May 26, 2004

Home sweet Home

I reached Mumbai in the early hours of Saturday….I was very very excited to come home after 2 and a half years….the plane journey was a bit irritating as we had a lot of delays and we got a plane which had very little leg room and we had to run a lot in Paris as our flight from Atlanta was delayed and we were the last to board the plane in Paris….the plane was held for us as 50 of us were in the flight from Atlanta that was delayed….we had an extra delay in the Paris Airport as we weren’t issued the boarding passes in Cleveland…we were asked to get them in Paris and that made us the last people to get to the flight….Sindhu and I were scared that we would be delayed by a day in Paris and that we would lose a day of our trip….that’s unacceptable !!!!!!!!!!! We were glad that we made it and we were tortured by the brilliant movie… Paap …John Ibrahim was the hero and his expressions were worse than Ham Kings….he can be crowned the new Ham Master:)

We got some good food on the Paris-Mumbai leg….and the service was also much better….atlast we reach Mumbai and we were both very relieved and excited…..Sindhu was tensed as she would be meeting my parents for the first time and she was trying to figure out what to say….one of my friends said that he had made some arrangements with the customs guys so that I can walk out freely without hassle….a Havaldar was standing at the gate with my name and he had asked me to come to Counter 2…..once we got our bags we went to counter 2 and I thought we should put our bags through the scanner….but I guess my friend has a solid contact in the Customs….We were asked to walk straight through the gate and we were surprised that it was that easy:):) …..I had a lot of electronics so I was scared that the customs guys would catch me….but it turned the other way round….. we were the first to come out of the airport and my parents had not expected that I guess….I couldn’t find them so I walked to the nearest PCO and I called my sister on her cell……she was surprised that I was out and my parents were surprised tooo and they couldn’t figure out how they could have missed us….I could see the joy in t heir faces….I was delighted to see them too:)…thenI had to do some weight lifting as I had to load all the four big bags into the rented van….then we dropped off sindhu at the Santa Cruz airport for her to fly to HYD…..I could see that she was visibly tensed but she was trying to have some kind of conversation or the other with my folks….once we dropped her off ….we came home and I was up all night talking to my parents and my sis….my sister went to bed early at 5 AM!!!!!!!! and my parents at 7 AM!!!!!!! then slowly I hit the sack at 9:30 AM…..I slept like a log till 6:30 in the evening…..I met with my friends later that evening and had a good time

The next day I met a couple of friends and we went to watch a new movie called “UUFF kya Jadoo Mohabbat hai”… a multiplexer called IMAX….it was next to the real IMAX….I was surprised seeing the crowd and I was informed that it was the most visited place in the weekend inspite of its cost!!!!!!!!!! The ticket for an evening show is Rs.130 and for a day show is Rs.65…we bought Pop-Corn for Rs.25 a bag (rather a small pouch) and also two bottles of coke for Rs 35 each…..I was shocked!!!!!!!!!! its damn expensive and people are buying stuff left and right!!!!!!!!!! One more thing that I observed was that almost everyone had a Mobile!!!!!!!!!!! auto wala, sabzi wala, taxi wala, etc…everyone…India has become HEP….then I bought a couple of Jeans as I had hardly enough room to pack my clothes….after putting all the gifts I purchased and those that my friends had given to take home!!!!!!!!!! I had abt 5 sets of clothes for the whole 38 day trip!!!!!!!!!!!…..the next step to start driving….I had to concentrate a lot but now Iam getting better….a couple of times I got onto the wrong side of the road….I thought people would panic….I sure people in the US would have….but here…they just went on to the other side as if it was normal!!!!!!!! that shocked me:)…but now I back to the ranti and ghati driving….I am enjoying honking and giving gaalis:)….

that’s it for now as my mom is waiting for lunch and being in India….every hour is a meal time:)

May 12, 2004

End of a glorious era in AP

By now most of you may have guessed what I was thinking of....its abt the end of the Naidu era in Andhra Pradesh. Yes, the hitech and IT driven era of Chandrababu Naidu has come to an end in AP...congress hit the sweet spot during their election campaign by targetting the farmers. They showed the farmers how neglected they were and how the Naidu Govt was pampering the IT industry and ignoring the agricultural sector....they promised to give free power and water for irrigation and thus turned the tide on Naidu who was expecting another term as the CM.

