December 25, 2010

My First Mental Vomit [Poem]

Well its frustrating,
Don't you think so?
When you have to say something,
But have no one to go.

Yes there are parents, but lets admit,
We haven't been as close to them.
Well may be when we were kids,
but now life's all different and grim.

Of course, there are friends to give a shout,
but they got their own problems too.
You don't want to freak them out,
and give them yours to chew.

Yeah, nowadays you have 'The Internet'
You can spend your whole life exploring.
But when you realize its hollower than thou,
It feels incredibly boring.
Google after all, is not the answer,
Not for everything.

Sometimes in life you hit a low patch.
And you seek someone to come hold you,
say "you idiot, why did you fall?"
and then listens to all your excuses,
without taking a call.
(I realize, one can do the same,
by standing in front of wall :)

And here goes inner pessimist:
"Hey, why would anyone choose a loser?
And if there is anyone, 'that' crazy,
Why would she choose me,
since losers are in majority."

So, you sit there alone,
or may be talk a walk.. lonely.
Oh God why this life sux,
Why can't I have a problem alley?

You don't always listen to me,
All I want is someone to listen.
But isn't made of concrete,
but blood and flesh.
OK not just a problem fellow,
but someone to share life's mess.
Someone a bit more intimate.
So you don't second guess,
just say and don't regret.

And when you realize its nowhere near you,
the frustration amplifies,
Noise in head screams out loud,
And the inner you silently cries.

Wanted to end this piece on a happy note,
say there is still battle to be fought.
That the 'solution' to problems is waiting somewhere,
eager to be found out.
Yes, hope is still there,
but that's dwindling day by day.
Becoming more and more difficult to tell now,
how much longer its gonna stay.

Is my faith weak or the 'fix' doesn't exist?

December 24, 2010

An open letter.. to God (fictional)

Dear God,

How are you? Well before I say anything, I must confess that I was too lazy to write to you, I had to make a sketch, so I asked my friend RavS to write this letter to you. But believe me, the emotions are all mine.

So, what to say.. Matlabpata nahin kya kahun?

You see, you have given me an awesome life. My friends love me, and though I was abused as a child (thappad gaal pe padte the impression kahin aur aate the); I have got the most loving family in the world. I am the king of my home and my brother and sister have to do whatever I say. What else can I ask for.. Matlabaur kya maangu?

Bas mujhko ek hi cheej aur de do.. Naukri.. hehe, you thought I was gonna ask for 'Chokari' but that I want 100 times; after all I have to start my own clan. But you see, I want to take retirement soon, from life I mean, jindagi se mera matlab. And before I do that, I want to gather all the worldly pleasures and give all the happiness to my family. And a 'job', doesn't matter which kind, is key to that happiness, I think.

You also know that I am a great artist. But I want to do so much more, wet my feets in those things that I haven't tried before. So, I try a lot of things, dancing, gyming, photography, MBA preparation, GATE preparation, MBBS preparation (my biology wasn't bad), NIFT preparation. And it #includes programming too. I see everybody near me calling himself/herself a 'programmer' and I want to do that too. I am trying my best, just give me some more wisdom so that I can move from C to Java, from CUI to GUI.

But don't get me wrong God. Matlabmujhe galat mat samjho Bhagwaan .. You have made me an artist. Art is in my blood, and that is not going anywhere. I love to spend late night working on Photoshop. Recently I have also started using Corel Draw and Flash, and then Maya is always there.

And well I have a life of my own. I am grateful to you that you gave me a 24x7 Internet connection. I am currently trying to download the whole of Internet on my new 1 TB hard disk. I don't like disturbance, so I like to keep my door shut. After all, a creative person needs a lot of time alone. Matlabsab mila jula ke, rachnatmak vyakti ko apne saath kaafi samay chahiye. (XP: yeah what about those 13 hours? )

Oh God, matlab hey bhagwaan, ya allah, waahe guru etc. Why do all my team mates ask me to get the print outs. Am I a fax machine? Sorry, a xerox machine? I contribute so much (PK: yeah, contribution my arse) but still they are not happy. They don't like my awesome ideas. Those lunatics can't even understand my ideas. Why have you given me such an awesome mind when people can't appreciate it?

In veg I like baigan, trishna, torry and kerala. And you know, matlab aur aapko to pata hi hai, Mujhe prawn bhi bhot pasand hai. Maine sabhi tareeke ke prawn try kiye hain. Main sochta hoon kabhi mujhe bhi koi prawn* banana sikha de to majaa aa jaaye. But too much prawn is also not good for health. After all its non veg. Matlab, sab mila jula ke, ye maansahaari hai. Isi liye main share karne me vishwaas karta hoon. People think prawn is not healthy, but well curiosity about things is never unhealthy. 

I like animals too. I just love pussy, cat at my home. I feed it everyday. That to me is the most beautiful thing in the world. That's why I discuss about it all the time. And working with my friend RavS, we have tried to make Bhains and its parts ("aankh", "naak", "poonch", "thann") world famous. But what I like most about it is its gobar. I don't understand why people think of it as a dirty thing. Its just full of awesome minerals and is multipurpose. Just give those idiots some knowledge. Its insulting when they make noses hearing gobar while eating.

