Monday, May 31, 2010

Inspired from ಬೀchi

I am back from my hometown. 3 days and 2 nights...Very refreshing weekend. I have material for some blogs...If time permits. Here's first one.

Most of the auto-rickshaws of my hometown have this written just below the back-rest of the driver, facing the passengers. 

Is this space optimization?



Or just being smart?

For the non-Kannada people - "Do not keep your legs on this" is written in Kannada and English.

Remember how Rayasam Bheemasena Rao wrote his pen name - ಬೀchi

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Examples kill Essence?

Harsha Bhogle was in our office a couple of days ago. And what do you expect Harsha to do? Speak. Yes for sure, he was here to speak. Speak on what? Sports? Cricket? Commentary skills? Oratory techniques? All these seem to go well with the man - HARSHA BHOGLE. Now look at the title of the talk he gave us - "10 Sporting Truths". You are pretty sure that he came here to talk on some sports related topic.

But it was a management talk. Hmm...Wondering??? You are not alone. There were some people who have less interest in sports and did not turn up for the talk. That's fair.

What about the people who came to the talk in huge numbers? Did they get the management gyan? 

Most were mesmerized with Harsha's talk. His sports examples will be remembered. His notorious sense of timing will be appreciated for some more days. Photos will be shared. His curious change in hair style will be analyzed. 

Everybody who attended the talk will remember that Ricky Ponting hits stumps (when fielding) very often. Everybody remembers the Chicago Bulls strategy on Micheal Jordan to win NBA. All would remember the Tiger Woods joke. Guys were appraised that Ronaldinho is not in world cup squad of Brazil. Probably we will also remember the Habib-ul-Bashar statement at the end of a fascinating day of cricket for Bangladesh (such days are rare for the team).

Remembering this is good. But it would be best if people remembered the underlying meaning of these examples (or Sporting truths). 

Harsha just wanted to drive the management lessons via these examples. Wondering if that's the right approach (especially from the charismatic cricket commentator, Harsha)! The lesson is important than the example. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Prithvi - A cool watch

Jacob Verghese, Puneet Rajkumar, John Kokkin, Parvathi Menon and Manju Mandovi have weaved a very good & pleasant sounding movie. It is refreshingly fresh and a much needed family movie for the Kannada movie lovers. 
No wonder Deve Gowda watched this Kannada movie in theater. His dislike for the mining groups of Bellary is well-known.
For people who are interested and know about current Karnataka politics, Prithvi is a great watch. 
If you are not, you may still enjoy the movie purely because of the smooth flowing screenplay and colors used by director Jacob.
Puneet looks and dresses smart for his role of DC of a Karnataka district. Bellary. The story revolves around how the mining mafia controls the entire district (and the state). The DC fights for the rights of the people and has to face the wrath of the politicians and the local goondas. Parvathi, the DC's wife shows the personal side of the DC.  
Jacob's direction deserves applause. The last fight sequence is captured well. The songs and the colors used in the songs are pleasant. He seems to have a love for blue (like me) and that's great. The locales for the songs are dusty, ruins and suit the story.
Manikanth Kadri's music is also hummable. Lack of pre-launch publicity for the movie and music resulted in people catching the songs a bit late. Better late than never.
Puneet and Parvathi make a nice pair. John Kokkin has the right look of a villain. Bulging biceps, sharp eyes and curly uncombed hair makes him the perfect opponent for Puneet. Avinash, Sadhu kokila come and go. Support cast have also done a decent job.
As all movies, this one is also not perfect. The ending of the movie is slightly crappy. The dancer Puneet is not seen in the movie. The personal side of DC's life could have been handled in a better way. But these are minor things and have very less negative impact on the entertainment quotient of Prithvi.
The best is reserved for the last - Dialogues. Manju Mandovi has done an excellent job. One-liners make you smile and also hits your brain. I do not want to reveal any of the one-liners because it deserves to he heard in context.
Overall a good Kannada movie with a good team effort.