Though Congress has a point that farmers have been overlooked for facilities and infrastructure it cannot deny Naidu from being one of the revolutionary and aggressive leaders of our time...obviously when one sector is being developed the other sectors will suffer but I think Naidu did the right thing by trying to tap the IT potential of Hyd is the Silicon Valley of India along with Bangalore...and it would not have been possible without Naidu. He initiated a lot of deals which resulted in the benefitting of the companies in Hyd. All the major IT companies have offices in with Bioinformatics begining to blossom...I think its sad that Naidu is not there to make the most out of it....he was a leader with an aim and he worked till he achieved....

People may say that he had a one track mind...and they he wasnt an efective leader.....for those guys....he started a project called "Janma Bhoomi" which was basically cleaning of AP and helping the backward places to get roads and electricity....all this just based on voluteers and the local residents of the place being developed....this was a brilliant effort and it helped a lot of people in AP. It brought the masses together and they worked together for the betterment of AP.

Bill Clinton had come to India i think in 1999....if I am not mistaken....he spent 4 hrs with the Prime Minister and abt 2 days with Naidu.....what more needs to be told abt the business sense of the man....when sanctions were being imposed on India after the Nuclear testing....companies abroad were ready to fight the sanctions to do business with Naidu.....

Kellogg's wanted to start a B-school in India and had approached different states in teh country for a suitable location....everyone wanted a share of the seats and also charge for the land.....come Naidu...he says..take the land for free (or what ever cost)....his proposal was accepted by Kelloggs and now we have a B-school in India which is accepted world wide as a great institution...not to take away the pride of other Indian B-schools...but its just a mention

F-1 wanted to set up a race track in india....where did they settle????? AP ofcourse.....why??? any doubts?? Naidu...did the job again...its a Rs. 1000 Cr project and who is benefitting from this??? people of AP....well what ever said and done....Naidu may have lost the election but he has defenitely set the trend for the coming years.....there are lot more things but I cant write all those here...i dont know all of them....but at the same time...there were a lot if drawbacks in the Naidu Govt....but which Govt doesnt have a drawback???? he atleast have enough positive points to offset the negative ones...unlike other states...

What Anil Kapoor did in a movie called "Nayak"....Chandrababu Naidu did it in real life

I hope Congress doesnt lose the businesses and market developed under Naidu

Respond instead of reacting: Azim Premji

I am very happy to be here with you. It is always wonderful to be with young people. The funny thing about life is that you realize the value of something only when it begins to leave you. As my hair turned from black, to salt and pepper and finally salt without the pepper, I have begun to realize the importance of youth. At the same time, I have begun to truly appreciate some of the lessons I have leant along the way. I hope you will find them useful when you plan your own career and life.

The first thing I have learnt is that we must always begin with our strengths. From the earliest years of our schooling, everyone focuses on what is wrong with us. There is an imaginary story of a rabbit. The rabbit was enrolled in a rabbit school. Like all rabbits, it could hop very well but could not swim. At the end of the year, the rabbit got high marks in hopping but failed in swimming. The parents were concerned. They said, "Forget about hopping. You are anyway good at it. Concentrate on swimming." They sent the rabbit for tuitions in swimming. And guess what happened? The rabbit forgot how to hop! As for swimming, have you ever seen a rabbit swim?

While it is important for us to know what we are not good at, we must also cherish what is good in us. That is because it is only our strengths that can give us the energy to correct our weaknesses.The second lesson I have learnt is that a rupee earned is of far more value than five found.

My friend was sharing me the story of his eight year-old niece. She would always complain about the breakfast. The cook tried everything possible, but the child remained unhappy. Finally, my friend took the child to a supermarket and brought one of those ready-to-cook packets. The child had to cut the packet and pour water in the dish. After that,it took two minutes in the microwave to be ready. The child found the food to be absolutely delicious? The difference was that she has cooked it ! In my own life, I have found that nothing gives as much satisfaction as earning our rewards. In fact, what is gifted or inherited follows the old rule of come easy, go easy. I guess we only know the value of what we have if we have struggled to earn it.

