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Thursday, December 31, 2009

The year that went by ...


2009 has been a personal roller coaster ride for me ...

A year ago i had posted about how 2008 had been a horrible terrible year ... and how I hoped 2009 to be better ...

Well .. 2009 was definately better then 2008 in overall terms but by no means was it a good year ...

The roller coaster ride of 2008 simply continued in 2009 ... with a couple of more shocks and sufferings ... the only consolation being it slowed down to a crawled in second half of the year and things started to look up towards the end of the year …

But … during the first half of the year, things simply refused to look up… infact they simply continued the downward spiral journey

I felt as if my life was responding to the global financial crisis in equal measures with a personal emotional crisis of my own :P

The second half of the year was slightly better ... and i hope 2010 becomes a much better year as compared to last two ... keeping up with the upward trending wave that I am currently riding …

With these hopes and wishes .. i bid farewell to the year that was 2009 ... and 2010 ... here i come :)

Monday, November 30, 2009

My Mumbai Trip – 2 Marriages, 4 Movies and 2 Minor Accidents

I spent about 10 days in Mumbai last week. As always, being home is a wonderful feeling. Home cooked mom-ke-haath-ka-khana is a treat unto itself. Its also a vacation for me where I don't really have to worry about office. I get to spend some time with my family once in a quarter for about a week.  

During the weeklong trip … I attended 2 weddings. One wedding was in my family so I was there practically from 10 am to 10 pm meeting the entire extended family on my maternal side (metting several members after a long gap). It was actually nice meeting all people and yes, food was excellent.

The second one was a Punjabi family wedding reception … wedding of the daughter of one of my Dad's business associate. I just went along since dad did not want to go alone. It was interesting to attend the wedding. Food was good J rounding off with dessert of Jalebi, Kulfi and Rabdi J  

One of the things I do when in Mumbai is to watch movies J the economics and the logistics are simple … I am free of time constraints so I usually go for the matinee show which cost about 100 bucks. Catch the movie immediately after an early lunch so no need for any of those super-expensive snacks inside the theatre. Theatre is close by and i can drive to them on my Activa so it takes little travel time and a bit of parking charges and occasionally some expense on snacks.

On the other hand the one or two movies I see in Dubai during every 3 month stay put my expense at about 1000 INR (for each movie). Tickets cost about 30-40 AED which run close to 400-500 INR itself. Add to it the conveyance which is often a taxi and bus/metro combo adding another 20-25 AED. Movies happen in the weekend so the even dinner comes along in the malls adding another 20-25 AED. Taking the toll to about 80-90 AED which is close to 1000-1100 indian bucks.

I guess I can watch at least 6 movies in India during my visits (one hardly has so many good movies at any time) …  

So .. I watched 4 Movies during this Mumbai trip

1.       Ajab Prem ki Ghajab Kahani – nice simple comedy. Nothing great about the movie. Simple fun

2.       2012 – Went with my Bro. Enjoyed the awesome special effects. Second half was a drag though

3.       Twilight – a nice romantic love story of a different kind. The love shown is intense without the usual physical intimacy and its intensity. I kinda liked the way it was made. Waiting for New Moon now.

4.       Ninja Assassin – Don't ask me why I went to see THIS movie. I didn't. I had gone to see 'A Christmas Carol" in 3D but unfortunately it was a Friday and the movie was pulled down. Two new movies came up in that theatre which were De Dhana Dhan (a mindless comedy) and Ninja Asssassin (a mindless violent ninja movie – I did not know this then). I just read "by the makers of Martrix" and blindly made the decision of going for it. A good 2 hours wasted. Yikes.

Now coming to the 2 accidents. Well nothing serious though, they were pretty minor in nature. An important point to note is that the whole morning was jinxed. It was the Friday. I woke up early to catch the early morning movie show of 'A Christmas Carol'. On the way to the theatre I took a wrong turn and looping around came to a junction I had already driven through. And right at that junction, the tiny Activa tyres slipped on the smooth metal manhole covers on which some oil was spilt. No damages to me nor my Activa sinceI was negotiating the turn and hence almost zero speed.  

About 300-400 metres ahead of the spot, an autorickshaw hit his brakes and I tried to swerve around it to avoid driving into it. No this was not a high speed serve. I was probably driving at 30-40 kmph and had good distance between me and the auto so it was a normal driving. The only problem was a manhole cover (again) with some sand on it and the oil remnants on my tyres. All this put together in an excellent turn of fate, sent me and my Activa sliding along the road. I wasn't exactly at zero speed instead it was about 30 kmph so the skid was slightly hard and harsh. I scrapped my left arm with bruises at 3 different places and pain in several other places (which I am still discovering). Activa too got scratched a bit but nothing too visible. I relaised that had I not taken the wrong turn, I wouldn't have met with these 2 accidents K

Shaken … I drove to the theatre (slowly) only to realize that the movie was pulled down and no movie was scheduled for another hour. I chose to wait sicne I did not want to ride my two-wheeler again immediately. I wasn't scared or hurt, just slightly shaken … Ended up watching Ninja Assassin.

The entire Friday Morning was completely screwed up and jinxed !

Incidently, my brother gets blamed for comparitvely rash driving in my family but its ME who has met with such accidents and two-wheeler giving up on me in the middle of the road.

This also reminds me of a 2005 crash into a BEST BUS!! I was driving at a nice speed of about 60 kmph and the BUS ahead of me hit the brakes hard. I hit them too but my brakes weren't exactly responsive. I crashed straight into the bus from behind. !! Shaken !! but not badly hurt. The Kinetic front portion was BENT and pushed towards the seat and my spectacles were broken !!

 

Well … Now I am back in Dubai … the month has come to an end. Tomoro is the first day of the last month of the year which is incidentally the last year of the first decade of this century!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My Experiment with GM Diet – Epilogue (Part 10 of 10)

 Weight check … I began the diet with 82.9 Kg and ended up with 78.9 Kg. Accounting for the variable weight of the various external elements like clothes, shoes, mobile, change in the pocket and money in the purse J, the GM diet enabled me to lose approx. 3.5 to 4 KG. So I can conclude that the diet experiment was pretty successful.
 

