Discontinued

Posts to this blog have to be discontinued due to completely unforeseen and unexpected set of circumstances :)

Will continue blogging at http://lazebook.blogspot.com/

The Tipping Point

  • Ever wondered why Barack Obama, who was just another politician not so long ago, suddenly became a household name and went on to become US president?
  • Ever wondered how Dev D, which didnt have big marketing or a big starcast, became such a big hit?
  • Ever wondered why most engineers try for an MBA, whether they want/like to do it or not?

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell tries to explain the factors that make some ideas/products/brands/movies click.

259 pages. It is an interesting and enlightening read with good case studies.

Read it if you are interested in understanding human psychology/social behaviour. You might just get some answers to the questions posed at the start of this post.

Best Food Places in Airoli Sector 8

  1. Andhra Mess  - Unlimited Rice + Chicken + Curd Rs.60
  2. Bangalore Iyengar Bakery – For those who love cakes, muffins and cream rolls with the South Indian flavour
  3. Garam Masala – Good restaurant and bar. Open till 1.30 in the night. Food and a few drinks for two Rs.750
  4. Step In Restobar – Opposite DMart – Small, nice place  - Food and lots of drinks for two Rs.750
  5. Greens – Good clean juice shop – Rs. 20 for most juices
  6. Sandwich shop near Aaapla Bazaar – Awesome sandwiches

Track Your Expenses

All of us, at some point or the other, would have taken a resolution to note down expenses. We enthusiastically note down every detail for the first few days, but eventually it suffers the same fate as that of most other resolutions that we take. The main reason for dropping it being that it takes effort to remember all the transactions and note it down at the end of the day.

What if we could record the transactions as and when we made them?

Xpenser.com allows you to do just that. You can update your expense from your mobile (you need twitter + gprs), personal email id or your official email id.

You need to register at xpenser.com and link your twitter account and mail ids.

Now if you have spent 100 rupees for food at McD, and want to note it down, you can update it immediately using your phone or go home/office and update it from your email.

Phone: Send a direct message on twitter in the following format

d xpn food 100 Mcd

Email: Send a mail to e@xpenser.com with the following subject line

food 100 Mcd

A new entry will be created in your account.

In the above example, food is the category of expense. Its good to create categories to group expenses (food, bike, rent, grocery, etc) so that it is easy to track where the money goes at the end of the month.

Xpenser has good search and filter options to analyse your data.

So click here and give it a try.

Review: How To Train Your Dragon

Animation – 3D

Running Time: Around 2 hours

The story is set in a viking village. The villagers are constantly in conflict with dragons, that attack them and take their livestock.

The main character of the movie is Hiccup. He is the son of the viking chief, but he is considered a black sheep by the vikings because of his diminutive size. Hiccup is not considered good enough to fight dragons.

But during a raid, Hiccup fells a dragon. But he cannot bring himself to kill it and releases it. The dragon becomes a friend and he discovers that all dragons are actually very friendly unless they are attacked. The rest of the story revolves around how he learns more about the behavior of dragons and convinces the other people in his village not to fight the dragons.

You will fall in love with the characters. Especially Hiccup and his pet dragon Toothless. There are some really funny sequences.

The animation is good. Pick amongst them is the sequences where Hiccup learns to fly atop Toothless. Some scenes remind you of Avatar.

Overall it is a good movie. Definitely worth a watch.

IPL3 = LSD: Love (Tharoor), Six (Sachin) Aur Dhoka (Modi)

Now, it is a question of when, rather than if, Shashi Tharoor will be sacked as the minister of state for external affairs.

I think it will be a big mistake to sack Tharoor.

Competency wise, I think he is the man, in parliament today, best suited for the ministry of external affairs. He is intelligent, articulate and has had a global exposure. He may not be streetsmart but he connects with the people and can be a good representative of  India to the external world.

I think Tharoor has not done anything wrong, especially with respect to the standards expected from an Indian politician.

Yes, he has pulled his weight around. Yes, Sunanda Pushkar might not have got the job if she had not been connected to Tharoor.

But could Tharoor have in any way manipulated the bidding process? Could he have given the team the magic number to win the bid?

I don’t think so.

