Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Devil's Advocate

This is a text version of the conversation that took place between Health Minister Dr.Anbumani Ramadoss, son of the useless 'pechu mattum than' PMK leader Dr.Ramadoss. Read through the pages to have a feel of the minister getting pushed to a corner by Karan Thapar. Pages 5 and 6 have absolute gems from Ramadoss. Methinks Ramadoss kept shooting his feet throughout the interveiw.

Dang, I missed that episode on CNN-IBN. Wonder if they have reruns.

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Blog wars

This time it's personal. Sudish Kamath of The Hindu fame vs Nilu of Recursive Hypocrisy.

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Saturday, October 28, 2006

DP has installed the Apache web server

This is what I saw when I tried to access DP at 3.05 pm.

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Monday, October 23, 2006

DesiPundit is back

Vulturo is going to head DP. Thanks Pat for not shutting DP down. And to top all of that, DP has 4 new contributors, all off them good bloggers in their own right. It feels mighty good to be reading DP posts again. Welcome back.

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Shell gasoline - water instead of petrol. How Shell put me out of my misery

This is a long post. Read in your own sweet time.

Chennai city has two Shell petrol filling stations as far as I know, one on the way to Porur and the other near Jerusalem Engineering College. I tried Shell petrol for the first time last Monday. I had filled in Rs 200 worth of fuel and my bike mileage improved a bit. For all we know, Shell is a higly respected energy brand the world over and this is their foray into Chennai. My bike, a 2006 model Honda Activa ran on 3.86 liters of Shell fuel for 4 1/2 days which is good because the same amount from other brands would have lasted arund 3 1/2 days. I decided to refuel my bike, so I went to the Shell station and dumped 3 liters into the tank. This place has the typical Shell feel to it, with the bunk glowing in trademark orange and red and their customer service is not bad either. The billing is automated and they maintain records of every transaction on a pc. This bunk where I went, the one near Jerusalem Engg is located in the Pallikaranai marsh area, that gets flooded during the monsoon. Now for some reason the local franchisees for Shell decided to build one in a low lying area. This petrol bunk I am talking about did not open until two weeks ago. Now off with the yadda yadda and back to the issue.

After filling up I left and my bike stopped near Pallikaranai. Unsual, because my bike is in good condition. I decided to search for a mechanic at 8.30 pm, where people were in the middle of buying crackers for Diwali but found none so I called up my mechanic, a gem of a person and asked him to help me out.

"Yegeavudu mechanic shap irunda bika kami. Matter seriagalena sollu. (Show the bike to a mechanic in that area. Call me if things don't work out.", said Seenu, the mechanic. Pushing my bike along and cursing my luck, I found a mechanic at last.

He took a look, asked the customary questions, "Petrol potingla saar? Dry agarthukkuminadi potingala? (Did you put petrol in the bike saar? Did you refuel just before the tank went dry?)

After clarifying his doubts he told me he needed time to look at the bike since he was not used to servicing such a model. Bummer. I called Seenu who was going elsewhere for Diwali shopping, Argh.

"Mechanic shappula vettudu. Kalaila vandu edduthuko.(Leave the bike at a shop and pick it up the next day) he said.

"Chancee illinga.", No way was my response.

I called up my folks to inform them of this and decided to call Seenus bro, an auto driver so that he could tow me all the way home. My dad decided to check and called me 5 mins back saying Seenu is on the way. He decied to forgo his shopping and was on his way to help me!! Saved! Seenu came 10 mins later and started his magic on the bike. At the same time, another guy came to the shop and was getting his bike tank emptied. He had refuelled at the same Shell station for 400 bucks. There was no petrol in the tank, only water mixed with kerosene!! Apparently, water had seeped thru the holding tanks at the bunk and the Shell guys were not aware of it. This guv was pissed and called me but I was too engrossed in getting my bike fixed and go home. I asked him to go ahead.

5 minutes later, it was the same result on my bike as the other guy's. The mix. We collected some of that mixture in a bottle for evidence and rushed to the bunk where we saw a row of cars and bikes. The moment the Shell guys saw us with the evidence, they called us inside their office, explained the reasons behind the mix, told us that folks who had come top the bunk from 8.00 pm were having the same problems as ours. They reimbursed the entire amount I had spent on gas and also an extra liter free for my troubles. I had come on my mechanic's bike. Good thing I had the bille. These guys were also arranging call taxis to take the other affected customers home and offered to service the vehicles free of charge. Neat. They even offered food on the house. Nice, but one thing bothered me. One of the employees, spoke to my mechanic in a hostile tone but was calm with me and another person - we spoke in English while my mechanic spoke in the local lingo. Language bias?

That said, the guys at Shell did a good job that night:

1. They owned up to their mistake
2. Did not cause a ruckus
3. Did proper damage control
4. Provided free service to the affected customers
5. Either reimbursed the money they owed you or refuelled the tanks based on the amount that had been spent

Their justification for having a petrol bunk in a low lying area did not cut mucho ice tho'.