Diet Discounts ... it was fun to take them but maybe not taking them would have resulted in greater weight loss by at least a kg or two – I had taken diet discounts in the form of chocolate bites, dry fruit sweets, tea with milk and sugar, salt and spices etc.

Learning Curve … Also, now I feel packaged coconut drink was not a good idea. I was probably supposed to have fresh coconut milk/drink and fresh juice. Also, I read somewhere that Rice is a not an effective substitute for beef in the veggie version and it reduces the extent of weight loss.

Work-Out - Yet another key thing was that I did not visit the gym even once during the diet week. I am sure a regular 30 min treadmill walk might have helped further reduce some weight.

Repeat performance – someday maybe ... I am not keen on crash dieting but if there is a need to reduce weight by a couple of kilos in short time, I might reconsider GM Diet but I am more inclined to get into a regular diet-check program and continues gradual slow weight loss with the help of regular visits to the gym.

GM diet is essentially for Body Detox and flushing the system ... i might repeat it for that value .. maybe once in 6 months or so !!

A common problem I had to face during the entire period was not more because of the diet plan but because of the Office Air-conditioning coupled with the mandatory 12 glass of water intake. Suddenly with the advent of winter the office AC has set our office space temperature to 20 degrees and we don't even have a window to our work space which could let some sunshine and its heat into the space. This low temperature coupled with the increased intake of water (12 glasses a day) posed a unique situation for me. I was forced to leave my desk every 60-90 minutes and make a short visit to the loo. *sigh*

I would call it "GM diet ke side effects" J

<Close of the 10 part series> *phew*

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My Experiment with GM Diet – After the Diet got over (Part 9 of 10)

I woke up in the morning with the pleasant realization the diet period was over and I could eat all tasty spicy stuff without worrying about any restriction !! YAY !!

Stated the day with 2 khakhras with ghee and pudina chatni / singhdana chatni ! WOW !!

In office I grabbed a pack of Potato stic (Hot Chilli flavor) and also took a Tiffany creamy wafer biscuit. Lunch was the pulav and vegetable I prepared yesterday evening.

....

I am off-diet now and I am going to take full advantage of it.

Will go out McDonalds and grab a Pizza McPuff and a Aloo Tikki (called Veggie Surpise here), have an ice cream and even a Do-nut before I go to India by weekend … that will be FEAST Time !! My birthday also coming during the home stay ... sooooo .... cakes and ice creams and pizza and all ....
....
And yes .. just FYI … I weighed myself yesterday and the pointr crossed 79 KG on the downward journey.

 

 

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Experiment with GM Diet – Day 6 & 7 - The day of Rice and vegetables! (Part 8 of 10)

Weekend time  !!
Woke up only at 11 AM on both days :P

Day 6

At 12 Noon, I had some salad of chopped carrot, cucumber and tomato !

About 3.30 PM came the lunch … Rice with peas, corn, cabbage and tomato !! Kinda fried rice or Pulav.
This was practically the first time i had tried experimenting with making Pulav ... I made a call home and asked Mom how to go about it. She guided me and the result was not bad at all :)

Nimboo paani in the evening at about 6 pm before going out for grocery to stock up again for the last day of the diet and the few days left before my Mumbai trip to home.

Late evening, I had the dinner of the Pulav I made in the afternoon. It was kinda nice. Now one more thing gets added to the (short) list of things I can cook :P

Since its weekend, no preparations for tomorrow to be made in advance.

Day 7 –

Woke up at 11 AM again ... and last day of the diet !!

Started the day with the two tomatoes and then lazed around watching TV and thinking :P

Later in the afternoon, I decided to repeat my Pulav experiment again J Not bad at all. Followed by coconut drink.

Evening was the time for water with lemon and a cucumber .. nice … I had skipped the cucumber yesterday (by mistake that is).

Last item of the day and of the entire diet was a salad made of carrot, cucumber, cabbage, corn and some olive oil.

It feels good to be on the last day of the diet. I was very apprehensive about this whole GM diet. I wasn't sure I would last through the whole 7 days. It seemed difficult and there were times when I did feel like quitting. But then I had promised my friend to do it and I couldn't have broken that. So I just took a few diet discounts and managed to sail through it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Experiment with GM Diet – Day 5 - The day of Rice and Tomatoes! (Part 7 of 10)

Day began with some rice which I prepared early morning. I packed my lunch box with the tomatoes and the rice and the soup for the day. I had prepared the soup on previous night itself. cant do eveything in the morning.

I had the 2 chopped tomatoes at about 10.30 in office …

Lunch was the time when I had Rice along with the Soup. It was not exactly tasty but definitely better than having the plain rice alone.

I guess the difficult part of GM Diet is that u get 'taste deprived'. Eating plain rice is very difficult for the simple lack of taste.

Late Afternoon I had the two chopped tomatoes again.

As mentioned earlier, plain rice is hardly consumable so while returning home in the evening, I picked up some Fried Rice from the super market. I guess this will qualify as a diet disount of the day (fried food).

Had a little of the fried rice in the evening and the remaining in the night for dinner. It was indeed tasty J

BTW … I weighed myself yesterday and found that I was 2 KG lighter J I guess had I not taken the 'diet discounts' I might have been an additional kilo lighter. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My Experiment with GM Diet – Day 4 - The day of Bananas and Milk! (Part 6 of 10)

One Litre Low Fat Milk and about 9 bananas - ready for the day.
Began the day with a singular Banana and a glass of milk. Poured a glass of milk in a small bottle and a kept it the refrigerator, carried the rest of the milk in the original carton to office along with about 6 bananas. Anyone coming to my desk will be wierdly surprised to fidn the milk carton on my desk today.

Day was not bad in the sense that there were no serious cravings or hunger pangs. I had One Banana and a gulp of milk at about 11 and then 2 Bananas for lunch at 1 and one banana again at 3.30 and finally one before leaving office by 6. Milk also consumed through the day in occasional gulps.

And yes, how can I forget. The sweets from day 1 (Extremely delicious Dry Fruit Barfi) appeared on the scene again and I took my pick. That was today's Diet Discount for me !!
I had some concerns for the next day though ...

