31 March 2005

A lesson in determination

Many a times we keep listening to that time tested words "If you are determined you ca neven move the mountains".Somehow i always used to think that these, in many a situations are said/used out of context.
However there are some real life incidents which show you blatantly that it is indeed possible to overcome all odds and emerge a champion.
This is one of them.
Here is the full article for those who reach till here and find that their ISP has given them the kai { read refusing to get connected anymore to the net! }

Siddharth G J's mother and father are proud parents. And that's not because of his masters in economics with distinction. The 24-year-old has faced tougher tests, fought bigger bogeys and crossed higher hurdles with his indomitable fighting spirit.

Siddharth has cerebral palsy.

In medical-speak, that means an affliction caused by the cut-off of oxygen to the brain at the time of birth or early infancy. It irreversibly damages the communication between the brain and muscles, resulting in lack of coordination in muscular movements and defects in posture.

In real life, it means being considered mentally retarded, being looked down upon, and being refused admission in colleges and jobs despite an outstanding academic record.

Siddharth's battles with fate began early. He had jaundice when he was three days old, and was unconscious for three days. "As he grew, and did not show the usual landmarks in development, we knew there was something wrong. It was an extremely shocking news for us," says his mother Komala.

Some doctors in Bangalore told Komala and her husband Jayakumar that their son was 'mentally retarded.' "We knew from his responses that he was as intelligent as any other child – if not more – but that was what the doctors said."

Siddharth's early childhood was not the usual one with friends and schoolmates. For eight years, he stayed at home. A neighbour worked with a special school run by the Spastic Society of India, and Siddharth got admission there. "The first thing they taught me was how to use a typewriter. I typed with one finger, and even today, I type with one finger. Except math, I started doing all my school work on my typewriter," says a smiling Sidhharth. His school followed a different syllabus for each student, depending on his/her ability. So, Siddharth was sent to standard II from upper kindergarten.

Sidhharth's father Jayakumar got transferred to Chennai. Siddharth now had to get used to a new school, a new environment and new challenges. "I remember I cried when we left Bangalore," he says.

He studied at Vidyasagar, now a well-known school for spastic children. "It was not as big as it is now," says Siddharth. "I have no words to describe Vidyasagar's role in my son's life," says his mother.

When he finished standard VIII, the school authorities felt Siddharth should go to a regular school. Before Siddharth, they had sent just one other boy to a regular school. "I also feel disabled people should be studying in regular schools because generally other children, and even adults, are not aware of the disabled. The attitude of the public is that the disabled can't do anything. Only when more and more disabled children are integrated into regular schools will society understand us," says Sidhharth.

"Initially, it was very difficult for me. Writing, people, the workload…it was difficult to interact; I felt miserable."

In his standard X board exams, Siddharth took assistance to write his answers. But the government sends people who are not proficient in math and science, and "there were times I had to dictate letter by letter," says Siddharth. That did not stop him from scoring 98 percent in his favourite subject, math. He opted for commerce, and in his standard XII board exams, scored 90 percent.

Happily ever after? Far from it, says Siddharth. "Vivekananda College, where I applied, looked at me and refused to look at my academic performance. I was very upset. I asked myself, why are these people not looking at my marks? Why are they looking at my disability?"

Siddharth's father spoke to the Vivekananda College principal, and also his teacher at Vidyasagar, Deepthi Bhatia, who is blind. "I assured the principal that he [Siddharth] would be an asset to the college," says Jayaram..

College for Siddharth was again a different experience. "Many students didn't know how to deal with disabled people like me. It is not that many of them didn't want to make friends with me. They didn't know how to approach me. As I am a shy person, I also couldn't initiate conversation."

Despite "sleeping in most of the classes," Siddharth's brilliance shone. He scored 100 percent in management accountancy and computer science – the only one in his batch to do so – with an overall 74 percent in Bcom.

Siddharth wanted to do his masters in social work from the prestigious Loyola College. "I was denied admission to the course I wanted: MSW. They decided that I would not be able to do MSW because of my disability. I was angry. How could somebody else decide for me? They refused to listen to my arguments. Luckily, I had also applied for MA in Economics. Though it was disappointing to miss out MSW, I joined the college."

He thought his struggles ended with getting a postgraduate degree with distinction. That was not to be. When he applied for jobs, people did not look at his academic record or ability; they saw only his physical disability. A family friend asked Siddharth to join his public relations agency.

"Ma'am, all those press releases you received from Prism till a month ago were written by me," Siddharth says, smiling. With his first salary, he bought a pair of shoes for his father and gave the rest of the money to his mother.

But Siddharth wanted a job on merit. "I continued applying to several places. All of them called me because of my resume. I used to perform well in the aptitude tests also but the moment they saw me at the interview panel, they would say, 'We will get back to you.'"

"Big companies like Infosys and TCS [Tata Consultancy Services] appeared satisfied with my technical knowledge in economics but they did not get back to me. They don't trust people with disability. This distrust is very, very bad," says a visibly angry Sidhharth.

At a job fair where there was a separate section for the disabled, Siddharth gave an aptitude test for ABN Amro Bank. "They were very co-operative. I passed the test."

At the interview, Siddharth spoke about himself. "They were stunned. On the spot they said you are selected. I felt damn good! They didn't tell me what my job would be but I told them I didn't want a data entry job. I told them I was looking for a research-oriented job. They were very receptive. For the first time, somebody realised my potential."

Surabhi Nikumbha, one of three on the interview panel, says, "We just listened to him [Siddharth], rather his story, for 45 minutes. We just couldn't ask a single question. All three of us were stunned. We didn't even know how to react. It was an amazing experience.

