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Gut feel over logical reasoning Jul. 24th, 2009 @ 01:54 pm
(Have not been active here, and do most of my posting on twitter Today I wanted to write something, which is tough to fit into 140 characters, so here I am.)


When making an important decision, I think it is better to go with gut-feel than with logical reasoning, especially when the choice is a close call.

If you go by logical reasoning, there is always the chance of you not considering & working out a scenario, which then leaves you with a wrong decision and to top it all - you feel terrible because you screwed up at something logical!
On the other hand, if you go by your gut-feel, in a lot of ways you are taking ownership of the decision and it becomes a part of you. 

Once you have taken ownership, you will make most decisions work well for you. Logic keeps the decision a stranger.

An old friend added: your gut has already factored in a LOT more than the superficial stuff you work out logically.


Our angel & life update Mar. 15th, 2009 @ 11:20 am
On 26th February 8.44pm our angel took her first breath.
This marked the end of a very eventful, challenging & interesting 9 months in our lives and is the beginning of  a lot more interesting, challenging & happy-fying life ahead.


There was a lot that I wanted to share over the last 9 months, but did not. Partly because of cultural and parental guidance and partly because I did want the arrival of the baby to be a surprise to most of the world. Also, because all of this was happening to both me & biwi (mostly to her)  I was not sure about sharing it with folks she did not know.

I will try to capture most stuff in a nutshell below, though each of the below could ideally be a separate post in itself:
  • Getting pregnant: the questioning, the planning, the frustration, the anxiety, the euphoria. Short lesson : planning may not work.
  • A difficult difficult first trimester: biwi on bed-rest, a lot more anxiety, biwi quits her job (tough decision for someone who was the life of her team & loved being it)
  • Subway sandwich, strawberries, cake fudge, strawberries with ice-cream : these were very mild demands compared to what I have heard & most of them were at earthly hours.
  • Preparing for parenting - joined ISP: Infant SSY programme conducted by RSVK  2.5 hours for 9 sundays was a lot of time, but I totally recommend the program to all to-be parents / parents  with kids less than 8 years of age. I am not following everything I learnt there, but I did acquire a new way of thinking about children - their needs & abilities and how often adults show disrespect to their needs & abilities.
  • Finding the right hospital / gynaec : Lot of choices, lot of experiences; we chose Dr. Padmini Isaac at Cradle.
  • Preparing for birth : lamaze classes - very helpful again. Just the knowledge imparted was more than worth it. Knowing what you are going to go through makes it a lot more easier.
  • The last few days - waiting, anxiety, phone-calls : any news? :)
  • A lot of pain & then a section - Ouch Ouch Ouch!
  • All's well :) Baby & mommy doing fine, return home. Home decorated beautifully with Pink & white balloons lined on the roof throughout the home by shashwat_09675 , ankitaprasad , Sapna & Sonu</lj></lj>
  • Post partum haemorrhage - another tough 2 days, had to return to the hospital. But things came under control quickly.
And a lot more .. right now, her every turn, her every smile gives us immense joy!





Door darshan serials from 80's and 90's Feb. 15th, 2009 @ 09:13 pm
I was remembering Chanakya the TV serial based on the life of a great scholar and politician, and started looking on youtube. I was glad to find a lot of those videos uploaded mostly by this user.

Finding this gave me enough motivation & incentive to look for other serials from the old days.
I have not yet met with a lot of success for some of them, but found some great blog posts with a lot of comments which made me relive my childhood.  The best post I liked had tons of comments which spoke about a lot of serials that I had forgotten about.

Some of my favourites from that era are:
chanakya
karamchand
dekh bhai dekh
malgudi days
yeh jo hai zindagi
byomkesh bakshi

The more I think about it & go through the list I feel that the quality of TV stuff with just 1 channel was way more than the best of all channels right now. May be it s more nostalgia, but right now I am having difficulty coming up with a few good serials in today's
I would probably buy DVDs for the the above & many others like potli baba ki, buniyaad, nukkad, vikram baital, surabhi, flop show, udaan,  neev  if they are available. Are they ?

There was also Hercule poirot, Oshin, Raven, Street hawk to give us a little international exposure.