Day 5 is only Rice and Tomato. Plain rice without anything else is virtually impossible for me to eat. So the question was what to use as a taste addition. Chatted with my diet consultant friend but all possibilities I suggested were 'sweetly' rejected J She suggested the Wonder Soup besides other things which I solemnly declined since I did not know how to make a soup. She also suggested that i could use some Paneer as a substitute for some rice.

Well. When I went to the supermarket to pick up more things for the coming days, I saw the Knorr Vegetable Soup (ready mix – boil with water and ready types) and the thought of the Wonder Soup struck me. GM Diet recommends Lipton Soup mix which is not available here. So Knorr it is. So I picked it up and went home to prepare the soup. I also picked up a Paneer Packet to have tomorrow with Tomato. Paneer can kinda substitute the Rice which is a substitute for Beef so I will be eating less Rice tomorrow. Prepared my version of the Wonder Soup, had some and finished off the day with a cup of milk.

'My' Wonder Soup – The Knorr Vegetable Packet in about 1.5 litre Water heated/boiled on medium heat. I added some peas and sweet corn to it. Fine chopped a large onion and shredded some cabbage and let them join the Soup. I let them boil and the result was pretty satisfactory I would say.

 

My Experiment with GM Diet – Day 3 - The day of fruits and vegetables! (Part 5 of 10)

having only fruits on day 1 and only vegetables on day 2 .. i felt a day of both combined would be better. Atleast, no monotony.
Started the day with a carrot at 7 am. Packed my lunch box with salads and fruits (apples and pears).
I had to come to office for a conference call which eventually did not happen for me since I was unable to connect and log-in into the web conference portal. :(

Unlike yesterday, i had a proper tea today although with very less milk. GM Diet recommends only Black Tea or Coffee and no milk consumption allowed. So this became my Second Diet Discount !!

Day was fine with the salads and fruits consumption. I was not really bored of them.

Late afternoon I attended a meeting with Senior Management members of the organization (including CIO & CFO etc). Nice cookies were served at each seat and during the course of the presentation; I nicely and quite absent mindedly munched on a couple of them. I relaised what i had done only at the end of the sessions when i saw the half empty plate in front of me. That became a Violation of the Diet (cant call it a diet discount since I consumed it absent mindedly and wouldn't have taken such a discount – goes to prove my seriousness about the diet program)

Evening went home and had a Pear and an Apple. Late Evening boiled the Lauki (dudhi or bottle gourd) and fine chopped a tomato. Mixed them up and sprinkled some salt and chili powder for taste. 
Day ends with the relazation (and relief) that no preparation to be done for tomorrow. It's the Banana and Milk Day.
Also the realization that I was going to have a banana after a looooong time. Looking forward to it.

Monday, November 16, 2009

My Experiment with GM Diet – Day 2 - The day of the vegetables! (Part 4 of 10)

The day began with the recommended boiled Potato and the 'suggested' pat of butter on it. I took the suggestionJ. It was absolutely AWESOME and while I was enjoying the Buttered Potato, I realized that I hadn't had a slice of raw boiled potato with 'maska' in ages.
I had woken up early today to prepare the vegetable salad (washing, peeling, slicing, chopping, shredding) the carrots & cabbage and added corn, cucumber etc. Lunch Box packed for the day :)

Day went off fine with the salads ... although it became actually boring to eat raw stuff with no spices etc. I added some salt though or else the veggies might have jumped back into the plate from my throat.

Made it a point to have my usual tea in office in the mornign and evening tea while returning home

At home, had the evening glass of tomato juice and then prepared for the dinner.

Lauki/Doodhi/Bottle Goard or whatever it is called in other languages. I am no fan of this long vegetable and have never really purchased one myself. Not in 14 months of Swiss stay. Not in 14 months of Dubai stay. And here I was faced with the situation of eating boiled lauki. So along with a nice chunk of lauki, I also took one potato and boiled it too. I also sliced and diced a tomato to accompany the boiled and practically tasteless lauki and aloo. All this while I was munching on corn J I just love it !!

The boiled lauki and aloo with a sprinkle of salt and red chilli powder and tomaoto 'seasoning' became my dinner !!
Woah – this was a unique experience in itself !!
End of day 2 (ironing clothes for next day. Shaving at night itself since I had to go to office early tomorrow and I know I can't get up early enough).

Sunday, November 15, 2009

My Experiment with GM Diet - Day 1 - The Day of Fruits (Part 3 of 10)

First Day of the GM Diet ... mind filled with some doubts and some apprehensions and a tad bit of excitement too (at the prospecti fo losing a few kilos before my Mumbai visit)
I started off with one sweet lime and the mandatory glass of water. I had cut musk melon and water melon the previous night and packed them in lunch boxes (large ones) and stored them in refrigerator. Along with them, also took apples and pears to office; not forgetting the KnifeJ. My Lunch Box for office was ready :)

The water melon turned out to be disaster. After a few bites I realized that the taste was not right and the smell was not right either. Dumped the entire load into the dustbin and relied on the musk melon !

A colleague got some sweets from India. Ordinarily I would have resisted the temptation but it was an awesome "dry fruits barfi" which has an out of this world taste. Everyone was going ga-ga over it. So took a piece and then another. That was the 'diet discount' I took on the first day itself LOL !!

Day went fine except for the light headache which started developing in office in afternoon. I had green tea too in office albeit without sugar (didn't like it like that). The headache progressively grew in the evening and I began to remember the GM diet experiences I had read online and began to dread the remaining 6 days

K
By late evening, the headache had become a bit severe and so had another tea before dinner of fruits (musk melon, apple, pears)

And yes ... on a very different note it did feel strange to begin a diet program on a Sunday (sunday is the first working day of the week here in Dubai - Fri/Sat weekend)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

My Experiment with GM Diet – The Preparation (Part 2 of 10)

The GM Diet is not an easy one to execute. Not only one need to be restrictive in what one is eating but accordingly one has to prepare and stock up in advance. A person like me who is living alone, away from home has a refrigerator which has pretty limited items based on the very limited cooking abilities. So stocking up the refrigerator for the week long ordeal was the first task.