"His academic performance was exceptional, and you should see the way he answered our aptitude test. We were also impressed to find him so independent. He came on his own, did everything on his own. His department tells us that he is excellent in his work. He is an asset to us. We are proud to have him in our organisation."

Today Siddharth G J, officer trainee, ABN Amro Bank, examines import and export documents for compliance with international standards of documentation. "I am enjoying every moment of it. People at ABN Amro trust me wholeheartedly. It is just a beginning for me," says our hero. And he still writes poems. "No, they are not for publishing. They are very, very personal," he says.

"Children like him need only love, affection and encouragement; not sympathy," says his mother.
K.Shyam

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 10:02 AM 0 comments

30 March 2005

offense is the best form of defence

Offence is the best form of defence says the age old adage.Now that being the case it beats me as to how Team India thought that they could wear down a pakistani attack.Did they under estimate it ? Did they think that they could wear it down ?
The best form of trying to play out for a draw was not to block every ball but to play out your natural game.We do not have a Gavaskar here with impeccable technique to play out 90 and odd overs.
Now what pisses me of even more is that the crap of a newspaper called Times of India is inviting readers to spam the captain ganguly.This attitude of praising someone sky high when they win and pushing them into the dumps when they loose must stop.
One of the positives the pakistani team can take from this tour is that they now seem to be gelling in well as a team.The sense of unity and purpose seems to be coming through.
No this series is actually a victory for them.They drew the mohali test, came close to winning the calcutta test till a certain Mr.Rahul Dravid and Dinesh Karthik stopped them and won the bangalore test quite easily.
In fact what i feel is that Team india took them pretty lightly and paid the price for it.
Make no mistake, just as we drew the australian series and claimed a victory so can the pakistanis.In any home series as long as the home team does not win the series, it is equal to loosing it.
I did want to write about something else too but forogt about it completely !
K.Shyam

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 9:44 AM 0 comments

28 March 2005

Line of Fire ?

Many a time the software gumbal { gang } is consumed by it's thought that they are responsible for archtechting the world's best systems and that things revolve around them.Of course it's not fair to blame that gumbal alone, there are are other things in picture too.
This is not about that.This is about a forward that i got.The story narrated may not be true.In fact there seems to be no way to verify it too.That does not matter here.What matters here is the essence of the story.Let us not get dragged away into thinking that what we as software guys do is of utmost importance to all of us
around !


Vivek Pradhan wasn't a happy man. Even the plush comfort of the First Class
air-conditioned compartment of the Shatabdi Express couldn't cool his frayed
nerves. He was the Project Manager and entitled to air travel. It was not
the prestige he sought, he had tried to reason with the admin guy, it was
the savings in time. A PM 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 detailed 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." "Hard work!" "Indians have such a narrow concept of hard work.
Just because we sit in an air-conditioned office doesn't mean our brows
don't 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 centers across the country.
Thousands of transactions accessing a single database at a given 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
don't 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. And 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-realization.
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 tricolor at the top only 4 of us were alive."

"You are a..."

"I am Subedar Sushant Singh 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 valor and duty was a daily part of life; a
valor 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
Singh picked up his bags to alight.
"It was nice meeting you sir."
Vivek fumbled with the handshake. This was the hand that had climbed
mountains, pressed the trigger and hoisted the tricolor. 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.

Sometimes i think this industry needs to be deglamourized a little bit.Too much of hype is being created !
K.Shyam

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 11:48 AM 0 comments

24 March 2005

drying up

I think my ability to hammer out words for my blog has dried up like the lakes that dry up during summer.
Must be that im suffering from that writer's mental block.
Try as much as i can im unable to get something to ramble upon.oh ya there might be too many things but nothing seems to strike me at present.
The wiser ppl would say why dont u write about ur experiences on your words drying up ?
Dunno.
The long weekend is coming up.Got to catch up on some reading up front.For too long have i been postponing it, that things are now coming up to a real precipitated situation.
So happy weekend folks.I think the remedy is to stay away from blog ? Uh no.Im kind of addicted to it.Ok im hopeless.
K.Shyam

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 9:57 AM 0 comments

23 March 2005

funda-2

ok it's been a long time since i posted my fundas.So here we go with funda-2.
"Eat to live do not live to eat".Ok the olden adage says we need to live to eat and not live to eat.
Personally i do not believe in that.Oh just because im a ardent follower of my own funda does *not* mean that im a glutton { ok i border on being a glutton } and have an ungainly bad posture like pot belly etc.In reality to be modest im a bit hyperactive physically.
Ok so coming back to the funda i believe that if not for satisfying our taste buds what else is the drive to work for ? I mean a man needs four square meals a day.What is the point in skipping breakfast or lunch so that u need to attend some bat-shit meetings ?
So folks just try to absorb this funda and see the differnce it makes in your daily activities !
All this talk of food makes me really hungry !
K.Shyam

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 12:38 PM 2 comments

22 March 2005

college dreams

This is the stuff college dreams are made of ! Congrats boy.You have shown yet again that you need not be in a top notch college to do things that have an impact.
K.Shyam

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 9:50 AM 0 comments

21 March 2005

M&A

Here is an article courtesy Slashdot about Yahoo! acquiring flickr.com.Now what makes this intresting is that flickr is the site i use to upload pictures for my blog and if flickr is forced to tie up with yahoo in such a way that you can use it only for blogging on yahoo, then im kind of screwed.Oh ya a totally unnecessary line of thought but isn't it better to be prepared for such kind of things ? so right now i am searching for some picture provider !
The weekend was so very cool ! Congratulations to team india for winning the first test.More so congrats to two fellow brothers, balaji and karthik !
K.Shyam