Will I go for Shell again? Yeah I would. Their fuel is good, customer service is ok, that can be improved and if they can prevent incidents like this from happening again, they can create a loyal customer base.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Desipundit link blacked out

I went to the DP main page and found this. The DP link below the sun logo has been blacked out. Weird.

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Interview with the Little Superstar

Anand Krishnamoorthi has fixed up a meeting with the man behind the now famous Little Superstar video clip. Can't wait to see how that interview goes.

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My experiences with Desipundit

My tryst with Desi Pundit began in the latter half of 2005 at the height of the IIPM vs the rest of the desi blogworld battle. How did I come to know about the site, you may ask? Well, I had this rant against The Hindu for showing too much importance to cricket and pushing the rest of the sports news to an obscure corner of their sports page. That got published in DP. That was a big deal for me. I had started out with 1 measly post in March 2005, took a long hiatus (I was lazy to blog) and was back in August 2005 writing about the Katrina disaster. After my post was linked by DP in Feb 2006, my readership count increased albeit not that much but people came to know about the existence of my blog. When I saw a trackback to my post, I decided to check out DP. My knowledge about DP was limited but I had heard of it's popularity and I decided to check out the site and found a collection of some rather interesting posts collected by a motley group of contributors from different blogs around the Indian blogosphere. Its been 13 months since that rant post and I have had posts of mine linked to and have also been acknowledged for tip offs too.

I tuned in to the DP site on the 16th, like I do everyday and saw this farewell post by Pat. That was unexpected and I decided to visit the blogs of the contributors for more 411 and found posts by Neha, Vulturo, Pat and Ash among others. No mention of this by Amit though. I guess he wanted to keep this off his pro blog. Well Pat has his own reasons to shut down DP and I go by that. But why delete the blog that has made a lot of desis aware of some interesting posts and blogs above all? The one stop shop for the rest of the desi blogosphere - why shut it down? The comments section of that farewell post on Dp has been flooded with comments with a majority of people asking Pat to hand over the reins to an enthusiastic bunch of bloggers who will carry on the good work that has been done so far. I concur with that. will there be quality if that is done? We the readers are there to gauge the quality of the links that come by. DP has been a pioneering blog. Let it remain the way it is supposed to be.

I have kept myself up to date with the happenings in the desi world through DP. DP introduced me to Sepia Mutiny, Gaurav Sabnis, Rashmi Bansal, Amit Varma, the IIPM vs Gaurav Sabnis controversy among others and a great many other blogs. For me, my day in the online world starts with a customary visit to DP and the blogs that have been linked to it. I kid thee not.

So, after all that yawn inducing blah blah, the bottom line of this post is, let DP remain online, don't shut it down, hand over controls to a different set of people and let it remain the way it is supposed to be.

Don't put an end to a legacy.

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Monday, October 16, 2006

Desipundit to be shut down...

I am shocked by this.

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Friday, October 13, 2006

Laptops for students and teachers to stay connected to cyberspace

Veerappa Moily has suggested that students pursuing higher education and teachers be given laptops in their pursuit of excellence in studies. Mr Moily, why do you plan on squandering the tax payers money on something illogical like this?
"The committee feels that there is a need for a mindset change and it has to be accepted that the laptop should been seen as the entry device to get connected to the knowledge world in cyberspace." My foot. Surely there must be better way to help students by doing a complete overhaul of the education system and improving the student and teacher ratio among others.
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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Morning traffic at Kathipara Junction

Driving through morning traffic at Kathipara,

Is like going through a maze at Tora Bora,

Slash your wrists,

Or whistle for kicks,

You just can't beat traffic at Kathipara


For the un-initiated, Kathipara Junction is an important point in Chennai that connects suburbs like Tambaram, St Thomas Mount to the rest of the city. Using that point during the day and in the evening is a nightmare.


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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Mr Deeds part 1

Rohan was busy at his workstation and typing away when he thought about what he had accomplished over the years in his company, an Indian software major. A plush job, a really fat pay check and all the amenities he had ever dreamed of. But something was amiss. Rohan had wanted to do something he had never done before. Something that would make a difference to a person's life even if it was for one day. That day, he recieved an email. The email spoke about his company's endeavour into making hundreds of poor children and orphans smile for Diwali, make a difference in their lives.  

"Diya, an NGO has prepared a wishlist of the gifts the kids want. The names of the children and their preferences are written on a card. Take a card and make a child happy this Diwali." 

That was the gist of the email. Rohan pondered over it. "I have spent money on a premium gym membership, on dvds and various other things. Why not make a child's wish come true?" 

The day came and went. It was time to leave for home. Rohan went to the ground floor and took a look at the cards and what each child wanted. "All these children are from orphanages and off the street.", he wondered aloud. He picked a card with the name Lakshmi, from one of the many orphanages that dotted the city he called home, Chennai.

'A pink salwar, toffees and cream biscuits and small balls' is what the card said. Popping the card into his gym bag he carried to work after his morning workout, Rohan went to the parking lot and was soon inching his way home in the evening traffic on Mount Road.
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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

An Ode to October

Another day, another month to whizz by.
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