San Diego beckons

No-oooooooooo!!! Not again. I am going to miss my daughter’s birthday for the second consecutive year. Well ‘kadamai azhaikuthu’. So no other choice. On the positive side I am getting another camera and planning to go to Sea World too (Last time when I was in Irvine, I gave Sea World a miss, postponing it for another time and it has been a wise decision). But all the fun only after the successful completion of the reason I am here.

Tata Nano – History is made

It has not been often that I follow a news for long with such unadulterated passion. The 1 lakh car has been one of them. I had read every conceivable article, magazine reports, rumors and predictions of the car, including the parts that will be outsourced and to whom and the innovations required to meet the cost factor.

Meanwhile there had been a lot of setbacks for Ratan and his team including the protests by farmers, mockery style statements issued from competitors questioning the mere possibility of it and almost everyone jumping in to say that 1 Lakh price target atleast is difficult to meet.

Another group which were social conscious folks started a separate activity on the effect it could cause to the traffic and pollution levels to India

Ratan and his team went on without paying any heed to all this and they achieved the impossible. Kudos to them.

And today when I saw it live, Ratan driving the car in stage I felt speechless. It is a moment of honor to every Indian and a historic event which the world will look back many times in future.

    * Now the car is indeed available at 1 Lakh dealer price (+VAT + Road Tax) still will take it not more than 1.25L. Ratan kept to his promise
    * It is less polluting than even the 2 wheelers so all the critics from that department can RIP
    * It will take 4 people in a space lesser than M800 and I don’t think it is going to clog the traffic. Isn’t it better than a couple with their kids traveling on a bike in rain.
    * It has mileage of 20+ and so is not a gas guzzler. Anyone claiming that this will lead to pollution better check that their car might not even give half to a litre of petrol
    * It has Bharat Stage III and Euro IV safety norms and it has passed all safety tests including Crash tests. As Ratan put it “It is definitely safer than a bike”. It is and it might be safer than M800 and Omni for sure
    * The car is damn cute in design
    * It has wonderful beige interiors
    * It is lesser in outer area (8% less than M800) and 21% spacious inside. Isn’t that a masterpiece in innovation

Above all, consider a middle class Indian family. Before this their dream of a car could have been only a dream. One Man has thought it was possible and he had showed it to the world. Now his dream has made million dreams become reality.

Kudos to Mr. Ratan Tata. We are proud of you.

Mileage – Before First Service

Our Estilo is giving us a mileage of around 12 per km before the first service. The first service was done at 600+ kms much to the surprise of many (for a first time car owner and for one who learnt it after buying the car 600 kms is a bit too much). Waiting for the mileage to improve after the service. Let me see.

Our New Car – Maruti Zen Estilo

Hurrah !!! we finally got our hands on the brand new Estilo. We took the Champagne Beige Vxi from Pratham Motors Bangalore and enjoying each moment of this. Thanks to everyone who were part of the long decision making process and a special thanks to my wife for not being particular on the ‘Purple’ Estilo (Yuck).

There is a complete (read extensive) review here

You can pass ur comments / queries below. I will be more than happy to bring in more of you to enjoy the Estilo – a style statement.

Language Problem

When I landed in bangalore I found that it was easy to interact in hindi with people. Almost everyone here seemed to know hindi. Once I was in a bus stop and I wanted to ask whether the bus was going to ‘Majestic’ and if not which buses would. I tried it in hindi and unfortunately the conductor did not seem to know hindi that well. He tried telling something to me in kannada which I could not understand much. We let it go and suddenly I realized that the bus was playing tamil songs. I asked him if he knew tamil (of course in tamil) and he seemed relieved and happily said ‘aamam’ (meaning ‘yes’). That was really funny, two tamilians in bangalore trying to interact in every other language, but tamil.

After that experience, whenever I was doubtful I would say ‘Tamil, Hindi, English’ even before I start speaking to them. I hopefully will get one of the above 3 going. Still there are people who respond saying ‘kannada’ . Then I tell them ‘Kannada Gothilla’ (Don’t know kannada) and call my wife who speaks it quite fluently much to my jelousy. She is learning ‘telugu’ too from her colleagues. With that we will have a language net that hopefully will be sufficient.

