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random thoughts, life events, stuff

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2012 August 3 [Friday]

Rest in peace Lawgon

Am breaking a long hiatus from blogging to report a really sad news :: Kenneth Gonsalves, (lawgon on IRC), a long time Free/Libre software (especially INPycon) contributor is no more. When I first saw this mail in my inbox, I could not believe it was true.

My first interaction with Lawgon was via the LinuxChix mailing lists. Back then, I was surprised to see posts from a "nilgiris" domain name and I assumed he was an USA-NRI actively posting on their lists. Later, via the Mumbai-LUG list when I had tried to install his "avsap" accounting software ~ it would not work on my machine and I wrote him a mail with the gory error details. Finally, in 2007, I met "lawgon" on IRC, ##linux-india. I was never an IRC person but when he got banned from the channel, I had a long argument with Devdas (f3ew on IRC) about it - mostly because I felt that the rules were not clear, and even more importantly, felt that rules ought to be implemented uniformly, sans cronyism.

A few moons later, I met him in real life for the first time at the first formation meet for Fosscomm and sat next to him through the whole meeting. In my eyes, he was like a father-figure, a person you can talk to freely, someone who didnt see IT and FLOSS as the road to self-publicity, fame and riches. Rather, he saw Libre software as I did - of, for and by the people. It was nice talking to him and hear the stories via the work he had done at NRC-Foss/AU-KBC.

He was someone I respected because unlike some FOSS people, he actually wrote and released his code publicly: https://bitbucket.org/lawgon, and worked within the community, had no illusions or superiority complex about himself. Most of us in the FLOSS community were his kids age and in my interactions I didnt find him patronizing nor elitist in "demanding" we respect his age. Quite the opposite, he never hesitated to ask for technical help from people younger than him, quite ego less. His fiery rants on his blog (http://lawgon.livejournal.com/) always made me chuckle. There are very few blogs I follow and thusfar, I've read every post of his - strong opinions peppered with character. His own!

In his mailing list communication, he could be quite blunt in his comments, and I've had my moments sparring with him on the lists, but if you take a moment to look behind the scenes, his honesty and sincerity towards Libre software showed. I remember his mail asking me not to leave the Mumbai LUG list and my response on the kind of Libre community (the lack thereof) we foster, which, to my surprise, found an echo with him. I remember his long email rant (about someone which I wont get into in public) where he mentioned "...and I'm scared of you" ~ yeah, I too scrubbed my eyes and smiled at his droll sense of humor, as I typed out an apology.

I remember his IRC comment that he wanted his daughter to meet me and my curiosity piqued ~ this was long before I had met him in real life but after meeting me in his blog he used the word "legendary Svaksha" and I was surprised that it was not "fiery Svaksha" given my frank replies. Going by the stereotypical Indian fathers attitude, I very much doubted if they would want their daughters to be like me - Or maybe it was his sense of humor - I'll never know!? Some moons later an email asking for some information on "legal rights of women in India" for her coursework, IRC discussions on virtualenvwrapper (he asked me why I wanted to use it and for a moment I thought he was testing me -- I could not imagine a long-time Python developer (atleast a lot longer than me) asking me that, unless he was pulling my leg or if it was an interview question?), discussing a recent Python workshop he held at Kerala, and so many other interactions... {Edit1:: His recent mail on the open source business model has some excellent advice for wannabe entrepreneurs.}

I was hoping to meet him at InPycon this year but now the conference wont be the same without him. I hope and pray his family finds the strength to carry on without him and may his soul rest in peace! You will be missed Lawgon..and try not to kickstart a "GPL Vs. BSD" argument in heaven!

2009 December 27 [Sunday]

Red Wine and White Xmas

Rain kinda killed my hope for a white christmas but after catching up on 2012, good food and dancing with friends over this holiday season, I ain't complaining. The flurries flew in last night and today, so after the lake trip, which turned me into a five year old fishing for smooth pebbles in icy waters, our weekend turned red - literally, with merlot, cabernet, and dolcetto flowing around.