So I went through the entire GM Diet plan (vegetarian version of course) and prepared a detailed list of things I would need for the week. For this reason, I decided to stock up during the weekend and start the diet on the first working day of the week and finish off in the next weekend.

The list was pretty long and impressive too: lots of tomatoes, cucumber & carrots, a nice large cabbage, potatoes (only 2), one lauki/dhoodhi, about 8-10 bananas, musk melon, watermelon, apples, sweet lime, lemon, packaged coconut water, peach and tomato juice pack and Milk. For the first time, my refrigerator was completely stocked up. Sadly my camera went into a state of coma a few days ago or else that would have been the first pic of my GM Diet series. Sadly No pictures for this experience.

It is going to be important to prepare each night for the next day so that I had enough of the right things to consume. The lazy bum that I am, its not going to be easy for me :P Infact, I feel that the biggest obstacle for me is going to be my lazyness J  

And yes, how can I forget the challenge of the mandatory 12 glasses if water every day and a slightly increased mandate for last 2 days. Sitting in an air-conditioned office gulping down so much water is never easy especially when the washroom/loo is a long walk away :P

So here I am … at the brink of beginning the GM Diet !

Wish me luck … the forthcoming posts will talk about my day-to-day experience with GM DIET

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My Experiment with GM Diet – The Prologue (Part 1 of 10)

After spending 6 months in Dubai from Sept'08 to Mar'09, I suddenly realized that my weight had not only crossed 80 but reached an alarming 85. BMI says my weight should be about 67-70. Being Indian with a slightly built body, I thought 10-15% over the BMI is OK. I have never really thought of myself being over weight or worried about the extra weight ever.

But 85 was different. I realised that although 80 was OK; 85 wasn't.

So I consulted my dear friends and created a diet plan for myself. A strict control on things I consumed and a daily 30 min walk on the treadmill ensured that I was able to cross 80 on the downward journey within one month. i blogged about those 'glorious' days and experiences.

Alas… I could not maintain the same tempo further. Post April, I was not able to do it again and my weight rose steadily although not at an alarming rate.  Tried to follow some of my diet plan parts but eventually did not happen. The cranky poffice timings due to project being in critical phase and the pain in my foot also ensured that I skipped Gym, L Last month I found it was 83 and started thinking about it again.

So recently I decided to do experiment with the GM Diet once, since i was unable to follow a regular diet program, why not try a crash diet one. GM Diet. One week of Restricted Diet and almost guaranteed results. Also, the upcoming Mumbai/Home visit made it necessary that I lose some bcos I would definitely gain some while I enjoy Mom-ke-haath-ka-khana !!

So with these thoughts in mind … I decided to give it a try. A very serious and sincere try !!

A serious and sincere attempt is required since the 7 day GM Diet is not an easy one. It is restrictive in the sense of what you can eat on a particular day in the 7 days but then you can stuff yourself with those allowed items as there is no restriction on quantity of consumption. They literally say "Stuff yourself" … not something you expect from a diet program.

You can read about the GM Diet at the following links …

http://www.iimahd.ernet.in/~jajoo/gmdiet.html

Being a Vegetarian, I searched if there were any Vegetarian versions and found them J

http://www.thisismyindia.com/health/diet/vegeatrian-gm-diet.html

http://www.eblogs.in/moksha/gm-diet-for-vegetarians - a very detailed version with time-table J

So this 'story' of 'My Experiment with GM Diet' will be told in 10 parts in the coming 10 days, 7 of which will reflect my journey through the 7 days of the diet program and other 3 parts will build the story around it and conclude it with the final results :)

Sunday, November 01, 2009

NaNoWriMo - Wake up the 'writer' in you !!

NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing.
 
Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30. SIMPLE !!!

NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

In 2008, we had over 120,000 participants. More than 20,000 of them crossed the 50k finish line by the midnight deadline, entering into the annals of NaNoWriMo superstardom forever. They started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.

So, to recap:

What: Writing one 50,000-word novel from scratch in a month's time.

Who: You! We can't do this unless we have some other people trying it as well. Let's write laughably awful yet lengthy prose together.

Why: The reasons are endless! To actively participate in one of our era's most enchanting art forms! To write without having to obsess over quality. To be able to make obscure references to passages from our novels at parties. To be able to mock real novelists who dawdle on and on, taking far longer than 30 days to produce their work.

When: You can sign up anytime to add your name to the roster and browse the forums. Writing begins November 1. To be added to the official list of winners, you must reach the 50,000-word mark by November 30 at midnight. Once your novel has been verified by our web-based team of robotic word counters, the partying begins.

Still confused? Just visit the How NaNoWriMo Works page and What is NaNoWriMo page !!

 

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Better late than never ... Alibaug Trip Photos and more

I made a 2 day trip to Alibaug in mid June ... Blogged about it in early September ... and now finally uploaded the pics of the trip in late October
 
I even uploaded pictures of my Metro ride and Ibn Batuta Mall visits during Diwali
 
All albums in my Picasa account ...  http://picasaweb.google.com/hemantkumarjain
 

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Double Scoop Icecream

Yesterday I was sooo bored that I changed my gtalk status message to "Hemantkumar: is bored !  Cant work , cant write, cant blog, cant think ! Complete Blank ! Bored !"

A good friend of mine saw that and sent this friendly piece of advice to me :

Don't get Bored, I will give u WORK

Watch Out

- Wake Up Sid    - If only                 - You have got mail         - Little Manhattan

Take a stroll to archies galary & pick up the cards u wud like to receive.......buy 1 or 2

Pamper urself

Then go n have a FEAST - eat what u feel like eating most

and then buy some Garbara bunch of yellow -pink-orange & white

keep it in a vase if u dont have that dont give me an excuse and put it in a water bottle

and then take ur laptop Blog on this exercise

 and come back to office tomorrow and change this STATUS message

 

Well … here is how my evening actually turned out … nothing too dramatic like the above suggestions but nevertheless enjoyable …

On the way back from office ... I first picked up a Methi Paratha for Dinner ... Also picked up a pocket radio so that someday I could enjoy the Dubai Radio outside of taxi's too J

Then throwing my diet plan out of the window .. i went to Baskin Robbins and asked for a single Scoop ... Once the lady there loaded the tiny cone with a large scoop, I got greedy and asked  her to load another large scoop … I had selected  2 different flavours of chocolate … and with this HUGE Double Scoop Ice cream on a tiny Cone .. I stepped out of Baskin Robbins

And the journey from the outlet to my hotel was one truly remarkable one J  

I was eating the ice cream like a KID :P literally !!