Did I tell you about my movie watching habits. Oh sorry, you are omnipresent matlab oh maaf karna, aap to sarvagyaata hain.Well, I have got a lot of movies, and I have always been a sharer so my friends also have them (RavS: Little does he know, I delete them all). But now having so many movies and music, I don't have time to check them all. So, I like to watch specific scenes, sometimes just posters and because of your gifted psychic powers I can tell the whole movie based on that. So, I don't understand why people need to watch the whole movie. Please give those lesser mortals similar powers, so that they also can save time.

Accha ab maang hi raha hun to mujhe ek girl friend bhi de hi do.. Matlab, hain to bhot saari but koi official nahin hai. But she has to be bigger than me. That's why I am not building my body. I don't want to look like a king, muscular terrorist of 1987.

I am an open book. You come, you read, you scribble (RavS: actually you shit) and you go. But people get me wrong, they think I am a bad person. They call me 'jhand'. Yeah yeah, I am 'jhand' but because I want to be human first before becoming superhuman. I am even learning KunguFu for that.

And God I think its high time for me to be the next God. So that people celebrate Christmas on 24th December instead. Just let me know when you are retiring.

OK Happy Birthday in advance. Merry Christmas.

Truly Jhand

December 22, 2010

Good bye XP... Will miss you

Seems like 2010 is becoming an year to say bye to many things. Last post was a tribute to Blueline buses. This one is dedicated to dear old M'Soft Windows XP.

When I really started using computers (in school) and came to know that computers are much more than game playing machines, I was introduced to Windows 98. It was just amazing to see how you can use mouse to click on that start button, then Programs->Accessories->Notepad and a wonderful Notepad (;) comes out of blue. Now you can write anything you want and save it and see it later. It was truly amazing.

After some years, Windows inside the computer labs got upgraded, and I got to see Windows 2000 server edition, Windows ME, Windows NT etc. which may have been better but didn't feel any different from Win98. Finally, one day in one computer I saw Windows XP. It was so sleek, quite beautiful, everyone enjoyed working on that particular lab PC. After a few years, I got a PC of my own. I thought I would make it triple boot with Windows 98, Windows 2000, and Windows XP (though at that time, I didn't exactly know the meaning of triple boot). But that damn computer engineer only gave me Windows XP, it was preinstalled (at shop) and I thought M'Soft did it on HCL behalf! It took me 2-3 years to realize, my Windows XP wasn't genuine ;)

Anyway, Windows XP has been 'The OS' for me for almost all of my computing life till now. I have learnt how to use computer and its softwares, how to install and uninstall programs, how to install games cracks, how to connect to Internet, how to use an Anti-virus, and stuffs like virus definition, disk defragmentation, disk checking, registry pruning, 'burning' MP3 disks, even some programming, reinstalling OS, fiddling with system files etc. I have learnt them all by myself :P Alright, with a lot of help from more knowledgeable friends, and learning by experimenting myself.

It always had its shortcomings (most important, it being a M'Soft product) but I always felt right at home using the OS. When Vista came and I heard negative responses about it, I laughed at the new OS and people using it. Did give a try to it but didn't get a reason to turn my back from XP. XP always felt rugged, like no amount of virus, worm, trojans, spywares and other malwares can harm it (of course, I was proven wrong time and again).

After sometime Windows 7 came, and I installed it on my system. Used it for some time, but my system wasn't as powerful to give a full blown Win7 experience. So, turned back to my old friend. But after some good hardware upgrade last year, I again started using Windows 7 at the beginning of this year (by this time, a lot of people had upgraded their pirated OS) and after sometime the frequency of XP usage started decreasing. Now, I mainly used XP as a testing ground, to install new softwares and to do usual experimenting and tricks. Its desktop was so full with icons and folders etc, it felt like I shitted on it. 

And after August, Windows XP started to feel like just taking another partition and not really being used. So, thoughts of removing it started coming in mind. But partly because I was lazy and partly because of the nostalgic feeling attached to OS, I really couldn't do that for next 2 months. But then around the end of October I thought of letting the past go. I opened disk partitioner inside Win7 and just deleted the XP partition. Its been 2 months, and now I feel what I did was right. I don't think I am going back to XP ever again.


I have been a die hard Linux lover for almost 2 years now and I have indulged in a lot of PDA for Linux.(Full story about Linux Love in some other post). Till now had used it time and again (installing inside Windows or using VirtualBox, which wasn't a great experience really) but never as my Main OS. And being a M'Soft criticizer, I always felt ashamed as till the time I used Windows I really wasn't entitled to laugh at M'Soft. One of the reasons for leaving XP was that, I had to become a regular Linux user. 

So after removing WinXP I started waiting for the latest version of my favorite distro to release (I don't understand my fascination for latest, thankfully I don't wish for latest friends!). And finally on 12th November Linux Mint 10 "Julia" came. Woke till 2 am that day to download and install it. Had some problems with running Internet but with much difficulty and some luck, I was finally able to run Internet on Linux. Its been 50 days today, and I have hardly used Windows 7 since then. Just like IE, I start to feel sick thinking about having to use Windows. In fact have been forcing others also at home, to use Linux, mainly because the use of PC is so limited that Windows 7 doesn't provide any advantages other than familiarity. And now I feel I am ready to ridicule Windows much like Internet Explorer. :)

But on second thoughts, after becoming a 'true' Linux user I realize this platform has its own disadvantages/limitations. So criticizing Windows for being 'jhand' doesn't call for. I am a happy Linux user, others may be happy Windows (XP) users. I can only advice them to give Linux a try. I am no more going to force anyone to do so. After all its just a platform, not your religion.