I found the dolcetto quite acidic [a detailed listing for acid/alkaline forming foods] as compared to the cabernet, although technically its the other way around. But am told that this also depends on many other factors like the soil, the fermentation process, region it was produced, etc. That I agree with, as it rewinds me to the experience of drinking wines produced within India, to put it politely - now imagine me scrunching my face in disgust at the horrid taste. Besides, the humid Mumbai weather makes it a pain to store wines properly and I only have so much space in my Fridge. Mom, in all probability, must've thrown the last bottle of red wine which I'd preserved for some years, as an experiment.

The whites (Chardonnay and its ilk) dont work their magic for me. I prefer the dry and semi-sweet (scale of 0 to 7 and mood permitting may even push a 10) and the most tempting surprise was Eiswein, but it tipping the scale at 24 was a definite no go.

Maybe I'll be more adventurous the next time! 2009 had forgettable recovering surgical moments and I so look forward to 2010.

Happy holidays / Merry X'mas (belated) / Happy 2010 !!

2009 October 18 [Sunday]

A silent Dipavali

High decibel levels have always resulted in a migrane and since childhood I've always cringed silently at noisy pubs/discos, honking while speeding, loud music and other public noise pollutants. So what is it about Indians being noisy in any celebration? --whether its a marriage or ganesh chaturthi or divali or holi or just about any event ; most Indians think its their public birthright to keep a loudspeaker facing your home because they are the truest custodians of your religion. Gee, isnt a festival supposed to spread cheer, kindness and generosity instead of noise ?!

The maximum pollution is reserved for dipavali -- the firecrackers noise and pollution from chemicals fumes that one is subjected to, whether its the horrid sutli-lakshmi bombs (that was what it was called when i was a kid and i detested the chemical fumes and noise) intended to awaken the neighborhood at 3:30 am or pre-pubescent boys thinking its oh-so-funny to burst fire crackers as women walk past or train a rocket at someone's home as a prank -- Ever heard of a fire hazard !?!

Its strange how people can become a public nuisance under the guise of celebration and indulge in public displays of wealth. In grade4 I had read a news report on small children in sivakasi being exploited to make crackers and seeing pictures of their hands with boils made me resolve that I'd never touch a phuljadi or buy firecrackers (I had also resolved to not wear silk or use leather objects but was forced to give these two up after I outgrew my teenage years) which didnt go down well with my family and especially with school friends who thought peer pressure and jeering would make me change my mind. Didnt happen, this one made it :)

Over the years I used to wonder if we will ever learn to celebrate in silence and despite not foisting my beliefs/thoughts about chemical pollution on others, when I read about school kids being more aware of their environment a few days ago, life came to a full circle -- Eight-year old Mitul Mehta is my favorite!

2009 October 6 [Tuesday]

another new theme

For over a year, getting a new theme has been on my mind because S hated the black theme. Pffft, out went the "depressing" black screen and for a few days I tried living with the white background, rewrote the CSS with bigger fonts, added some colour, and tried keeping images to the minimum. No can do. I hated the white background. A middle ground compromise had to be gray and even though pastel shades are dreary on webpages i'll live with it for now.

Other important stuff like the linguistics blog that I started has been sitting on the back burner these past few days, partly because i've been having a more interesting time talking to people with similar interests. Also I daresay its the back-to-back chaturthi + navratri season and a sudden writers block but what about the other love of my life : Music !?  Its been months since I attended music class and I have no clue how a one month break stretched out this long.  As the initial frequency of practicing at home dipped the disapproving murmurs grew louder and louder and I've never managed to get away with "mood nahi hai". Traveling, surgery, lost my notation book, were some excuses that aided moi not wanting to practice -- for me music is something that i've got to feel from within me, not because my neighbour loves to hear me belt out a revati or todi. When that mood strikes its usually midnight and the whole world around me is sleeping or i'm among a huge crowd of people -- imagine belting out Tukaram's abang while walking on the road...heh, people would wonder if i'm crazy!

2009 April 6 [Monday]

summer hell

I hate (indian) summers for its heat (and the heatstroke and conjunctivitis I am recovering from), the humid and sweaty conditions, the water cuts and worse the electricity cuts.

