December 29, 2006

It's Not About The Bike

3 guys just reached their destination, Haridwar - traveling from Mumbai on a bicycle for a cool 2000 kms! While I can't recollect a single thing I achieved in the last 21 days (the time they took to cover the distance) I'm superhappy for their achievement and promised to join them on their next trip. Yeah, me and my promises :)

Here's wishing hearty congratulations and a fabulous new year to you guys - Prateek, Vinod and Glean. Rock on!

Who are these people and why did they do all this? Check out Life Away From Life or the Google group.

December 05, 2006

Things I'll miss about Bangalore!

It's just been 3 weeks since I moved back to Mumbai from Bangalore (with a week in between in Assam), but I already miss the city which I otherwise found boring while there - ah well, you know - the grass is always greener on the other side ;) In no particular order, here's what I'll miss badly...
  • Lalbagh Botanical Gardens - Simply beautiful - would offer something new every week!
  • My bachelor pad :)
  • Haggling with the autorickshaw guys - oh it's a royal freakin' pain
  • Sangria nights at Olive Beach
  • Sunny's Special Blue Cheese Salad at, well, Sunny's
  • Roadside food at V.V. Puram and Chikpet
  • Brigade Road, Church Road and M.G. Road - my daily haunts
  • The St.Mark's Road Barista which perhaps has the best interiors I've seen for a cafĂ©
  • The Coffee World at Mota Arcade which reminded me of Central Perk. By the way although they are not as popular as Barista and Cafe Coffee Day I rate them the best!
  • Microsoft colleagues and acquaintances! Made so many awesome friends here :)
  • Friday morning break-feasts at the office pantry. The only day I used to reach on time. Sometimes.
  • The Cha Bar, Barista, Oxford Bookstore, Spa and Athena at The Leela
  • The gorgeous view and the expanse at Ista
  • The lazy Sunday brunches with friends - Oberoi, Chancery Pavilion, Casa Del Sol
  • Taika's awesome dance floor - although they don't allow you to dance anymore!
  • SoCare - an NGO all of us visited and spent a day with kids. Wish I spent more time :(
  • Breakfasts at Koshy's and Konark (highly recommended)
  • A million restaurants - Bangalore is truly a foodie paradise!
  • 3Storys - Amazing homely restaurant on Lavelle Road with a Goa -like ambience and the yummiest coastal cuisine which'll leave you smacking your fingers. They didn't bribe me to say this really :) Recommendations: Fish meal, 'bibinca', 'dodol' (desert), kadlai curry
  • Walking from the Airport Road to Shantinagar frustated with autorickshaws who wouldn't stop for a fare or overcharge. That's a cool 7 kms. At least.
  • Inox, Lush, CookieMan, Tresspass and pretty much all of Garuda Mall
  • Hint, Bombay Blue, Namma MTR (now closed) at Bangalore Central
  • Weekend getaways which were just a thought away from the city
  • Magazines - My favorite store which sells virtually every mag under the sun (Church St.)
  • The awesome bookstores - Blossoms, Crossword, Oxford, Higginbothams... tons more!
  • More restaurants - 100Ft. Boutique, The Beach, Cosmo Village, Biryani Merchant (closed)
  • .... and last but most importantly... all the fantastic people I met and made friends!
Bangalore through my lens - Click here for my photoblog on Flickr.

October 19, 2006

Cool (Free) Web Services!

I've always had a penchant for finding really useful "cool sites" - mostly free web based services. Thought I'd love to write a journal-style book on it someday, a lot of new sites come up, lots get removed - so blogging is a better platform I guess - Enjoy! (This will be a regularly edited post - last updated on 08 July 2007)

PIM / Organization and Stationery
* Log your personal finances and track your historical spending trends - Expensr

* Print graph papers, Smith charts etc. at PDF Pad

* Create and print a cool foldable pocket organizer at PocketMod

Phone Stuff
* Call anywhere in the world - and talk on your phone! - Via Nick

* Find the Names Your Phone Number Spells - Via Manas Tungare

Health and Fitness
* Log daily workouts, get motivated and motivate others - Traineo

* Custom workouts based on your conditioning, experience and goals - Hyperstrike

The New Social Services ;)
* Quick, simple and easy blogging for everyone - Tumblr

* Pick from more than 100 social bookmarking links for your blog entries - 3Spots

* Create your free wiki with photo albums, ToDo, Calendar and more - JotSpot

Hobby and Craft
Yamaha paper craft
* Download, print and create 3D paper models of Yamaha bikes, animals etc. - Yamaha (Via Manuj Chandra)

HP Activity Center
* Check out TONS of awesome projects at the HP Activity Center - you can download PDF artwork and print it on HP recommended paper and then create some really fun stuff like albums and picture frames, calendars, cards, gift wraps and more - all for free!

Shrek fan like me?