The double chocolate scoop in the small cone was melting all over my hand … Dubai is not HOT anymore but its still warm at 30-34 degree centigrade. And the best part was that when I tried to lick the dripping lower scoop..  the ice cream from the upper scoop touched my nose :) and all this while I was walking on the footpath with people around watching at me and my face with ice cream on my nose :) Kids watching me with glee and mother's and girls giving me amused looks.

hahahahahaha ... it was FUN !!

 Finally made it to Hotel ... saw TV and serial (CSI Las Vegas) for some time .. had my Methi with Spring Onion Paratha dinner... and then finally the movie "Wake Up Sid" !!!

Well … .. i did not do all of what my friend asked me to do but tried to do some of it atleast ... and thoroughly enjoyed it !!

 

So thank You to my dear friend Jigyasa for inspiring me to do some strange enjoyable stuff (like ditching my diet plan although the scales are about to touch 84 kg)  
 
P.S. I also changed my status message : Two new albums uploaded :) My recent Dubai MEtro ride and Ibn Batuta Mall visits during Diwali - http://picasaweb.google.com/hemantkumarjain
 

WAKE UP SID - not a movie review ...

I saw "Wake up Sid" yesterday … Nice Movie.

Konkana was as usual superb and Ranbir was not bad at all. The character of Sid by Ranbir… well played!

Some of the (very small) things about the movie set of some memory sparks in my head J

College – The shooting of Sid's college took place in HR College which has KC College as its neighbor, the place where I studied during my 2 years of junior college. Those few shots of the path between HR & KC (the steps over which the friends jump during the song and where Sid walks away after the results) made me nostalgic ... thinking about college days. Some of the best days of my life ..when I met my best friends.

Office - The office of Anupam Kher (Sid's Father) was in Boston House in Andheri J That was where my Satyam office was from 2005 to 2008. We were the first occupants of the office structure after it was constructed in 2005. For almost a year, we enjoyed near monopoly of the elevators before the other tenants moved in. A small luxury we had was that we never had to tell the elevator operator where we had to go. We were the only office goers in that building and all of us for 5th floor where Satyam office was located. J
About the movie ...well ...

Wake Up Sid was one of those rare Bollywood movies where "I Love You" was said not only just once but it was actually the last dialogue of the movie. Another first would be that 'I love You too' was said before 'I love You'.

It was refreshing to see an Honest Friendship being shown in a Bollywood movie which practically believes in 'ek ladka-ladki kabhi dost nahin ho sakte' (A guy and a gal can never be just friends) … although they eventually do fall in love J. But during the entire course of the movie, they are really good true friends. Staying together, helping out each other, looking out for each other, being there for each other, without the complications of love or a physical relationship which is deemed so obvious in a guy-gal relationship staying together.

Also, the friendship of the Sid trio in college was also well played out going through its highs and lows.

Overall a nice movie !!

 

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Mahabharat (Movie that never got made)

A forward ... putting it on my blog for some future amusing reading for myself :)
 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Team comprising of a Writer, a Producer, a Director, etc applied to the Government of India with a Script to produce a Movie on Mahabarath. They received reply to their application after 14 months.

All of them committed suicide later and the reason is very obvious as you may see from the following letter received by them.

Subject: Mahabharata


To:
The Writer, Film Director & Film Producer,
Mumbai


Ref: Film story submitted by you, regarding financing of films by
Government of India, Your letter dt. ............ ......... .


The undersigned is directed to refer the above letter and state that
the Government has examined your proposal for financing a film called
''Mahabharat'. The Very High Level Committee constituted for this
purpose has been in consultation with the Human Rights Commission,
National Commission for Women and Labour Commission, in addition to
various Ministries and State Governments and have formed definitive
opinions about the script. Their observations are as below:



1. In the script submitted by you it is shown that there were two sets of cousins, namely, the Kauravas, numbering one hundred, and the Pandavas, numbering five. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has pointed out that these numbers are high, well above the norm prescribed for families by them. It is brought to your kind attention that when the Government is spending huge amounts for promoting family planning, this will send wrong signals to the public. Therefore, it is recommended that there may be only three Kauravas and one Pandava.

2. The Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs has raised an issue whether it is suitable to depict kings and emperors in this democratic age. Therefore, it is suggested that the Kauravas may be depicted as Honourable Members of Parliament (Lok Sabha) and the Pandava may be depicted as Honourable Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha). The ending of the film shows the victory of the said Pandavas over the said Kauravas. The ending may be suitably modified so that neither of the Honourable Members of Parliament are shown as being inferior to the
other.

3. The Ministry of Science and Technology has observed that the manner of birth of Kauravas is suggestive of human cloning, a technology banned in India. This may be changed to normal birth.

4. The National Commission for Women has objected that the father of Pandavas, one Sri Pandu, is depicted as bigamous, and also there is only one wife for the Pandavas in common. Therefore suitable changes may be made in the said script so that the said Sri Pandu is not depicted as bigamous. However, with the reduction in number of Pandavas as suggested above, the issue of polyandry can be addressed without further trouble.

5. The Commission for the Physically Challenged has observed that the portrayal of the visually impaired character 'Dhritharastra' is derogatory.. Therefore the said character may not be shown as visually impaired.

6. The Department of Women and Child Development have highlighted that the public disrobing of one female character called 'Draupadi' is objectionable and derogatory to women in general. Further the Home Ministry anticipates that depiction of such scenes may create law and order problem and at the same time invite strong protests from the different women forums. Such scenes may also invite penal action under SITA (Suppression of Immoral Traffic Act), therefore they may be avoided and deleted from the film.

7. It is felt that showing the Pandava and the Kauravas as gamblers will be anti-social and counter productive as it might encourage gambling. Therefore, the said Pandava and Kauravas may be shown to have engaged in horse racing. (Hon. Supreme Court has held horse racing not to be gambling)

8. The Pandavas are shown as working in the King Virat's employment without receiving any salary. According to the Human Rights Commission, this amounts to bonded labour and may attract provisions of The Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976. This may be corrected at once.