The sane bits in this horrid summer are my family + friends + good food :)  Belated Gudi Padwa and (advance) wishes for a happy Baisakhi/Vishu.

Summer still sucks bigtime though !!!!!

2009 February 28 [Saturday]

Cell-help

This week had more newspaper reports that gangs of fundamentalist men are attacking women in Bangalore for wearing jeans. The DeccanHerald and Express buzz also carried the news and local groups in Bangalore sprang forward to support women but this brouhaha subsides after a few days. Frankly I dont expect passers by to do anything, much less help a stranger and I say this with prior experience in multiple situations in the past.

Well, as a mark of protest against the jean-hating facists, I am contemplating wearing jeans to the next hindu wedding I attend. So there!  But before that I thought of blogging the whole specification that I had discussed with Ashwin Mahesh (of Mapunity). At the last barcamp (BCB7) I heard that they have implemented my idea so I'm blogging about it publicly, partly in the hope that cellular service providers encourage more such applications.

Ideally facilities like these should be available akin to the '911' service that North America has, but well, we live in a country where life and safety has lost meaning so I hope someone can take the idea and convert it into a social instrument of change and safety for Indian women, instead of the greedy entities that one gets to see always -- There is only so much value to caller tunes and ringtones and its my assumption that women (and children too) would be willing to pay for a safety service app. Millions of people dont use smartphones/GPS enabled devices in India and I wanted them to be able to utilize this tool and get help in an emergency too. Here is the spec :

APPLICATION #1

Pressing a combination of One or two buttons to initiate and send a distress/alert message to more than one person together with information like 'his/her location' and 'how to reach that location'.

PROPOSAL-1

Present day phone sets offer only single button (speed dial) feature to initiate a call to one single receiver/destination. In a situation where the person finds herself in danger/helpless, it may not be possible to use the instrument for dialing  or typing out an SMS. Hence the need for an emergency button feature. Besides, the emergency button when pressed can dial single numbers only which can be introduced by the handset provider. It is therefore necessary to introduce another emergency "2 button press" feature to initiate sending an SMS text message containing one or more telephone numbers to the Mobile service provider software running at the base station.

[ The SMS text along with the list of Cell# (max10) will be provided and stored during normal times. ]

Delivery mechanism to be built in base station software.

The software at the base station should be able to recognise this 'distress SMS', scan the message and read, select and dial mobile numbers, get the dialers location, decide destination from/to route , pass the parameters to 'XYZ software, get the route details for person in distress  and send the SMS/call to all the listed receipients in the users data file.


PROPOSAL-2

Current feature set in the mobile instrument hardware allows a single key to be associated with one single number store in the phone-book.

Change needed in software :-- Instead a new feature of storing and attatching a list of member (say max 10 numbers) is made and on pressing the 'hotkey' like # or * along with the 'call' key, the mobile can dial and send SMS (as explained in the XYZ paragraph above) one-by-one automatically till all the numbers stored in the list are exhausted.

Features : 

- ease of navigation
- does not need gps phone
- user creates the config say, "*key + 99"

USECASES:

The new feature can alert upto 10 people, including maybe the police, and help can be provided in emergency cases. The feature is extremely useful in unexpected situations like accidents, hijacking or kidnapping, rioting, dacoity, rape/assault cases, etc...

APPLICATION #2

[A] MOBILE user (requester) seeking route information to reach a destination

1] Mobile user to send SMS to '999' typing the text message containing parameters like :

+ names of destination,
+ landmark,
+ street name, etc...

Mobile service provider software with 'XYZ feature' to :
                  
- Analysis of the senders GPS location (starting point)
- analyse the destination parameter (by searching the database)
- decide their geo-spatial location on the city map,
- identifies the road name, junction name, etc... along with the route from starting point to destination.
- links traffic congestion details generated by 'transport information API' to select alternate route.
- and finally list out road names, junction names to be passed through to reach the destination.
- generate a 'reply SMS' containing the above details and transmits to requester.

SMS charge can be recovered from user and shared between Service provider and others.

USECASES:

0] local hospitals/shops/companies can advertise if the person passes through a locality.
1] The 'XYZ feature' can in normal situation be availed to obtain route details to reach a new destination or call/invite/give directions to a new place.
 