Download and create some cool Shrek The Third prints!

* Create, maintain and despatch invoices for free - Blinksale

* Locate/post job listings for freshers - JobOKPlease

* Plan, print and share your trips and vacations - Yahoo! Trip Planner

* Read and share your trip experiences -
IgoUgo, TripAdvisor, WAYN, Raahi, HolidayIQ

* Find and book inter-city buses for transportation - RedBus

* Free accomodation worldwide through hospitality exchange -
The Hospitality Club, CouchSurfing, (for bloggers)

* Great holiday package deals (airfare + stay) from Jet Airways and Indian

* Satellite maps mapping minute details of every structure on earth! - Wikimapia

* Cheapest airfare, ticket booking, stay and vacation deals -
ClearTrip, MakeMyTrip, Yatra, TravelGuru, IXiGo, Arzoo, Travelocity, EzeeGo1

Video and Entertainment
* Watch online videos for free - YouTube, Vimeo, Gotuit

October 05, 2006

Google Wordmasters Challenge 2006

This time on my visit back home to Mumbai, I extended my stay by another week to participate in the Google Wordmasters Challenge - in response to an ad in the Times of India.

The ad challenged "word nerds" to register for an event to be held in Mumbai on October 1st and only 300 participants were to be accomodated.

Let's skip the yada-yada and get to the point - or the venue directly!

National College Bandra. Registrations done, I walked into a semi-packed auditorium with Google logos dancing about and curious participants sharpening their tools and discussing about them. We're given a sheet of paper which has 2 sets of 20 words each. Pick one set of words and use all of them in an essay more than 150 but less than 200 words. Fun no? :)

My set of words contained:

disagreement, insight, rethink, nerves, professional, adjust, viewpoint, democratic, motive, goodness, adamant, boss, meditation, accept, anger management, Einstein, differences, control, hurt, humane

Hmmm.... not bad I think. Spent 10 minutes of the given hour just trying to make sense and somehow trying to connect these words into a story. Another 10 minutes went in drafts and the last 40 mins. in the final entry, rechecking for typos... er... spelling mistakes and a word count.

Here's my final draft, although my entry varied a trifle bit with last minute changes...

"As far as I can remember, my colleague Einstein was always in disgreement with me and the rest of the team. Moreover, he was in complete denial of the fact that he was in fact, a control freak and an authoritarian in professional life.

He would act as if he was the boss in the team! But knowing him closely as a person, I knew his motive was not actually to cause hurt as he was as humane as they got. But we had real differences of opinion and viewpoints - and him being adamant about his, in most cases did not help. It only got on our nerves.

We were certainly willing to adjust and compromise once in a while. But what was really needed was a more democratic approach to his work. Then perhaps, he needed some anger management or meditation to gain insight into the goodness within him and how he could best apply this to his professional life."

September 05, 2006

News that stung my heart

There are 2 types of people - those who are passionate about whatever they do and love doing it. And there are those who do things because they have to do them.

I've always respected the former kinds - although very rare, especially when it comes to doing something good. So when I just read about the death of Australian TV star and wildlife lover, Steve 'Croc Hunter' Irwin due to a stingray's barb directly into the heart, I felt very sad - yet happy for Steve for never giving up what he loved and dying doing what he loved most. I'm not much of a TV person but I've managed to catch a show or 2 of his, and what a pleasant change it was from the usual crap you get on the tube. Reality shows which suck, saans-bahu climax dramas and traumas and all that junk!

Anyways - hats off to the man and may his soul rest in peace.

Follow news articles: CNBC / BBC

July 11, 2006

Mumbai Train Blasts

There were at least 7 blasts killing 15 and injuring many in Mumbai's suburban trains today. I gathered some info you could use...
  • Please do not panic. Once you're safe, try and keep the rumours down and spirits high. Terrorists' main goal is to cause panic.
  • Once you make sure your friends n family are OK, please get OFF THE PHONE. Do not jam the phone lines. Others are dying to get thru!!
  • Again - do not spread rumours! Refer to media sources or real witnesses only.


    Helpline: 022-22005388, 24451515, 24452222, 26207254
    Rediff News

    Mumbai Help Blog

    India Uncut

    Mumbai MetBlogs

    Global Voices

    SMS your loved ones that you're OK

    (Your message will go live on the news channel or website)

    For Rediff: SMS SOS followed by your message to 7333

    For CNN IBN: SMS Mumbai - (your message) to 2622 [View Here]

    For NDTV: SMS your message to 6388 [View Here]

    Head over to

    Click here for the current status of Mumbai traffic

    Hospital-Wise List Via Mumbai Police Website

    Leave the person's contact details here and volunteers will connect u.

    Via MumbaiHelp Blog

    Times Of India, Flickr - Graphic content. Viewer discretion is advised.