Now I get back to my quest for finding this stuff online or on DVDs.

Update: Found this on youtube, which had a lot of videos from that era. 

Current Location: Bangalore

25 things Feb. 8th, 2009 @ 09:15 am
25 things (tagged by rileen  on Facebook)

Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.

1.  I loved playing sports, especially cricket, badminton & Table tennis. One thing that could get me up at 5 in the morning & make me feel kicked about it. I was reasonably good at TT & Badminton till college. Recently one of my buddies at Microsoft thrashed me at TT, so now I know I am no good at them.

2. I still enjoy watching most sports. Most of my tweets on twitter are about cricket. This is also the single largest reason for tiffs that me & my dear biwi have had.

3. I mostly listen to Hindi songs. I enjoy the lyrics of a song a LOT.  To me everything else in the song are like props. There was a time I knew lyrics of a LOT of kishore, lata & mukesh songs, but now when I try & recollect am often stuck after 1 antara (stanza) & need a cue, like the 1st few words of the antara.

4. Through most of my childhood I believed I was a good singer. The knowledge of lyrics and Mom's encouragement added to that belief. When I would listen to songs with a headset, I would sing along loud & feel that I was in perfect synch.
This belief was rather cruelly shattered when in my first month at the engineering hostel I was nominated as the co-finalist of the most besura(not in tune) singer. I do love singing, but am kind to people around me and sing for others only if my wife is singing along. (She is a very good singer). 

5. I was a decent student, almost never in top 5 of a class, but not too far from there either. Dad had a transferable job & my score graph looks like a saw tooth. Move to a new place, adjust to new school, new scoring schemes, start improving, get to a decent level & we would move again.
I have no regrets about moving so often & I believe most of what I am are because of my parents and our constant moving which exposed me to different cultures & people.

6. The worst fall in my academic saw tooth graph was in 6th standard, when we moved to Jamshedpur. I got through the admission tests of Loyola - the best school that I know of in India. I was coming from a school where English was just another subject, to Loyola where folks in 6th standard were eloquent enough at English to give most of India's current media folks a run for their money. I flunked in 6 subjects in the 1st terms, only passed at Hindi, Maths & Science. I did manage to recover in the next term and did not lose a year.

7. As fate would have it, I met my class teacher from 6th who took 3 of the 6 subjects I flunked at, just a couple of years back. Was in Jamshedpur to attend a friend's wedding & turns out he was family friends with my 6th std class teacher and we stayed at her palatial bunglow!

8. I used to be an introvert in my early childhood, more so after the 6th std failures. We moved again after 3 years. Those 3 years at Loyola had taught me a lot. The new school I joined, though good by Calcutta standards was not as good as Loyola and I was instantly amongst the better students at academics & extra-curriculars. This is the time I started becoming more social & active. 

9. It is around that time, when I developed some amount of faith in Numerology. It was the end of class XII, all of us would be headed in very different directions, and I was making a note of my friend's birthdays. At the end of the day I realised, ALL my good friends were a root-3(born on 3rd, 12, 21, 30). I am a root 3 as well. This belief only got stronger with time & more friends, dear biwi - most being root-3

10. My first real interaction with computers was in my first year of engineering. Prior to that I had only played Bricks at a computer center a couple of times. This is very different from most folks around me in the techie world, who started very early. I have never felt that I missed out ... I think this is amongst the easiest things to learn & do.

11. I am generally dis-passionate about most stuff, sports, biwi are the only exceptions I can think of.

12. I shocked my then-girlfriend-now-wife by telling her that I had first spotted her at her CET counseling. I was there to guide a cousin. We started interacting only 5 months later. She did not believe it, and surprising myself, I even remembered her dress. This is a faculty that I believe men are poor with, and I am no exception, so that was a rare event.
 
13. I am painfully adamant about punctuality. The sense of guilt I feel, when I am not on time even for Indian parties & get-togethers which I know will start late, is totally illogical. This is the 2nd largest cause of tiffs with dear biwi :). She is way more practical.

14. I learnt to ride & drive all vehicles after my younger sister had mastered them, starting from cycle, to bajaj chetak to cars.