PRIVACY:

Privacy is a huge factor in both the Applications mentioned above, but since these are opt-in models, i.e. the user will have to subscribe or activate the features as they are not default services provided with a cell phone, its expected that the subscriber will know what they sign-up for.

The cellular operators would need to ensure that they dont bundle or sell these services to unscruplous advertising agencies which spam cellular service users with unwanted calls and sms -- since the approximate location of the user will be known to the operator, steps to avoid misuse  must be taken.

2008 December 7 [Sunday]

Relationships

While chatting the other day I was reminded that the common thread we share in this Planet is "relationships". Our capability to refine, understand and maintain a variety of relationships makes us superior to animals who also share this human-like trait. 

However we have created an institutional art-form (or business as I was told) called marriage which for better or worse is here to stay and everyone wants to taste it once.

Hmpf... so in all this whether its getting married or staying married, hardly any attention is paid to the whole process of where the relationship is going, or not.

Quoting from Jacinta Richardson's message :

I think such a group (in fact, I think schools should also do this) should teach about relationships.  About what things make a good and successful relationship; vs what things should be considered warning signs of a bad relationship.  I know this would be controversial, but I think it's important to tell young people all of this stuff.  Not all of them will have had good examples of adult relationships to learn from.  Once you've been in a few relationships, you generally have a good idea of what works for you.  I think the following are important:


       * Your partner makes you laugh
       * Your partner can make you smile even when you're really grumpy or upset (even if the smile is only for a few moments)
       * You look forward to seeing your partner at the end of the day
       * You feel confident sharing bad news with your partner
       * You feel safe when (gently) criticising your partner's behaviour (nobody is perfect, sometimes they will mess up)
       * You feel safe when being criticised by your partner
       * Your partner stands up for you against negative comments from their friends or family and asks the offending party to refrain from such.
       * Your partner never insults you, and never criticises you in front anyone else, and neither you, them.
       * Violence of any form is not part of the relationship.
       * You are never afraid *of* your partner.

All of these should be true most of the time.  Most of these should be true all of the time.  Even in a bad week, you don't want more than 2 of these to be false at any one time.

Wow...... That kind of sums it up right there with respect, love and trust forming the foundation for the best relationship ever!

2008 December 5 [Friday]

living your dream

I must've read Randy's Last lecture a zillion times, for moving me personally and yet kept postponing this blog entry. My take-away .......

And as you get older, you may find that “enabling the dreams of others” thing is even more fun.

Is that when you see yourself doing something badly and nobody’s bothering to tell you anymore, that’s a very bad place to be. Your critics are your ones telling you they still love you and care.

Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted

Loyalty is a two way street.

...now I wonder if I will ever muster the courage needed to send that email !!!

2008 November 15 [Saturday]

déjà vu

It was a feeling of déjà vu all the way. Living with a Frantic Tornado means one gets to hear a "you are not helping me!!" cry very often. How is it possible for a FT to have a yen for numbers, math and logic and yet forget keys just beats me alltogether.... Is that the complexity of the human brain and the way each individual processes information ?...i dunno but would love to decipher this one !! Meanwhile, my suggestion to tie a small bell to the keyring was shot down coldly.


2008 August 7 [Thursday]

The chix-IN-Linux

Controversial ...absolutely!! The name LinuxChix evokes mixed feelings amongst women on mailing lists and one can be sure to be asked (usually by men) "Isnt it derogatory". Not really. In India, English is not the lingua-franca used to harass women...rather,  the local languages are more colorful, if you must. On the streets you will have heard atleast some of these "indian words" commonly used to de-humanise women in daily life, which can make your grandma turn beet red. Its something any woman would encounter on Indian streets across any Indian city and its hard to escape it and here context matters a lot, but I digress.


IIRC, the "chix" terminology is all about taking a term with negative connotations and giving it a spin, psychological empowering if you must. It is also a p(h)un twist on UnIX. But most of all, I love the attitude, the zing and pizzaz that the women (and men) bring to the LinuxChix lists, beyond the work they do locally. I just like the aspect of LinuxChix being for women who use, support Gnu/Linux and men who want to support women in computing. Its that simple.