Monday, May 24, 2010

"Offense"sive driving

Day - Sunday, 23rd May 2010
Time - around 5 pm.
Drove 27kms in 42 mins.
From: Hosakerehalli
To: Yelahanka rly station (both places are in Bangalore.)
Route -Watch it
Weather - Pleasant (It impacts the driving speed)
Mode - My Hyundai Santro
People who have seen\heard about the notorious Bangalore traffic would appreciate the feat. I mean, it was fast. Very fast. There was the need to do it. My sister realised that she has to catch a train at 1745 from Yelahanka at 1640.
That was the problem. I was at-least 20-30 km/hr faster than the limit. The police with the guns caught me. Let me be precise, the TRAFFIC POLICE with the SPEED GUNS caught me.
It was at the Kogilu cross, Yelahanka that the police had laid a plot for me. 
Till we approached the Kogilu cross signal, there was heavy traffic with cars overtaking each other at great speeds. After the signal, I was the only guy flying on the road. Then I saw the dreaded men. This was when I realized that the others were just not fast, but were smart. They slowed down at the right place knowing that the men with the guns are trying to catch a bakra.
The moment I saw the men in uniform, I remembered my friend telling me about the speed guns on the airport road. But it was too late. 300 bucks gone. A blackberry recorded the offense with my car number and license number.
This is the 3rd offense with my car and license (Yes, both are not mapped). After 2 offenses, I was careful not to get the 3rd ticket. But urgency took over me. It was a sick feeling yesterday.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Census 2011 - Questions

Currently, India is running one of its biggest projects - Census 2011. This is the 15th time that this exercise is being conducted. Because of the sheer population, 2011 seems to be bigger than the previous 14 census. The next one will be bigger.

The enumerators visited my home some days ago. There were a set of standard questions on the family setup. This was on expected lines.

There were also some questions on the house (structure) like number of rooms, number of loos, source of water etc. Though the question on number of loos was a surprise, I later realised that the question makes sense in rural areas where the loo is still an open field. Hygiene factors are measured and this may influence govt budgeting. Census is also trying to measure the success of Govt schemes (There was a scheme in Udupi district of Karnataka, where the panchayat provided around 1200Rs for building loos in the house where it was not existent). 

Then came the questions regarding the assets. Like in the previous census, there were questions like do we own a TV & radio. But there were a couple of new questions that caught my ears. "Do you have a computer or a laptop? Is there internet connection available?"  Will be interesting to see the data here. The other question was on telephones\mobiles. It would be interesting to check numbers of landline connections and compare it with the next census data. It would go down for sure, but by how much is the question. They did not ask questions on other assets like "Do you own a washing machine\oven\gaming console\geyser?" Could be because govt is not directly involved in the sales of these. Census is not a marketing tool for private companies.

Census sticker on my door
One question I seriously missed was about food habits - Veg, non-veg, alcohol, smoking habits etc. Won't this be of interest for Govt planning? States can decide to go dry, increasing plan outlay for agriculture or poultry farms based on this data.

I have participated, so has my family. If you have not participated in the census, you still can - Refer to the FAQ in the official website. Karnataka will finish the exercise on June 1st. State specific schedules are also available in the official website.

Friday, May 21, 2010

It rains moolah for Autorickshaws

With "Laila", the rains have arrived in South India. The first rain brings in pain for some. Especially the govt agencies, who are bombarded with complaints. Flooding of low lying areas, road blockages, tree falls, power outages, accidents etc etc. But most people are happy with the rains. Temperatures come down. The smell of soil is pleasant. There is a splash of greenery that blooms. Lazy cold nights brings in good sleep. And rains bring in big moolah for the Great Indian Autorickshaw.
Today started with rains. I had to carry an umbrella to the cab stop early in the morning. It was slightly greater than a drizzle, but not heavy. As I stood in my stop, I watched a atleast 4 autos come and pick up their customers..Rather the customers were ready to catch an autorickshaw. Usually the autos have to wait for sometime to get customers (or even go empty to the next location). The people do not have umbrellas and do not want to get wet. They cannot wait for the bus in the rain. And so catch a rick immidiately.
Imagine yourself in this situation.
It's raining. You get down from the bus. Your house is 1km from the bus stop. You have to reach home early because the kid is waiting or you need to cook or there is an RCB vs Chennai IPL match or any other urgency. On any other day you would have walked home. 10 mins walk (or 5 min run) perhaps. But today, you would just ask the autorickshaw to drop at home. He will also try to make most of your urgency and demand a higher price. You can't get wet, so you just oblige to pay more.
There are various other rainy situations where you have only one option - The Autorickshaw.
It's brisk business for the autos when it rains...
Pure coincidence - May 23rd 2005, I had blogged about the arrival of rains.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Alien games 2012 ?

