almost an year and being in US for the last 1.5 years, I have noticed many interesting characteristics that a Desi typically exhibit, some of which are to be proud of; also equal share of shames and few embarrassing or unethical behaviors too. Here I have tried to list few of them but mostly the adverse characters seen in a Traditional Desi. As most conventional characters are similar to an Indian resident, I have pointed out only the adverse ones. Please not that all the points are my own view and is not meant to hurt anyone.

  1. As already said, Love of spicy food that is "Cooked". "Cooked" food generally means food that is either fried on a Tava or deep fried in oil. Steam boiled food is not considered to be cooked except for rice.
  2. A perfect Desi considers any food that has bread including Subs, sandwiches and burgers as a snack. Only "Cooked" food is considered as meals.
  3. "A penny saved is a penny earned" - Benjamin Franklin
    "A penny saved is Rs.0.45 earned" - Desi
    For a desi, everything needs to be converted to Rupees. A burger for 2.3 dollars is too costly compared to 10 rupees Pani Puri in India.
  4. "Please" is reserved for important occasions only and are hard to be used on normal conversations.
  5. As a general rule, never talk to others unless you are questioned.
    American: "How are you today?"
    Desi: Fine. (Do I know him? Why is he talking to me?)

    Desi 1: "Hello" *smiles*
    Desi 2: Returns a stare. (Now what does he/she want from me?)

  6. If it does not affect you, it is never a problem.
  7. Bashes Indian Police for not following rules. Swears at American Police for following strict rules.
  8. Can take a right turn by standing in the front of the left most lanes.
  9. Complains about the low quality of the pirated movies online and the high cost of Pirated DVDs.
  10. Never heard about the concept of 'buying' MP3 songs.
  11. Calculates the resale price of the car before owning it.
  12. Rules are meant to be bent and Contracts are made to be broken. Whether it is the internet or the mobile phone, the service must last only till the offer exists.
  13. Anything that is not bought in sale is considered as over-priced.
  14. Feels happy about fall in India's economy which would mean increase in US Dollar value against Indian Rupee.
  15. 15-day return policy are created for renting high end gadgets for the weekend tours.
  16. Girl friends are important for healthy social life. Night clubs and lap dances are modern culture. But the bride should be from a homely family brought up in a traditional society.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Tweet! Tweet!

After years of speaking, shouting, growling, yawning, burping, hiccupping, laughing, whispering, humming, singing, screaming, crying, hissing, murmuring and even blogging, I thought I will sound myself in one another way. For I know twittering too. And you can hear me twitter at Let me know if you tweet. We can listen to each other even if it might sound like a crow.

For those, who dont know what Twitter is:
(Ref: Wikipedia)
Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows its users to send and read other users' updates (otherwise known as tweets), which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length.
Updates are displayed on the user's profile page and delivered to other users who have signed up to receive them. The sender can restrict delivery to those in his or her circle of friends (delivery to everyone being the default). Users can receive updates via the Twitter website, instant messaging, SMS, RSS, email or through an application such as Twitterrific or Facebook.

The best part is that I can tweet from my iPhone too through Twitterrific Application or from on my iPhone Safari browser. Tweet! Tweet!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

GM diet on the air - Emergency Curfew on food!

I hereby declare a emergency curfew on all talks that involves the deliciousness of food especially cakes, ice creams and deep fried chicken for the next four days.
This is put in place to restrict the temptations of breaking my GM diet planned for this week. Not having any troubles following the diet plan in the second week of August, I decided to try it for a week this September too. But I must admit, it is getting difficult this time. Probably it was easier last time as one another person joined me in the diet and we had each other for support. But as I am trying it alone this time, any talk on creamy donuts or spicy masala curries is tempting me to write an exception to have limited quantity of junk food against the rule. But as Neo replies to Smith's question "Why not give up?", I say the same. "Because I chose to". So here I am fighting to up hold the law and control my mind. And I smell victory and not the cod fish at hand.