For the most part, we as women get and give respect in the technology space via the work we do. That power is within us, via our actions. It definitely does not come from having the appropriate cultural name or a perfect name. The latter does not exist and IMHO "culture" is a vague and arbitrary term (mis)used in India to control people in the absence of rationality and logical argument.

Having seen Christian "bubulle" Perrier wearing a Debian Women tee, I was curious. He said that was his way of showing support and I thought 'hah, most men would wear a man's tee even if it had the logo of a women's group'. To my surprise NO, Debian-Women had NOT printed men's tee's, so Christian was wearing a women's Tee, albeit one his size. That stuck in my head for a long time and he even posed for snaps wearing the DW tee. C00L :-). I had given him some IndiChix tee's last year and he wanted to know if we printed men's T's and when I replied in the negative he nodded happily and promised to wear them as is.


At mukt.in, not a single female student questioned the name, the only questions were from men. That says a lot to me. So I had a precondition for giving away tee's to the men - Wear it right now. Nope, its not a present for your girlfriend/wife/friend. If you support women, show it off!!

Talking of Indichix, the situation is peculiar, we have volunteers for the Indichix Labs in cities where we need sponsors (Bangalore, Delhi, Chennai, Mangalore, etc.. and no volunteers  where we have sponsors (Mumbai and Pune).  Strange...I always thought space would be a premium in Mumbai. My talk/presentation slides on "women in Libre software communities" is available here.

2008 July 28 [Monday]

RIP Randy Pausch

Today morning I was told "check out the 'the last lecture' by Randy, its inspiring" and I asked "do you mean Randy Pausch? hey ..................". So I dug out the mail he wrote to me some years ago :

Yes, the Alice system is completely free, and you can download it from www.alice.org . The version using the characters from "the Sims" will also be completely free, as a public service from Carnegie Mellon University.

Rest In Peace Randy !!

2008 July 25 [Friday]

Butterflies are free

The look of surprise on Goldie's face as she discovers Edward is blind (*) has remained etched in my memory since I saw the movie at 10. The the impact Edwards character had on me was so much larger that as soon as the movie ended I rushed to my shelf, tidied it up, rearranged my books, prompting my Mom to wonder why the sudden need for tidiness at midnight.

Closing my eyes I tried to find books/stuff with poor success. Training my reflexes took time and slowly with practice I could distinguish between sizes, shapes, textures, and lernt to listen to the sixth sense so to speak. I was amazed how the blind even lived their life - its hard for me to take a step with my eyes closed, without crashing into stuff. As a sighted person i could never gain the sixth sense the visually impaired have but it has helped me in many ways at the very least it has taught me to be observant. I have still not succeeded in counting steps, remembering distances between objects and if blind-folded would still struggle to make my way around the house without bumping into objects. That is not the point.

Moot point of writing this is to highlight how we ignore a part of society that is differently abled from us. They are mostly kept away from mainstream society. I dont remember seeing a single blind kid studying with me in school, forget the higher levels or even at the workplace. Its almost like they dont exist, but they do, and last year a friend had told me about rakum.org and i decided to check it out. It being the middle of an academic year, I waited for the next year and planned to teach computers, libre software precisely.

(*) Gross as the word "blind" is, people dont intend meanness or nastiness when they use the word 'blind'. Reality is few folks in that school (or even across India) would understand the term "visually impaired". I doubt if the kids themselves are taught the difference, probably because such subtlity and awareness has yet to reach the roots.

2008 July 15 [Tuesday]

new look


Nah...not me, its my blog that has got a new theme. If you've been subscribing to my blog then a change in the blog feed is in order. The new feed is : http://www.svaksha.com/feed/rss2


Update : The "no comment" means no comments have been posted. Comments are open, i have not blocked it, atleast not yet :)

2008 May 19 [Monday]

Carnatic music, Chess, and Chocolate

Summer in India's Silicon Valley was enjoyed this weekend playing chess by candle-light munching on chocolate, interspersed with carnatic renditions learnt this weekend...thanks to Bescom/KEB.