15. My risk taking appetite has increased a lot more since then - I was the first hire at my current job.

16. I was laid-off my first job even before I joined. The company had come & offered a job in my 6th semester in Engineering. In the final semester they sent us letters saying "Sorry!". In the meanwhile all companies had come & gone, and I had no clue what I would do after my engineering.

17. With no clarity, I wrote GRE & GATE. Did well in both of them. Never applied to any US university, but did get an admit to IISC (though a few days after getting my first real job)

18. Yahoo came to campus in the final semester. Grapevine was ripe with "Yahoo will hire only 1". Through a screening which had 5 interviews followed by a month's hiatus and then a day-long coding assignment & interviews at the Yahoo office, they ended up picking me. This was the best thing that had happened to me till then. This especially after the months of uncertainty - no job, no admits was like a sign of someone up above taking care of me ( I was still an agnostic at this point).

19. I started having faith after a bad bike accident.  My helmet cracked & one of my best friend who was riding pillion with me was very badly hurt. It is at this point, and especially after interactions with my friend's mother & my girlfriend that I started believing. Now I believe.

This post took a lot of time, across three sitting but was easy so far .. now I don't know what to write

20. Few know that I am a marwari baniya (merchant from Rajasthan) by birth.

21. I like wearing blue, and my ward-robe is mostly while, blue, black & greys. I do not fancy clothes too much.

22. In general I do not mind looking unkempt, and do not think much before stepping out of my home. This is frowned upon in marwari families.

23. I also do not crave much for possessing gadgets. Wife gifted me my iPhone recently - first stylish gadget that I have ever possessed.

24. I have recently discovered my love for ice-creams, especially strawberries with cream & ice-cream at Corner house. From my previous posts you would know I suffered a lot from asthma & cold, so ice-creams were a no-no. Now that I have found solutions to both, I seek opportunities to eat ice-creams.

25. I am a foodie in general, willing to experiment & try new cuisines. I love chats, Mexcican, most indian rice preparations : chawal-dal, biryani, pulao. Chawal with rajma is my favourite dish and it is the only fixed item (for Sunday lunch) on our weekly menu.

Phew... that was not easy.

Thanks rileen for tagging me. I shall tag a few people on LJ & few others on Facebook...

Tagging deponti ,
fus 
kalyan 
anomalizer 
deep_musings 
Current Location: Bangalore

Remedies for common cold Feb. 5th, 2009 @ 05:31 pm
Here are 2 remedies for common cold that have worked well for me.

Those who have known me well, would know that I am very vulnerable to a cold and most of my engineering days & a little later too - I almost always had a cold. You would see me with a jacket in summers, and friends cracked numerous jokes about my love for the handkerchief...

Last 2 years have been very different though and the reason is the 2 remedies below.

  • Cold water shower -  This is a remedy that my brother in law told me about. He also asked me to keep my mouth closed during the shower & advised keeping a little water in the mouth during the shower to help achieve that. This works like a charm for me. Besides fixing the cold, it also makes me feel a lot more charged up during the day.
  • Drink a lot of warm water - When I get back home from work, and feel like I am catching a cold, I have 6-7 glasses of reasonably warm water at short intervals (every 15-30 minutes) and by the time I sleep, the breathing tracks are clear. This was a mom ka nuskha that  has worked well for over 2 yeasr for me now.
Besides these, when I am regularly jogging I have no cold, but then I am too lazy to be regular at jogging which is why the above 2 quick-fix remedies are my favourite over the long-term jogging solution.

Disclaimer: These have worked for me, DOES NOT mean that they will work for you. But if you are in similar climatic conditions, may be the chances are high. I live in Bangalore, which never has any extreme weather.

If you are courageous enough to try these, or have already tried these in the past let me know if they work for you or not, so that I can decide on how forcefully I should advocate these.


p.s: I promise this shall be my last post about Health for sometime in the future.
Current Location: Bangalore
Other entries
» Back to blogging
With my last post on asthma, I am back to blogging.

A few weeks back, I had decided to separate tweets & blogs and also decided that I will resume active blogging.
You can follow my tweets here.

I did not want to post this resolution till I made a real post.

For the few of you who still hang out here or syndicate me, thanks!  and leave a note if possible to let me know.


» Asthma and Bangalore
This is my story about asthma in Bangalore.