I actually wrote about the struggle and experiences from the first week, but somehow did not post it before. Boy! Am I proud to say that I reduced about 7 pounds in the first week!
>>Click here to read more

Not able to withstand the continuous criticism on my recent photographs and the fact that the weighing machine is spinning fast when I stand on it, I decided to take the sour pill of dieting. I have also tried few other ways of reducing my own personal punch bag through Gym and Apple Cider Vinegar but there are many obstacles in it. I am unable to go to gym regularly due to the legal necessity of a driving license to drive the car. And the intolerable Apple Cider Vinegar tastes more like Vinegar than Apple. Probably they added it in a proportion of 1:100000. It is the most awful syrup I have ever tasted. Even the tablet equivalent of the syrup did not make any difference. Fed up with these failed attempts, it was time to do the diet way. Contrary to many people's belief, dieting is not stopping to eat, but eating the right food. And searching for the best diet plan, I finally landed up on this GM diet.

GM diet was developed for employees and dependents of General Motors, Inc. I couldn't understand the connection between fitness and automobiles. But reading that the plan was designed in the year 1985 makes you amaze at the Employee relations program by GM.
Coming to the point, GM diet is a week program with food limited by type and not on quantity every day. For the details about the GM diet, please refer here.

Now let’s take a look at my day to day experience in GM diet.

Day 0: A diet plan for 7 days that has mostly vegetables and fruits kinda scares me out. It might be because I am used to having them between the actual meals. So taking them as the actual meal raised my eyebrows a lot. But with strong determination, I prepared myself for the diet. I enjoyed myself with delicious idlis, masala dosa, medhu vada and spicy noodles at Udipi for brunch and dose of Spinach sauce dipped tortillas, chicken wrap and grilled herb chicken at Applebee’s for dinner. One week of dieting was compensated the day before itself.
Physical state: Strong and burping after heavy dinner
Mental state: Thrilled to start the diet

Day 1: All fruits except bananas. Your first day will consist of all the fruits you want. It is strongly suggested that you consume lots of melons the first day. Especially watermelon and a loupe. If you limit your fruit consumption to melons, your chances of losing three lbs. on first day are very good.

Watermelon being a favorite to me, the day started happily with watermelon in a 1 liter container for breakfast and 2 liters for lunch. Towards the evening, the stomach started showing its anger of not getting bread and cheese for the day. But I somehow controlled it by drinking a lot of water whenever the hunger tried to start. Had another liter size of Watermelon and half-a-liter container of cantaloupe for dinner. The toughest part was ordering a pizza for my flat mates and unable to taste it.
Physical state: Still strong and healthy with very less fatigue but no change in weight. The scale stills spins to an alarming position.
Mental state: Facing the challenge of avoiding junk food. Not much trouble though.

Day 2: All vegetables. You are encouraged to eat until you are stuffed with all the raw or cooked vegetables of your choice. There is no limit on the amount or type. For your complex carbohydrate, you will start day two with a large baked potato for breakfast. You may top the potato with one pat of butter.

Potatoes for breakfast??? What kind of diet is this anyway? But followed it heartily. Got a baking potato and micro waved it as I had no patience and time for baking it in oven for an hour. I was able to eat one whole baked potato which tasted better after adding a pinch of salt in the second half. Took a packet of Baby carrots for lunch which is the strangest meal I ever had. Like Bugs Bunny I happened to talk to the colleagues munching my carrot all the way. I was getting a bit hungry towards the night but was saved by steamed mixed vegetables with seasoning.
Physical state: Still no sign of weight decrease.
Mental state: Interesting. Everyone is talking about the diet plan. That made me feels motivated.

Day 3: A mixture of fruits and vegetables of your choice. Any amount, any quantity. No bananas yet. No potatoes today.

Work was hectic and the day started with no breakfast. But no tiredness. Felt like my body was getting used to the diet. I had 1 liter container of Watermelon for lunch and a cucumber in the evening. Today brought the greatest test ever over my determination. We went to Cold stone creamery and got "Midnight delight", a three-layered chocolate ice-cream cake for my room mate's birthday and Srikanth who accompanied me bought a large scoop of ice-cream mixed with roasted almonds and was eating all the way back home. But the toughest challenge was to munch cucumbers while everyone were filling themselves with Ice-cream cake. But I survived the day and the Diet plan is still alive.
Physical state: Hurray! Scale shows a pound less. I know it is less for all the sacrifices. But it is a start.
Mental state: Waiting for the week to be over. Already plan set to visit Cold stone on Monday.