M'Soft I heard may be stopping support for Windows XP in 2012, I have already stopped supporting Windows XP.

R.I.P. XP...

December 21, 2010

Bluelines. Please don't go. Please...

As part of 'beautification' and 'modernization' drive for undergoing now-over CWG in Delhi, Delhi Govt. has been purchasing swanky new low floor AC and Non AC buses and adding them to DTC fleet of 'khataaraa' dirty yellow-green buses. And while doing this, they have also been removing an equal number of blueline buses. (Update: now the Govt. has decided to get rid of all the buses once and for all, by the end of January 2011). And that is bad news for me. I strongly oppose this decision.

Honorable SC of India has already said that Delhi needs at least 10,000 buses for the current population in order to get a respectable public transport structure. Removing buses like this isn't going to help in anyway, since we only have just over half the required capacity. Well, Delhi Govt. is trying to get the private sector also into public transport, but it may take a lot of time.

Even if we get the required number of buses to travel, I have got my own reasons for not letting them go:

1. They got the music: A no. of blue line bus drivers keep their jukebox (the FM radio or an audio cassette player). And they do care for passengers, so many of them have fitted speakers at the front and rear side of the bus. How many DTC buses do that? Now, since I still don't have a PMP of my own (update: I have got a new #walkman :), I don't mind listening to some 'thadkte bhadakte' tracks on the way (Never mind its my exams and travelling time is critical for successful revision). It may happen that the driver/conductor like old sad songs, which doesn't suit your genre of rock/rap/sufi. So, travelling can become pain in the ears also. But hey you get to hear some new genre, right?

2. They got the speed: Thanks to media, bluelines have got the #killer tag. So, govt had to force them to install 'speed limiter'. But blueline operators are very good automobile engineers. A no. of them modified the limiter, so they aren't limited to 40 kmph speed. And as a result, travelling in DTC sometimes gives me a feeling that I am riding an F1 car. Start, first gear, second, third, forth , fifth, slow down, take sharp turn, back to forth gear, bend the bus, full throttle, maneuver traffic, overtake the cycle (no no, don't crush him.. shit). Ohh... what a rush. But well DTC people don't even need to do it. They don't stop at the stops, so they always win the race, anyway.

3. They got the attitude: Blueline staff is considered to be rude (As if our PM gave behavioral training to DTC staff), but then the commuters are no good either (Blueline: only place where students are considered school/college staff). And if you don't have the Haryanvi accent, you are no good Goddamn blueline conductor. "Aagene/peechne hole bhai, thare liye aage/peeche sofe biche hain" "Puri khali padi hai ustaad". Travelling in blueline requires huge amount of stamina, endurance, and flexibility. If you lack any of these, you are as good as a mashed potato (route no. 721 in morning).

4. They got the inferiorstructure infrastructure: I have travelled in all kinds of buses.. seatless, paneless, topless.. But they still try and give you the best infrastructure possible. No seats? You can sit on the bonnet if you want, or spare tyres. No window pane? Don't whine, you couldn't have asked for a better air-conditioner (hey I am not joking, its completely natural and free, you aren't making any carbon footprints, alright). Some seats are so mangled modified that you get the feeling you are inventing a new Yoga asana, sitting on them. And just beware of those nails coming out from the sides and seats; one miss and you may get an unwanted body piercing. Quite an adventure really.

5. They got the bus: You thought you paid the fare and the bus is yours for the taking? Its still their bus, they will start, stop, drive, stop, rest, stop, talk, stop, pee, stop, fight, stop whenever they want. "Late aap hain, hum nahin". You got a problem, go take another bus (amazingly your bus fare is always refundable). After travelling in a blueline, don't be surprised if you get jet-lag! May be thats why they make you jump off the bus, that way you can at least feel your leg. Talk about second hand suicide.

And well if blueline really go away, who will blow that encoded whistle, use that coin as an instant messenger, flirt with the 'ladies savaari'?

Has govt. ever thought that may be the name 'blueline' itself has some problem, rather than blueline buses. You see, whatever you call blueline becomes a nightmare. I mostly hear about blueline of metro developing problems rather than any other line. And who can forget the 'bluelane' that gave commuters headache during CWG.

But well seriously... may be its really time for good old blueline to go. The life of common man is more special than any argument I give for saving the bluelines. If we can save even one life this way, I would say job well done.

I have my earliest childhood memories of travelling in route no. 770 blueline everyday with my bua, to go to school. I am gonna miss bluelines..

November 10, 2010

(Not so) FAQs

Who are you?
Hi, first of all, thank you for visiting this page, for finding out more about me and my blog! My real name is Ravi Singh, but I prefer to call myself RavS, so you can call it my pen name. I am a 22 26 years  old Indian. Techie by profession, blogging is my hobby.

To know more about me please read this.

What's the story behind this blog?
There is an interesting (or boring depending on how you perceive it) story behind this blog and the journey so far. While blogging remains a hobby I am quite serious about it and take it as an Engineering task.

Why this blog?
As I said blogging is my hobby and I have wanted to be a blogger for a long-long time (circa 2007 to be precise).  I am trying to develop it into a habit/passion. There are a number of reasons why I blog, you may want to read this post to know more.