My obsession with music over the last few weeks is the classic case of when you dont have something (in this case my voice thanks to a nasty cold for 2 weeks) and sitting in class whilst hearing others prepare for the May exams, while being unable to even croak is not much fun. Here is an analysis of the situation as i see it :

0] syllabi :

While our guruji has been (literally) rushing with syllabi, since there is very less time to complete the portion ~ ugh, how i hate that word "portion" and the crappy marks-oriented attitude parents bring and push their wards into ~which kills all the fun. Learning art should be a pleasure, not a competition to score more marks. *sigh*

Well, we have a syllabi of *just* around 50 ragas to be concluded within the next 11 months. *BIGGER sigh*. I have started the process of tracking and listing all the ones I have learnt over the years, but the worrisome part is not how much you know but how well you know... the classic, quality vs quantity.

[1] voice health:This is the most important aspect that i have been very careless about. Need to follow some of the tips from the doctors, especially voice rest. If the last few days condition were any indication i am in big trouble. Besides these restrictions, of which only #1 is a -wee bit of a- real challenge.

To recap, i have to say NO to :

~ imli, lime, juices, in short anything sour,
~ caffeine or lemon tea (warm milky tea is ok)
~ spicy or hot foods,
~ fried foods,
~ cold foods - kulfis, icecreams, cold coffee,
~ anything that can irritate the larynx.
which I know I am not gonna follow... bleh :-P

[2] examination :
Now, assuming i have 300 days to learn all 50 ragams, which gives me 6 days per raga for learning neravals, swara kalpanas, ... Gosh, what an impossible target... At the outset its tough to keep perfect health (no cold, cough, sick, etc...) for a whole year and life has a way of throwing a spanner in the wheel. Secondly, learning the theory part is fine (four 3hr papers over a week), but the execution matters the most because the practical examination is the toughest. The practical is by appointments with just 3 or 4 students per day so the panel of judges has hours at his/her disposal to grill students for all they are worth...and GRILL they do, to the point of being sadistic.


The usual method (I am told) is : Given a raga, do aalap, which can (and will) be cut short by one of the five panelists who will ask you to start a swara kalpana from the charanam of the raga and weave it into the next raga, cite similarities and demonstrate them with neravals, only for another panelist to verbalize few swaras and ask you to turn it into a bhashanga raga or something equally impossible. Sigh, i am so not looking forward to that and tbh, why do i need to go through the hassle when i dont need the formal certification, dont intend turning into a professional performing artiste, and certainly can do without the above rigorous torture regime.

2008 May 6 [Tuesday]

food for thought

Rice started it and Bush chimed in by blaming India and China for the rising food prices ...but what intriuges me is why do representatives from Monsanto and Wal-Mart sit in a board appointed by the Congress government to implement the provisions of an agricultural-trade-agreement, when it is plainly obvious that it benefits the American economy at the cost of the Indian one.


2008 April 29 [Tuesday]

earth weekend update

The Earth-weekend continued till Monday evening, despite M giving umpteen complaints to the Assistant Engineer (AE) BESCOM/KEB, who would keep telling her his line-man would be there in 20 min and after 2 hours still no sign of him. When she got persistent, the AE brushed her off with "you gave wrong address, my lineman cant find it". The fact is the lineman never even tried in the morning but at around 4 pm there was a regular load-shedding and he suddenly materialized, climbed the pole and cut some wires on the pole, mumbled things would be fine and disappeared. Two hours later, NO power.

Fed-up of listening to the line-man's excuses, after 6:30 pm, got the licensed electrician to change the phase on the electric pole. After 3 days in no power mode, rotting food in the fridge, the whole experience of waiting et al was annoyingly frustrating. In retrospect, that haste (after 3 days!!) was a good idea it seems.

Because at 7pm the KEB / BESCOM lineman who came by earlier to cut some wires appeared again....maybe he had heard from the private licensed electrician that we were fine without his help. Well, I was about to go out but decided to wait and see why the Bescom employee was interested in working after his duty hours (which gets over by 4 pm). Most government employees grumble to do paid work during regular office hours so this (un)helpful pretense was indeed strange.

