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:: Wednesday, October 30, 2002 ::

An evening in Alaska

One of my favourite pictures, republished from archives. The scan hasn't come out all that well but image on print was great.

Shot near Anchorage, Alaska.

Click on the image for full picture.

:: Tuesday, October 29, 2002 ::

Much has been written about driving on the Indian roads. Can't help writing another piece which basically tells the same thing in a few different words.

On a typical morning, I leave for work from home hoping that I am not going to break any rules today. After a few minutes, with situation demanding, I will bring it down to 'I will break as few rules as possible today' :-). But by the time I reach office, usually at least half the rules in the book will be broken and shattered. The remaining half, I will take care when I am going home in the evening. ;-)

So this is how it goes. It will be a peaceful, low speed drive until I get out of home, drive on small roads to reach the mainroad. Once on the main road, this one being being near the end of the town, the most guaranteed encounters happen with the truckers. I follow them quitely and patiently for sometime. Once I figure out that they are not to go one kilometer faster than 10kph and there is no way they are going to lend me the right lane and move left, I decide that it is time to overtake from the left. So I hit the gas pedal, change lanes to the left and lo! There is somebody out there who can drive much slower! I am back on the right lane now. The next bus stop has already arrived and there is a bus parked bang in the middle of the road. Now, neither the truck nor can I pass and we stop and wait till the bus moves. Now the bus and the truck move in parallel and there are only 2 lanes in the road. So I have to tread at the standard 10kph for some more time. Finally after a fairly long test of patience, I see there is a narrow gap in the left lane, a chance I am not going to miss. So I hit to the lower gear and zoom past the giants. There I am! Phew!! Now, just as I am about to reach the 40s, an auto appears from god knows where. The driver seems to believe firmly that the road belongs to him and he can do as he pleases. He does not want to leave me way and does not go any fast either. After loosing all the patience I have, I know I can't help honking this time. I have tried hard enough to resist. The first gentle honk normally does not help. Same fate for the second attempt. Well, that's it!! I have no choice but to disturb the world with some cacophony now. But that helps! There I have the open road and I tread beyond the fortys. The sleepy fifth gear was complaining all the time that it has been unused and gethering dust. Time to wake up the guy and make him feel good. And just before I change gears, I see there is opening in the median. I slow down again. I know if I don't slow down, someone who loves driving perpendicular to the direction of the road is going to bang my car. And they sure seem to believe they have the right of way and not me. Ok, after I cross this obstacle, there is a junction to cross. Wait for 5 minutes at the intersection. Once it is green, there is a mad rush to conquer the road ahead, and two wheelers win hands down in this race. So there I go, like a looser, at snail pace again. The journey continues like this and several times, I change lanes like a drunken maniac, honk till my own ears start protesting and corss all limits of good manners. Finally I reach my workplace, 7kms away in around 20 to 25 minutes after I started. And I spend the day preparing for the evening drive back. :-)

Well, on the other hand, I still do enjoy driving. Though ofcourse, it is more fun to drive on a clearer road. Also, despite all this, my friends actually fume at me for being extremely cautious and careful driver who gives more attention to rules than they deserve. :-)

:: Monday, October 28, 2002 ::
The day of Elton John

The big day of 'Elton John, one night only' is coming closer. It is probably the most hyped up event of the year in Bangalore. And the prices for the tickets match the hype. I like Elton John's music. 'Can you feel the love tonite' and 'circle of life' are in the list of my favourites. But somehow I am not really excited about the live concert. To me, ballads and songs of such type do not very well fit in for a live concert.

Bangalore is now gathering a good history of music concerts. More than 2 years back, it were forgettable Vengaboys, Lou Bega and the types who did visit here but there were no hi-profile ones. The first noticeable concert came around one and a half years back - from the group known as 'Gods of Rock' - Deep Purple. That was the first time I went to a big concert, and it was good enough that I will not forget it. After that it was the turn of - I could not believe it - Bryan Adams. He was one of my all time favourites and I was very excited about his Bangalore visit. But unfortunately, it turned out to be a disappointment. His great numbers like 'Please forgive me', 'Everything I do' and many more songs sounded like lullabies in the concert. I came back unhappy. I was hoping for a great day when I went in, but the excitement of a live concert was missing in his songs. It felt dull..... I found it more fun to use my music system.

The next ones to come were Scorpions, one more traditional rock group like Deep Purple. They were simply amazing. It was easily the best concert I have seen in life. They seemed to have no match that day. I could go on writing about 'electric environment' and more but nothing is like being there. Pink Floyd came after Scorpions but I was not here then... So many people have come and gone but Elton John has so far created the maximum hype. As for me, I feel this one is going to be a dampener like the Bryan Adams show. And the tickets cost exactly 6 times more. So despite the fact that I like his music, I am going to stay away from this one. Have a good time in Bangalore, John.