There is a game character called Splork. This alien character, has one eye only. It has a tentacle with a hole on its head. Splork holds an equipment which has a couple of friendship bands (At-least they look like friendship bands). Have a look at the Splork below.
Now check the London Olympics game mascots - Wenlock and Mandeville.
The characters are born from steel drops. They are one eyed. The eye represents the camera lens. They have a London taxi light on their head. Wenlock has a couple of friendship bands in its arm. Much like the Splork.
Wenlock and Mandeville
Now can we call London games as Alien games!
Picture courtesy -
Splork - From the Peggle game website -
Wenlock and Mandeville - From the London Olympics games website -

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Football WC - Team Bus slogans

FIFA announced the bus slogans for the football world cup. The slogans will be printed on the team's official bus. The slogans were selected via a contest organized by FIFA in association with Hyundai. Some slogans are very good. I just wanted to dissect them and bring out a funny meaning from the slogan. Here's my feeble attempt.

Algeria - Star and crescent with one goal: Victory!
Good to have a goal, but have to be realistic!
Argentina - Last stop: Glory
When is the last stop? 2014?

Australia - Dare to Dream, Advance Australia
Are they their followers - How dare you dream of Aus advancing?

Brazil - The whole of Brazil is in here!
Stampede and hence no football!
Cameroon - The Indomitable Lions are back
Read it -  The Indomitable Lions are back at home - there is no deer in SA to hunt.

Chile - Red is the blood of my heart, Chile will be Champion
Blue is the color of  sky, Chile will not be champions - Absolutely random

Côte d'Ivoire - Elephants, let's fight for victory!
Trying to fight? Elephants, lets physically run for victory!

Denmark - All you need is a Danish team and a dream
All you need is a Danish team For a beer!

England - Playing with Pride and Glory
Playing with Pride and Glory...not for victory!

France - All together for a new dream in blue
All "HANDS" together for a new dream

Germany - On the road to get the Cup!
Its hard to get in on the field!

Ghana - The hope of Africa
If Africa hopes on Ghana, God save Africa

Greece - Greece is everywhere!
Including your pockets and bank accounts!

Honduras - One Country, One passion, 5 Stars in the heart
One Country, One passion, 5 Stars in the heart but no cup

Italy - Italian Azzurro on African sky
Ok! What's on the earth? No space for Azzuries on SA land.

Japan -The Samurai spirit never dies! Victory for Japan!
Beware of Japan, Samurai war to be seen! Remind them it's football. 

Korea DPR -1966 again! Victory for DPR of Korea!
Decades behind schedule!

Korea Republic - The Shouts of Reds, United Republic of Korea
Shouting doesn't win cups, good football does.

Mexico - It is time for a new champion!
Inspiration for all first timers. Its time for you.

Netherlands - Don't fear the big five, fear the Orange eleven
Horror movie on cards...Don't fear though 

New Zealand - Kickin’ it Kiwi style
Wondering, how far can a kiwi kick a football!

Nigeria - Super Eagles super fan united we stand
I thought eagles fly...but these stand.

Paraguay - The Guarani lion roars in South Africa!
This is African safari...You will only hear lion roars. 

Portugal - One dream, one purpose… Portugal victorious!
Hope you wake up from the dream!

Serbia - Play with the heart, lead with a smile!
And we will win hearts, not cup!

Slovakia - Shake the green field: Go Slovakia!
Earth movers on the prowl!

Slovenia - With eleven brave hearts to the end
Oh, they already scripted the end. 

South Africa - One nation, proudly united under one rainbow
As hosts, they are advertising their nation and not football.

Spain - Hope is my road, victory my destiny
One victory and destiny is reached!

Switzerland - "C'mon Switzerland!"
C'mon we miss you at home!

Uruguay - The sun shines upon us. Go Uruguay!
We do not win the evening games, Sun doesn't shine then!

USA - Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Victory!

Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and now South Africa - The Pursuit of Victory never ends.

PS - I did not participate in the contest. I do not intend to belittle the winners of the slogan contest. This blog is purely for fun.

Monday, May 17, 2010

World T20 - Random thoughts


Most of us studied in Govt aided institutions. Most of us had the opportunity to join Govt service. We could have joined the forces, scientific organizations and served India directly. Still, most of us work in private companies who pay well. Leave it at that.

Dhoni and men represent India. Dhoni and men also represent their clubs\franchises in IPL. Most of us still say, they do not have national pride...They run behind private clubs to earn money. They don't have pride to play for India.

Aren’t we hypocrites? We ourselves work for private companies and we want others not to follow us!