How often do you update your blog?
Ideally, I would like to post at least one blog per week. But as you know, nothing in this world is ideal :) I have hit writer's block so many times I don't post for several weeks. But there have been some weeks where the blog gets flooded with posts, but rest assured this blog is really important for me.

Do you write anywhere else too?
Well, right now this is my main blog. I am also trying to develop a little blog called 1000Sher to indulge into my creative side more often. Before making this blog public, I used to write at (where you can still find some of my blog posts and associated comments). I also have recently started writing on Medium.

How can I get updates for this blog?
Thanks for taking keen interest in my blog! You can subscribe to the feeds of this blog, and get regular updates on your feed reader (my favorite is Feedly). There is subscribe by email option on first page, if you like. Or you can follow me on Twitter or G+ to get updates from there!

I wanted to discuss something related to your blog...
Excellent! I always encourage suggestions and/or criticism. Please contact me on my email id mail[dot]ravs[at]yahoo[dot]co[dot]in. Or please leave a comment and I will be happy to discuss!

What blogs do you like to read?
I do a respectable amount of reading online. I also consider myself a Life Hacker, who is constantly trying to make himself better and betterday-by-day
Usually I like to read about technology which specifically includes Linux and Writing. Some of my most favorite blogs are ZenHabits.netNo Meat Athlete and Zen Pencils.

I have also written a blog post where I reviewed some of the blogs of my friends.

Please feel free to use the email-id to ask any other question you have.

October 30, 2010

An Open Letter... to Mr. Kalmadi, President, IOA

Dear Respected Mr. Suresh Kalmadi, 

I am writing this letter to let you know what I think of about this whole CWG issue going on, fully knowing that I may not have the all the wisdom to talk about it, but still having the right to do so, being a concerned Indian. 

First of all, let me congratulate you for staging such a successful (at least for me) Common Wealth Games. I know that this wasn't done because of your efforts only. There was hard work and patience of numerous other people also involved. But since you were the head of this whole project, my first wishes are for you. 

Delhi got the Common Wealth Games 2010 hosting right in 2003 only. But, I was too small/ignorant to know about the significance of that at that time. I only came to notice about it at around 2006, when Indians went to Melbourne CWG to showcase their performance and invite the world to come to Delhi, India 4 years later. I was happy not only because India was staging a grand event, but also because the Government was promising a lot of dreamy projects in conjunction with Games. More roads, more flyovers, newer better buses, expansion in Metro network. Then there was mono rail project, renewing the Ring rail and beautification of whole city in general. And this got me salivating, after all people like me were going to take advantage of this later.But alas, many of these promised things either weren't delivered at all or were under-delivered. Of course, this isn't your fault, I know. 

2 years back, when media suddenly woke up to the reality that people under you were sleeping and working at a snails pace, then only I got to know about the whole issue of things to be done in order to stage the event successfully. But like typical Indians, I was hopeful that we will be able to do everything right at the end. And credit goes to you and other heads involved with the Games, who regularly kept on coming in open reassuring us that everything is fine and everything will be fine. But, things started to look a bit bleak when Mr. Fennell, President of CWG started to express serious concerns over the state of preparedness, there was even talk of shifting the event. And then there was that ugly cold war between you and CWG officials. Thankfully, you got it resolved on time and I felt that everything will be alright. Now I realise that like you, I was also trying to solve the problem by ignoring it. 

Anyway, as the time passed on the media became more and more hyper. Now, I don't watch news channels but the one paper that I zealously read seemed to be hell bent to prove that the Games are over before they even started. The horror news of all things bad started coming in the open everyday. For a moment even I got doubtful about the organization of Games, with deadlines after deadlines getting missed, unusually long rainy season, threat of Dengue and other diseases, bridges collapsing, corruption allegation, officials fumbling with their statements, negative publicity in the international media, athletes refusing to come, countries expressing apprehension over the security issue in the backdrop of a 'small' terrorist incident, people showing lack of interest in the Games, apprehension by sponsors et al. And it was disappointing as well as confusing. Everyone seemed to be against you. But you kept a brave face and refused to stand down till the whole thing was over. I truly respect what you did at that time. 

And finally the show arrived. I haven't had the opportunity to watch too many opening ceremonies in my life, but the one we organized will remain in my memory forever. It was heart warming to see the glory of India been shown in such a fine fashion. The roar of the crowd in the stadium filled my heart (and million others) with pride. And as we usually have, everything was forgotten quickly and temporarily to focus on the good part (finally!). I went to see a few games along with my friends and we had a great time (though we didn't win much!). But, the performance of Indians throughout the Games was exciting to watch. The Closing ceremony too was equally majestic. Now, I wonder, how would all this be possible without we organizing the Games. 

I believe that media has been biased against you. Your have been blamed for a lot of mess that wasn't yours. A lot of things going bad was because of the multiplicity of working agencies who were not ready to work in tandem and maintained a tendency of delaying things till the end. Even your own countrymen went against you because of hearing all the negative things about you. I didn't like you getting booed during opening and closing ceremonies. Thankfully, you didn't show any negative emotion then. 

But, even you will agree with the fact that, we could have done a lot of things better. The budget went to an astronomically limit reaching over 15 times the original estimate. While some of it is understandable, with inflation and procuring better facilities, but mostly money could have been saved with some smart management. It was amusing the hear about spectators being shown 'houseful' signboards but the stadium still going empty. But, you and your team were so busy taking care of million other things. 