Day 4: Bananas and milk. Today you will eat as many as eight bananas and drink three glasses of milk. This will be combined with the special soup which may be eaten in limited quantities.

This day indeed went by easier than I thought. Consumed only 6 bananas and a glass of milk for the whole day in addition to the 10 glasses of water. Water was more for hunger than thirst quencher. Lived through the day even after discussing the possible options for Vinayak's birthday treat and best Indian restaurants close by.
Physical state: One more pound decreased! Little concerned about the slow decrease in weight.
Mental state: Appears like I can complete the diet plan successfully. Slight thoughts of repeating the plan again in the future.

Day 5:
Beef and tomatoes. The beef is for iron and proteins, the tomatoes are for digestion and fiber. Lots and lots of water purify your system. You should notice colorless urine today. Your allowance calls for the equivalent of five "quarter ponders". Do not feel you have to eat all this beef. You must eat the six tomatoes.

This is the costliest diet I have ever tried. Trying to have a healthy diet, I bought organic tomatoes instead of the usual Roma tomatoes and had to pay 10 bucks for 8 tomatoes. It makes me feel worried to see the cost of naturally grown vegetables costlier than the fertilized ones. I had 2 tomatoes for breakfast followed by 2 more and a roast beef sandwich for lunch. Finished off the day with two tomatoes for dinner. Hunger had stopped completely. And even treat in an Indian restaurant did not tempt me one bit. Hoping the remaining two days will go in a breeze.
Physical state: 2 more pounds decreased. That is 4 pounds in 5 days. But I was promised at least 10 pounds in 7 days.
Mental state: Felt sleepy in the evening. No sign of hunger though the total intake was just 8 tomatoes and a sandwich.

Day 6: Beef and vegetables. Today you may eat an unlimited amount of beef and vegetables. Eat to your hearts content.

The craving for food was higher today as I was just sitting in home on the weekend. With the previous days gone while being busy with work in office, sitting without any work pressed the stomach to take spicy and nutty food. It was a very hard day. Though you can eat unlimited amount of beef (meat), the fact we should eat without cheese or oil reduced the options. I settled down to sandwiches bought in Wal-Mart and removed the thick layer of cheese before eating it. But still managed to survive and the Diet continued.
Physical state: Just 1 more pound decreased. Made me wonder if I am doing anything wrong,
Mental state: I wanted to be in office so that the time will pass faster. Newton's law of relativity was playing its role.

The Final day: Today your food intake will consist of brown rice, fruit juices and all the vegetables you care to consume.

Fruit juices at last. The day passed with lots of watermelon juice and apples and watching "Tropic Thunder" helped in passing the time. And even when Srikanth, Vinayak and Satish suggested having ice-cream from Cold Stone Creamery, I was strong enough to sit next and watch them while they were eating "I love it" size of Banana Split, Cheesecake and Chocolate fantasy ice creams. I cleared the final test of controlling the temptation with flying colors.

The Verdict: Like a school kid awaiting the exam results, I was waiting for the Monday morning but only to realize that Vinayak had tampered the zero reading of the weighing scale and it showed almost 15 pounds less than my weight at the start of the week which can not be the truth. So with final approximation of how much he changed the reading, the total count came to 6 to 8 pounds. This is a great achievement for a guy who tried to reduce weight for the last 5 months but only increased by more than 10 pounds. So the final verdict is "GM diet works!"