Duckworth Lewis

England lost to West Indies in their first match of T20 WC 2010. Thanks to the rain Gods and Duckworth Lewis. England shared a point each with Ireland in their second match. Thanks to the same reasons. In the 2nd match, if rain Gods had delayed their arrival for 9 more balls, probably England would have had an early flight home. Ireland needed 13 runs of 9 balls (and could afford loosing 2 more wicks) to win the game. DL would have played spoil sport. Again.

DL would have knocked out the eventual champs in round 1.

It’s time to bring in a new methodology for the shorter version of the game.

Pakistan vs. India

Sadly, this match never happened. But look at both the teams, statistically.
Both teams won just 2 games in the tournament.
Both beat South Africa and lost to Aussies (their common enemies in the tournament).
India beat SA by 14 runs and lost to Aussies by 49 runs
Pak beat SA by 11 runs and lost to Aussies by 34 runs
Margins are similar.

The other victories for the former world champions came against lesser ranked teams.

Still Pakistan went into semis. And India came back early.

Isn’t it time to revamp the tournament schedule? Copy from the IPL format. After all it’s the WORLD CUP. And the best team should be World champions!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Negative way of seeing things

We have seen many advertisements...Ranging from ridiculous to puzzling to interesting to insane.
Here is one advertisement that caught my eyes recently.

It is an advertisement of a college. This ad big billboard facing the 100 ft ring road (connecting Mysore road with Bannergatta road). The college seems to offer BBM, MBA and PUC courses to students. 

The billboard (located in college premises) says
ABC* college
Courses offered - PUC, BBM etc
"Students who score more than 90%, get free education".

A novel thought to attract poor & intelligent students, who cant afford the huge amounts demanded by other colleges.

But...A wierd negative thought creeped in my mind.
Is this a challenge to the student - "Lets see if you can get 90%, under our guidance and coaching" ?

ABC* - Actual name is purposefully hidden!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Low full tosses, great catches and ...

Like the rest of India, I woke up on Saturday with an angry feeling after the humiliating loss to Aussies in the T20 world cup. It was a big one sided match and we lost miserably.
But that did not deter me from playing my weekend quota of cricket.
With more friends turning up for the matches, we decided on a 8 per side, 9 over match. Mr Y did some pathetic selection and the opposite team was loaded with batsmen. The first match was tragedy of sorts for us in Y's team. The ball was whacked all over the place. Mr R looked inspired by the Aussie openers blitzkrieg the previous night. He took the team total to 90+ including 18 from an over of Mr M. Though the chase began on a positive note, the tasking was too daunting for us. We eventually lost the game by 30+ runs.
We started the batting first in the 2nd match. End of over 1 and openers were back in pavilion. Within no time we were 8 for 4 in 4 overs. Then the opposition captain, Mr A decided to give the ball to his part time bowlers. Wides from the bowlers and some good batting from the last pair, took the total to 30+. This was like Aussies getting a target of 80 against Ireland in a 50 over game. The match result was a given for both teams. Without any struggle Mr A's team was cruising towards the target. Mr A sportingly rotated his batsmen, so that everybody gets a chance to bat. 7 runs to go with 5 wickets in hand and plenty of overs. Sun had started to remind us that it was summer. Then Y asked M to bowl (remember the same M who was thrashed for 18 in an over).
Everybody thought that the game would end in this over
Ball 1 - Low full toss - Phat came the bat - Ball was in air for a long long time. Mr Y puts down a sitter in long on. Drop number 1. Batsmen take 2 runs.
Ball 2 - Another low full toss - Phat came the bat - Ball was in air for a long long time. Mr AG takes it comfortably. Great catch number 1. Gone.
The rest of the over went without any notable event...The match had not ended.
Mr Y bowled (to be honest - threw) the next 6 balls and took the important wicket of Mr R.
So then what had to end by last over was dragged to the next over.
2 runs to win and 2 wickets in hand.
Mr M to bowl. Fielders close in.
Ball 1 - Yet another low full toss - Batsman whips it to short mid-on. Mr MVN jumps up, tosses the ball and takes the catch on 2nd attempt. Great catch number 2.
2 to win with 1 wicket in hand.
Ball 2 - Over pitched. Batsman edges. Keeper drops the sharp chance. Drop number 2. Batsmen take a single.
Match tied. 1 to win with 1 wicket in hand.
Ball 3 - Again a low full toss. Batsman defends it. Straight to fielder. No run.
Ball 4 - Oh...Again a low full toss. Again batsman whips it hard. Mr MKB (B stands for Bheem!) takes a blinder. One handed catch at silly mid-on. Great catch number 3.
Then the usual things happened - celebrations, dull faces discussing on how they threw the match etc etc.
So Saturday morning was the tale "Low full tosses, great catches, dropped catches and a Tied match"

Friday, May 07, 2010

Financial hub of Bangalore

Let me start with a question...Which area of Bangalore has the most number of financial institutions?
Most of you would say MG Road.
Some of you would say KG Road.
Probably you are correct...
But how many thought that it COULD be Banashankari 3rd stage.