And now that the show is over, the real show begins. You are being showcased as the real culprit, and seem destined to be trialed like Kasab. I don't have any special affection for you but I feel you should be acknowledged for what you did and should get a fair trial. If you are proved guilty than each and everyone involved must get a stick. It is so easy to criticize from a distance, but one should not forget that organizing event of such large magnitude isn't a mean task. Being made a scapegoat, is the least you deserve. I don't think you will get another chance, but you tried your best to get 2014 Asian Games into Delhi and are partly responsible for projecting a good image of India and brightening its chances to bid for 2020 Olympics.

I wish you could have resigned just after the Games. Here is wishing you good luck. 

Yours Delhiate 

October 20, 2010

Me and Autowallah(s)

First a short story: 

Last summer, I had to drop off one of my family member to the Old Delhi Railway Station. And family didn't want me to go in bus (along with the luggage). So unwillingly in the sweltering heat I left home in search of an auto. Now its well into noon. So, spotting auto was anyway difficult. But I tried and kept on asking one autowallah to another to go to the station. Everyone kept refusing: one said they won't go there, one said no petrol, one was too tired, one didn't even stop, one said he had prior commitments, one was charging astronomically high (so sad, his meter also wasn't working that day). After 6 unfailed attempts, and running around for about 2 kms, I finally got an auto to go there, that too by meter. And the reason he agreed was because the fare charges had increased that very day. Anyway, I took the auto back home and we started the journey to the station. All around the route, I thought he was taking alternative routes in order to take us for a ride. But I overlooked it, and kept my eyes on the kms travelled and doing fare calculations all the way (the meter wasn't updated with new fares). In the end the fare turned out to be 20 Rs. less than what the autowallah was originally asking. But then, he started asking for 10 Rs. luggage charge for 2 bags that were so light, that even I could carry them! So we haggled for sometime and didn't give him any 'tip'. End of Story 

Well the above incident is not one off. In fact, this is more the norm than an exception for me (and for many others I am sure). And that's where I hate travelling by autos. 

OK, I understand that CNG prices are rising day by day and the autowallahs have to spend a tonne in the maintenance of their carrier. And so periodic revision in auto fares is justified. What I don't understand is that even when the fares rise, they don't get ready to go by meters but instead start asking for more money. I would always want to go by meter even if it costs me more in the end. Whats fare is fair. At least, that way I will be saved from the headache of quarreling for fare. 

Another problem is that they simply refuse to go at some places, may be because they won't get another 'savaari' from that area or may be its too close/far off. But, doesn't auto come under public transport? So why do they think of it as a private vehicle in which they are doing us a favor by giving 'paid lift'. 

Yet another problem is their misbehavior. Now, all these problems may appear to be copied from the local newspaper, but I am writing these after experiencing them first hand. Many a times, they simply ignore the passenger. If you ask to go by meter they will bluntly refuse. In case you go on and say you will complain, then better watch out for those expletives. 

And well autowallahs isn't the only guilty party. Their poor cousins rikhshawallahs are even worse. Yeah, I know these are not good old 90's days where you can travel 3-4 kms for just Rs. 5. So, the minimum a rikshawallah will ask is Rs. 10 even if its for 1 km. The prices they quote (no really, they quote!) show undigestable variance. This Sunday only, one rikshawallah asked for 40 Rs. to go to a place where I went by giving Rs. 20 just 2 days before! For autos at least the govt. fixes the fare. But what about rikshaws? 

Now, the simple solution to all these problems is to simply ignore auto and rikshaws and use other means of transport, right? Well, that's exactly what I do. The distance that the rikshaw usually covers is < 3Kms. And I prefer to jog/walk my way till the destination. The autos usually cover a larger distance. But more often than not, you can get buses/metro also close to your destination. Yeah, they can be crowded, but I prefer physical discomfort than mental one (I admit, I am not the best in the world when it comes to bargaining). One less vehicle on crowded road because of you is an added bonus. And not to forget the large sum of (pocket) money you are saving doing this! 

But, alas, sometimes you don't have a choice. Some elderly person may be travelling with you. Someone might be too tired/weak/sick to walk with you. Or you may have to reach your destination at the earliest (not knowing exactly where to go). In all these conditions you have to return to bad old auto and rikshawallahs. Now, I will be fare (fair!) and say that I have met a few rikshawallahs and autowallahs that were kind enough to go by meter or whatever price you tell without much group discussion. But those ones are an endangered breed. 

So, God either give me strength to fight this unfare treatment from autowallahs or give them some brains, so I have one less thing to maunder about. 

PS: One friend of mine once said, "if you can't resist molestation, enjoy it." (it wasn't exactly 'molestation' he said). Another friend of mine, once told me an inspiring story of how a semi-literate man built a mini empire of sort by buying and running rikshaws. What I get from these two anecdotes is that, since I have suffered a lot due to rikshaws and I am not great in studies either, I should probably buy a rikshaw and become a rikshawallah. That way auto and rikshaws won't be a pain but competition! After all, Be the change you want to see.