Meanwhile, I am praying for Bon Jovi and Aerosmith to come down here and say hello...

:: Thursday, October 24, 2002 ::
Work Ethics Redifined, by me

  • Do not work long hours.

  • Do not stay late.

  • Arrive in time. If you come late, you may end up working late.

  • When you have to choose between life and work, choose life. You can find some other work, you can't find another life.

  • If, for some reason, it is unavoidable to work odd hours or long hours, try to compensate for it.

  • Never compromise for an unreasonable deadline. If there is no other choice, at least ask for some incentives.

  • You work to live. Never let any one trick you to believe that it is actually otherwise.

  • Setup distractions occasionally. Continuous work means fatigue and inefficiency, which in turn mean longer hours, which in turn means more inefficiency, which in turn.....

  • Remember, you are a worker, not a slave. If someone thinks otherwise, tell them.

  • Don't miss a chance to take holiday/vacation. Don't pile up your earned leave and carry them on. Take a break when you can. Have fun when you can.But avoid abseteeism.

  • Money is what is important. Not the work itself. But don't ignore the later or former will never come to you.

  • Retire by 35. Make enough money by then(how?! ;-) ). Use rest of your life to fulfil your dreams and do undone things that you always wanted to do.

And to make sure your career is not ruined by these ethics, following list is equally important. I would not fit them with the above because these are not the most pleasent things but definitely necessary.

  • Work Smart, not hard. I know this is no indigenous quote, but this is necessary to ensure that you don't work late hours

  • Don't waste time in working hours simply fooling around. Be a good worker and concentrate properly when you are working. It does not help to do something with half mind. It only means undone work and prolonged working hours

  • Don't pick up a fight with your boss. It never helps. If you have really major problems, leave the organization.

  • Don't cheat with your work. Try to put your best. Half cooked work will always come back to you later in the form of problems. It is better to prevent it than repenting later(This is from my experiences in the past ;-) ).
  • Escalate problems quickly instead of trying heroics to resolve it. That can only mean longer hours of work.

  • If you find spare time, don't while away if you can. Take some initiatives in the organization. Otherwise, you will never grow, and will have a bad career. And that means you don't make much money, and that means you don't retire early. But ensure that your initiatives do not mean that they take up all your personal time and make you spend long hours.

  • If you know that your organization is drowning, forget all the ethics and pitch in for 24/7 help. Coz, otherwise, you are without a job. But never let your manager trick you into believing that your org is drowning. If such is for real, you will know it without any doubts.

I feel the whole set of points are in balance and are favorable to both organization and the worker and should be able to keep both sides happy. Unless one of the either tries to be unreasonable. Whadduyusay?

Also: Add your points in the comment box.

:: Tuesday, October 22, 2002 ::
There goes an Ibis

Full size picture not availble

:: Monday, October 21, 2002 ::
Bitten by the Telly bug

I have been glued to the tube most of last week. A bit too much more than usual time I spend on it. The major culprit is National Geographic. First thing, it is not easy to turn away from the channel on a normal day. And last week, every evening they had been running this thing call 'Photographers'. That makes it double difficult to miss it. I watched it for one hour every evening at 9 though I missed it on Monday. And even at the end of the program, I mostly continued watching NG. And then there were a couple of good movies to see. Saw Forrest Gump for the nth time and now, a good number of dialogues are in my control. I must say the screenplay is tight and good and has lot of messages to deliver at times.

Gump to his mother: What's my destiny, Mama?

Mother: . Life is a box of chocolates, Forrest. You never know what you are going to get

In another sequence,

Gump Narrating: Mama always said you got to put the past behind you before you can move on

The movie is a mix of great comedy and lot of touchy sequences. Tom Hanks' acting that scores beyond excellence. I wonder how he manages to make things look so natural. Gifted, I guess.

After that I saw American Beauty for the second time. I kinda get confused after watching this movie. I am not sure why ;-). Then there was this Kannada movie that I just could not stop watching.