Friday, September 5, 2008

Speeding ticket

Should I be thankful that it did not happen a week before when I was having only the Indian driving license and my US driving license was in expired state? Or should I be worried of being stopped by a cop in the highway? Or should I be cheered for joining the majority of the US drivers who atleast have got stopped by the cop once? Should I be excited for getting my first speeding ticket and that too 20 miles above the speed limit? Or should I just teach myself to be aware of the cops while speeding? Except the first two options, rest are either stupid or unethical. But as most other adrenaline pumped young (I AM YOUNG) drivers, though I am sorry for speeding, I am somehow less concerned. After all, I was not driving reckless. There is a huge difference between ove rspeeding and reckless driving. Over speeding is like using calculator in a Engineering Maths exam. You may not be allowed to use it, but it is not going to give any formula or direct answers. But reckless driving is copying answers from the next person. You not only skip the learning part but also put yourself in danger in case that the other person is wrong. I was using a calculator and unfortunately it was a scientific one(higher speeds).

Anyway, though I learnt my lesson at heart not to speed beyond the speed limit, whats so ironic was when I told about this speeding ticket to Satman, his comment was "You got caught speeding in a Chevy Uplander (7 seater mini van)? That is lame". Now the speeding is not making me feel worried, but his question "Just Chevy Uplander????" bothers me. Would it feel better if it had been a Pontiac G6 or a Mustang GT?

PS: I do not know the fine amount yet. I am asked to get that information by calling the department office in Georgia and they told that citation is not filed into the computer till now and I have to check with them next week.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Summer Blockbusters - June 2008

June 2008 promised a variety of entertainment from animations, comedy, action, adventure and thrillers. And most of them were either from huge productions or had notable cast in it which added lot of expectations on them. So here they are - Summer blockbusters of June 2008.
Click here for Movies from the month of May 2008.

June 6th - Kungfu Panda
Now that is a good entertainer. An animated movie with the voices of All-Big stars including Jackie-Chan, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Lucy Liu and Jack Black as the Kung-fu Panda. Nothing great about the story, but it sure hell was fun from the start till the end. A definite family movie to enjoy with all the gags and cool animation put up together. The camera movements in the action sequences were so great that it makes one forget that it is an animated movie. Good watch for the summer season.

June 13th - The Happening and The Incredible Hulk
I do not remember what made me busy that I could not watch both of these movies. I did not care about the Hulk though. Even the first part was pathetic with cheap special effects. But "The happening" had a greater expectation for me. Strange that I watched only the first 15 minutes of the movie so far. And yes, I loved it. Though the movie did not go well with the Box office, I am sure it will be great to watch like "The Lady in the water".

June 20th - Get Smart
Another James Bond Parody is what I thought before going to the movie. After watching Steve Carell in "Dan in real life" and Anne Hathaway in "The Devil wears Prada", the movie appeared to be worth a try. But then I was in for a surprise. This film became the top film I laughed out loud and heartily throughout. Steve Carell and his silly jokes especially when he boasts about his hi-tech gadgets prove his natural trait in bringing out comedy so easily to all. Roc was nothing but a cherry at the top while Kali was a bonus. The million dollar question though is "Which kiss in the movie was the best?"
a. Anne Hathaway and Steve b. Anne Hathaway and Kali (or) c. Steve and Roc? Hell! Yeah baby! Do you like to guess the winner?

June 27th - Wall-E and Wanted
Though we can not call them as the two double-U (W) releasing the same week, both are great movies of their own. Waste Allocation Load Lifter - Earth class or simply Wall-E is an animated movie set in a reality-check in not-so-far future. I must admit that I did not hope much for the movie and feared that this would be disaster to Pixar. But against all my thoughts, this movie was sweet, cute, adorable and funny as hell with a strong message regarding the environment. The Love story between the two robots that can speak nothing much more than their names is so touching and lasts forever. I watched the whole movie with a kid sitting behind my seat who was questioning every scene of the movie while his dad was trying hard to enjoy the movie in-between giving answers to his son. The movie will be remembered for a long time.
"Wanted" on the other hand was based on a comic book which is becoming a trend these days. All film producers and digging out the old book shelves for thrown away comics and put big casts to make money out of it. Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman star as the Merchants of death working in the secret organization called "The Fraternity". The movie has its own share of twists and wicked humor that keeps everyone thrilled till the bullet comes out of Morgan's forehead in the end. It was a good weekend with the entertaining back-to-back features.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Beginning of the End