October 10, 2010

My Experiments with -Truth- Life (during exams)

Well 3 weeks ago I had my exam week. But hey, every student has exams. Whats so special about them? Well, exams days are special to me. Because during these days only, I don't know why, I do all kinds of experiments with my life, exams. Some of these experiments are pretty trivial like using black pen rather than usual blue ones, but some of them are so weird, I better not discuss them here. So, what all experiments did I perform during these exams? Lets see them:

Well, for all I know, the biggest time wasters for me are newspapers, Google reader, Gmail and Buzz. So, this time I decided to ditch them for the whole week (I repeat all four of them for the whole week ). Here are the results:

1. Newspaper: Well, ditching newspaper was actually the hardest thing to do of them. I have been reading newspaper since I have been reading. And I feel incomplete without going through them once in the day, no matter whether I have exams and a mile of syllabus to cover. Well, later I rue the fact that I spent I 90 mins on the newspaper, which could have proved to be golden if utilized for revision. This time also, I almost failed the experiment on the first day itself. Thankfully, I controlled myself and was able to successfully go without newspaper for the whole week. (And as luck would have it, I have been super-busy since, so haven't been reading newspaper regularly). 

Cheating: OK, I wasn't allowed to read the newspaper, but I can hear the news! So, spent 5-10 mins listening to news while having breakfast. 

2. Google Reader: Google Reader is the latest fad for me. Its almost rare that I go without having a look at the latest feeds any day. And if I don't control, I can go on spending hours reading blogs and bookmarking stuffs. But amazingly it turned out to be quite easy to ditch Reader for the week. (But had to lose on a lot of feeds for the week, as reading 1000+ feeds in one go was simply impossible later).

Cheating: I use Reader to follow the latest in the tech. Well, that can be done using newsletters too. Thank you Gmail!

3. Gmail: If my browser is open, most probably Gmail would be open in one of the tabs. Now, it wasn't practical to let go of Gmail for the whole week. So, I decided to have a look at mails only once in the whole day that too not for more than 15 mins. And well, though it wasn't easy I was able to do that.

Cheating: Well, I won't lie. I did fail in this experiment. On Thursday, I didn't study anything for exams. So, had a lot of time. As a result, did spend a lot of time inside Gmail. Lets not include Thursday into this experiment, OK!

4. Buzz: Another Google product that I use diligently and can spend a lot of time sharing stuffs here. I had tried to ditch Buzz for one week earlier also. And like last time I used Twitter only during the week. But unlike last time, I didn't turn off Buzz inside Gmail. As a result the no. of unread buzz post kept piling. It reached 14, but I resisted my desires to see what others were saying/discussing. Oh, how proud I feel.

Cheating: Actually on the first day itself, I tried to take a sneak peak into one of the Buzz post (just to find out the replier) delivered in the inbox (by right clicking). Couldn't actually see the content but the post got registered as read. Damn it. 

Well I stayed away from the above mentioned things to save some time to study. But wasted the saved time on other stuffs (why don't I fall short of reasons to waste time). But, what I got from performing these experiments is that, ' If I want, I can live without the above mentioned stuffs. They are not necessary for my survival '. Anyway, there were a few more experiments that I tried:

5. Programming: I tried to do/read about programming everyday (and you thought everything I write in my posts are just for namesake). Well, to tell the truth I could manage to do that on 5 days only. But the main aim was to get myself back on track as far as programming is concerned, which I think was accomplished to some extent.

6. Stationery will remain Stationary: Every exam week, I lose some of my stationery because of sharing it with my benchmate/neighbours, who blissfully take it with them after exams get over. This time I decided not to share anything, and to keep track of things in case I had to share. Curiously, I got to share stationery of my benchmate this time (kept mine under wraps, hehe)! But holy hell, I did lose my pencil this time too, not in the examination hall but at home. Damn it. So, as you can see none of the experiments was executed with 100% accuracy. But ask teachers, they will tell that 100% accuracy means you are cheating!

The CommonMan Games: Part 2

Venue: Major Dhyanchand Stadium Date: 07.10.2010 Time: 4 PM Event: Hockey 

We were a 'small' bunch of 7 8 friends who - after much some brainstorming the night before - decided to reach near the stadium over 100 mins. before to avoid last minute rush. We had to meet at Rajiv Chowk Pragati Maidan Metro Station at 'exactly' 3.30 2 2.30. I left home at much, much before 2.10 (promising to be home by 9.30), picked another friend en route and we were there 'exactly' 'before' 2.30. But as it usually happens, someone had to get late, and someone did get late. Started from there at around 4.15 3.30. And now it was race against time. Since we didn't know about the location of the gate we were supposed to enter the stadium, we DID NOT ask a few volunteers for direction. Amazingly no one told us a different direction (since everyone was so sure about the one direction they were heading!). As a result we didn't had to run from pillar to post (quite literally!) marching for < 2 kms, taking wrong right gates and going through a rather strict security checking. 

So, here we are. Its 5.15 4.15 (what the event.. had already started) and we could see the stadium from outside. And how fine 'jhand' it looked. I mean it looked pretty ordinary to be called a National Stadium. But wait, we aren't inside the stadium yet. So, again we started asking didn't ask the volunteers but they forcefully told us to go in some direction. Anyway, at last we reached our section of seats. We searched for a suitable row and gave our bums some rest. I looked at the watch and it was 'exactly' 5.30 4.30 (my watch was working properly). 

Anyway, the first match was between England and Canada, which was already under way and we weren't much interested in it. Since it was a smaller stadium, crowd/seat ratio was good and crowd kept pouring for the 'real' match. The match ended at around 5.30. It remained a 1-1 draw in the end but Canada celebrated it like a moral win. But now there was a 30 minute before the next match (holy shit). Anyway Australian team arrived soon after and started practicing. Watching them practice, it looked like they were here to win. Just after Indian team also arrived with the biggest of roar from the crowd. By this time empty seats became a rare sight. 