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 12:18 PM 0 comments

18 March 2005

Atrocious

In what is bound to snowball into a major political controversy unless some high level political action is taken, the chief minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi has been denied a US visa. His was totally a buisness trip to address Asian Hotel leaders federation.The reasons given for rejection for visa are far too frivolous.The language used for reasons for rejection and far too strong and totally unbecoming. Genocide it seems.What then do we classify the war in iraq as ? School football ?
Now he might be guilty or he might not be.That is not the point here.He is an elected chief minister of a state.I personally view this as a major snub.Such a thing is totally unprecedented and uncalled for.
The high handedness and totally partisan attitude of United States must stop.History has never ever been favouring the wrong doers again and again.If Narendra Modi is being denied a visa on the grounds that he committed genocide, what about the numerous war prisoners who were being tortured ? What about the hundreds who died because of war waged in iraq by the president of United States ? What about the hundreds more who died in Hiroshima & Nagasaki ? What about vietnam ?
A seemingly perceived superiority complex does not give the right to decide on what is right and what is wrong, merely by convenience.
Now even if this issue is sorted out at any political level i personally feel that the chief minister must not go.While people may argue that it would be a demonstration that, "in spite of your best attempts to keep me out here i am" kind of attitude, i feel that not going is the right attitude.India must also take serious note of this and issue strong objections.
Too far has this kind of demonstration of supremacy been going on, that its time we did our best to stop it.
K.Shyam

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 4:41 PM 0 comments

weekend plans ?

Huh what better weekend plan can exist when you go home, eat to your hearts content, laze around in front of the television and generally soak into the atmosphere ? Ok folks im off to madras for this weekend.I wanted to try for next weekend when we have a friday off too { courtesty good friday } but since there is going to be a cricket match here in banagalore decided against it.{ it's a different matter that a voice on the back of my head keeps barking at me that i should speed up my studies but let that keep barking :-) }
So im off to madras for this weekend.Got some plans lined up.Got to get a battery change for my laptop and generally check somethings.
In all probability i wont be checking mails i guess.Ya i do have a BSNL broadband at madras { did i not tell u that being our backyard anything and everything can be done there ? } courtesy some contact really high up in BSNL.We became one of the beta testers. Im planning to use the broadband for downloading some iso torrents.
Ok any mails i deem not important will not be replied to.{ No headings like urgent etc etc wont work with me. :-) }
Im right now planning a run on the beach on sunday morning.That would depend on what time i go to bed on saturday.There is nothing like a early morning run on the beach to make you feel pumped up !
Happy weekend to you all folks!
K.Shyam

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 10:50 AM 1 comments

17 March 2005

Sad!

Im pretty sad.My mozart greatest hits cd is kind of damaged.I still dont know how such a thing can happen.It has some good compositions.
The main reason why i buy a cd is that they can withstand for a few years say 5 or 6. This one is out in just a year ! And i payed 300rs for it !
And bangalore marathon is postponed to May15th.Just gives me that extra practise time after my exams that are to be held sometime in April !
K.Shyam

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 2:46 PM 0 comments

16 March 2005

coilation politics

I have been following the DMK conclave over the past few days.There is one thing which i find really strange.
The DMK kezha bolt {dirty slang for old man} MK is claiming that he will allot seats to other parties but will keep all the ministries for himself.
Of course there is no such thing called shame in politics, but i still wonder how is it that the partners are willing to participate in such a coilation.
Obviously to prevent any future setbacks he will contest and make sure he wins atleast a simple majority.
If that is the case then what will the alliance partners be left with ? The leftovers ? This is something that is totally wrong.And WTF are the alliance partners thinking ? Man this news has shaken me like hell.
I am a staunch supporter of "Amma" Jayalalithaa.She and only she alone has the guts to bring in some change.More often than not i think it is the ego of the ppl that prevents them from accepting her as the leader.Come on WTF ? She has shown that she can survive in the male dominated world of dravidian politics.What more do you need ?
I sincerely hope that someone drills some sense into the coilation partners, make them demand for ministerial berths during the pre poll alliance itself.Only then this alliance will break.And if this alliance does break, there is no stopping "Amma" from coming back to power.
And for all talk of corruption etc, i just have to say one thing.You dont know a dime about dravidian politics.Just do some background reading to understand the truth.
The coming few more months promises to bring in some intresting stuff.I sincerely hope that the coilation breaks.That is the only hope for motherland to become the topmost state in almost every index, where maharashtra is the only state ahead.
K.Shyam

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 9:59 AM 0 comments

15 March 2005

mayaavi

I saw the movie maayaavi last night.My BIL was here in town and off we went ! So here are some observations about the movie:
Surya is in a totally different make up looking more like a simpleton.As he himself says he does not know "ABCD" but knows 5 different languages ! Now how is that possible ? It will be if you are a tourist guide.Surya is a tourist guide in mahabalipuram.By chance he enters Actress Jyothika { Jyothika playing herself and for more torture she dubs her own voice !! } to steal something gets caught by the police.By force of circumstance he is jailed and to take revenge he kidnaps her ! What happens next forms the story.
The pretty intresting aspect of the movie is that it takes a dig at many a happenings in today's tinsel world.Perhaps that is what makes this movie intresting and totally offbeat.Well done guys.Though the second half could have been trimmed a bit it still is pretty much ok.
Watch out for some really well conceieved comical situations like when the police inspector gets a call to tell him that someone has seen jyothika running !!
The songs are pretty so-so.The intro song of surya is pretty ok and there is a song that is brilliantly conceived and picturized which has pushpavanam kuppuswamy, the noted tamil folk artisan lending his voice.The camera angles in that song is quite good.Watch out for the shot that silloutes the setting sun !
overall a movie where you go have a few laughs and come out of it.not a bad effort i must say.
If you have not listened to the song called "The Man who sold the world" from nirvana do so.Some stunning guitar work on it
K.Shyam