9. In the ensuing war, one character by name Sri Abhimanyu has been shown as fighting. The National Labour Commission has observed that, war being a hazardous industry, and the said character being 16 years old, this depiction will be construed as a case of child labour. Also there is no record of his being paid any compensation. This may also be deemed to be violatory of the provisions of The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 and Minimum Wages Act, 1948. Such references in the film may be removed.

10. The character 'Sri Krishna' has been depicted as wearing a peacock feather. The peacock is our National Bird and wearing dresses made from peacock feather is an offence under the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972. This may not be depicted

11. Smt Maneka Gandhi has raised very serious objection for using any elephants or horses in war scenes, since there is every scope for mistreatment and injury to the said animals. The provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1890 and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Amendment) Act, 1960 would be applicable in the instant case. Suitable changes may be made in the script to address the objections raised.

12. In pursuance of the Memorandum of Ministry of Finance regarding austerity measures, it is informed that in the battle field sequences, only ten soldiers may be allowed for each side. Also, all the characters may be shown to have obtained a valid licence under the Arms Act, 1959 as well as the Indian Arms Act, 1878.

You are therefore requested to modify the script along the lines indicated above and resubmit it to the undersigned at the earliest for reconsideration.

Sd/- Under Secretary

Friday, September 25, 2009

the loss

It seems i lost her recently ...
 
then again .. something tells me i lost her a long time ago ...
 
Never realised when i lost her ... i still kept hanging on to it ...
 
the hopelessly hopeful optimist person i am ...
 
wish somethings in life were a lot more clearer than they are !

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Memorable Alibaug trip with Friends

I had gone to India in June and within a few hour of landing at Mumbai airport, I was on my way to Nikhil's residence where Shubham and Arijit. I was joining them for a 2 day trip to Alibaug!

It had been a long time since I had gone out with friends …. A very very long time …
The key highlights of the trip were the Alibaug Beach and the Fort, beside the overnight stay at a guest house and the long drive from Mumbai to Alibaug in Nikhil's car and back.

Long time since I had soaked myself up in sea water, otherwise it has been Mumbai rains all the time soaking me up at the most unexpected of times ... (And I always loved it)

It was nice to be back to the sea after my 'walk in the water' a several months ago in Dubai …

The only dampener was the 'apparent pollution' of the sea water at Alibaug. Something which seemed like oil (brown in color) was gradually creeping up the shore. All the sea water was brown and looked awfully dirty. We walked up to a distant spot of the beach where the 'polluting oil spill' reached about half an hour later. That half an hour was pure fun in water. The big waves thrashing against our bodies and we literally going under water with every wave.

Another highlight was the visit to the Fort. Surrounded by the sea it was magnificent. The disappointing part was that it was in ruins (literally). No maintenance at all. I don't think there were any restoration efforts made to the fort and when I say restoration, I don't mean renovation. I don't want to see a 'repaired' fort. I want to see a 'restored' one. Something which looks like what it was and what it is supposed to be and not something which is a modern construction done with cement and concrete.

It was a long time since I had gone out with friends.
It was a long time since I had laughed so much.
 
I probably laughed and had more fun in 2 days than the entire past 2 year.
 
It was simply wonderful. An unforgettable outing.
 
The last such memorable one was a trip to Matheran in 2003 and another one to Matheran in 1999 !!
(And i am talking about trips with friends here)
 
The trip to Matheran on 25th Dec 1999 was the most memorable one ! Memories for Life !!   

Monday, August 24, 2009

Time for thoughts

I have got a lot of thoughts and things to be penned down as blog posts ...
 
all i need is some time for doing it !
 
And some peace of mind to get that time ...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I am feeling Lucky !! I was on TV !!

I am feeling Lucky !!

Naah … Not the google way ! It's the twitter way !!

My friend Afreen introduced me to twitter a few months ... something I wasn't really interested in

Well, over the past few months, I have become what can be called an "early-stage twitter addict":D

The last one week has been particularly "rewarding" since twitter helped me get on TV as well as win a merchandised Mug :D and hence the title 'I am feeling Lucky' …

I was on TV .. well not really … but I was !!

Barkha Dutt from NDTV 24X7 hosts the show 'We the People' which is a sort of an open discussion on latest hot issues which directly impact the common man, the 'aam junta'. She takes inputs from the readers/viewers through various channels, one of which is twitter. On one of the recent episodes where the discussion topic was the Paranoia and over-reaction by Maharashtra Govt / India on Swine Flu, I sent her my comments / tweets and forgot all about it.

In the evening, I luckily managed to reach home early (which is pretty rare these days) and caught the episode on TV. I was absolutely pleasantly surprised to see one of my tweets on the screen along with my Twitter handle 'shoOOonya':D – Well, it felt like being on TV myself :D

This went on TV –"Shutting down schools & Malls has been a definite over-reaction. Does little to contain the flu. What when the schools reopen?"

The other tweets I sent were:

· 1000 people get Swine Flu & the whole world wants to wear surgical masks, 20 million have AIDS & nobody wants to wear a Condom!

· masks also to be worn by ppl in close proximity to infected people. Visitors to hospitals and medical staff.

· Also, Masks should be worn by ALL as a protection from the Air Pollution we have in all our major cities, rather than against S'flu

· Another important aspect of the S'flu over-reaction is role of Media? Print as well as TV News channels? How much? What frequency?

Well, it was not my first appearance on TV though. I made my first during my NITIE days. It was Star News which had a report on the state of B-School placements and a couple of us had gone from NITIE to IIT Bombay where the students from NITIE and SJMSOM – the IIT B-School had gathered and were interviewed by the Star News correspondent. It was an hours wait before we got on camera and my family told me that could catch glimpses of Me standing behind the person who got a chance to speak :D ha ha ha

Now to the Mug !! Channel V is undergoing a change, a makeover these days and to promote / market this 'event', they are running a contest at http://isawthechange.com/

They change the image and people got to report what changed. Participation qualifier includes having a twitter account. I sent my entries a couple of times and today I was declared a winner (one of 10) for yesterdays change. Being an Org. Change management consultant, it might have seemed ironic if I had not won any .. hehe

You can find me here … http://isawthechange.com/winners.html ... Again its not my real name bu the twitter handle 'shoOOonya' that appears here :D

Not that these two are extremely exciting for me .. its just that these two small incidents brought some smile and sun shine in my otherwise boring existence these days :D

Thanks Barkha Dutt from NDTV and the guys from Channel V for these two small packages of pleasant surprises and smiles !!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Escapism !