He fumbled around and said the meter was fine (although he knew the main phase was kaput). Annoyed with his charade, I told him to not waste my time and go check the main pole and leave the house meter alone. Down south, men dont like women speaking sternly to them and he gave me an incredulous look but sensing my growing irritation he complied and (on my insistence) checked the main wires. After much hemming and hawing he accepted that there was indeed a problem with the main line and one phase was dead, so yeah it was a KEB problem. Phew, getting him to accept that the problem was from their side was a challenge ! Then he proceeded to give me his AE's cell number and wanted me to lodge a formal complaint (pray tell me, what was the earlier calls all about?) the next morning (i.e today).

This morning, when I called the AE he admonished me for not telling him of the problem yesterday or he would have solved it pronto. He asked me to co-operate (by now i am beginning to love the double-faced attitudes here) with him and give a written complaint blaming the lineman for the work not done. I replied that it was a great idea... i would write a formal complaint about the other mysterious AE (i meant him actually) dwaddling and wasting time for 3 days, giving innumerable excuses about "address not found", harassing women, etc.., to his office and for good measure send it to his senior's too. Three hours later, the electrician appears and tells M the problem was never with the Bescom main phase and that the lineman had accidentally cut our house supply only. So could he change back the interchanged phase (if she paid him, yet again?).

This whole thing seems so fishy that I asked M to just let things be. I presume they must have finally repaired the faulty main and are just trying to cover their b^$$ before we lodge that written complaint.

UPDATE : I got a call about an hour ago saying 3 line men have descended and were __working__ on the main electric pole and restored the connections. Ah...something seems to have done the trick. In this whole episode the thing that bothers me is people's apathy towards everything. Strangely folks in the whole area dont mind living partly in darkness but dont want to be bothered to deal with any government officials (but want jobs there, ofcourse) because getting work done from them involves bribing which they are loathe to do so are unwilling to do anything about it. In case you are wondering i did not have to bribe the officer/lineman. During the whole episode i have heard numerous stories on how not to antagonise the govt' officials or complain against them as they can take revenge by purposely cross-circuting or shorting the connections and it can make life difficult for us women. Gee... i look forward to that challenge too !!

2008 February 7 [Thursday]

@peace

A few hours ago i heard some good news.... it was certainly long overdue :-)

2008 January 8 [Tuesday]

when in rome...

..do as the romans !

The thread on grrl-talk list about Japanese social/business etiquettes reminds me how we as humans (social beings) do go out of the way and learn some things from other cultures/customs whether while doing business or just social interaction with tourists. Mirroring their social behaviour makes us stand out less as a sore thumb and opens doors (and hearts) easily.

With the FarEast erring on the conservative side was a better option than a faux pas which may be the end of doing business ... and they have customs/ rituals for almost every aspect of daily life so learning was largely by observation, tips from friends and mirroring compared to today when an array of "what not to do" material is available online, unlike the help books and corporate training given to staff today on whether to use a fork or finger ? I'd prefer the latter anyday with a strong dash of bluntness. Business is fine but at the end of the day i'd pick 'being honest to self' over tact and diplomacy. The latter, sweetness of tongue, does have financial advantages and is as close one can get to developing diabetes of the non-physical kind.

My patchy internet connection has been jinxed every time i start blogging....annoying. As i type this , a lovely abhang in Kannada is playing on the radio. Since i caught the song halfway i dont know the name of the person singing it but he has the perfect voice, perfect base, pitch, control, ... wish i knew a teacher who could teach me abhang and hindustani classical in bangalore.

2008 January 4 [Friday]

dreary

Is it just me or do most people find hospitals dull, dreary and depressing.... :(

2007 December 26 [Wednesday]

greetings

  • Bees love to dance..... Who could have thought that these tiny creatures with that nasty sting could be so smart and organised, pretty impressive ;-)
  • We know how politicians will stoop to any level to retain power at all costs ... the easiest is : Divide and Rule policy.
  • Music is food for brain !
  • How true... reminds me of a guy telling me he had a great sense of humor, he loved making fun of other people, ughh....
  • Merry Xmas and Happy New Year :)

2007 November 23 [Friday]

Reading

I had started reading a book on 'applied discrete structures' about a month ago and just managed to finish combinatorics and logic... shucks....or maybe i should try blogging my slow progress but then i am an irregular blogger ;-) and i still have not reached the best part : graph theory, trees, boolean algebra.