The game started and as I knew/feared the Aussies did 2 early goals and got the lead. But from there on Indians tried their heart out. Every time they went near the opposition goal posts we jumped on top of our seats (now I know, why all the seats were dusty!). The anticipation, excitement, disappointment, all were moments to savour (well, its difficult to get the same excitement alone watching TV even if its cricket). And when India did score a goal, the atmosphere inside the stadium was electrifying, you could sense the adrenaline gushing inside the veins (that moment was worth more than the price of ticket). Who said hockey can't be exciting? Oh, sorry, it was me! But I was wrong. 

After half time, Australian again attacked hard, but this time Indians could reply properly. As a result they faced goal after goal. It was amusing to see spectators starting to cheer Aussies after the 4th goal. Once they scored the 5th goal, a section of crowed applauded and immediately started heading back home. But, we decided to watch the match fully (we should be good losers also). At the dying moments India finally got a penalty corner. Though the time got over, referee allowed to complete the penalty corner. And India scored a goal!! Well, we lost 2-5 but then it wasn't surprising, Australians are no. 1 in Hockey. We still had a good time and that's what it mattered. 

So, this day was certainly more exciting then last one. We danced, jumped, clapped, sang our heart out. That's exactly what I wanted when I made the plans. And the last 2 days wouldn't have been as memorable sans friends. So thanks friends! Only shameful thing was that none of us could tell the names/recognize more than 2 Indian players (out of all, at least I was expected, since I do follow some of Hockey). 

After that it was routine, ate lunch dinner, checked mails/buzz, made a few didn't make any calls and crawled to the bed. 

PS: The security guy at the stadium told me something that I won't forget for the rest of my life. But lets keep it secret. 'Purush Prasadhan' at both the stadiums were top class. Thankfully it wasn't 'Sulabh', it was free. Now, I know where so much money was spent. 

The End

October 08, 2010

The CommonMan Games: Part 1

We are having CWG in India this time (now thats Breaking News!) and there was no way I was gonna miss being a part of it. After all these games are being organized for me(read an Indian) by My country (that's India stupid). I got the opportunity to be at 2 different stadium, on 2 different days, for 2 different events (with 2 slightly different sets of friends!). So, how was the experience? There you go: 

Venue: JLN Stadium Date: 06.10.2010 Time: 5.30 PM Event: Athletics 

We were a 'small' bunch of 7 friends who - after much brainstorming the night before - decided to reach near the stadium over 100 mins. before to avoid last minute rush. We had to meet at Rajiv Chowk Metro Station at 'exactly' 3.30. I left home at 2.10 (promising to be home by 9.30) and was there at 'exactly' 3.30. (I still can't believe I reached at 'exactly' 3.30!). But as it usually happens, someone had to get late, and someone did get late. Started from there at around 4.15. And now it was race against time. We kept on hopping from one train to another. Since we didn't know about the location of the gate we were supposed to enter the stadium, we asked a few volunteers for direction. Amazingly everyone told us a different direction (and everyone was so sure about their direction!). As a result we had to run from pillar to post (quite literally!) marching for about 2 kms, taking wrong gates and going through a rather strict security checking. 

So, here we are. Its 5.15 and we can see the stadium from outside. And how fine it looked. Had seen JLN from outside before, but this time it looked something else (majaak majaak me kafi paisa kharcha ho gaya). But wait, we aren't inside the stadium yet. So, again we started asking the volunteers and again they started giving wrong directions (If volunteering means misguiding, try me, I can do a better job). Anyway, at last we reached our section of seats. We searched for a suitable row and gave our bums some rest. I looked at the watch and it was 'exactly' 5.30! (was my watch not working properly?). 

Well this was my first experience to be inside a stadium of any kind (I have been to cinema, lecture & examination halls!) and the scene was mesmerizing. A big steel stadium, blue streaks of seats all around, brownish track and green field, darkening sky, white flood nights, and colorful athletes in between. Oh yes, there was some local (read mawaali) crowd, men with guns all around, dusty seats, rubbish strewn around the stadium, all kinds of insects over flood lights etc. too! But its all right, after all its My country (Welcome to Incredible India!)

Only regretful thing was that the stadium wasn't even half full (half full?). I mean, I went there to see whats it like when 60000 odd crowd cheers for India, but had to settle for around 15000 or so. And that can be attributed to fact that the event was Athletics which isn't much popular in India (confirmed by only handful of Indian participants), that too qualifying not finals. But it felt good to cheer for the odd Indian participants that came to give their all. 

There was 100m heats for men and women, and it was quite easy to predict who was going to win just by seeing the country of participants (Jamaica, Nigeria, Ghana). Indians sadly remained at 4th, 5th places. There were hammer throw and shot-put events also that were going on at the same time but none of the attempts was close to Games/World Record (was it because it was qualifying or was it because the quality of participants wasn't top class?).

The event was till 8.40, but half of us decided to leave at 7.25 (though I wanted to stay) since we had to reach home before it was too late. The journey back home was also sort of an adventure. The food at the stadium was world class (read obscenely expensive), one place we decided to eat said no food available. So hungry, feeling tired, I hopped into the metro back home (good bye mates, see u tomorrow). But the trains were jam packed. The place I got to stand turned out to be a nightmare. Someone's travelling bag behind me, and surrounded by three young paajis who were discussing all sorts of things, standing at an angle of about 105 degrees. Lets not relive the nightmare, OK. Anyway, I reached home at 9.31 (promise kept, brilliant!!) 