Tomorrow might be my last day in the current project. Though I have heard these words for the last 6 months, the end seems to be definite this time. The last 19 months of staring at the same status screen and recovering the same loads again and again have taught me a lot that includes both technical and managerial aspects of the project. I even learnt tips of tricks of handling the politics that run within the IT industry especially in the client space when you are not the most favorite to them and survival depends more on your smartness than hard work in creating the solution. Between the time of learning the code which God knows who developed and even He might not know who maintained, you will have to use your social skills in getting information from your co-workers who see you as a threat to their job. So it’s a tough task in getting the job done and also getting the credit for it. But there are also few good souls who would recognize your efforts in a while and you are motivated to work for those appreciation mails. This Project had not made me work longer weekends than my previous ones but this indeed made me face tougher challenges and sleepless nights as while you prepare yourself to play the blame game with other teams in the project, your offshore sometimes trip you like a lousy sidekick by pressing the wrong buttons out of sheer curiosity.
Though there are many incidents that I might be forced to create a new blog titled "My pain and the gain with the Cable Guy", I will put up a few events that are at the top of my memories.

The Beginning of the Never-ending story
Brought to onsite for created GPS reports (Please watch Wanted movie), before I could set my hands on them properly, my PM called me for a meeting. These are the exact words he said.
"Our project is in a very bad state. The client might throw us out if we do not do something about it. And it is all in your hands. I am putting you in charge of Production Support team and you must bring the team up and create a good name with the client. You can do it."
Everyone who would hear such inspiring words from your manager and assuring that the world rests on your hands; it probably would have created enlightenment in your mind and brought Goosebumps inside you. But for me, it tickled and I laughed out loud for I heard him saying the same dialogue to S to persuade him join another module. We all love our managers for their convincing words. Don’t we? But I hoped he could have changed the words at the least.

The night I almost screwed up
Not even a month of leading the Production support from onsite, I had a simple instruction to run specific jobs in the night. And that day happened to be a party night and everyone were at home and we were enjoying a good dinner. The clock struck 11 and I went on to my start the specified jobs only to find that a variation of that job is already active from 10. The schedule for the new jobs was at 10 and not at 11 which I completely forgot. Not willing to call the client to face embarrassment, I took the bold step of going through the entire code, understand it, find the pros and cons of running it after 11 and created the detailed steps to complete it successfully. The plan went on for the whole night and it took 20 hours to finish the whole load. But still I had to spend another sleepless night as I was not sure if I made any mistake that the client might notice the next day. But fortunately, everything went fine and nobody even suspected the manual overrides done on the weekend. It taught me a huge lesson. Always remember that you CAN do it, if you WISH for it and WORK HARD to make it happen. And also make sure you note down the time in your schedule correctly.

24 hours conference call and $25 movie tickets
Almost an year back during the labor day weekend, when everyone in the office were on their long planned vacations while I was just sitting in home with no plans, the server crashed and forced all of them to join the conference call. With everyone's vacation ruined and me with nothing to be ruined, we spent 24 hours in the call while engineers from various team tried hard in bringing back the crashed server to life. As the issue was not directly on my application, I had nothing to do in the whole time except keep the mobile charged and was left lying on the bed for the whole day. Though my brain tried to follow up the progress of the issue, my mind could not concentrate on the call owing to the sleepiness night. My only real work was running the test loads on the next day and declaring that all things are fine. And the reward: A signed appreciation letter (hard copy) from the client along with $25 worth movie tickets. Dedication pays off sometime with style.