One mistake he did was call up Modi when he started questioning the Kochi franchise about the ownership structure. But his argument, in his interview with Barkha Dutt, that in his responsibility as an MP from Kerala, he had a right to call up and ask Lalit Modi why he was delaying the confirmation of the Kochi team, is convincing enough.

A panelist on Barkha Dutt’s talk show on NDTV commented that for a politician to be successful in India, he has to act dumber than he actually is.

I think that it is very true. Level any accusation against Laloo and he will joke about it and laugh it off. Tharoor’s main mistake is that he appears to be very intelligent and he has made a lot of enemies for his larger than thou attitude. And this controversy has come at a time when parliament is in session. So congress will be forced to sack him to prevent the opposition from hounding the Prime Minister.

The good thing about the controversy is that it has highlighted the lack of transparency in the ownership structure of IPL franchises. The media should now probe the stakes of other politicians like Sharad Pawar, Arun Jaitley and Narendra Modi. More importantly does the underworld and other criminal syndicates have anything to do with any of the teams? The people of India have a right to know.

Delhi – First Impressions

Went to Delhi last week. It was an official trip. The work was boring but very satisfying in the end. This was only my second visit to Delhi. The first time was a short, one day, airport to work to airport trip. And that was before I fell in love with the city after ‘The Last Mughal’, Dev D and Delhi 6. This time I got two days to roam around and inspite of the scorching heat, made full use of it . Travelled mostly by the metro. It’s beautifully efficent and convenient, a jewel in the crown for Delhi. But the autowallahs dont go by the meter. You have to bargain and haggle and its not a pleasant experience.

This post is an (attempted) travelogue of my trip.

I love history. And Delhi is soaked in history. So many emperors have ruled India from Delhi and each of them has left a mark on it.

Red Fort. One of the wonderful contributions of Shah Jahan to Delhi. I strongly reccomend everyone to read ‘The Last Mughal’ before going to the fort. The red fort was the focal point of the 1857 sepoy mutiny and it is vivdly described in the book. The buildings and gardens in the fort will have an added allure once you know their historical significance and vice versa. I was trying to go back in time and be at the diwan-e-am where the emperor used to conduct his durbar and the gardens where the sepoys let their horses graze while waiting for the emperor’s accent to be their leader….

Jama Masjid. Huge imposing building. Wanted to go there after watching Delhi 6. You are allowed to climb atop one of the towers along long spiral stairs. Do not miss the view from the top. You will not get a better view of Old Delhi anywhere else.

from masjid tower

India Gate. I went there on saturday evening and was pleasantly surprised to find a lot of people on the lawns on either side of Rajpath leading to the gate. Entire familes had come, spread their blankets and were having a good time. Some were even having dinner. And there were the balloonwallahs and ppl selling the small illuminated parachute like toys that can be sent high up in the air using a catapult. Delhi’s way of coping with not having a beach I guess. I too lay down on the lawns by the monument, built in memory of Indian soldiers who fought for the British in World War I, and gazed at the stars for sometime.

india gate

Qutb Minar. Built by the Khilji dynasty in 1100 AD. The Qutb complex also has one of the oldest mosques in India. The mosque has been made from the rubble of temples destroyed by muslim invaders. Thats why some of the pillars of the structures in the complex have patterns found in hindu temples in south India. The fact that there are no modern buildings close to the complex adds to the mystique of the place. The Siri Fort built by the same rulers is nearby. But it is in ruins and very little is left of the fort. Had a hard time finding the remains because even the locals didnt know that such a fort existed. It didnt help that an auditorium is named after the fort and everyone was guiding us to the auditorium. “yehi hei siri fort”!

qutb minar

Akshardham Temple. Built on the banks of the river Yamuna by the swaminarayan sect in the 20th century. Supposed to be the biggest hindu temple in the world. Its beatifully built with intricate carvings and life -size scultures of elephants depicting various scenes from the epics. Nice place for some soul therapy.

Akshardham

I fell in love with the city – the planned elegance of new delhi -  the chaos of old delhi – the metro – everything. Would like to spend some years in the city.


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Daman - Devka Beach

Daman Fort - South Entrance

Daman - Fort Area Map

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