Yes, MG road (& surrounding area) has lots of mutual fund houses, banks and insurance offices. Same is true with KG road area (Gandhinagar). There are a whole lot of public sector banks on this road.

Shift the focus from these areas to the 2.5 km stretch of Ring road from Hosakerehalli to DG petrol bunk (Chennamma circle). The area called Banashankari 3rd stage.
This piece of road has 13 banks and around 7 financial institutions. I am amazed by these numbers.
All these institutions are bang on this road. If you do take some adjacent roads the number of banks increases.

I hear somebody telling - The number of institutions alone won't qualify to be a financial hub...The amount of business they make, does.
I do agree...but numbers do not lie.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Karnataka in National News

The year 2010 has not started well for Karnataka.
My state has been in prime time news of most national channels. You think its good. No, Its in news for all the wrong reasons.
  • The turmoil in the present BJP govt made headlines. The govt was about to fall with lot of dung flying around. Karnataka politics had hit an all time low.
  • Our ex-PM used very foul language against the present CM of Karnataka. Yes, it was caught on camera. It kicked off a debate on the kind of language that politicians use.
  • Then came the tragic fire in one of Bangalore's commercial buildings. 7 people tragically died. Good amount of hue and cry resulted in. Debates on the fire safety measures in buildings started, which is good.
  • IPL brought some cheers with Bangalore team doing reasonably well. But the happiness was hit by bomb blasts. There were some bomb blasts on the eve of a match which resulted in semis moving out of namma Bangalore. Security in Karnataka became a concern.
  • Karnataka based swami was caught in the act. His ashram near Bangalore was raided. Dirty videos splashed news media and internet sites. I should agree that this did not create a big dent in Karnataka's image.
  • The Tharoor gate opened the Reddy gate also. Illegal mining by Karnataka ministers was the debate in Parliament. Karnataka was again in bad light.
  • Now its Halappa. The ex-minister is embroiled in a rape case. Videos, audios make the news sensational. Karnataka's politicians are going from bad to worse.
Smaller stories like Belgaum issue, the Hogenekkal issue, power crisis in the state etc always take some slot in the bulletins.
Luckily we still have some competition to share space in the "bad news section". Telangana, Lalit Modi, Soren and Mayawati share stage with Karnataka.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

My first story

This was my first story. Written at the age of 10 perhaps! Words are not the same, but the concept is.

There was a lion in a jungle. Every night, he entered the nearby village and attacked the sheep and cattle of the villagers. Each day the villagers lost one of their dear ones. It was not possible for the villagers to fight the huge lion. The villagers called for a panchayat and discussed the issue. Many ideas were discussed to stop the lion. None seemed to be a solution. A young boy came up with a suggestion. The villagers agreed to implement the solution.

They cut a sheep. Kept the dead sheep at the entrance of the village. They put large amount of raw cotton on the dead meat. 
The lion came in the night and tried to eat the meat. The threads of cotton got stuck in the teeth of the lion. The lion could not chew. It abandoned the meat and never again came back to the village.

Monday, May 03, 2010

MJ singing a Bollywood number?

Requirement -
Application which can put in a different singer's voice to any given song.
Example - Want to check how would Micheal Jackson sound on bollywood hit song "zindagi ek safar.."

First of all is this already possible?
On a parallel note, let me admit that, i know very less about the applications in the sound processing space.

1. With the application, separate the human sound from the music of a song.
2. Analyze the extracted human sound - Frequency and intensity and whatever that is needed - Lets call it "Variations".
3. From this we get the voice of the singer and the "variations" he has produced in this song -  Kishore Kumar in this case.
4. Do similar operation one of Micheal Jackson's song.
5. We now have 2 distinct voices.
6. Modify MJ's voice to the "variations" that is extracted.
7. Mix this with the original song music (got in step 1).

We have MJ singing Kishore's hit "Zindagi ek safar..."

Imagine the impact - We need not pay any singer any money (unless you need a really fresh voice).