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 11:27 AM 0 comments

14 March 2005

back on track

Finally my laptop is up & running folks.thanks to all those who messaged in with suggestions.
so here is what i had to do.
1. none of the methods metioned in the net worked :-(.probably coz my laptop had an old bios.
2. install linux { a minimal installation. }
3. from the linux boot take a backup of whatever you want from windows.{ yeah that is the power of linux guys.you can mount your windows partition and take backups prety easily }
4. hose down the existing windows partiton and install windows again on top of this.
5. since i re-installed windows linux will not boot anymore.that however is nothing to worry about.
6. insert the linux installation cd and boot into linux in rescue mode and voila! all the backed up data is still present.
7. copy the data from linux into windows partition.
8 reinstall linux.

now you have both windows and linux running :-)
i celebrated this by watching the movie "Million Dollar Baby".Intresting movie guys.Made pretty well and i kind of felt it had a lot of sentimental touch to it !

Today morning i heard a song "Agar main kahoon".I dunno the name of the movie.Someone here tells me it is from lakshya.The moment i heard the song i knew the music composers were shankar ehsaan loy.The song has some stunning guitars.Something struck a chord.I immediately put in my tape of Simon & Garfunkel into my system and there it was.The track seems to have some definite influences and in fact is almost a lift of quite a few of simon and garfunkel's tracks.Notable among them being scarbrough fair.Bad.Real bad.On a more intresting note if you want to know which songs copied from where head over Here!
K.Shyam

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 11:09 AM 0 comments

10 March 2005

Surprising

I am still at a loss to understand why the wipro employee called up his office and gave a hoax that a bomb has been planted there.Read about it Here. I dont know.For all his "good" intentions of checking as to whether his office can stand upto security problems it still remains as to what his probable future would be, either in his organization or elsewhere.Strange !
And the indian batsmen seem to be keeping up the good work done by Brother Balaji. Sehwag has gone on to complete his century.
I'm off tomorrow on a traning folks.Promises to be inresting though.
On a more unrelated note my laptop now boots into linux, but the windows partition which i was using as a backup and a repository of downloaded s/w is fully screwed up."NTLDR is missing" is the error message i get.I have checked up some resources on the internet for it.{ Hail Dr.Google }.Shall have to use them and see what can be done!
K.Shyam

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 10:19 AM 1 comments

09 March 2005

this day two years ago

On precisely this day two years ago at around almost the same time { 10.xx }am i landed in bagalore airport from singapore after completing my first visit to us of a :-)
so to kindle those memories here is a pic i took in san diego beach where i was staying.It's a different issue that i waited for about an hour for the light mix to come out and i *did not* use a digital camera and i blew up about 3 rolls each worth 7$.Ok this is just a pic that i like.It may not be a brilliant pic but WTF ? :-)
Photography is fast becoming one of my significant hobbies.Got to devote sometime to it to know about it in full :-)

The wise men may ask as to why in spite of repeated requests by the guys for whom i was working there { i wont name them here.Too many ppl are being fired for writing too public a blog :-) } i opted to come back.Simple the last dates for applying for my masters were coming close and i did not want to miss out.It is a different matter that i never expected to clear the interview, and after the interview was left wondering that why the heck did i come back.But then probably my life pattern was such that i should be entering IISc :-)
There was an ocassion when i got real goosebumps during the travel.No not when i saw the pacific below me, not when i kept on seeing the movie "Die Another Day" that was being screened { 9 times folks}, not when those cute air hostess gave me the entire bar for myself.
It was after seeing this picture in singapore airport.

The red banner before "Bienvenue" proclaims "Welcome" written in tamil folks.What an effect it was to see that language written so boldly in a foreign country.On the other side it felt so bad that no where in my country is it written so boldly ! And ya i rememeber those stunning masala dosa's i had at the singapore airport.Pretty expensive but what the blazes ? If not for eating what else am i working for ?
K.Shyam

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 10:55 AM 1 comments

b 2 the a 2 the b 2 the a bala :-)

Oh the title is borrowed from the rap that blazee wrote for the movie "Baba".That is an ode to that smiling guy from my motherland { Madras it is.What did u think ? } and my fellow brother Balaji.Kudos to you man for your first five-for.He has always been performing well against the pakis and this must serve as a good confidence booster to him.
Now it's upto the batsmen to make further use of the good work done by him.
I tried installing ubuntu on my laptop and was pretty sucessful in hosing it down :-).If you remember there is a problem with linux 2.6 kernels and windows xp dual boot as they way in which they address the disks are different.The solution to that is to use lilo or to specify boot parameters at start up, which is nothing but the disk geometry, which can be obtained by using fdisk -l .
So now either i find the way to specify boot time parameters during ubuntu installation or revert back to suse 9.1.
And ya ubuntu installed pretty fast.And considering the fact that they ship you cd's for free well it's a pretty cool deal.
On an after thought i just found that none of the software i have on my laptop is paid. It's either borrowed from friends or freeware.
As the saying goes "Freeya kudutha pehenola kooda kudipomda nanaga" { loosely translated into we will drink pheneol if that is given free :)) }
K.Shyam

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 10:07 AM 0 comments

08 March 2005

today's indian express had an intresting article about a women from rural karnataka who has found of a new way to cook rice and at the same time heat water too.im searching for an online version of that article.
I actually feel humble in front of her.I remember reading that great inventions are those which over a period of time blend into our daily use while we are totally unaware of their existence.Take for example the bicycle.
I salute that woman during this woman's day.Not those high funda glitteratti & corporate honchos but this kind of humble women who observe the life around them and try to make a difference to their and everyone else's everyday lives.
K.Shyam

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 10:23 AM 0 comments

07 March 2005

go narain go



In a nation starved of sporting icons narain comes across as a breath of fresh air.Totally unassuming and totally simple.My best wishes to you fellow brother and fellow countryman.
This is an intresting article !