Probably I was destined to see a lot more last week. Accidentally, after ages I tuned into CNN while surfing and figured out they broadcast 'Comedy Central' here. And also got to see 'Jay Leno' after many weeks. These people are really funny and you simply can't stop laughing when they start talking. These shows reminded me that TV is one of the few things that I miss from my US days. With nearly 500 cable channels there, of which there were around 80 movie channels, 7 HBOs, I managed to see lot of movies that I had not seen. Like Silence of the Lambs, Cast Away, Forrest Gump for the first time and second time, Days of Thunder, Shrek, Top Gun and many more I can't recall. I wish they had movie channels like that here in India. But on second thoughts, it better not be so, or I might end up spending much more time in front of the TV. :)

:: Thursday, October 17, 2002 ::
An Ibis

Two weeks back, it was destination Ranganathittu, a bird sanctuary near Mysore. We decided to take off from work and headed there on a Friday morning. After driving for around 90 minutes or so, we reached the sanctuary at around 10 in the morning. The first site of the sanctuary was disappointing. I hardly sighted any birds around. It was a relief to learn that all the birds will be gathered in some islands formed by river Kaveri. Only way to access the islands is by boat. There are no bridges or any thing built into them so that the place remains safe for birds. And since the river is full of crocs in this area, it is dangerous to get into water. We saw a couple of crocs tanning in the sun but they were too far for the cameras. The birds were in plenty, mostly egrets, ibis and snake birds. We took a couple of photographs but not many, due to accessiblity problems. Boat rides are expensive and hardly last 20 minutes. Without that problem, you could spend days taking pictures in this place. We also attempted for some time, without much success, to take pictures of birds flying, an extremely difficult task. In the end a couple of pics came up but nothing worth driving home with. From there, since we had some more time available, we went to Sangama in Srirangapattana where two slits of river Kaveri reunite. It is a beautiful place to sit and watch the water flowing, especially during the rainy days. The whole trip was great fun, including the driving part. Not all pictures are out yet. Here is a picture of an Ibis in the sanctuary.

Click on the image for full picture

If George is justified in attacking Iraq, what's wrong with what Osama is doing?

:: Monday, October 14, 2002 ::
Boo Hoo

Morning when I started for work, I saw the roads were totally empty. Very unlike the usual crowded roads. That's when I recalled most of the town is holidaying today and enjoying their lonnngggg weekend. And me here, have to work today... boo hoo....

:: Friday, October 11, 2002 ::
What do I browse everyday?

A compilation of most of the sites I visit regularly.

  • Rediff, at least 3 times a day

  • My web based email servers

  • Blog surfing. There are so many, I would rather not mention all of them

  • Google. On a normal day, I might search using Google anything like 5 to 10 times

  • Google News. This is really cool. I read world news, then India news.

  • Anchorage Daily News. This might come as a surprise. I would not want to miss any news related to environment of Alaska. I have been a great fan of the place after I visited it.

  • NYT. They have a good website

  • Ofcourse, there is blogger and blogspot

I am surprised the list is pretty small, considering that I browse a lot everyday.

Categorywise, I most frequesntly visit news sites and weblogs, followed by sites that have anything to do with photography, environment, travelling, adventures and stuff like that.

Once upon a time, the list of frequented sites included stock market related and technology related sites. I might visit websites on markets again but I think technology is passe. :-)

It is raining again!

So has it been for 3-4 days here. And it feels nice. There are a lot of good things that come with rain. Pleasent smell, relief from smoke, pollution and dust and lot of freshness everywhere. More than everything is the feel good factor that comes with it. The best part comes if it rains when driving. Suddenly traffic on the roads will come down to trickle and driving will be a breeze. I wish it rains every morning and evening during peak hour traffic. ;-) And nothing is as nice as sitting down with a warm cup of coffee and a book and watching those pearly drops come down.

Besides, if I park it in the rain for sometime, my car comes back clean and dust free. ;-)

:: Thursday, October 10, 2002 ::
From Sun to Moon

Us unaware, while photographing the sky and citiscape after sunset, moon had come up in the opposite direction. And luck had it that it should be a full moon day. There were also some nice clouds gathered around the moon inviting to take some snaps. But I failed to get a sharp picture of the moon. Here is one of them.

Click on the image for full picture

:: Tuesday, October 08, 2002 ::
Popular Weblogs

The question suddenly came to me from nowhere. Which is the most popular weblog in the world? To me, the way to find the answer was quite obvious. Search in Google for the keyword 'weblog'. It may not exactly give me the perfect answer, but it more or less works. The answer for the most popular was not very susrprising. The award went to Guardian's weblog. Next weblog in line belonged to a Doc Searls. This guy seems to be in technology business but not sure if he is a geek. To explore furthur, I tried to find out how popular is this Doc Searl's weblog. When I serached for pages with link to his page(link:doc.searls.com), the number of results turned out to be a staggering 6550!! This may not be an accurate result but imagine your page being linked by 6550 pages on the web!!

Update: On the other hand, if you search for keyword 'blog', the results are totally different.

A view of the city

It is easy to see there are hardly any skycrapers in Bangalore.

Click on the image for full picture

:: Monday, October 07, 2002 ::
Color of the night

The title is borrowed from the famous song from Lauren Christy. The picture was taken from Bangalore suburbs around 30 minutes after sunset.

Click on the image for full picture

Bangalorean, Love travelling and photography
email:  arunchs at yahoo dot com 




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