Classmates @ Petit

[Not in any particular order]

  • Alwin Anbu – One of my best friends at school
  • Arun Kumar – My friend right from 3rd standard
  • Gavri Savio Fernandez – Exciting and Humourous.
  • Karthik Easwaran – The ultimate athelete
  • Sudhakar T – Calm but studious
  • Shanmuganathan – Extremely talented. Now a doctor
  • Pradeep Baptist – Was also my PEC classmate, MBA
  • Siva Sekharan – Another good friend of mine
  • Subhash Jain – Has his own business now
  • Sugumaran – A short guy
  • Inder Singh – Was in IBM Bangalore when I met him last
  • Mugilan – classmate in PEC too and one of my friends
  • Sabarivel Narayanan – was my close friend in my KGs. In touch via Orkut 
  • Arvind – Met his in Bangalore Airport
  • Anbu Selvam – Went to Jipmer along with Shanmuganathan

Thank you very much!!

Today morning I had to go to Koramangala for some personal work. I met Mr. Ram Mohan and came out of his house. My bike was parked over a cement slab on the pavement and I was having difficulty in getting it down on the road. Just then a woman came begging for some alms. She should be close to 50 and was looking like any other beggar that we see in India. Since I had already started moving my bike down the slab, it was difficult for me to get to my purse. But I usually try my best to give something to them. So I took my bike on to the slab again, parked it and then took a 5 rupee coin and placed it on her hand. I quicky turned to get my bike but what I heard stopped me.

The woman said ‘Thank you’. I was pretty shocked. It is quite rare that someone begging would know english here in India. Still its bangalore and may be she has been to places around and learnt to say ‘thank you’. I was still looking at her in total amazement. May be she thought that I didn’t understand her. She smiled and repeated, ‘Thank you very much’.

Now that was just too much. What was more surprising is the fact that she pronouned the words perfectly and there was that proper stress where it had to be. In fact many Indians would have been proud of that. She moved on but even as I took my bike and rode away I couldn’t take my eyes of her. I am not going to experience anything like this again. I am sure about that. May be she is a literate. May be just may be she was rich once… You never know !!

First Flight

I hope everyone of you remember the first time you were on board a flight or atleast expect the day when it will happen. I was expecting and when my company arranged for a goa tour, I thought that would be the day. But eventually they dropped the flight idea and instead took it by road and we had to drop the tour idea itself. Then it happen that it is our company’s process that all who join our team (development) are required to have their VISA ready. So they had booked my interview at the US consulate, Chennai. I thought it would be by train, but then they confirmed my flight tickets and I was anxious to see how a flight travel would be.

While at honeywell, I had worked on a testing module for an aircraft engine and to some extent in a design for another. But I had never seen an aircraft closer than when it flies on top of our house. So the day came and off I went to Bangalore Airport. I was fortunate to have a friend travelling with me who had gone abroad several times. When I met the first queue I was like ‘Common man, why a queue here too. I thought we had the tickets with us’. But then my friend clarified that it was a boarding pass and is a must. He got me a window seat

Then we had to wait close to 40 mins before the security check began. I thought I would be on board the plane soon, but they asked us to wait in yet another place. Another 30 mins went by and there was a message in a TV screen (the worst GUI I had ever seen, even we did better in our Graphics project back at college) that the flight was delayed by 30 mins.

Ok I thought, may be just my luck. Then finally there was yet another queue that took us close to the flight’s door, where another queue was waiting to board it. The moment I entered the flight I was shocked. What the ****? It was worse than a town bus. C’mon you cannot have mosquitoes  flying everywhere inside an aircraft. And worse the seats were so close that I had no room to keep my legs. The seat cover was of absolutely low quality and dirty too. Now, the bus that I travel from Pondicherry to Bangalore is certainly much better.

Then I turned to my friend and reported my complaints. He smiled and said that once he had to travel 20 hrs on a similar flight, but there are many other flights that were far better. Then they taxied it to the runway and it took off – just a slight G force and they it took the arc and when it had attained the altitute became steady (familiarity of terms due to a year at honeywell). But before I realized I was at chennai.

The Chennai airport and the return flight was way better and finally I was proud for having travelled in a flight. Also being evening I was able to enjoy the clouds (amazing) and the landscape under. But pity that I did not get the window seat, and the feeling worsened when the person who got it just did not look out of the window and kept on reading some newspaper till we reached bangalore. I managed to peep through the window. First the person mistook that I was trying to read his newspaper but later he understood my intention and even moved slightly backwards to aid my view.