Read it here too :

Narain Karthikeyan has arrived
Monday March 7 2005 00:00 IST

Harish Samtani

Narain has successfully crossed the first hurdle. ‘To finish first, first you must finish’ is an old adage in motor-racing. Narain belied his status as a rookie from India with his consistent performance on Sunday afternoon at Albert Park.

Don’t be fooled by the location as it certainly was no walk in the park for him.

He put aside his initial hiccups after his a start and then put it past his teammate Tiago Monteiro convincingly. The immediate measure of a driver is understood when he is compared with his teammate. This is because two cars from a stable are alike and comparisons are easy.

It would be ridiculous to compare his performance against another team and driver. More so when there were limitations from the the start; be it the last minute signing up with Team Jordan Grand Prix, the team putting the package together with Toyota or coming to grips with the new specs and regulations vis a vis tyre and engine at short notice. This could be misread as excuses but in reality are facts.

The talk in the pit-lane is that he has potential. Not in a condescending manner but as a genuine evaluation. So, it’s just not my seemingly biased view-point or the praises from his team. He has cleared all doubts that I had about his ability to handle the rumble and tumble of the ‘big one’. Of course, the pressure will increase as the expectations to perform start going north. Looks like he is capable of soaking it in.

The Jordan-Toyota which he drove today was last year’s version. Other than Ferrari, all other teams had the 2005 versions. Taking this important factor into account, his fastest lap time was adrift of just over 2 secs of the competition. Of course, 2 secs in F1 is equal to a country mile but given the circumstances it should not be used as a unit for measuring the levels of his skills.

He achieved precisely what he set out to from the word go. His second qualifying this morning was immaculate. As predicted yesterday he finished in the sixth row (12th spot). The position was not as important as the focus with which he slotted into a position, which he knew was rightfully his.

Then, the next item on the agenda was to finish the race. This too he did without a fuss even though his car was over-steering a bit due to excess wear in the rear tyres. The main concern on his physical fitness was eliminated when he emerged from the car after the gruelling 57-lap (90 min) race, looking fresh, His suspect neck muscles held out rather well.

The new regulations may help his cause in F1 after all. A smooth driving style is required and he seems to have that quality.

Although the chaotic qualifying rounds tossed the cat among the pigeons, Narain’s result couldn’t have changed much. It was just that the favourites had a bad day. Michael and Heidfeld chose to change their engines instead of attempting to qualify. The penalty for such a change - that of starting 10 places behind your qualified grid positions didn’t matter much. So now we have Michael with an engine that is not as worn.

Sepang should see him back where he belongs. When the going gets tough the tough go thinking. As I had mentioned a few days ago, Team Renault are a strong contender for the championship. Today’s 1-3 result confirms their readiness to take the battle to the Ferrari camp. McLaren should be up there in the thick of it considering that they have two talents in the form of Kimi and Montoya.. And how about Narain you may ask. He is capable of walking up those steps, maybe with a few more miracles.

The hundreds of fans who gathered to see Narain after the race were in a frenzy. Screaming for his autograph and almost bringing down the fencing. It was a heart-warming sight. What Narain is achieving is probably more than Sachin ever did. He has lifted the spirit of Indians living in non cricket playing nations such as Germany and Italy. Sachin, could you step aside a bit. Maybe we have a new national icon.
K.Shyam

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 12:03 PM 0 comments

walk walk walk

it was a friday morning.i was looking forward to a pretty realxed weekend doing some reading up for my exams which are scheduled 5 weeks from now. { ah not that im studious or something but only if i start now do i have any semblance of hope of clearing it. }

"are you coming to sakleshpur ?" my brother's voice over the phone ! i asked him for sometime to say yes coz i needed some time to replan my schedule.having done that i said ok we shall.

make no mistake folks the sakleshpur trek is perhaps the most ardous trek.two days of walking over unused railway bridges and tunnels will definitely give you the shivers and is a real test of your stamina.now for a little background.the trek starts from donigal and extends till subramanya.there is an unused or i should say used for a little while railway track, which is now being converted into broad gauge.as my travel companion kept saying it's a shame that so much money has been spent on a track that is little used ! anyway it's a different issue that it is a trekker's paradise.