I have had intermittent asthma since childhood, typically once or twice a year at most.
It was never too severe & I managed mostly using homeopathic medicines.

I moved to Bangalore in 1998, and then it started getting more frequent & worse. In 2000 I was advised the Asthalin rotohaler, first as an SOS & then on a regular basis. I moved to Koramangala in 2001 & the frequency increased.

Since then I had gotten used to using the rotohaler. There would be a few months when I wouldn't need it, but most nights I would need to use the rotohaler before I slept.
There would be a bad attack once a year, when I would need to be nebulized.

In all these years, I knew that I was fine when I was out of Bangalore whether it was California, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Seattle, New York or North Carolina. I only suffered from asthma when I was in Bangalore.

In late 2008, my asthma got worse.  Weekends specifically got very bad. I would need the inhaler 3-5 times a day. Going to a doc & taking a course of antibiotics would slow it for 3-4 weeks & then it was back to square 1.

In November 2008, my Father-in-law just moved in from Mumbai & he faced a similar problem. He'd never had asthma / wheezing ever in his life, but as soon as he moved in with us he had pronounced and regular wheezing.
In December he moved into his apartment in Indiranagar and has not had wheezing ever since.

This was incentive enough for me to try the same as an experiment.

In January 2009, I moved in with my father-in-law & very soon there was no wheezing and no congestion. For a complete week, I did not use the inhaler & was feeling much better.

To ascertain that my asthma was due to an allergy specific to Koramangala & not a residual strain, we decided to go back & stay in

Koramangala for a day. We picked 14th Jan for the experiment. My wife went the previous day & moved most furnishings including the sofa set & curtains into another room & got the house thoroughly cleaned. I went home late on 13th night & pretty soon the wheezing started.

I had to use the inhaler at about 4am.

We moved back on 14th morning to Indiranagar - and no wheezing. I was convinced that it had to be the flora around Koramangala that I (and my father-in-law) was allergic to. It could have also had to do with furnishings in my house, but something happened this Sunday that clinched the case for us.

We were invited for dinner in Silver Metro in the Total Mall, in Madivala on Sunday - they have a decent buffet.

Dinner went well, but I had wheezing in the night and had to use the inhaler. I informed my FIL & he said he also had to use the inhaler in the night. Both of us having to use the inhaler the same night that we were around Koramangala for ~3 hours, after a long time of no wheezing is good enough proof for me.
It is surprising that me & my FIL share the same allergy, and that my wife and everyone else who has stayed with us in our Koramangala house have no such issues.

I am glad to have ascertained that my asthma is allergic and is also specific to a location.
I am going to move out of the locality, hopefully soon. Life without asthma is a lot lot better.

If your asthma is specific to Bangalore, I would recommend try staying in other localities within Bangalore.



» Asthma & Bangalore asthmatics
I just created a group for Bangalore Asthmatics.
The group is meant to enable sharing of experiences, remedies and advise from folks who suffer or have suffered from this ailment.
If you are / were suffering from Asthma in Bangalore, do join in.

My own asthma story is specific to Bangalore:
Whenever I am travelling, whether it is to Jaipur, Hyderabad or to the US, I am relieved of my Asthma for as long as I am out of Bangalore.

The day I land in Bangalore, My asthma kicks in again.

Does anybody else face a similar situation?

My Father-in-law just moved in from Mumbai & he faced a similar problem. He'd never had asthma / wheezing ever in his life, but as soon as he moved in with us he had pronounced and regular wheezing.

He recently moved into his apartment in Indiranagar and has not had wheezing ever since.
This to me is incentive enough to try changing stuff.

I stay in Koramangala.

It could be anything from the furniture in my apartment, flora that grows in & around my apartment complex or the air in & around Koramangala. I am going to start changing things, will probably start by going & staying with my father in law in Indiranagar for a week & if I am fine there, perform

I understand that my allegy would most likely be specific to me, but knowing that ~30% Bangaloreans suffer from Asthma, I am hoping I will find patterns that match mine.
Can I look for any particular kind of plant/flora that might be growing around where I stay, which could be the cause?