Logic is interesting but only 5 pages per day is an unrealistic target, but the problem is that its not a novel whose pages can be flipped and I miss cross-referencing which makes it easier to understand stuff.

The problem lies in the fact that there is much to do and learn - a Postgresql course by MichelleMurrain over the next few weeks ...bad timing for me..., but its spread over till Feb 08, so i will have tons to catchup and learn.

Right now, its 4 am...time for some shut-eye !!

2007 October 24 [Wednesday]

silverfishing

The annual Saraswati puja each Dasara provides the opportunity to dust some books and rid them of silverfish... Phew, its not so bad, but nowadays I hardly read books .... sucks ... Partly due to the internet, laziness and the habit of googling. Whoever wants to leaf through musty yellow pages....

........ but this year, as an ode to NN and our old team, I decided to start reading the books before returning them to gather dust on the shelf. As much as I admire his dedication and concentration [of finishing 10 pages a day or no sleep], 5 pages seems like a mini hill for me ... but I do miss that environment and our team had so much fun yet managed to learn stuff. In the spirit of things I have sitting next to me an 'applied discrete structures' book and i am hoping to cover some ground ... the inherent logic should isomorph a transition ~ silverfish.

2007 October 20 [Saturday]

Ubuntu and Utsav

"Ubuntu is strongly based on Debian and (going deeper) GNU/Linux". Many community members are voicing their thoughts in favor of Debian and some have even filed bugs #154274 on LP , since DD's had blogged about not crediting Debian visibly in the latest Gutsy release. Paul had suggested we keep a page similar to MacOSX's "foundations" summary which sounds workable. Ubuntu/Canonical knows and does recognize the foundation on which it is built upon but the website when searched for "Debian" gives this result whilst a search for "GNU/Linux" gave fewer meaningful results. I hope that changes soon and GNU/Linux and Debian get their place under the sun (now is that another TM violation :-P).

Happy shubh Dashera, and with that ends 10 days of fun ...until next year ...:) but hey i still have deepavali to look forward to. Thankfully we have a festival every other month so its nice in a way but too much work [hint: cooking] and socialising. Russell had blogged about caring for your introvert which is so not happening in the Indian context ... I can just imagine the reaction my nosy colleague/neighbour /acquaintance (add people of choice) would have if I had to wave that under their nose, they would probably just tear it up as "bakwas, stop being so snooty".

2007 September 23 [Sunday]

nice guys

I had blogged about my bad experiences with auto-drivers in Bangalore which is something I am getting used to over time. In yet another incident, the driver refused to go where I wanted to go as it was a one-way road. That was just an excuse to fleece me, so I told him (repeatedly) that I would not pay the excess fare (above the meter) he demanded if he dropped me in the middle of nowhere, but he didnt take me seriously and stopped the vehicle, refusing to budge, all the while abusing me in Kannada.

Arguing with him was pointless so at this point I got out of the vehicle and he blocked my path and tried to get physical...bad idea ... I warned him that if he touched me i would not hesitate to hit him. Seeing this drama 4 bikers stopped their bikes around me. Seeing the crowd gathering the driver lost his bravado and settled for the meter fare (which is also rigged) and went his way. I just wanted to highlight the kindness of (& thank) those strangers who could have just gone by with their work and ignored someone in distress but did'nt. I wish more and more people would be like those men ... this city is not so bad afterall.

2007 August 11 [Saturday]

almost on page3

There was a media party this week and if anything we were having a blast. The media was there in full force and I almost made it to the page 3 ....I realised it when I saw the pictures in the papers and that too coz I knew where I was standing.

Knowing my distaste for publicity thankfully my face was not fully visible.... but yet i got ribbed for my claim to fame being - the crown of my head ... hehe !

After the earlier bad experiences I must say thanks to all my friends and colleagues who take the trouble to drop me home and/or shove me out of the office....Thanks y'all :)

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