My brother had met a few of like minded trekkers at Orkut and then chose this place.We met up at bangalore bus stand.There were five of us.Hemant, his sister and a friend and me and my brother.Before starting hemant tells us that since track conversion is going on there are a lot of stones and difficult paths along the donigal-yedukumeri route.The time beaten route is you start at donigal, walk till yedukumeri station, halt there for the night and start off the next day, walk from yedukumeri till either gundiya or subramanya.Hemant told us that the path is pretty bad from donigal to gundya and suggested that we shorten the trek to a single day ie from gundya till subramanya.In hindsight that was a good decision.By the end of the day the fellow travellers were all pooped ! The idea was that we anyway would not miss out crossing the "killer brige", so named because it takes a lot of guts to cross a 700mts bridge without knee shaking and crawling on all fours.It's a different matter that even if you fall while crossing the bridge you will not fall onto the valley below ! It's another entirely different matter that your's truly cracked that bridge without crawling/knee shaking :-)

So we boarded a bus bound for dharmashala and decided to get down at gundiya checkpost, walk a few kms uphill and join the railway track.10.30pm we were on a bus bound for gundiya checkpost.5.15am "gundiya" shouts the bus driver and we get down.We brush our teeth and fill up our bottles at the tea shop near the checkpost and wait till dawn.Hemant makes a few enquiries here and there and gets some totally conflicting replies ! Finally we get the right route.We were indeed at the right place.A 3km-4km uphill walk & we should reach the track.6.30am we set off in search of the track.Make not mistake folks, the uphill climb is not for you if you are not physically active.I mean you cannot wake up one day and say i want to go to sakleshpur and do the uphill climb.7.30am we rest a while filling up our water bottles in a small stream.Again march is not the right month for this trek.Early jan is the best.You will have the mist and some streams running around.March is hot and the heat adds to you being tired ! Now me and my brother decide that we shall lead as by that we can push up the pace atleast.so off we go at a fairly quick pace and at 8.30am we see the track.we decide to stop for some food.bread, jam etc.there is a small tunnel which we cross as a trial.there is also a bridge.I have a patent fear of heights and im reduced to a crawl to cross that bridge.I immediately think if this is so tough how am i going to cross that killer bridge and that too with a huge back around my shoulders ? Anyway we rest a little while and at 9.30am start again.The plan was to reach shirabagalur station by around 3.00pm and reach subramanya by around 4.30-5.00pm and take bath in the kumaradhara river, see the subramanya temple and leave back to bangalore.
We walked and walked for about an hour.Some brilliant viewpoints were there.I kept thinking that these would be really gr8 if we had come a little earlier ! We first encountered a tunnel that said 337mts length.Ok we missed the 500mts tunnel but we had something close to it.We did have torches with us but that was not all that enough.With bat dung smell and the screeching noise of their cries we managed to cross across.
11.30 am we halted for some water and some biting into cucmbers and stuff.Start off again.The first of the bridges was encountered.I managed to cross this only by crawling.Then again a tunnel.Then we came over to the second bridge.I told myself im going to see only the next railway sleeper in front of me not the fact that im crossing the bridge or if i fall i might fall into the gorge below ! That trick worked.My fellow traveller recounted that story from mahabaratha when arjuna felled the toy bird by concentrating only on it's eye ! Once i learnt this trick every other bridge was a piece of cake folks, including the killer bridge which i crossed *without* crawling.The main problem in crossing a bridge as a team is that if the person ahead of you stops and crawls you are now struck by the same morbid fear ! However i did not allow that to come over to me.Ok enough of self gloating :-)
12.30pm halt for some more refreshments and at 1.30pm we halt near a tunnel for lunch.We had MTR pre cooked food with us.Hemant wanted to light a fire but we persuaded him to eat it as it is and he found the food pretty tasty.I had some more bread and jams.I personally think that is the best food when you are trekking.The jam gives you that glucose.Anyway after about half an hour of walking at exactly 2pm we reach shirbagalur station.We make an enquiry with the locals how long to the main road for subramanya.They say that if we take the railway track it is 3km but if we take the dirt track it is 5km.We opt for the railway track.You need to cross just 3 bridges they tell us.Though it was hot and the heat was getting to us, the railway track seemed the best option because we might loose our way if we take the dirt track.There were some reports in the internet about ppl loosing the way when they had taken the dirt track.
4.00pm.we had crossed 3 bridges and lots of tunnels.Still no road in sight.The locals at the station told us that at the third bridge we can see the the road below and we just need to take that road ! It was later that we came to know that when the locals say a bridge then it needs to be atleast 100+mts in length !
We pushed and pushed.The ladies in our group sarted getting tired and it was getting difficult.My mind was making plans of searching for a clearing, in the event we needed to stay back for the night.At this point i decied that if me and my brother move with the gang then we may not be able to make to the exit point.See the point is you need a leader whom the gang can then follow.So off we set slightly ahead of the gang but stil making sure that the rest of the gang is still in sight.4.30pm we meet a local.In the kannada that we know we talk to him.Hope was in sight.He tells us that we need to travel just about a little over a km or so to get to the road.We mark 4.45pm as the target.We tell the rest of the group that we are going and shall wait for you at the exit point.At precisely 4.45pm we see a clearing.We decide to go a little bit and we meet a local again who tells us that we just need to walk a few more meters along the railway track.A few more meters and we see a huge crane loading the sleepers.Yes we were there finally.We then wait for the rest of the gang to catch up.They catch up with us at 5.10pm.
We get down to the road and wait for the bus to reach subramanya.The local we met had told us that the last bus was at around 5.00pm.It was already 5pm.It was slowly dawing on me that if we need to walk the remaining 10km to reach town except me and my brother and possibly hemant the ladies will not be able to walk that distance.I was thinking about how to get there and whom to leave as help for the ladies just in case.I had been to many a treks and i for one can never be optimistic during treks.Prepare & plan for the worst is my motto always.Luckily at around 5.20pm we see a bus bound for subramanya.We board it and after a bouncy ride we reach the kumaradhara river.
At a roadside shop we have kalthappa and dosa's.What surprised me was that the sambahr was pretty spicy unlike the jaggery tinged sambhar that we get in bangalore.There is prety strong mangalorean influence i guess ! Anyway we then went to the river to take bath and have a look into the temple and then have dinner.
7.15pm we finished our bath and then without any auto's in sight we walked the remaining 2kms to reach the town.We then booked our tickets for the return journey.
Subramanya temple is a pretty intresting temple folks.It is totally kearlite architechture.Predominantly wood is used here and laquer is used as the polish for the stones outside.However there are some dashes of the chettinad influence with the huge pillars outside the temple.
There was a ritual going on inside the temple.We deposited our bags in the cloak room and had a look at the diety.The temple does not allow males devotees to enter with their shirts on.So we had to remove it and enter it bare bodied.Another trace of the keralite influence !
We had the darshan though i was pretty surprised at the crowd that had turned up.It was real huge.
After much persuasion from hemant we proceeded to have the dinner served by the temple.In general i do not prefer to have food at the temples.However seems like it is a form of prasadam.Almost everyone who came to the temple were having the food there.Having had that food i polished it off with an apple milkshake in the shop outside.
10.15pm we boarded the bus.It had been a looong but an intresting day !
5.15am we were back the bangalore bus stand.Took a local BMTC bus reached home to see narain karthikeyan had managed to finish ahead of schumi in the qualifier and goa having president's rule.
It was so very refreshing to be in that natural sourroundings !
K.Shyam