» It is easy to point finger on others but takes courage to accept our mistakes and correct our own se

Just received an email from a friend Arun, and I think it puts things in much better perspective than most things I have read recently.
In a time when we seek solutions from the government & blame countries & religions, its good to pause & look within ...

With his permission, here is the email:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
It is easy to point finger on others but takes courage to accept our mistakes and correct our own self.

Latest Mumbai attacks, Mr. Raj Thakery's movement in Maharashtra, Orissa riots, No proper aid during Bihar floods (PM offered INR 100 crores for this cause, but not sure how much really reached the victims), series of blast carried out across India from Bangalore to Ahmedabad and the list never ends. These are the biggest crises situations, in fact our system also failed in terms of providing our forces with better and latest equipments (our police force still stuck with 303 rifles and the Mumbai police was provided with the defective bullet proof jackets), the infrastructure like roads, electricity, water, education and again the list never ends. Our ministers who are so called public servants, gives unhealthy remarks for the martyr's family and to the public. If it's one or two ministers, they can be replaced but I think once again, this list also never ends. Looking at the fate of others that happened with Home Minister, Maharashtra CM, Maharashtra Deputy CM and Kerela CM, other's stay mum because they don't want to loose their positions otherwise they are also in the same category. Our country is being slaughtered and this seems like a total disaster and failure of our system.

BUT, we should think before we point any finger towards them, Do they eat or drink something different than what we do? Are they getting educated in a different system than what we do? Are they brought up in a different culture than what we do? Don't they cry when their dear ones are lost? Don't they have feeling? Don't they fear death? Etc...

NO, they are same as what we are. They are one of us. Even if we would have been at their position, situation would not have changed. Others would point finger towards us.

Today media shouts "Enough is enough" and government should take an action but we don't realize that who is responsible for this?

Blaming the system is an easy way to exonerate ourselves, which is completely unacceptable. WE are equal participants in the democratic setup.

Little away from the topic but I feel and believe that WE need to understand that WE are responsible for all, that has happened to us.

How?
What have WE done?
Did WE elect wrong politicians?
But there aren't any responsible leaders that WE can elect?
What should WE do now?
How can WE improve the system?
What can WE contribute to the system?

When WE look at the above questions at an individual level, WE might be lost somewhere to find answers to it. But YES, that's the truth. I repeat, WE are responsible for this total disaster and failure of our system.

WHY?

Because WE've been irresponsible at sometime or other during the course of our life. WE are equally responsible for this corrupt system which gave us total failure. Shortcuts and compromises have become a way of life. There's little point seeking change as a nation when individually each person thinks no further than his own well-being. WE have not done our job as a responsible citizen of our country. WE don't think about the inconvenience we might cause to others with our actions. WE are self-centered and equally selfish as our leaders are. Why choose the right way when it can be my way? Our leaders reflect our myopic vision. They neither have vision nor leadership. Do WE? Can WE inspire each other? Can WE even inspire our own family members to live life a particular way? The answer is a resounding NO.

Somewhere, perhaps, in this soul-searching as a nation, WE need to realize that WE first need to transform (not change) ourselves. Change is a mere tinkering with the our own self.

HOW?

WE take bribe which leads to loop-holes in our system/laws/policies. When WE become irresponsible, it's then that government or system has to come out with laws, which are acceptable by some and not-acceptable by others. WE don't follow rules due to which WE end up paying huge money as bribe. WE decide to augment our ill-gotten wealth by bribing the officer instead of paying our taxes honestly, which leads in huge amount of black money, WE drink and drive which leads into accidents causing deaths which I think will be really higher than what happened in latest Mumbai attack, WE make duplicate medicines and WE flow them in the market which causes so many innocent deaths, WE try to pay bribe to the serviceman to come out with huge luggage from customs, WE don't obey traffic rules, WE try to show our power at different level to break rules, WE don't allow police to do their job by obstructing them in some or other form, WE try to break the queue at every place because WE have to show our power, WE don't care for others inconvenience and the list is endless, but just check, WE probably did one of these things today.

I can guarantee that every one of us has sometime or other done something irresponsibly and most of us are doing it today also. Then why blame the system?? Why blame the government?? Why blame the politicians?? Because WE are responsible for this system/government/politicians. Be true to yourself and think over it.