My wife almost fell down laughing when I explained my journey. My first flight and I am not going to forget it easily.

Got a Digicam

Finally, I got a digicam. I will not be able to forget the date and manner in which I got it. I have been wishing to lay my hands on one for 2 years now. It started with some some information I got for Canon Powershot S1 while I was browsing. Then I landed on and both excellent sites for camera review. I read a lot about the S1 and I was willing to buy it. But it was selling for 25k (if got in US) and a staggering 40k here. I was not prepared for it mentally or financially.
Then my attention turned to Panasonic FZ3 one of the best ultra zoom cameras ever made. I decided that I will buy it come what may. But then to spend 20k on a camera seemed a bit “too much” especially because Kayar was carrying Smitha then and we need to be ready for any emergency. But one good thing about my research on FZ3 is that it helped my friend to get one. But I remember that during those days I bring in print outs of the reviews and read, re-read them many times. Even reading the reviews gave me a satisfaction of owning the camera. Then I decided that I was not going to spend anywhere close to 20k any sooner.
So I decided to shorten the budget and look for a camera close to 10k mark. That is when Canon Powershot A510 was released. It was the second cheapest Canon Camera but one of the best in terms of picture quality and manual features. But soon Canon released S2 (successor of S1) and again I started yearning for it. But the reality stuck me. I was not going to spend 30k on the S2. So I made up my mind and asked my friend to get it for me from US. But fate would have it that the camera was not to be found anywhere in the stores and the few pieces that arrived were sold off quickly. So my friend tried his best to get one for me and finally he had to return to India. I really didn’t want to wait any more. So I thought of asking him to get some Sony make instead. But I can never digest the fact that I will miss the beauty called A510. So desperately I started searcing in google for some information on the A510 sale when my eyes rested on Canon India.
Till then I had dismissed the fact that I might purchase in India because the price is almost double here and it would be foolish to get something at twice its price. But Canon had put an offer price of 12.5k on the camera (It was selling for 8.5k in the US). But what set the trigger was Canon was also offering a free 256 MB SD card which is worth Rs 2500 here (and 1500 in the US). So I did the math and concluded that the A510 would be dearer not by much if I get in India. So the same day I called my wife, got her approval (It was supposed to be my birthday gift from her. She had saved the money on a Recurring Deposit out of her salary) and I couldn’t sit in office after 4.00 PM. I went to Jayanagar, searched for the Shop (G.K Vale) and then saw the A510, fell in love with it. got Canon Charger and AA rechargeable batteries along with a pouch all for 14k. Then the rains started and they never stopped that night. I decided to venture in the rain with my camera. So I got 4 extra covers from G.K Vale and packed the camera so well that not a drop would enter even in the worst rains. I reached Bannerghatta road around 6.15 PM but was shocked to see knee high water there and a traffic jam that can take ages to clear. Fortunately it took 1.5 hours and drenching of my shoes in water to reach home. I was totally exhausted but felt like a child with a Christmas gift. My wife only knows me better that myself and so once I was dry enough she asked that I open the pack. I did and from then till atleast now, while at home I am seen with my camera. But I have to admit that my wife has taken some great pictures while I am reading the guide and probing the manual features. All in all it is one of the exciting moments of my life.

Chandrasekhar – Maths Tutition

In short, he was the reason behind my 200/200 in Maths in the Matriculation Examination. He is one of those hard working teachers who teach not for the sake of money, but because they love to do so. Many ‘elite’ students did not prefer his method of teaching. They always felt that he was too slow and that he was not keeping pace with their ability to understand things.

But the simple fact was that, he was teaching with the concept of repitition and it does work wonders. The ‘elite’ students can very well finish off the problems in half the time in takes Mr.Chandrasekhar to teach them, but if they did listen to him, they would have learnt the art of storing in permanant memory rather that their volatile memory. He would teach us again and again till his voice breaks and he is no more able to speak – such a dedicated teacher and there were many who didn’t even pay him their tution fees.

I met him and he was just overjoyed when he learnt that I got Centum, the pride shown in his face. But I for various reasons didn’t continue with him for my Higher secondary maths (in fact I didn’t attend any tuttions at all) and now I doubt whether he would even recognize me. I heard he is having some trouble and there are rumours that he has asthma. Still I don’t understand how people are able to smile saying that he is ill. But I can say only this – He will be remembered by at least this student of his.