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 10:20 AM 0 comments

04 March 2005

Haunting Melodies

I have always belived that first time music composers have it in them to give some haunting melodies.I am not sure about "God" Illayaraja though.He burst into the music scene when i was just born.Co-incidence ? A genius was recognized and in a far away remote corner of tanjore a genius { Yours truly } was born ? Well only time will tell :-).
This is not about that though.I was kind of listening to that song from kadhal "Unakena irupen". The singer has indeed done a splendid job though.And the quality of verses is indeed amazing.
Just shifting back in thought gave me some intresting co-incidences.
Rahman gave that bunch of wonderful and refreshing new sounds with his first movie Roja Especially that starting notes of that song "Chinna Chinna aasai". Harris jayaraj { IMHO an electronic version of S.A.RajKumar } gave that beautiful song "Venmathi Venmathi" in the movie Minnalae and now Joshua Sridhar has given this song.The point to note here is that these are all the first movies of the directors !
And not to forget T.Rajender that jack-of-all-trades had given some wonderful songs in pure kalyani raagam in his very first movie too :-)
Nothing soothes me like listening to some soft tugging at the heart songs :-)
Oh ya another weekend is here.I am thinking of getting involved in some technical cultural events @ college.Tech quiz, Math problem solving types ! Let me see what best can be done.
K.Shyam

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 8:45 AM 0 comments

03 March 2005

The other side of nature

I saw the building that was devastated by fire yesterday on my way to college.Shocked is the only thing i can say.The place still has that burning smell.Luckily there were no human casualities even though there was a lodge next to it !
What a small spark can do !
I hope the traders are able to pull themselves back onto their feet.
But what surprises me is that how is it that permission for such a large complex was given, when a power transformer was located *inside* it ? These are things we must look into in retrospect.
K.Shyam

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 3:16 PM 2 comments

02 March 2005

Madras String Quatret

Have you heard of the madras string quatret ? they are a group of violin and cellist players.What impresses me is that i have heard about each of them separately but i did'nt know that they were playing as a group.
They are :
1. V.S.Narasimhan.This guy plays some stunning violin.Most of Illayaraja's stunning violin pieces can be attributed to be played by this guy.He also composed music for a movie that has arvind swamy and revathi.I am not sure about the name of the movie.But it had a song that had some stunning arrangement.The song went something like:
"shenbaga poovai parthu;
ooru seidhi sonnadhu kaatru;
yen kannan avan kaigalai adhai kondan;
andha poovukku ooru moksham varum indru!"

2. V.R. Sekar : Surprise Surprise he is the son of kunnakudi.Need i say more about him ? He plays the cello which again is a big surprise.I have not heard him play the cello.Ok i do listen to a rostropovich here and there but i have not listened to any other cellist till now.

B.J.Chandra and hemant complete the quatret.
Ok the reason why im posting this is coz these guys will be performing at the unwind center in madras this weekend.Im pretty sure i have to miss it coz i have some academic work to be completed.If you are there do make it a point to attend.Im sure you will not be disappointed.

Talking of instruments reminds me.I always have a soft corner for the irish instrument tin whistle.A few good songs that uses it are Bouree & Pan Dance by jethorull, Haste to wedding by corrs and that title music strain from titanic !
K.Shyam

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 10:54 AM 0 comments

01 March 2005

Intresting Article

Oh well it is quite well known that even though my daily bread & butter comes from this hell hole called bangalore i'm unable to identify myself as a permanent resident of this village-tying-to-become-a-city.The reasons might be many but time and again it comes back to me like a raging flood.especially when i read something like this article.note that i do disagree with a few points that the write makes with respect to the roads.not all roads in madras are pothole free.yes there are potholes.but unlike here in bangalore where you find only some roads without potholes :-)

there is another line which struck a chord with me."flyovers could be completed". during my vist to calcutta for a campus interview last august i saw a flyover for about 2.5kms.quite intruged by the length i asked the cab driver the time it took to complete it.I was kind of guessing that the flyover of that magnitude and size must take atleast 2.5 yrs to build.I was literally shocked when the cab driver said it took precisely 12 months to complete the whole flyover.The pillars were cast in 6 months and while that was being done the supporting beams were being cast in a different place and once that was done the whole thing was just assembled said the cab driver.i am still at a loss to know why the airport road inner ring road flyover is taking 3 yrs and still there is no sign of even completion.And to compound matters further the contrator has vangified jaga { escaped }.God knows when this will be completed.