After that it was routine, ate lunch dinner, checked mails/buzz, made a few calls and crawled to the bed. 

PS: Why was every time I was getting out of stadium, there would be huge noises inside? Was it because people were relieved I left the stadium or was it because Indians were too shy to perform before me?

September 11, 2010

9/11 promises on 9/11

I tried to learn touch typing before also, but like everything else I left it in between. But then about 3 months ago I gave it one more try and made my wish public, promising to give regular updates on the progress made. I did keep on making progress (hitting a few obstacles also in between), and today I have my average speed close to 40. Making my efforts public worked for me one time. I want to try it again. 

1. Weight 60+ Kgs: This one may sound a bit funny, but seriously its not about the weight issue. I myself don't like what I see in the mirror, it undermines my confidence and I have decided to change that. I don't really know what my current weight is but I want to get it to minimum 60 Kg. And its easier said than done. My body is not customized to gain weight easily. So if I achieve this target, this may just be the hardest thing ever achieved by me. 

2. Promises be kept: I boast about how I keep my promises. But in reality, there have been many instances where others have suffered because I couldn't keep my promise. And most of the time it is because I didn't do the things that had more priority. And the reason for that was, I was in control my mind rather than controlling it. So now, either don't make promises or do everything to keep them. 

3. Don't wait to be late: Again seemingly simple but hardest code for me to decode. Wherever to reach, whatever be the time, 90+% of time I reach late. Sometimes, it is because of some unavoidable reasons but other times I feel my mind creates some mental block which causes me to delay or get busy in unnecessary stuffs, thus getting late. So many times I have tried to change this behavior but I guess it has become second nature. And there is nothing to be proud of this habit. 

4. Concentrate to Meditate / Meditate to Concentrate: I have very short attention span. Its hard for me to concentrate even for 15 mins, even in things that I like. I can't stay calm in pressure situation. I have tried meditation to improve that, but I was amazed to see how vehemently the body resisted to it. The mind becomes restless, and I start to feel its a torture to sit quietly for sometime. I even start to doubt whether I am actually meditating or not. 

5. Either be one or forget it: Yesterday I was really disappointed to see my performance in a certain coding test. I accept no one can claim to be the best coder but I think I am not even half good a programmer as I consider myself and tell others to be. I considered it my passion. But if you write code in weeks then you should have serious doubts about your aptitude in programming. This year if I couldn't become a regular programmer (meaning coding at least somewhat everyday) then I will cease to call myself a programmer. 

6. buzzRSH > 50 posts: This one is the 5th post on buzzRSH. If I could get onto half century mark well before next 9/11, then blogRSH will make debut online. And I fail miserably in this endeavor then God forbid, buzzRSH will go offline. 

7. Its a funny issue: I have been getting complaints that I am not the same old RavS, that I used to be about 2-3 years ago. While I think some change in behavior is justified, but becoming someone else is uncalled for. I think I have become a bit too serious about trivial things and am holding onto a lot of grudges. But challenges can be faced without looking depressed. So lets get the old RavS back. 

8. Learn/Do something new: Learning never ends in life. There are so many things that I would like to do/achieve in life, at some point. But when you say at 'some point' you are procrastinating. There will never be a 'right time' to do anything new or different in life. This (sic) is the right time. So, what will I do new in next 365 days? I have no idea right now. But what I have learnt in life is that you learn something when you truly want to learn it. If your intentions are to impress somebody, then you most probably won't learn it. 

9. Stop being afraid: "I fear no one."... Its a popular cliche'. So easy and cool to say. But I am not afraid to admit, I am afraid of a lot of things. There have been many instances where I felt something inside stopping me to do what is right. Not being adventurous/courageous stops you from growing personally. This is certainly not what I want. 

Alright, so these are 9 things that I would like to do for myself. But there are 2 more things that I need to do, more for others (read family/friends) than for me: 

10. Get (a) mobile: OK stop being paranoid about mobiles. Go get one, it won't kill you. After all the blog posts and reasons you give, you gotta admit, you need to get one, if not for yourself then for others. And most of those 'others' are people who care. Its official now, I am getting a mobile before I turn 23. When exactly? That is unknown. Yeah its not really a big task but a task anyway. 

11. Get employed: Doing a 9-5 job is not what I dream of everyday. But for the sake of family, this is the most important thing to do right now. We will see what else can be done in life, but right now, go get a job. I have to be realistic here, I have good chances of getting placed somewhere or other but I have not been given a guarantee, so I must do what I should do, to ensure one. 

Right.. Above 11 points sound like New Years Resolution no? In a way, its a new year for me today. It was so easy to write these 11 points and sounding like I am going to become a Superman from today onwards. 

Changing 1 thing in life is difficult, here I am talking abut 11. These problems are embedded deep in my life. It can't be rooted out in a day(otherwise I would have done it long ago). So, even if I am able to sort out half of these it will be the biggest achievement of my life. I don't promise myself to achieve even one of these. I just want to give an honest try to all these things. Like the one never gave. So even if I fail, I will fail spectacularly. 

Happy Birthday RavS