Corruption is the biggest form of irresponsibleness, which is eating our system every single minute and WE are the ones who promote it either on a small scale or a larger scale.

SOLUTION:
Must come from each one of us and our actions. To begin with on a higher level,

It's not the time to sleep, but time to wake up because it already too late.

If WE become responsible and WE act responsibly, I believe that WE can make a difference. Nobody is perfect in this world but it's WE who have to come together and unite at this moment and eliminate our irresponsible acts.

1) Say NO to corruption, of any kind. Offer no bribes, take none either. Report such activities. Responsibility brings with it accountability. Let's not take our rights and privileges for granted while forgetting our obligations and liabilities;

2) Make accountability of all responsibilities / obligations given to all government authorities mandatory, akin to the private sector;

3) Ensure transparency. Let independent agencies be appointed as concurrent auditors to check public spending;

4) Establish and ensure swift, fast-track courts / tribunals to take action on complaints regarding corruption, dereliction of duty, etc.;

5) Establish special fast-track courts to deal with terrorism, with a maximum time limit of 90 days to consider the matter and deliver a verdict. The verdict of the said fast-track court should be final and binding and no appeal should lie either to the High Court / Supreme Court therefrom. Further, make execution of sentence, if any given by the fast-track court, mandatory within 30 days from the date of passing the order. Delays produce Kandahars. WE don't need them.

6) Ensure highest penalty and gravest punishment for any form of corruption;

7) Withdraw, with immediate effect, all unnecessary privileges to leaders across all political parties, including security, VIP movement, cavalcade of cars, etc, or any form of wasteful public expenditure;

8) Divert commandos freed from protecting politicians to protect citizens and to impart training to youth voluntarily at the local level;

9) Make rigorous physical training a continuous exercise for the entire police force on a daily basis. Equip them with the latest machines / weaponry required for the purpose;

WE must not forget, even momentarily, that our leaders are also our law-makers. Intense public pressure alone can perhaps bring new legislations and action in place. Let's do it!

WE should have the spirit that WE will make the difference.

I salute the martyrs and to all those who have been doing their jobs very responsibly and saved so many life.

Thanks for reading this. Now is the time to take an action and be responsible.

I AM NOT THE PERFECT MAN BUT I AM A RESPONSIBLE INDIAN CITIZEN AND WOULD LIVE A RESPONSIBLE LIFE AND ELIMINATE MY IRRESPONSIBLE ACTS WHEN I FIND THEM IN ME OR POINTED BY OTHERS.

Regards,
Arun.


» Barkha dutt's excuse - there were no rules, so we did not break any
Barkha Dutta responded to the various critics

(I wrote this as a comment to that post, but it grew big enough for me to put it here)

Essence of what Barkha says - "Because there were no rules in place, we could not have broken any".

Proves to us viewers that you have no conscience or intellect that tells you what is right and what is wrong.
Its this lack of maturity & leadership, that you continue to show that people are pissed off with. Media coverage definitely cost people's lives as mentioned by Mr. Pollack here (http://www.forbes.com/2008/12/01/mumbai-terror-taj-oped-cx_mp_1201pollack.html)
and a lot of other sources that you can read up about. Instead of being a DUMB conveyor of information, you had the responsibility to ensure that you did not cause harm. Sadly, none of the media channels, including yours did anything to justify that responsibility.

While we appreciate, your questioning the government and asking for action, especially at a time when the government needs to take action that will show it in good light in the upcoming elections.
The 60 hours of "hollywood action movie" like coverage has helped seed so much rage, fear and anger that people are willing to go to war with another nuclear state, without any proper analysis of the event or the outcome. And the coverage continues ...
Your incessant coverage did actually get to me & in a fit of anger I had posted about retaliation as well. But I am lucky to have good thoughtful friends who quickly got me back to senses. I wish folks in media had similar friends.

If there is a war, as per me  - YOU, the media would be largely responsible for it.

I am not saying that the loss in Mumbai is small by any means, but the losses in North East & losses to Naxalism are much bigger issues that have eaten into this country for more than a decade now.
But you only care about TRPs which is why Naxalism & north east are 1 hour special reports at a non-peak hour once a quarter.



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