You can read the full article here or right here :-)

Speaking of governance
Friday February 18 2005 13:09 IST

Vaasanthi

Chennai has some good roads
I am settling down in Bangalore, I told them with pride brimming in my voice. Ah, they said wiping their streaming sweat with unmistakable envy. Nice weather. A very civilised city. Lucky aren’t you?

I am in the midst of a traffic jam that Bangalore has become notorious for. Traffic jams in fact have become part of a Bangalorean’s life. It is amazing how the average Bangalorean has reconciled to his fate. It is amazing too how the government thrives in a blissful state of ignorance (there are 5,460 English pages on Bangalore’s bad roads in the web) and ineptitude.

It finds attending prayer meetings organiSed by shady American evangelists more important than attending to the repeated prayers of the locals to redeem the city’s roads. The evangelist boasted of curing incurable diseases with just hand push. I would have been happier if he had used his persuasive powers with the Lord to heal the heaving roads of Bangalore. I suspect all the top brass politicians that attended the mammoth meeting were in fact hoping for a miracle.

What Bangalore needs now is nothing short of a miracle. The name Bangalore no longer invokes images of lush green lawns and riotous flowers. At least that was the image I had as part of my childhood and adolescent memory, having grown up here. Six months’ stay was enough to bring about a disillusionment that I have never before experienced in my life. I am haunted everyday by nightmares even during my waking hours — of getting caught in traffic jams that are chaotic; my senses getting numbed by the crazy noise pollution that I am unable to escape from; of having a fall as I walk in the street and breaking my hip on the incredibly shameful potholes that never get repaired.

Visitors, if they are not already dead choked by air pollution and bumpy roads, are always nervous and edgy at the thought of the traffic jams and missing a flight or a train. The tourism brochure still calls it a Garden City. There cannot be a crueler joke than that. Do you say the colour of leaves is green? Think again. They are all muddy here with dust and virtually merge with the unkempt roads, having lost the chlorophyll-their identity.

And where have the flowers gone? They seem to appear only at Lal Bagh’s annual flower shows. There are no flowers on the round-about circles at cross roads that Bangalore was famous for. Even the road from the airport leading to the city has no flowerbeds on road dividers. Nor is it the retired peoples’ paradise. The poor old ones dare not take a walk like old times. With innumerable potholes on every road, the dust that emanates from traffic and ah, the killing noise of the speeding vehicles- you are bound to reach vaikundam earlier than you were destined for. I felt ageless six months ago; I now feel like an ancient.

Every time I visit Chennai, I undergo a metamorphosis. I become young again; life seems full of hope. As the cab glides smoothly on the roads from the airport or the railway station, I draw a deep breath and suck in the air as if I had been deprived of it all my life. The huge hoardings and posters with Jayalalithaa’s smiling face and words hailing the tireless work that she does for the welfare of the Tamil people no longer seems to me an exaggerated encomium of the party sycophants.

My heart fills with parochial pride and by the time I reach my destination I become a fan of the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. Look at our Chennai I want to tell my co-traveller. Look at the roads, how even and satin-smooth they are. Look how well the traffic is controlled. Look how clean the atmosphere is. Is it not wonderful to see that the leaves are green and there are actually flowering beds on the road dividers and traffic circles?

Do you see the flyovers? They may not be world class; they may have been built across roads that were not designed for flyovers. But you will surely agree that they have eased the traffic to a considerable extent. Remember they were built in record time during the previous government.

As the cab moves on I find it amazing that all the roads, even by- lanes, are smooth without potholes. The boards and signals indicating the names of the roads are bold and big and mercifully in English too, that will relieve an outsider. Oh, by the way, you have to know the Kannada script to travel in Bangalore. If you are lost, it is your problem. The road signs on the roads and on the buses are written in Kannada only.

My heart becomes heavy with regret for having left Chennai. After moving to Bangalore I had almost forgotten that roads could be without potholes. That any flyover started by the government would ever be completed. BSP — Bijili (electricity), Sadak (road), Paani (water) — still remains the slogan of all elections. I think it is only Tamil Nadu that is focused on fulfilling the promise among the southern states.

The detractors of Jayalalithaa have only to shift to Bangalore to turn into her ardent supporters in no time. At least regarding matters of governance. Governance — the most sustaining factor in the relationship between the State and the public. What is governance? It is something not covered by the traditional term ‘government’. It springs from a genuine desire to improve the living conditions of the public; to respect the rights of the people for better life, enhance environmental protection and deepen confidence in government and public administration.

What is missing in Bangalore as it fights to retain its India’s Silicon Valley tag? Good, smart governance. Bangalore, we are told ‘‘became a victim of its own success’’. The exploding growth of Bangalore as an IT hotspot has not gone hand in hand with infrastructural facilities.

Whose fault is it? What measures did the State government devise to tackle the situation when Bangalore was bursting at the seams? Why do we not see any one with a vision or even dedication to duty and commitment to the taxpayer? ‘‘We believe the problems are serious,’’ said Azim Premji, Chairman of Wipro Ltd, three years ago. The situation is worse today as the problems persist and the IT companies are seriously thinking of moving house. They even want to look outside Karnataka for expansion, sick of the lack of smart governance here. The PWD Minister can only blame the IT industry for the chaos. And the Chief Minister is always on the defence with — ‘‘Bangalore cannot become Singapore’’.

Why can’t it even compete with Chennai?

Vaasanthi is a well-known Tamil writer

Posted by Shyam Krishnaswamy at 9:14 AM 2 comments