The online world is my refuge ... My escape from the real world ...
 
 
The real world where i feel lonely ... the loneliness .. which i hate .. which i fear ...
 
the online world helps me escape all that ...
 
the blog, the random web surfing ... the emails (including so many forwards and subscriptions) ... twitter ... all of it ..
 
they are my sanctuary of peace ... of escape ... an attempt to forget ther reality !
 
but every now and then .. i am pulled back into reality ... !!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My laptop in COMA again !

After the Slue Screen of Death event with my laptop last month ... it recovered and was running fine.
 
Till today morning that is.
 
Today morning it gave me an "operating System could not start" eror or soemthing like that ..
 
And I have no clue what to do ....
 

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Pot calling the Kettle Black !!

Saw in the news yesterday that NRI'S (mostly from from US / Canada) are wary of visiting India due to the Swine Flue scare ...

And I am wondering what the heck ... its a nice little case of the Pot calling the Kettle black.

India got the swine flue from people travelling from US/canada to India ... it came to India from the west with the NRI & foren return crowd

that aside, the stats have got more to tell ...


Global figures - 89,921 cases with 382 deaths as of 3rd July (more than a month ago)

US Stats - 33,902 cases with 170 deaths as of 3rd July (more than a month ago)

India Stats - We had no deaths and about 100 cases a month ago ... around 3rd July

Even current status is that we have about 8-10 deaths and less than 1000 cases

Source : http://www.disabled-world.com/health/influenza/swine-flu/cases-statistics.php

 

 

Who should be afraid of travelling to whihc country ... You decide !!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Diet Plan … Its just not happening :(

After the near failure to follow the diet plan in July, my hopes were pinned onto Aug-Sept period.
The first 8 days of my diet plan have been even more disastrous than the entire month of July.

I consumed (and of course enjoyed) almost all conceivable things that I was supposed to keep away from. J

Pizza, Biscuits, Chocolate, Potato vegetables, ice cream, sweets like Rasmalai and Gulab Jamun, Pastry (black forest .. yummmiiiieeee), Aloo Vada, Samosa, Aloo Parathas .....  !!!

So that was a disastrous first week of my 6 weeks of hope. 5 more to go before I go home.
(My weight just touched 82 :( something is wrong with the weighing scale ... hopefully )

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Bloozle : The Startup that never was …

Bloozle : The Startup that never was …

This is the story of a startup that never was. It's a story of the entrepreneurs tryst with destiny, passion, product development, product success/failure, sleepless nights and unfulfilled dreams …

This is the story about my Journey with Nikhil (although we are just supporting actors in the star cast dominated by 'bloozle' and market realities) … the Journey which began way back in 2004 and gradually got the name and shape of 'bloozle' … the journey which is now in a paused frozen phase waiting for the stimuli of funding from some VC who can share the vision which we have … the journey of 5 years of thinking, brainstorming, evaluating, refining, dreaming, arguing, designing, changing, letting go …
This story is to remind us of the thought, effort, money and passion invested in bloozle in the past 5 years ... to remind us of this bright ray of hope it generated which would give us enough 'escape-velocity' to project us out of the corporate job's (and its high salary's) gravitational pull.

This story is to put on record (for ourselves more than anybody else) the mistakes we made and the opportunities we missed. This story is to remind us again and again that we are destined to be entrepreneurs and the day jobs we are holding (with utmost sincerety and equal passion) are but a temporary phase of life; which unfortunately seems to be going to last for yet another couple of years or more unless we are rescued by a VC or another brilliant b-plan J

And before I guide you to the story … 2 important things :D

1. The story is told in several parts. Each part looking at a different perspective, different mistakes, different factors …

2. I am NOT the author here. Nikhil is the one who can collect his thoughts well, organize and paraphrase them in a form which makes sense and even have the courage to think about publishing them (remember: we are not talking about success here after all). So the story is authored by Nikhil and the posts are on his blog. I am providing you the links to the story here.

Part I - The Story

Part II - The Concept

Part III - Product Vision Mistakes

Part V - Environmental Factors

Part VI - Conclusion

And yes ... if you are interested in having a looksie at what bloozle looked like .. here is a (almost) working prototype of the bloozle website - www.bloozle.com
So that my dear … is the story ... the story of Bloozle .. and us !

We would love to hear your comments on this story … bouquets and brickbats … words of advice as well as 'wake up you fools' notes :D

And yes … if by any chance, you are a VC reading this and are interested in having a look at our B-Plan, just let us know in comments or by email – hemantkumarjain@gmail.com , kulkarni.nikhil@gmail.com

We wait … with hope ... (and a lot of ideas buzzing in our heads :)

In the line of fire ...

A fwd'ed story below. I am posting it on the blog just so that i can read it every now and then ... as a reminder ..
 
-------------------------------
 
Vivek Pradhan was not a happy man. Even the plush comfort of the air-conditioned compartment of the Shatabdi express could not cool his frayed nerves. He was the Project Manager and still not entitled to air travel. It was not the prestige he sought, he had tried to reason with the admin person, it was the savings in time. As PM, he had so many things to do. He opened his case and took out the laptop, determined to put the time to some good use.
 
Are you from the software industry sir," the man beside him was staring appreciatively at the laptop.
 
Vivek glanced briefly and mumbled in affirmation, handling the laptop now with exaggerated care and importance as if it were an expensive car.
 
"You people have brought so much advancement to the country sir. Today everything is getting computerized. "
 
"Thanks," smiled Vivek, turning around to give the man a look.
 
He always found it difficult to resist appreciation. The man was young and stocky like a sportsman. He looked simple and strangely out of place in that little lap of luxury like a small town boy in a prep school. He probably was a railway sportsman making the most of his free traveling pass.
 