The third lesson I have learnt is no one bats a hundred every time. Life has many challenges. You win some and lose some. You must enjoy winning. But do not let it go to the head. The moment it does, you are already on your way to failure. And if you do encounter failure along the way, treat it as an equally natural phenomenon. Don't beat yourself for it or any one else for that matter! Accept it, look at your own share in the problem, learn from it and move on. The important thing is, when you lose, do not lose the lesson.

The fourth lesson I have learnt is the importance of humility. Sometimes, when you get so much in life, you really start wondering whether you deserve all of it. This brings me to the value of gratitude. We have so much to be grateful for. Our parents, our teachers and our seniors have done so much for us that we can never repay them. Many people focus on the shortcomings, because obviously no one can be perfect. But it is important to first acknowledge what we have received. Nothing in life is permanent but when a relationship ends, rather than
becoming bitter, we must learn to savour the memory of the good things while they lasted.

The fifth lesson I learnt is that we must always strive for excellence. One way of achieving excellence is by looking at those better than ourselves. Keep learning what they do differently. Emulate it. But excellence cannot be imposed from the outside. We must also feel the need from within. It must become an obsession. It must involve not only our mind but also our heart and soul. Excellence is not an act but a habit. I remember the inspiring lines of a poem, which says that your reach must always exceed your grasp. That is heaven on earth.

Ultimately, your only competition is yourself.

The sixth lesson I have learnt is never give up in the face of adversity. It comes on you suddenly without warning. One can either succumb to self-pity, wring your hands in despair or decide to deal with the situation with courage and dignity. Always keep in mind that it is only the test of fire that makes fine steel. A friend of mine shared this incident with me. His eight-year old daughter was struggling away at a jigsaw puzzle. She kept at it for hours but could not succeed. Finally, it went beyond her bedtime. My friend told her, "Look, why don't you just give up? I don't think you will complete it tonight. Look at it another day." The daughter looked with a strange look in her eyes, "But, dad, why should I give up? All the pieces are there! I have just got to put them together!" If we persevere long enough, we can put any problem into its perspective.

The seventh lesson I have learnt is that while you must be open to change, do not compromise on your values. Mahatma Gandhiji often said that you must open the windows of your mind, but you must not be swept off your feet by the breeze. You must define what your core values are and what you stand for. And these values are not so difficult to define. Values like honesty, integrity, consideration and humility have survived for generations. Values are not in the words used to describe them as much as in the simple acts. At the end of the day, it is values that define a person more than the achievements. Because it is the means of achievement that decide how long the achievements will sustain. Do not be tempted by short cuts. The short cut can make you lose your way and end up becoming the longest way to the destination.

And the final lesson I learnt is that we must have faith in our own ideas even if everyone tells us that we are wrong. There was once a newspaper vendor who had a rude customer. Every morning, the Customer would walk by, refuse to return the greeting, grab the paper off the shelf and throw the money at the vendor. The vendor
would pick up the money, smile politely and say, "Thank you, Sir." One day, the vendor's assistant asked him, "Why are you always so polite with him when he is so rude to you? Why don't you throw the newspaper at
him when he comes back tomorrow?" The vendor smiled and replied, "He can't help being rude and I can't help being polite. Why should I let his rude behaviour dictate my politeness? In my youth, I thought of myself as a rebel and was many times, a rebel without a cause. Today, I realize that my rebellion was another kind of
conformity. We defied our elders to fall in line with our peers! Ultimately, we must learn to respond instead of reacting. When we respond, we evaluate with a calm mind and do whatever is most appropriate. We are in control of our actions. When we react, we are still doing what the other person wants us to do. I wish you all the best in your life and career. I hope you achieve success in whatever way you define it and what gives you the maximum happiness in life.

Remember, those who win are those who believe they can.

May 06, 2004

Dhanraj Pillay Issue....