The night I thought I screwed up
This happened few months back when we saw failure on a module which never had any problem before. With preliminary analysis done and the solution derived to solve the problem, we proceed with applying the fix. As the normal process, we are supposed to take backup of the data before doing any changes in the system. Even though I am always bit of extra precautious in handling the production systems and would rather be a road block than a open canal for care-free developers, on this particular day I was partially out of my mind and allowed the code execution on the production without any backups. As if it is a punishment for my carelessness, the tests failed and were showing weird output in the test environment. As I had proceeded with the production before verifying the results from the test environment, I knew I am in deep trouble. The whole weekend became a nightmare with all strange thoughts from being branded as the reckless guy in the project to getting fired by the client flashing in my dreams. Hard it was to understand that what was done is already done and there is nothing you can do to undo it. As we did not even take the backup, so recovery from an old backup is a costly option which was closer to impossible. With alarms running through my mind, it was Hemant's unimportant question whether I had run the tests on the Production environment itself. And that was when it struck me that we never ran complete tests in production and were presuming by looking at the similar test environment. A quick test finally revealed to my surprise that the production does not have any issues and the test environment was already corrupted before we had applied our fix. Breathing at last, I laughed at myself for making judgment calls without complete information. Another important lesson learnt from the day. Facts have better answers than your assumptions. It is never too late to recheck your results. Sometimes it is advisable to listen to your colleagues.

The Summer Blockbusters - May 2008

Summer is almost over. But the summer blockbusters are over already. This summer happened to be a great year for movies with one greatly expected movie releasing every week. "A movie every weekend" was the plan but considering the other movies that released along with the big ones and the DVD mail in subscriptions, it happened to almost a movie a day. But let’s not worry about the other movies as they did not create any surprise much. Let’s talk and rate the blockbusters now one month at a time.

Movies of the summer 2008:
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May 2nd - Iron Man
I never thought this will be any good. Not a fan of Iron man, actually never read any comic about him, we watched the movie with very less anticipation. Even the trailer wasn’t so cool. But guess what? The movie was total fun. Robert Downey Jr did a good job as the Arms dealer turned Super-hero. And yes. The ending was in a word "Striking". Good start for the summer season.
Rating: 4/5

May 9th - Speed Racer
Opposed to Iron Man, Speed Racer was one movie that I awaited for more than a year. It is a Japanese anime turned to a flashy witty and same cartoonish thrilling roller coaster ride. The eastern bright color added a nice touch to the entire movie and even with all the fast action; it was cool to have the same cartoonish feeling all over the movie. If you haven't watched it yet, just go and enjoy the ride. The summer is getting better. Read more of my opinion here.
Rating: 4.5/5
>>More here

May 16th - The Chronicles of Narnia - Prince Caspian
The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe though was made a hit did not dazzle me as I had seen the cartoon adaptation of the C.S.Lewis' fantasy novel. Except few special effects the movie was nothing but a film that parents can take their kids too. Also we have seen these animated wars in many other better movies like Lord of the Rings itself, it left me remembering Vivek's dialogue in the movie "Run", "ithelaam naanga ratha kaneerleya paathutomla" (We have already seen these in the old "Blood tears" movie). So I could not find the urge to watch the second part of the Chronicles of Narnia. I guess it did not any difference from the first one.
Rating: n/a

May 22nd - Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Before we go into bashing and dashing about this sequel, let’s get one thing straight. This movie was made just to relive the glory days of Original Indiana Jones adventures and made by the fans. Yeah! I am talking about Spielberg and Lucas here. And it had all the fun that the original movie had. Right from the shadow of Jones putting his hat, (If it was Kollywood, there would have whistles) to the scene La Beoulf taking the hat from the floor after the wedding, it is all about reliving the good old times. This movie had all the mix and match one would expect from Indiana Jones. It has a good start, charming villain, betraying friends, families to add sentiments, and the villains getting their end by the hands of the same treasure they seek. All in all, a good entertainer if you can leave your brains out.
Rating: 3/5

May 30th - Sex and the City
Sorry guys. I am not a fan of this TV series and definitely do not find Jessica Parker any attractive or whatsoever. So this movie went outside my hook and I think it did not do any good in the box office anyway.
Rating: n/a

Shooting the moon

நித்தமும் சிந்தித்தேன்;
இருள்வரை யோசித்தேன்.
உன் புகழினை படிக்க;
கவிதை ஒன்றை இயற்ற.
தோன்றவில்லை மனதில்;
அவளைக்கண்ட மறுபொழுதில்.

[+/-]Click here for the English translation of the poem. (Not by words, but the inner meaning that the poem conveys).

Every second, I thought;
Till the night, I tried.
To express your glory
To recite a poem for you.
But no words came to my mind;
From the moment she was in my sight.