"You people always amaze me," the man continued, "You sit in an office and write something on a computer and it does so many big things outside."
 
Vivek smiled deprecatingly. Naivety demanded reasoning not anger. "It is not as simple as that my friend. It is not just a question of writing a few lines. There is a lot of process that goes behind it."
 
For a moment, he was tempted to explain the entire Software Development Lifecycle but restrained himself to a single statement. "It is complex, very complex."
 
"It has to be. No wonder you people are so highly paid," came the reply.
 
This was not turning out as Vivek had thought. A hint of belligerence came into his so far affable, persuasive tone.
 
"Everyone just sees the money. No one sees the amount of hard work we have to put in. Indians have such a narrow concept of hard work.. Just because we sit in an air-conditioned office does not mean our brows do not sweat. You exercise the muscle; we exercise the mind and believe me that is no less taxing."
 
He had the man where he wanted him and it was time to drive home the point.

"Let me give you an example. Take this train. The entire railway reservation system is computerized. You can book a train ticket between any two stations from any of the hundreds of computerized booking centres across the country. Thousands of transactions accessing a single database, at a time concurrency; data integrity, locking, data security. Do you understand the complexity in designing and coding such a system?"
 
The man was stuck with amazement, like a child at a planetarium. This was something big and beyond his imagination. "You design and code such things."
 
"I used to," Vivek paused for effect, "But now I am the Project Manager,"
"Oh!" sighed the man, as if the storm had passed over, "so your life is easy now."
 
It was like being told the fire was better than the frying pan. The man had to be given a feel of the heat.
 
"Oh come on, does life ever get easy as you go up the ladder. Responsibility only brings more work. Design and coding! That is the easier part. Now I do not do it, but I am responsible for it and believe me, that is far more stressful. My job is to get the work done in time and with the highest quality. To tell you about the pressures, there is the customer at one end always changing his requirements, the user wanting something else and your boss always expecting you to have finished it yesterday."
 
Vivek paused in his diatribe, his belligerence fading with self-realisation. What he had said, was not merely the outburst of a wronged man, it was the truth. And one need not get angry while defending the truth. "My friend," he concluded triumphantly, "you don't know what it is to be in the line of fire."
 
The man sat back in his chair, his eyes closed as if in realization. When he spoke after sometime, it was with a calm certainty that surprised Vivek.

"I know sir, I know what it is to be in the line of fire," He was staring blankly as if no passenger, no train existed, just a vast expanse of time.
 
"There were 30 of us when we were ordered to capture Point 4875 in the cover of the night. The enemy was firing from the top. There was no knowing where the next bullet was going to come from and for whom. In the morning when we finally hoisted the tricolour at the top only 4 of us were alive."
 
"You are a..."
 
"I am Subedar Sushant from the 13 J&K Rifles on duty at Peak 4875 in Kargil. They tell me I have completed my term and can opt for a land assignment. But tell me sir, can one give up duty just because it makes life easier. On the dawn of that capture, one of my colleagues lay injured in the snow, open to enemy fire while we were hiding behind a bunker. It was my job to go and fetch that soldier to safety. But my captain refused me permission and went ahead himself. He said that the first pledge he had taken as a Gentleman Cadet was to put the safety and welfare of the nation foremost followed by the safety and welfare of the men he commanded. His own personal safety came last, always and every time. He was killed as he shielded that soldier into the bunker. Every morning now, as I stand guard I can see him taking all those bullets, which were actually meant for me. I know sir, I know what it is to be in the line of fire."
 
Vivek looked at him in disbelief not sure of his reply. Abruptly he switched off the laptop. It seemed trivial, even insulting to edit a word document in the presence of a man for whom valour and duty was a daily part of life; a valour and sense of duty which he had so far
attributed only to epical heroes.
 
The train slowed down as it pulled into the station and Subedar Sushant picked up his bags to alight.
 
"It was nice meeting you sir."
 
Vivek fumbled with the handshake. This hand had climbed mountains, pressed the trigger, and hoisted the Tri-colour. Suddenly as if by impulse, he stood at attention and his right hand went up in an impromptu salute. It was the least he felt he could do for the country.
 
PS: The incident he narrates during the capture of Peak 4875 is a true-life incident during the Kargil war. Capt. Batra sacrificed his life while trying to save one of the men he commanded, as victory was within sight. For this and his various other acts of bravery he was awarded the Param Vir Chakra the nation's highest military award.
 
 

Monday, August 03, 2009

Reading Update ...

Well well...
 
Finished reading "Tell Me Your Dreams" by Sidney Sheldon ... it was a receomendation by my best friend and i enjoyed it ...
 
Godfather by Puzo is still in progress ... the print is small and i am reading it for loke 10 minutes a day so the progress is slow ...
 
Nice to be reading 'regularly' again ... i missed it much in past few years when my reading had gone down significantly ...
 
Purchased 2 more books from a bookstore recently ... they are up next ...

I don’t want to … but ...

Character 1 – You know I …

Character 2 – Yeah … I know … You never want to hurt anybody …

(And after a short pause ... adds … ) But you do !

 
Nothing more said. C2 walks past C1. Eyes wet, almost about to overflow.

An intensely emotional scene going on in one Hollywood movie "Alphie"

 
And I feel the heart wrenching pain inside … as I realize ... I am just like 'Character 1' of the scene !
 
I don't want to … but I end up doing exactly that ...
 

Sunday, August 02, 2009

The Reality of Reality TV

 In his widely accaliamed article, `Behind the Curtain of TV Voyeurism, journalist and author Neal Gabler suggests that at the core of this 'entertainment' is conflict -- whether internal or external -- in the protagonist. If this is not intrinsic to the script or the format, it is provoked because otherwise the show cannot hold viewer interest. This is not so much a function of effective programming as of human nature.

The above lines picked up from an article by Ayaz Memon in DNA. You can read the whole article, titled "Is reality TV all that bad?" here
Whether it is Rakhi ka Swayamvar or Iss Jungle se Mujhe Bachao or the ones like Big Boss or all those Singing talent shows ... bring in conflict and you have a money spinner !