I think IHF and Mr.Gill have time and again humiliated Dhanraj Pillay by asking to prove his fitness and then saying that he was being omitted from the experimental sides as he is expereienced....but now they have committed a blunder by dropping Pillay from the Olympic squad.I am a big fan of cricket and badminton but I do follow some hockey...what sachin/sourav/Dravid are for cricket and Gopichand for badminton Dhanraj is that for Indian Hockey.

Teams all over the world fear Dhanraj and they know that his sheer presence will be enough to motivate the indian team and that they will have to play harder. Over the years Pillay has proved time and again that he is the best thing to have happened to Indian Hockey in the past 15 years. How many times has he lead the team from the front and bore the brunt of the media when the Indian team didnt perform well but he excelled. With his talent he can walk into most of the international sides but the officials of IHF think otherwise...I think its high time that these people are shown the right way so that Indian Hockey can prosper. How many years has Gill been incharge of IHF and what have we to show with him on the I think its time for some change in officers and there should be some room for new ideas.

Baljit Singh Dillon and Baljit Singh Saini are players of high caliber, they should not have been treated like this either.

All the reasons given by IHF and the coach are lame and none of them are convincing.

"We need Dhanraj Pillay for Olympics"

May 04, 2004

A blog atlast!!!!!!!

Well....I have atlast decided to write a blog :):) the past month had been pretty eventful with a lot of things happening....I attended a conference for the first time...I presented a paper at a conference for the first time.....I had my first publication thru the conference proceedings.....I drove for 9 hrs for the first time (to go to the conference and to visit Phani)...I saw fire in akron for the first time.....

Yes....the fire was in Sindhu's house and it was a big totally destroyed the second level.....the devastation was such that the girls living upstairs.....lost everything expect for the documents (luckily) and themselves.....they were left with no clothing but the ones they had on that was a really sad scene....I had never seen anything like that before....there were 3 fire trucks to doze the fire off....the only positive thing in this incident is that no one was hurt and that all the passports were safe.....the girls lost clothes,books, notes and all their belongings (including soft toys).....this is the finals week so the loss will be bigger to bear as they dont have their notes to study from and they also have to bear with the mental shock.

Sindhu lives downstairs so all her belongings were intact but the house cannot be lived in....everything in the house was stinking of ash and was my car which was used to transport most of the remaining valuables.....but to their and our surprise the librarian at the University acted promptly by waiving the fees for the lost books and also contacting Red Cross....representatives of Red Cross came home to meet the girls the next day and they gave each of them gift vouchers for Value was really nice of them......I wanted to ask Madhu to see if ISA could do anything....but as I expected the Girls straight away rejected my idea of fund raising.....even in such depression they didnt let go of their principles....hats off to them.....on constant pursuasion though....they agreed to accept some coupons from ICAGA and also household items from the ICAGA members when they move into their new house....

The fire incident totally freaked me roomie and I have a lot of stuff at our place....both of us have TV's,VCR's, DVD Players's, Laptops....and many other small electronics.....and we dont have a second level.....and most of the things in the room are inflammable....thats a scary thought:(:(

i hope the girls do well in their finals and get done with the semester as they will have some time to relax then and think abt what has tobe done a way the finals are helping to keep their mind away from the thats good.

the other that I cleared my PhD qualifiers....I cleared 6/7 papers....I failed in "Numerical Analysis" I was asked to take a course in that subject and get atleast a "B" in it.....I will be taking that course in the fall semester. I am happy that now I am a Doctoral Student and from the fall semester I will be on PhD pay .....hhehehehehe

The conference was a good experience....though it was a small one....500-600 people thats it.....but its always better to start with a small group before going to the national conf.....I got to spend time with Phani so that was a bonus....he showed be around his village (sorry phani but thats the best description I could give)....he showed me his work place and the polymers he made.......he made some awesome rasam and beans curry for dinner....we watched Khakee later that was relaxing weekend....if not for the driving....I drove abt 1300 miles over the weekend....I had never done that it was quite an experience.....

well....I think....I will go to bed now....its quite late as i have to get up early to go to the lab:):)