    You can shake the ground beneath us, but you can't shake Mumbai's foundation.

July 05, 2006

I is for Indulgence

I have a confession to make. I've been having this whirlwind romance with good food lately, and today it reached its point of climax. Then again climax seems like a weightless word in comparison.

"OK bub, what in the name of sweet devil are you talking about?"

Patience, perky patron! Great stories are never told climax first. Aaah, that word again. OK fine, let's cut the clutter and get to the point...

Had the most amazing salad today at Sunny's. "Huh, salad? Pthooey!"
Aah, now not just normal salad that. They call it Sunny's Salad with Blue Cheese. I call it heaven's gate. The Big O. Bliss on a plate.

Follow this with a rightly-observed aphrodisiac - the tiramisu. And what have you? Poetry in motion. Hedonism to the max baby!

I'm flying. You're zonked. Get back to work.

July 01, 2006

Caveat Emptor!

That's Latin for 'buyers beware' and although it is typically a term applicable when you want to emphasise on the consumer's choice of free will and good quality products, it applies to spendthrifts like me who make impulsive buying decisions almost all the time! Today I spent a load of my hard-earned moolah on homethings and media (my other favorite expense after food). I say media because I don't like to differentiate books, magazines, CDs and VCDs - it's all edutainment to me - and 'media' to the world.

The Media Shopping List
* School Notebook (Can't stay organized without one!)
* The Marketing Whitebook 2006 by Businessworld
* PC World India Edition, Issue 1 (Because I gotta have any mag's first issue)
* Music: Vikku Vinayakram - The Great Potter (fusion)
* Music: Kadri Gopalnath - Dream Journey 4 (Saxophone/carnatic)
* Movie: Tom Dick and Harry - lame ass comedy. I have a thing for this genre.
* Movie: Around The World in 80 Days
* Movie: Holiday - Seemingly interesting coming-of-age movie by Pooja Bhatt
* Movie: Replikate - Guy clones hot girlfriend. Ali Landry. Don't need more reasons
* Video: Bollywood Bodies - Workout with John Abraham - Yeah OK. I hear you. Heck at least I dont give up!

Finished reading Richard Branson's autobiogrpahy, 'Losing My Virgnity' - One of the BEST books I've ever read and would surely recommend it to anyone who has an iota of entrepreneurial spirit or otherwise.
Now reading 'Maverick!' by Ricardo Semler.

June 28, 2006

Change is the only constant...

Yeah yeah, whenever I write something so thoughtful and deeeep it generally means I'm upto something. Right thou art.

After spending an year and a half at Microsoft India I've decided to step out and take a break. Meaning (a) I'm quitting and (b) I'm not going to be working for a month at least.

Through August, I'll be mostly offline.

Comments, critiques, Godspeeds, thumbs ups and birdie fingers welcome!

March 07, 2006

Everyone's a-hiring!

Time and again I feel like I'm a job exchange bureau! And there's never been a better time for new media jobs. So if you're looking for one right now, click thru these links. Besides these, I have a friend who's looking for Sr./Jr. Graphics folks and Art Directors to work in Dubai. Drop me a mail if you're interested on that: [myfirstname]

Here's some more cool jobs in the market in companies I admire...

JAM Magazine (Mumbai)
  • Flash Animators
  • Senior Ad Sales Exec.
  • Part Time Cartoonist
  • Senior Graphic Designer
  • Web Programmer (ASP)
  • Full Time Writer
  • Assistant Editor
  • Exec. - DB & Mktg Support

Indiagames (Mumbai)
  • Accounts Executive / Assistant Manager / Manager
  • Senior Programmer
  • 3D Brew Programmer
  • 3D J2ME Programmer
  • Mobile Platform Product / Systems Manager

Opera Software (Chandigarh)

  • Web Opener India (MarCom)
  • Software Tester India

plaNETsurf (Bangalore)
  • Project Lead
  • Programmers
  • Web Designers
  • Copy Editors/Feature Writers, Copy Writers
  • Flash Scripting Specialist

Communicate2 (Mumbai/Dubai)
  • Perl Developers (6 posts)
  • PHP Developers (8 posts)
  • Web Designer (8 posts)
  • Graphic Designer (2 posts)
  • Admin (2 posts)
  • (Google AdWords) PPC Professionals *NEW
  • Customer Relationship Manager (4 posts)

LevelUp Games India (Mumbai)
  • Web Developer
  • Executive Assistant to Managing Director
  • Business Development Executives (Mumbai)
  • Asst. Manager – Sales Operations

BCWebWise (Mumbai)
  • Web Developer
  • Flash ActionScript Programmer

Rediff (Mumbai)
  • Senior Internet Application Developer
  • Senior Desktop Application Developer
  • Product Manager
  • Manager - Advertising Sales
  • Manager - Business Operations
  • Business Managers/Assistant Managers

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